Warren Buffett has announced that his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is going to buy the natural gas transmission system from Dominion Energy and its storage network for $4 billion. The system involves more than 7,700 miles of gas lines and as much as 900 billion cubic feet of storage space for gas. At the same time, Berkshire is also purchasing $5.7 billion of Dominion debt, making the transaction worth $9.7 billion. The transaction requires regulatory approval, but it is expected to be completed in the 4th quarter.
As predicted, people flocked to the beaches and other popular vacation spots over the July 4th weekend. Seemingly indifferent to the possibility of getting coronavirus, so many people gathering together made it almost impossible to practice social distancing. You can expect that the number of new cases is going to skyrocket as a result – as if the numbers are not bad enough already.
More than 200 scientists are asking the World Health Organization (WHO) to add that COVID-19 can be spread through the air. In the last five days, new cases have been above the 45,000 mark in the U.S. and they show no sign of slowing down any time soon.
Economic Growth Slowing
Economic growth in the United States may be slowing down as the number of cases of coronavirus has grown to record highs of over 52,000 on two days in a row – Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Several states have begun to reverse their reopening, making it uncertain that economic growth will continue. Surveys indicate that consumer foot traffic has stalled. Many struggling businesses have already closed – probably permanently. This indicates that the little economic recovery that has already been seen may already have hit its high point.
China’s Lower Car Sales
The United States is not the only one seeing fewer car sales because of coronavirus. China is having a similar problem, with car sales being 37% lower than they were at this same time last year. The United States and China, as well as some automakers in Europe, are offering special incentives to try to get people to buy cars.
A pipeline in North Dakota, the Dakota Access Pipeline, has been ordered to be shut down by August 5 to allow an environmental review to take place. The order was given by a district court in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe which had been fighting for it for several years. The pipeline runs under Lake Oahe and extends for 1,100 miles to a hub in Illinois. During the shutdown, an environmental impact document must be created (it will take an estimated 13 months) and submitted for review to determine if the pipeline can be reopened.
Boeing’s 747s Will Soon Cease to Fly
In a day when air travel was common, the 747 was the plane to use. It not only could carry a lot of passengers, but it also offered considerable luxury to some while in the air. Boeing has announced that it will no longer make the huge aircraft after the next two years. The last 747 passenger jet to fly passengers took place in 2017. The planes are still heavily used for cargo, but there is not enough interest worldwide to fly passengers on them anymore. Over the July 4th weekend, although the number of passengers increased by 90% from the previous month, they were still down by 70% compared to this same time last year.