MH Daily Bulletin: April 13

April 13, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be closed on Friday, April 15, in observance of the Easter holiday.
  • M. Holland is exhibiting at MD&M West in Anaheim, California, this week. MD&M West is the largest medtech conference in the U.S. If you’re attending, please stop by Booth #4111 to meet our Healthcare experts!
  • 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.

Supply

  • Oil prices jumped over 6% Tuesday as lockdowns eased in Shanghai and new data showed Russian production fell to an almost two-year low to start the week. 
  • In mid-day trading today, WTI futures were up 3.3% at $103.90/bbl, Brent was up 3.7% at $108.50/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was up 4.3% at $6.97/MMBtu. 
  • In its most recent report, OPEC shaved 480,000 bpd off its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year while still expecting consumption to surpass 100 million bpd for the first time of the pandemic. The report also shows the cartel’s output rose by just 57,000 bpd in March, well below a 253,000-bpd target. 
  • U.S. natural gas prices are up 79% so far this year, reversing the usual spring declines as commodities fluctuate wildly across the board. 
  • The American Petroleum Institute reported a larger-than-expected build this week of 7.7 million crude barrels, as traders await government data to be released today. 
  • U.S. shale could see a production boost of over 200,000 bpd in 2022, OPEC predicts, even as drillers continue to focus on capital discipline. The move corresponds with steadily rising foreign demand for the nation’s petroleum products:
The United States increased both imports and exports of petroleum products in 2021

Supply Chain

Global Food Prices Surge Amid Russia-Ukraine War

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 27,853 new COVID-19 infections and 561 virus fatalities Tuesday. 
  • COVID-19 cases are trending higher again in the U.S., with half of states reporting upticks.  
  • The BA.2 subvariant of Omicron now accounts for over 90% of infections in the U.S. Northeast, putting health experts on edge about a larger potential virus surge.  
  • Philadelphia reimposed an indoor mask mandate, the first large U.S city to do so, after COVID-19 cases jumped 50% over the past 10 days.  
  • New COVID-19 cases in New York City have tripled since March 1 to an average of 1,600 per day. Four of the U.S.’s top five metro areas with rising COVID-19 cases are in New York state
  • New wastewater analyses suggest COVID-19 cases are back on the rise in Florida following a month of steady declines. 
  • Federal masking requirements for planes and public transport are set to expire April 18, as the White House stays silent on whether it will extend the measure. 
  • One or two days per week in the office is the “sweet spot” of permanent hybrid working arrangements, according to research from Harvard. 
  • Leases for 11% of U.S. office space are set to expire this year, as economists worry over property owners stuck with troubled loans. Some firms are taking advantage of market conditions, with Google recently saying it would invest almost $10 billion in new workspace across the U.S. this year. 
  • U.S. inflation spiked to a four-decade high in March:
    • At an annual rate of 8.5%, U.S. inflation is the highest of any industrialized nation in the G7, and only outmatched by a small list of nations, such as Brazil, Argentina and Turkey. 
    • Inflation jumped the most in energy and food, while the cost of restaurant meals and used cars eased. 
    • In positive news, so-called “core” prices — a key Fed barometer for setting monetary policy — rose a lower-than-expected 0.3% in March, the smallest gain in six months. 
    • The Fed is almost certain to raise rates by a half-percentage point at its next meeting on May 3-4, analysts say. 
    • Over 80% of Americans say they will cut back on spending due to rising prices. 
  • The U.S. budget deficit narrowed sharply to $192.7 billion in March, new data shows, down from nearly $660 billion during stimulus payouts a year ago.  
  • Soaring prices for used cars sent CarMax’s fourth-quarter sales down a larger-than-expected 6.5%, while more buyers sought vehicle loans longer than 72 months. 
  • Rising food prices are boosting sales and profits for several supermarket operators including Albertsons and Kroger. 
  • Intel unveiled a $3 billion expansion of its chip factory in Hillsboro, Oregon. 
  • Digital ad revenue jumped 35% in the U.S. last year, the biggest gain since 2006, with almost 80% of advertising taking place on just 10 digital platforms including Google, Facebook and Amazon. 
  • San Francisco-based Brightmark and Georgia’s Macon-Bibb County have terminated their plans to build a $680 million chemical recycling facility first announced last year. 

International Markets

  • The Omicron variant of COVID-19 accounted for 99.2% of new cases globally over the past week. Reported cases and deaths fell for the third consecutive week, but World Health Organization officials warned that much of the decline may relate to the dismantling of tracking and monitoring programs. 
  • Panic-buying is spreading across China as more regions, including Beijing and the industrial hub of Suzhou, report COVID-19 cases and brace for Shanghai-like lockdowns. In Shanghai, officials threatened strict punishment for people who violate pandemic restrictions.  
  • Britain’s government rejected the idea of new pandemic curbs to fight rising COVID-19 cases yesterday. 
  • More news related to the war in Europe:
    • Nokia is fully exiting the Russian market and will book a $109 million provision in the first quarter of 2022. 
    • The World Bank is preparing a nearly $1.5 billion aid package to support essential services in Ukraine, raising the bank’s total support to over $2.4 billion. 
    • A former Russian finance minister says the nation’s GDP could fall up to 10% this year, the biggest contraction in almost three decades. 
  • Singapore’s BOC Aviation plans to buy 80 Airbus A320 jets in what is the aircraft-leasing firm’s largest order to date. 
  • French luxury retailer LVMH saw first-quarter sales jump 23% to $19.5 billion, with executives predicting an upcoming slowdown caused by lockdowns in China. 
  • 2021 profits at the U.K.’s largest supermarket chain more than tripled last year
  • Mazda indicated its newest line of internal combustion engines could be its last

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