Crude prices slipped in afternoon trading yesterday after the Energy Information Administration reported a smaller-than-anticipated inventory draw of 1 million barrels for the last week of January.
Energy prices were higher in early trading today, with the WTI up 0.8% at $56.13/bbl, Brent up 0.7% at $58.84/bbl, and natural gas 0.7% higher at $2.80/MMBtu.
While U.S. energy consumption will not return to 2019 levels until 2029, the nation’s oil production is set to surpass 2019’s record annual average of 12.25 million bpd within two years, the Energy Information Administration predicts.
Royal Dutch Shell reported lower-than-expected earnings in the fourth quarter and a deterioration of cash flow but still committed to increase its dividend in the current quarter, though dividend costs exceed free cash flow.
Pressure is building in China, Europe and Asia for government intervention to address worsening congestion and cost increases in the shipping industry.
General Motors is the latest to announce production cuts at several factories this month, including three in North America, due to a global shortage of semiconductor chips.
Shares of Qualcomm dropped 7.6% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company said semiconductor supply shortages were hampering its sales growth.
UPS posted a 21% jump in fourth-quarter sales to $24.9 billion, a record, helped in large part by orders from Amazon that made up more than 13% of the service’s full-year revenue.
Warehouse rental rates in the U.S. are predicted to rise 5% in 2021 and 4% globally, with e-commerce expected to drive a need for 200 million square feet of new space in the nation in the next few years.
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 121,469 new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. yesterday and 3,912 fatalities, pushing total fatalities to more than 450,000.
Kansas became the 33rd state to report a case of the more contagious and potentially more deadly variant of COVID-19 first discovered in the U.K., raising the case count for the variant to 541.
The White House has signaled openness to limiting the pool of Americans who could receive a proposed round of $1,400 direct payments under its $1.9 trillion stimulus and rescue plan.
More fourth-quarter earnings reports reflect the pandemic’s impact on the economy:
eBay’s holiday sales jumped 28% on a 7% jump in active buyers, prompting higher revenue and profit forecasts for the current period.
The booming housing market propelled UWM Holdings, the nation’s fourth-largest wholesale mortgage lender, to a fourth-quarter profit surge of 822% compared to the year-ago period.
PayPal added a record 72.7 million active accounts in 2020, leading to an overall revenue increase of $6.12 billion in the fourth quarter.
Consumer brands giant Unilever reported lower-than-expected sales and earnings in the fourth quarter, with modest growth in developed countries but disappointing growth in emerging markets. The company’s Beauty and Personal Care unit, its largest division, was hurt by store closures in 2020 but saw a surge in online sales, with e-commerce accounting for 50% of sales of prestige beauty products.
American Airlines warned 13,000 employees of potential layoffs, saying a much-anticipated summer travel rebound isn’t materializing.
Boeing reported its order backlog declined by $100 billion during 2020 to $363 billion due to cancellations and a drop in new orders.
So far, about 90% of people over age 80 and more than half over age 70 in England have received a vaccine, as the nation vaccinated about 15% of its total population in the first two months of rollout.
Battery-electric car sales jumped 54% last month in the U.K., despite a 40% plunge in overall car sales to a 51-year low due to lockdowns.
Early data suggests Panasonic’s battery supply unit will have its first full year in the black due to growing business with U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla.
Food prices are rapidly rising in China ahead of the country’s Lunar New Year festivities due to a combination of resurgent COVID-19 and a colder-than-expected winter.
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