Crude benchmarks rose about 2% last week for their fifth straight week of gains. Oil futures were lower in late morning trading, with WTI down 3.0% at $82.58/bbl and Brent down 2.6% at $85.65/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 0.6% higher at $4.02/MMBtu.
The construction of Mexico’s giant Dos Bocas oil refinery is reportedly running $3.6 billion over budget, while delays could mean operations may not start in time for the state oil firm’s plan to end gas imports in 2023.
Container spot rates from Asia to the U.S. West Coast spiked up to 5% last week as demand rose ahead of China’s week-long New Year holiday starting Feb.1.
After losing $5 million to cargo thefts the past year, Union Pacific said it is considering “serious changes” to its operating plans to avoid Los Angeles County, home of the U.S.’s largest transport network.
Container throughput at the Port of Singapore declined slightly in December but ended the year 1.6% higher at 37.5 million TEUs, making it the world’s busiest container transshipment port. The island also reached a four-year high in bunker sales last year.
Trailer orders fell an annual 40% in December on supply disruptions, labor shortages and sporadic part and component availability, according to ACT Research.
The U.S. consumer-price index rose at its fastest pace since 1982 in December, jumping 7% from the year-ago period, while the food-at-home index rose 6.5% in 2021, the largest over-the-year increase since 2008.
COVID-19-induced worker shortages are adding further strain to the U.S. food supply, with in-stock levels falling to a half-year low.
Prices for palm oil, the world’s most consumed edible oil, rose 2.6% to an all-time high of $1,272/ton last week due to labor shortages in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Prices for construction materials rose 20% last year, including a 34% hike in plastic construction products.
Hundreds of British construction businesses are failing every month due to rising material prices and labor shortages.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arkansas set a record high on Saturday for the fifth consecutive day.
COVID-19 cases are surging among children in New Mexico, with more than 10,000 pediatric infections reported for the week ending Jan. 17. The virus also is causing staffing shortages among teachers, prompting the state to streamline the process to allow National Guard members and state workers, including the governor, to work as substitute teachers.
New York’s COVID-19 positivity rate dropped below 10% over the weekend for the first time since Dec. 20, while virus hospitalizations have dropped 12% over the past 10 days.
American optimism over the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching all-time lows:
Health officials are tracking a subvariant of Omicron, named BA2, or the “stealth Omicron,” which has been detected in 40 countries and may be more transmissible than its predecessor, BA1.
Without a consistent set of rules on COVID-19, businesses are being forced to navigate an increasingly complex and often contradictory patchwork of federal, state and local regulations on vaccines, testing and safety measures.
COVID-19 booster doses made by Pfizer and Moderna were 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations from the Omicron variant, the latest data shows.
COVID-19 vaccines for U.S. children under the age of 5 could be approved by March, federal health officials say.
The largest workforce shortage of the pandemic came during the first half of January with nearly 9 million people out sick or caring for sick loved ones, new data shows:
The U.S. began imposing its new COVID-19 vaccine requirement for non-citizens arriving at the nation’s land ports of entry and ferry terminals, requiring anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to provide proof of full vaccination to enter the country.
Both United Airlines and American Airlines posted losses for the final quarter of 2021, citing impacts from the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Executives expect a return to profitability to be delayed by half a year or more.
Just 18 U.S. flights were canceled on the second day of 5G network rollouts last Thursday, as the FAA continues to expand airline operations in 5G zones.
GM and its battery partner plan to invest $6.5 billion in electric vehicle and battery plants in Michigan, expected to create 4,000 jobs in Lansing and Greater Detroit.
Russia reported more than 63,000 COVID-19 infections yesterday, its third record high in as many days.
Germany’s leaders were meeting today to confer on the nation’s COVID-19 response after a string of daily new case records over the past two weeks and as the infection rate soared to over 840 per 100,000 citizens.
The Czech Republic recorded nearly 13,000 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, the most since the start of the pandemic.
Single-day COVID-19 fatalities in Australia hit a new high over the weekend.
Hong Kong and China have resumed some Boeing 737 MAX flights following a more than two-year grounding of the aircraft.
A legal battle is escalating between Airbus, the world’s largest plane maker, and Qatar Airways, the world’s largest long-haul airline, with Airbus recently terminating a $6 billion jet contract with the carrier.
Eurozone economic activity grew at its slowest pace in nearly a year as COVID-19 infections take a toll on the services industry, with IHS Markit’s purchasing managers index dropping to 52.4 in January from 53.3 in December.
Debit card usage in the U.K. rose significantly for the first two weeks of the year, with consumer spending up 27% from the same period of 2020, though rising inflation in the nation has caused concern that the spending is unsustainable.
China’s economy expanded 8.1% last year despite slowing growth in the final months of 2021. The nation’s goods exports rose 30% to a record $3.36 trillion.
Foreign investment rebounded to $1.65 trillion last year to surpass pre-pandemic levels, while relatively little of the surge went toward boosting manufacturing capacity despite widespread goods shortages.
A Mitsubishi/Nissan/Renault alliance is expected to announce plans to invest over $23 billion to develop 30 electric vehicle models on five different platforms.
Luxury car brands including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche and BMW are reporting record sales while sales of mainstream vehicles lag.
The relative ease of building electric cars is allowing new entrants into the world of vehicle manufacturing, most recently consumer electronics giant Sony.
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