COVID-19 Bulletin: March 23

March 23, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices were flat Tuesday on fresh signs that the EU will not impose a blanket ban on Russian oil. In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 5.3% at $115.00/bbl, Brent was up 5.5% at $121.80/bbl and U.S. natural gas was up 1.8% at $5.28/MMBtu. 
  • U.S. oil demand rose slightly to 21.6 million bpd in February, the highest for the month since 1963 and the highest for any month since August 2005. 
  • While U.S. gas prices recently climbed to record highs in raw numbers, they have yet to reach inflation-adjusted levels last seen in 2014 and the 1980s. Prices surpassed $6 a gallon yesterday in Los Angeles, the highest in the nation. 
  • American budget airline JetBlue is cutting some international and domestic summer routes, citing rising fuel costs. 
  • U.S. diesel inventories are 21% lower than the pre-pandemic five-year average, contributing to a broader global shortage. 
  • More oil news related to the war in Europe:
  • Exports from the Black Sea-based Caspian Pipeline Consortium could fall up to 1 million bpd while it repairs two of three mooring points damaged by a recent storm. 
  • Production is dropping at a 50,000-bpd ConocoPhillips site in Alaska due to a gas leak, now in its second week. 
  • Occidental Petroleum plans to sell so-called “net-zero oil” to South Korea’s top refiner once it opens a new carbon capture facility in 2024. 

Supply Chain

  • One fatality has been reported last night from a major tornado that tore through Greater New Orleans, including St. Bernard Parish, home to several chemical plants.  
  • A summer-like heatwave is forecast to hit the U.S. West Coast in the coming days, sending temperatures to record-challenging levels for this time of year. 
  • Canadian Pacific Railway resumed normal operations Tuesday after reaching agreement with striking workers to arbitrate a contract dispute. The 2.5-day shutdown backed up shipments in Canada and the U.S., while the ports of Vancouver and Montreal are expected to see lingering congestion. 
  • Elevated container freight rates contributed 1.5% to consumer price inflation across the globe last year and could have an even greater impact this year amid high fuel costs and war-induced capacity constraints, according to the United Nations. 
  • Drewry’s World Container Index for average global shipping prices per FEU (40-foot container equivalent) dropped to $8,832 last week, the lowest level since July of last year. 
Weekly global container freight rate index from November 2021 to March 2022 (in U.S. dollars)

Domestic Markets

Big Tech Invests Big in Cybersecurity
  • U.S. firms will likely face higher compliance costs and new disclosure challenges stemming from an SEC proposal that requires emissions and climate-risk data to be reported in annual filings. 
  • Available office space in Manhattan rose to a record high 17.4% in February, as more companies shift to remote or hybrid work arrangements. 
  • A Starbucks store in Seattle voted to unionize Tuesday, the first such vote in the coffee chain’s hometown. 
  • Graphex Technologies is building one of the first large-scale graphite processing plants in the U.S. outside of Detroit, which will provide 15,000 metric tons per year of a key anode needed for most electric-vehicle batteries. 

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.

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