The White House formally urged OPEC to increase its oil output, saying rising prices threaten the global economic recovery. Oil prices erased early losses yesterday following the announcement, closing more than 1% higher.
Energy futures eased in mid-day trading today, with WTI down 0.7% at $68.77/bbl and Brent down 0.7% at $70.97/bbl. Natural gas was 2.3% lower at $3.96/MMBtu.
The International Energy Agency reported a 120,000 bpd demand slump month over month in July, while downgrading second-half growth forecasts by half-a-million bpd due to spreading global COVID-19 infections.
U.S. road travel increased 14.5% in June compared to 2020 levels, fueled by a resurgence in rural driving and increasing numbers of employees returning to offices.
Deal-making in the oil and gas industry has jumped this year amid an increase in oil and gas prices. Most recently, Chesapeake Energy announced plans to buy rival Vine Energy for $615 million, banking on its proximity to the U.S. Gulf Coast export hub.
Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.
Wildfires are continuing to spread across the U.S. West:
California’s Dixie Fire, the largest in state history, surpassed 500,000 acres with only 30% containment.
Strong winds are spreading Montana’s Richard Spring Fire uncontrollably, forcing evacuations around the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.
With the blaze 96% contained, evacuations stemming from Southern Oregon’s Bootleg Fire are set to be lifted Monday.
Tropical Storm Fred continued to approach Florida Wednesday, passing through Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as Florida’s governor urged residents to review their disaster plans.
At least 65 people died in Algeria as wildfires continue to spread in the Mediterranean, with Greece hit particularly hard. The blazes come amid the region’s highest temperatures in decades, with Sicily recently breaking Europe’s all time high of nearly 120 degrees.
Operations at China’s Ningbo port, the world’s largest and third-busiest, were partially suspended Wednesday after a terminal worker tested positive for COVID-19. The pandemic-induced disruption was China’s second in a month after the closure of Yantian port in Shenzhen.
A worker strike at German railway operator Deutsche Bahn stretched into its third day, heavily disrupting passenger and cargo traffic across the country.
Kansas City Southern de México reports that shippers are diverting deliveries away from Mexico’s Pacific ports after numerous blockades of local rail lines imposed by disgruntled teachers in a labor dispute.
U.S. manufacturer orders more than doubled in the second quarter of 2021 from the same time last year, yet invoices provided by suppliers have not kept pace, reflecting growing transportation difficulties and supply-chain backlogs.
Auto sales are down drastically in the U.K. since last year, a result of growing production disruption caused by the global semiconductor shortage:
A new report by JPMorgan says that current global supply chain disruptions are causing an unprecedented inventory slump not typically seen outside of a recession.
Analysts report that the global shipping industry is seeing its biggest disruption in 65 years, evidenced by more than 350 container ships anchored outside ports around the world and a current 12-day delay for ships looking to enter the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. are at their highest levels in six months, with the country averaging more than 110,000 daily infections this week, a 25.5% increase from the week prior. The CDC warned that virus hospitalizations could quadruple by Labor Day.
The U.S. reported 135,177 new COVID-19 infections and 342 virus deaths Wednesday.
There were 94,000 pediatric cases of COVID-19 over the past week, 15% of all new infections and the highest percentage of infections among children of the pandemic.
The pace of people receiving first COVID-19 vaccine doses has nearly doubled from a month ago, ending a monthslong decline as new infections pick up across the country.
Florida saw 24,753 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, a record, alongside 14,787 total virus hospitalizations yesterday, 45% more than the July 2020 peak. The federal government provided the state with hundreds of ventilators and other health equipment, while the state’s governor threatened to withhold salaries from school leaders who enact mask mandates.
Mississippi’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 infections has increased tenfold in the past month, with virus patients now filling 47% of the state’s ICU beds and straining the healthcare system. The state’s largest hospital system has been forced to convert a parking lot into a COVID-19 ward and request additional medical professionals from the federal government.
Oklahoma reported 2,199 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, while the state’s average number of virus hospitalizations rose to more than 1,100 for the past three days.
Louisiana reported 3,930 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, while 2,895 patients were hospitalized with the virus, a pandemic record.
More than 2.5 million Americans purchased health insurance through online marketplaces after the White House extended the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment window due to the pandemic.
Liability insurers are lowering the amount of coverage they offer companies amid an expected surge in COVID-19-related claims stemming from more workers returning to offices.
First-time unemployment claims fell by 12,000 last week to 375,000, the third consecutive weekly decline.
The U.S. job market continues to show strong signs of recovery, with the number of job openings climbing to an all-time high of 10.1 million in June, while layoffs dropped to a record low of 1.3 million:
Despite improving employment numbers, the hospitality industry continues to see broad labor shortages as more people hold off for better, safer or higher-paying jobs:
U.S. home mortgage applications rose 2.8% last week as the average 30-year mortgage rate stayed below 3% for the second consecutive week.
Japan reported 15,812 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday, a record, despite administering more than 100 million vaccine doses and surpassing the U.S. in the proportion of its older population that is fully vaccinated.
Australia’s capital of Canberra, experiencing its first COVID-19 outbreak in more than a year, announced a snap one-week lockdown yesterday evening, as Sydney considers beefing up its military presence to help ensure compliance with restrictions.
New COVID-19 cases in France rose above 30,000 for the first time since April.
With only half of its population vaccinated against COVID-19, Switzerland is considering ending its free COVID-19 testing program for those who are unvaccinated.
Israel reported 6,275 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the most since February.
A new report from the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation says that the global economic recovery may be slowing as the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant causes people to rethink how they spend their money.
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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.