MH Daily Bulletin: February 14

February 14, 2023 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland


  • Oil rose 0.5% Monday as investors weighed Russia’s plans to cut crude production with short-term demand concerns.
  • In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were down 1.0% at $79.33/bbl, Brent was down 0.9% at $85.87/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was up 6.6% at $2.56/MMBtu.
  • U.S. shale production in the seven biggest shale basins is expected to rise to its highest on record in March, according to the Energy Information Administration.
  • A 46% drop in natural gas prices so far this year is expected to reduce U.S. drilling activity and dampen dealmaking while spurring more use for electricity production.
  • The U.S. administration plans to sell 26 million crude barrels from strategic reserves, part of a 2015 budget mandate for the current fiscal year.
  • Freeport LNG sought permission Monday to restart commercial operations at its long-idled LNG export plant in Texas.
  • Crude tankers restarted some operations at a key terminal in Turkey after earthquakes devastated the region last week.
  • European gas prices fell to their lowest in almost 1.5 years Monday, a result of higher projections for wind generation. Europe now derives more than half of its electricity from clean energy sources, mostly hydro and nuclear.
EU Natural Gas
  • Europe’s bill to shield households and companies from soaring energy costs has climbed to roughly 800 billion euros, researchers say.
  • EU leaders endorsed plans to relax government subsidy rules and repurpose existing funds to support the bloc’s clean-tech industry.
  • The U.S. Treasury will open applications for $4 billion worth of new tax credits for clean-energy projects at the end of May, including $1.6 billion slated for communities hit by closures of coal mines and coal-fired power plants.
  • Qatar is finalizing a massive long-term LNG deal with China National Petroleum Corp, China’s largest gas importer, following the execution of a similar deal with Sinopec in November.
  • On Monday, Israel loaded its first ever oil cargo for export after reaching agreement on maritime borders with Lebanon last October.
  • This week, Lufthansa will start offering optional “green fares” that include fees to fully offset flight-related carbon emissions.
  • Countries in Asia are expected to use half the electricity in the world by 2025, the International Energy Agency says:
Asia to Use Half of World's Electricity by 2025

Supply Chain

  • Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc in New Zealand, prompting the government to issue an emergency declaration for only the third time in the nation’s history.
  • The Port of Long Beach saw just over 263,000 TEUs of loaded container imports in January, down 32.3% from a year earlier.
  • Port officials in Houston announced the completion of the first segment of a $1 billion expansion project for the Houston Ship Channel.
  • Global airfreight shipments fell 8% last year from 2021’s record level and were 1.6% below 2019, with expectations they could slide another 5.6% from pre-pandemic levels this year.
  • Israeli container line Zim is adding capacity and frequency to its U.S. East Coast-Asia service.
  • More semiconductor equipment suppliers are shifting operations from China to Southeast Asia.
  • Emirates SkyCargo and Air Canada Cargo signed a deal to work together on air cargo operations.
  • Aerospace suppliers are facing increased competition for skilled workers from plane-makers as the industry ramps up for the pandemic recovery.
  • UPS says it is taking extra steps to reduce its workforce in regions where delivery demand has softened.
  • In the latest news from the vehicles industry:
    • The European Parliament passed legislation mandating that all new vehicles emit zero-emissions starting in 2035, effectively banning the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles in the bloc.
    • Toyota’s new chief executive is looking to quicken development of parts and manufacturing methods for electric vehicles as part of an “EV-first mindset.”
    • Ford plans to cut 3,800 staffers in Europe, 1 in 9 jobs there, as it invests $50 billion in its transition to electric vehicles.
    • Ford confirmed rumors that it will invest $3.5 billion to build a battery plant in Michigan.
    • Nikola started work on a network of hydrogen plants and signed up more suppliers of the fuel, part of its plan to provide enough hydrogen for 7,500 heavy-duty trucks by 2026.
    • Nissan and Renault will invest $600 million to make six new car models in India, one of three markets in which the two automakers plan to coordinate closely as part of their revamped alliance.
    • A surge in supply is expected to dampen prices for battery metals later this year.

Domestic Markets

  • Inflation eased slightly in January from the prior month to 6.4%; economists had expected a lower 6.2%.
  • Americans expect inflation one year from now to hold steady at 5%, according to the latest New York Fed survey.

International Markets

  • The International Monetary Fund says markets have good reason to be more upbeat about the global economy as nations continue to recover from the pandemic.
  • Euro zone economic growth is likely to be stronger than expected this year, while inflation will be lower than forecasts made at the end of 2022, the European Commission said.
  • China’s consumer prices rose 2.1% year over year in January.
  • High levels of debt and a struggling housing market in China are casting doubts on expectations for the nation to lead a global economic resurgence.
  • Global investors are losing their appetites for Chinese government bonds amid rising interest rates and concerns about regulatory tightening.
  • Japan’s economy advanced 0.6% on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter, well below market estimates of 2% growth.
  • British employers expect to raise wages for staff by the most in over a decade this year as they struggle to retain workers in a tight labor market.
  • Insolvencies among British bars and pubs spiked 83% last year primarily due to high energy prices.
  • Mexican cement producer Cemex reported a surprise quarterly loss due to lower demand in the U.S. and Europe.

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