War in Eastern Europe is rippling through global oil markets:
Brent surpassed $105/bbl for the first time since 2014 yesterday before settling at $99.08/bbl. WTI reached an intraday high above $100/bbl and closed 0.8% higher at $92.81/bbl. In mid-morning trading today, Brent futures were down 1.9% at $97.17/bbl, WTI was down 1.3% at $94.60/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was 4.4% lower at $4.44/MMBtu.
The U.S. surpassed Qatar in December as the world’s biggest LNG exporter for the first time, primarily on shipments to Europe — to which at least 11 tankers diverted from planned destinations in Asia between Dec. 17 and Jan. 10.
Shell expects global LNG demand to nearly double by 2040 compared to 2021 levels, with about 70% of the increase coming from China.
Houston-based LNG exporter Cheniere Energy raised its earnings outlook by 20% on expected volume gains from new production capacity.
Swaths of commodity benchmarks soared on Thursday in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the agriculture sector — in which Russia and Ukraine account for nearly 30% of global wheat exports and 20% of corn exports — prices for wheat on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reached their highest level in more than nine years, while European wheat futures climbed to a new record.
The global chip shortage could worsen as Ukrainian supplies of neon and other rare metals disappear from markets.
The numbers of container ships queuing at the Port of Houston (19) and the Port of Charleston (33) are at all-time highs.
Industry stakeholders expect a record average price of between $7,000 and $8,000 to move a 40-foot box from China to the West Coast when yearlong freight contracts start renewing next week, higher than last year’s average of around $5,500.
The share of container ships arriving on time in 2021 was down to 35.8% from 78% in 2019, according to industry data provider Sea-Intelligence.
Flexport said in its Ocean Timeliness Indicator report for last week that it took an average of 109 days to deliver a container from Asia to the U.S. West Coast, up from between 40 and 50 days days pre-pandemic.
The average container was moved 17.8 times last year, down from 20.1 moves in 2018, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants.
California added six “pop up” storage yards, enough to store 20,000 shipping containers, to help ease congestion at overwhelmed ports.
South Korea’s Sinokor recently landed the container segment’s “deal of the year” with the sale of four boxships between 4,000-7,500 TEUs for $350 million, a 613% increase in value. Separately, Navios Maritime Partners agreed to sell two 16-year-old 8,204-TEU ships for a combined $220 million, as the container segment starts off 2022 with record sales.
Consumer spending rose a higher than expected 2.1% in January, while capital goods orders rose 0.9%, the highest pace in four months.
Over 60% of U.S. workers who telecommute are doing so by choice, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, signaling that reluctance to return to the office is less about COVID than it is about convenience.
Americans are venturing out to the gym again, with Planet Fitness recently surpassing pre-pandemic levels of membership with 15.6 million active customers.
TJ Maxx missed quarterly earnings estimates by a wide margin and reported as much as $1.61 billion in lost sales last year due to COVID-19-induced store closures.
New jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 17,000 to 232,000 for the week ended Feb. 19, while continuing claims — a proxy for the total number of Americans on state unemployment rolls — dropped to the lowest level since 1970.
The U.S. economy grew at a 7% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2021, slightly higher than the Commerce Department’s initial estimate of 6.9%, new data shows.
Single-family home sales dropped 4.5% in January, new data shows, the first decline in three months. Meanwhile, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dipped slightly to 3.89% this week but remains more than half-a-percentage-point higher than Jan. 1.
Booking.com’s gross travel bookings were up 160% last quarter from the same time a year ago as revenue nearly doubled, while staying below pre-pandemic levels.
Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev reported higher fourth-quarter sales, buoyed by drinkers returning to bars and buying pricier beers.
South Korea saw a second straight day of record COVID-19 infections above 170,000.
Hong Kong posted a record 8,674 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday, the first day that proof-of-vaccine requirements for indoor venues took effect. The island started bringing in doctors from mainland China to help with overwhelmed hospitals.