Talking Points

Talking Points

OPEC, non-OPEC nations consider oil production cuts

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih listened to journalists’ questions during a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Saudi Arabia said it will trim oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day in December.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih listened to journalists’ questions during a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Saudi Arabia said it will trim oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day in December.

ENERGY

To prop up oil prices, producers begin to weigh cuts

Major oil producers meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday signaled that they were considering once again changing course and cutting production. But the group, which included the Saudi oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, and his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, did not make any firm decisions. Those are more likely to come when officials gather in Vienna in the first week of December for a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. A statement after the meeting Sunday, however, did warn that the gap between supply and demand could widen next year, which “may require new strategies to balance the market.” The producers at the meeting, from OPEC and non-OPEC nations, are clearly worried about the recent reversal of oil prices Brent crude, the international bench mark, has fallen almost 20 percent to just over $70 a barrel from about $86 a barrel on Oct. 4. There are several reasons for the price drop. The Saudis and Russians have significantly increased production in recent months, in part a response to pressure from President Trump. At the same time, Iranian output, which was expected to be hit hard by the Trump administration’s reimposition of sanctions this year, appears to be holding up better than expected. In addition, output from shale oil producers in the United States has been growing much faster than analysts previously expected. — NEW YORK TIMES

ONLINE COMMERCE

Alibaba had another big Singles Day. The party may not last.

After 24 hours of frenzied buying and selling, and weeks of advertising and promotions before it, the Alibaba Group announced that its sales hit another titanic high on Singles Day, the Nov. 11 shopping festival that the Chinese e-commerce behemoth cooked up a decade ago. At the stroke of midnight Monday, Alibaba said it had racked up $30.8 billion in sales the day before, as measured by its own homegrown metric, gross merchandise value. That handily topped last year’s big number, $25.3 billion. But this month, Alibaba cut its sales forecast for the year ending in March by around 5 percent, citing a wobbly economy and the trade war with the United States. In its relentless ambition, Alibaba may be Amazon’s only global equal. But Wall Street is still waiting for results, and has grown skeptical in the meantime of the costs of expanding into new areas. Alibaba’s shares have lost nearly one-third their value since June.
— NEW YORK TIMES

BEVERAGES

Pabst says MillerCoors is trying to put it out of business

Pabst Brewing Company and MillerCoors are going to trial, with hipster favorite Pabst contending that MillerCoors wants to put it out of business by ending a longstanding partnership through which it brews Pabst’s beers. The case has high stakes for Pabst, whose lawyers argue that the company’s very existence relies on the partnership with Chicago-based MillerCoors, which produces, packages, and ships nearly all its products, which include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee, Natty Boh, and Lone Star. MillerCoors, meanwhile, says it’s not obligated to continue brewing for Pabst and that Pabst doesn’t want to pay enough to justify doing so. The trial in Milwaukee County Circuit Court begins Monday and is scheduled through Nov. 30. The 1999 agreement between MillerCoors and Pabst, which was founded in Milwaukee in 1844 but is now headquartered in Los Angeles, expires in 2020 but provides for two possible five-year extensions. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FISHERIES

Rebuilt Maine scallop industry lets in first new people in years

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Maine is letting new people into its rebuilding scallop fishery for the first time in nearly a decade. The Maine Department of Marine Resources says four people won a lottery that will allow them to apply for a scalloping license. The winners are the first new entrants into the fishery since 2009. The new lottery system will allow two new people into the fishery for every three who do not renew their license. The system applies to fishermen who harvest scallops with drag boats. The state received nearly 1,300 entrants for this year’s lottery. Maine scallops are praised by chefs and diners as some of the meatiest in the seafood world. The fishery has rebounded through conservative management over the past decade, with harvest hitting a 20-year high last year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS