More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:
Oil prices are facing the counter-forces of upward pressure from a weakening U.S. dollar and downward pressure due to rising inventories and economic uncertainty.
Crude prices were lower in early trading with the WTI price at $41.55/bbl and Brent at $43.91/bbl.
Alternative energy has captured record share of global electricity markets during the pandemic as its essentially free variable cost creates a preference over fossil fuel sources.
Chevron is using solar power at an oil field in California, reducing production costs while generating low-carbon fuel standard credits worth $4 million annually.
Whirlpool, which reported better-than-expected second-quarter results on strong appliance sales from stay-at-home consumers, said supply chain constraints have stretched backlogs from weeks to as much as two quarters. Among the challenges is lower factory productivity due to social distancing requirements.
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 the $600 unemployment supplement and restrictions on home evictions expiring tomorrow, the Senate and White House compromised on significant differences and agreed on a $1 trillion rescue package. Negotiations with the House of Representatives have yet to begin.
Now that Paycheck Protection Program loans are spent, many small businesses are at a breaking point, with one-third lacking enough cash reserves to last more than a month.
The federal government entered a $2 billion contract to produce 600 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine under development with Pfizer and BioNTech, who are partnering in the vaccine project.
The housing market, fueled by historic low interest rates, continued its rebound in June, as sales of existing homes jumped 20% month-over-month. With 47% of those sales in the southern U.S., the rebound could face an obstacle with rising COVID-19 infections in many Sunbelt states.
Southwest Airlines and American Airlines joined other major carriers in scaling back flights as rising COVID-19 infection rates curtail summer travel.
Amazon announced that it will delay its Prime Day, which normally takes place in July, without specifying a new date.
The pandemic has disrupted the back-to-school shopping season, leaving parents uncertain about whether physical schools will reopen, or classes will be held online. Sales are expected to reach a record $102 billion with laptop sales expected to be a hot product.
A Materials Recovery for the Future project to test new separation methods for flexible plastic packaging (FPP) from the waste stream was a success. FPP, a 12-billion-pound market in the U.S., is the fastest growing plastic packaging globally.
The U.S. dollar is down 8% from this year’s highs relative to a basket of other currencies and at its weakest point since 2018 as the expanding pandemic and escalating trade tensions weigh on the currency.
The euro has rallied 3% versus the dollar this month, fueled by optimism about this week’s bailout package and the dollar’s relative weakness.
Global tourism is suffering a devastating fall this year:
A COVID-19 silver lining: prevention measures have resulted in a steep drop in cases of the flu and other seasonal viruses in the Southern Hemisphere.
Brexit talks stalled between the European Union and the U.K. with a year-end deadline for the U.K.’s departure from the Union looming.
Sweden has paid a steep price for its “herd immunity” strategy to COVID-19, with a death count 4 ½ times higher than combined death toll of the other four Nordic countries.
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We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.