COVID-19 Bulletin: May 19

May 19, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:

Supply

  • Oil prices extended recent gains in early trading today with the WTI up 2.2% to $32.53/bbl and Brent up 0.7% to $35.04/bbl.
  • Loans from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program went to many energy firms that were in perilous financial shape before COVID-19 struck and will be challenged to win sustainable financing.
  • The Asian petrochemicals market is benefiting from China’s rising industrial production.
  • Borealis cited the COVID-19 crisis among the reasons for canceling a $6.8 billion PE project in Kazakhstan.

Supply Chain

M. Holland COVID-19 May 19 Bulletin Port Status Chart

Markets

  • Optimism pervaded the domestic front of the COVID-19 battlefield yesterday:
    • Biotechnology company Moderna indicated that some test patients responded positively to its experimental vaccine, the first of eight potential vaccines approved for human testing. Large-scale trials should begin in July. 
    • The White House on Friday announced Operation Warp Speed, a plan to cut the approval process and simultaneously fund the production of multiple vaccine candidates before they are approved to speed their path to market.
    • All 50 states will be at some level of reopening their economies this week. 
    • Stocks jumped on the reopening and vaccine news as well as hints that Washington may provide more stimulus funding, with the Dow Jones Industrial average up 3.9% and the S&P up 3.2%, six-week highs.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will tell Congress today that the world is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since World War II, and that the central bank will use all available tools to counter the impacts. 
  • Confronting an 80% drop in ridership, Uber initiated a second round of cuts, closing more than 40 offices and slashing 3,000 more jobs after a 14% staff reduction earlier this month.
  • With car driving down 50% and more than half of Americans expecting to drive less in the post-COVID-19 era, drivers are transitioning to mileage-based insurance to save money.
  • Sales of food and staples to stockpiling consumers boosted Walmart’s same-store sales by 10% in the quarter ended March 31, beating expectations, while its online sales rose 74%, twice the normal growth rate.
  • J.C. Penney will close 242 stores, nearly a third of its total, as part of its bankruptcy restructuring.
  • Major beer brands have seen a decline in restaurant and bar sales partially offset by growing retail sales at the expense of boutique brewers, which had captured market share in recent years.
  • Returning air passengers may face fewer direct flights, strict back-to-front boarding rules, longer deplaning, empty middle seats and steward-approved bathroom use as airlines grapple with social-distancing protocols for the post-COVID-19 era.
  • Medical device makers are grappling with balancing patient safety concerns with growing demands for sustainability solutions in healthcare.
  • The COVID-19 crisis has not diminished American concerns about climate change, according to a recent survey, with 73% of respondents believing it is happening and 54% expressing significant concern.
  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpassed 1.5 million and fatalities climbed above 90,000. 

International

  • European business executives expect the global recovery to take up to three years, according to a survey. 
  • France and Germany proposed a €540 billion ($584 billion) recovery fund to help European Union nations hardest hit by COVID-19.

Our Operations

  • We have consolidated our domestic and international import/export desks into a single International Logistics Group to better serve our growing International business unit.
  • M. Holland Company has entered a distribution partnership with leading polyolefin producer Braskem to distribute a new line of innovative polypropylene filaments, powder and pellets for 3D printing.
  • We distributed safety kits to our commercial teams this week for protection when making client and supplier visits when required.
  • Our Color & Compounding team has introduced an expanded linecard of pulverized products for compounders.
  • To access 3D printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our new online resource.
  • M. Holland is fully operational and prepared to meet client needs for materials, material selection, logistics services and technical support.
  • We have issued the following status statement:

In accordance with the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), M. Holland Company is considered a member of a critical infrastructure industry and will therefore remain operative. As such, with any necessary accommodations made to ensure the health and safety of our staff and business partners, we will continue to fully perform our normal business operations.

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.

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