VIENNA/LONDON – OPEC talks with Russia have ended in dramatic failure, auguring the end of a diplomatic alliance between Riyadh and Moscow that has underpinned crude prices and changed the balance of power in the Middle East. Brent crude, the global benchmark, plunged the most in more than a decade after Russia refused to bend to the will of Saudi Arabia, whose high-stakes gamble pushed the group past breaking point. Riyadh wanted to slash production to offset the hit to demand from the coronavirus. But Moscow had a different idea. The Kremlin's budget is more resilient to low prices than its Middle Eastern allies.
MOSCOW – Russian and Japanese economy and energy ministers agreed Thursday to flesh out dozens of specific projects in the two countries' economic cooperation over the next month. The agreement came after Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko met with Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev and Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow. The projects are part of the economic cooperation Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin in May. Seko handed over to Russian officials Abe's letters to Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, in which the Japanese leader expresses his desire to develop bilateral ties, a ministry official said. The two ministers agreed to set 30 or so projects in such areas as oil and gas field development, wind power generation and cooperation in nuclear reactor decommissioning work at the disaster-stricken Fukushima power plant before Putin visits Japan in mid-December for talks with Abe.
The kingdom, much like Russia, has been hit by the fall in oil prices since mid-2014. Despite regional disagreements, the two major oil-producing nations found common ground on energy policy in November, when they led a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC states to cut production in a bid to shore up crude prices. So far that deal is holding.
Oil prices and energy companies plunged Thursday, but other stocks didn't move much as investors waited for more signs about the state of the economy. Household goods makers and healthcare companies rose after some solid company earnings reports. Most other parts of the market made little gains, but energy companies took sharp losses as the price of crude oil fell almost 5% -- its biggest one-day loss in about two months. "We may be seeing signs that global production is strong, and whenever markets see a decline in oil prices they worry it's actually an indication of weak demand," said Kate Warne, an investment strategist for Edward Jones. Warne said oil prices have slipped recently because of an accumulation of concerns about rising energy production in the U.S. and slower economic growth in both the U.S. and China.