(Bloomberg) — Record heat, extreme weather events and war are still upending global commodity markets. Rice — a food staple for nearly half the global population — is surging, while energy costs are also rising. Earnings from the world’s biggest oil companies are now in the books, but a slew of results from independent US shale operators are due in the coming days. Also on tap: second-quarter earnings from Caterpillar Inc.
Here are five notable charts to consider as the week gets underway.
While earnings from Big Oil have declined from the blowout results in prior quarters, the companies are still delivering significant returns to shareholders via buybacks, dividends and other means. Even so, persistent concerns over the sector’s environmental, social and governance performance and the risk of declining demand for fossil fuels in the decades ahead have soured many investors on the industry. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 Energy Index is the second-worst performer among the broader market’s 11 sector groups — a remarkable change of fortune from the prior year when the gauge trounced its peers. Investors will turn their attention this week to results from shale operators including ConocoPhillips, Diamondback Energy Inc. and EOG Resources Inc.
The sizzling temperatures in Greece are being exacerbated by devastating wildfires, which are destroying the country’s natural carbon sinks. So far this month, more than 100 wildfires in the country have emitted in excess of a million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere, the most in at least two decades, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service. While the emissions make up a small proportion of Greece’s overall pollution, the development is the latest sign of the dangers posed by increasingly extreme weather and the burning of forests that would otherwise help remove the carbon naturally. The same scenario is playing out in Canada, where emissions this year are “off the scale” from unprecedented wildfires and are set to double the pollution output from all other sectors of the nation’s economy combined.
And it’s not just air quality that’s at risk. Food supplies are under threat from the bad weather and worsening conflict in Ukraine, pushing up costs for consumers and raising the prospects that rampant inflation will stick around for longer. The price of rice, vital to the diets of billions in Asia and Africa, is surging after top shipper India banned a large portion of its exports. A rally in rice — plus the gains in wheat, corn and other agricultural commodities seen so far in July — looks set to spur a rebound in global food costs after a long run of declines. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, some rice farmers are planting corn and other crops that require less water as the country braces for its most severe dry season since 2019, partly due to the return of an El Niño weather pattern.
Oil prices are on the rise around the world and so, too, are pump prices. In the US, gasoline is fresh off its biggest weekly advance in more than a year, according to AAA data compiled by Bloomberg. That comes just as futures soared to a nine-month high in New York. A similar pattern is playing out in Asia and Europe, where demand for motor fuel is on the rise. That’s compounding already tight global markets that are being squeezed by unexpected refinery outages and unseasonably low stockpiles at key storage hubs on the US Gulf Coast and in Singapore.
Mining & Construction
Caterpillar, considered an economic barometer, is set to report earnings on Tuesday. Worldwide retail sales growth of the company’s iconic yellow machines has been on a slow upward crawl since last year, based on a three-month rolling basis. While that helped prop up shares amid signs of a recovery at one of the world’s biggest makers of construction and mining equipment, investors will be looking for details on orders and order backlog heading into the second half, particularly from China, where an economic rebound has yet to materialize.
—With assistance from John Ainger.