Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.
Boosted by prospects for further federal stimulus, crude prices jumped higher in early trading today with the WTI up 1.0% at $62.09/bbl and Brent up 1.0% at $65.04/bbl. The natural gas price followed crude, up 0.6% at $2.79/MMBtu.
With supermajors cutting back activity in the U.S. shale industry, obscure private producers are stepping in, with closely held players running more rigs than Chevron and Exxon for the first time in modern shale history.
Refinery closures in the U.S. have led to a collapse in exports of lower quality oil from Europe, widening the price spread between crude and higher-sulfur fuel oil.
India’s largest oil refinery will invest nearly $5 billion in a three-year project to expand processing capacity by two-thirds to up to 500,000 bpd.
Russian oil production dropped by 77,000 bpd in February compared to the month prior, a result of unusually cold Siberian weather that has reduced pipeline flows from some oil fields.
OPEC+ members complied at 103% with the cartel’s oil output cuts in January, a higher-than-expected level.
Saudi Aramco is asking banks for a year’s extension on a $10 billion loan it raised last May, suggesting rebounding crude prices are not prompting the oil giant to reduce debt in the near term.
Mexican gas provider Cenegas has resumed gas service to Braskem Idesa after Braskem S.A. entered a memorandum of understanding with Pemex, Mexico’s state-run oil company, regarding potential amendments to an ethane supply contract that has been in dispute.
Air freight loads from China to Europe remained far higher than normal during the Lunar New Year, indicating elevated consumer demand as Chinese factories stayed open.
Congested ports are delaying a return of shipping containers to China, delaying the nation’s exports and raising shipping costs, which have risen four-fold in the past year.
With containership charter rates reaching a 13-year high, ship owners are eager to lock in prices on three- and five-year deals with carriers.
The pandemic’s shift toward food delivery and pickup has pressured suppliers to innovate takeout packaging, straining supply chains with increased competition for raw materials.
The freight trucking industry is set to undergo a shift toward digitization over the next decade, potentially requiring employees to learn new skills including crowdsourced delivery, truck platooning, predictive maintenance, smart cargo and automated driver assistance.
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.
There were 51,204 new COVID-19 infections recorded in the U.S. yesterday and 1,097 deaths; 7.6% of the population has now been vaccinated.
Recent drops in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have left some U.S. health officials optimistic, while others warn that case counts are still high and public immunity is not widespread enough to drop safety precautions.
February’s COVID-19 case count of 2.17 million was the third highest of the pandemic, but down by two-thirds from the peak levels of December and January. A recent plateauing of infection rates has experts concerned that new variants may be taking hold in the U.S.
Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine was cleared for use in the U.S., providing a third shot for Americans and filling logistical holes in the nation’s immunization campaign. Compared with other approved alternatives, the vaccine requires only one dose instead of two, is as effective in staving off infection and serious symptoms and can be stored in ordinary refrigerators.
With three shots now available, public health experts are warning people not to “shop” for any one vaccine over the others as supplies remain tight.
Equity in the U.S.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is lacking, with significantly lower proportions of Black and Latino populations having received shots than other groups. The problem is compounded by the lack of primary-care doctors or doctor-affiliated hospitals for many people in medically underserved communities.
The House of Representatives passed a further $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief plan, which includes $1,400 direct checks to many Americans alongside enhanced jobless benefits and funding for vaccines and testing. The bill now heads to the Senate.
American household income rose 10% in January from the previous month, the second-largest monthly increase on record spurred by the federal government’s $900 billion stimulus program and direct checks.
Many U.S. companies are expecting another year of mostly remote work, bringing continued questions about compensation and benefits, including whether to reduce salaries of employees who have left high-cost cities; who should shoulder tax costs; and how to support working parents.
South Korea vaccinated nearly 19,000 people against COVID-19 with Pfizer/BioNTech shots on its first day of rollouts late last week.
Less than a third of Filipinos are willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to perceptions of potential side-effects, a hurdle as the country kicks off its inoculation campaign today. The country is extending coronavirus restrictions in the capital until the end of March.
Israel will administer COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 130,000 Palestinians who work in Israel or in its West Bank settlements. ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in the West Bank have reached 95% of capacity as schools in the region begin a 12-day closure to contain surging infections.
Vaccine “passports” could provide a way for people to prove they have been inoculated against COVID-19, but they raise ethical concerns about excluding people from daily life. The U.K.’s government will soon hold a hearing as it considers implementing a passports plan.
Current governmental pledges to reduce emissions fall short of the required 45% carbon dioxide cut needed by 2030 to limit earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, considered a tipping point for the most severe forms of environmental damage.
European consumers are buying electric vehicles (EVs) at the world’s fastest pace, encouraged by government subsidies and increased availability of new EV models. Last year, the bloc passed China as the world’s largest EV market.
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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.