Today marks the second anniversary of our COVID-19 Bulletin, edition number 501.
We have followed the pandemic, historic supply chain disruption, extreme weather events, and now a war on Europe, tracing their impact on the economy and plastics industry. Our surveys suggest the Bulletin has delivered value to subscribers, many of whom have asked that we continue the publication when COVID-19 subsides. We intend to do so and will soon introduce a new name and look as we constantly seek to provide more value to customers, suppliers, business partners and friends.
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Oil futures tumbled another 6% to below $100/bbl Tuesday, the lowest in two weeks, on fears of demand impacts in COVID-hit China.
The Energy Information Agency reported a 4.3 million barrel build in crude inventories last week, sending crude prices lower in mid-morning trading today. WTI futures were off 0.5% at $95.99/bbl, Brent was down 1.2% at $98.76/bbl and U.S. natural gas was up 1.9% at $4.65/MMBtu.
In its monthly market report, OPEC held off on revising supply and demand forecasts due to the fast-changing situation in Ukraine but cautioned that global demand could decline sharply as inflation rises.
Trafigura Group, one of the world’s top oil and metals traders, is in talks with private equity groups to secure additional financing as soaring prices trigger massive margin calls across the commodities industry.
Gazprom’s natural gas exports to nations outside former Soviet states fell almost 30% year over year from Jan. 1 to March 15, the firm said, despite rising export volumes so far this month.
The Yamal-Europe gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is back flowing westward after a brief eastward flow on Tuesday.
Airlines say they will be able to absorb higher fuel costs on an unexpected pickup in travel demand following the U.S.’s Omicron wave.
Aggressive dealmaking in the U.S. shale industry has created a group of so-called “mini-majors” including Devon Energy Corp., EQT Corp., Continental Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources and Diamondback Energy.
U.S. energy firm Sempra Infrastructure plans to increase LNG production by 60% over the next five years.
U.S. coal exports rose 23% last year, new data shows:
More supply chain news related to the war in Europe:
Rates for the largest capesize bulk ships jumped 20% in a day last week as more Australian coal started moving toward Europe.
Tanker owners willing to take the risk of sailing into the Black Sea can fetch more than $200,000 per day, but most are steering clear, reports show.
War-induced demand slowdowns for vehicles in Europe could have an outsized impact on Volkswagen, which gets 39% of its sales from the continent while accounting for one in every four car sales there. The central European car industry, as a whole, will see the largest impact, as supply shortages shift from semiconductors to even more fundamental car parts like wire harnesses.
Intel is investing $36 billion in chip production and research across Europe, including a new complex in Germany, the firm’s second multibillion-dollar plant investment announced in 2022.
Startup companies that promise to make computer chips for artificial intelligence applications pulled in almost $10 billion in venture capital last year, triple the total funding from 2020.
Another container of unlawfully loaded lithium battery waste caught fire at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach yesterday, the second such fire in the past two weeks, prompting the U.S. Coast Guard to put all containers from the unnamed shipper on hold.
Hapag-Lloyd acquired the container line unit of regional operator Deutsche Afrika-Linien.
Miami-based cargo airline Amerijet will add six 757 freighters by mid-April to expand its network in Latin America.
New York state manufacturing activity showed a surprise contraction in early March as orders fell and delivery times lengthened, according to a New York Federal Reserve index.
The average worker in Houston — one of the fastest cities to scrap remote work measures — shows up at the office about 10.7 days per month compared to 17 before the pandemic, signaling a potential permanent shift to hybrid work structures.
Revenue in the travel nursing industry tripled between 2015 and 2021, new data shows.
Single-family rents rose a record 12.6% year over year in January, new data shows, compared to an annual increase of just 3.9% in January of 2021. Miami, Orlando and Phoenix led the rise.
First-time home buyers accounted for just 27% of U.S. home sales in January, the lowest in eight years amid continued tight supplies and rising mortgage rates.
S&P 500 firms have committed to a combined $238 billion in share buybacks through the first two months of 2022, a record for this time of year. Buybacks for the full year could top $1 trillion, Goldman Sachs predicts.
The EU has approved its fourth round of economic sanctions against Russia, including a broad ban on investment in the nation’s energy sector, a ban on selling some luxury goods to the country and new sanctions against Russian executives and oligarchs.
Global COVID-19 fatalities were down 17% last week, but new cases rose 8%, reversing a recent declining trend.
Germany continues to mark record high daily COVID-19 cases above 250,000, while infections pick up in other European nations including France, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. In the U.K., infections were up almost 50% and hospitalizations were up almost 17% week-over-week.
China modified its hospitalization mandates for some COVID-infected people as it seeks to avoid strains on its healthcare system amid its worst virus wave since early 2020, which saw 5,154 new cases Monday.
Demand for flights leaving Hong Kong is up over 300% from the same time last year as residents seek to flee the island’s on-and-off talks of mass testing and lockdowns. Hong Kong crematoriums are at capacity.
Walmart’s technology unit, Walmart Global Tech, aims to hire 5,000 associates globally this fiscal year and open new hubs in Toronto and Atlanta as part of its aggressive expansion plans, the retailer said.
EU advisers are proposing a new “amber” climate rating for investments in projects that are not fully renewable but still play a significant role in transitioning to cleaner power, such as natural gas.