COVID-19 Bulletin: February 11

February 11, 2022 • Posted in COVID-19, Daily Bulletin

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Supply

  • Oil prices were flat Thursday as markets weighed the possibility of more aggressive U.S. interest rate hikes. Crude futures were higher in mid-morning trading, with WTI up 1.8% at $91.49/bbl and Brent up 1.7% at $92.94/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 1.3% lower at $3.91/MMBtu. 
  • OPEC forecast global oil demand might rise even more steeply this year than initially expected on rebounding economic growth. Price volatility also could grow, the International Energy Agency warned, as OPEC repeatedly falls short of production targets each month.
  • U.S. Permian Basin production hit nearly 5 million bpd in January and is expected to grow by an annual rate of 600,000 bpd for the next several years, executives at Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline predict. 
  • A cyberattack hit oil terminals across Europe last week, disrupting processing operations. 
  • U.S. gas prices have nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic.
  • China’s state-owned PetroChina will invest $5.33 billion to expand petrochemical capacity while cutting refined fuel production, part of a policy of driving export growth while reducing fuel output as domestic demand is set to peak. 
  • St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company, nearly tripled revenue expectations last quarter and said that its 2022 production was already committed in contracts. 
  • France plans to build at least six nuclear reactors over the next several decades to help reach carbon neutrality by 2050, aided by a long-term goal of 100 GW of solar power and 40 GW of wind energy. 
  • Spain’s largest LNG distributor will split into two entities, one focused on infrastructure and one on power generation, in a bid to accelerate growth and renewable projects. 
  • Indian officials announced ambitious plans to eliminate the use of diesel fuel in the agriculture industry within two years. 

Supply Chain

  • An off-season wildfire broke out in Orange County, California, yesterday, prompting evacuations in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo. 
  • In the latest news from Canada, where truckers are protesting COVID-19 restrictions:
    • ToyotaFord and GM are scaling back production due to parts shortages caused by continued blockades of Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge. This morning, protestors opened one lane on the bridge in the hope of dissuading their possible forceful removal. 
    • Ontario officials are warning of imminent police action to resume the flow of traded goods from Ontario to Detroit, the U.S.-Canada border’s largest gateway. 
    • Trucker protests cropped up on a key trade lane between Manitoba and North Dakota yesterday, shutting down traffic flows. 
    • Border blockades are costing Canada as much as $500 million per day in lost trade, economists say, which could push up inflation and lead to negative economic growth. 
    • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement that a convoy of truckers protesting COVID-19 restrictions could make its way across the U.S., potentially blocking roads in several major cities. 
  • The number of ships waiting outside Southern California ports fell to 78 vessels this week, the lowest level since last November. 
  • The Port of Savannah handled 479,000 TEUs in January, the 18th consecutive monthly record.
  • The National Retail Federation predicts U.S. imports will stabilize during the first half of this year, potentially giving relief to backlogged supply chains. 
  • Cargo delays are rising at Singapore’s Changi Airport due to more COVID-19 cases among handlers. 
  • Flush with cash, the world’s biggest shipping lines are buying their own fleets of cargo planes as they add air services for large clients willing to pay extra to bypass ocean-based congestion. 
  • Charter rates for very large crude carriers dropped sharply into negative territory the past week as high oil prices affect consumption. 
  • The new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will likely focus less on reducing tariffs and more on harmonizing issues including digital trade, supply chains and green technology, although more details of the plan are yet to be announced by the U.S. administration. 
  • Loads posted on the truckload spot market rose 37.4% in January from a year earlier. 
  • Over two-thirds of U.S. clothing companies surveyed plan to expand nearshoring mostly to Central America, institutional adviser McKinsey & Co. said. 
Apparel manufacturing product imports from Asia to the United States from 2005 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars)

Domestic Markets

Pfizer Revenue Boosted by Covid-19 Drugs
  • General Motors said it would raise production of electric trucks and SUVs by sixfold over initial targets for the next two years. The automaker also is expected to soon resume production of its recalled Bolt EV model
  • In the latest inflation news:
    • Pressure is growing on the Federal Reserve to impose larger interest rate increases at a quicker pace
    • U.S. households face roughly $250 in additional costs per month due to inflation, affecting everything from utilities to food to vehicles and everyday items
    • Inflation is the highest in mountain states including Arizona, Colorado and Idaho, with prices rising up to 9% just over the past month in some cities. 
    • The Federal Reserve will begin stress-testing financial institutions for a scenario in which markets seize up and unemployment jumps above 10%. 
    • The freedom of remote working helped boost relocations by 20% last year versus 2020, with Vermont and North Dakota as the most popular states but most people relocating to sunbelt states. 
  • U.S. foreclosures rose 29% last month and were more than double the same time last year after a federal moratorium on evictions expired. 
  • The average 30-year U.S. mortgage rate is up to 3.69%, the highest in two years. Meanwhile, median prices for single-family homes were higher last quarter versus a year ago in 181 of 183 U.S. metro areas. 
  • Manhattan rental prices rose an annual 23% in January to an average of $3,467, near the all-time high. Across the nation, rents were roughly 4% higher last year than in 2020. 
  • Sales of $10 million homes doubled last year, primarily concentrated in Los Angeles. 
  • Higher product prices offset rising supply chain costs for consumer giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, leading to strong quarterly results. 
  • January sales at industrial supplier Fastenal surged over 20% on rising demand for safety products. 
  • Used-car prices rose 40.5% in January from a year ago, according to the Labor Department, a large contributor to the U.S.’s 40-year-high inflation rate. 
  • Uber expects rising demand for third-party rides and food deliveries to push the firm into cash-flow positive territory by the end of the year, which would be a company first. 
  • California is the first state to register more than 1 million plug-in electric vehicles, with nearly a quarter of them registered last year. 
  • Ford announced plans to develop at least five new battery-electric Lincoln models by 2026. 
  • Sherwin-Williams announced plans to invest $300 million to expand a North Carolina manufacturing facility, double its workforce and bolster in-house resin production. 

International Markets

122 Countries on Track to Miss Covid-19 Vaccine Goal

At M. Holland

  • Plastics News reported that M. Holland earned a Bronze rating from EcoVadis, a trusted provider of business sustainability ratings. The article reports that our improved annual score for 2021 is due to progress in our diversity and inclusion program, wellness benefits, career development and more.
  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight. 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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