COVID-19 Bulletin: February 23

February 23, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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  • Crude benchmarks reached seven-year highs Tuesday, with Brent nearing $100/bbl before easing to end the day about 1.5% higher, while WTI touched $96/bbl before settling at $92.35/bbl. In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 0.8% at $92.67/bbl, Brent was up 0.8% at $97.63/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was 2.8% lower at $4.62/MMBtu.
  • The Yamal-Europe pipeline supplying 15% of Russian gas shipments to Europe has been flowing eastward back to Russia since December, driving up European gas prices. Combined with escalating tensions in Ukraine, European gas futures briefly jumped more than 13% Tuesday, as traders expect the continent will begin relying more on U.S. LNG shipments
Three countries provided almost 70% of liquefied natural gas received in Europe in 2021

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

U.S. House Prices Continue to Soar
  • With borrowing more expensive, applications to refinance mortgages have fallen about 45% over the past six months as mortgage lenders simultaneously plan thousands of layoffs. Original mortgage applications declined 13.1% for the week ended Feb. 18 to the lowest level since December 2019: 
United States MBA Mortgage Applications

International Markets

  • New COVID-19 cases across the globe fell 21% last week, the third consecutive weekly decline, according to the World Health Organization. The BA.2 “stealth” subvariant of Omicron now comprises one-third of global infections, creating concerns among health officials about dropping pandemic restrictions.  
  • ScotlandIreland and Poland are lifting remaining pandemic restrictions in the coming weeks.
  • The European Union is recommending that member nations ease travel restrictions starting March 1. 
  • Hong Kong pushed up schools’ summer vacation to March-April so campuses can be used for COVID testing, isolation and vaccination efforts. 
  • New Zealand will wait another three to six weeks for Omicron to peak before easing pandemic restrictions, officials said. 
  • Australia opened its borders to vaccinated travelers for the first time during the pandemic this week. 
  • Supply of COVID-19 vaccines for international distribution outweighed demand for the first time in the 14th round of allocations from vaccine-sharing program COVAX. 
  • Volkswagen is in advanced talks for an initial public offering of Porsche, a bid to free up cash and fund aggressive expansion into electric vehicles.
  • Jeep and Dodge parent Stellantis saw a surge in annual profit last year and expects industry sales to rise by 3% this year in both North America and Europe. 
  • Nestle will nearly double investments in Brazil this year with plans for a new pet food factory and other increases to industrial capacity. 
  • Despite global travel restrictions, Dubai’s main airport managed to hold its top spot as the world’s busiest travel hub with around 29 million passengers last year. 
  • Vehicle maker CNH Industrial, parent of brands such as Case and New Holland, expects revenue to rise 24% through 2024 following the spinoff of its truck, bus and engine units. 

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland just published a 2022 Logistics Outlook examining continued trucking, ocean freight and rail challenges, plus key takeaways for plastics companies. Read it here.
  • 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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