MH Daily Bulletin: February 17

February 17, 2023 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

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  • Oil fell slightly Thursday as the market weighed mixed U.S. economic signals and prospects for demand recovery in China.
  • Energy futures tumbled in mid-morning trading on fears of extended Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes, with WTI futures down 3.9% at $75.45/bbl, Brent off 3.5% at $82.20/bbl, and U.S. natural gas down 4.9% at $2.27/MMBtu.
  • Natural gas prices in Europe have plunged about 80% since last summer’s peaks, new data shows.
  • Adjusted for inflation, U.S. natural gas prices are at a 30-year low, according to analysts.
  • At least three proposed U.S. LNG export plants have likely found enough customers to earn bank financing this year, which would make the country the world’s largest LNG exporter for years to come.
  • BP will buy truck fueling provider TravelCenters of America for about $1.3 billion, as the British energy giant seeks to expand its retail network.
  • Saudi Arabia signaled that OPEC’s current deal to cut oil production targets by 2 million bpd would be locked in until the end of the year.
  • India’s fuel demand rebounded strongly in the first half of February.
  • Profits tripled last year for British Gas owner Centrica to a record 3.3 billion pounds.
  • Spain’s Repsol saw fourth-quarter adjusted profit more than double from the same time last year to $2.15 billion.
  • A sustainability group backed by the G20 industrialized nations approved “global baseline” rules for firms disclosing how climate change affects their business.
  • BP plans to hire over 100 employees in its offshore wind division.
  • China is set to install a record 95-120 GW of solar power this year as equipment costs fall and it pushes ahead with massive inland renewables plans.

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

  • Corporate America’s fourth-quarter earnings are down 2.3% from the previous period, the first decline since 2020.
  • U.S. credit card balances have reached a record high nearing $1 trillion, while delinquency rates recently surpassed pre-pandemic norms.
  • U.S. household debt jumped to a record $16.90 trillion from October through December last year, the largest quarterly increase in two decades.
United States Debt Balance Total
  • Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region dropped off sharply and unexpectedly in February, with the Philadelphia Fed’s monthly index falling from -8.9 to -24.3.
United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index
  • China slapped fresh sanctions on the U.S.’s two largest defense contractors, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies.
  • DoorDash’s revenue rose 40% last quarter as consumers spent more on deliveries of food and household essentials.
Americans Won't Let Inflation Spoil Their Appetite
  • WeWork forecast lower-than-expected revenue for the current quarter, signaling that its business of providing flexible workspace is feeling the heat of mass tech layoffs.
  • Hasbro beat quarterly estimates but forecast gloomy 2023 sales and profits due to lower demand and a $300 million hit to revenue from a stronger dollar.
  • The cost of pet food and pet products have surged by double-digit percentages over the past year.
  • Bank of America is planning to cut jobs in its investment banking business.
  • Boeing is merging its aircraft financing arm into its commercial airplanes business unit as part of a push to simplify its corporate structure.
  • U.S. single-family homebuilding fell by 4.3% in January and 27.3% from the same time last year, down to a 31-month low.

International Markets

  • Thousands went on strike in France Thursday in continued protest of the government’s pension reforms.
  • Spain’s exports grew by 23% last year to a record $416.59 billion.
  • Brazil’s economic activity rose by 2.9% last year, boosted by the services sector, defying earlier predictions of milder growth.
  • Mexican officials say the nation’s monetary tightening cycle is nearing an end with probable terminal rates somewhere around 11.25% to 11.75%.
  • Nestle, the world’s biggest food group, will lift prices again this year after more costly ingredients led to a profit miss in 2022.
  • Lufthansa canceled over 1,300 flights Friday, including all flights in Frankfurt and Munich, as a result of strike action. The airline plans to cancel an additional 34,000 flights this summer.

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