Oil prices shot up 3% to eight-year highs on Friday as OPEC struggles to live up to supply pledges and on fears of war in Europe. Energy futures were mixed in mid-morning trading, with WTI down 0.1% at $93.03/bbl, Brent off 0.4% at $94.08/bbl and U.S. natural gas 4.3% higher at $4.11/MMBtu.
The world’s five supermajors booked $37 billion in combined cash flows last quarter, a 14-year high.
Rotterdam and Amsterdam are banning “dark stores,” small fast-delivery hubs run by on-demand delivery services, because of the disruption they cause.
A British asset manager delayed a shareholder vote on a $2 billion deal because an international paper shortage left it unable to print enough required notifications.
Fresh produce supply dropped 70% last week in Hong Kong due to rising COVID-19 cases among drivers and transport workers at a key border gateway.
Dryer weather in West Africa has caused cocoa futures to rise more than 10% this month to $2,811 per metric ton, putting the commodity on track to reach its highest monthly level since April 2018.
The U.S. reported 32,531 new COVID-19 infections and 441 virus fatalities Sunday.
New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are down to around 215,000 per day, a 71% drop over the last three weeks to the lowest point since Christmas. Hospitalizations also are declining, down about 25% the past week.
The federal government ran a monthly budget surplus in January for the first time in over two years as pandemic-induced outlays receded. Receipts were also up with a record $1.5 trillion in taxes collected over the first four months of FY22.
The average price of a used car in January was up 31% year over year, straining household budgets and putting car ownership out of reach for many new drivers.
Inflation is spreading throughout the economy, raising the cost of insurance claims for used cars at Allstate, causing cutbacks in corporate ad spending for media companies, boosting inflation-adjusted legal settlement costs at Altria and reducing credit card payments among consumers.
Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis and Tampa saw the highest metropolitan inflation rates last year, while some of the U.S.’s most expensive cities, such as San Francisco, saw the lowest.
Hong Kong reported 1,325 new COVID-19 infections Friday, the latest in a string of daily records, as pressures mount on the island’s healthcare resources. Officials scrapped a policy requiring hospitalization for all new virus cases and will begin vaccinating children as young as 3 years old.
South Korea has begun administering fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses to its high-risk population amid a surge of infections brought on by the Omicron variant.
Anti-restriction protestors are turning up in large numbers in the capitals of New Zealand and Australia, two nations with some of the most restrictive pandemic protocols outside China and its neighbors.
Iceland started easing some COVID-19 restrictions over the weekend, increasing capacity limits at both public and private events and extending hours at restaurants and bars, with plans to lift all restrictions two weeks early at the end of the month.
Contracted sales among China’s top 100 property developers were down 40% year over year in January, the seventh consecutive month of decline, as the nation’s property crisis continues.
India’s year-over year retail inflation jumped to over 6% in January, its highest pace in seven months.
British firms are expected to raise employee wages by the largest amount in almost a decade this year. Still, a new forecast from the Bank of England projects that average real incomes in the U.K. will drop by 2% this year, the largest decline since 1990.
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