Energy prices were under pressure in early trading today due to pandemic lockdown concerns and a rising U.S. dollar. The WTI was down 2.9% at $51.61/bbl, and Brent was down 2.5% at $54.68/bbl. Natural gas was down 1.8% at $2.45/MMBtu.
Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes posted its first quarterly net profit since March, with a net income of $653 million in Q4 compared to a loss of $170 million in Q3.
U.S. crude inventories increased by 2.5 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Analysts were expecting an inventory draw.
Saudi Arabia remained the single largest oil supplier to the world’s largest importer, China, in 2020, narrowly beating out Russia, which saw larger growth than Saudi Arabia.
Millions of barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude, embargoed by the U.S. but reformulated with chemical additives to escape regulatory notice, is making its way to Chinese refineries in defiance of U.S. sanctions.
The White House issued a 60-day ban on new drilling and leasing permits on federal lands. A permanent drilling ban will have a muted effect on big oil companies, who have stockpiles of permits, but could pose an existential threat to some smaller drillers.
Almost 700 dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have contracted COVID-19, with hundreds more taking virus-related leaves.
The American Trucking Associations’ for-hire truck tonnage index ended 2020 on a high note, increasing 7.4% in December after rising 3.2% the previous month.
Long inspection delays have prompted DHL Express to suspend U.K.-EU business-to-consumer shipments requiring special border control scrutiny, such as animal- and plant-based product, cosmetics and perfumes.
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 188,952 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 3,955 fatalities.
Virginia has suffered 41,765 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, a seven-day record.
Ohio is extending a 10:00 p.m.–5:00 a.m. curfew out of concerns about the risk of virulent new variants of COVID-19 spreading in the nation. The state attorney general is investigating whether up to half of the 1.4 million unemployment claims in the state under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program may have been fraudulent.
COVID-19 restrictions and habits have nearly wiped out seasonal influenza in the Northern Hemisphere this year. Sales of over-the-counter cold, flu and cough medicines declined 46% in the five weeks ended Dec. 26 from the same period a year prior.
The White House issued new directives requiring that masks be worn in airports, planes, intercity buses and other forms of transportation, and requires new arrivals in the country to self-quarantine, which had previously been unenforced guidance.
Over 75% of Americans report wearing masks in public:
The U.S., on track to formally withdraw from the World Health Organization this July, is reversing course and restoring ties with the UN-backed public health agency, paying hundreds of millions in owed dues and beginning collaboration on COVID-19 efforts.
Lebanon is extending a national lockdown imposed earlier this month by two weeks.
Israel and the U.K. are recommending COVID-19 inoculations of pregnant women, a shift in guidance based on the higher risks infected pregnant women face and fears about new, more virulent strains of the virus.
Hungary became the first European country to approve Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, which also gained approval from the United Arab Emirates.
India, a major COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing hub, is donating several million vials to neighboring countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Bhutan.
Sri Lanka opened its doors to tourists again after 10 months of strict travel restrictions.
Israel’s COVID-19 reproduction rate, i.e., the number of people an infected person goes on to infect, dipped below 1 for the first time in the pandemic, partly due to the country’s world-leading vaccination campaign.
Thailand granted emergency use authorization to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine amid a second wave of infections.
COVAX, a global consortium promoting equitable distribution of vaccines, will deliver 100,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s shot to Nigeria in February, the nation’s first shipment of vaccines.
Germany’s chancellor is promising availability of COVID-19 vaccines to the broader public by late September.
The IHS Markit Purchasing Manager’s index for the Eurozone fell to 47.5 in January, signaling the region may be entering a double-dip recession under the strain of renewed COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Germany cut its growth forecast for the current year from 4.4% to 3.0% due to continuing pandemic lockdown restrictions.
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