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Russian Oil Continues To Flow To India And China

Russian Oil Continues To Flow To India And China

Authored by Alex Kimani via OilPrice.com,

China and India are emerging as Russia’s main…

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Russian Oil Continues To Flow To India And China

Authored by Alex Kimani via OilPrice.com,

  • China and India are emerging as Russia’s main crude buyers.

  • Russia’s ESPO blend is especially popular among Asian refiners.

  • Russia’s Urals crude is trading at discounts of more than $30 per barrel. 

It has been exactly six weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, with no end in sight to one of humanity's biggest existential crises in modern times. In response to Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war, the United States and the West have hit the rogue nation with a plethora of sanctions, with the latest announced just days ago mostly targeting Russia's financial sector.

But so far, Russia's pivotal energy sector has largely been spared.  With the exception of Lithuania and Poland as well as self-sanctioning by refiners and bankers, no country has yet to announce a ban on Russia's energy products.

So far, Russian oil and gas exports to the EU remain largely unchanged since only the Baltic States have announced a 100% ban on Russian energy imports. Poland, a major thoroughfare for Russian energy supplies, has also been more proactive than most after it took steps to block Russian coal imports and announced steps to halt Russian oil imports by year-end. Poland--home to the ~1.3mb/d Druzhba pipeline that carries Russian crude to several points in Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic--directly consumes ~330kb/d of Russian crude and imports ~9.4mt of Russian thermal coal in 2020, accounting for ~5% of Russian exports. The EU currently gets about 40% of its natural gas from Russia, which powers everything from household heating to factory production, and makes up around 25% of the bloc's total energy consumption.

But that could soon change.

The flow of "bloody money" to Russia must stop, Kyiv's mayor has said as the West prepares new sanctions on Moscow after dead civilians were found lining the streets of a Ukrainian town seized from Russian invaders. Since Russian forces withdrew from northern Ukraine, turning their assault on the south and east, grim images from the town of Bucha near Kyiv, including a mass grave and bound bodies of people shot at close range, have prompted international outrage.

The experts are now saying that the atrocities against Ukrainian civilians revealed by the withdrawal of Russian forces from areas north and east of Kyiv have made it very likely that EU countries will impose sanctions on Russian oil in the coming months. In the United States, Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has warned of "enormous economic repercussions" from the Ukraine war. 

The million-dollar question right now is how disruptive a total ban on Russian energy commodities will be on Russia's economy.

Unfortunately, a ban on Russian oil and gas by the U.S. and the EU might not be as damaging to Russia as the west hopes, with the presence of heavily discounted Urals proving too irresistible for some.

India's Surging Imports From Russia

India has never been a big buyer of Russian crude despite needing to import 80% of its needs. In a typical year, India imports just 2-5% of its crude from Russia, roughly the same proportion as the United States did before it announced a 100% ban on Russian energy commodities.  Indeed, India imported only 12 million barrels of Russian crude in 2021, with the majority of its oil coming from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Nigeria.

But reports have now emerged of a "significant uptick" in Russian oil deliveries bound for India.

Matt Smith, the lead oil analyst at Kpler, has told CNBC that since the beginning of March, five cargoes of Russian oil, or about 6 million barrels, have been loaded and are bound for India. In other words, India has imported half as much crude from Russia in one month as it did in an entire year.

And, it could be all about the money.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Urals crude from Russia is being offered at record discounts. Ellen Wald, president of Transversal Consulting, has told CNBC that a couple of commodity trading firms--such as Glencore and Vitol--were offering discounts of $30 and $25 per barrel, respectively, two weeks ago for the Urals blend. Urals is the main blend exported by Russia.

The experts say simple economics is the reason why White House pressure to curb purchases of crude oil from Russia have fallen on deaf ears in Delhi.

"Today, the Government of India's motivations are economic, not political. India will always look for a deal in their oil import strategy. It's hard not to take a 20% discount on crude when you import 80-85% of your oil, particularly on the heels of the pandemic and global growth slowdown," Samir N. Kapadia, head of trade at government relations consulting firm Vogel Group, has told CNBC via email.

Still, it will not be lost on many readers that India has maintained a cozy relationship with Russia over the years, with Russia supplying the Asian nation with as much as 60% of its military and defense-related equipment. Russia has also been a key ally on crucial issues such as India's dispute with China and Pakistan surrounding the territory of Kashmir.

China To The Rescue?

But India might not be the lone pariah helping finance Putin's illegal war.

Given China's experience with evading sanctions, you would expect it to be among the first countries lining up to lap up those cheap barrels of Urals. After all, it's a badly kept secret that Beijing has been using all sorts of clandestine means aka 'cloaking' to import cheap Iranian oil ever since it was sanctioned in 2011. China is already Russia's biggest oil customer, importing an average of 1.72 mb/d in 2021.

However, Reuters has reported that China's crude imports from Russia in the first two months of the year actually declined 9.1% to 1.57 mb/d.

But this has got little to do with China suddenly acting sanctimonious or moral compunction. Rather, the notable decline has been caused by Beijing's crackdown on smaller independent refiners aka the teapots.

In a dramatic reversal of fortunes, back in June, Beijing announced huge cutbacks in import quotas for the country's private oil refiners. According to Reuters, China's independent refiners were awarded a combined 35.24 million tons in crude oil import quotas in the second batch of quotas this year, a 35% reduction from 53.88 million tons for a similar tranche a year ago.

The big reduction came as part of a government crackdown on private Chinese refiners known as teapots, which have become increasingly dominant over the past five years. The move is intended to allow Beijing to more precisely regulate the flow of foreign oil as it doubles down on malpractices such as tax evasion, fuel smuggling, and violations of environmental and emissions rules by independent refiners. China's teapots have been steadily grabbing market share from entrenched state players such as China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (NYSE:SNP), also known as Sinopec, and PetroChina Co. (NYSE:PTR) ever since Beijing partially liberalized its oil industry in 2015. Teapots currently control nearly 30% of China's crude refining volumes, up from ~10% in 2013.

But make no mistake about it: China has never been one to let a good crisis go to waste, and is widely expected to capitalize on the ongoing snafu.

"China is still importing Russian oil, but would likely increase its purchases if it can pay in yuan and at discounts. Basically, Russia is pressured because it is having difficulty selling its oil. China really would prefer much cheaper oil … prices are way too high even in the $90 range that's too high for China," she added. If they can buy Russian oil at a discount, and some of these discounts are pretty significant--$30 off the benchmark, then I really don't see what would be stopping China from purchasing a lot of Russian oil," Wald has told CNBC in an email.

Another big reason: Chinese refiners love ESPO crude.

The ESPO (Eastern Siberia Pacific Ocean) oil pipeline is one of several outlets for Russian crude. The 4,188km-long pipeline with a capacity of 58 million tonnes a year is even longer than the Yamal-Europe pipeline and exports crude oil from Russia to the Asian Pacific markets of Japan, China, and Korea.

ESPO could provide a lifeline for Russia in the event flows through the Yamal and Druzhba pipelines are halted. Yamal connects Russian natural gas fields in the Yamal Peninsula and Western Siberia with Poland and Germany through Belarus, while the Druzhba pipeline delivers crude oil from Russia to Poland and Germany through Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic via Ukraine.

Luckily for the west, the IEA says uptake of heavily discounted Russian crude remains limited so far, with Asian oil importers for the most part sticking to traditional suppliers in the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. Further, Russia is likely to struggle to fill the gap left by a ban on imports by the west, with the IEA estimating that as much as 3 million barrels a day of Russian oil supply will be shut in starting from April, while commodity analysts at Standard Chartered said it could take years for Russia's vast energy empire to fully recover, if ever.

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/11/2022 - 03:30

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Economics

Braxia and KetaMD, CEOs McIntyre and Gumpel Speak on Acquisition

Last week, the Canadian company Braxia Scientific acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of KetaMD, Inc. This is an exciting acquisition, and…

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Last week, the Canadian company Braxia Scientific acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of KetaMD, Inc. This is an exciting acquisition, and in today’s interview, The Dales Report’s Nicole Hodges talks with CEOs Dr. Roger McIntyre and Warren Gumpel of Braxia Scientific and KetaMD respectively.

For some background information, KetaMD is a U.S. based, privately-held, innovative telemedicine company, with a mission to address mental health challenges via access to technology-facilitated ketamine-based treatments. Braxia Scientific is Canada’s first clinic specializing in ketamine treatments for mood disorders. They recorded revenue of $1.49m for 2022 fiscal year, ended March 31. On a year-over-year basis, revenue increased 47.5%.

Here’s some highlights from the interview.

KetaMD gives Braxia a presence in the US

Dr. McIntyre says that KetaMD gives Braxia what they’ve had as their vision from the beginning: a US presence. KetaMD is a living program. It’s already running, has infrastructure, and patients. McIntyre believes that a program like KetaMD is something Braxia’s needed to scale and obtain commercial success.

With telemedicine, Braxia has a potential to serve a gap in access. The zeitgeist of “patient going to medicine” has flipped, McIntyre says. “Now it’s medicine goes to the patient, and that is long overdue.”

COVID speeding a trend that was already happening

In 2020, 80% of physicians indicated they had virtual visits. That’s a number up from 22% the year before. But this is something that many doctors, McIntyre included, believe always should have happened. The pandemic only was the catalyst for innovation and making the option viable.

While some treatments will always need a clinic or a hospital, McIntyre believes some treatments can be done safely at home. And they are, for many chronic diseases. He feels implementing ketamine and psychedelics would be among these treatments where service could be expanded into the home. It would require careful SOPs in place, best practices, and surveillance. But he believes Braxia Scientific could deliver this with KetaMD.

Gumpel to stay as CEO of KetaMD

Gumpel says that KetaMD benefits in this acquisition from being part of the world’s most prominent researchers in depression, psychedelics, and ketamine. In the acquisition, he’ll stay on as CEO. He admits that Dr. McIntyre has been a huge part of collecting the data on the safety of ketamine treatment, and has a strong motivation to “see this thing through until most of society can access that – or at least the people that need it and want it.”

Gumpel admits he has a personal connection to ketamine treatment. As a person who has experienced bouts of depression for years, it saved his life, he says. He is grateful he was living within walking distance of ketamine treatment in Manhattan. It made him extremely aware of the accessibility gap, which in part inspired KetaMD.

Be sure to tune in for the full interview regarding Braxia and KetaMD, right here on The Dales Report!

The post Braxia and KetaMD, CEOs McIntyre and Gumpel Speak on Acquisition appeared first on The Dales Report.

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Spread & Containment

How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock

Investors Alley
How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock
When we talk about tech stock investing, we hear discussions of all sorts about different…

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Investors Alley
How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock

When we talk about tech stock investing, we hear discussions of all sorts about different measures used for picking stocks.

For example, some tech investors use year-over-year revenue growth. Others subscribe to a theory that has been floating around for many years, that the secret to picking tech stocks was looking at the percentage of cash flows spent on research and development.

All too often, tech stock analysis consists of storytelling and searching for ideas that will change the world, something I’ve heard thousands of times during my career. The number of companies that actually did change the world probably totals up to a few dozen over three decades.

Some of those beat the market. Others did not.

I have found a variable that can help tech investors spot promising opportunities to identify technology companies that have higher probabilities of providing market-beating returns: dividends.

Note a stock’s dividend yield: investors who want higher dividends with an overall total return would be smart to look into high-yield tech stocks as part of their income strategy. The key to using dividends to find market-beating tech stocks is to look at the rate of their dividend growth. It doesn’t matter how high the dividend is at any given time. We want to see companies that are consistently growing their dividends.

A tech company that pays a dividend is making a statement. It tells the world: “We are generating enough cash to pay the bills, hire great people, and fund our future growth plans as well as R&D. In fact, we are generating so much cash we have some left over to pay out to our investors.”

Ideally, we want to limit our universe of companies to those who are increasing their payout by at least 20% annually. Growing a dividend at that high a rate says that things are just continuing to get better.

Once we have a universe of tech companies that are growing their payouts at high levels, we want to make sure we only own those that really do have a wonderful business that just keeps getting better. We want to use a financial checklist to make sure our companies are in excellent financial shape and have what it takes to keep growing the business.

I prefer the nine-point checklist developed by Professor Joseph Piotroski when he was at the University of Chicago – known as the “Piotroski F-Score”. This is a list of nine criteria of profitability, leverage, and efficiency. On each criterion, a firm can either get one or zero points – pass or fail.

I limit my universe of tech stocks with paid dividend growth to just two to three with the highest scores on the Piotroski checklist.

Using this simple method for picking tech stock winners has crushed the S&P 500 over the past decade and even edged at the tech-heavy NASDAQ 100.

Texas Instruments (TXN) makes the current list of technology companies with high dividend growth and outstanding fundamentals and prospects. The company makes most of its revenues from semiconductors, but it does still have some revenues from its calculators and other business machines. (I have had one of these, a Texas BAII calculator, within arm’s reach for most of my career.)

Texas Instruments had a solid second quarter and increased its guidance for the third quarter. The company has not suffered the China slowdown problems that have plagued some of their competitors so far. The brightest spot in the recent report was semiconductors being sold to the automobile industry, which were up 20%.

Although we have seen some slowdown in semiconductors due to the supply chain issues created by the pandemic, Texas Instruments has powerful tailwinds from all the developments we see in technology over the next decade.

Every one of the hottest trends in the economy—from renewable energy to artificial intelligence and everything in between—is going to increase demand for semiconductor chips. There are thousands of semiconductors in every electric vehicle, which will be another massive source of demand for the industry.

Texas Instruments has a yield of 2.5% right now, and has been growing that payout by 20.5% annually.

Another semiconductor company, Broadcom (AVGO) has the fastest-growing payout on our list right now. The company makes chips for smartphones, networking, broadband, and wireless connectivity. Broadcom’s recent purchase of Symantec’s Enterprise Business also puts it in the cybersecurity business.

Broadcom’s shares currently yield 2.97% and the payment has risen by an average of 49% annually for the past five years.

Most investors will never think of using dividends as part of the stock selection process. Rigorous testing shows that dividend growth is actually an important part of identifying companies with the potential to be huge winners.

My favorite way to invest in those companies isn’t to buy their stock, though. Instead, I like to use a special, little-known investment that lets me invest in these companies for up to 18% less than what others pay…

While collecting twice or more the dividend yield!

All without any more risk. I’m tracking 5 opportunities like that right now, and I lay them all out right here.

Only 3% of investors even know these funds exist

But using them, I can beat the market 2-to-1 while collecting 2-10X MORE yield from regular dividend stocks.

I learned this trick while I was rubbing elbows with some of the biggest fund managers in US history.

They too are buying these little known funds, cashing in huge discounts and collecting income while they do it.

Click here to learn the secret yourself.

 

How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock
Tim Melvin

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Government

Where Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean Sit on Covid Vaccines

Do You still need to be vaccinated to go on a Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or Norwegian Cruise?

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Do You still need to be vaccinated to go on a Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or Norwegian Cruise?

Cruise line covid-19 vaccination and testing rules, which were imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the beginning of the pandemic, have been stricter than most. After the pandemic started in early 2020, the CDC signed a No Sail Order on March 14, 2020, which was finally lifted after nearly eight months on Oct. 30, 2020.

After the No Sail Order was lifted, the CDC enacted extremely restrictive rules and regulations to help keep passengers safe with the covid pandemic still raging throughout the world. The rules and regulations were set forth to begin to return cruise lines to operational status.

The cruise lines first had to be staffed accordingly and set up with the ability to test, treat and quarantine for covid medical emergencies. Testing for crew and passengers before embarkment and before dis-embarkment was required. The testing at pre-embarkment was a measure to protect those boarding, while the post-trip testing was for determining if an infection started on the cruise line itself. Being able to track the virus was very important in the prevention of spreading the virus and protecting patrons.

Image source: Shutterstock

Vaccination Still Not a Free Pass to Board

Once the vaccination was developed and approved, it became part of the CDC guidelines for cruise line adult passengers to have their vaccination before boarding. Even with a vaccination, guests still needed to test before they boarded the cruise lines. As the vaccine was approved for younger age groups, those age groups were then also required to have the vaccine to travel. Passengers were required to be fully vaccinated unless they are exempt by some status.

Before boarding, cruise line passengers who tested positive, as well as their travel companions, were not allowed to board, depending on the cruise line and how long the cruise may be. Some passengers were allowed to board and then isolate, others would have to reschedule their trip. Trip insurance is a good buy these days.

Cruise Lines Letting Loose on Vaccine Policies

Carnival Cruise Line  (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report has now removed pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests and also welcomes unvaccinated guests to travel. Fully vaccinated guests traveling less than 16 nights with the cruise line will no longer be subjected to testing, but still must provide proof of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated travelers will only need to provide a negative covid test result to board the ships. All rules and regulations are still subject to the destination country’s guidelines.

According to the Healthy Sail Center for Royal Caribbean  (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report, the cruise line has updated its covid vaccination protocol. The cruise line will now allow passengers regardless of vaccination status to board in some ports if the travelers meet the testing requirements. Testing requirements vary by cruise departure and destination. Check the cruise lines port departure for updated information on requirements.

There is, however, a major exception, at least for now, which is obvious when you look at the specific wording shared by the cruise line:

"Starting with September 5 departures, all travelers regardless of vaccination status can cruise on the following itineraries, as long as they meet any testing requirements to board.

  • Cruises from Los Angeles, California.
  • Cruises from Galveston, Texas.
  • Cruises from New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Cruises from a European homeport.

Notice that Florida, a major port for the cruise line, is not currently on the list.

In the U.S. aside from Florida, any guest with a valid negative covid test within the last three days will be able to board. These guests will also not be required to take a second test at the boarding terminal. Fully vaccinated guests do not need to provide proof of a negative covid test for shorter cruises. See the cruise line website for all updated information as it is subject to change.

Beginning Sept. 3, Norwegian Cruise Line  (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report is dropping its covid vaccine requirements for all its cruises. The cruise line stated that it is continuing to follow requirements for all destination countries, so guests traveling will want to check on destination vaccine and testing requirements. All guests 12 and older regardless of vaccination need to show proof of a negative test within 72 hours. Check NCL online for further instructions prior to travel.

The CDC has taken the stance that travelers are now well informed enough to make their own decisions when it comes to traveling on cruise lines. The travelers are taking their own assumed risk for their health and well-being. Cruise lines are now welcoming this new freedom for their passengers. 

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