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Column | Walt and Alex Breitinger: Saudi Arabia tries to boost oil prices ahead of sale
Column | Futures File

Column | Walt and Alex Breitinger: Saudi Arabia tries to boost oil prices ahead of sale

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Walt and Alex Breitinger

Here's a look at futures prices on commodities that impact Southern Illinois and the rest of the Midwest.

Saudi Arabia pumps up oil price

The world’s most profitable company is going to go on sale soon.

Aramco, an oil-producing company exclusively held by Saudi Arabian elites, is expected to have its initial public offering (IPO) in December, holding a valuation between $1 and $2 trillion. Although they would be selling just a small percentage of the company to investors, the Saudis are hoping to raise tens of billions of dollars with the sale.

To help boost the company’s value, the Saudis have been working to raise oil prices, as the company’s profitability tracks petroleum closely. To do this, Saudi Arabia has been trying to impose production quotas on other members of OPEC, including Nigeria and other African producers, reducing global supply.

Fueled by the Saudi determination, crude oil reached a six-week high on Thursday, trading near $58 per barrel.

USDA sends mixed signals

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its newest outlook on this year’s corn and soybean crops.

The government agency projected a slightly smaller corn harvest, while holding the size of the bean crop steady. Corn yields were projected at 167 bushels per acre, down sharply from last year’s 176.4 yield, a result of poor weather this year.

This update helped boost December corn futures to $3.80 per bushel by midday Friday, while January soybeans dropped to $9.30.

Trading rumors drive markets mad

China announced on Thursday that it had reached a deal with the United States to remove additional tariffs, news that brought elation to export-driven commodities and stock prices. Cotton, hogs, and soybeans all ran higher following the announcement, and U.S. stock index futures like the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average reached all-time highs.

However, President Trump denied that a deal had been cut on Friday morning, saying “They’d like to have a roll back, but I haven’t agreed to anything… frankly, they want to make a deal a lot more than I do.”

His tone and direct denial sent markets scampering lower, another reminder that rumors of an agreement are only meaningful if both parties say them, as U.S. and Chinese officials have misled markets dozens of times over the last 18 months.

Walt and Alex Breitinger are commodity futures brokers in Valparaiso, Indiana, and the opinions here are solely the writers'. They can be reached at 800-411-3888 or This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.


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