MH Daily Bulletin: September 2

September 2, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland

  • During M. Holland’s recent summer internship program, 15 bright college students worked both in-person and remotely across many departments. Click here to read more about their experiences at M. Holland and their perspectives on the plastics industry.
  • M. Holland’s latest logistics outlook examines current challenges and industry trends that are impacting shipping, trucking and rail. Although the plastics industry is faring a little better than earlier this year, M. Holland’s experts predict disruption to continue well into 2023. Click here to read the full outlook for the remainder of 2022.
  • M. Holland will be attending the North American Detroit Auto Show on Sept. 14-15. This annual showcase for emerging automotive technologies will be held at Huntington Place in Detroit, Michigan. If you’re attending, please RSVP for M. Holland’s reception or contact Mike Gumbko, Strategic Account Manager, to set up a meeting with our Automotive team.
  • M. Holland will be closed Monday, Sept. 5, in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets.

Supply

  • Oil prices fell over 3% Thursday on news of more COVID-19 lockdowns in China.
  • In mid-day trading today, WTI futures were up 0.7% at $87.23/bbl, Brent was up 1.2% at $93.44/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was down 4.4% at $8.86/MMBtu.
  • The average U.S. gasoline price is down for the 11th straight week to $3.81 a gallon, roughly 25% lower than mid-June’s record.
  • California lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to keep the state’s last nuclear power plant open for another five years after its scheduled shutdown in 2024.
  • Exxon Mobil and Shell sold their California oil and gas joint venture Aera on Thursday for $4 billion, ending a 25-year partnership that was one of the state’s largest oil producers.
  • OPEC+ is expected to keep its October crude output target stable when the group meets early next week to review market conditions.
  • Chevron formally asked the U.S. government to expand its license to operate in heavily sanctioned Venezuela, a potential avenue to bring more of the nation’s crude to global markets.
  • Brazil’s Petrobras will cut gasoline prices by 7% today, the fourth price reduction since mid-July.
  • France’s president indicated a Western nuclear deal with Iran could come within days, potentially unlocking more of the nation’s crude for export. However, the U.S. said Iran’s written response to a draft agreement was “not constructive.” 
  • Solar panel shipments in the U.S. hit a record high in 2021, representing 28.8 million kilowatts of capacity:
Record numbers of solar panels were shipped in the United States during 2021

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 85,761 new COVID-19 infections and 403 virus fatalities Thursday.
  • U.S. health officials expect to see another COVID-19 surge this fall as immunity from vaccination wears off and people head indoors when the weather turns colder.
  • The CDC gave final approval to the first updated COVID-19 booster doses since the beginning of the pandemic Thursday. The new shots will target the fast-spreading BA.5 subvariant of Omicron ahead of a possible virus surge this winter and could be ready for shipment within days.
  • Education officials say disruption stemming from the pandemic has set U.S. students back 20 years in reading and math levels.
  • The U.S. unemployment rate inched higher to 3.7% and employers added 315,000 jobs in August in a positive government jobs report that sent stock futures higher in pre-market trading.
  • U.S. worker productivity plunged 4.1% in the second quarter, the largest year-over-year decline on record as labor costs continue to rise and firms grapple with rampant inexperience due to a shortage of qualified workers.
  • An index of U.S. factory activity was unchanged at 52.8 in August, still the lowest reading since June 2020, according to the Institute for Supply Management.
  • Travel disruption is likely to surge in the U.S. this Labor Day weekend as early data point to a 22% increase in consumer spending on air travel, cars, cruises, hotels and tours, according to AAA. 
  • Americans are beginning to tip less as soaring inflation affects spending habits. 
  • U.S. construction spending fell 0.4% in July, adding to June’s decline, as rising mortgage rates cooled demand for homebuilding.
  • U.S. mortgage rates climbed for a second week to an average of 5.66%, the highest in two months.
  • U.S. retailers from Gap to Kohl’s are warning of slumping profit margins as inflation-weary customers hold off on discretionary purchases.
  • Farming production costs will rise by an estimated 18% this year as material and labor costs skyrocket.
  • Between April and July, 170 U.S. startups and tech firms laid off employees compared to just 20 in the first quarter. 
War & World Economy Spark Mass Tech Layoffs

International Markets

  • The southern Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen tightened curbs Thursday as COVID-19 infections continue to mount. The southwestern metropolis of Chengdu also launched a four-day lockdown so that it can test its 21.2 million residents for the virus. 
  • Hong Kong reported 10,586 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, leading to fears of tightened restrictions.
  • EU regulators approved Omicron-tailored updates to existing COVID-19 vaccines Thursday, paving the way for countries to start giving shots next week.
  • Canada authorized Moderna’s Omicron-tailored COVID-19 vaccine booster Thursday.
  • China’s manufacturing activity fell for the first time in three months in August, tipping slightly into contraction territory on power shortages and a spate of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Manufacturing activity across the euro zone fell steeper into contraction territory in August, raising fears that the bloc is in recession.
  • Canadian manufacturing activity contracted in August for the first time since the early pandemic on a sharp decline in output and new orders.
  • Mexico’s manufacturing sector contracted for a second month in August on weak demand and input shortages.
  • Japan’s yen fell to a 24-year low against the U.S. dollar this week on signs that policymakers will break course with other central banks and continue monetary easing.
  • South Korea’s main inflation rate dropped to 5.7% in August for the first monthly decline this year.
  • Brazil posted an above-expected trade surplus of $4.17 billion in August as both exports and imports rose.
  • Argentina’s central bank could hike its benchmark interest rate, currently 69.5%, to 75% this month in a bid to tame one of the world’s highest inflation rates. 
  • Remittances to Mexico from family members working abroad reached a record-high $5.3 billion in July, up 16.5% from a year ago on the back of a strong labor market in the U.S. 
  • British housing prices rose for a 13th month in August but slowed from previous months, suggesting a cooling market.
  • Toronto home prices have plummeted 16% since March, the largest decline in data going back to 2005.
  • Nearly 70 Chinese cities reported declines in new home prices in August as the nation’s worsening property crisis ripples through the its economy.
  • Britain’s competition watchdogs have flagged Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard, saying the deal would give too much control over consoles and cloud gaming to Microsoft. 

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