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What Iran nuclear deal means for energy markets

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Official cars are seen outside Grand Hotel Wien after a session of meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on “Iran nuclear deal talks” in Vienna, Austria on May 01, 2021.

Askin Kiyagan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran could send energy prices higher — even if it means more supply in the oil markets, according to Goldman Sachs’ head of energy research.

While it appears to be contradictory, a deal that brings Iranian barrels back to the market could actually see oil prices rise, said Damien Courvalin, who is also a senior commodity strategist at the bank.

Talks in Vienna are ongoing as Iran and six world powers — the U.S., China, Russia, France, U.K. and Germany — try to salvage the 2015 landmark deal. Officials say there’s been progress, but it remains unclear when negotiations could conclude and oil prices have been seesawing as a result.

A deal would lift sanctions on Iran and bring Tehran and Washington back to complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran which dealt a blow to the Islamic Republic’s oil exports.

If that announcement comes in the next few weeks, in our view, it actually starts that bullish repricing.

Damien Courvalin

head of energy research, Goldman Sachs

Courvalin explained his rationale. He pointed to how oil prices rose in April after OPEC+ said they would gradually raise output from May by adding back 350,000 barrels a day.

“An increase in production … is announced that is above anyone’s expectations — ours included. And yet prices rally, volatility comes down,” he said.

“Why? Because we lifted an uncertainty that was weighing on the market since last year,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” last week.

Investors wondered if OPEC would end up in a price war when it tried to increase production, but the oil cartel presented a “convincing path going forward,” Courvalin said.

“You could argue the same for Iran,” he added. Simply knowing will likely “lift some of that uncertainty.”

“If that announcement comes in the next few weeks, in our view, it actually starts that bullish repricing,” he said at that time.

Opposing views

Other analysts say an agreement could mean lower prices for oil, at least in the short term.

Morgan Stanley said in a research note that an increase in Iranian exports will probably cap Brent crude at $70 per barrel, and expects the international benchmark to trade between $65 and $70 per barrel for the second half of 2021.

Brent crude was lower by 0.13% at $71.22 on Friday in Asia, while U.S. crude futures were down 0.1% at $68.75.

“Our view is that the initial reaction to a potential deal will be a brief sell-off,” Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates, told CNBC in an email.

Extra Iranian barrels would be a headwind if a deal materializes, according to Austin Pickle, investment strategy analyst at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

But softer crude prices may only be temporary.

“We suspect accelerating demand and OPEC+’s disciplined supply response will support oil prices,” Pickle wrote in a note, referring to OPEC and its allies.

Extra Iranian barrels should only delay price recovery but not throw it off course.

Tamas Varga

analyst, PVM Oil Associates

PVM Oil Associates expects Brent prices to reach $80 per barrel by the fourth quarter of 2021, Varga said.

He also said it will take time before Iran starts to export oil again, and global demand could have improved significantly by the time additional barrels reach the market.

While the global economic recovery has been uneven — faster in the developed world, compared to the developing world — oil prices will rise more quickly when vaccine rollouts accelerate in Asia, he added.

“Extra Iranian barrels should only delay price recovery but not throw it off course,” Varga said.

S&P Global Platts Analytics has the view that there is room to accommodate Iranian and OPEC+ oil supply growth in the third quarter.

Toward year-end, however, energy prices could come under pressure as Iran exports and U.S. oil production increase, said Nareeka Ahir, a geopolitical analyst at S&P. She said Brent could fall to the mid or low $60s in late 2021 into 2022.

Supply may lag demand

Goldman Sachs sees Brent crude prices rising at a faster pace, and predicts the international benchmark could hit $80 by the third quarter of this year.

Courvalin noted that Asia’s oil demand has been revised lower due to new waves of the virus, and that has been been offset by upside surprises in the U.S. and Europe.

“It really paints a picture where, once vaccination rates progress sufficiently, you really see pent-up mobility get unleashed, and a significant increase in oil demand,” he said. “That’s … the root of the bullish view.”

He said supply will likely lag the pop in demand, and there will be “plenty of room” to absorb oil from Iran.

“In fact, if you told me Iran’s not coming back, our $80 dollar forecast is way too low relative to where the oil market is heading by 2022,” he added.

Concerns over an Iran deal and the pandemic may have “masked a fast-tightening oil market,” Courvalin said.

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Credit Suisse Q2 2021 earnings

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Credit Suisse bank.

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LONDON — A Credit Suisse investigation into its dealings with the collapsed U.S. hedge fund Archegos Capital revealed Thursday that the Swiss bank had failed “to effectively manage risk.”

The bank’s financial results have been heavily overshadowed by heavy losses following the scandal involving Archegos earlier this year.

“The investigation found a failure to effectively manage risk in the Investment Bank’s Prime Services business by both the first and second lines of defense as well as a lack of risk escalation,” Credit Suisse said as it published the report of the independent external investigation.

“It also found a failure to control limit excesses across both lines of defense as a result of an insufficient discharge of supervisory responsibilities in the Investment Bank and in Risk, as well as a lack of prioritization of risk mitigation and enhancement measures,” the bank also said.

Nonetheless, the investigation concluded that there had not been “fraudulent or illegal conduct” nor ill intent from its side and its employees.

In the wake of the sandal, the head of its investment bank, Brian Chin, and chief risk and compliance officer, Lara Warner, stepped down. The executive board decided to waive bonuses for the 2020 year, and also cut the proposed dividend.

António Horta-Osório, chairman of Credit Suisse, said Thursday: “While the bank has already taken a series of decisive actions to strengthen the risk framework, we are determined to learn all the right lessons and further enhance our control functions.”

Earnings

The outcome of the investigation was published at the same time as the Swiss lender reported its second-quarter results.

Credit Suisse said its net income reached 253 million Swiss francs ($278.3 million) for the three-month period ending June, missing expectations in its own poll of analysts. The stock is down 17% year-to-date.

At the end of the first quarter, Credit Suisse reported a hit of 4.4 billion Swiss francs due to the Archegos saga. However, Credit Suisse said Thursday that it was taking an additional pre-tax loss of 594 million Swiss francs related to the hedge fund collapse.

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How much athletes from 12 countries earn for winning medals

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Hidilyn Diaz of Team Philippines competes during the Weightlifting – Women’s 55kg Group A on day three of the 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo International Forum on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

Chris Graythen | Getty Images

Why some athletes earn more

More than 600 U.S. athletes are competing at the Tokyo Olympics, and the United States has so far won 11 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee rewards athletes $37,500 for every gold medal won, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze. Most of that prize money is not taxable unless athletes report gross income that exceeds $1 million.

U.S. athletes also receive other forms of support including health insurance, access to top-tier medical facilities and college tuition assistance.

In comparison, Singapore rewards its gold medalists nearly 20 times more than the U.S. Players who clinch their first individual gold medal for the city-state stand to receive 1 million Singapore dollars ($737,000). The prize money is taxable and awardees are required to return a portion of it to their national sports associations for future training and development.

The country sent only 23 athletes to Tokyo.

The sporting economy in the U.S. allows athletes to better monetize their talents as most of it is driven by the private sector, according to Unmish Parthasarathi, founder and executive director at consulting firm Picture Board Partners.

In places like Singapore, India and elsewhere, many of the national sporting initiatives are driven by governments that sometimes use higher monetary rewards to encourage a growing sporting culture, he told CNBC.

Malaysia also has hefty rewards for its Olympic winners.

Athletes who win gold receive 1 million ringgit ($236,149), while silver winners are awarded 300,000 ringgit, and 100,000 ringgit is given to athletes who win bronze. In dollar terms, a Malaysian Olympic bronze winner will receive a higher performance reward than a gold winner from Australia or Canada.

How athletes make money

Beyond receiving monetary and non-monetary rewards from their countries for winning medals, Olympians rely on other revenue streams for their sporting endeavors.

Athletes from bigger, more competitive countries receive stipends or training grants from their national sports associations. Top performers collect prize money by winning national and international tournaments. Others draw regular salary by holding a variety of jobs.

Some, like U.S. badminton player Zhang Beiwen, reportedly relied on crowdsourcing to finance their trip to Tokyo. Most Team USA athletes are not represented by sports agents and some have no sponsors or endorsements at all, according to a Forbes report.

Naomi Osaka of Team Japan serves during her Women’s Singles Third Round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Team Czech Republic on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

David Ramos | Getty Images

A handful of athletes may score multimillion dollar endorsements or sponsorship deals, either before competing at the Olympics or after achieving success in the Games. For example, tennis star Naomi Osaka reportedly made $55 million from endorsements in 12 months, and was named the highest-paid female athlete ever, according to reports.

But scoring lucrative deals is rare, and hardly the norm.

Parthasarathi pointed out that one profitable career move for some athletes is to go into coaching after retirement as people are willing to pay a premium for former Olympians.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.

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Facebook requiring U.S. employees to be vaccinated to return to work

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An employee of the Internet company Facebook walks through the courtyard of the company campus in Menlo Park, California.

Christoph Dernbach | picture alliance | Getty Images

Facebook will require U.S. workers returning to its offices to be vaccinated, the company said on Wednesday.

“As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our US campuses to be vaccinated,” VP of People Lori Goler said in a statement. “How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations.”

Facebook will create processes for those who can’t be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, Goler said. The company will continue to evaluate its approach outside the U.S., Goler added.

Facebook had already told full-time employees that most of them could continue working from home beyond the pandemic if their jobs could be done remotely.

The news comes after Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees earlier the same day that Google would delay its return to office plans by one month, citing the fast-spreading delta variant. Pichai also said returning workers would have to be vaccinated.

Apple earlier delayed its return to office plans, though it has not come out publicly with a vaccine requirement for workers. The company will require customers and staff to wear masks in many of its U.S. retail stores regardless of vaccination status beginning on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC’s Josh Lipton.

Though employer-mandated vaccine requirements seemed rare just a few weeks ago, the rise of the delta variant and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seem to have played a role in shifting some executives’ thinking.

On Tuesday, the CDC walked back its earlier mask guidance for fully vaccinated people, saying that they should again wear masks indoors in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the change was due to new information on the delta variant, showing that some vaccinated people infected by the strain could continue to spread it to others.

WATCH: Employers weigh Covid vaccine mandates and incentives for employees

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