Oil prices fell nearly 1% Tuesday after the International Energy Agency warned the COVID-19 Omicron variant could dent global demand. Crude futures were lower in morning trading ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy announcement, with WTI down 1.0% at $70.06/bbl and Brent down 0.7% at $73.18/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 3.3% higher at $3.87/MMBtu.
The American Petroleum Institute predicts the U.S. probably saw a lower-than-expected crude draw of 815,000 barrels this week.
Forecasts from the U.S. administration and the International Energy Agency are sharply diverging from OPEC’s predictions about higher oil demand in the first quarter of 2022.
China’s state-owned Sinopec added 104.88 billion cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves at a field in the Sichuan basin, which now accounts for some 34% of the nation’s total proven shale gas reserves.
Shell announced plans to buy U.S.-based solar and energy storage developer Savion as it continues its expansion into renewable energy with a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
U.K.-based Sembcorp Industries plans to build a 360 MW battery storage facility, Europe’s largest, on the northeast coast of England as the country pushes toward a long-term net-zero goal.
A powerful storm system along the West Coast is dropping heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Cascade Range while bringing substantial wind and rain at lower elevations from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California.
Spread out across 1,000 miles of coastline, 101 container ships are now awaiting entry to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with some voyages taking longer than 45 days to berth.
Container spot rates on the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index were up 1.8% to 4,811 points last Friday, an all-time high.
Intra-continental freight shipments across North America rose 4.5% year over year in November while freight expenditures rose 44%, according to the latest Cass Freight Index.
Pandemic restrictions have been tightened on truckers serving China’s Ningbo port, the world’s third-largest.
The Port of New Orleans took delivery of four new 250-foot cranes for handling the largest container ships, part of a spate of recent port upgrades and expansions.
Average spot rates for capesize bulkers fell 15.1% Tuesday to $32,838 per day, with analysts pointing to typical market volatility.
Pakistan is planning to buy another four large vessels to expand its shipping fleet to 15, as officials seek to capitalize on the nation’s geographic position.
Walmart announced plans to open its first fulfillment center in Tennessee, a 925,000 square-foot facility that will help the retailer build out its budding e-commerce distribution network.
The U.S. reported 113,749 new COVID-19 infections and 1,629 virus fatalities Tuesday.
The U.S. administration is bracing for a surge of new COVID-19 infections in the coming weeks. Early data suggests an Omicron-led virus wave would be less severe with fewer hospitalizations than previous waves of Delta. The variant now accounts for 3% of all new cases in the U.S.
New COVID-19 cases in Florida have risen 185% over the past two weeks, the fastest rise in the nation.
New York’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have risen a respective 58% and 70% since Thanksgiving.
Uber, Google and Ford are the latest large U.S. businesses to delay return-to-office plans amid rising COVID-19 cases. Google has also warned staff of reduced pay and potential firings if they do not get vaccinated.
U.S. wholesale prices rose an annual 9.6% in November, a record dating back to 2010. Prices for goods excluding food and energy rose a larger-than-expected 0.8% month over month, also a record from 2010.
Retail sales rose a weaker-than-expected 0.3% in November, down from the torrid 1.8% growth in October.
A first-of-its-kind global study of plastic-degrading bacteria found that microbes in oceans and soils across the globe are evolving to eat plastic, potentially paving the way for advancements in recycling technology.
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