Oil prices were softer in early trading today with the WTI down 0.2% at $52.26/bbl and Brent off 0.4% at $54.899/bbl. Natural gas was 5.5% lower at $2.59/MMBtu.
Global oil demand took a 10% hit in 2020, with OPEC predicting that demand levels in 2021 will still fall 4% short of 2019 levels.
Global spending on oil and gas production is expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels through at least 2025, as depressed oil prices remain too low to support attractive returns.
OPEC’s crude oil export revenues likely declined by $323 billion in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the lowest in 18 years.
The U.S. rig count increased for the eighth consecutive week, rising by 13 to a total of 373, according to Baker Hughes.
Venezuela is opening its oil industry to foreign investment as the nation aims to pump 1.5 million bpd in 2021, a bid to reverse the economic impact of U.S. sanctions.
U.S. jet fuel prices slumped again as a new wave of global lockdowns grounded flights and extended passenger uneasiness.
Gas station convenience stores played a large part in making up for weak fuel demand for oil majors such as BP and Shell in 2020, which both plan to add thousands of new retail locations in the next several years to offset a continued oil price slump.
American regulators have approved the first fully automated commercial drone flights to rural areas at altitudes below 400 feet, a significant step in expanding the commercial application of drones for deliveries.
Hapag-Lloyd is dropping one of its calls to the port of Long Beach due to increasing levels of congestion at West Coast ports.
Trucking companies are increasingly turning to time-based measurements to determine driver pay and salaries, a possibility with the adoption of new electronic logging device technology.
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.
U.S. COVID-19 infections, fatalities and hospitalizations were down yesterday, suggesting a possible peaking of the recent spike. New infections numbered 177,918, and there were 1,749 fatalities.
The U.S. death toll from COVID-19, now just shy of 400,000, have risen by 100,000 in just five weeks; it took 12 weeks to rise from 200,000 to 300,000.
Alongside California, Arizona has become America’s hotspot for the COVID-19 crisis, with the highest infection rate in the nation crowding the state’s hospitals after a record number of cases last week.
The U.S. South accounts for 42% of the nation’s new COVID-19 infections, leading every other region.
The highly infectious “U.K. variant” will likely be the dominant strain of COVID-19 infecting Americans by March, officials predict, with Louisiana and Illinois becoming the latest states to discover a case of the strain, along with 13 other states so far.
Restaurants in several of the six states that currently ban indoor dining are increasingly flouting restrictions, arguing the choice has come down to serving customers in defiance of government orders or shutting down completely.
JPMorgan Chase has the lowest ratio among U.S. banks of available deposits to actual loans, a sign of the bank’s hesitancy to extend credit.
Led by drops at restaurants and bars, U.S. retail sales fell slightly for a third straight month in December. In contrast, manufacturing production rose 0.9%, bringing the sector’s fourth quarter gain to 11.2%.
The top 20% of earners in the U.S. are gaining wealth at historic rates due to a mixture of remote work possibilities, favorable interest rates and record-setting investment valuations.
The rate of absenteeism — employees calling in sick or taking leaves of absence — has remained high throughout the pandemic, an overlooked aspect of the virus’ effect on workplaces and the economy.
Traffic levels fell 15% in Los Angeles and 11% in New York City in 2020:
New York City property values are expected to decline 5.2% for tax purposes from the current fiscal year, the largest drop since the 1990s led by more than 20% value declines on retail and hotel establishments.
San Francisco reported a budget shortfall of half a billion dollars, largely due to tax revenue lost from high-paid workers who left the city during the pandemic.
Domestic and international business travelers supported 2.5 million jobs in 2019, a number expected to sharply decrease due to pandemic-induced drops in business travel.
Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot-maker PSA Group completed their merger on Saturday, creating renamed Stellantis NV, the third-largest car maker in the world.
China reported 96 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday after four days of triple-digit increases, as the nation warns of a potentially spreading outbreak that originated near the border with North Korea. Construction workers erected a 1,500-room hospital in just five days in Beijing to take in potential virus patients.
Austria is extending a national lockdown until Feb. 7, along with requiring the use of full protective face masks on public transport and in shops, rather than just fabric face coverings.
Several European countries, including the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands, are closing schools over fears that school children are contributing to high COVID-19 transmission rates.
The U.K. does not expect to ease lockdowns until early to mid-March as it accelerates COVID-19 inoculations.
Malaysia’s Top Glove Corp., the world’s largest rubber glove manufacturer, reported COVID-19 outbreaks among employees at four factories.
Canada’s housing market pushed further past record levels in the final month of 2020, with home sales rising 7.2% as consumers rushed to take advantage of low mortgage rates to buy bigger homes.
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