Ford Doubles Profits for the Best Quarter in Its History

The combination of low gasoline prices and record auto sales in the United States is making for good times in the auto industry, and nowhere is that more evident than at Ford Motor.

.. In the first three months of this year, trucks and S.U.V.s made up 70 percent of Ford’s sales in the United States, up from 64 percent in the same period four years ago.

.. Trucks are not the only bright spot for Ford. The company also benefited from an improving economy and the increased sales of more expensive models.

.. Over all, Ford reported first-quarter revenue of $37.7 billion, $3.8 billion more than in the same period in 2015.

The 8 A.M. Call

Then there’s a potential oil crisis, very different from the ones we used to have: the problem now is a glut, not a shortage, with many producers having run up large debts they probably can’t repay. You could say that shale oil is the new subprime.

.. Yet things could be worse. The Donald doesn’t know much, but Ted Cruz knows a lot that isn’t so. In a world in which gold bugs have been wrong every step of the way, repeatedly predicting runaway inflation that fails to materialize, he demands a gold standard to produce a “sound dollar.” He chose, as his senior economic adviser, Phil Gramm — an architect of financial deregulation who helped set the stage for the 2008 crisis, then dismissed warnings of recession when that crisis came, calling America a “nation of whiners.”

Mr. Cruz is, in other words, a man of firm economic convictions — convictions that are utterly divorced from reality and impervious to evidence, to a degree that’s unusual even among Republicans.

Major Oil Exporters Fail to Agree on Production Freeze

Analysts thought that a way could be found to allow for the Iranian increases, but Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who has become the crucial power broker in the country, appears to have reduced the room to maneuver with statements making Saudi participation contingent on full compliance.

What puzzles analysts is how Saudi Arabia and other countries could have scheduled this meeting if they knew it was doomed to failure. After all, the idea was to calm the markets, not roil them.

.. The Saudis, analysts say, increasingly seem to accept that oil prices are no longer something they can control. Prince Mohammed, who has authority over the Saudi oil industry, warned that the kingdom could increase production by a million barrels per day in the coming months if it chose.

.. With low production costs, estimated at $3.50 to $5 per barrel, Saudi Arabia can compete on price with any producer. So can Russia, which can produce oil for about $4 per barrel, according to IHS.

.. For instance, he has said he plans a public listing of the national oil company, Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil-producing company. A public listing might require the company to pay more attention to the requirements of outside investors than to other OPEC members.

.. Russia has plenty of reason to go along with a freeze. Russia’s economy, which depends heavily on oil revenues, is in recession. The Kremlin’s desperation for higher prices is palpable, with the country committed to two wars, in Ukraine and Syria. At home, wages are being cut, bringing early signs of social unrest ahead of a parliamentary election in September.

.. Since the Soviet period, OPEC has looked on Russia as a freeloader on price-boosting production cuts: Russia benefited but never joined in, citing technical problems of closing wells bored into permafrost and high capital outlays for pipelines in Eurasia. But Russia may not have to make any sacrifice to go along with a freeze. Oil production is at a post-Soviet high and is not expected to go much higher in the short term.