OIL PRICES EDGE DOWN
Oil prices lost ground Monday morning, as the market appeared to look past a decision by major oil producers to extend a deal to cut their crude output through the end of 2018.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 0.75%, at $63.25 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down nearly 1%, at $57.79 a barrel.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed Thursday to extend a deal to hold down crude output by nearly 2% through the end of 2018.
But the participants said they would reassess market conditions in June to decide whether to continue with the cuts.
SENATE PASSES REVISION OF U.S. TAX CODE AND OPENS NEW REGION FOR OIL DRILLING
Over the weekend the Senate passed sweeping revisions to the U.S. tax code which includes a tax cut that would benefit energy companies, write Richard Rubin and Siobhan Hughes.
The new regimen includes about $1.4 trillion in tax cuts and lowers the corporate rate from 35% to 20%. It would reshape international business tax rules and temporarily lower individual taxes.
Big firms including oil giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. stand to see significant gains from the tax legislation.
The bill also opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and repeals the mandate that individuals purchase health insurance, which would punch a sizable hole in the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
“The bill passed 51-49, with all but one Republican voting for it and all Democrats voting against,” the Journal reports.
Stocks in Europe and U.S. futures rose Monday as investors digested the implications of the Senate passing its version of tax reform. The bill still needs to be reconciled with an earlier version passed by the House.
RIO TINTO NAMES SIMON THOMPSON TO SUCCEED CHAIRMAN JAN DU PLESSIS
Rio Tinto PLC has turned to Simon Thompson, a boardroom veteran with mining-industry experience under his belt, to succeed Jan du Plessis as chairman from next year, reports Robb M. Stewart.
Mr. Thompson, a director at Rio Tinto since 2014, will take over when Mr. du Plessis steps down in March after about nine years as chairman, the mining company said Monday.
Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest miner, swung back to profit last year as prices for iron ore rebounded, allowing it to resume dividend payouts as the company focused on slashing costs and improving productivity.
The firm has also suffered setbacks.
U.S. regulators sued Rio Tinto this year over claims it misled investors about the value of Mozambique coal assets obtained in an acquisition that caused huge losses.