Saudi’s Say Biden Begged for 1 Month Delay Over Reducing Oil Production
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced that President Biden had begged them to delay by one month a decision by OPEC and its allies, including Russia, to reduce oil production.
Such a postponement might have helped decrease the risk of a gas price surge before next month’s midterm elections in the United States.
In a statement released by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, the November 8 elections in which U.S. President Joe Biden is attempting to keep his slim Democratic majority in Congress were not particularly mentioned.
However, the U.S. “recommended” that the cuts be delayed by one month. Ultimately, OPEC announced the reduction during its meeting on October 5 in Vienna.
Delaying the reductions would have likely postponed any increase in gas prices until after the elections.
Rising oil prices — and, by extension, increased gasoline prices — have been a major contributor to inflation in the United States and around the world, compounding global economic troubles as Russia’s months-long war on Ukraine has also affected the global food supply.
According to Biden, rising gasoline prices could affect voters. Numerous legislators, including him, have warned that the United States’ longstanding security-based alliance with the kingdom could be revisited.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry’s decision to issue an unusually lengthy statement revealed the tight relations between the two countries.
The White House pushed back on Thursday, denying that the sought delay had anything to do with the upcoming U.S. elections and instead attributing it to economic factors and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
John Kirby, chief of strategic communications for the National Security Council, stated, “We provided Saudi Arabia with information demonstrating that there was no market basis for reducing production targets and that they could easily wait until the next OPEC meeting to see how things evolved.”
“Other OPEC members privately informed us that they disagreed with the Saudi choice but felt compelled to follow Saudi Arabia’s direction,” he continued.
Since the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, which Washington thinks was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia have been strained. Increasing energy costs provide Russia with a weapon against the West, which has been arming and assisting Ukraine.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry stated that the kingdom had discussed postponing the 2 million barrel cut imposed by OPEC+ last week with the United States.
“Through its ongoing consultations with the U.S. administration, the government of the kingdom clarified that all economic calculations indicate that delaying the OPEC+ decision by a month, as suggested, would have had severe economic implications,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry’s statement confirmed information from a Wall Street Journal report published this week, in which unnamed Saudi officials claimed that the United States planned to delay the OPEC+ output cut until right before the November elections. The Journal cited Saudi officials calling Biden’s move a political gamble ahead of the election.
Additionally, the kingdom condemned attempts to connect its decision to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The kingdom reaffirms its rejection of any dictation, acts, or attempts to distort its lofty intentions to protect the world economy from oil market volatility,” the statement read. “Resolving economic difficulties demands establishing a non-politicized constructive discourse and considering what suits the interests of all countries wisely and rationally.”
OPEC members Saudi Arabia and the neighbouring United Arab Emirates voted Wednesday in favour of a resolution condemning Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four Ukrainian areas and calling for their immediate reverse.
Once powerful enough to cripple the United States with its oil embargo in the 1970s, OPEC required non-members such as Russia to enact a production cut in 2016 after prices fell below $30 per barrel due to increased American production.
The 2016 deal resulted in the formation of the so-called OPEC+, which joined the cartel in reducing production to raise prices.
The coronavirus epidemic caused a brief decline in oil prices before air traffic and economic activity recovered following global lockdowns. Early Wednesday morning, Brent crude prices were above $92 per barrel, but oil-producing nations are concerned that prices may fall drastically due to attempts to curb inflation.
Biden, who notoriously referred to Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” during his 2020 campaign, visited the kingdom in July and fist-bumped Prince Mohammed before a meeting.
Despite outreach, the kingdom has supported maintaining high oil prices to finance Prince Mohammed’s ambitions, particularly his $500 billion Neom futuristic desert metropolis project.
Tuesday, Biden cautioned Saudi Arabia that the OPEC+ decision would have implications.
Biden stated, “There will be consequences for what they’ve done with Russia.” “I will not discuss what I would consider and what I have in mind. Nonetheless, there will be repercussions.”
Crackdown Proposed For Illegal Pot Shops In New York
Albany, New York – Under legislation by Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday, New York police would have more authority to close down illicit marijuana businesses and impose fines of up to $200,000. Hochul is trying to protect the state’s nascent legal recreational marijuana sector.
Although only three stores have opened thus far in New York City and two in upstate New York, the state is working hard to kickstart its potentially enormous adult legal industry. A profusion of unauthorized stores is undermining legal city enterprises.
City officials have already pursued landlords who permitted illegal businesses to run. The new law being considered by the legislature would grant the state Office of Cannabis Management and state tax officials more authority to crack down on illegal operations.
The law would set processes for the government to close down unlicensed enterprises and grant the cannabis office increased ability to seize illegal goods. According to the Hochul administration, violations could result in fines of $200,000 for illegal cannabis plants or goods, and businesses might be punished with $10,000 per day for selling cannabis without a license.
In a prepared statement, Hochul said: “The continuous presence of illegal dispensaries is intolerable, and we need additional enforcement measures to safeguard New Yorkers from harmful goods and promote our equitable objectives.
We need additional enforcement measures to safeguard New York.
Since the recreational use of marijuana was legalized in New York in March 2021, progress has been modest.
New York has reserved its initial retail licenses for charitable organizations, applicants with prior marijuana convictions, and their relatives, in contrast to many other states. The measures are intended to remedy injustices brought on by the nation’s drug war.
However, while a legal challenge to the state’s selection procedure is being examined, a federal judge has temporarily barred the state from issuing recreational marijuana dispensary licenses in Brooklyn and specific regions of upstate New York. The business Variscite NY One claims that the state’s selection procedure disfavors out-of-state residents in violation of the constitutional provisions governing interstate trade.
Veteran cannabis investor Emily Paxhia praises New York for having solid intentions about social fairness but claims the city was blind to the necessity of establishing action against unlawful shops at an early stage. The legalization rollout thus far, according to Paxhia, a co-founder and managing partner of Poseidon Investment Management, is “a disaster” but not a total failure.
Paxhia, a Buffalo native, said: “I’m still hopeful that the New York market turns around.
SOURCE – (AP)
Credit Suisse Rescued By Swiss Rival UBS for $3 Billion
Credit Suisse has been rescued by its Swiss rival UBS in a government-backed deal on Sunday. The announcement came after a weekend of emergency talks between the two banks and Switzerland’s financial regulators in Switzerland.
UBS Group AG, founded and headquartered in Switzerland, is a multinational investment bank and financial services firm. According to the Swiss National Bank, the agreement is the best way to restore financial market confidence and manage economic risks.
The Bank of England welcomed the “comprehensive set of actions,” the BBC reported.
Credit Suisse shareholders will receive one share in UBS for every 22.48 shares they own, valuing the bank at $3.15 billion (£2.6 billion).
Credit Suisse was valued at around $8 billion (£6.5 billion) at the close of business on Friday.
However, the agreement accomplished what regulators set out to do: secure a result before the financial markets opened on Monday.
In a statement, Switzerland’s central bank said, “a solution has been found to secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy in this exceptional situation”.
To mitigate any risks for UBS, the federal government announced a $9.6 billion (£7.9 billion) guarantee against potential losses. The Swiss central bank has also offered up to $110 billion (£90 billion) in liquidity assistance.
Global financial institutions quickly applauded the transaction between Credit Suisse and UBS.
The Bank of England said it welcomed the “comprehensive set of actions” set out by the Swiss authorities.
“Throughout the preparations for today’s announcements, we worked closely with international counterparts and will continue to support their implementation.”
It said the UK banking system was “well capitalized and funded and remains safe and sound”.
The UK Treasury also said it welcomed the merger and the British government would continue to engage with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England “as is usual”.
Because both UBS and Credit Suisse have operations in London, the FCA said on Sunday that it was “minded to approve” the takeover to support financial stability.
“The FCA remains closely engaged with UK and international regulatory partners to monitor market developments,” the watchdog said.
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, said she welcomed the “swift action” of the Swiss authorities.
“They are instrumental in restoring orderly market conditions and ensuring financial stability. “The eurozone banking sector is resilient, with strong capital and liquidity positions,” stated Ms. Lagarde.
The remarks of the European Central Bank President were echoed in the United States.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell said the Swiss authorities’ announcement supported “financial stability”.
“The US banking system’s capital and liquidity positions are strong, and the US financial system is resilient,” they said.
Credit Suisse is the latest and most significant casualty of a confidence crisis that has already resulted in the failure of two mid-sized US banks and an emergency industry whip-round for another. But this is not the case. Switzerland’s second-largest lender was considered one of the world’s top 30 most important banks, so the Swiss authorities rushed through this takeover.
Although the causes of each failure vary slightly, the main factor has been a sharp rise in global interest rates, which has reduced the value of even safe investments in which banks keep some of their money. This has alarmed investors, causing all bank share prices to fall, with the weakest banks suffering the most.
The EU, US, and UK financial authorities have supported this agreement, emphasizing that banks are strong and people’s savings and deposits are secure. The acid test for whether this Swiss rescue has calmed financial markets will be when they open on Monday, so completing this on Sunday night was critical.
Following the announcement on Sunday night, UBS chairman Colm Kelleher said Credit Suisse was a “very fine asset we are determined to keep” in Bern, Switzerland.
“This acquisition is appealing to UBS shareholders, but let us be clear: this is an emergency rescue for Credit Suisse,” he added.
Mr. Kelleher stated that UBS would acquire Credit Suisse’s investment banking division.
The chairman of UBS said it was “too early” to predict what would happen to jobs: “We need to do this in a rational and thoughtful way after we’ve sat down and analyzed what we need to do,” he said.
The weekend deal comes after the Swiss National Bank’s emergency $54 billion (£44.5 billion) lifeline on Wednesday failed to reassure markets, and Credit Suisse shares fell 24%, sparking a wider sell-off on European markets.
The 167-year-old bank is losing money and has had many problems recently, including allegations of money laundering.
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Honda Recalling 500,000 Vehicles in the United States and Canada
Honda is recalling 500,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada because the front seat belts may not latch properly. The recall affects several of the automaker’s best-selling models, including the 2017-2020 CR-V, the 2018 and 2019 Accord, the 2018-2020 Odyssey, and the 2019 Insight. The Acura RDX from the 2019 and 2020 model years is also included.
Honda claims in documents posted by US safety regulators on Wednesday that the surface coating on the buckle channel can deteriorate over time. The release button can shrink against the channel at lower temperatures, increasing friction and preventing the buckle from latching.
If the buckle fails to latch, a driver or passenger may be unrestrained in a collision, increasing the risk of injury.
Honda claims there have been no reports of injuries due to the problem.
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Dealers will replace the front seat belt buckle release buttons or assemblies if necessary. Beginning April 17, owners will be notified by letter.
Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. unit announced on Tuesday that it will shift production of its Accord sedan to Indiana in 2025, after previously assembling the model in Marysville, Ohio, for more than 40 years, as part of its transition to electric vehicle (EV) production. Marysville will be Honda’s first U.S. auto plant to convert to EV production.
Honda and South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd announced in October that they would build a $4.4 billion joint-venture battery plant near Jeffersonville, Ohio, and broke ground earlier this month.
Honda EV production
The battery plant, expected to be completed by the end of 2024, will cover more than 2 million square feet (185,806 square meters) and have an annual production capacity of approximately 40 Gigawatt hours (GWh).
Honda announced last year that it would invest $700 million to retool three Ohio plants, including Marysville, for electric vehicle production by 2026.
According to the company, Marysville will begin preparing for EV production as early as January by consolidating its two production lines into one, allowing it to begin building the EV infrastructure.
Honda began producing cars in the United States with the Accord in November 1982, making it the first Japanese automaker to do so. Since then, the Ohio plant has produced over 12.5 million Accords.
With 362,700 vehicles sold in 1989, the Accord was the first Japanese model to hold the title of best-selling car in the United States.
In recent years, Americans have shifted away from sedans and toward sport utility and crossover vehicles. Honda sold 154,600 Accords in the United States last year, a 24% decrease from 2021.
Honda announced that Accord production would be moved to its Indiana auto plant, which also produces the Civic Hatchback and CR-V.
According to the company, Honda’s transmission plant in Georgia will dedicate one production line to e-axle production, a key EV component, and its Anna, Ohio engine plant will shift production of some engine components to a Honda engine plant in Alabama to prepare for production of battery cases for EV models.
Honda will demonstrate the latest generation of its prototype Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) capabilities to improve construction industry and worksite efficiencies at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 in Las Vegas, March 14-18, 2023. Construction companies interested in learning more about field testing the rugged off-road platform at their sites will be able to do so. Visit https://honda.us/HondaAWV to see a video of the Honda AWV.
“As we continue to advance the Honda AWV platform, we hope to meet with potential business partners and companies interested in field testing the vehicle at their worksite at CONEXPO,” said Jason VanBuren, systems engineering manager at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We believe the Honda AWV can be a valuable solution to supporting construction teams while also enhancing worksite efficiencies and safety. We hope to address labor shortages and improve environmental performance by leveraging Honda’s decades of experience developing reliable, safe, clean mobility technology.”
The Honda AWV is a fully programmable all-electric work vehicle that leverages the company’s emerging advanced autonomous technology to create a rugged off-road work vehicle designed to support construction-related activities and boost workforce productivity.
The Honda AWV, with its ability to operate autonomously or manually via remote control, could provide a wide range of services to industries that require an autonomous operation or delivery solutions, particularly where workforce constraints make other solutions impractical. The company is also looking into developing attachments and tools that could make the vehicle useful in various work environments.
The second-generation Honda AWV was successfully field tested at a large-scale solar construction site in the Southwest United States. Based on field testing, Honda is now introducing the third-generation Honda AWV, which includes several improvements.
The following are key features of the third-generation Honda AWV:
To operate autonomously, the Honda AWV employs sensors, including GPS for location, radar and lidar for obstacle detection, and cameras for remote monitoring. Previous field tests have also proven that multiple Honda AWVs can transport and deliver construction materials and supplies at precise points along a predetermined route. The vehicle uses common components from Honda’s automobiles and other products, leveraging the company’s extensive portfolio of mobility technologies.
Third-Generation Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle Specifications
Honda anticipates further advancements in performance and design specifications as the prototype Honda AWV development continues.
Honda is looking for partners to participate in field testing and improve functions and services as the company seeks to commercialize AWV.
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