More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a larger-than-expected draw down of U.S. inventories last week, sending the WTI price above $41/bbl.
Crude prices were higher in early trading with the WTI price at $41.39/bbl and Brent at $43.73/bbl.
U.S. coal production fell 7% last year to its lowest level since 1978. The EIA estimates that production is down 27% so far this year.
The U.S. Treasury Department reached an agreement to loan $10 billion to the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service.
Canadian daily crude-by-rail volume in May was at less than 15% of recent peak levels, idling thousands of railcars.
Eastman Kodak, with help from a $765 million federal loan issued under the Defense Production Act, will begin making chemicals used in pharmaceuticals to fight COVID-19 as the government presses to shift manufacturing from China.
The shift to stay-at-home viewing is upending the movie distribution industry as evidenced by Universal Studios’ new pact with AMC theaters that shortens the exclusivity period for theaters on new releases from an industry-average 90 days to just 17 days.
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.
Twenty-one states are in the CDC’s red zone, with over 100 new infections per 100,000 people in the past week:
Signaling its wariness about the strength of the recovery, the Federal Reserve yesterday extended its Main Street lending programs for small-and medium-sized business from September 30 through year-end.
Goldman Sachs warned that the U.S. dollar could be displaced by gold as the world’s reserve currency because of rising government spending in response to the pandemic.
With the lack of a unified approach to reopening, states are establishing their own guidelines for when restrictions are warranted, with most state standards falling short of CDC guidelines.
Medicaid enrollment has spiked since the spring due to the surge in unemployment.
A surge in face mask production and sales could not offset revenue declines in other divisions as 3M’s quarterly sales slid 11.9%.
Snack maker Mondelez, benefiting less than U.S.-centric competitors, reported a 3% drop in revenue with sales to developing regions falling as countries imposed lockdowns. Sales in Latin America were down 11%.
Revenue for Starbucks fell 37% and the company posted a loss but is “steadily recovering” as stores reopen and it adjusts its operating model.
Retailer L Brands is cutting 850 staffers and closing 250 stores in the face of a 20% drop in quarterly revenues.
Visa’s transaction volume fell 13% and quarterly earnings fell 23% on a pullback in consumer spending.
Responding to consumer preferences for crossover vehicles, Mercedes is retiring at least seven luxury sedan models. Demand for luxury sedans has dropped 37% in the past five years, compared with a 73% increase in demand for luxury crossovers.
Home prices were up 3.7% in May versus the prior-year period, but the pace and breadth of increase eased, with pricing higher in only three cities in a 20-city index.
The Consumer Electronics Association announced that its annual CES show in January will take place virtually in 2021. Last year’s show in Las Vegas, which was attended by nearly 200,000 people from throughout the world, is suspected of helping incubate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lysol parent Reckitt Benckiser Group, building on demand for its cleaning products, is establishing a professional service business to advise leisure and travel businesses on hygiene matters.
Fiber from a relative of the banana tree is being developed as a biodegradable alternative to replace plastic in face masks and hospital gowns.
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