Oil prices jumped over 5% Wednesday on the potential loss of 1.2% of daily global capacity after a storm damaged Black Sea pipelines owned by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium. Officials said the group’s oil supplies could be completely stopped for up to two months.
In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were down 1.4% at $113.40/bbl, Brent was off 1.6% at $119.70/bbl and U.S. natural gas was up 0.1% at $5.24/bbl.
U.S. crude stocks fell a surprise 2.5 million barrels last week on higher demand, government data showed, with production remaining flat at 11.6 million bpd for the seventh straight week.
A Federal Reserve index of oil and gas activity in Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico rose to 56 in the first quarter from 42.6 the previous quarter, marking the highest reading since the survey began six years ago.
Hong Kong is ending a ban on flights from certain countries, halving hotel quarantine requirements for arriving travelers, and reducing social distancing measures. The island also put its universal testing plans on indefinite hold.
An Italian study suggests proper building ventilation can reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in schools by as much as 82%.
British inflation is up to a 30-year high of 6.2% so far in March, prompting officials to reduce income taxes, double energy subsidies for households and implement the nation’s largest ever tax cut on auto fuel.
An index of European manufacturing activity is at its lowest level in 14 months:
Japanese consumer prices rose a smaller-than-expected 0.2% in February, the fifth straight monthly rise, as lawmakers assemble a new stimulus package to help ease food and fuel costs.
LG Energy Solution will invest $1.5 billion in a joint venture with Stellantis to start producing electric vehicle batteries in Canada by 2024. Separately, Stellantis is pairing up with Mercedes-Benz and TotalEnergies on a new battery plant in Italy.
Volkswagen plans to put $7 billion into expanding electric-vehicle battery production in Spain, including possible construction of a new plant outside Valencia that could include Ford as a partner.
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