February 28, 2023 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

MH Daily Bulletin: February 28

News relevant to the plastics industry:

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  • Oil slid 1% Monday as strong U.S. economic data had investors bracing for more interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
  • U.S. natural-gas futures hit a one-month high Monday on forecasts for colder weather next week and a rise in LNG exports.
  • In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 1.9% at $77.10/bbl, Brent was up 1.6% at $83.73/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was down 1.5% at $2.69/MMBtu.
  • U.S. gasoline prices are down roughly 26 cents since a year ago at an average of $3.37 a gallon.
  • Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) suffered a 94% decline in net income in the fourth quarter from the prior-year period, citing lower average sales prices.
  • Chevron boosted its share buyback program from $15 billion to $17.5 billion.
  • Pemex reported a $9.4 billion loss last quarter, more than triple that of the previous three months.
  • Shell is considering relocating its headquarters from London to the U.S., where its oil-giant competitors command significantly higher stock valuations.
  • Russia’s seaborne crude exports are holding close to post-invasion highs despite tighter Western sanctions.
  • The EU sanctioned a Dubai-based subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned shipping giant that ferries oil and natural gas around the world.
  • Support vessels used for offshore wind farms are being converted to fully electric operations.
  • A shortage of boats capable of installing wind turbine foundations on the ocean floor could delay new projects next year.
  • Power plants will be paid 15% less next year to provide backup electricity on the largest U.S. grid, a blow to aging coal units that have already struggled against cheap renewable energy.
  • Publication of the annual Statistical Review of World Energy is transitioning from BP to the Energy Institute, a professional association. BP, which has published the key source of global industry information for 71 years, will continue contributing to the report.
  • Outdoor goods retailer REI has ordered suppliers to phase out PFAS “forever chemicals” from its products.

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

  • New orders for key U.S.-manufactured capital goods rose by the most in five months in January, suggesting business spending on equipment picked up to start the first quarter. Orders for durable goods, meanwhile, sank 4.5% month over month.
United States Durable Goods Orders

International Markets

  • A gauge of economic sentiment in the euro area fell in February and was well short of expectations:
Euro Area Economic Sentiment Indicator
  • While geopolitical concerns are making many global firms think twice about investments in China, consumer-facing companies such as McDonald’s and Starbucks are expanding in a bet on a resurging consumer sector.
  • The chief economist for the European Central Bank proclaimed that it is winning the inflation fight in the euro zone but that further rate hikes are ahead, including a 50-basis-point increase in March.
  • U.K. grocery prices were up a record 17.1% in the four weeks ended Feb. 19.
  • Five of Britain’s major grocers have had to ration salad ingredients in recent weeks due to poor harvests in countries that are trading partners.
  • A 24-hour strike halted operations at several German airports Monday.

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