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Oil prices rose about 3% Thursday on the likelihood that Germany would join a complete European ban on Russian oil.
In late-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 1.3% at $106.70/bbl, Brent was up 2.0% at $109.70/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was up 2.7% at $7.08/MMBtu.
Diesel prices are up 42.8% year to date compared to a 26% jump in gasoline, with analysts pointing to structural changes that could widen the crude-diesel spread in the future. Chinese diesel exports slumped during the second half of 2021 as the nation tried to ensure domestic supplies:
Supply disruptions are limiting how much U.S. frackers can boost output this year, projected at just 8% compared to a 20% rise the last time oil prices hit $100/bbl in 2014. The Permian Basin will be one of the main sources for new production:
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy IndustriesU.S. and European officials indicate they are more open to longer-term deals to ship American fuel across the Atlantic, helping assure investments in U.S. LNG export projects.
Sinopec, Asia’s biggest oil refiner, expects Chinese demand for refined products to recover this quarter as COVID-19 outbreaks are brought under control.
Over 40% of U.S. small businesses surveyed were forced to temporarily close at some point last year due to staff infections with COVID-19.
Wage rates in the U.S. rose 1.4% in the first quarter, the highest quarterly increase in four decades.
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose a higher-than-expected 1.1% in March.
The U.S. economy’s 1.4% first-quarter contraction was the nation’s weakest since early in the pandemic and stemmed largely from a widening trade deficit. Positive signs included a record 2.7% increase in consumer spending and a 9.2% increase in business spending.
Personal loans to Americans surged to the most in a decade last year as fears about the pandemic’s shock on household finances never materialized.
Former retail high-rises are finding new life as upscale apartment buildings in many densely populated cities, a convergence of disruption to business districts and rising demand for housing.
In the latest news from first-quarter earnings season:
Amazon reported a net loss of $3.8 billion primarily due to a faltering investment in electric-vehicle maker Rivian. Revenue rose 7%, slightly below expectations, as the firm downgraded second-quarter forecasts amid a shift from growth to streamlining its sprawling logistics network. Amazon’s cloud-computing revenue rose 37%, while e-commerce sales slowed in line with consumers’ return to retail shopping.
Apple reported a larger-than-expected 9% gain in revenue but said COVID-19 lockdowns in China and other supply disruptions could cost up to $8 billion in sales this quarter. Sales of all product categories besides the iPad increased.
Intel’s sales fell almost 7% to $18.35 billion, missing estimates as consumer PC purchases declined. The firm’s chief executive predicted chip shortages will last beyond 2023 as manufacturers struggle to buy enough equipment.
Ford posted a $3.1 billion loss primarily on its investment in flailing electric-vehicle startup Rivian. The automaker’s core business appeared healthy, with its expected revenue decline limited to 5% as higher prices offset the production fallout from industrywide supply shortages.
Volvo reported an 8% gain in first-quarter revenue as higher prices offset a 20% decline in production.
Southwest Airlines posted a $278 million loss but said rebounding demand will raise revenue up to 12% this quarter.
Twitter posted 16% higher revenue but canceled its future guidance pending a takeover of the firm.
McDonald’s U.S. locations raised menu prices by an average of 8% for the quarter, boosting comparable sales by 3.5%. High labor costs could prompt more price increases this year.
Domino’s Pizza, the nation’s largest pizza company by revenue, said staffing shortages, reduced hours and rising food costs contributed to a nearly $27 million profit decline.
Caterpillar’s order backlog rose to over 50% of last year’s total sales as construction activity remained strong but supply constraints held back production. Revenue was up 14%.
Stanley Black & Decker reported a 20% jump in sales on higher prices but said commodities and transport costs would rise an extra $600 million this year.
U.S. Steel’s profit rose to $882 million from $91 million a year ago, attributed to higher prices and rising demand for pipe used in oil and gas development.
Thefts of catalytic convertors containing coveted precious metals surged over 400% in the first year of the pandemic, the latest available data, causing a spike in business at dealership service centers.
U.S. plastics recycling weight fell almost 6% from 2019 to 2020 as the pandemic upended recycling collection.
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