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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stopped oil exports to Exxon Mobil on Tuesday, escalating a multibillion-dollar fight with the U.S. company two days after threatening to cut off all supplies to America.
A key piece of economic data, some big earnings reports and a testy fight between Exxon Mobil and Venezuela may influence markets Wednesday.
Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA has suspended oil exports to Exxon Mobil in retaliation for the freezing of billions of dollars of Venezuelan assets in a legal fight with the U.S. oil giant.
Venezuela softened its tone on Tuesday over a threat to stop oil sales to America, with a top official saying a supply cut would be undesirable a day after world oil prices rose due to President Hugo Chavez's warning.
Venezuela is "ready" to cut off oil supplies to the United States, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez was reported as saying in a newspaper interview published Tuesday.
Halting Venezuelan oil exports to the United States is possible, but would be undesirable and costly, a top official in the OPEC nation said Tuesday, a day after oil prices rose on a threat by President Hugo Chavez.
Stocks rode higher Monday ahead of General Motors' Tuesday earnings report, so you can bet it will be a big feature of Tuesday morning's trading.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday threatened to seize milk plants owned by Switzerland's Nestle and Italy's Parmalat if they muscled state producers out of the market.
Venezuela has begun moving oil revenue into Swiss banks to avoid a possible seizure of funds by Exxon Mobil in a legal tussle that pits leftist anti-U.S. President Hugo Chavez against America's biggest company.
President Hugo Chavez Sundaywarned he would halt oil supplies to the United States if it continued to attack Venezuela as he said it had done with an Exxon Mobil lawsuit freezing assets of the OPEC nation.
Venezuela's top oil official accused Exxon Mobil of "judicial terrorism," but said court orders won by the oil major do not amount to confiscation of $12 billion in assets.
Exxon Mobil has moved to freeze up to $36 billion in Venezuelan assets around the world as the U.S. company fights for payment in return for the state's takeover of a huge oil project last year.
Exxon Mobil posted the highest-ever quarterly and yearly profits by a U.S. company, while Chevron said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 30 percent.
OPEC agreed on Wednesday to keep exports unchanged, rebuffing consumer country calls for more crude to rein in $90-a-barrel oil.
OPEC's big Gulf producers are keeping the door open for higher oil exports when the group meets Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.
Humbled by his first electoral defeat ever, President Hugo Chavez said Monday he may have been too ambitious in asking voters to let him stand indefinitely for re-election and endorse a huge leap to a socialist state.
Venezuelans voted in a tightly contested referendum Sunday on whether to allow left-wing President Hugo Chavez to stay in power for as long as he keeps winning elections or hand him his first defeat at the polls.
A constitutional referendum in Venezuela on Sunday is expected to significantly consolidate the power of President Hugo Chavez -- paving the way for a lifetime presidency and possibly an era of strong-man socialism -- but is not expected to fundamentally alter economic relations with the U.S., which are dominated by oil trade, analysts said Friday.
Venezuela on Tuesday called for oil to be priced and billed in currencies other than the weak U.S. dollar, which has eroded producer nations' purchasing power.
ConocoPhillips Chief Executive James Mulva said on Wednesday he was "encouraged" by talks with Venezuela on reaching a compensation deal over the seizure of the oil company's assets there.