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Posted on Jan 6, 2016 in Foreign Policy Issues, Iran, Middle East, Oil, Saudi Arabia, Shia, Sunni, Yemen | 0 comments

Saudi-Iran tensions over execution of cleric: analysis. With the holidays over national polling will resume shortly.

Happy New Year to all of our viewers. Polling for the presidential nominations, by and large, took a break for the  holidays. Polls from individual states, you’ll recall, get much more accurate with the holidays in the rear view mirror. We’ll analyze and report on them and the important national polls as they become available. Meanwhile, sectarian tensions in the Middle East were exacerbated when the Saudis executed a Shiite cleric that triggered large demonstrations at the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which was ransacked and damaged in the process. That this was in violation of the Geneva Convention seemed of little consequence to the demonstrators, who appeared organized, judging by the plethora of similar professionally made signs showing the likeness of the cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Iran, of course, is predominantly Shia, while Saudi Arabia is Sunni–with a sizable Shia minority, that mostly live in Saudi’s strategically important Eastern oil region. Al-Nimr, though not theologically a major cleric, was popular throughout the Shiite world and had spent many years in Iran. Al-Nimr, a...

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Posted on Aug 28, 2015 in Foreign Policy Issues, Oil, Stock Market, Uncategorized, Yemen | 0 comments

Yemen and the big oil price move this week.

Saudi Arabia is “reportedly” putting “boots on the ground” in Yemen, and these reports have triggered a big rise in Oil Prices. I use quotes around “reported” because, as of this writing, there has been no official or otherwise authoritative confirmation of new, significant troop moves into Yemen. Whether coincidental or otherwise, these reports triggered market-order covering trades in heavily oversold and shorted oil futures markets. Oil prices which had traded below $38 bbl earlier this week, by mid-day Friday had risen to over $45 bbl WTI. West Texas Intermediate is the major U.S. Market for crude oil, and contracts are for 1000 bbl (equivalent to 42,000 gallons). $45 is the price per bbl of crude oil for these contracts. Oil contracts are highly leveraged and so moves like this one no doubt would force some margin calls, hence the market orders to buy, exacerbating the price jump. Cynics will note that Saudi Arabia, as the world’s largest oil producer, has been suffering from the low world’s oil prices, and the short-term timing couldn’t be better going into the final week before the Labor Day long weekend, when petrol demand is very high.

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