COVID-19 Bulletin: May 21

May 21, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:

Supply

  • Oil prices were up modestly in mid-day trading today, with the WTI up 0.6% to $33.69/bbl and Brent up 0.4% to $35.88/bbl.
  • A spike in wind energy due to storms coupled with depressed demand from COVID-19 lockdowns led renewable energy sources to overtake gas and coal for power generation in Great Britain in the first quarter, stressing the country’s electrical grid.
  • Due to the recent collapse of oil prices, some poorer oil-producing nations, including Republic of Congo and Kurdistan, face possible default on prepayment transactions, an obscure form of loan for future oil deliveries.
  • Acrylic sheet is in short supply due to surging demand for social-distancing barriers.
  • While plastic resin feedstock prices have fallen with the price of oil, prices for iron ore, a base material in the manufacture of steel, are up 20% since April due to COVID-19 disruptions to the recycling industry and mining in Brazil, which is among the world’s largest iron ore producers.

Supply Chain

M. Holland COVID-19 May 21 Bulletin Port Status Chart

Markets

  • Another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing total claims for the past nine weeks to 38.6 million.
  • According to one analysis, up to 42% of COVID-19-related job losses could end up permanent.
  • Controversy is brewing in Washington over whether enhanced unemployment benefits, scheduled to expire in July, should be extended, with the White House concerned the $600 in extra weekly payments will discourage people from returning to work.
  • April’s drop in U.S. manufacturing activity was the largest in more than 100 years:
US Manufacturing Output Takes Biggest Hit in 100 Years
  • Bipartisan efforts are underway to modify the Paycheck Protection Program, which is proving inadequate to save many small businesses given the prolonged economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The U.S. government gave $1.2 billion under its Operation Warp Speed initiative to Great Britain’s AstraZeneca to begin producing an experimental vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, one of four potential vaccines receiving U.S. funding.
  • All 50 states are now in some stage of reopening.
  • Ford’s reopening of two of its plants was interrupted when COVID-19 was detected in workers, forcing the sites in Chicago and Dearborn to temporarily close for deep cleaning and contact tracing.  
  • As it reopens factories, Harley-Davidson is postponing new model launches and marshaling deliveries to dealers to burnish its brand for exclusivity, a departure from its recent marketing strategy focused on expanding its product line.
  • United Airlines, in collaboration with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic, announced United CleanPlus, a safety initiative involving touchless kiosks for baggage check-in, safety screens, face masks for passengers and crew, and stepped up sanitation.
  • On Friday, Southwest Airlines is restoring snack service on flights of more than 250 miles, but drink service will be limited to water. United will begin providing passengers with snack bags.
  • COVID-19 could mark the demise of the Airbus A380 jumbo jet, the world’s largest airliner, with global airlines canceling orders and retiring their jumbo fleets as they confront an altered outlook for air travel.
  • Uber announced its new Door-To-Door Safety Standard to assure reluctant passengers. 
  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases globally exceeded 5 million, and the daily new case rate continues to rise.
  • COVID-19 has not slowed ESG investing, which considers environmental, social and governance matters.

International

Our Operations

  • Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our people, we will leave offices closed and maintain remote work arrangements at least through July.
  • We distributed safety kits to our commercial teams this week for protection when making client and supplier visits as required.
  • 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.
  • 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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