COVID-19 Bulletin: May 29

May 29, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:

Supply

  • Oil prices were down less than 2% in early trading today, with the WTI at $33.16/bbl and Brent at $34.75/bbl.
  • A slowing economy and mild weather have boosted natural gas inventories by 42% compared with the year-ago level, putting downward pressure on prices. In early trading, gas futures were at $1.78/MMBtu, down 2.6%.
  • Most petrochemical plants in the Americas are running at 60% to 80% of capacity due to the weak market and, at some integrated facilities, a reduction in fuel refining.
  • COVID-19 outbreaks at remote oil and gas platforms and camps threaten the profitability of many products for major producers.
  • PTT Global Chemical indefinitely suspended plans to build an ethylene-polyethylene complex in Ohio.
  • Renewable energy sources surpassed coal in the generation of U.S. electricity last year, as coal consumption in power plants fell 15% and renewables rose 1.5%. Natural gas surpassed coal as the leading source of electricity in 2016. 

Supply Chain

  • Startup company Zipline has established a drone service center to ferry face masks and medical supplies from Novant Health’s logistics facility to its Huntersville Medical Center in suburban Charlotte, North Carolina. The service center houses 10 drones that can make dozens of deliveries a day.
  • UPS is imposing peak surcharges on many online retailers that have inundated the service with package deliveries.
  • Our Gold Standard logistics and transportation partners continue to operate without disruption.
  • Ports are operating normally:
M. Holland COVID-19 May 29 Bulletin Port Status Chart

Markets

  • The House of Representatives passed a bill that would reduce the amount of Paycheck Protection Program loans required to pay wages from 75% to 60% and extend the time period in which the funds must be spent from 8 to 24 weeks.
  • Legislation will be introduced in the House to speed the expansion of broadband service to rural areas that have struggled to access telemedicine, home learning and remote working during lockdowns.
  • Pending home sales fell a larger than expected 33.8% in April from the prior-year period and 21.8% from March 2020, but the market is showing resiliency in May.
  • With dealer inventories of light trucks running low, GM is ramping up production at three facilities to two shifts.
  • Distributor Pandemic Revenue Index showed an 11.4% drop in revenues among industrial distributors surveyed for the week ended May 22, the ninth consecutive week of double-digit revenue declines from the prior year.
  • We are seeing many wire and cable clients reduce shifts in response to slowing demand in the construction and oil and gas sectors.
  • Employers trying to preserve workplace safety have new concerns about how employees are spending their off-duty time, presenting potential privacy conflicts
  • The CDC issued sweeping recommendations on reopening offices, including encouraging isolation for employees en route to work.

International

  • Canada’s GDP fell 7.2% in March on a collapse of household spending and exports.
  • COVID-19 death rates are likely being undercounted in most countries.
  • Sweden’s economy grew slightly in the first quarter but is expected to dip into recession.
  • Sweden, which shunned social distancing in favor of economic stability and furthering herd immunity to COVID-19, now has the highest infection rate in the world. Brazil and the U.K., which took relaxed approaches to social distancing initially, also rank among the top five nations for infection rates.
The Countries Currently Worst Hit by COVID-19 Deaths
  • Europe’s $824 billion bailout plan will require nations receiving funding to comply with the European Green Deal initiative to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Indians are shedding face masks in response to unbearable temperatures of up to 50°C / 122°F as the nation reopens amidst a triple disaster of a heat wave, a locust invasion and record-high COVID-19 infection rates.

Our Operations

  • Our Healthcare team, in collaboration with Plastics News, will host a webinar on materials selection for medical applications on June 11. Click here to register. 
  • Our Healthcare team is also offering videoconferences for clients seeking advice on medical material selection, manufacturing and regulations. To schedule a meeting, contact Healthcare Market Manager Josh Blackmore.
  • While we may be working apart these days, we’re all finding unique ways to connect. Plastics News recently shared our very own M. Holland lip dub video, which is an interpretation of this intro from an episode of “The Office.”
  • 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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