U.S. crude inventories rose by 3.6 million barrels in the week ending July 30, topping analyst expectations of a 3.1-million-barrel drop and causing oil prices to fall for the third consecutive day to a two-week low.
Energy futures were higher in mid-day trading, with WTI up 1.1% at $68.93/bbl and Brent up 1.1% at $71.14/bbl. Natural gas was 0.6% higher at $4.18/MMBtu.
Saudi Arabia raised its oil prices for buyers in the U.S. and Asia for September on forecasts of continued demand recovery despite a global surge in COVID-19.
U.S. oil refiner Marathon Petroleum expects to process less crude in the third quarter compared to the second, a combined result of the end of the summer driving season and a resurgence of COVID-19.
Florida saw a third day of record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations at 12,000 patients and reported the highest number of pediatric hospitalizations in the nation yesterday. The state reported 17,000 new virus infections on Tuesday. Up to 60% of the state’s hospitals are expected to face critical staffing shortages over the next week.
Texas reported 19,003 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday while virus hospitalizations surpassed 7,600, the most since February. Hospitals in the state have requested roughly 2,800 emergency staff, as officials struggle to grant the requests after already allocating leftover pandemic relief funds to other programs when case counts were low.
The COVID-19 vaccination rate in Louisiana has quadrupled in recent weeks as fear of the Delta variant motivates the unvaccinated to seek shots.
Investment giant Vanguard will give $1,000 to employees who get vaccinated against COVID-19 by October.
Roughly 54% of Americans expect the pandemic to get worse before it gets better, new survey results show.
Walgreens has seen a 30% increase in COVID-19 vaccination rates over the last several weeks, with the largest jumps in low-rate states such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas.
A century-old auto show set to take place in New York City later this month was canceled due to rising COVID-19 Delta infections in the area.
Payroll giant ADP reported that U.S. companies added just 330,000 jobs in July, the lowest monthly total since February and a significant drop from the 680,000 jobs added in June.
First-time jobless claims decreased to 385,000 last week, the second consecutive week of decline.
Half of all cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. by 2030 must be electric, hydrogen-fuel cell or plug-in hybrid vehicles under a new White House order backed by automakers.
Recent quarterly earnings reports reflect the continuing influence of the pandemic:
CVS’s revenue grew 11% year over year to $72.6 billion in the second quarter, boosted by more than 17 million COVID-19 vaccines administered between April and June.
Sony raised its full-year earnings outlook after reporting record first-quarter profit of $2.6 billion fueled by pandemic-driven demand for devices and digital content.
Kraft Heinz posted strong quarterly net sales of $6.6 billion Wednesday, a similar number to last year as a pandemic-led boom in home cooking continues.
Honda’s reported operating profit of $2.2 billion in the three months ending June 30, more than double analyst estimates, as the company raised its full-year forecast by 18% in a stark reversal from last year’s losses.
General Motors raised its full-year profit forecast after posting second-quarter net income of $2.8 billion, reversing an $806 million loss from the same time last year.
The pandemic spurred a shift in homebuyers’ locale preferences, with less populated metro areas in California, Florida and North and South Carolina seeing the most inbound residents over the past year.
Toy maker Mattel unveiled a new Barbie doll in the likeness of British COVID-19 vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert, part of its new “role model” doll line.
Amazon is launching two new programs aimed at giving products a second life after being returned or if they fail to sell.
Global COVID-19 cases topped 200 million Wednesday as the fast-spreading Delta variant pushed up infections in 83 countries.
New daily COVID-19 cases in Tokyo hit a record 5,042, while nationwide cases in Japan topped 15,000 for the first time, as lawmakers expanded the nation’s pandemic curbs to more than 70% of its population.
Less than 18% of people in Latin American and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as the region experiences one of the world’s fastest resurgences of the virus.
China reported 94 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday as an outbreak of 500 cases scattered to more than half the country, with officials imposing strict domestic travel restrictions on more than 140 regions nationwide.
Israel further tightened pandemic restrictions Wednesday, imposing expanded vaccine and mask-wearing mandates, travel restrictions and a remote work policy. The nation ordered that air travelers from the U.S. must self-isolate for at least a week upon arrival.
The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots through August as part of an effort to prioritize vaccines for countries with single-digit vaccination rates.
The EU inked a deal with U.S. firm Novavax to purchase up to 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that is still in development.
Nigeria has received 4 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S.
A new U.K. study shows that most children infected with COVID-19 recover within a week, with 4.4% of children suffering symptoms lasting four weeks or longer.
Euro zone business activity expanded at its fastest pace in 15 years in July following a lifting of pandemic restrictions, with an index rising to 60.2 from 59.5 in June. The bloc’s retail sales rose 1.5% month over month in June, settling 5% higher than the same time last year.
Russia will begin subsidizing the purchase of its domestically manufactured electric vehicles (EVs), hoping to boost the nation’s EV industry and catch up to gains in Europe.
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