COVID-19 Bulletin: February 2

February 2, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices stayed flat Tuesday, but slipped in mid-morning trading today ahead of OPEC’s announcement on March output hikes. WTI was off 0.8% at $87.46/bbl and Brent was down 0.7% at $88.54/bbl, while U.S. natural gas surged 12.6% higher to $5.35/MMBtu.
Natural gas
  • The American Petroleum Institute reported a surprise crude draw of 1.645 million barrels this week after analysts expected a build of more than 1.8 million barrels. 
  • The U.S. administration could raise the royalty rate drilling companies must pay on new oil and gas leases by 6% this quarter, according to a draft report. 
  • Exxon Mobil and Chevron recently announced goals to significantly boost output from the U.S. Permian Basin. 
  • Exxon Mobil posted its largest profit in seven years last quarter on a 2% rise in production from the same time a year ago. Most large Western oil companies are posting their highest profits of the pandemic. 
  • Daily oil production out of Guyana is expected to rise threefold to 340,000 bpd this month as majors begin operations on a spate of new discoveries. 
  • Despite record-high production, Russian gas exports slumped 41% the past month on a decrease in transit flows via Belarus and Ukraine. 
  • A cyberattack on a German oil storage firm forced Shell to reroute supplies to alternative depots, disrupting its European supply chain. 
  • A 1.6 GW nuclear reactor in Finland will finally come online in the first half of this year after numerous setbacks since construction began in 2009, bringing much needed energy supply to the European grid.   
  • Three-quarters of energy companies in Europe were considering an acquisition or divestment this year, new survey results show. 
  • Five U.S. states updated or adopted new clean energy standards last year: 
Five states updated or adopted new clean energy standards in 2021

Supply Chain

  • A severe winter storm lasting through to the weekend will bring heavy snow from the Rocky Mountains to New England and significant ice buildups on the storm’s southern edge from Texas to central Pennsylvania. Illinois, Ohio and Michigan are expected to be hit the hardest, while Colorado could see more than two feet of snow in some places. The resiliency of Texas’ grid will be tested for the first time since last February’s “Texas Freeze” forced power plants to revamp extreme weather preparedness. 
  • On-time performance for ocean carriers fell to a record low in December, new data shows. 
  • Truck utilization rates hit 100% in both the second and the third quarters of 2021, freight data firm FTR said, meaning that every available truck and driver were in service. 
  • FedEx is suspending some domestic airfreight routes due to staffing shortages caused by COVID-19 infections. 
  • Lufthansa Cargo recently suspended transit bookings through its Frankfurt Airport hub due to an outbreak of COVID-19. 
  • A Canadian grocery chain says COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truckers have raised transportation costs but so far haven’t affected deliveries to stores. 
  • Supply chain snarls could cost North American apparel and footwear brands between $9 billion and $17 billion in lost earnings this year, according to consulting firm Kearney. 
  • Respect by the British public for truck drivers and logistics workers has grown sharply during the pandemic, a survey shows. 
  • Logistics operators widely expect supply chain disruptions to continue unabated throughout 2022. 
  • Coffee prices are rising at the fastest rate in a decade due to poor weather in growing nations and global supply chain congestion. 
  • Trucker Knight-Swift Transportation’s fourth-quarter profit jumped nearly 79% to $254.6 million on a 42% gain in revenue. 
  • Norfolk Southern’s fourth-quarter net income rose 13.2% to $760 million as rising revenue offset an 8.4% increase in expenses. 
  • Canadian National’s fourth-quarter earnings increased 11% despite a 10% drop in carload volume. 
  • Dubai-based DP World is building the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first deep-water port to handle up to 322,000 containers per year by 2025. 
  • Singapore-based Pacific International Lines placed its first order for new ships in seven years
  • The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Shanghai are partnering to create the world’s first “green” shipping corridor for zero- or low-carbon containership voyages. 
  • Valuations for artificial intelligence supply chain startups are soaring as businesses look for ways to measure and manage sustainability metrics. 
  • Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding created a marine decarbonization unit that the shipper hopes will speed up advancements in sustainable technology.
  • Sam’s Club is deploying inventory checking robots in all its U.S. stores to mitigate labor shortages impacting retailers.   

Domestic Markets

Consumer Pessimism Grows as Inflation Accelerates
  • while consumer spending is shifting from goods to services:
Consumers Are Pivoting Spending to Services Like Dining and Travel
  • U.S. manufacturing growth fell for the third straight month in January, with the Institute for Supply Management’s gauge falling to 57.6, the lowest since November of 2020. 
  • About 4.3 million Americans resigned in December, down slightly from November but still near record highs. Job openings, on the other hand, rose to 10.9 million for the month, near the all-time high of 11.1 million last July. 
  • Home Depot plans to hire 100,000 by spring. 
  • Google parent Alphabet posted another quarter of double-digit sales and revenue growth, capping a year in which profit nearly doubled.
  • GM anticipates a sharp rise in electric vehicle demand after reporting its 2021 pretax profits rose by nearly 50% to a record level. 
  • Ford unveiled a $20 billion roadmap to convert more factories into electric vehicle production sites over the next decade. 
  • Tesla will recall 53,822 vehicles with full self-driving software due to a defect that may not allow the car to come to a complete stop at intersections.
  • Greater COVID-19 vaccine availability and declining hospitalizations are denting the financials of treatment makers
  • Starbucks reported mixed quarterly earnings as labor costs, inflation and supply chain snarls weighed on sales. The coffee retailer is expected to continue raising prices to offset higher expenses, while employees at more than 50 locations are attempting to unionize. 

International Markets

  • More COVID-19 cases were reported globally in the last 10 weeks than in all of 2020. 
  • Britain’s COVID-19 fatalities since the start of the pandemic surpassed 180,000, while breakthrough infections now account for 10% of the nation’s new virus cases. 
  • South Korea reported more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time yesterday.
  • Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases from untraceable contacts in Hong Kong are worrying officials.  
  • Austria imposed a broad COVID-19 vaccine mandate on its general population yesterday, Europe’s first, with fines set to begin in mid-March for failure to comply.
  • Denmark and Norway lifted most of their remaining COVID-19 restrictions yesterday despite record-high case counts, citing reduced strain of the Omicron variant on healthcare systems. The moves align with a broader easing of restrictions across Europe. 
  • China, wary of importing COVID-19 from international parcels, banned some meat imports from Southern Australia following a COVID-19 outbreak at an Australian processing plant. 
  • South African officials say 80% of the nation’s population has been infected with COVID-19.
  • The majority of new COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals in British Columbia, Canada, tested positive for the virus only as a side result of a different diagnosis that brought them in. 
  • New COVID-19 hospitalizations in Australia are at their lowest in three weeks
  • Euro-area inflation hit a record 5.1% in January from a year ago, primarily due to soaring energy costs: 
Euro-Zone Inflation Unexpectedly Hits Record, Boosting Rate Bets
  • Roughly 74 million people traveled through German airports in 2021, up 27% from the prior year but down 68% from pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Hyundai’s deliveries rose 18% in January, snapping a five-month losing streak and offsetting the company’s lack of any fleet shipments since December. 
  • Sales of Toyota’s Lexus brand vehicles jumped 6% in 2021, nearing all-time highs.
  • Sabic is collaborating with container manufacturers Gualapack and Ella’s Kitchen, the U.K.’s leading baby food brand, to produce closures made from post-consumer recycled resins.   

At M. Holland

  • Our Healthcare team has published a revised Medical Resin Selection Booklet containing additional resins, new focus grades and new 3D printing resins.
  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight. For more information, email our 3D Printing team.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets.

For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

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