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 U.S. President Donald Trump’s budget director and chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, told journalists on Sunday that the partial U.S. government shutdown could continue to go beyond December 28th and into the new Congress. “I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here for the next few days because of the Christmas holiday,” Mulvaney said. The U.S. Senate adjourned on Saturday, unable to break an impasse over Trump’s demand for more funds for a wall on the border with Mexico that Democrats are unwilling to accept. Mulvaney said the White house made a “counter offer” to Democrats on funding for border security that fell between the Democratic offer of $1.3 billion and Trump’s demand for $5 billion.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said a vice-ministerial-level call was held the United States on Friday, the second call in a week. A statement on Sunday said the two countries “made new progress” on  trade and economic  issues, achieving a “deep exchange of views” on trade imbalances and the protection of intellectual property but without specifying further. It also said China and the United States discussed arrangements for the next call and mutual visits.

Energy firms increased the number of active oil rigs in the U.S. last week for the first time in the past three weeks, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes. In the week to December 21, drillers added 10 oil rigs to bring the total count down to 883.

A spokesman from the United States State Department said they a 90-day waiver was granted to Iraq from sanctions against Iran, allowing Baghdad to keep importing Iranian gas and electricity. The extension was reached when a previous 45-day waiver was due to expire on Thursday. “These efforts will continue to promote the use of Iraqi natural resources, strengthen Iraq’s economy and development, and encourage a united, democratic, and prosperous Iraq free from malign Iranian influence,” the spokesman said.

The United Arab Emirates energy minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei, said on Sunday that OPEC and its allied producers are ready to hold an extraordinary meeting and will do what is needed if the current cut in oil output by 1.2 mil bpd does not balance the market next year. “What if the 1.2 mil barrels of cuts are not enough? I am telling you that if it is not, we will meet and see what is enough and we will do it. The plan (production cut) is well studied abut if it does not work, we always have the power in OPEC to call for an extraordinary meeting,” he said. “If we are required to extend for (another six months, we will do it….I can assure you and extension will not be a problem,” Mazrouei added. He said a joint OPEC and non-OPEC monitoring committee would meet in Baku at the end of February or the beginning of March.

 

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