Oil prices rose roughly 2% Thursday on signals of high demand and a positive economic outlook from the Federal Reserve. Crude futures were lower in late morning trading, with WTI down 1.5% at $70.90/bbl and Brent down 2.1% at $73.48/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 0.8% higher at $3.80/MMBtu.
U.S. gas prices have dropped by $0.10 since Thanksgiving and could fall further by Christmas, averting a new record high for this time of year.
Germany’s energy regulator said a decision on fully certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia won’t come until the second half of 2022, a setback for Russian producers and a possible cause for higher European energy prices this winter.
Global coal-fired power generation is forecast to rise 9% and hit a record by the end of 2021 as electricity demand sharply rises in China and India, the world’s largest coal consumers.
Los Angeles private equity firm Ares Management has raised over $2 billion it plans to invest in infrastructure businesses focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage.
Italian infrastructure operator Snam is preparing to sell a minority stake in its gas storage unit for 6 billion euros, a bid to raise funds for further expansion into storage.
A powerful weather system swept through a large swath of the middle U.S. on Wednesday, with the National Weather Service logging at least 55 reports of hurricane-force wind gusts. More than 400,000 people between Colorado and Michigan lost power.
Texas energy regulators entertained at least a dozen new proposals yesterday on making the state’s power grid more stable and reliable in case of emergencies.
Malaysia’s Port Klang and Greece’s Port of Piraeus are the latest to see severe congestion and long lines of container ship queues.
An increase in U.S. rail carloads was offset by an 11% decline in intermodal volumes last week, new data shows.
Rates for the largest bulk ships fell 31% this week after hitting a six-week high last week, a result of easing congestion and lower iron ore shipments from Brazil.
Maritime shipping stakeholders are launching a new hotel cataloguing program aimed at helping seafarers navigate rapidly changing government border policies.
The FAA will begin awarding $2.89 billion to more than 3,000 airports across the U.S. for infrastructure upgrades.
Adverse weather is set to dent seasonal Brazilian sugar production, with analysts predicting a decline up to 17%.
The U.S. reported 138,885 new COVID-19 infections and 1,142 virus fatalities Thursday.
The U.S. is averaging more than 120,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, a 40% increase from two weeks ago. Weekly infections could jump another 55% by Christmas due to the Omicron variant, now present in 36 states and counting.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Illinois are up 20% compared to a week ago.
New York City’s COVID-19 positivity rate doubled from 3.9% on Dec. 9 to 7.8% three days later. Several Broadway shows are canceling performances.
Los Angeles saw its highest number of new COVID-19 infections since Sept. 1 yesterday.
Sixty-five of the NFL’s 1,700 players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two days. The league yesterday announced strict new protocols, including a mask mandate for both vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
The Miss World competition, scheduled to take place today in Puerto Rico, was postponed yesterday after nearly one-fourth of contestants and many staffers tested positive for COVID-19.
About 98% of active-duty Army personnel have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of this week’s deadline. The Navy has the highest rate at 98.4%.
The Federal Reserve’s gauge of U.S. manufacturing output rose 0.7% in November to 100.6, its highest level since January 2019, while manufacturing activity slowed to a one-year low so far in December, despite signs of easing labor and raw material constraints.
U.S. airlines are warning that the planned rollout of 5G wireless networks in January could disrupt flight schedules and cost passengers up to $1.6 billion per year in delays.
Despite rising fears of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Delta Air Lines expects to post a profit in the fourth quarter fueled by strong holiday bookings. The airline also forecast profitability for 2022.
U.S. electric-vehicle startup Rivian will start constructing a new, $5 billion manufacturing facility in Georgia next year, with an annual capacity of 400,000 vehicles.
The U.S. administration cleared the potential site of a 7 GW wind farm offshore New York.
Southern California Edison faces a $500 million fine for its equipment’s role in sparking five wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
Pent-up demand is expected to drive up new car sales by 1.2% in 2022 to a total of 15.2 million units.
The U.K. reported 88,376 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, its second record in as many days, as officials expect virus hospitalizations to quickly surpass previous peaks. Omicron infections are doubling every day-and-a-half in parts of the country, and restaurants and bars are voluntarily closing due to high reservation cancellations and concern about employees. France has banned all non-essential travel to and from the nation.
Denmark reported nearly 10,000 new COVID-19 infections yesterday, a record, and became the first European nation to approve Merck’s antiviral pill for virus patients with severe illness.
Spain’s COVID-19 case rate has more than doubled since the start of December to 442 cases per 100,000 people.
Italy extended its COVID-19 state of emergency until the end of March.
Germany has begun rationing COVID-19 vaccine doses amid a surge in inoculations in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant and will receive an additional 25 million of Moderna’s doses in the first quarter of next year. COVID-19 infections are rising fastest in the nation among schoolchildren.
Pfizer is expected to reap a windfall next year from wealthy countries ordering its new COVID-19 antiviral pill, while low-income nations likely won’t see the drugs until 2023. Across the globe, more than 11 billion vaccine doses have been produced this year:
Japanese exports rose 20.5% in November from a year ago and 9.4% from October, the ninth straight month of increases.
Mexico’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a higher-than-expected 50 basis points yesterday to 5.5%.
North America had the highest rate of CO2 emissions per capita in the year before the pandemic, followed by Central Asia, Russia and Europe:
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