COVID-19 Bulletin: December 30

December 30, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Oil prices rose slightly yesterday on news of larger-than-expected draws in U.S. crude and gasoline stockpiles. Futures were mixed in late morning trading, with WTI up 0.2% at $76.74/bbl and Brent down 0.1% at $79.14/bbl.
  • U.S. natural gas prices edged lower despite forecasts of regional colder weather and higher heating demand. Futures were 5.3% lower in morning trading at $3.65/MMBtu. 
  • Mexico will suspend crude oil exports in two years in a bid to focus on domestic self-sufficiency, starting with a 50% reduction to 435,000 bpd of exports next year. 
  • Saudi Arabia is expected to slash prices for all export grades to Asia by more than $1 per barrel in February, reversing December’s 60¢ increase to the lowest price in four months.   
  • U.S. exports of petroleum and crude oil products topped imports by 120,000 bpd in the first half of 2021, according to the Energy Information Administration. 
The U.S. exported slightly more petroleum than it imported in the first half of 2021
  • Benchmark European gas prices are up about 400% this year and could remain elevated into early 2023, as German regulators continue to stall boosted flows from Russia. Prices have steadied on higher LNG imports from the U.S. 
  • Equipment, leasing and other input costs rose to an all-time high this quarter for drillers in the largest U.S. oil fields, the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve said. 
  • Brazil’s Petrobras is stepping up re-injections of CO2 into its oil fields as part of long-term emissions reduction goals. 
  • Ukraine is doubling down on nuclear power with plans for $335 million in investments in uranium mining and processing sites over the next five years. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.

Supply Chain

  • Greek operator Euroseas signed three-year charter extensions for two boxships at $40,000 per day, nearly triple the current charter rate of $15,500. 
  • The U.S. deficit in merchandise trade widened to a record $97.8 billion in November on a sharp rise in imports, concentrated in industrial supplies and consumer goods. 
  • Small and midsize retailers are increasingly buying up logistics companies for in-house operations, signaling their continued difficulties finding delivery capacity in a tight market. Smaller stopgap measures are also being used more frequently, such as storing goods in idle truck trailers. 
  • Quick turnarounds on returns have helped U.S. retailers restock depleted inventories, spurring rising investment in return automation and warehouse systems. 
  • Shares of the U.S.’s biggest egg producer fell 8% Wednesday on disappointing quarterly results caused by rising feed and labor costs. 
  • Much of 2021’s commodity price volatility can be traced to extreme and wildly changing weather in several global regions. 
  • Analysts project lower grain prices in 2022 as a record planting season brings supply up to demand, although volatility could result from extreme weather and geopolitical tensions. 
  • Global crude steel production fell 9.9% year over year in November, keeping prices unusually high compared to historical levels despite cooling pressures the past several months. U.S. cold-rolled coil closed last week at $2,503 per short ton, more than double the $1,018 rate from December 2019.
  • More than half of states are set to raise their minimum wage next year in response to continued labor shortages and inflationary pressures. 
  • Computer chip maker Micron Technology is warning customers of delayed shipments over a facility shutdown caused by China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak.  
  • Electric vehicle maker Rivian is pushing back deliveries of some electric pickups and SUVs to 2023 due to battery component shortages in high-trim models. 
  • The U.S.’s first human-less and fully autonomous heavy duty truck trip was completed on an 80-mile route in Arizona. 

Domestic Markets

International Markets

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be closed tomorrow for the New Year’s holiday. We wish all a safe and happy new year!
  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight during prevailing force majeure. For more information, email our 3D Printing team.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets.

For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

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