Betty Liu Explains: Why Oil Prices Went Negative

Why did oil prices go negative last week?

That was really quite a day on Monday. So, you saw WTI crude go into negative price territory. As you can imagine, the demand for oil has dropped dramatically. We're not driving as many cars. We're not flying as many airplanes. And so, that decline in demand means that oil is piling up in storage. That price drop also was likely exacerbated by an expiring futures contract and it basically capped off three straight weeks of losses in oil.


What is the difference between WTI and Brent crude?

That is a common question. Those are the two most popularly traded grades of oil. Brent stands for Brent North Sea Crude and WTI stands for West Texas Intermediate. And it basically just tells you where that oil is coming from. So, the Brent is produced in the North Sea and it serves as the oil benchmark for Middle East, Africa and European oil. WTI is the oil benchmark for North American crude. Now, there's been commentary around the fact that Brent seems to be less susceptible to some of these storage issues you've been hearing about. It's a waterborne contract, whereas WTI is landlocked. So, there's a finite amount of storage and it's much more difficult to get that oil in and out of the region.

Visit Microsoft on The Issues for a front-row seat to see how Microsoft is thinking about the future of AI and work; sustainability; cybersecurity and elections; accessibility and more. Check back regularly to watch videos, and read blogs and feature stories to see how Microsoft is approaching the issues that matter most. Subscribe for the latest at Microsoft on the Issues.

As protests over the police killing of George Floyd raged across the country, there have been more than 125 instances of journalists being shot with rubber bullets by police, arrested, or in some cases assaulted by protesters while covering the unrest.

Foreign news crews from Germany and Australia have been caught up in the crackdown. Australia's Prime Minister has even called for an investigation. Some of these journalists have simply been caught in the crossfire during surges of unrest, but video and photographic evidence reveals cases where police have deliberately targeted reporters doing their jobs.

More Show less

As anti- racism protests rocked US cities in recent days, thousands of people gathered in cities around the world in solidarity. In some instances, demonstrators assembled outside US embassies — in Berlin, London, Paris, and elsewhere — to condemn the police killing of George Floyd. In others, crowds inspired by the Floyd demonstrations gathered to protest systemic racial injustice in their own societies. Here's a look at where demonstrators have taken to the streets in recent days.

This week, Ian Bremmer is joined by analyst Michael Hirson to take the Red Pen to an op-ed by New York Times Opinion columnist Bret Stephens.

Today, we're marking up a recent op-ed by New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, entitled "China and the Rhineland Moment." And the subheading here is that "America and its allies must not simply accept Beijing's aggression." Basically, Bret is arguing that US-China relations are at a tipping point brought on by China's implementation of a new national security law for Hong Kong. And he compares this to Hitler's occupation of the Rhineland in 1936, describes it as the first domino to fall in Beijing's ambitions.

More Show less

DRC's new Ebola wave: On the verge of eradicating an Ebola outbreak in the country's east which began back in 2018, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has now identified a fresh wave of cases in the northwestern city of Mbandaka. The disease, which has a fatality rate of 25 – 90 percent depending on the outbreak's character, has already killed five people in recent weeks, prompting the World Health Organization to issue a grim warning that a surge of new cases could occur there in the coming months. (Ebola has an incubation period of about 21 days.) This comes as the central African country of 89 million also grapples with COVID-19 and the world's largest measles outbreak, which has killed 6,779 people there since 2019. In recent weeks, officials from the World Health Organization predicted that the DRC's deadly Ebola crisis, which has killed 2,275 people since 2018, would soon be completely vanquished.

More Show less