COVID-19 Bulletin: February 28

February 28, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.


  • Oil prices fell over 1% to pre-invasion levels Friday after several days of volatile trading. For the full week, Brent rose about 4.7%, while WTI rose about 0.6%.  
Crude Oil WTI
  • In mid-morning trading today, Brent futures were up 2.7% at $100.61/bbl, WTI was up 3.6% at $94.92/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was 0.2% higher at $4.48/MMBtu.
  • War in Eastern Europe continues to ripple through global oil markets:
  • Louisiana’s newest LNG export terminal is ready to release its first loaded tanker for export to Europe, a well-timed move as Europe loses supplies from Russia. 
  • New data shows that China has been loading up its reserves with new oil purchases despite agreeing last November to begin releasing reserves to help cool the global market. 
  • Average U.S. diesel prices are up 44 cents per gallon this year, while the national average price of $4.055/gallon last week was the highest in nine years. 
  • Active U.S. oil and gas rigs rose by five to 650 last week, the 18th consecutive weekly rise and 248 rigs more than the same time last year, Baker Hughes said. 
  • The U.S. added just 7.44 billion cubic feet per day of interstate natural gas pipeline capacity in 2021, a six-year low, with more than two-thirds of the increase in Texas and Gulf Coast markets:
Natural gas interstate pipeline capacity additions decrease in 2021
  • Last week’s auction of offshore wind rights between Long Island and New Jersey fetched a record $4.37 billion, over three times the revenue from all U.S. oil and gas lease sales over the past five years. 
  • Union workers locked out of their jobs at a Texas oil refinery for nearly 10 months have agreed to a contract with Exxon Mobil and are set to resume work in early March. 
  • Mexico’s trade deficit widened fivefold in January from a year earlier on a 55% rise in oil imports, as state refiners struggle to meet the administration’s goal of oil self-sufficiency. 

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 7,464 new COVID-19 infections and 182 virus fatalities Sunday. Although daily case counts are down over 90% from their January peak, the streak of daily fatalities above 2,000 continues and has now extended more than twice as long as the 2,000+ daily death streak of last fall’s Delta wave. 
  • Over 70% of Americans can now stop wearing masks and no longer need to social distance or avoid crowded indoor spaces, according to the CDC’s revised pandemic guidelines. 
  • New York state will lift its indoor school mask mandate March 2, while New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for bars and restaurants will end March 7. 
  • California dropped most of its remaining pandemic measures but retained an emergency status that allows state testing and vaccination programs to continue along with expanded tele-health services. 
  • Illinois dropped its statewide mask mandate for public school students, although some cities, including Chicago, are choosing to keep their own. 
  • Nearly half of the 500 million free COVID-19 tests recently made available by the White House have not been claimed as cases plummet across the nation. Booster-shot rates are also down, with just half of eligible Americans having received one. 
  • The U.S.’s disability information hotline is being expanded to help people with ordering COVID-19 tests. 
  • More states are deploying National Guard troops to make up for staff shortages in public schools. 
  • U.S. core inflation rose 5.2% in January from a year ago, the sharpest 12-month increase in almost 40 years. 
  • Personal spending in the U.S. jumped a surprisingly high 2.1% month over month in January, the biggest increase since March of last year in a sign that consumption remained robust despite high inflation and COVID-19 infections. Meanwhile, savings rates have dipped to pre-pandemic levels. 
  • A measure of U.S. consumer sentiment was revised upward for February, while remaining at the lowest level of the past decade, the University of Michigan said. 
U.S. Consumer Conffidence
  • New orders for U.S.-made durable goods rose 1.6% month over month in January, the fourth straight month of increases and nearly double market expectations. 
  • Over half of U.S. firms surveyed by the Kansas City Federal Reserve have passed less than 40% of inflationary costs to consumers due to how quickly labor and material costs are rising. 
  • The number of signed contracts to buy existing U.S. homes plunged 5.7% in January from a month earlier, the sharpest drop in almost a year. 
U.S. Pending Home Sales

International Markets

At M. Holland

  • 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.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.