July’s CPI (inflation at the retail level) was up 0.2% (as expected) and up 3.2% (3.3% expected) for the previous 12 months. Unemployment claims, at 248,000, were 17,000 more than expected and 21,000 more than last week. The Producer Price Index will be released later this morning. It is expected to be up 0.2% for the month of July. Chevron and Woodside Energy are holding talks with unions in a bid to avert strikes at their Western Australia state natural gas facilities, which together supply about 10% of the world’s liquefied natural gas (LNG). This strike news is what sent natural gas futures sharply higher Wednesday and then lower Thursday. This LNG goes to Europe and Asia. The Federal Reserve has already made the decision to raise interest rates at least one more time this year, according to several Fed governors, including Michelle Bowman of the predominant conservative group. Russia’s grain ports are overflowing and some are turning away trucks and trains after two big grain harvests. The war escalation in the Black Sea Area is keeping shippers and insurers very reserved and cautious but, so far, Russian wheat is being exported at a pace faster than last year but sales have slowed in recent weeks because of bottlenecks caused by handling so much grain, according to Andrey Sizov. "You have rail traffic jams and delays around seaports and it snowballs. Everything is used almost", Andrey Sizov said.