February 21, 2023 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

MH Daily Bulletin: February 21

News relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

  • Household debt in 2022 rose to its highest level since 2008, with the average household owing $142,860.
  • A string of strong U.S. economic data released last week has more analysts expecting interest rates to land higher than initially expected.
  • Monthly voluntary job quits were up 20% last year compared to pre-pandemic levels, new data shows.
  • Fundraising by venture-capital firms hit a nine-year low last quarter as macroeconomic pressures weighed on major investors.
  • Loan defaults by office landlords are rising, suggesting that remote and hybrid work have permanently altered the market.
  • Ninety-seven percent of companies with outstanding speculative-rated bonds have missed their long-term earnings forecasts, creating risks of defaults in the high-yield bond market. 
  • Existing home sales fell 0.7% in January, the 12th consecutive monthly decline, to the lowest since October 2010. 
  • Walmart beat estimates for both earnings and profits in the fourth quarter and issued “a pretty cautious outlook on the rest of the year” due to “very pressured consumers.” 
  • Home Depot reported better-than-expected profits in its fourth quarter but missed on the top line and projected muted results in 2023. The retailer will spend $1 billion to raise wages for its hourly workers as it competes for employees in a tight labor market.
  • Starbucks, whose baristas have struggled to keep up with demand for online orders since the pandemic, filed a patent for a machine to quickly make highly customized drinks

International Markets

  • Euro zone consumer sentiment rose to -19 in February, the highest level in a year.
Euro Area Consumer Confidence
  • German central bankers say the nation’s economy is poised to shrink slightly this year even as the energy crisis and manufacturing bottlenecks ease.
  • The Purchasing Managers Index in the U.K. unexpectedly jumped into expansion territory this month, rising to 53.0, as the country appears to be dodging recession. 
  • The expected surge from pent-up consumer demand in China after it lifted its COVID-19 restrictions has been slow to materialize, with retail sales down 2.6% in December and muted spending during the Lunar New Year holiday. 
  • China’s property market is still struggling after many state-owned companies failed to step in and take over private development projects despite requests from the government last year.
  • Taiwan’s export orders contracted for the fifth month in a row in January, a sign of conditions in global tech markets.
  • Telecoms gear-maker Ericsson plans to cut 1,400 jobs in Sweden as it contends with a slowdown in some markets.
  • A slow decline in commodity food costs has done little to remedy inflation on grocery store shelves around the world, analysts say.
  • Tens of thousands of British junior doctors plan to strike in March, adding to a series of walkouts putting pressure on the nation’s already strained healthcare system.
  • A majority of U.K. companies participating in a six-month trial of a four-day workweek say they will stick with it after seeing a sharp drop in turnover and absenteeism with no apparent drop in productivity. 
  • The price for carbon permits on the EU carbon market hit a record 100 euros
  • Concluding that it “cannot recycle our way out of this plastic pollution crisis,” PepsiCo plans to double its use of reusable beverage containers by 2030. 

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