MH Daily Bulletin: April 29

April 29, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland is excited to be the Headline Sponsor for the upcoming Injection Molding & Design Expo in Detroit! This two-day trade show will highlight the latest technologies, materials, equipment and opportunities in injection molding. The event is May 25-26 and admission is free. Click here to learn more.
  • How can healthcare organizations improve the environmental impact of their healthcare packaging, increase the recyclability of products and reduce overall waste? Read the insight from our experts here.
  • 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 rose about 3% Thursday on the likelihood that Germany would join a complete European ban on Russian oil. 
  • In late-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 1.3% at $106.70/bbl, Brent was up 2.0% at $109.70/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was up 2.7% at $7.08/MMBtu. 
  • Diesel prices are up 42.8% year to date compared to a 26% jump in gasoline, with analysts pointing to structural changes that could widen the crude-diesel spread in the future. Chinese diesel exports slumped during the second half of 2021 as the nation tried to ensure domestic supplies:
China processed record amounts of crude oil in 2021 but exported less gasoline and diesel
  • Supply disruptions are limiting how much U.S. frackers can boost output this year, projected at just 8% compared to a 20% rise the last time oil prices hit $100/bbl in 2014. The Permian Basin will be one of the main sources for new production: 
Three producing regions drove U.S. natural gas production in 2021

Supply Chain

  • Water levels in Nevada’s Lake Mead fell to a new low as extreme pre-summer drought conditions threaten water and power supplies for millions of people in the U.S. West. 
  • The northern port of Qinhuangdao is the latest Chinese commodities hub to get hit by lockdowns. The port handled nearly 50 million tons of mostly coal and metal ore products in the first quarter. 
  • Hundreds of commercial vessels remained backed up off the world’s largest port of Shanghai: 
Shanghai Ship Jam Spells Supply Chain Trouble

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 62,252 new COVID-19 infections and 424 virus fatalities Thursday. 
  • COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles County rose 40% last week, while hospitalizations also rose. 
  • Rising COVID-19 infections prompted San Francisco’s rapid transit authority to reinstitute a mask mandate through July 18. 
  • Over 40% of U.S. small businesses surveyed were forced to temporarily close at some point last year due to staff infections with COVID-19. 
  • Wage rates in the U.S. rose 1.4% in the first quarter, the highest quarterly increase in four decades.  
  • Consumer spending in the U.S. rose a higher-than-expected 1.1% in March.  
  • The U.S. economy’s 1.4% first-quarter contraction was the nation’s weakest since early in the pandemic and stemmed largely from a widening trade deficit. Positive signs included a record 2.7% increase in consumer spending and a 9.2% increase in business spending. 
  • Personal loans to Americans surged to the most in a decade last year as fears about the pandemic’s shock on household finances never materialized. 
  • The median price for a U.S. home rose to $375,300 in the first quarter, up 15% from a year ago, as most homes were still sold above list price. More than half of Americans surveyed say they would consider a second job to afford down payments
  • Former retail high-rises are finding new life as upscale apartment buildings in many densely populated cities, a convergence of disruption to business districts and rising demand for housing. 
  • In the latest news from first-quarter earnings season:
    • Amazon reported a net loss of $3.8 billion primarily due to a faltering investment in electric-vehicle maker Rivian. Revenue rose 7%, slightly below expectations, as the firm downgraded second-quarter forecasts amid a shift from growth to streamlining its sprawling logistics network. Amazon’s cloud-computing revenue rose 37%, while e-commerce sales slowed in line with consumers’ return to retail shopping.
    • Apple reported a larger-than-expected 9% gain in revenue but said COVID-19 lockdowns in China and other supply disruptions could cost up to $8 billion in sales this quarter. Sales of all product categories besides the iPad increased
    • Intel’s sales fell almost 7% to $18.35 billion, missing estimates as consumer PC purchases declined. The firm’s chief executive predicted chip shortages will last beyond 2023 as manufacturers struggle to buy enough equipment. 
    • Ford posted a $3.1 billion loss primarily on its investment in flailing electric-vehicle startup Rivian. The automaker’s core business appeared healthy, with its expected revenue decline limited to 5% as higher prices offset the production fallout from industrywide supply shortages. 
    • Volvo reported an 8% gain in first-quarter revenue as higher prices offset a 20% decline in production. 
    • Southwest Airlines posted a $278 million loss but said rebounding demand will raise revenue up to 12% this quarter. 
    • Twitter posted 16% higher revenue but canceled its future guidance pending a takeover of the firm. 
    • McDonald’s U.S. locations raised menu prices by an average of 8% for the quarter, boosting comparable sales by 3.5%. High labor costs could prompt more price increases this year. 
    • Domino’s Pizza, the nation’s largest pizza company by revenue, said staffing shortages, reduced hours and rising food costs contributed to a nearly $27 million profit decline
    • Caterpillar’s order backlog rose to over 50% of last year’s total sales as construction activity remained strong but supply constraints held back production. Revenue was up 14%. 
    • Stanley Black & Decker reported a 20% jump in sales on higher prices but said commodities and transport costs would rise an extra $600 million this year. 
    • U.S. Steel’s profit rose to $882 million from $91 million a year ago, attributed to higher prices and rising demand for pipe used in oil and gas development. 
    • Merck (+50%) reported year-over-year sales growth with help from higher sales of COVID-19 antivirals. 
    • Mastercard’s net revenues rose 28% on healthy consumer activity and a surge in travel spending. 
    • Hershey saw revenue rise 16% as demand for candy and snacks held up even with higher prices. 
  • Fidelity plans to hire 12,000 workers by September to help manage a surge in individual investing activity. 
  • Volkswagen may expand its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant to produce new models of electric trucks and vans. 
  • Thefts of catalytic convertors containing coveted precious metals surged over 400% in the first year of the pandemic, the latest available data, causing a spike in business at dealership service centers.  
  • U.S. plastics recycling weight fell almost 6% from 2019 to 2020 as the pandemic upended recycling collection.
  • East Jordan Plastics, one of the largest horticultural container manufacturers in North America, is building a $44 million logistics site in Georgia to be turned into a recycling plant over the next five years. 

International Markets

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