COVID-19 Bulletin: March 28

March 28, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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How We Eat, Drink and Breathe Microplastics

Supply Chain

  • Suspension of commercial activity in locked-down Shanghai will have global ripple effects on manufacturing and goods trade, economists warn. The measure has already forced Tesla to shut down factory operations in the city for four days. 
  • Maersk cancelled more sailings to Shenzhen as supply chain constraints persist even after the city lifted some lockdown measures. 
  • Companies, including Volkswagen, are reversing decades of supply chain globalization in favor of building resiliency and safeguarding access to key goods at home. 
  • XPO Logistics sold its North American intermodal segment for about $710 million to STG Logistics, furthering XPO’s strategy to become a standalone provider of less-than-truckload services. 
  • Independent freight operators and small trucking firms are struggling to keep pace with rising diesel costs, forcing maintenance delays among other deferred expenses. 
  • France issued over $440 million in state aid to truckers to mitigate rising fuel costs.
  • The American Trucking Associations’ for-hire truck tonnage index hit 115.3 in February, up 2.4% from the prior-year period, the sixth straight month of year-over-year increases, though it remains below its pre-pandemic level. 
  • The average capesize spot rate across five key routes dropped over $2,400 last week to around $18,000 per day
  • Venture investment into supply-chain tech startups based in North America and Europe jumped 104% to $41 billion last year, according to PitchBook Data. 
  • A U.S. audit of container line operations has been expanded to include export trade, specifically massive cargoes of empty containers allegedly rushed to Asia at the expense of U.S. shipments. 
  • GM will idle production for two weeks at a truck assembly plant in Indiana due to a shortage of semiconductors. 
  • Around 47,000 grocery workers in central and Southern California voted to authorize a strike against several major grocery store chains if an agreement over wage increases cannot be met. 
  • More supply chain news related to the war in Europe:

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 8,321 new COVID-19 infections and 50 virus fatalities Sunday. 
  • Florida has seen a decrease in COVID-19 fatalities over the past two weeks, reporting 1,167 new virus-related deaths, down from more than 2,000 recorded the two weeks prior. 
  • The FDA could authorize as soon as next week a second COVID-19 booster dose for people over age 50. 
  • Moderna raised its COVID-19 vaccine sales forecast for the year from $19 billion to around $21 billion
  • Big U.S. banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are betting the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates more aggressively than planned this year, with the benchmark rate possibly reaching 3.75% in 2023.
  • Some 57% of Americans did not pay federal income taxes last year due to a combination of pandemic aid programs and stimulus, up from 44% in 2019. 
  • A new survey shows that almost half of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck, a 6% increase from last year. 
  • Employers are waiting as much as 10 months for the IRS to process claims for a widely used pandemic wage subsidy, forcing businesses to dig deeper into reserves and slowing their recovery. 
  • U.S. pending home sales dropped 4.1% in February, the fourth straight month of declines approaching the usually busy spring season. With inflation rising, new home builders are adding escalator clauses in contracts, while many prospective buyers are stepping back from the market due to high prices and rising interest rates.   
  • American business investment grew 7.4% last year, the fastest pace in almost a decade, led by 14% more spending on software and computers. 
  • Third-party deliverer Instacart cut its valuation by nearly 40% as it prepares for an initial public offering, highlighting the difficulties of competing in delivery services marked by rapid innovation and changing demand. 
  • Federal officials are warning that Boeing may not meet its deadline for certifying a new version of its 737 MAX jet, potentially forcing a costly redesign. 
  • Cars made by American electric-vehicle startup Lucid have the best battery life on the market by a long shot, new data shows:
Lucid Wins the EV Marathon

International Markets

  • China started locking down its largest city of Shanghai as citywide COVID-19 testing gets underway for roughly 25 million people, officials said. More than 6,000 cases were reported across the nation on Sunday. 
  • Hong Kong is shortening a ban on airlines that are found to have carried COVID-19 positive passengers as the island’s latest virus wave shows signs of easing. 
  • The Omicron “stealth” subvariant is spreading rapidly across the U.K., with around 4.2 million infections reported in the nation over the last week, including record case numbers reported in both Scotland and Wales. 
  • Poland will end all pandemic restrictions starting today. 
  • El Salvador joined Australia in making plans to provide a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to some people. 
  • Ghana’s economy is expected to grow 5.8% this year as the nation lifted the bulk of its pandemic restrictions earlier today, including the reopening of its land and sea borders. 
  • The U.K. is ordering its public sector organizations to review their contracts with Russian companies to ensure they are not benefiting Russia’s government and helping fund the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.  
  • Initial public offerings across the globe are down about 70% year over year due to unstable markets and soaring inflation. 
  • Canada’s booming housing market is showing early signs of a slowdown amidst higher interest rates and inflation. 
  • China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group announced plans to soon start accepting orders for its inaugural electric car and will open new sales centers in 15 major cities across China. 

At M. Holland

  • Our next Plastics Reflections Web Series is Wednesday, March 30 at 1:00 pm CT. This event focused on the current and future state of the North American plastics industry will feature panelists from Business Publishing International, Jabil (Inc), LyondellBasell and M. Holland. Click here to learn more and register.
  • 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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