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London (CNN Business)Electric cars are taking over the streets, big companies are trying to be nicer to the environment and people are taking action to stop climate change.
But here’s a reality check: The world could consume more oil in 2022 than ever before.
Global energy demand rebounded strongly this year as pandemic restrictions eased, and it’s expected to rise further in 2022.
The International Energy Agency predicts that global oil demand will increase by 3.3 million barrels per day next year to 99.5 million barrels per day. That would match the previous demand record in 2019, before the pandemic.
Not even Omicron is expected to derail the rebound.
“New containment measures put in place to halt the spread of the virus are likely to have a more muted impact on the economy versus previous Covid waves, not least because of widespread vaccination campaigns,” the IEA wrote in a report earlier this month.
The agency, which monitors energy market trends for the world’s richest countries, said it expects demand for road transportation fuels and petrochemicals to continue to post healthy growth.
The lone exception? The IEA did downgrade its forecast for jet fuel due to restrictions on international travel imposed by governments trying to stop the spread of Omicron.
Others are even less concerned about Omicron. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) did not change its demand forecast for 2022 in its monthly report for December.
“The impact of the new Omicron variant is expected to be mild and short-lived, as the world becomes better equipped to manage COVID-19 and its related challenges,” OPEC analysts wrote in the report.
The forecasts underscore just how dependent the world is on fossil fuels, despite efforts to address the climate crisis and huge investments in electric cars, renewable energy and cleaner fuels.
OPEC expects oil demand to increase around the world next year, led by countries including China, India and the United States.
But, remember: Even if the world does consume more oil in 2022 than ever before, the green transition is still underway.
Some of the biggest oil companies are trying to figure out how they fit into a greener future. For more on that, check out this excellent story from my CNN Business colleague Julia Horowitz.
First-time home buyers are becoming even more rare
US home sales in November were up from the prior month as buyers rushed to take advantage of low interest rates, reports my CNN Business colleague Anna Bahney.
Prices continued double digit annual jumps as inventory remained at historic lows. The affordability challenge of buying a home pushed the share of first-time buyers in the market to historic lows, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
After a slight slowdown at the end of the summer, November marked a third consecutive month of increasing sales of existing homes, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.
Sales were up 1.9% from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.46 million in November. Home sales were down 2% from a year ago, though, when the real estate market saw a seasonally atypical surge in home buying because of the pandemic.
“Determined buyers were able to land housing before mortgage rates rise further in the coming months,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
Price hikes: Home prices continued to climb as buyers competed over a near record low inventory of homes. The median price of a home was $353,900, up 13.9% from last year. That’s 117 straight months of annual increases — more than nine years — which is the longest-running streak on record.
Part of the reason the median price continues to rise is that more expensive homes are being sold. Sales of homes priced between $750,000 to $1 million were up 37% from last year, and homes over $1 million were up 50%.
Employers are starting to mandate booster shots
Get ready for booster mandates.
Millions of US workers are already required to show proof of a Covid vaccine to their employer. Soon many could be forced to show proof that they also got a booster shot, reports my CNN Business colleague Chris Isidore.
With the rise of Omicron, public health officials are stressing that a booster shot is more important than ever. Many who got their initial vaccine dose or doses more than six months ago could have limited protection against the variant. A booster dose is believed to provide important protections against it.
The numbers: A survey of 200 major employers conducted by consulting firm Gartner last week found 8% of employers are changing their definition of what constitutes “fully vaccinated” and requiring workers to get booster shots.
The percentage requiring boosters is expected to increase as Omicron cases spread and companies try to figure out how to reopen offices that were closed or staffed with limited workers for most of the pandemic, said Brian Kropp, chief of research at Gartner’s HR practice.
“This is the first time we’ve asked about booster mandates. I’m pretty sure if we asked a month ago it would have been 0%,” he said. “By the time we get to the middle of January, it’ll be a lot higher, probably 15-20% is my best guess at this point.”
US initial jobless claims will be published at 8:30 a.m. ET.
- US personal spending and income for November
- PCE Price Index
Coming tomorrow: US stock markets are closed.
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