Brent crude closed at a 13-month high yesterday and was down slightly in mid-day trading today at $63.07/bbl, while the WTI price was 0.2% higher at $59.64/bbl. Natural gas futures topped $3/MMBtu this morning, up 4.2% at $3.03/MMBtu.
Natural gas prices for physical delivery soared to as high as $500/MMBtu on spot markets on two Central U.S. trading hubs.
We expect continuing logistics disruption in the U.S. from severe winter conditions blanketing much of the country.
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.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are falling dramatically, offering hope that the U.S. is inching toward herd immunity with nearly 27 million Americans having recovered from the virus and nearly 40 million more having received at least one vaccine shot.
Long-haul symptoms of COVID-19 can put a heavy strain on employees expected to return to full workloads, though the lack of commutes and flexibility of remote schedules can aid in gradual reintegration.
Growth in non-farm employment has stalled in the U.S…
…while long-term unemployment levels are approaching highs of the Great Recession:
Households with incomes below $60,000 boosted spending by 20% upon receiving the last round of federal $600 relief checks, spending most of the funds almost immediately in early January.
Growing optimism about falling COVID-19 infection rates and the economic outlook sent the U.S. dollar to a three-week low against a basket of foreign currencies.
The Federal Reserve is beginning “stress tests” on the biggest American banks to gauge their viability in case of a severe, unexpected economic downturn. In two rounds of testing last year, the Fed concluded that banks were strong enough to withstand the pandemic.
Jaguar intends to make all its Jaguar-branded luxury cars entirely electric by 2025, while e-models of Jaguar’s entire lineup, which includes Land Rovers, will be available by 2030.
Pandemic lockdowns have prompted new trends in interior design, including “peacekeeping” screens, tucked-away TVs, handsome air purifiers, “wombs within rooms” and fancy yard tents.
The World Health Organization authorized AstraZeneca/Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The drugmaker also began running clinical trials for its vaccine on children under the age of 17 in Britain.
Mexico started a second wave of vaccine rollouts focused on the elderly yesterday but was caught with early snags that kept many people waiting for hours to receive shots.
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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.