COVID-19 Bulletin: January 21

January 21, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices dipped from seven-year highs Thursday following news of a rise in U.S. crude and gasoline stocks to their highest levels in a year. Crude futures extended losses in late morning trading, with WTI down 0.5% at $85.09/bbl and Brent down 0.7% at $87.74/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 2.8% higher at $3.91/MMBtu. 
  • China surpassed Japan as the world’s largest LNG importer on an 18% rise in deliveries last year. 
  • China’s Sinopec is taking the rare step of selling up to 45 cargoes of LNG by October to take advantage of high Asian spot prices. 
  • Oil majors are withdrawing operations from Myanmar over growing concerns of a human-rights crisis. 
  • Turkey warned it would cut energy supplies for factories after a main Middle Eastern supplier suspended natural-gas flows for 10 days due to a technical problem.
  • Oklahoma-based Unit Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in May of 2020 at the trough of the slump in oil prices, hired an investment bank to sell $1 billion of oil assets in the U.S. Anadarko and Gulf Coast basins. 
  • Chesapeake Energy, which only emerged from bankruptcy last year, is in advanced talks to purchase Chief Oil & Gas for $2.4 billion, underscoring the energy industry’s recovery as natural resource prices surge to multi-year highs. 
  • Saudi Basic Industries began commercial operations at its 1.18-million-tonne ethylene production unit developed with Exxon Mobil on the U.S. Gulf Coast. 
  • U.S. energy related emissions dipped over 10% at the onset of the pandemic but are expected to rise again the next two years:
EIA expects U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to increase in 2022 and 2023

Supply Chain

  • More than 30 million Americans were under winter storm warnings yesterday as the second major weather system of the past week crept up the U.S. South and East Coast. Dangerous road conditions are expected to stretch from coastal parts of Virginia through the Carolinas. 
  • Congestion at Western ports is rippling back to Asia, with ships arriving at China’s Yantian port delayed by an average of seven days alongside a 40% drop in ship volumes from the U.S. and Europe the past two weeks. 
  • Union Pacific said COVID-19 infections among staff will continue to hurt freight volumes this quarter although not as severely as the 4% volume slump in the final three months of 2021. 
  • Saw timber prices rose to $26.44/ton last quarter, fueled by increased demand for cardboard boxes as well as wet weather that put a premium on trees sourced from dry areas. 
  • Shipping congestion is slowing the rollout of free COVID-19 tests to residents of Ohio and Maryland.
  • Toyota will slow production at up to 11 Japanese plants due to rising COVID-19 infections among workers and suppliers. 
  • Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, announced plans to build a new $20 billion factory outside Columbus, Ohio, a major boost amid the decades-long slowdown in U.S. chip production. 
  • European lawmakers are working on a framework that would move 20% of global semiconductor production to the continent by 2030, up from the current 10%. The continent is competing with India, which just released $10 billion in incentives to lure chip makers, and Shanghai, which is offering to subsidize new investment.
  • Federal regulators announced a key approval for a planned $10 billion train tunnel under the Hudson River, a milestone for the long-delayed project that promises to transform rail activity in the U.S. Northeast.
  • Nearly $500 million of new U.S. infrastructure dollars will be used to expand a lock complex at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, enabling vessels to haul bulk cargo between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. 
  • Supply chain disruptions have reversed a decade-long decline in the cost of building clean energy infrastructure, with prices for solar panels surging more than 50% last year alongside double-digit price gains for wind turbines and batteries. 
  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is expanding more rapidly as automakers compete to win over an ever-growing number of consumers entering the EV market. 
  • A Florida-based aerospace firm received approval to start converting Boeing passenger aircraft to cargo jets in Canada. 
  • China Merchants Heavy Industry will supply Norway’s Höegh Autoliners with a dozen new car carriers with multi-fuel and zero-carbon capability. 
  • The world’s first liquid hydrogen carrier completed its maiden voyage from Australia to Japan yesterday, following a nearly year-long delay caused by the pandemic. 
  • France’s Port of Marseille is investing more than $850 million into an on-site green hydrogen project with 600MW of production capacity. 
  • Stock in wind-power company Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy fell nearly 15% Thursday after it posted an operating loss and lowered its guidance, citing supply chain constraints. 
  • A recent study suggests that supply chains would benefit from more female participation, with all-women supply chain teams achieving greater efficiency than all-male and mixed-gender teams. 

M. Holland’s 2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions

M. Holland’s market experts weigh in on what we can expect for the plastics industry in 2022. View the infographic and read more on current trends and predictions.

Domestic Markets

Level of Migration to the U.S. Not Unprecedented
Netflix Sees Slowest Growth in Years Following Pandemic Spurt

International Markets

Global Travel Remains Subdued in Second Pandemic Year
E-Mobility: Norway Races Ahead

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland’s 2021 EcoVadis rating improved year over year, reflecting a continued commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives. See the press release.
  • 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.

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