COVID-19 Bulletin: August 28

August 28, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Hurricane Laura

  • Hurricane Laura, which weakened to a tropical depression Thursday night, largely spared the petrochemicals infrastructure along the Gulf Coast.
  • Residents in Westlake, Louisiana, near Lake Charles, were advised to shelter in place as a chemical fire at a BioLab chemical facility spewed toxic smoke into the air.
  • The hurricane left six dead and a trail of destruction in its wake. 
  • The sudden shutdowns and restarts of petrochemical facilities along the Gulf Coast is causing a surge in unauthorized emissions.
  • Our Logistics team reports that rail traffic and bulk truck traffic in the region continues to be disrupted. 

Supply

  • Oil prices eased yesterday as it became apparent Hurricane Laura left the Gulf Coast energy infrastructure intact.
  • Crude prices were higher in early trading today, with the WTI at $43.37/bbl and Brent at $45.25/bbl.
  • More than half of new refining capacity due to come onstream through 2027 will be in Asia, with more than 70% of it devoted to plastics production as demand for transport fuels ebbs.
  • Scientists from Ohio State, Colorado State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered a bacterium that produces ethylene gas as a biproduct of metabolizing sulfur, which could provide an alternative to fossil fuels to produce plastics.

Supply Chain

  • Tens of thousands of evacuated citizens were allowed to return to their northern California homes as firefighters continued to gain control of a historic outbreak of wildfires.
  • Established brands in China are benefiting from “consumption reshoring” as Chinese consumers spend more time and money in their country and the government encourages domestic consumption.
  • The U.S. Postal Service’s push for efficiency and keeping trucks on schedule may have conflicted with the surge in parcel delivery demand, according to logistics experts, as on-time delivery of first-class mail slipped to 91.6% in July, the lowest since April.
  • Trucking capacity remains tight nationwide. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates will be met.

Markets

  • COVID-19 infections rose in the U.S. yesterday with 45,966 new cases, while deaths fell to 1,116.
  • Fourteen states have experienced rising COVID-19 infections over the past two weeks, up from 10 early in the week.
  • Iowa’s governor closed bars in six counties after the state set a record for daily COVID-19 infections yesterday.
  • California authorities ordered the closure of a poultry facility where hundreds of employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and eight have died.
  • Florida’s tourism-driven economy is showing signs of a modest recovery, with airline passenger traffic and hotel occupancy registering upticks in recent months.
  • The pandemic has deteriorated the fiscal condition of most U.S. cities:
Nearly 90 Percent of Cities Less Able to Meet Fiscal Needs in 2021
  • The federal government entered an agreement with Abbott Labs to produce 150 million of its rapid response testing kits, which received emergency approval by the FDA this week.
  • There are now six confirmed cases of COVID-19 reinfection, suggesting any immunity gained by recovered patients may be short-lived.
  • Those who experience mild symptoms of COVID-19 often are plagued by serious long-term neurological disruptions, including memory and sleep disturbances, dizziness and nerve pain.
  • More than 6,600 COVID-19 cases have been linked to colleges.
  • More than 74,000 school children were infected with COVID-19 during the first two weeks following school reopening, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
  • A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that asymptomatic children can carry particularly high concentrations of the COVID-19 virus.
  • Many schools are finding the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease in water supplies that have stagnated during prolonged lockdowns.
  • One of Tesla’s Chinese rivals, Xpeng Motors, received a warm welcome from U.S. markets yesterday as the electric car company raised $1.5 billion in an initial public offering.
  • The growth rate in grocery spending is slowing in a sign that the expiration of stimulus measures is pinching consumer pocketbooks.
  • Meanwhile, dollar stores are experiencing brisk sales growth from more budget-conscious consumers.
  • HP’s laptop sales soared 30% year over year in its most recent quarter, and Dell’s consumer sales rose 18%, helping to offset a drop in office sales.
  • Boeing, reeling from the airline recession and the grounding of its 737 Max aircraft, advised several airlines to remove some Dreamliner wide-body jets from service due to two “distinct manufacturing issues” with the fuselage.
  • Coca-Cola, hurt by a drop in away-from-home sales, announced a major restructuring and will offer voluntary severance to up to 4,000 employees.

International

  • Japan’s long-serving prime minister announced he is retiring for health reasons.
  • Economic sentiment within the European Community rose for the fourth consecutive month but remained at 60% of its pre-pandemic level.
  • Germany will maintain pandemic-related restrictions as its daily infection rate remained near four-month highs.
  • Peru surpassed Belgium as the country with the most deaths per capita: 86.2 per 100,000 people.
  • One-third of the world’s children lack access to remote learning, according to UNICEF, creating “a global education emergency” and posing long-term implications for societies and economies.
  • Global COVID-19 cases topped 24.5 million with more than 833,000 fatalities.

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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