After taking a sanctions hit in December, exports of Russian oil are back to levels last seen in June, thanks to dealers and reinsurers in Hong Kong and Dubai. “Grey market” Russian oil is now being blended with other crude to reintroduce to the Europe and other market. Malaysia, for example, exports twice as much crude than it actually produces.
BP’s CEO Bernard Looney says he is dialing back the company’s investments in renewables and other ESG goals to focus on the wildly more profitable legacy oil and gas exploration and natural gas trading arm. Like Chevron and Exxon, BP has had a bumper year, but while Exxon’s shares have nearly doubled since the pandemic low, BP shares are up 7%. Unlike US rivals, BP and Shell face more scrutiny, but that only partly explains it: No one thinks that Exxon or Chevron are going to stop drilling. Exxon leaned into new oil exploration in a constrained market, as Mr. Looney announced a renewables push. This week he was at pains to explain to investors that the strategy was not a move to renewables, but merely to add them. The company also plans to dial back on off-shore wind and solar.
Which might be just as well, because Beijing is considering export controls on key solar panel manufacturing technology. Currently China accounts for 97% of solar ingot and wafer production, and control about 80% of relevant supply chains.
On the heels of Tesla, Ford is boosting production and slashing the price of it’s EV Mustang Mach E – in some cases by close to 9%. Ford says they are realizing efficiencies of bringing production online. In a call last week, Tesla chief Elon Musk, exhibiting a keen grasp of the obvious, said: “Price really matters.”
Ukraine isn’t getting US F16 fighter jets at any price, President Biden announced. Berlin has also ruled out sending aircraft. France’s President Macron has said, “Nothing is excluded.” But still hasn’t sent any aircraft. President Zelensky has warned that Russia’s “big revenge” for Ukrainian resistance has started, but Washington is following the model learned in successes Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, of fighting half-assed wars.
The IMF’s last forecast a global economic growth was pretty dismal – but since then inflation has fallen, Europe has managed to side step an energy crisis with a warm winter, and China reopened. The fund has revised its forecasts up for the world economy to grow 2.9% in 2023. Great Britain is the only major economy expected to shrink. Investors should mind the gap.
A few eye-opening shots in your morning coffee.