Oil prices finished slightly higher on Thursday after dropping to six-week lows as investors wondered how much crude major economies would release from strategic reserves at the urging of the U.S.
Crude futures were hammered in late morning trading on concerns about renewed COVID-19 lockdowns, with WTI down 3.8% at $76.05/bbl and Brent down 3.2% at $78.62/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 0.9% higher at $4.95/MMBtu.
Saudi Arabian crude exports rose to 6.52 million bpd in September, the fifth consecutive monthly increase and the highest since January.
Gas stockpiles in the U.S. East Coast, the nation’s largest importing region, fell to their lowest level since 2017, spurred by a 51% drop in October deliveries from Europe, normally the top foreign supplier. Natural gas futures rose about 2% Thursday on the news, while LNG exports climbed to near record highs on increased production at Cheniere Energy’s plant in Louisiana.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed an extension of a deadline for oil refiners to comply with new biofuel blending laws.
Spot freight rates for LNG tankers in Asia surged to $316,750 per day Tuesday, a fivefold increase from two months prior.
U.K. utility National Grid boosted earnings projections with power prices remaining well above historical norms. European coal plants are also enjoying surging profits after running at full capacity during the bloc’s energy crunch.
Two dozen European companies are planning long-term investments of $94 billion to convert most of the bloc’s gas pipelines to carry zero-emissions hydrogen.
Oil and gas companies have raked in record amounts of private-sector financing during the ultra-low interest rates of the pandemic, issuing a record $198.8 billion of bonds in 2020, $37.2 billion more than the previous record from 2013.
Royal Dutch Shell has acquired a 51% stake in a floating wind project offshore western Ireland, expected to develop 1.35 GW of power generation.
Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.
Access to the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest gateway, remains blocked after days of torrential rain and landslides. Twenty vessels and several hundred thousand tons of grain are stuck in transit, according to Quorum, a company that monitors Canada’s grain transportation system.
U.S. imports from Asia fell 2.4% in October from record highs, with the month remaining the third busiest on record.
The federal government is reviewing the impact of precision scheduled railroading, likely an attempt to get ahead of regulatory concerns relating to the proposed merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern.
The EU is considering relaxing state-aid rules to allow for the funding of new chip plants in a bid to ease shortages throughout the bloc.
Ford and GM are looking to produce their own computer chips after years of shortages, with both automakers recently announcing new ties with some of the biggest names in semiconductors.
Stocks of chipmakers Nvidia, Qualcomm and AMD are all up more than 30% the past month, with analysts expecting their collective earnings to be up 56% in the third quarter from a year ago.
Florida’s governor signed legislation that imposes per-violation fines of $10,000 for small businesses and $50,000 for larger enterprises that enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates. It was one of four new state laws passed relating to vaccines and face masks.
Over 10% of U.S. children aged 5 to 11 have received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Macy’s is considering spinning off its e-commerce operations after reporting strong quarterly growth Thursday. Recently, the retailer announced plans for a new online marketplace through its website for third-party sellers.
GM’s fledgling commercial electric-vehicle unit secured an order for 5,400 vehicles from Merchants Fleet, a business and government vehicle lessor.
A new variant of the COVID-19 Delta strain, AY.4.2, now accounts for 12% of new cases in the U.K., though researchers say it is less likely to cause symptoms. The nation reported 46,807 new infections Thursday, the most in a month, alongside 199 virus deaths.
The Netherlands reported 20,829 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday, its second straight day of cases topping 20,000, but will keep schools open despite all-time highs for new cases in children as young as 4.
Austria became the first EU nation to reimpose a full lockdown amid rising COVID-19 infections and is mandating vaccines for all eligible citizens by February.
Japanese lawmakers approved a $490 billion pandemic recovery package, including direct cash payments to most small families and smaller companies. More than $880 million in additional funding will go to domestic suppliers of electric-vehicle batteries.
India economists expect the economy to grow a better-than-expected 7.5% next year on higher exports, retail sales and power demand.
Moody’s estimates that G20 financial firms have nearly 20% (roughly $22 trillion) of their portfolios tied to carbon-intensive industries, as growing net-zero pledges from governments spur action in the financial and industrial sectors:
Mercedes’ parent Daimler plans to manufacture its first in-house electric motor at a plant in Berlin, which the company expects could boost the average range of electric vehicles up to 7%.
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