More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:
The Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. oil inventories were 19% higher than their seasonal average last week, which halted an oil rally.
Crude prices were lower in mid-day trading with the WTI price at $41.46/bbl and Brent at $43.88/bbl.
North Dakota, which has the highest per capita production rate in the country, experienced a 40% drop in oil output between January and May, four times the drop nationally. Producers in the state’s Bakken shale basin need an oil price of $45 to cover production costs, and the threatened shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline over environmental concerns could create an additional competitive hurdle.
Baker Hughes reported a higher-than-expected second-quarter loss and said it is bracing for a second wave of COVID-19 infections and lockdowns.
Aggressive “blanket testing” is helping Gulf states maintain low COVID-19 infection rates, with some nations testing over 40% of their citizens. In some countries, more than 70% of people with positive tests are asymptomatic.
Lockheed Martin, considered impervious to the pandemic along with much of the defense industry, reported delivery delays due to supply chain issues amid rising COVID-19 cases in Florida and Texas.
So far, weak demand is more than offsetting reshoring efforts by U.S. factories, with factory jobs and direct foreign investment down.
We continue to experience challenges with truck deliveries, particularly LTL shipments, due to labor shortages and operational delays caused by COVID-19 protocols. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help assure delivery dates will be met.
With nearly 59,000 people now hospitalized due to COVID-19, the national hospitalization rate is approaching the record set in April.
At his first coronavirus task force briefing since April, the president warned that the virus will likely “get worse before it gets better” and urged people to wear face masks.
COVID-19 patients in many areas are waiting days and sometimes weeks for test results due to the surge in new cases, hampering the national response to the pandemic.
The race is on for a COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 160 candidates in play:
Lawmakers in Washington are scrambling to secure an additional $1 trillion economic rescue package before current aid programs expire in coming weeks, with divergent priorities emerging between the White House and the Senate.
According to the Institute of Supply Chain Management’s most recent COVID-19 survey, 81% of respondents said demand for their products has been negatively impacted by the pandemic by an average of 15%. Only four sectors reported higher demand: Health Care & Social Assistance (+13%), Finance & Insurance (+7%), Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products (+5%), and Computer & Electronic Products (+3%).
United Airlines, which saw revenue plunge 87% and lost $40 million a day in the second quarter, will operate at just a third of capacity in the third quarter, when it expects to lose $25 million a day. The company is slashing 6,000 more jobs.
Boeing, which has suffered $18 billion in losses related to the grounding of its 737 Max airliners, probably won’t receive Federal Aviation Administration approval to return the jet to the skies until late this year.
With Paycheck Protection Program funds expended and COVID-19 still spreading, retail sectors continue to adapt:
Walmart will close on Thanksgiving Day, normally the start of its holiday shopping season, and pay $428 million in bonuses to U.S. employees as a thank you for their dedication during the pandemic.
Rising COVID-19 infections in key vacation states have set back the recovery for the lodging industry, where the weekly growth in occupancy fell below 3% in recent weeks, versus a weekly growth rate of over 8% between mid-April and mid-June.
The CEO of truck-stop leader Pilot Co., the nation’s tenth largest privately owned company, is relinquishing the job to non-family leadership as the firm grapples with the recession and profound changes in the transportation sector.
Global industrial giant Siemens is permanently adopting a “work from anywhere” approach, allowing employees to work remotely two to three days a week.
Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving technology division, is expanding its relationship with Fiat Chrysler to develop a self-driving van.
Major retailers, including CVS, Target and Walmart, pledged $15 million toward a new “Beyond the Bag Initiative” intended to rethink sustainable alternatives to the single-use plastic bag.
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