COVID-19 Bulletin: December 1

December 1, 2020 • Posted in Daily Bulletin, News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.


  • Energy prices were lower in early trading today, with the WTI down 1.0% at $44.52/bbl, Brent down 1.2% at $47.31/bbl and natural gas off 0.1% at $2.85/MMBtu.
  • OPEC member nations have delayed until Thursday a decision on whether to extend current production cuts into the new year.
  • The Baker Hughes count of active oil and gas rigs climbed by 10 to 320 last week, well below the 802 active rigs a year ago.
  • The energy sector was among the hardest-hit segments of the U.S. economy in 2020 demonstrated by several measures — low prices, lost jobs, low market values, a weak merger market and rising bankruptcies.
  • Exxon will take a $17 billion to $20 billion asset impairment charge in the fourth quarter as it narrows its investment focus to the most promising development projects.
  • An armada of 20 oil tankers is booked to deliver U.S. crude to the Far East in December amid demand fueled by the region’s strong economic recovery and a favorable arbitrage between the price of American crude and Asian crude.
  • Bank of Montreal is dissolving its investment banking unit focused on the U.S. energy sector.
  • Bank of America is the sixth major U.S. bank to stop providing funding for oil and gas exploration in the arctic.
  • An expected boom in renewable energy capacity will require massive investment into high-voltage power line construction in the U.S., which currently falls far behind the transmission capacity of China, Europe, South America and India.
  • Westlake Polymers lifted its August 31 force majeure and reported that its Lake Charles, Louisiana, facility is back in full operation.

Supply Chain

  • A potential logistics disaster awaits the U.K. on January 1 when the country officially exits the European Union, bringing fears of delays, bottlenecks and shortages in essential goods as the free movement of goods across the English Channel halts.
  • Container shipping rates from China to Southeast Asia as well as China to Europe are surging to new highs on limited equipment availability due to booming demand.
  • Congestion at the Port of Los Angeles is delaying retailers’ holiday inventories.
  • With tight freight capacity nationwide and supply constraints with many plastic resins, clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates. 


  • There were 157,901 COVID-19 cases and 1,172 fatalities in the U.S. yesterday.
  • Increased travel during Thanksgiving will likely lead to a surge in new COVID-19 infections in the coming weeks.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. reached a record 93,000 on Monday, as more than a third of the country’s total cases since spring came in November alone. In California, hospitalizations increased almost 90% over the past 14 days, leading the state’s governor to warn of new restrictions.
  • New York is requiring hospitals to increase their bed counts and staff amid coronavirus infection rates not seen since May, as New York City reached a 4% positivity rate Monday.
  • COVID-19 cases among children are rising as a percentage of overall infections:  
Rate of COVID-19 Infection in US Children Rising
  • Studies of American Red Cross blood samples suggest that COVID-19 was circulating in the western U.S. in mid-December 2019, weeks before the virus was identified in China.
  • A little-known syndrome that causes dizziness and fatigue is helping explain the symptoms of some COVID-19 “long-haulers,” potentially opening the door to wider treatment options.
  • Research shows that asymptomatic COVID-19 victims have a stronger immune response to the virus than those who develop symptoms.
  • By providing a safety net for credit markets, the Federal Reserve’s pandemic-induced lending programs unlocked more than $2 trillion to support businesses, cities and states, the central bank’s top official said Monday. The programs are set to expire December 31.
  • Online sales reached a record $10.8 billion yesterday, Cyber Monday, up 15.1% from last year.
  • Videoconference app Zoom posted another quarter of record sales alongside higher costs associated with providing free services to some users, such as 125,000 K-12 students.
  • More than half of young adults believe in reducing single-use plastics:
Young Generation Focused on Climate


  • Hong Kong is implementing work and social restrictions after 76 people tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Social restrictions will remain in place until the end of the year in the Philippines.
  • Croatia’s prime minister became the latest world leader to test positive for COVID-19.
  • Pfizer/BioNTech applied for formal approval of their COVID-19 vaccine today in Europe, opening the possibility for dissemination yet this year.
  • China is emerging as the top foreign market for companies that do business across Asia-Pacific, a result of a years-long trade war that has decoupled the U.S. and Chinese markets.
  • Japanese capital expenditures fell 10.6% in the third quarter from the year-ago period, the country’s second straight quarter of double-digit declines in spending on plants and equipment in the wake of weak private sector demand.
  • Mexico announced its second stimulus package in less than two months of more than $10 billion in infrastructure funding as the country seeks to accelerate an economic rebound.
  • Canada has been the most aggressive among its G-20 peers in applying fiscal stimulus to counter the economic impact of the pandemic, raising concerns about a longer-term fiscal crisis.
  • Canada plans to impose a new tax on digital services companies beginning in 2022 to help stem a budget shortfall, prompting threats of trade retaliation from the White House.
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development raised its outlook for the global economy in 2020 to a 4.2% contraction, versus its earlier estimate of a 4.5% decline, but lowered its projections for growth over the next two years and urged governments to continue stimulus efforts.
  • In a divergence with its struggling European neighbors, Germany experienced an unexpected drop in unemployment in November and a continued growth in industrial output on strong export demand.
  • Boosted by pre-Brexit orders from abroad, the U.K.’s industrial sector grew in November with the industrial purchasing managers index rising to 55.6 from 53.7 in October.
  • The U.K. auto industry, down 34% this year due to the pandemic, faces up to $74 billion in tariff costs over the next five years in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The French car market is expected to close the year down 26%, the lowest level since 1975.
  • With a third of the world’s passenger jets in storage, concerns are being raised about the proficiency of pilots who are taking their first trips after months without regular flying.

Our Operations

  • We are pleased to introduce M. Holland’s new Application Development Engineer for Sustainability, Debbie Prenatt. With 20+ years in the plastics industry, Debbie will focus on developing our portfolio and expanding our expertise in the Sustainability segment to better serve our clients.
  • Our latest Founders Series video is a tribute to Joan Holland, co-founder and matriarch of M. Holland, who recently passed away.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets. To arrange a videoconference or meeting with any of our Market Managers, please visit our website.
  • To access 3D Printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our online resource.

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.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.