Economy
Indian basket of crude oils dives to 12-year low
New Delhi : As global oil prices continue their plunge into the new year, the Indian basket of crude oils closed trade on Monday at a 12-year low of $28.73 a barrel, according to official data released here on Tuesday.
 
The Indian basket had touched a previous monthly low of $28.66 in August 2003.
 
Crude oil prices maintained their relentless fall, as US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded early on Tuesday at $30.66 per barrel and Brent crude futures declined to $30.66, their lowest since April 2004. Brent and WTI have declined on every day of trading this year with markets expecting supply to surpass demand.
 
Marking a a 13-year low, the price of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) basket of twelve crudes stood at $27.07 a barrel on Monday, compared to $28.56 on the previous Friday, the organisation's secretariat said.
 
Analysts like Barclays, Macquarie, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) all cut their oil price forecasts for this year on Monday, with the latter saying that prices could fall to as low as $10 a barrel.
 
"Given that no fundamental relationship is currently driving the oil market towards any equilibrium, prices are being moved almost entirely by financial flows caused by fluctuations in other asset prices, including the USD and equity markets," SCB said.
 
"We think prices could fall as low as $10/bbl before most of the money managers in the market conceded that matters had gone too far," it added.
 
US crude output increased unexpectedly in week ending New Year to 9.219 million barrels a day according to the US Energy Information Agency. 
 
Adding to investors' worries was the lack of signs that US shale oil producers would start to cut production in face of the plunging prices.
 
With OPEC deciding last December against cutting output, traders are betting the cartel is less likely to cut output now.
 
Meanwhile, Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu was reported on Tuesday to have said at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi that a couple of OPEC members have requested emergency meeting of the organisation. 
 
He said current market conditions create the need to hold such a meeting.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met global oil and gas experts here last week to discuss ways of boosting investments in exploration and skill development in India at a time of low oil prices.
 
Among the foreign invitees to the meeting were British oil major BP's chief executive Bob Dudley, International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol, and Royal Dutch Shell's director (Projects) Harry Brekelmans.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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US Congress stalls F-16 sale to Pakistan
Washington : The US Congress has stalled a planned sale of eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, the Pakistani media reported on Tuesday.
 
The move reflects the growing anti-Pakistan sentiments on Capitol Hill, Dawn quoted unnamed Congressional and diplomatic sources as saying.
 
Lawmakers used clarification and information notices to delay the sale, the report said. 
 
The administration also received a “hold” notice from the Senate, using this legislative process to delay floor action on the proposed sale to Pakistan.
 
But this does not kill the proposed sale, and it can still go through if the administration continues to push for it, Dawn added. 
 
The Obama administration is reported to be keen on selling these aircraft to Pakistan.
 
At recent Congressional hearings, key US lawmakers raised a host of questions about the end use of the F-16 aircraft and about US relationship with Pakistan.
 
“I don’t know how an F-16, with all of its hardware on there for combat, can be used for humanitarian aid. If they were buying C-130s … I could see those being used for humanitarian aid. But F-16! It’s not really humanitarian aid,” said Congressman Ted Poe. 
 
“Those F-16s and the military equipment that we are providing Pakistan are being used against their own people, just like they did against the people over there in Bangladesh,” added Congressman Dan Rohrabacher.
 
Dawn said both lawmakers belong to a growing lobby in Congress which not only oppose arms sales to Pakistan but often urge the US administration to sever its ties with Islamabad.
 
The Obama administration had informally notified Congress of its intention to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington in October last year.
 
The administration followed it up with a formal notification of “foreign military financing” to fund the sale in December. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

11 months ago

It's ironical that despite being the hotbed of global terrorism USA, China, and many Western powers continue to woo Pakistan with military and financial aid. USA has been doing so for decades, knowing fully well that much of what it offers Pakistan finds its way into Pak-based terror outfits like LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed, thru ISI. That these outfits are nurtured by ISI is no secret, and yet USA doesn't impose any sanctions against a known terror-State like Pakistan simply because it serves its strategic interest in South Asia. Of course, USA knows that not cuddling Pakistan will only drive Pakistan into the waiting arms of China, which too will use Pakistan to put down India. No wonder no Western or global power has ever seriously encouraged rapprochement between India and Pakistan. An Indo-Pak hostility serves global powers at many levels. So, India should be wary of USA and other "developed" nations, and do what's in its own national interests.

Over-the-counter sexual treatments could be harmful
New York : Most readily accessible over-the-counter dietary supplements sold to improve male sexual health are largely ineffective and unsafe if taken without the guidance of trained physician, warns a new study.
 
"While certain natural supplements we reviewed show promise for improving mild sexual dysfunction, they lack robust human evidence," said study senior author Ryan Terlecki, associate professor of urology at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US.
 
For some products, there is no scientific evidence to support claims that can positively impact erectile function, libido and sexual performance. 
 
And some products that are advertised as being "natural," contain traces of phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors (PDE5Is), the same class of medication that includes prescription drugs such as Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction. 
 
"Men who use these medications without a physician's supervision run the risk of taking them inappropriately. Patients with advanced heart disease, for example, or who take nitrates, such as nitroglycerin, should not use PDE5Is as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure,” Terlecki said.
 
It has been found that nearly 80 percent of tested samples of over-the-counter products purchased in the US and Asia contained PDE5Is.
 
"Likewise, men with severe liver impairment or end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis should avoid these products," Terlecki pointed out.
 
In addition, Terlecki said, men with enlarged prostates who take medications such as Flomax (tamsulosin), terazosin or doxazosin need to know how to time the dosing of the two medications to avoid causing dizziness and potential falls, which may result in fractures.
 
An estimated 40 to 70 percent of men experience some form of sexual dysfunction during their lives. Due to concern regarding costs of prescription drugs, or embarrassment over discussing sexual concerns with their physicians, some men turn to over-the-counter products. 
 
"We reviewed the current evidence available for each of the ingredients in top-selling men's health products to provide urologists with a guide they could use to counsel their patients,” Terlecki said. 
 
"Patients are paying more than $5 per day to take products with no proven effectiveness," he noted. 
 
The results were published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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