Chairman FAO: Western powers pressure China’s UN food boss to grip global hunger crisis

ROME, Italy — The Chinese head of a crucial U.N. food agency has come under intense scrutiny by Western powers, who accuse him of failing to grip a global hunger crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Qu Dongyu, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, has alienated the Western powers that are the agency’s main backers with his technocratic leadership style and connections to Beijing that, in their view, have damaged its credibility and capability to mitigate the crisis.

POLITICO has interviewed more than a dozen U.N. officials and diplomats for this article. The critical picture that emerges is of a leader whose top-down management style and policy priorities are furthering China’s own agenda, while sidelining the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February was met with weeks of eerie silence at the FAO, and although the messaging has since changed, Qu’s critics say FAO should be showing stronger political leadership on the food crisis, which threatens to tip millions more people into hunger.

“Nobody actually takes him seriously: It’s not him; it’s China,” said one former U.N. official. “I’m not convinced he would make a single decision without first checking it with the capital.”

In his defense, Qu and his team say a U.N. body should not be politicized and that he’s delivering on the FAO’s analytical and scientific mandate.

Chairman FAO

Qu Dongyu was elected in 2019 to run the Rome-based agency, handing China a chance to build international credibility in the U.N. system, and punishing a division between the EU and the U.S after they backed competing candidates who lost badly. The election was clouded by allegations of coercion and bribery against China.

Now, as he prepares for a likely reelection bid next year to run FAO until 2027, Qu — who describes himself as a conflict-averse “humble, small farmers’ son” — is under intensifying scrutiny over his leadership during the crisis.

After three years of largely avoiding the headlines, Qu drew criticism from countries like France and the U.S. for his sluggish and mealy-mouthed response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a massive exporter of food to developing countries.

The EU and U.S. forced an emergency meeting of the FAO’s Council in the spring in order to pressure the FAO leadership into stepping up to the plate, with Ukraine demanding he rethink his language of calling it a “conflict” and not a war. The communications division was initially ordered to keep schtum about the war and its likely impacts on food supply chains. In May, Ukrainians protested outside FAO HQ in Rome demanding Russia be kicked out of the organization.

At a meeting of the FAO Council in early December, countries like France, Germany and the U.S. successfully pushed through yet another demand for urgent action from FAO’s leadership, requesting fresh analysis of impact of Russia’s war on global hunger, and a full assessment of the damage done to Ukraine’s vast farm system.

China has not condemned Russia outright for invading Ukraine, while the EU and the U.S. use every opportunity in the international arena to slam Moscow for its war of aggression: Those geopolitical tensions are playing out across the FAO’s 194 member countries. Officials at the agency, which has $3.25 billion to spend across 2022 and 2023, are expected to act for the global good — and not in the narrow interest of their countries.

Qu is said still to be furious about the confrontation: “[He] is still upset about that, that really annoyed him,” said one ambassador to the FAO. “He sees the EU as an entity, a player within the FAO that is obstructing his vision.”

Qu featured on a TV screen inside the FAO headquarters in Rome | Eddy Wax/POLITICO

Though Qu has now adapted his language and talks about the suffering being caused by Russia’s war, some Western countries still believe FAO should respond proactively to the food crisis, in particular to the agricultural fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The FAO’s regular budget and voluntary funds are largely provided by EU countries, the U.S. and allies like Japan, the U.K. and Canada. The U.S. contributes 22 percent of the regular budget, compared to China’s 12 percent.

Qu is determined to stick to the mandate of the FAO to simply provide analysis to its members — and to steer clear of geopolitics.

“I’m not [a] political figure; I’m FAO DG,” he told POLITICO in October, in an encounter in an elevator descending from FAO’s rooftop canteen in Rome.

FAO’s technocratic stance is defended by other members of Qu’s top team, such as Chief Economist Máximo Torero, who told POLITICO in May: “You are in a war. Some people think that we need to take political positions. We are not a political entity that is the Security Council — that’s not our job.”


Qu can hardly be said to be apolitical, as he is a former vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs of the Chinese Communist Party.

On top of his political background he has expertise in agriculture. He was part of a team of scientists that sequenced the potato genome while he was doing a PhD at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. In an email to POLITICO his professor, Evert Jacobsen, remembered Qu’s “enthusiasm about his country,” as well as is “strategic thinking” and “open character.”

Yet Western diplomats worry that many of the policy initiatives he has pushed through during his tenure map onto China’s foreign policy goals.

They say that the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals have been eclipsed by his own initiatives, such as his mantra of the Four Betters (production, nutrition, environment, life), and Chinese-sounding plans from “One Country, One Priority Product” to his flagship Hand-in-Hand Initiative.

Some Western diplomats say these bear the hallmarks of China’s Global Development Initiative, about which Qu has tweeted favorably.

Detractors say these are at best empty slogans, and at worst serve China’s foreign policy agenda. “If the countries that are on the receiving end don’t exercise agency you need to be aware that these are policies that first and foremost are thought to advance China, either materially or in terms of international reputation, or in terms of diplomacy,” said Francesca Ghiretti, an analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS).

Insiders say he’s put pressure on parts of the FAO ecosystem that promote civil society engagement or market transparency: two features that don’t go down well in Communist China. The former U.N. official said Qu had subjected the G20 market transparency dashboard AMIS, housed at FAO, to “increased pressure and control,” causing international organizations to step in to protect its independence earlier this year.

The diplomat said Qu was trying to suffocate the Committee on World Food Security, which invites civil society and indigenous people’s groups into FAO’s HQ and puts them on a near-equal footing with countries. “What has he accomplished in two-plus years? You can get Chinese noodles in the cafeteria,” they said.

Flags at the entrance to the FAO headquarters in Rome | Eddy Wax/POLITICO

But at a U.N. agency that has historically been deeply dysfunctional, Qu is popular among staff members.

“Mr. Qu Dongyu brought a new spirit on how to treat staff and established trust and peace between staff and management,” said one former FAO official.

Even his sharpest critics concede that he has done good things during his tenure. He made a point of shaking every staff member’s hand upon his election, even turning up occasionally unannounced to lunch with them in the canteen that he’s recently had refurbished. There’s also widespread appreciation among agriculture policymakers of the high quality of economic work turned out by FAO, and support for his climate change and scientific agenda.

“The quality of data FAO produces is very good and it’s producing good policy recommendations,” one Western diplomat acknowledged.

FAO play

Three years into his term, there’s a much stronger Chinese presence at FAO and Chinese officials occupy some of the key divisions, covering areas such as plants & pesticides, land & water, a research center for nuclear science and technology in agriculture, and a division on cooperation between developing countries. A vacant spot atop the forestry division is also expected to go to a Chinese candidate.

Experts say those positions are part of a strategy. “China tries to get the divisions where it can grow its footprint in terms of shaping the rules, shaping the action and engaging more broadly with the Global South,” said Ghiretti, the MERICS analyst.

The EU Commission is closely monitoring trends in staff appointments and data collection. “He’s hired a lot of young Chinese people who will fill [the] ranks later,” said an EU diplomat.

Mandarin is heard more than before in the corridors of the Rome HQ, a labyrinthine complex built in the 1930s by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to house its ministry of overseas colonies.

Western diplomats and staffers past and present describe Qu as a poor communicator, who displays little care about engaging with or being accountable to countries and who tends to leave meetings after delivering perfunctory remarks, all of which leaves space for rumor and suspicion to grow.

Even those who acknowledge that Qu has made modest achievements at the helm of FAO still see his leadership style as typical of a Chinese official being kept on a tight leash by Beijing. The EU and U.S. criticized Qu’s move to push back an internal management review that was meant to be conducted by independent U.N. inspectors, and will now likely not emerge until after the next election.

And although FAO is still receiving bucketloads of Western funding, its fundraising drive specifically for rural families and farmers in war-torn Ukraine is still $100 million short of its $180 million target, a pittance in an international context — especially amid deafening warnings of a global food supply crisis next year. 

That’s partly because the U.S. and EU prefer to work bilaterally with Kyiv rather than going through FAO. “This is the time for FAO to be fully funded,” said Pierre Vauthier, a French agronomist who runs the FAO operation in Ukraine. “We need additional money.”

A plaque outside Qu’s fourth floor office at the FAO headquarters in Rome | Eddy Wax/POLITICO

There’s no love lost on Qu’s side, either. In June, he went on a unscripted rant accusing unnamed countries of being obsessed with money, apparently in light of criticism of his flagship Hand-in-Hand Initiative.

“You are looking at money, I’m looking to change the business model because I’m a farmer of small poor, family. You from the rich countries, you consider the money first, I consider wisdom first. It’s a different mentality,” Qu said, before complaining about his own salary being cut.

Asked repeatedly, Qu did not confirm to POLITICO whether he would stand for a second four-year term, but traditionally FAO chiefs serve at least twice and he is widely expected to run. Nominations officially opened December 1. The question is whether the U.S., EU or a developing nation will bother trying to run against him, when his victory looks all but inevitable.

There’s competition for resources between the World Food Programme (WFP), a bastion of U.S. development power, and FAO. A Spaniard, Alvaro Lario, was recently appointed to run the third Rome-based U.N. food agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, while WFP’s chief David Beasley is expected to be replaced by another American next year.

In any case, the countries that Qu will likely count on to be re-elected are not so interested in the political machinations of the West or its condemnation of the Russia’s war in Ukraine, which it seeks to impress upon FAO’s top leadership.

“Our relations with the FAO are on a technical basis and not concerned by the political positions of the FAO. What interests us is that the FAO supports us to modernize our agriculture,” said Cameroon’s Agriculture Minister Gabriel Mbairobe.

Other African countries defend FAO’s recent track record: “They’ve been very, very active, let’s be honest,” said Yaya A.O. Olaniran, Nigeria’s ambassador to the FAO. “It’s easy to criticize.”

This story has been updated.

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Bob Pisani: Think you’re a rational investor? These biases make it harder to reach your financial goals

Bob Pisani’s book “Shut Up & Keep Talking”


(Below is an excerpt from Bob Pisani’s new book “Shut Up and Keep Talking: Lessons on Life and Investing from the Floor of the New York Stock Exchange.”)

Most people like to think that they’re rational. But — at least when it comes to investing — that’s not always the case.

Way back in 1979, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky noted that human beings did not act the way classical economics said they would act.

They were not necessarily rational actors. They did not buy low and sell high, for example. They often did the opposite.

Why? Kahneman and Tversky proposed a theory, which they called prospect theory. Their key insight was that individuals don’t experience gains and losses in the same way. Under classical theories, if someone gained $1,000, the pleasure they feel should be equal to the pain they would feel if they lost $1,000.

That’s not what Kahneman and Tversky found. They found that the pain of a loss is greater than the pleasure from a gain. This effect, which came to be known as loss aversion, became one of the cornerstones of behavioral economics.

In later years, Kahneman and Tversky even attempted to quantify how much stronger the loss was. They found that the fear of an emotional loss was more than twice as powerful as an emotional gain.

That went a long way toward explaining why so many people hold on to losing positions for so long. The opposite is also true: people will tend to sell their winners to lock in gains.

You have more biases than you think

Over the years, Kahneman and many others went on to describe numerous biases and mental shortcuts (heuristics) that humans have developed for making decisions.

Many of those biases are now a common part of our understanding of how humans interact with the stock market.

These biases can be broken down into two groups: cognitive errors due to faulty reasoning, and emotional biases that come from feelings. Loss aversion is an example of an emotional bias.

They can be very tough to overcome because they are based on feelings that are deeply ingrained in the brain. See if you recognize yourself in any of these emotional biases.

Investors will:

Come to believe they are infallible when they hit a winning streak (overconfidence).

Blindly follow what others are doing (herd behavior).

Value something they already own above its true market value (endowment effect).

Fail to plan for long-term goals, like retirement, because it’s easier to plan for short-term goals, like taking a vacation (self-control bias).

Avoid making decisions out of fear the decision will be wrong (regret aversion bias).

There’s also cognitive errors

Cognitive errors are different. They don’t come from emotional reactions, but from faulty reasoning. They happen because most people have a poor understanding of probabilities and how to put a numerical value on those probabilities.

People will:

Jump to conclusions. Daniel Kahneman, in his seminal 2011 book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” said that: “Jumping to conclusions on the basis of limited evidence is so important to an understanding of intuitive thinking, and comes up so often in this book, that I will use a cumbersome abbreviation for it: WYSIATI, which stands for what you see is all there is.”

Select information that supports their own point of view, while ignoring information that contradicts it (confirmation bias).

Give more weight to recent information than older information (recency bias).

Convince themselves that they understood or predicted an event after it happened, which leads to overconfidence in the ability to predict future events (hindsight bias).

React to financial news differently, depending on how it is presented. They may react to the same investment opportunities in different ways or react to a financial headline differently depending on whether it is perceived to be positive or negative (framing bias).

Believe that because a stock has done well in the past it will continue to do well in the future (the gambler’s fallacy).

Overreact to certain pieces of news and fail to place the information in a proper context, making that piece of news seem more valid or important than it really is (availability bias).

Rely too much on a single (often the first) piece of information as a basis for an investment (such as a stock price), which becomes the reference point for future decisions without considering other pieces of information (anchoring bias).

What’s the takeaway?

People have so many biases that it’s tough to make rational decisions.

Here’s a few key takeaways:

It’s possible to train people to think more rationally about investing, but don’t expect too much. With all this brilliant insight into how people really think (or don’t), you’d think that as investors we wouldn’t be repeating the same dumb mistakes we have been making for thousands of years.

Alas, investing wisdom and insight remains in short supply because 1) financial illiteracy is widespread. Most people (and sadly most investors) have no idea who Daniel Kahneman is, and 2) even people who know better continue to make dumb mistakes because overriding the brain’s ‘react first, think later’ system that Daniel Kahneman chronicled in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is really, really hard.

The indexing crowd got a boost from behavioral economics. Billions of dollars have flowed into passive (index-based) investing strategies in the past 20 years (and particularly since the Great Financial Crisis), and with good reason: unless you want to endlessly analyze yourself and everyone around you, passive investing made sense because it reduced or eliminated many of those biases described above. Some of these passive investments can have their own biases, of course.

Stocks can be mispriced. Psychology plays a large part in setting at least short-term stock prices. It is now a given that markets may not be perfectly efficient and that irrational decisions made by investors can have at least a short-term impact on stock prices. Stock market bubbles and panics, in particular, are now largely viewed through the lens of behavioral finance.

Behavioral economics wins the Nobel Prize

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Top Wall Street analysts bet on these stocks to brace for a sharp downturn

VMware at the NYSE, Dec. 14, 2021.

Source: NYSE

Investors’ attention has returned to the Federal Reserve after a hot November jobs report last week.

That’s because even though the central bank has pushed interest rates higher, the economy continues to add jobs and wages keep rising. Friday’s report on last month’s payrolls surprised investors and chilled sentiment.

Nevertheless, investors need to keep a longer-term outlook as they decide how to best position their portfolios. To that end, here are five stocks chosen by Wall Street’s top pros, according to TipRanks, a service that ranks analysts based on their track record.


While software company VMware (VMW) reeled from lackluster quarterly results, Monness Crespi Hardt analyst Brian White maintained his positive conviction on the stock.

Importantly, the company will soon be acquired by Broadcom (AVGO). According to the agreement between the companies, VMware shareholders can either cash in their shares at $142.50 per share or choose to exchange their holdings for 0.2520 shares of Broadcom for each share of VMware. However, in all probability, shareholders may end up with a 50-50 split between cash and stock.

This is important, as this deal has enabled VMware to “dodge the 2022 tech apocalypse,” in White’s words, with the stock up 4% in 2022.

Given the pending acquisition, VMware did not issue any guidance. However, White remains bullish on the basis of the shareholder benefit as well as the stable position of VMware in the tech sector.

“VMware’s earnings remain depressed after aggressive investment initiatives and a model transition. At the same time, the current economic and geopolitical environment is daunting, resulting in a more uncertain future, creating a greater allure for large, well-managed, stable, tech companies with benefit from digital transformation, such as VMware,” White theorized.

White is ranked No. 697 among more than 8,000 analysts tracked on TipRanks. The analyst has a record of 55% successful ratings in the past year, with each rating generating average returns of about 8.7%.

Diamondback Energy

Oil and natural gas exploration company Diamondback Energy (FANG) has gained the attention of RBC Capital Markets analyst Scott Hanold after making two significant strategic acquisitions recently. The analyst expects the acquisitions to be accretive to his earnings per share estimates for 2023 and 2024 by 7% to 9%.

Importantly, at a time when almost every company has worrisome near-term prospects, Hanold sees a solid upside to Diamondback’s near-term free cash flows, thanks to its latest acquisition of Permian Basin assets from Lario. (See Diamondback Dividend Date & History on TipRanks)

The analyst is also upbeat about Diamondback’s asset monetization plan, and believes that it will help the company maintain a clean balance sheet even after the two recent acquisitions. “We think FANG will still maintain an adjusted leverage ratio below 1.0x following the close of the two transactions. However, we think the company will progress more to exceed its $500 million asset monetization target with a focus on midstream assets that trade at more robust values in the market,” said Hanold, who reiterated a buy rating and $182 price target on the stock.

Impressively, Hanold holds the 8th position among more than 8,000 analysts on TipRanks, and boasts a 70% success rate. Each of his ratings has generated average returns of 33.7%.

Microchip Technology

The next stock on our list is Microchip (MCHP), a leading manufacturer of embedded control solutions. The company’s exposure to secular growth trends in the end-markets of 5G, artificial intelligence/machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and electric vehicles bode well for the company in the long run.

Recently, Stifel analyst Tore Svanberg recently reiterated a buy rating on MCHP stock and even increased the price target to $80 from $77. (See Microchip Stock Chart on TipRanks)

The analyst believes that Microchip is well positioned to “manage a softer landing relative to peers during broader industry correction,” on the basis of solid near-term backlog visibility, defensive end-market exposure, resilient pricing of proprietary products, etc.

Svanberg stands at No. 41 among more than 8,000 analysts followed and ranked on TipRanks. The analyst also has a solid track record of 65% profitable ratings and average returns of 20.4% for each.

Analog Devices

Analog Devices (ADI) is another stock on Tore Svanberg’s buy list. The manufacturer of high-performance analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing integrated circuits holds the biggest shares of the data converter and amplifier markets.

“We believe ADI is a formidable high-performance analog/mixed-signal powerhouse with pro forma CY21A revenue of (nearly) $10 billion, and the leading challenger to the current industry heavyweight, TXN (Texas Instruments),” said Svanberg.

Analog Devices also has strong cash flow generating capabilities, which kept Svanberg bullish: The company has generated $3.50 billion in the past 12 months. (See Analog Devices Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks)

The analyst sees Analog Devices outperforming its peers in the present challenging macroeconomic environment. Based on his observations, Svanberg increased his price target to $195 from $190.


A leading name in the cybersecurity space, CrowdStrike (CRWD) disappointed investors and analysts alike recently with weaker-than-expected guidance. This underscored the vulnerability of the software sector to macroeconomic forces.

Nonetheless, Deutsche Bank analyst Brad Zelnick remained focused on the longer-term prospects of CrowdStrike, calling it one of the three best-positioned security companies to overcome the strong headwinds. (See CrowdStrike Holdings Financial Statements on TipRanks)

Zelnick observed solid traction in large deals and a strong existing customer base, which can support the company through challenging times.

The analyst also observed that despite not being able to deliver on the top-line part of the business, CrowdStrike was consistent in maintaining solid margins, reflecting “the flex/leverage in the business model.”

Although Zelnick lowered the price target to $150 from $230 to account for his lower estimates, the analyst maintained a buy rating after looking beyond the storm.

Interestingly, among more than 8,000 analysts on TipRanks, Zelnick is ranked 128th, having delivered successful ratings 67% of the time in the past year. Moreover, each of his ratings has garnered average returns of 15.10%.

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Defying forecasts, crude oil prices have wiped out most of this year’s gains and could head lower

Tom Kaye of Plymouth, Pennsylvania tops off his neighbor’s gas tank for them on at a gas station in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 19, 2022. 

Aimee Dilger | Reuters

Oil prices are defying expectations and are barely higher on the year, as the outlook for oil demand continues to deteriorate for now.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for January settled higher Monday at $77.24 per barrel, following a drop to $73.60 per barrel, the lowest price since last December. WTI was up 2.2% for the year, after briefly turning negative earlier Monday.

Gasoline prices at the pump have also been falling dramatically and could be cheaper than last year for many Americans by Christmas, according to an outlook from the Oil Price Information Service. On Monday, the national average was $3.546 per gallon of regular unleaded fuel, down from $3.662 a week ago but still higher than the $3.394 a year ago, according to AAA.

‘Macro headwinds rather than tailwinds’

China’s lockdowns and the rare protests against Beijing this weekend have raised more doubt about the outlook for the country’s already weakened economy.

“We think the recessionary [forces] around the world, particularly in the three largest economies, are dominating the macro environment for the year as a whole, and we think that the issues we’ve been identifying as relatively bumpy in the period ahead are going to remain,” said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup. “Right now, we are looking at macro headwinds rather than tailwinds.”

Morse was one of the more bearish strategists on Wall Street in 2022, but he said the latest market developments and the hit to major economies made even his forecast too bullish. He had revised his outlook higher at the end of the third quarter, based on the shift by OPEC+ to focus on prices and the pending ban of Russian crude by Europe.

The oil market has been focused on those two potential catalysts for higher prices, but the impact on demand from the slowdown in China and new lockdowns has outweighed concerns about supply for now. The European Union’s ban on purchases of seaborne Russian oil takes place Dec. 5. The EU is also expected to announce price caps for Russian crude.

OPEC+ is also a factor. The group includes OPEC, plus other producers, including Russia. The group surprised the market in October when it approved a production cut of 2 million barrels a day.

“We’re waiting to see if they signal even deeper cuts. There were rumors in the market about that happening,” said John Kilduff, partner with Again Capital. After dipping to the day’s lows, oil rebounded on Monday as speculation circulated about new OPEC+ cuts, he said.

Brent futures, the international benchmark, was lower Monday afternoon at $83.19 per barrel, recovering from $80.61 per barrel, the lowest price since January.

“Right now the target is below $60 [for WTI]. That’s what the chart is indicating… this is a new low for the move because previously the low for the year was late September and now we’ve broken that,” said Kilduff. “It all depends on what happens in China. China is as important on the demand side, as OPEC+ is on the supply side.”

Higher oil prices next year?

Analysts expect oil prices to increase next year. JPMorgan predicts Brent will average $90 per barrel in 2023.

Morgan Stanley expects the return of much higher prices mid-year, after China ends lockdowns.

“Our balances point to modest oversupply in coming months. Hence, we see Brent prices range-bound in the mid-80s to high-90s first,” the firm’s analysts wrote. “However, the market will likely return to balance in 2Q23 and undersupply in 2H23. With limited supply buffer, we expect Brent to return to ~$110/bbl by the middle of next year.”

Kilduff said he does not expect OPEC+ to make a big market impact this year with its cuts, though it is a wild card. Another factor that could drive prices would be if the war in Ukraine were to escalate.

“I’m not that worried about an OPEC+ cut just because the reality of it is most of the countries aren’t going to be cutting. It’s only going to be Saudi Arabia dialing back on the edges,” he said. “Everyone is so far into their quota. It’s a numbers game.”

Morse said market dynamics have changed and oil demand growth will be smaller as a percentage of gross domestic product. “We’re seeing a significant slowdown in global growth,” he said.

Oil demand growth for China turned out to be much less than expected. “We were thinking demand was sluggish. It turned out to be significantly more sluggish… We had thought this year was going to see 3.4 million barrels of demand growth. It actually grew by 1.7 million barrels,” Morse said. He noted that Europe’s demand is down by several hundred thousand barrels, and the U.S. was flat in 2022.

Morse said the demand decline is also part of bigger trend, tied in part to the energy transition toward renewables. “We are also looking for the peak of oil demand in this decade. It’s part of a longer term story,” he said.

The weather’s influence

Kilduff said La Niña’s weather pattern has also affected prices, with warmer weather in North America. He and other analysts say it could continue to impact the market.

“We keep getting cold outlooks, and then it falters. This is La Niña. You will get cold days, but then you get balmy stretches,” Kilduff said. He said concerns about winter heating fuel supplies have abated with a build in supplies in Europe.

The result for consumers could be a windfall at the pump during the holiday season. OPIS expects prices to keep falling into January before turning higher again.

“If you combine the Chinese demonstrations with the warm weather in the northern hemisphere, that’s kind of a double-barreled assault on the energy price at the moment,” said Tom Kloza, global energy analyst at OPIS. He said he expects gasoline to average between $3 and $3.25 per gallon at its low, but it will be below $3 in many parts of the country.

Kloza said by Christmas, the U.S. national average should be slightly below the $3.28 level it was at last year.

Diesel prices have also been falling. According to AAA, diesel averaged $5.215 per gallon nationally Monday, off by about 8 cents per gallon from a week ago.

“We’ve been counter-seasonally building distillate fuel supply so that’s been easing things. If the weather stays relatively benign here, we’re going to lose that upside catalyst and grind lower still,” said Again’s Kilduff.

–Michael Bloom contributed to this story.

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The Crypto Contagion Intensifies With More Dominoes To Fall

The below is an excerpt from a recent edition of Bitcoin Magazine Pro, Bitcoin Magazine’s premium markets newsletter. To be among the first to receive these insights and other on-chain bitcoin market analysis straight to your inbox, subscribe now.

We’re currently in the middle of the industry contagion and market panic taking shape. Although FTX and Alameda have fallen, many more players across funds, market makers, exchanges, miners and other businesses will follow suit. This is a similar playbook to what we’ve seen before in the previous crash sparked by Luna, except that this one will be more impactful to the market. This is the proper cleansing and washout from the misallocation of capital, speculation and excessive leverage that come with the global economic liquidity tide going back out.

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3 takeaways from our daily meeting: Looking for new stocks, 2 trades, earnings recap

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