The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has plummeted 22 cents a gallon (3.8 liters) over the past three weeks, to $2.51, and more in Monday’s Markets In Brief.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that falling crude oil costs are the main reason for the decrease at the pump.
The average gas price has dropped 40 cents in the past three months.
The highest average price in the nation is $3.58 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $1.91 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The average price of diesel fell 9 cents over the past two weeks, to $3.18.
MARKETS IN BRIEF
Mexico Starts Oil Industry ‘Rescue’ With Refinery Overhaul
Mexico’s new government detailed plans Sunday to build an $8 billion oil refinery in the home state of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and to renovate six others as the oil-producing country attempts to lower its dependence on imported fuel.
Speaking from the Dos Bocas port in the Gulf Coast state of Tabasco, Lopez Obrador blasted the neglect that has fallen on Mexico’s oil infrastructure and the idea that Mexico is better off buying fuel from abroad.
“How do we respond to that absurdity that we are dedicated to selling crude oil and buying gasoline, as if we sold oranges and bought orange juice?” he asked the crowd.
Lopez Obrador, who took office Dec. 1, plans to direct 75 billion pesos ($3.65 billion) of savings from a government austerity program into the state oil company, Pemex, which has struggled to come up with extra funds for expansion amid mounting pension obligations, high tax rates, rampant fuel theft and declining output.
Pemex is producing less than 1.8 billion barrels a day of crude, putting Mexico on track for its 14th consecutive year of declines in oil output.
President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the industry in 1938, kicking out 17 foreign oil companies that Mexicans believed to be looting the country’s wealth. But Mexico’s constitution was amended in 2013 to allow greater private investment in oil and gas.
Lopez Obrador dismissed the energy sector opening as a failure, saying that foreign investment over four years has amounted to just 2.5 percent of what Pemex invested during the same time period.
“The foreign investment didn’t come,” he declared.
He also hinted that the planned refinery expansions would be taken on by Mexican companies, saying: “We’re going to place our trust in Mexican entrepreneurialism.”
Energy Minister Rocio Nahle said Mexico will import 80 percent of its gasoline needs this year because the country’s refineries work, on average, at 38 percent of capacity due to a lack of maintenance and investment. She said the refinery overhaul should enable Pemex to meet 70 percent of Mexico’s gasoline needs.
Big Shareholder at Yelp Wants a Board Reshuffle
A large shareholder at Yelp says it’s lost patience with the review site and wants to see the company board reshuffled.
In a letter released publicly Monday, SQN Investors said that it wants Yelp Inc. to add some new directors to its board, including shareholder representatives.
SQN says it owns more than 4 percent of Yelp’s shares. It says it believes “the board has failed to hold itself and management accountable for the company’s strategic and operational missteps, repeated missed earnings, lost opportunities and poor corporate governance.”
Yelp says it’s committed to keeping an open dialogue with SQN. The company maintained that it’s committed to acting in the best interest of its shareholders, customers and workers.
Its shares have fallen almost 10 percent over the past year.
Head of India’s Central Bank Resigns Amid Government Split
The head of India’s central bank resigned Monday amid a growing split between the Indian government and the independent monetary policy authority.
Reserve Bank of India Gov. Urjit Patel said in a statement posted on the bank’s website that he was resigning for personal reasons.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has disagreed with some of the central bank’s decisions under Patel, including a move to restrict lending by debt-ridden banks.
Government officials said the central bank had excess reserves that should be transferred to the treasury.
Modi’s government issued a sweeping demonetization order in 2017 to try to reduce black-market dealings. But a central bank report in August showed that most of the currency banned by the order had been deposited into various banks, undermining that move.
Israel Accepted Into Global Financial Watchdog Group
Israel says it has been accepted as a member in a global money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog group.
The Financial Action Task Force is an intergovernmental group of some 35 countries based in Paris that sets international standards on terror financing and money laundering.
Israel says Monday that its acceptance into the group will allow it to take an active role in global policy-making on the issues.
In a statement, the FATF said Israel’s “experience and perspective will make a valuable contribution to our work to prevent the misuse of the financial system.”
The group has in the past given Israel’s archenemy Iran ultimatums over terrorism funding, warning of deeper economic isolation if it doesn’t comply.
Big Investors Call for Carbon Price, End to Coal Power
More than 450 asset managers, including major pension funds and insurance companies, are calling on governments to phase out coal-fired power plants and put a meaningful price on carbon to help tackle climate change.
The funds, with over $32 trillion in assets, issued their appeal Monday as ministers gathered in Katowice, Poland, for the second week of a U.N. climate summit.
Burning fossil fuels such as coal is a major source of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and scientists say it needs to end by the middle of the century to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).
The United States has announced it is pulling out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. It is hosting an event at the U.N. talks to promote innovative fossil fuel technology.
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