MH Daily Bulletin: April 20

April 20, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

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  • Oil prices fell 5% Tuesday after the IMF cut its forecast for global economic growth by nearly a percent on inflation worries. 
  • In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were down 0.3% at $102.30/bbl, Brent was down 0.4% at $106.90/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was off 3.2% at $6.95/bbl.
  • U.S. natural gas prices dipped as much as 11.1% yesterday, nearly reversing Monday’s surge to a 13-year high
  • The U.S. government expects summer gasoline prices to hit an eight-year high of $3.84 a gallon, up from $3.06 last year. Diesel prices will hit similar highs:
EIA expects summer U.S. real gasoline and diesel prices to be the highest since 2014
  • Halliburton, the world’s second-largest oilfield-services company, expects North American drillers to boost spending on production by 35% this year. 
  • The U.S. government will hold oil and gas lease sales in at least eight states in June, the first announced after a federal court overturned the White House’s moratorium on drilling on federal lands. 
  • The U.S. government opened bidding yesterday for $6 billion in rescue dollars for the nation’s aging nuclear facilities. 
  • The attorneys general of 16 states wrote to the White House urging a renewal of permits for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was effectively shut down in 2020. 
  • Libya’s oil production is down 500,000 bpd since last Friday, as political protests continue shutting oilfields and ports. 
  • Fuel demand in China, the world’s largest oil importer, could pick up as manufacturing plants prepare to reopen in Shanghai. 
  • The IMF raised its growth forecast for Saudi Arabia by three percentage points this year to 7.6%, boosted by higher oil prices.  
  • More oil news related to the war in Europe:

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

Mask Mandate Led to Spike in Unruly Passenger Incidents
  • The CDC launched a new center likened to a “National Weather Service” for infectious diseases yesterday, which aims to provide early warnings for outbreaks of COVID-19 and other illnesses. 
  • Moderna’s updated version of its COVID-19 vaccine provided better protection against Omicron and Delta strains in clinical trials, the firm said. 
  • Corporate executives are returning to the office at a much slower pace than non-executive employees, new data shows. 
  • Chicago Federal Reserve officials predict a round of interest rate hikes this year that would include two 50-basis-point increases. 
  • First-quarter earnings per share for S&P 500 companies are running 8.7% higher than expected on average, according to Credit Suisse. Stocks saw broad-based gains on the news Tuesday. 
  • Amsterdam-based Just Eats, parent of Grubhub, said it may divest the U.S. subsidiary after suffering a 5% decline in North American orders as consumers return to eating out.  
  • U.S.-sponsored mortgager Fannie Mae expects the U.S. to fall into a modest recession next year due to rising inflation, among other factors. 
  • U.S. companies borrowed a record $1.8 trillion in junk-rated loans in 2021, raising fears about what will happen when inflation kicks in higher rates on the instruments. 
  • U.S. employers are poised to hire at least 30% more new graduates this year than in 2021, while starting salaries hit new highs in tech, finance and consulting. 
  • A new plan from the White House would give around 3.6 million student-loan borrowers — some 10% of the total — three years of credit toward eventual debt forgiveness
  • New U.S. home construction unexpectedly rose 0.3% in March to the highest level since 2006, fueled by multifamily projects from large builders looking to replenish inventory. 
  • U.S. budget carrier Spirit Airlines is the latest in a string of airlines to throttle back its summer schedule amid continued staff shortages, weather disruption and surging demand. 
U.S. Airport Throughput Close to Pre-Pandemic Levels
  • Over 100 Delta pilots began picketing in Seattle yesterday over the disruption and fatigue caused by staffing and scheduling issues. 
  • Regional U.S. airline Sun Country ended service to Hawaii over staffing shortages. 
  • Boeing’s commercial deliveries rose 23.4% in the first quarter to 95, excluding its 787 Dreamliner jets whose production has been hampered by supply issues. 
  • The White House reimposed stricter environmental standards for approving new pipelines, highways, power plants and other construction projects that were dropped under the previous administration. 
  • Toyota announced over $380 million of investments in several southern states to build hybrid vehicles. 

International Markets

  • Shanghai began its first easing of stay-at-home orders for 4 million residents Wednesday, even as new virus cases remained in the tens of thousands. Officials are urging increasingly skeptical residents to comply with a new round of mass testing.
  • One in 10 people tested for COVID-19 in South Africa are coming back positive, the highest rate in over a year. 
  • The Canadian government says it has no plans to stop requiring masks on planes and other transit after the U.S. government said it would stop enforcing mask mandates yesterday. 
  • Australia’s two most populous states are scrapping longstanding pandemic rules this week, including isolation requirements and proof-of-vaccination screening for indoor businesses. 
  • More news related to the war in Europe:
  • The IMF lowered its 2022 economic growth forecast for Mexico to 2.0% from 2.8%. 
  • Global sales of hotels reached a six-year high in the first quarter as investors seek to capitalize on rebounding travel demand. 
  • Britain will likely see the worst inflation shock of any advanced economy over the next two years, the IMF warned. 
  • Surging home sales in Canada cooled in March, down 16% from a year ago amid rising borrowing costs. 
  • Sales at L’Oréal climbed 13.5% in the first quarter to almost $10 billion amid strong U.S., European and Chinese demand for luxury body care products. 
  • Corporate spending on cloud computing is rising at double-digit rates, with global sales expected to reach nearly $500 billion this year, up 20% from last year. 
  • Volkswagen’s electric-vehicle deliveries surged 65% in the first quarter from the same time a year ago, the automaker said. 
  • Canadian auto supplier Magna International broke ground Tuesday on a joint venture with LG Electronics for a new factory in Mexico that will produce electric vehicle parts for GM.  

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