COVID-19 Bulletin: March 17
March 17, 2020 • Posted in News
On this not-so-celebratory St. Patrick’s Day, we offer the following:
- With most Mployees working remotely and our offices slimmed down to skeletal staffing, we have suspended hiring and onboarding of new people.
- We are watching credit markets closely, as the Wall Street Journal reports that companies worldwide are drawing down credit lines simultaneously, putting liquidity pressures on banks.
- Many clients are requesting letters from our suppliers concerning their operating status and business continuity plans. We have compiled an electronic file of such letters that is readily accessible to our sales team. We will seek to make these available through our website.
- Our Technical Development Engineers are transitioning to virtual technical support utilizing Microsoft Teams.
- We have experienced attempted phishing scams associated with the COVID-19 scare. Our IT team issued the following warning to Mployees:
- There are many scams with links to COVID-19. We encourage everyone to take a few minutes to read this Coronavirus Scam Alert article from Forbes.
- An attack known as “SIM Swapping” is currently circulating. This involves a hacker convincing someone to share the code from their 2-factor authentication application. Please keep this in mind in the event that you are prompted by our authentication platform, DUO, but you have not attempted to log in within the previous 30-60 seconds. Click DENY. Only approve DUO requests when you are actively trying to access M. Holland resources.
- Beware of any personal emails you receive as links or attachments in these emails may contain malware. This can compromise both your personal AND professional information.
- Communicate to customers that M. Holland Co. is not sending out emails indicating that we have changed banks or ACH payment info. Ask them to always confirm any payment change requests they receive from us over the phone.
- Producers are reporting strong demand for PE and PP in the wake of the recent run on food and staples by concerned citizens.
- Producers continue to report no supply disruptions related to COVID-19.
- ExxonMobil announced big spending cuts in response to the oil price collapse and COVID-19. U.S. oil prices fell below $30 a barrel yesterday, a four-year low.
- Most suppliers have moved non-critical personnel to remote working arrangements.
- Our logistics team has initiated daily check-ins with Gold Standard Distribution Centers; all are reporting they are fully operational.
- Demurrage could impact clients in countries under lockdown (e.g., Spain, Italy).
- Resin demand has spiked for food packaging, shrink wrap, personal care packaging, liners for caps and closures, medical supplies, and e-commerce packaging. Resin suppliers report that large multinationals are ordering beyond March forecasts.
- Customers in industrial packaging, shrink wrap, liners, and janitorial supplies are slowing quickly as most restaurants, bars, events and offices are closed or closing soon.
- In Healthcare, we’ve seen increased orders from makers of testing kits.
- Some converters are being forced to curtail production due to operator shortages.
- We expect the current demand spike could be at the expense of future demand beyond the next six weeks.
- It’s been announced that on Sunday, the UAW gave an ultimatum to Detroit’s big three automakers to close all plants for at least two weeks. To prepare for the shutdown, the union gave the automakers a 48-hour window, which expires today. Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot have ceased car production in Europe; VW has closed factories in Italy and Spain.
- A deep cleaning is underway at the GM Cole Engineering Center after an employee contracted COVID-19.
- The U.S. dollar continues to strengthen; the Mexican peso fell below 23:1 to the dollar.
- Oil-dependent countries in LATAM (e.g., Ecuador, Mexico) will face pressure from the low oil prices, regardless of their currency.
- Our LATAM team reports that Ecuador and Suriname have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Manufacturing businesses remain open; schools, malls, etc. are closed. Supermarkets have been drained by consumers. All flights, International and Domestic, have been halted; all borders with the two countries have been closed.
We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.