Canadian energy retailer Just Energy Group posted a $250 million loss due to last week’s storm, causing the company’s stock to fall 31%. Meanwhile, the company announced its storm-battered residential customers in Texas will be protected against higher energy rates in February.
Texas refineries are working to restart with varying degrees of success, with some facing continuing shortages of power and water as well as needed repairs from last week’s storm.
Plastics prices are soaring in Asia, which depends heavily on U.S. imports of propane and naphtha feedstocks.
Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.
The American Petroleum Institute reported a build in crude oil inventories of 1.026 million barrels last week, a contrast to analysts’ expectations of a 5.190 million-barrel draw. The news sent crude prices modestly lower yesterday.
Crude prices were higher in early trading today, with the WTI up 1.1% at $62.32/bbl and Brent up 1.2% at $66.14/bbl. Natural gas was off 0.2% at $2.87/MMBtu.
Bank of America lifted its forecast for Brent crude prices this year to an average of $60 a barrel, with the potential of hitting $70 a barrel in the second quarter, citing tighter supplies due to the Texas freeze and continued OPEC production cuts.
Cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline could prove a boon for railroads as oil producers in Canada are turning to trains to move their crude to U.S. refineries, a prospect that presents its own environmental and safety risks.
Ocean shipping spot rates increased 7% last week between China/East Asia and the North American West Coast. Prices are expected to remain elevated in the coming weeks.
The European Commission instructed six EU nations to ease travel and border restrictions, citing their impact on the flow of goods which is threatening to shut down parts of the Franco-German border.
Nikola unveiled a planned line of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles with a driving range up to 900 miles, including a long-haul freighter for the North American market and two variants of an existing truck model.
The U.S. Postal Service signed a multi-billion-dollar contract with tactical vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh Defense to replace its delivery fleet with high-tech electric and hybrid vehicles over the next 10 years.
We expect continuing logistics disruption in the U.S. from severe winter conditions that blanketed much of the country last week.
Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability and continued congestion at ports due in part to operating challenges related to the pandemic. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.
There were 71,436 new COVID-19 cases and 2,350 deaths in the U.S. yesterday.
Over 65 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S., with nearly 20 million people, 6.1% of the population, fully vaccinated.
A new COVID-19 mutation discovered in California is showing early similarities with other highly infectious strains from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil.
The Federal Reserve suggested no urgency on changing easy-money policies of near-zero interest rates and large-scale asset purchases, citing the continued financial impact of the pandemic. The central bank’s chairman also said the U.S. could see up to 6% GDP growth in 2021.
U.S. consumer confidence increased in February on upbeat projections about labor market conditions amid declining COVID-19 infection rates.
U.S. bank profits fell 36.5% in 2020 from the previous year, a result of initially setting aside massive amounts of money to safeguard against potential losses.
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities surged in December, with an S&P index of property values climbing 10.1% from the year-ago period.
Global COVID-19 deaths fell 20% last week from the prior week.
The Czech Republic is the latest country whose health system is being overrun with COVID-19 patients, leading to a lack of intensive-care beds and forcing hospitals to curb care or seek help from neighboring countries.
Scotland will begin easing pandemic restrictions in three-week intervals with the goal of re-opening the entire economy by the last week of April.
Group gathering limits were eased in Hong Kong, a reflection of declining coronavirus cases.
The U.K. is on track to offer COVID-19 vaccines to all adults by July, though the government’s disease modelers suggest some restrictions may have to be reintroduced periodically even after many people have received shots. With the nation’s unemployment rate reaching a five-year high, the government is in talks to spend billions of pounds over the next four months to support businesses and consumers.
Annual inflation in Mexico likely sped up to its highest rate in three months in the first half of February, mostly due to rising energy prices.
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We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.
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