COVID-19 Bulletin: November 12

November 12, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Oil prices are up 12% this week on hopes that major oil producers will postpone planned production increases scheduled for January.
  • Energy prices were lower in mid-day trading today, with the WTI off 0.4% $41.27/bbl, Brent down 0.4% at $43.64/bbl, and natural gas down 2.3% at $2.96/MMBtu.
  • OPEC revised estimates for global oil demand in 2020, predicting a further 300,000 bpd drop to about 9.8 million bpd, or 10% lower than last year’s levels.
  • The oil industry is unlikely to get a boost from a successful vaccine at least through the first half of 2021 due to rising production and a slow recovery in demand, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Following stricter U.S. sanctions, Iran’s oil exports have shrunk from more than 2.5 million bpd in 2018 to around 700,000 bpd currently, though the exact number is disputed by officials and could be much less.
  • With the most polluted air in Europe, nations in Europe’s western Balkans are turning toward natural gas as the intermediary between coal and renewables.

Supply Chain

  • Typhoon Vamco is causing severe rainfall in parts of the Philippines, the 21st cyclone to hit the country this year.
  • Business inventories hit their lowest level since 2014 in August when measured as a percentage of sales.
  • Trans-Pacific container freight rates are at historic highs, up 184% from pandemic lows.
  • Cargo and cruise ship operators are selling or scrapping old vessels at an unprecedented rate, hoping to bring in cash after being battered by the global economic downturn earlier this year.
  • The Port of New York and New Jersey broke a record in September by handling 720,969 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 15.4% year-over-year. Port officials attributed the rise to the holiday season and retailers’ concern of future supply chain disruptions.  
  • Looking to make up for declines in volume on its passenger planes, Air Canada is converting some retired Boeing 767s into heavy freighters as the company mulls a fleet of cargo-only planes.
  • British companies are scrambling for storage space to protect supply chains in case the country leaves the European Union by the end of the year without a broad trade deal in place.
  • Amazon is abandoning third-party freight brokers in favor of its Amazon Transportation Services platform for “middle-mile” shipments between its warehouses. The company has spent $40 billion on shipping this year.
  • PepsiCo is piloting “micro-fulfillment” technology for online orders in the Chicago area, where automated machines that pick, pack and ship company products can service almost eight times as many units an hour.
  • With tight freight capacity nationwide and supply constraints with many plastic resins, clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates. 

Markets

  • The U.S. saw its ninth-straight day of new COVID-19 cases over 100,000 Wednesday, posting a record 144,133. Yesterday’s 1,893 reported fatalities pushed the nation’s death toll to 241,798.
  • U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations jumped by almost 4,000 in a single day to 65,368, breaking the record for the second day in a row on Wednesday. Hospitalizations are up 50% in the past 2 weeks.
  • Texas became the first state to surpass 1 million total COVID-19 infections, higher than all but 10 nations. The state’s testing positivity rate is 10.6%.
  • New York has reimposed lockdowns on bars, restaurants, gyms and indoor gatherings after reporting the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections since April, while Ohio’s governor reissued a statewide mask mandate and is considering renewed lockdowns to stem a record spike in infections and hospitalizations.
  • Daily infections in the D.C. region topped 3,000 Wednesday, setting a record for the eighth day in a row.
  • To alleviate a shortage of healthcare workers, North Dakota is permitting those who are infected but asymptomatic to continue treating COVID-19 patients.
  • New jobless claims fell to 709,000 last week, the lowest level since early in the pandemic, as the labor market remained resilient in the face of rising COVID-19 infection rates.
  • Sales of houses over $500,000 accounted for a quarter of all sales between April and June as wealthy buyers sought better properties to spend more time at home due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • New mortgage applications decreased 3% last week yet remain significantly higher than last year. Mortgage refinances are up nearly 70% in the same period.
  • Rubber has become one of the best-performing commodities in the world, being used in everything from critical PPE materials to increased production of tires in a rebounding auto industry.
  • Animal-health company Zoetis is reaping the benefits of people spending more time with their pets while locked down at home, with third quarter revenue up 13% from the prior-year period.
  • With coffee habits notoriously difficult to change, consumers are once again turning to brewing coffee at home, decreasing sales at chains and independent shops while boosting retail sales of coffee brands and equipment.
  • A week ahead of the comeback of Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet, the company faces potential safety penalties from U.S. aviation authorities over its lapse of quality-control measures that could have contributed to crashes in recent years.
  • IBM’s executive chairman says COVID-19 could make remote work a fixture of post-pandemic business landscapes, as employees and executives have “seen what is possible” with digital technology.
  • Backed by investments and planned orders from Amazon and Ford, electric vehicle startup Rivian will begin taking pre-orders for an electric pickup truck and SUV.
  • The Veterans Administration is in the forefront of adopting 3D printing for point-of-use manufacturing of medical supplies after suffering supply chain disruptions early in the pandemic.
  • Eight college football games scheduled for this weekend have been postponed or rescheduled due to COVID-19 outbreaks on teams.
  • PGA professional Bryson DeChambeau is flipping the script in the golf world, using data to upend conventional wisdom as he enters today’s Masters tournament as potentially the best player in the world.

International

  • Total COVID-19 fatalities in the U.K. topped 50,000 Wednesday, putting the country behind only Brazil, India, the U.S. and Mexico for fatalities.
  • Japan recorded record new COVID-19 infections today, prompting consideration of tighter containment measures.
  • The European Union bloc has agreed to buy 300 million doses of BioNTech-Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is yet to be approved by regulatory officials, after the companies reported it to be 90% effective.
  • Testing has resumed of a China-made vaccine after the trial was halted in Brazil following a reported “grave” event.
  • Large Mexican weddings risk becoming super-spreading events in a country with the fourth-highest COVID-19 fatality rate in the world.
  • Brazil’s president admonished citizens for being “a country of sissies” regarding their COVID-19 concerns. The country has the second-highest total deaths in the world and ranks first in deaths per capita.
  • The pandemic has prompted the European Union to create a bloc-wide coordinated health response program for future public emergencies like the coronavirus.
  • The U.K. economy expanded by 15.5% from the second quarter to the third, the highest quarterly rise on record, but the economy remains nearly 10% smaller than a year ago and is expected to suffer contraction in the fourth quarter due to renewed lockdowns.
  • The French economy is expected to contract by 4.7% in the fourth quarter because of renewed lockdowns.
  • A wave of as much as $1.7 trillion in bad loans is concerning some regulators and bank executives in the Eurozone, who fear rising defaults once pandemic relief efforts expire.
  • Thai Airways is selling 34 used Boeing and Airbus planes to raise cash for a restructuring prompted by the pandemic.
  • Boeing has upped its prediction for Chinese aircraft demand over the next 20 years to 8,600 with a potential market value of $1.4 trillion.

Our Operations

  • Craig Shell from our Wire & Cable team delivered a product presentation on cable tapes and gels at the recent the IWCS International Cable & Connectivity Symposium. Click here to access this talk.
  • Greg Watkins, senior manager of talent acquisition and development at M. Holland, spoke at the recent MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference on recruiting the next generation of talent in a post-pandemic world. Click here to view this presentation.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets. To arrange a videoconference or meeting with any of our Market Managers, please visit our website.
  • To access 3D Printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our online resource.

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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