COVID-19 Bulletin: January 11

January 11, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.


  • Oil prices fell Monday on reports of rising production in Libya, where output rebounded to 1 million bpd after the nation’s largest oil field emerged from a three-week shutdown. Crude futures were higher in late morning trading, with WTI up 1.8% at $79.63/bbl and Brent up 1.7% at $82.23/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 0.8% lower at $4.05/MMBtu.
  • Rising fuel costs, especially for natural gas, drove up wholesale electricity prices in every U.S. region in 2021, the Energy Information Administration said. 
Wholesale electricity prices trended higher in 2021 due to increasing natural gas prices
  • The U.S. oil field services and equipment industry added 7,450 jobs in December, up 1% from the prior month, bucking trends of hiring slowdowns in many other industries. 
  • The White House is looking to block oil and gas leasing on half of Alaska’s 23-million-acre North Slope, an area set aside for energy development decades ago that has been the subject of sharply different policies from recent U.S. administrations. 
  • Wholesale gas prices in Europe surged Monday as Russia continued reversing flows back to itself on the Yamal-Europe pipeline, hampering European supply. Germany is sending $147 million to households to help offset rising heating costs, lawmakers said. 
  • Venezuela’s state-run oil company said it would resume exporting diluted crude for the first time in nine months on a build in condensate inventories. The nation has ramped up its gasoline output to 160,000 bpd following maintenance at aging plants. 
  • U.S. pipeline operator Enterprise Products is set to buy Navitas Midstream for $3.25 billion, a move giving the firm access to about 1,750 miles of natural gas pipelines in the Permian Basin’s Midland section, a main thoroughfare of the U.S. shale market. 
  • Fourteen state attorneys general are lobbying the U.S. government to drop a proposed rule allowing LNG to be shipped by rail, citing concerns about public and environmental safety. 
  • Capital expenditures by big companies worldwide are expected to increase 6.1% from 2021 levels this year, led by excess cash and pressures to invest in the transition to clean energy. 
  • The EU’s internal market chief forecasts hundreds of billions of euros will be needed to build and maintain the continent’s nuclear reactors by 2050. 
  • The European Commission delayed plans to implement a “green” labeling structure on natural gas and nuclear energy projects on pushback over misleading claims of sustainability. 

Supply Chain

  • Containers are taking more than twice as long to reach their destination compared to the same period in 2019, as global port congestion shows no signs of easing with the new year. 
  • Tight terminal space at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports is leaving container ships waiting longer at berths, a contrast to prevailing notions of disruption stemming from higher call sizes. 
  • China tightened restrictions on vehicles entering Shenzhen, the world’s fourth largest port hub, after an outbreak of four COVID-19 cases was reported Monday.
  • Analysts fear Hong Kong logistics costs could rise 40% over the next three weeks on a severe shortage of freight space caused by tightened COVID-19 restrictions and the cancellation of flights from 150 countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Australia. 
  • Supply chain backlogs have stymied the flow of many goods and materials critical for homebuilding, with about 90% of surveyed homebuilders saying they experienced supply disruptions in November. 
  • The cost of construction materials in Mexico rose 17.4% in December year over year, with plastic pipe up 34%, wire and wire rod up 35%, and electrical cable 30% higher.  
  • Production is slowing at U.S. dairy and meatpacking facilities due to COVID-19 infections among staff, potentially leading to higher prices for dairy and meat.
  • The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk index fell to 2,277 Monday, a two-week low, due to declines in smaller vessel rates. 
  • British freight forwarders have told government regulators that growing concentration in shipping is distorting markets and diminishing competition
  • Industry analysts estimate some 60,000 railcars will be built through 2023 in response to growing demand for competitive transportation alternatives. 
  • There were 23,100 North American orders for heavy-duty trucks in December, more than double the historic low the previous month but 55% below December 2020 orders. 
  • Shipowners contracted for the building of 90 LNG-powered vessels in 2021, an annual record. 
  • Maersk has inked a deal with South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries for four new 16,000-TEU dual-fuel container ships powered by carbon-neutral methanol.  
  • New York cargo carrier Atlas Air ordered four new Boeing 777 freighters for delivery starting in November. 
  • Electric-vehicle startup Rivian Automotive is looking to put sales of its vehicles ahead of profits as it scales up its supply chain and faces more competition from legacy automakers with deeper pockets and auto-making know-how. 
  • Missouri-based Christenson Transportation is expanding its freight network with the purchase of Tennessee’s Sharp Transport, bringing around 120 drivers, 240 tractors and 940 trailers to its fleet. 
  • Australia’s Port of Newcastle, the world’s largest hub focused on coal exports, plans to run its operations on 100% renewable energy by 2040.   

Domestic Markets

International Markets

  • The global average of daily COVID-19 cases rose to 2.42 million on Sunday, three times the previous peak reached in April 2021.
The Omicron Wall

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.