Oil Prices Rising Amid Growing Demands, Sino-U.S. Trade Tension Also Rising ‎Sharply

Through the Covid-19 vaccine, oil prices reported their 7th straight week of gains, hoping for a resumption of demand in 2021. For the January Nymex futures contract, the strongest since February prior to the pandemic, WTI light crude oil rose another 1.5 percent to $49.10 a barrel on Friday. Brent North Sea crude rose 1.5 percent to $52.26 with a maturity in February. WTI rose 5.4 percent over the week and Brent climbed 4.6 percent.

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The whole commodity sector ended the year in high tone especially copper, which for the first time in more than seven years exceeded $8,000 per ton, and benefited in particular from a positive note from Goldman Sachs, which is considering a new raw material super-cycle.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (CLNE) rose by 15.30% to end the Friday session at $5.50. It stands to reason that stocks like CLNE will react positively to oil being more expensive as a provider of alternatives to oil.

Markets are also seeing a sharp rise in trade tensions between the U.S. and China. In an attempt to “protect the national security of the United States”, the Trump administration announced on Friday that it had attached the Chinese chip giant Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) to the blacklist of the Commerce Department. Washington also added more than sixty other Chinese firms to the blacklist for acts deemed contrary to national security or the interest of the United States.

Several hundred Chinese companies and their subsidiaries are now included in the blacklist, which includes telecom giant Huawei. Unless they receive a derogatory license, businesses are forbidden from exporting U.S.-origin technology to blacklisted firms. In the case of SMIC, Washington said they will be banned from acquiring technology to develop 10-nanometer chips and smaller circuits, the industry’s most powerful chips.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was quoted as saying in the speech, “We will not allow advanced U.S. technology to help develop the army of an increasingly belligerent adversary.”