Russian Oil Grab in Libya Fuels U.S.-Kremlin Tensions | Weekly News Update

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Russian Oil Grab in Libya Fuels U.S.-Kremlin Tensions in Mideast

Since June, armed fighters from the Wagner Group, a Russian firm with ties to the Russian government, have moved in to secure Libya’s largest oil field and its most important oil-exporting port, Es Sider. The advance has helped Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar maintain a blockade of the country’s petroleum exports in defiance of U.S. pressure to restart them, according to Libyan and Western officials.

Moscow’s moves show how Libya has become a key front in a struggle between the U.S. and Russia for influence in the Middle East and access to strategic assets. The two nations have also locked horns in Syria, where Russian and American troops patrolling near oil fields in eastern Deir Ezzor province have engaged in roadside confrontations.

The recent Russian oil grab in Libya triggered a stern reaction by the U.S. The Treasury Department cited Russian involvement in Libya in a new round of sanctions applied in July to a Russian businessman with ties to President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. is also seeking to counter the Kremlin’s influence by threatening sanctions against their local Libyan ally, Mr. Haftar.


Freight volumes hold, albeit in an upheaval, as carriers and shippers enter contract season

Despite high unemployment, lingering holes in the economy, and spiking coronavirus cases, freight volumes are mostly holding steady, analysts said this week, propped up in large part by persistent consumer spending and retail.

After being jolted back to life in late May by lifted shutdown orders and the onset of the usual season spring freight season, “volumes peaked higher than we expected, and they haven’t come back down as fast or to the level we would have expected,” said Ken Adamo, chief of analytics at DAT Solutions.


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Energy stocks jumped on Tuesday, sending the S&P 500 Energy Sector Index up more than 6%, the best performance of any group in the S&P 500 index.

WSJ: Pilot Truck-Stop Empire Moves Away From Family Leadership

The Haslam family, which turned its ownership of a single gas station into the largest truck-stop operation in North America, is stepping back from the business. The transition comes as the business is facing pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and technology shifts that could reduce drivers’ dependence on fossil fuels.

REUTERS: China imports more oil from Saudi than any other country in June

China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose 15 percent in June from a year ago, as refiners ordered record volumes of the fuel in March and April when oil prices tumbled, cementing the kingdom’s position as the top oil supplier to China.

JWN: ​Cenovus, Suncor choose different paths on restoring oil output as prices recover

Both Cenovus Energy Inc. and Suncor Energy Inc. reported millions of dollars in losses in the second quarter as they throttled back oil production amid a global crude market awash in surplus barrels.


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TRANSDIVE: Transport faces $30B profit loss in 2020, but some firms could emerge stronger

Up to 45 percent of the transportation industry’s operating profits could be eroded by the end of 2020, according to Deloitte estimates. That would amount to $30 billion.

SCDIVE: CSX loses ground on service metrics due to volume volatility

CSX lost ground on several key service metrics the railroad has elevated in the age of precision-scheduled railroading (PSR), executives reported on a second quarter earnings call with analysts Wednesday.

TRANSTOPICS: NTEA Warns of Tough Times Ahead for Commercial Trucks

Commercial equipment manufacturers should brace for a prolonged downturn, as the coronavirus pandemic has worsened what was already expected to be a down year for businesses in the sector, an economist for an industry group said.


Top Economic Stories

REUTERS: U.S. new home sales shine in June; business activity picks up

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes raced to a near 13-year high in June as the housing market outperforms the broader economy amid record-low interest rates and migration from urban centers to lower-density areas because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WSJ: Businesses Hit Hard by Pandemic Drive U.S. Jobs Recovery

Businesses such as health-care providers and restaurants—which closed during pandemic lockdowns—have recalled millions of laid-off workers. Job growth has also been boosted by increased demand in a handful of industries such as logistics, financial services, and retail, including at furniture stores.

WSJ: Economic Recoveries in U.S., Europe Take Diverging Paths

The U.S. economy lagged in July and Europe’s bounced back, according to fresh surveys of purchasing managers, evidence that the two economic powerhouses are recovering at different speeds from the coronavirus pandemic.


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