COVID-19 Bulletin: August 26

August 26, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Hurricane Laura

  • Hurricane Laura gained strength over the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to be a major Category 3 or 4 storm when it strikes the Louisiana/Texas coast late tonight or early Thursday.  
Petrochemicals Companies Shuttering Facilities
  • The Coast Guard has closed the Port of Houston in advance of the storm.
  • Our Logistics team reports that rail traffic in and around Houston and New Orleans has been curtailed. 
  • We expect bulk truck traffic to cease today in the affected areas, aggravating an already tight trucking market.
  • Our Gold Standard logistics partners in the Gulf region will suspend operations today and tomorrow.
  • The following suppliers have issued force majeure notices:
Suppliers Issuing Force Majeure

Supply

  • After closing higher yesterday on hurricane concerns, crude prices were modestly lower in early trading today, with the WTI at $43.19/bbl and Brent at $45.76/bbl.
  • With the approaching hurricane, offshore producers have closed 82.4% of Gulf of Mexico oil production and 56.9% of gas production.

Supply Chain

  • Firefighters made gains against wildfires in Northern California as weather conditions improved, but their job has been complicated by COVID-19.
  • Best Buy plans to convert some stores into e-commerce fulfillment centers after reporting a 242% increase in online sales in its latest quarter.
  • While dry van capacity is improving, the bulk trucking sector has worsened, with rising manufacturing activity and low inventories expanding regional tightness into a national capacity shortfall. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates will be met.
  • Freight pricing continues to rise due to capacity constraints and the higher cost of operations due to the pandemic.

Markets

  • The U.S. recorded 37,986 new COVID-19 infections yesterday and 1,234 deaths.
  • Twelve states have experienced rising COVID-19 infections over the past two weeks.
  • COVID-19 infections in Illinois are rising again, with rural counties comprising 8 of the 10 counties with the fastest infection rates.
  • Colleges and universities across the country are experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19.
  • New Jersey’s governor proposed raising income taxes as well as taxes on cigarette and weapon sales to help address a $5.7 billion budget deficit caused by the pandemic.
  • GM is using salaried workers on its assembly lines at its Wentzville, Alabama, plant to overcome high absenteeism caused by the pandemic, prompting protests from the United Auto Workers.
  • Sales of sporting goods in the U.S. topped $5.5 billion in June, compared with $4.0 billion in the prior-year period and higher than that year’s peak holiday sales of $5.1 billion in December.
  • Sales of e-bikes have risen more than 70% each month since the pandemic began.
  • Carnival’s Princess cruise line canceled some sailings in 2021 due to continuing border and port restrictions and disruption in air travel. 
  • The pandemic has been devastating for global tourism:
Coronavirus Cuts International Tourism in Half
  • Aluminum cans are in short supply because of demand shifts during the pandemic and their continued gain in market share against plastics and glass due to their light weight and ease of recyclability.
  • Mortgage lending, energized by historic low interest rates, will exceed 2019 by $1 trillion this year.
  • Commercial tenants are demanding pandemic clauses in their leases after learning their insurance policies do not cover the business interruptions caused by COVID-19.
  • 3D printing is attracting big investment dollars as it gains attention and status during the pandemic.

International

  • Global trade rebounded 7.6% in June from May but remained 12.5% below June 2019.
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that the economies of OECD countries contracted by 9.8% in the second quarter, four times the low point of the Great Recession.
  • Public debt among developed countries rose to 128% of global GDP, higher than in 1946 following WWII.
  • Germany is extending stimulus measures to bolster its economy, including extending unemployment subsidies for 12 additional months through 2021.
  • The number of people on furlough in France dropped by nearly half in July.
  • Puerto Rico’s lone delegate to Congress has contracted COVID-19, the 13th member of the House of Representatives to test positive.

Our Operations

  • To access 3D Printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our new online resource.
  • Resource Center: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers. To arrange a videoconference or meeting, contact:
  • M. Holland’s official status statement is available here.

Thank you,

M. Holland Company

We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

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