1. Oil prices hit a two-month high.
Shrinking U.S. Inventories and the threat of sanctions against Venezuela have propelled oil prices to a two-month high today. Brent crude futures are closing in on $53.00 and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up to almost $50.00 per barrel, the highest we’ve seen in over a month.
Oil prices have increased roughly 10 percent since the last OPEC meeting when the group discussed with Russia what their plans would be for the continued supply cuts. Conversely, U.S. crude inventories have dropped by 10 percent from their March peak of 483.4 million barrels. Only 10 rigs were added in July, the fewest since May 2016.
2. Venezuela still in chaos amid election.
On Sunday, there was an election to vote on the creation of a National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela. The new assembly would be composed of new delegates that support current President Nicolas Maduro and are expected to dissolve the National Assembly, an opposition-heavy body of lawmakers. The anticipation and results of this election are causing condemnation from the international community, and resulting in violence in Venezuela. the Associated Press reports 10 people were killed in Sunday's unrest.
Those opposing this vote are boycotting because they see this vote as a move dictatorship and increased power for Maduro. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the election a "sham" on Twitter, and the U.S. has already imposed sanctions on senior Venezuelan officials over this election, with more to come shortly – such as sanctions on oil.
3. Indonesia is open to rejoining OPEC, but only on its own terms.
Last November Indonesia left OPEC. The cartel agreed to cut supply and Indonesia didn’t like the agreement, so the two parted ways, but now they may be reuniting. Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan told Reuters that his country is open to the idea of returning, but only with concessions that allow them to be exempt from supply cuts.
“ …We would have to have a concession for not following cuts from time to time,” Jonan said.