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Crude Oil Prices Whipsaw in September Following Attacks on Infrastructure

US crude oil inventories continue to climb due to a rising trend in US production

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Crude Oil, Prices, Attacks
The wild ride in September has now been replaced by a slow trend lower. Pixabay

Crude oil prices lost ground in the Q3 declining by more than 7%. The wild ride in September has now been replaced by a slow trend lower. US crude oil inventories continue to climb due to a rising trend in US production. This comes despite a knee jerk spike in prices during September, following an attack on the main Saudi Arabian crude oil production infrastructure. It’s unlikely that oil prices will be able to gain traction when economic growth is contracting.

The Saudi’s Were Attacked

On September 14, Saudi Arabia was attacked. Rocket strikes hit their oil infrastructure, pushing prices up more than 14% in one day. It was the largest one day increase in oil prices in decades. Saudi Arabia announced that more than 5% of the worlds crude oil production had been sidelined. By Tuesday, September 17, the kingdom announced they would have all their production up by November. By the end of the Q3, it now appears that all the oil production that was taken offline is now back up and running. The initial reports suggesting it could take months for production to return to normal, were inaccurate which put downward pressure on prices.

Crude Oil prices continued to fall on the first day of the Q4 as Saudi Arabia agreed to a partial ceasefire in Yemen. Houthi rebels said that the attacks on the Saudi’s would stop if the Kingdom stopped targeting its positions with air strikes.

Crude Oil, Prices, Attacks
Crude oil prices lost ground in the Q3 declining by more than 7%. Pixabay

Inventories Continue to Rise

US commercial crude oil inventories increased, more than expected according to a report from the Department of Energy. Inventories have been rising due to production in the US climbing to 12.5 million barrels a day. Stockpiles rose by 3.1 million barrels from the previous week, according to the EIA. At 422.6 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are at the five-year average for this time of year. 

Gasoline inventories edged lower and are now 3% above the five-year average for this time of year. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.4 million barrels last week declining more than expected but remain 8% above the 5-year average according to the Energy Information Administration. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased last week by 0.9 million barrels last week. 

US Demand is Rising

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Despite a decline in total global economic output, demand for oil products in the United States remains on the rise. According to the US Department of Energy, Total product demand over the last month averaged 20.9 million barrels per day, up by 2.1% year over year. Over the past month gasoline demand averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, down by 0.1% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand averaged 3.9 million barrels per day over the past month down by 0.6% from the same period last year. Jet fuel demand was down 4.2% year over year. 

The outlook for demand continues to slide. While the US is growing at approximately 2% year over year, it appears that Europe and Asia are contracting. There is a good chance that German growth will contract in the Q3, putting Europe’s largest economy into recession. It’s unlikely that oil prices will be able to gain traction when economic growth is contracting.

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Phishing Attacks Remain Top Threat to Financial Services Organisations and Customers

The goal of phishing is to trick the recipient of a malicious email into opening and engaging with it

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kids, students, hacking, behaviour
But the opportunities for using tech as a tool to identify people who are in modern slavery and to assist them are far greater and they outweigh the threat. Pixabay

Criminals seem to be recycling old attack methods as a new report has found that phishing attacks remain the top threat to financial services organisations and customers.

The study by cloud delivery network provider Akamai Technologies found that 50 per cent of all unique organisations impacted by observed phishing domains were from the financial services sector.

The goal of phishing is to trick the recipient of a malicious email into opening and engaging with it.

The “sender” of the email deceives the victim by making the email appear to be sent from a reputable source, such as a government department, a supplier, or a customer of the business.

Phishing, Attacks, Threat
Criminals seem to be recycling old attack methods as a new report has found that phishing attacks remain the top threat to financial services organisations and customers. Pixabay

The phishing email may have a malicious attachment, like a PDF or Word document, that, once opened, will harm the user’s computer by installing malware.

Or, the phishing email will contain a malicious URL link in its body. When the user clicks on that link, they might be directed to a site that appears legitimate, but in actuality it is used to collect confidential information such as usernames and passwords, or to install malware onto their device, according to Akamai.

The report indicates that between December 2, 2018 and May 4, 2019, nearly 200,000 phishing domains were discovered, and of those domains, 66 per cent targeted consumers directly.

In addition to unique phishing attempts, adversaries also leveraged credential stuffing attacks to the tune of 3.5 billion attempts during an 18-month period (November 2017 to
April 2019), putting the personal data and banking information of financial services customers at risk, said the “State of the Internet/Security Financial Services Attack Economy” report.

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In credential stuffing, bad actors use real credentials stolen from a third-party resource. They take advantage of a common habit of people using the same credentials for different online accounts.

“We’ve seen a steady rise in credential stuffing attacks over the past year, fed in part by a growth in phishing attacks against consumers,” said Martin McKeay, Security Researcher at Akamai.

“Criminals supplement existing stolen credential data through phishing, and then one way they make money is by hijacking accounts or reselling the lists they create. We’re seeing a whole economy developing to target financial services organisations and their consumers,” McKeay added. (IANS)