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- Energy prices were lower in mid-day trading today, with the WTI down 3.9% at $37.27/bbl, Brent down 3.4% at $39.54/bbl, and natural gas off 0.7% at $2.92/MMBtu.
- The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that natural gas consumption will be 5% higher this winter than last year.
- European development finance institutions managing more than $50 billion have announced a halt on lending money to fossil fuel projects by the end of the decade.
- Spanish wind energy group Iberdrola will invest $88 billion in renewable energy production by 2025, eclipsing investments by both Royal Dutch Shell and BP in renewable power.
- Malaysia-owned energy giant Petronas announced a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050, along with planned investments in renewable energy.
- Wind power firm Siemens Gamesa reported a 15.6% increase in orders alongside a forecast for rising margins through 2023.
- The Army Corp of Engineers plans to suspend the permit for the construction of Formosa’s planned $9.4 billion petrochemical complex in Louisiana over emissions concerns.
- More than 120,000 jobs in the coal-reliant South African mining and power plant industry are at risk as the country feels the disruption of transitioning to renewables.
- The Mexican state of Chihuahua’s manufacturing sector may operate fully during weekdays but must shut down completely on weekends, as the government imposed stricter measures to curb a spread in COVID-19.
- A tight trucking market has continued to increase rates, leading companies to raise capacity through investment in larger Class 8 trucks and the redeployment of parked trucks.
- Orders for Class 8 freight trucks increased more than 25% from September to October, a reflection of 2021-model sales that will be delivered over the next few months.
- Logistics companies and packaging suppliers are learning to cater services to better accommodate the e-commerce mega trend, such as creating software that designs boxes to minimize packaging waste and freight costs.
- In a bid to bring more freight operations in-house, Amazon is launching air cargo operations in Europe. The company will run a 20,000-square-meter regional air hub at Leipzig/Halle airport in Germany.
- Seeking to diversify its energy portfolio, Russia will begin the production and export of hydrogen. The company is in talks for a deal with Japan and is eyeing agreements with other Asian and European countries.
- Orders for new general cargo ships will be down in 2020 and could be down as much as 25% over the next year, but deadweight tonnage is expected to increase as increasingly larger vessels are demanded.
- CN and Canadian Pacific each moved a record 3 million metric tons of grain in October, following seven previous months of record grain movement.
- Large electronics manufacturers are not shifting their supply chains from China as expected early in the pandemic due to the complexity and risk concerns.
- With tight freight capacity nationwide and supply constraints with many plastic resins, clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.
- For the second consecutive day, the U.S. set world and national records for new COVID-19 infections with 121,888, while the death toll rose by 1,210.
- Infections are trending higher this week in 44 states and declining in only one, Tennessee.
- Kansas hospitals face staffing shortages as the state reports more than 1,000 new infections per day.
- Ohio reported its most COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period with more than 5,000.
- Michigan set a new one-day infection record Thursday with 5,710 new cases.
- Indiana broke its one-day record for new COVID-19 cases, reporting 4,462. The previous record was below 4,000.
- Arizona reported its first daily infection count above 2,000 since August 1, while hospitalizations in the state are on the rise.
- Minnesota officials said state ICU capacity is at 92%, as daily case numbers hit a record and hospitalizations continue to rise.
- Hospitals in El Paso are straining under a surge of thousands of new cases in the city per day.
- The number of Nebraskans hospitalized with COVID-19 has more than doubled in the past month.
- Missouri reported a record daily case count of 3,553, which is 500 more than the previous high set last week.
- New York City is delaying its admissions tests for eight specialized high schools in the wake of increasing COVID-19 infections.
- With daily COVID-19 infections rates up 300% since Labor Day, Massachusetts is limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to no more than 25 while requiring masks in all public places for anyone over 5 years of age.
- Denver’s COVID-19 status is approaching Level Red, which would entail a stay-at-home order.
- Researches are focusing on COVID-19’s impact on the vascular system to understand its ravaging affects.
- AstraZeneca executives have said they will present foreign clinical trial results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when seeking approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, as U.S. trial data will not be available for months. The company’s CEO said the vaccine could be ready for large-scale production by the end of the year.
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is expecting its antibody cocktail drug to be approved by U.S. regulators shortly. The company submitted its findings on the drug to the federal government last month.
- Drug makers plan to use extra tools to track vaccine side effects even after the doses are distributed.
- The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.9% in October on a better-than-expected rise in non-farm payrolls.
- The Federal Reserve cautioned against two problems threatening the U.S. economic recovery: a surge of new infections and depleted household savings after federal stimulus runs out. The Central Bank also suggested it would hold interest rates near zero for the next three years.
- Employee productivity in the U.S. jumped 4.9% in the third quarter, down from the 10.6% gain in the record-setting second quarter.
- Average U.S. mortgage rates fell to 2.78% on Thursday, the 12th record low this year.
- Plane- and train-maker Bombardier is predicting higher deliveries of its flagship business jet through year end, a result of revived demand for private flights.
- General Motors posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit on Thursday, led by a 12% increase of sales in China along with higher demand for trucks and SUVs in the U.S.
- Toyota raised its profit outlook for the year after reporting a recovery in earnings in the latest quarter.
- Bentley will retire its famed 12-cylinder combustion engines as it transitions to electric vehicle development and production.
- Chinese electric car startup Kandi will introduce a $7,999 electric four-door compact car to the California market. The company is among the first Chinese electric vehicle makers to export to the U.S.
- As 5G network infrastructure grows, IBM has signed up Nokia and Samsung as the first companies in its 5G cloud platform.
- Marriott International posted a surprising return to profitability in the third quarter on a rise in travel during the summer.
- Key data from the New York Times’ quarterly results give a broader indication of trends in the news market: a 34% increase in revenue from digital subscribers, a 3.8% decrease in revenue from print subscribers, and a 30% drop in advertising revenue overall.
- Financial services company Standard Chartered is offering flexible work plans, including an option to go completely remote, to more than 90% of its 85,000 staff over the next three years.
- Papa John’s saw a spike in pizza sales on Tuesday and Wednesday nights as stressed Americans follow contested election updates.
- The Chicago Bears paused all in-person football activities and closed the team facility on Thursday after a third player tested positive for COVID-19.
- ESPN will lay off 300 employees, including some well-known names, in the wake of parent company Disney’s restructuring of its entertainment and media businesses.
- Bookings for Uber rides declined 53% year-over-year in the third quarter, contributing to a 18% decline in revenue. The company has shed roughly a quarter of its workforce since the start of the pandemic.
- Europe is now the hardest-hit region in the world in terms of COVID-19 case counts and fatalities.
- Four Italian regions have been put under “red-zone” lockdown, where people are generally restricted to their homes. The two-week measures are an attempt to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.
- French officials are warning that the country’s second wave of COVID-19 infections could be much worse than the first, as ICU patients surpassed 4,000 Wednesday on an expected path to more than 7,000 in the coming weeks. Clamping down on restrictions, Paris will ban delivery and takeout food services between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. starting today.
- Spain recorded its highest daily fatality count from the virus — 368.
- China has imposed some of the most stringent traveling restrictions in the world, barring travelers from Britain, France, Belgium, the Philippines and India.
- India’s capital suffered the most toxic air quality day in a year, adding to concerns about the public’s respiratory weaknesses amid rising COVID-19 infections.
- The Belarusian leader on Thursday ordered border guards to block access for citizens returning home from abroad, except those coming from Russia.
- While the case and fatality count from COVID-19 in Africa is low, the medical resources required to fight the infection have stretched the continent’s ability to fight other pressing diseases.
- Japan recorded 1,050 new infections on Thursday, the first day above 1,000 since August 21. Recently, the country eased restrictions and promoted travel within borders to support the economy.
- The Australian state of Victoria has gone a week without reporting any new cases of the virus.
- Sri Lankan officials have extended school holidays for two more weeks following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the capital and its suburbs.
- The European Commission has lowered its projections for economic growth in the eurozone next year to 4.2%, a result of the recent wave of lockdowns.
- Singapore Airlines posted its largest ever quarterly loss on the virtual shutdown of international travel and fuel hedging losses.
- Thai Airways International is selling three dozen Boeing and Airbus aircraft in an attempt to shed more than $10 billion of debt.
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We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.