U.S. benchmark WTI briefly rose above $80/bbl Friday, its highest level in seven years. Crude prices were up roughly 1.1% on the day and nearly 5% on the week on further signs that industries have begun switching from high-priced gas to oil, a transition that could push prices toward $100/bbl, some analysts predict.
U.S. natural gas prices spiked over $6/MMBtu Friday, the highest levels in a decade and more than double prices in January, yet still just a fraction of extreme prices in Europe that rose to the crude oil equivalent of about $200/bbl Friday.
Oil futures were higher in late morning trading, with WTI up 2.3% at $81.16/bbl and Brent up 2.0% at $84.02/bbl. U.S. natural gas futures were down 4.0% trading at $5.34/MMBtu.
Higher U.S. energy prices in everything from liquid fuels to natural gas to coal could push up inflation in the coming months and slow the nation’s recovery, economists predict.
Wholesale gas prices have increased 400% this year in Europe due to low stocks and strong demand from Asia.
India, the world’s second largest coal consumer after China, is suffering electricity outages due to a lack of coal, with over half of its 135 coal-fired power plants having less than three days of supply. Residents in many regions are experiencing power cuts stretching up to 14 hours a day.
Some of the U.S.’s largest retailers have resorted to chartering their own cargo ships to import goods in time for the holiday season, a tactic used to mitigate supply chain disruptions that could also end up further raising prices.
An uptick in freighters landing at major U.S. gateways is creating more logjams at almost every link in U.S. logistics networks.
Daily rates for LNG carriers on U.S. Gulf-to-Japan routes are 93% higher than the same time last year, as Europe and Asia boost their competition for gas cargoes.
Cotton prices have surged 18% over the past month and more than 40% year to date, sending the shares of apparel companies tumbling.
For a partial list of automotive disruptions caused by semiconductor and component shortages, clickhere.
Our Logistics team reports the following:
Bulk trucking capacity is very limited as demand is exceeding supply.
Dry van (full, partial and less-than-truckload) capacity is very limited as demand exceeds supply.
Port congestion continues to be very problematic, delaying deliveries of imported containers.
Packaging and pulverizing/grinding production challenges persist as demand is exceeding supply.
The U.S. reported 22,194 new COVID-19 infections and 255 virus deaths Sunday.
The U.S.’s daily average for COVID-19 cases dropped below 100,000 Thursday for the first time since August. With just 56% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated, officials are warning about another winter surge.
North Dakota’s governor is calling on its residents to avoid participating in any risky behavior to help alleviate the burden on the state’s hospitals, where COVID-19 infections remain high amid low vaccination rates.
Health officials are cautioning against rushing booster vaccine doses for people previously infected with COVID-19 who also had their first two shots, as previous infection effectively serves as a dose of the vaccine.
Roughly 10% fewer Americans are considering traveling this holiday season amid continued high levels of COVID-19.
The bulk of Walmart’s employees have already complied with the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, while remaining unvaccinated staff have until the end of the month to get inoculated.
A top Federal Reserve official is urging regulators to issue new climate-change rules for the nation’s biggest banks, including measuring and monitoring risks for investments.
U.S. electric-vehicle manufacturing is shifting south, with car and battery makers planning to spend nearly $24 billion in new factories from Arizona to Georgia.
Tesla delivered more than 627,000 new vehicles in the first nine months of 2021, defying many of the impacts suffered by competitors from the global chip shortage.
A growing number of automakers and energy firms are investing in direct lithium extraction, a method of extraction that uses less land and water and could provide up to 25% or more of global demand for the key battery metal by 2030.
Venezuela reported more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases last week, a record high amid extremely low vaccination rates.
Russia reported more than 49,000 COVID-19 deaths in August, the second-most on record, as the nation surpassed 420,000 virus fatalities since the start of the pandemic. The nation reported an additional 957 COVID-19-related deaths Monday, nearing the country’s all-time high of 968 it reported just two days ago, while the number of hospitalizations from the virus has doubled over the last two weeks. Russia is suspending rocket testing at one of its design bureaus to save oxygen for hospitals.
Amid its most recent wave of COVID-19, Romania is preparing to send some COVID-19 patients to hospitals in neighboring European nations due to overflow.
Singapore is loosening COVID-19 travel restrictions in a bid to regain its status as one of the world’s biggest travel and finance hubs. The move caused the website for Singapore Airlines to crash over the weekend, as travel agencies reported a surge in demand for flights to the region.
Mexico’s inflation rate topped 6% in September, double Central Bank targets.
Canada reported a net 157,100 new jobs in September with the jobless rate slipping below 6.9%, an 18-month low.
The volume of German exports fell in August for the first time in 15 months, following a string of economic indicators showing the impact of supply chain inflationary pressures.
Chinese leaders are scrambling to address roughly $5 trillion in property debt taken on by developers in recent years, a growing threat to the nation’s ability to borrow and stave off economic decline. Activity in the nation’s services sector returned to growth in September, with an index rising to 53.4 from 46.7 in August.
The U.K. is facing a pilot shortage that could hamper the reopening of the travel industry following hundreds of pilot retirements or career-switches during the pandemic.
Indonesia is set to become Asia’s fourth country to introduce a carbon tax, with analysts worrying the measure could undermine the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness.
During the first eight months of 2021, global companies spent more than $107 million on carbon offsets, up from $72.1 million in all of 2020.
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