Saudi Arabia said that it would raise its oil exports to a record 10.6 million barrels per day starting from May, escalating a price war with Russia. Oil prices are languishing at 17-year lows as the coronavirus pandemic threatens a global recession that will send demand plummeting. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, which already announced a sharp production increase for April, said that it would add additional supplies to the global market, deepening a glut.
‘The kingdom plans to raise its petroleum exports by 6,00,000 bpd from May, so total exports will increase to 10.6 million bpd,’ said an official at the energy ministry, cited by the state-run SPA agency. Saudi Arabia had been exporting around 7.0 million bpd under an output reduction agreement among a 24-member producers’ alliance known as OPEC+ which included Russia. The price of oil struck its lowest levels in more than 17 years this week, with Brent North Sea crude tumbling to $22.58 per barrel at one point.
Stock markets around the world suffered historic losses in the first three months of the year amid a massive sell-off tied to the coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and London's FTSE 100 saw their biggest quarterly drops since 1987, plunging 23% and 25% respectively. The S&P 500 lost 20% during the quarter, its worst since 2008. The drops come as authorities order a halt to most activity in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Economists have warned the hit to the global economy is likely to be worse than the financial crisis, with forecasters for IHS Markit, for example, predicting growth will shrink 2.8% this year, compared to a 1.7% drop in 2009. No country has been left untouched. The data firm expects China's growth to sputter to 2%, while the UK could see growth drop 4.5%. The outlook for countries such as Italy and less developed economies is even worse.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan officially made the transition from senior members of Britain’s royal family to — well, it’s unclear. International celebrities, charity patrons, global influencers? The royal schism that the couple triggered in January by announcing that they would step down from official duties, give up public funding, seek financial independence and swap the U.K. for North America became official on March 31.
The move has been made more complicated and poignant by the global coronavirus pandemic, which finds the couple and their 10-month-old son Archie in California, far from Harry’s father Prince Charles — who is recovering after testing positive for COVID-19 — and Harry’s 93-year-old grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The videoconferencing app Zoom has come under fresh high-level scrutiny as its popularity soars during the coronavirus pandemic. New York's attorney general has written to the firm raising concerns over its ability to cope with the rise in users. Zoom is now being used by millions of people for work and leisure, as lockdowns are imposed in many countries. But its data security and privacy measures have been questioned.
The letter from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James asked Zoom whether it had reviewed its security measures since its popularity surged. It also pointed out that in the past the app had been slow to address issues. Users have flocked to Zoom as governments around the world ordered large parts of their populations to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus. It is now ranked as the number two and number one app in the UK and US, respectively.