Oil prices dropped on Monday after the failure of an OPEC meeting to determine the rate at which the group would steadily increase its supply. On Tuesday, a new meeting will be held. For the February futures market on Nymex, the U.S. light crude oil price WTI lost -1.9 percent to $47.62 a barrel, while February’s Brent North Sea crude gave up -1.4 percent to $51.09. In 2020, as a result of declining demand related to the Covid-19 crisis, crude oil prices lost 20 percent.
According to media sources, the majority of OPEC members intend to prolong their production cuts, but two major producers, Russia and Kazakhstan, are in favor of an expansion of 500,000 barrels per day from 1 February.
Gold kicked off with much fanfare in 2021. The yellow metal took advantage of the weakening dollar and concerns on Monday about the emergence of the latest form of coronavirus worldwide, rising 2.7 percent on the Comex’s February Futures contract to $1,946.60 an ounce. Gold, helped by the health fear, rose 25 percent in 2020, the strongest year since 2010.
On the political front there has been tough fight between the Republicans and Democrats over the two disputed seats in Georgia, where no candidate secured a majority in the first round on 3 November and the second round is now to take place on Tuesday, 5 January. Donald Trump and Joe Biden also flew to Georgia on Monday to support their two-time Senate candidates. The president-elect spoke at mid-afternoon in Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, while Donald Trump spoke at night in Dalton, a small and conservative community in the northwestern part of the state.
Separately, the Washington Post reported over the weekend that Georgia’s election chief had been asked by the outgoing president, who is still struggling to admit defeat, to “find” the ballots needed to reverse his presidential defeat in the crucial state.
In a voting Jon Ossoff (Democrat) will face off David Perdue (outgoing Republican senator) while in another Raphael Warnock (Democrat) will contest against Kelly Loeffler (outgoing Republican senator).
On paper, in this state which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate for 20 years, Republicans (already in place in both seats) are leaving victorious. Moreover, the election of a single Republican candidate will be enough for the party to hold a majority in the Senate (51 to 49), while democrats would take all seats to tip the balance (50/50 – the vote of the vice-president). The recent polls, though, have been very close, making it difficult to make accurate forecasts, making the stock markets a little anxious.