MH Daily Bulletin: February 3

February 3, 2023 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be exhibiting at MD&M West in Anaheim on Feb. 7-9. Stop by Booth #4115 to meet our Healthcare team and discuss how M. Holland’s line of medical-grade resins can help you develop safe and effective medical products and packaging.


  • Oil fell less than 1% Thursday on news that U.S. factory orders fell last month, signaling a slowing economy.
  • In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 2.0% at $77.39/bbl, Brent was up 1.7% at $83.60/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was down 3.5% at $2.37/MMBtu.
  • U.S. oil refiners are dialing back operating capacity this quarter to between 85%-89%, a bid to keep profit margins high during one of the weakest demand periods of the year.
  • Jet fuel prices are up an average of 20% since Dec. 7, including a 77% surge on the U.S. East Coast, on swelling demand from a global rebound in travel.
  • ConocoPhillips saw profit more than double to $18.7 billion in 2022, joining a parade of bumper earnings from major Western producers.
  • Crude oil imports into Asia hit an all-time high in January, rising by 11% despite lower arrivals into China.
  • More news related to the war in Ukraine:
  • The quarterly loss for wind turbine-maker Siemens Gamesa, soon to be folded into parent Siemens Energy, more than doubled on higher warranty provisions attached to faulty components.

Supply Chain

  • Hundreds of thousands of Texans were without power Thursday on lingering impacts from storms this week. The U.S. Northeast is expected to be hit next over the weekend.
  • U.S. industrial construction starts fell 24% last quarter compared to a year earlier, signaling a prolonged shortfall in logistics space.
  • Canadian Pacific Railway’s fourth-quarter profit more than doubled on a 21% increase in revenue.
  • Old Dominion Freight Line carried an average of 48,798 less-than-truckload shipments per day in the fourth quarter, down 8.6% from a year earlier.
  • Hapag-Lloyd’s fourth-quarter operating profit fell about 21% to $3.3 billion.
  • The pace of companies moving production and equipment to Mexico is putting a premium on logistics capabilities along the border with the U.S.
  • Container throughput at China’s ports increased 4.7% last year, including 0.6% growth at the Port of Shanghai.
  • U.S. officials and industry executives met with Indian policy makers as part of an effort to shift critical technology supply chains away from China.
  • The orderbook for new container ships has grown to more than 900 vessels.
  • In the latest news from the auto industry:
    • Ford posted a lower-than-expected $1.3 billion quarterly profit as supply disruptions outweighed strong pricing and better inventory levels at dealerships. Sales of the automaker’s electric models doubled.
    • Volkswagen’s Skoda Auto will further cut production next week due to component shortages.
    • Harley-Davidson shares rose almost 10% Thursday after earnings beat forecasts for the seventh quarter in a row.
    • Ferrari saw earnings rise 16% last year on a nearly 20% jump in deliveries.
    • Honda plans to launch a hydrogen-powered SUV by the end of 2023.
  • Global e-commerce sales, excluding travel, probably exceeded $1 trillion for the first time last year, according to Comscore.
  • Amazon’s initial drone services in California and Texas have completed few deliveries because of regulatory constraints.
  • CMA CGM ordered 12 methanol-powered container ships from South Korean shipyard Hyundai Samho.

Domestic Markets

  • Employment growth surged in January, with employers adding 517,000 jobs, nearly triple economist estimates, as the unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, the lowest since 1969. 
  • Weekly unemployment filings dropped to a nine-month low last week of 183,000, signaling resiliency in the labor market.
United States Initial Jobless Claims
  • U.S. layoffs hit 102,943 in January, a two-year high, as tech firms cut jobs at the second-fastest pace on record.
United States Challenger Job Cuts
  • U.S. worker productivity rose at a 3% rate in the fourth quarter, indicating a moderation in the growth of labor costs.
  • New orders for U.S.-manufactured goods rebounded in December, up 1.8%.
United States Factory Orders
  • U.S. mortgage rates fell this week to an average of 6.09%, the lowest in five months.
  • In the latest news from quarterly earnings season:
    • Apple announced its first quarterly revenue decline in nearly four years due to manufacturing disruptions in China.
    • Amazon beat projections with a 9% sales gain to a total of $149.2 billion, but investors are worried by slowing growth in its key e-commerce and cloud computing units.
    • Google parent Alphabet said ad spending fell in the fourth quarter for only the second time in its history as the company reported a modest gain in year-over-year revenue.
    • Starbucks posted record quarterly revenue although higher costs ate into its expected profit.
    • Clorox raised its annual forecast after higher prices led to better-than-expected quarterly revenue and sales growth.
    • Hershey’s saw holiday-quarter revenue rise 14% on steady demand for candy and chocolates despite higher prices.
    • Beauty company Estee Lauder forecast a bigger drop in full-year profit, citing uncertainty around recovery in major market China.
    • Qualcomm’s quarterly revenue dropped 12% from a year ago, including a steep decline in its key unit providing computer chips for handheld devices.
    • Panasonic Holdings cut its annual operating profit forecast by 12.5%, citing headwinds from slowing demand and high raw material prices.
    • Sony Group nudged up its annual profit forecast on strong quarterly results for its video-game division.
    • Medical device-maker Siemens Healthineers saw a drop in quarterly profit driven by low demand in China.
    • Farming machinery-maker CNH Industrial saw better-than-expected earnings but warned that soaring growth in industrial agriculture markets will likely slow by 2024.

International Markets

Euro Area Interest Rate
  • After the eurozone dodged a technical recession with a 0.1% growth rate in the fourth quarter, its Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose above 50 in January, the demarcation between expansion and contraction.
  • In January, the services PMI in the U.K. fell to its lowest level since January 2021, when the country was on lockdown.
  • German exports fell a larger-than-expected 6.3% in December.
  • Ryanair flew 11.8 million passengers in January, a record for the month.
  • Global crude steel production fell last year for the first time in seven years.
  • Coca-Cola and Berry Global are introducing tethered caps for PET soda bottles in EU markets, more than a year before they are mandated.

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