Oil Prices Rise with Middle East Tensions
Oil prices jumped 2% this week after tensions in the Middle East escalate as Saudi Arabia led air strikes in Yemen, in retaliation to drone attacks on two Saudi oil pumping stations. This happened near the Strait of Hormuz, a heavily trafficked waterway for global crude shipments. The oil markets were effectively impacted by this news raising prices throughout the week. This comes a month after Iranian officials threatened to interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, which President Trump responded by saying they would end waivers that allow countries to import Iranian Oil, nonetheless inciting more tension.
Sanctions & Nord Stream 2
A group of Republican and Democratic senators introduced to legislation this Tuesday targeting sanctions on the Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline which runs from Russia to Germany. The purpose of this bill introduced by Ted Cruz, John Barrasso and Tom Cotton and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, seeks to impose travel and financial sanctions on companies involved in constructing the pipeline. Coming at a time when the U.S. wants to further investigate Russian influence in Europe, however this will have many steps to go through before becoming a law including passing through the House of Representatives as well as President Trump.
Trade War affecting the Ethanol Industry
The U.S.-China trade war is negatively affecting the ethanol industryright now especially following all the flooding which hit the Midwestern parts of the United States. This conflict has gotten worse a year after China said they were preparing to rollout E10 (gasoline containing 10% ethanol) by 2020, that would in effect bolster more demand for U.S. ethanol. The lack of tariff protection could lead to supplying 90%+ of ethanol imports to China and in times of deficit in the United States. Ultimately this tariff is horrible for the ethanol industry, and while domestic efforts introduce E15 (gasoline containing 15% ethanol) as a way to increase domestic demand have begun, trade disputes will have to be resolved to breathe life back into the ethanol industry.