MH Daily Bulletin: September 26

September 26, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

News relevant to the plastics industry:

At M. Holland


  • The WTI crude price plunged 5% Friday to below $80/bbl, an eight-month low, on fears that rising interest rates will tip major economies into recession, cutting demand. Futures were down for a fourth straight week.
  • In mid-day trading today, WTI futures were down 2.7% at $76.62/bbl, Brent was down 2.6% at $83.92/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was down 0.1% at $6.82/MMBtu.
  • U.S. efforts to revive a deal allowing Iran to sell more oil in the global market have stalled, officials say.
  • The U.S. is not considering bans or restrictions on oil product exports even as inventories continue to fall sharply below five-year averages, officials said Friday.
  • California utilities are offering incentives for electric vehicle (EV) owners to charge up at certain times as rising EV adoption puts more strain on the state’s power grid.
  • Over a dozen U.S. states have changed their gasoline taxes year-to-date:
State gasoline taxes varied widely across the United States in July
  • India, the world’s biggest polluter, is expanding its coal power fleet by 25% through 2030 to meet rising energy demand. The move comes as coal buyers vie to pay top dollar from often remote mines in places such as Tanzania and Botswana.
  • Inclement weather has driven electricity demand up while reducing Australia’s coal shipments down 7% year over year, driving coal prices up nearly three-fold and incentivizing investment in alternative energy.
  • Puerto Rico is shipping coal ash through Florida to Georgia after banning storage of the toxic residue in 2019.
  • More oil news related to the war in Europe:
    • A modified EU energy plan set to be unveiled Wednesday will give leeway to member states to cut electricity use less than originally proposed in the coming months.
    • In mid-October, Britain will open a $44 billion financial instrument to help protect energy firms from volatile prices and liquidity squeezes. Officials say U.K. gas and power prices will be “exceptionally high” this winter.
    • Germany is requiring its 2,500 biggest gas users to register with the government ahead of a potential energy rationing scheme this winter. 
    • German crude oil imports rose 13.5% by volume but more than doubled in value the first seven months of 2022.
    • Equinor inked a new deal to supply 15% of Poland’s yearly natural gas consumption as Russia’s war further upends normal trading patterns. 
    • Belgium is forging ahead with plans to close its remaining nuclear reactors despite Europe’s growing energy crunch.
    • Russian natural gas exports to Europe have dropped more than 82% in a year.

Supply Chain

Truck Tonnage Index

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported a seven-day average of 53,376 daily new COVID-19 infections and 356 virus fatalities on Friday.
  • Over 4.4 million Americans have received Omicron-tailored booster shots since their rollout three weeks ago, the CDC said, accounting for just 1.5% of eligible U.S. residents.
  • The U.S. is substantially cutting back the number of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses it plans to donate to other nations this year, a response to declining demand.
  • Children and teens with COVID-19 were 60% more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes than uninfected peers, new research shows.
  • Researchers say remote work could cut 28%, or $456 billion, off the value of offices across the U.S., with about 10% of the reduction coming from New York City alone. 
  • S&P Global’s composite index of U.S. business activity rose to a three-month high of 49.3 in September, despite remaining in contraction territory.
United States Composite PMI

International Markets

  • A downturn in business activity across the euro zone deepened in September amid an intensifying cost-of-living crisis, according to S&P Global’s composite index.
Euro Area Composite PMI
  • The war in Ukraine is set to cost the global economy $2.8 trillion in lost output by the end of 2023, according to a new report, with researchers warning that an energy crisis across Europe this winter could cause costs to rise even more.
  • In global currency moves:
The Pound Tanks Against the Dollar
  • With meager foreign reserves compared with its developed nation peers, the Bank of England has limited power to intervene to support its plunging currency.
  • The euro plummeted to a 20-year low against the dollar to end the week.
  • The yuan and the yen are tumbling due to the growing disparity between aggressive monetary tightening in the U.S. and comparatively weak intervention in China and Japan, threatening the region’s mantle as a destination for risk investors.
  • The Bank of Japan intervened to support its plunging currency for the first time in over two decades on Thursday and warned of further intervention to quell speculative volatility. 
  • Ontario posted its first budget surplus in 14 years as resilient economic activity bolstered revenues this fiscal year, roughly six years ahead of schedule.
  • Canadian retail sales fell a more-than-expected 2.5% in July, the first decline in seven months, suggesting that higher interest rates are impacting spending. 
  • Taiwan’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year last week and cut its growth forecast due to rising economic uncertainty with China. 
  • Deutsche Bank lowered its 2023 growth projection for Europe to -2.2%, which would make it the third worst year since WWII. 
  • Russia’s banks have lost an estimated $25.5 billion as a result of fallout from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Defying the economic turmoil in the U.K., asking prices for U.K. homes are rising at their quickest pace in four months, up 0.7% in September, amid a 20% increase in buyer demand from the pre-pandemic level.
  • The U.S.-led Global Action Plan is working to build a clearinghouse for medical supplies with other nations to fight COVID-19.

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