MH Daily Bulletin: April 7

April 7, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland has launched a new Healthcare Packaging line card to meet the product needs of medical device and pharmaceutical packaging manufacturers.
  • M. Holland’s Color & Compounding experts shared insight on the current pigment shortage and how it’s impacting the industry.
  • M. Holland will be exhibiting at MD&M West in Anaheim, California, from April 12-14. 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!
  • In case you missed it, watch M. Holland’s Plastics Reflections webinar about the current and future state of the North American plastics industry. Click here to access the recording.
  • 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 fell over 5% to a three-week low on Wednesday after the International Energy Agency said it would release an additional 60 million barrels of crude reserves in addition to the U.S.’s planned release of 180 million barrels. This marks the second IEA release this year and effectively boosts global supply by 2 million bpd for the next two months. 
  • In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 0.4% at $96.64/bbl, Brent was up 0.2% at $101.20/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was up 2.2% at $6.16/MMBtu. 
  • U.S. crude stocks rose by 2.4 million barrels last week, according to the government, while analysts had expected a drawdown. Output also rose, hitting 11.8 million bpd, the most since late last year. 
  • U.S. consumption of ethane, a key feedstock to produce ethylene, has increased in every year since 2010 and is now greater than that of either jet fuel or propane:
Ethane to outpace growth in all other U.S. petroleum product consumption through 2023

Supply Chain

  • Much of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million population remains without power after a fire at the Costa Sur power plant shortly after 9 p.m. last night. 
  • Twenty-five million people in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida faced storms, floods and tornadoes yesterday as a string of extreme weather continued to batter the U.S. southeast. 
  • Cargo operations at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, the nation’s busiest, have ground to a halt
  • Contracted ocean-container shipping rates rose 96.7% on average in March from the same time last year, including a 7% gain from February to March, according to Xeneta. 
  • Crane Worldwide Logistics is taking a new strategy toward air cargo with the freight forwarder essentially acting as a quasi-airline, including buying up full flights and rerouting planes to smaller airports with less congestion, such as Cincinnati. 
  • European budget supermarket chain Lidl has registered a new container shipping company with plans to take a sizeable chunk of its transport needs from existing carriers.
  • A record 61% of all ship orders in the first quarter were for vessels powered by alternative fuels, including LNG — the largest share — as well as methanol, ethane, batteries ammonia and hydrogen. 
  • Six firms, including Maersk, are working to build Southeast Asia’s first facility to make methanol fuel out of captured CO2, with a minimum production capacity of 50,000 tons per year. 
  • Old Dominion Freight Line is adding or upgrading seven facilities to expand its less-than-truckload capacity. 
  • German logistics group DB Schenker’s gross revenue rose 32.7% last year to nearly $26 billion. 
  • Real estate firm Hunt Midwest plans to build 18 million square feet of logistics and manufacturing space on 3,300 acres near Kansas City International Airport, creating Missouri’s largest logistics park. 
  • Toyota lowered its projection for U.S. car sales this year from 16.5 million to 15.5 million due to parts shortages and supply chain constraints.  
  • Autonomous trucking provider Aurora Innovation will expand routes and place new terminals in El Paso, Houston and Fort Worth, Texas, by next year. 
  • Third-party food delivery apps like DoorDash are increasingly looking at grocery stores as their next frontier to maintain surging pandemic growth rates. The shift comes as grocery-centered deliverers, including Instacart, see growth slowing sharply, setting up a fierce competition for market share. 
  • Samsung expects record revenue and a 50% rise in first-quarter operating profits on continued high demand for memory chips and a robust rollout of its latest smartphones. 
  • More supply chain news related to the war in Europe:
    • A third underwater mine was detected Wednesday along Turkey’s Black Sea coast, one of the world’s most important shipping chokepoints. 
    • Russian car sales fell an annual 63% in March, the ninth straight monthly decline spurred by logistics disruption and a major drop in the value of the ruble. 
    • Russian Railways missed a bond repayment worth over $600 million
    • Global prices for cooking oils are rising sharply on declining exports from Ukraine. 

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 40,176 new COVID-19 infections and 1,241 virus fatalities Wednesday. 
  • COVID-19 cases are up 27% in Massachusetts over the past week. 
  • Colorado may turn to a statewide system of wastewater analysis to track and measure future COVID-19 outbreaks. 
  • Top U.S. health officials predict the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron will prompt another rise in cases, which may trigger the need for an updated vaccine that targets virus variants. The news comes even as FDA regulators suggest asking people to get frequent booster shots is not sustainable and that the U.S. should develop a long-term strategy to mitigate COVID variants. 
  • CDC officials are encouraging Americans over age 50 to get a second COVID-19 booster dose
  • The FDA suspended the use of a COVID-19 antibody treatment from Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline due to ineffectiveness.
  • U.S. healthcare workers may face combat-like trauma from their experiences over the past two years, new research suggests. 
  • The labor market tightened further last week, with first-time unemployment claims falling by 5,000 to 166,000, well below analyst estimates of 200,000.  
  • Federal Reserve minutes released yesterday show the central bank was planning to raise rates by 50 basis points at its most recent meeting but opted for a smaller hike due to the war in Ukraine. Markets reacted poorly over expectations of more aggressive Fed tightening throughout the year:
Cloudy With a Chance of Recession
No Frills Attached: More U.S. Air Travelers Opt For Ultra-Low-Cost

International Markets

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