Oil prices rose for a fifth straight session Monday amid concerns over tight global fuel supplies. Crude futures were lower in morning trading today, with the WTI off 1.0% at $74.69/bbl and Brent down 1.2% to $78.59/bbl. Natural gas futures jumped 2.5% to $5.85/MMBtu.
Natural gas and power prices are surging to all-time highs in the EU, a result of limited natural gas imports from Norway and Russia and higher costs associated with a government-driven shift toward cleaner fuel sources.
The U.K. took emergency steps to allow oil companies to help each other stock up on gasoline and diesel, as panic buying the past week left up to 90% of fuel pumps dry in some of the nation’s largest cities. The shortages are beginning to materially impact small businesses, key workers and taxi drivers, as military personnel were put on standby to potentially help prop up the nation’s supply chains.
Coal stockpiles in India, one of the world’s largest consumers of the fuel, have fallen to their lowest levels since 2017 amid surging natural gas prices that have required more coal-powered plants to be fired up.
The plastics industry is opposing a proposal in the Senate Finance Committee that would impose up to a 20-cent-per-pound excise tax on virgin resin to encourage recycling and help pay for the $3.5 trillion spending bill pending in Congress.
Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.
A wave of COVID-19 Delta-variant cases in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines is causing production delays at factories that cut and package semiconductors, exacerbating the global shortage.
With an emergency bill failing to advance out of the U.S. Senate Monday evening, the stakes are rising for congressional lawmakers ahead of Thursday’s deadline to fund the government and raise the country’s borrowing limit.
Over 98% of drivers for British logistics provider Yodel voted to strike, completely halting the firm’s deliveries to retailers, supermarkets and numerous other businesses. The news followed an announcement by the British prime minister to authorize temporary visas for foreign truck drivers to ease a shortage affecting key products.
A shortage of British warehouse workers is pushing up average wages more than 30% as logistics firms broaden recruitment incentives.
For the second week, spot container freight rates to both the U.S. East and West coasts eased from recent record highs on the Freightos Baltic Index, a positive sign for beleaguered U.S. shippers.
Congestion near southern California ports is straining nearby warehouse capacity to the limits, prompting freight to be sent inland earlier and pushing up spot rates faster than expected out of the Los Angeles region.
Reported COVID-19 cases in children eased to 206,864 last week but rose to nearly 27% of total infections. Fifty-five percent of parents of children under age 12 say they will get their kids inoculated when a vaccine is available.
New orders for U.S. durable goods rose 1.8% to a record $263.5 billion from July to August, with a 5.5% increase in orders for transportation equipment leading the rise. Core capital goods orders increased 0.5% for the same period, a positive trend.
The U.S. secretary of commerce indicated she will attempt to strengthen business ties between the U.S. and China despite ongoing problems with Chinese subsidized exports and intellectual property theft.
U.S. home construction rose 3.9% from July to August but was down from the same time last year due to continued supply chain disruptions for key building materials.
On average, would-be U.S. homebuyers now must save up for eight years for the typical down payment on a home, up from seven years before the pandemic.
Roughly 3.5 million mothers with school-age children have lost their jobs, taken leave or left the labor market since the start of the pandemic, prompting more U.S. businesses to boost flexibility and child-support measures. In a McKinsey study, one-third of professional women say they have considered leaving or downshifting their careers over the past year.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency extended for the fourth time its forbearance programs for multifamily properties, which were scheduled to expire at the end of this month.
U.S. homicides rose nearly 30% in 2020 from the prior year to 21,570, the largest single-year increase ever.
With more than 500 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 population, Norway’s and Bulgaria’s COVID-19 status was raised to “Level 4: Very High“, the CDC’s highest. The CDC also elevated its advisory status for Singapore from Level 2 to Level 3 and Hong Kong from Level 1 to Level 2.
Deaths from unknown causes increased 30% in Brazil last year, evidence of a severe underreporting of COVID-19 fatalities for the nation with the world’s second-largest virus death count behind the U.S.
Australian authorities unveiled plans to gradually reopen locked-down Sydney starting Oct. 11, with plans for some form of proof of COVID-19 vaccination required to access most activities.
With nearly 85% of its residents inoculated, Portugal is winding down its military-led team set up eight months ago to lead the nation’s vaccination program, with most pandemic restrictions to be lifted Friday.
Lending to euro zone companies slowed last month, extending a downtrend and raising concerns among policymakers about a bloc-wide reluctance to extend credit.
Europe’s advancing shift to electric vehicles is expected to require large investments in “reskilling” programs in the auto industry.
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