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Oil prices jump as U.S. threatens sanctions against Venezuela

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Oil prices rose by more than one percent on Friday as turmoil in Venezuela triggered concerns that its oil exports could soon be disrupted.

Washington on Thursday signaled it could impose sanctions on Venezuela’s crude exports as Caracas descends further into political and economic turmoil.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $61.89 a barrel at 0246 GMT, 80 cents, or 1.3 percent, above their last close.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.90 per barrel, up 77 cents, or 1.5 percent.

Amid violent street protests, Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president earlier this week, winning backing from Washington and large parts of Latin America, prompting Nicolas Maduro, the country’s leader since 2013, to break relations with the United States.

Fundamentally, however, global oil markets are still well supplied, thanks in part to surging output in the United States, where crude production rose by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) last year to a record 11.9 million bpd.

Record U.S. production would likely offset any short-term disruptions to Venezuelan supply due to possible U.S. sanctions, Britain’s Barclays on Thursday said in a note. The bank cut its 2019 average Brent crude oil forecast to $70 a barrel, down from $72 previously.

The surge in U.S. output has resulted in swelling U.S. fuel inventories.

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(U.S. oil output and storage levels: tmsnrt.rs/2GYfhAi)

Gasoline stocks rose for an eighth consecutive week in the week to Jan. 18, by 4.1 million barrels to a record 259.6 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a weekly report on Thursday.

Crude inventories rose by 8 million barrels.

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Reporting by Colin Packham and henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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DC police union buried in mockery after accidentally revealing their own incompetence in stopping crime

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On Friday, the Twitter account for the Washington, D.C. police union posted statistics on a recent upswing in crime rates in the area — trying to imply that police accountability reforms in the wake of the George Floyd killing are preventing officers from doing their jobs.

YoY Crime Stats in DC 6/3 - 7/3

Homicide ⬆️28%Armed Robbery ⬆️33%Shootings ⬆️41%Burglary ⬆️45%Stolen Auto ⬆️45%

This is what ‘knee-jerk’ policies look like in your neighborhood.

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WATCH: Trump advisor trashes Dr. Fauci — while pushing coronavirus conspiracy theories

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White House economic advisor Peter Navarro pushed several conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic as the administration attempts to deflect blame for America responding to coronavirus worse than any other developed country.

At one point in the interview, MSNBC's Ali Velshi had to ask, "What are you talking about?"

Navarro harshly criticized Dr. Tony Fauci, who is one of his colleagues in the administration.

And he tried to blame the "Chinese Communist Party" for the disease, saying "they spawned the virus, they hid virus, they sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationalists over here to seed and spread the virus before we knew."

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2020 Election

Ron DeSantis threw temper tantrum after Trump hired strategist he ‘exiled’ from Florida GOP: report

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On Friday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump has brought back longtime Florida Republican strategist Susie Wiles to try to save his electoral chances in the critical swing state — and that Gov. Ron DeSantis, who worked to cast her out of power in the Florida GOP, is enraged by the move.

"Trump’s decision to reinstate Susie Wiles to his campaign’s good inner circle follows months of behind-the-scenes efforts to bring her back after she was exiled at the demand of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had her cast out of the president’s good graces in September," reported Gary Fineout and Marc Caputo, and it "comes as polls show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden in Trump's adopted home state. Trump won Florida four years ago by less than 113,000 votes and a loss in the battleground would likely doom his reelection effort."

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