MH Daily Bulletin: July 29

July 29, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland

Supply

Supply Chain

  • Kentucky’s governor declared a state of emergency after flash flooding in the eastern part of the state led to multiple fatalities on Thursday. 
  • The National Weather Service declared heat alerts through Saturday for most of Washington, northern Idaho, California and Oregon, as the northwestern U.S. sees persistent high temperatures. 
  • Staff at Britain’s largest container port Felixstowe voted in favor of striking in a dispute over pay, joining a wave of labor action in the nation.
  • A backup of more than 60 tankers, triple the normal queue, has formed off the coast of Mexico as ships wait for storage spaces to unload their fuel cargoes. Importers are facing penalties of up to $40,000 a day for the stranded ships, with state-owned Pemex incurring the bulk of the fees.
  • Amazon is proceeding to build several multi-story, multi-million-square-foot warehouses despite stated intentions to slow its aggressive logistics expansion.  
  • Parts shortages are forcing more airlines to ground aircraft awaiting repairs, adding to travel disruption caused by a shortage of pilots, baggage handlers and air traffic controllers. 
  • House lawmakers followed the U.S. Senate Thursday in passing a $280 billion bill to boost U.S. computer chip production and tech competitiveness with China. Major chip makers hailed the approval and said they were moving ahead on various projects that had been stalled awaiting funding. 
  • Franco-Italian STMicroelectronics expects its factories to run at full steam well into 2023 on high demand from the auto and smartphone industries.
  • In the latest supply chain news from second-quarter earnings season:
    • Cosco Shipping said operating profit in the first half of the year nearly doubled to $14 billion.
    • Hapag-Lloyd raised its full-year outlook on an 80% rise in first-half freight rates, while volumes were flat.
    • Harley-Davidson’s North American sales fell by nearly one-third after production was halted in May due to supply chain issues.
    • Intel’s sales unexpectedly dropped 22% to $15.3 billion as the chip maker warned of a slump in PC demand.
    • Panasonic saw earnings drop 39% on fallout from China’s COVID-19 lockdowns and rising material costs.
    • Mexico’s Cemex, one of the largest concrete suppliers in the world, posted a 2% earnings decline and lowered its full-year forecast.
  • In the latest news from the U.S. auto industry:
    • Toyota’s second-quarter production fell 10% short of targets on chip shortages at its Japanese and North American factories.
    • Volkswagen said strong pricing will keep profits high this year even after deliveries fell 20% in the first half of 2022.
    • Nissan’s Q2 profit fell 14% on a 22% decline in global retail sales.
    • Stellantis said automakers will soon begin to lose pricing power as chip shortages ease and more vehicles flood the market.
    • Sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles are falling sharply in their main market of Europe, as fully battery-electric models rise in popularity.

Domestic Markets

U.S. Enters Technical Recession in Second Quarter
  • Fed officials indicated the bank’s benchmark interest rate could rise to 3.4% by the end of the year compared to 2.5% now:
Fed Doubles Down on Inflation With Back-to-Back Rate Hikes
  • New jobless claims last week remained among the highest of the pandemic recovery:
United States Initial Jobless Claims
  • U.S. consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity, grew at a 1% rate in the second quarter, the slowest pace in two years. 
  • Consumer spending on groceries fell 11.7% in the second quarter while spending on food services rose 13.5%, suggesting more Americans are eating out. 
  • Prices of some food items like cooking oil, coffee and avocados are starting to drop from historically high levels, the latest data shows. 
  • The average U.S. mortgage rate fell from 5.54% to 5.30% yesterday, according to Freddie Mac, as purchase demand tumbles amid elevated home prices.
  • JetBlue Airways agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion, ending a months-long bidding war with Frontier for control of the U.S. budget airline market. The deal now faces an uphill battle getting approval from regulators. 
  • Ford began marketing a new version of its electric F-150 to police departments across the country. 
  • Coca-Cola is scrapping the six-decade-old green bottle of its Sprite brand in favor of a more sustainable clear bottle.
  • In the latest news from second-quarter earnings season:
    • Apple limited its quarterly profit decline to 11% after weathering supply constraints and shutdowns in China, while iPhone sales remained resilient. 
    • Amazon posted a net loss for the second straight quarter as cloud-unit strength was offset by weakness in core online retail operations. Still, the firm’s shares rose over 13% in after-hours trading on promising revenue gains. 
    • Comcast’s subscriber growth was flat for the first time in company history, a sudden downshift amid rising competition from 5G telecom providers. 
    • Pfizer’s revenue jumped 47% in the second quarter on $8.1 billion in global sales of its COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid. 
    • Southwest saw earnings double to $760 million, a record, fueled by a sharp rebound in travel demand and higher ticket prices. 
    • Mastercard saw gross dollar volumes rise 14% but warned that runaway inflation is sapping spending from lower-income customers. 
    • Shares of Roku fell 25% Thursday after the streaming firm posted a surprise loss of $112.3 million on declining advertising dollars. 
    • Merck & Co. reported higher-than-expected earnings and revenue on strong sales of its blockbuster cancer immunotherapy drug, Keytruda. 
    • Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, saw a better-than-expected 7.2% rise in core profit on rising sales in Latin America. 
    • Hershey raised its outlook for the year after posting a 19% jump in quarterly revenue. The firm said production issues will keep it from meeting Halloween demand this year. 

International Markets

  • Japan now has the most daily COVID-19 cases of any nation, with 196,000 reported Thursday. 
  • The IMF lowered its growth forecast for the Asia-Pacific region this year from 4.9% to 4.2%, reflecting spillover from the war in Ukraine and China’s economic slowdown.
  • Chinese officials appeared to admit Thursday that the country would miss its annual growth target of 5.5% this year.
  • Euro zone inflation climbed to another all-time high of 8.9% in July, driven by soaring energy and food costs as calls rise for the bloc’s central bank to make more aggressive interest-rate hikes. Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy, saw similar inflation numbers. 
  • U.K. business confidence slumped again in July primarily on recessionary fears from large firms. 
  • Japanese industrial production rose by 8.9% month-over-month in June, the steepest increase on record, new data shows:
Japan Industrial Production MoM

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