The pandemic sapped oil demand and profits for oil majors last year, with multibillion-dollar net losses reported by Exxon Mobil ($22 billion), BP ($18.1 billion) and Chevron ($5.5 billion) in one of the industry’s worst-performing years.
A shortage of cardboard caused by a surge in online shipments and economic recovery is disrupting supply chains and forcing some retailers to shift from cardboard to plastic packaging. Wood pulp prices are soaring due to increased demand and speculation in China.
The U.S. Postal Service is considering raising postage prices by 5.5% to 9% this year for letters, magazines, catalogs and other items, leading a group of commercial mailers and printers to seek federal injunctions on the service’s pricing powers.
California is calling on the Federal Maritime Commission to take immediate steps to review carrier export policies after shipments of U.S. agricultural exports were shunned in favor of sending empty containers back to Asia, where outgoing rates are higher.
Swedish truck maker AB Volvo reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results but warned supply chain challenges could impact results in the current quarter.
Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability, continuing congestion at ports, and backlogs at warehousing and packaging facilities due in part to operating challenges related to the pandemic. Shipping containers are in short supply, with demurrage charges rising. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.
There were 114,437 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. yesterday and 3,530 fatalities.
Illinois’ COVID-19 case count fell to 2,304 on Tuesday, the lowest daily figure since Oct. 6 for one of the nation’s most improved states for pandemic figures.
New research results show AstraZeneca/Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine is 76% effective after a single dose. Its effectiveness is heightened to 82.4% by spreading the second required shot out by as much as three months, researchers say.
Private employers added 174,000 jobs in January, according to ADP, more than three times estimates.
More fourth quarter earnings reports reflect the pandemic’s impact on the economy:
Amazon’s fourth quarter revenues surged 44% to $126 billion as the company also announced that its founder is stepping down as CEO to become Executive Chairman and spend more time on philanthropy.
Google parent Alphabet reported record revenue of $56.9 billion, up from $43.2 billion a year ago, on greater sales in the company’s advertising unit primarily due to higher search activity and YouTube viewership. The company’s cloud business, however, suffered an operating loss of $1.2 billion as the relatively nascent unit seeks expansion over profitability.
Pfizer reported a 12% increase in revenue last quarter compared with the year-ago period, with the company forecasting $15 billion in sales in 2021 from its COVID-19 vaccine.
The eurozone’s economy is faltering under the weight of persistently high COVID-19 infections, lockdowns and slow vaccine rollouts, causing the bloc’s GDP to contract 0.7% in the three months through December when other economies were rebounding.
The European Union Central Bank welcomed a 0.9% rise in inflation in January, the first increase in six months.
A Purchasing Managers Index in Japan shrank from 47.7 in December to 46.1 in January, the lowest reading since August, indicating sector contraction.
Chinese seat capacity on domestic and international flights fell more than 20% from the end of September, as COVID-19 waves dent Asia’s aviation recovery.
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