COVID-19 Bulletin: November 13

November 13, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Crude prices lost momentum for the second consecutive day on Thursday on a surprising rise in inventories reported by the Energy Information Agency (EIA). Prices remain up 9% for the week.
  • Energy prices were lower in late trading today, with the WTI off 2.2% at $40.21/bbl and Brent down 1.7% at $42.79/bbl. Natural gas was 0.3% lower at $2.99/MMBtu.
  • This year’s record-breaking hurricane season has forced offshore drillers to shut about 41 million barrels of production between early June and late October, equating to around 270,000 bpd.
  • The EIA reported that there have been 10 permanent refinery closures globally in recent months, accounting for 1.7 million bpd of capacity. Despite the capacity reduction, some 20 million bpd of capacity remains idle.
  • Africa’s five largest producers of crude oil will likely post a production decline of 19 percent in 2020 due to the converging factors of pandemic-induced demand weakness along with transitions to renewables.
  • The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is partnering with Total to expand carbon capture and utilization capacity six-fold to 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030.
  • The European Union’s lending arm has apportioned $1.2 trillion for green investments as it moves to stop financing fossil fuel projects and airport expansions, member states announced Wednesday.

Supply Chain

  • On Thursday, long-lasting Tropical Storm Eta made landfall again, this time bringing heavy rain and wind gusts to Florida’s west coast after previously striking the Florida Keys and Central America.
  • Flooding from Typhoon Vamco lashed the capital city of the Philippines on Thursday, prompting the country’s president to make a call for faster relief efforts as the storm headed toward Vietnam.
  • Cargo carriers are scrambling over a shortage of available forty-foot boxes as volume in the Trans-Pacific trade lane booms. At least one carrier was forced to suspend U.S. agricultural exports due to the shortage.
  • The global shipping industry is expected to deliver better results than anticipated this year and into next, with estimated earnings growth of 3% to 5% in 2021, partly due to the recovery of dry bulk shipping from pandemic lows.
  • Cummins and Navistar announced a partnership to develop a Class 8 heavy truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells, aided by a funding award from the U.S. Department of Energy that seeks to advance the technology’s production, storage, distribution and use.
  • In a maritime throwback with a technological twist, Sweden is building a full-sized car carrier that will be fully powered by wind, featuring 260-foot retractable masts and high-tech sails made of steel and composites.
  • 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 a record 153,496 new COVID-19 infections yesterday.
  • Total cases in California topped 1 million Thursday, the second state behind Texas to reach the grim milestone.
  • Chicago’s mayor issued a 30-day stay-at-home advisory amid rising cases, while Detroit stopped in-person schooling. Six major school districts that had returned to classrooms have returned to remote schooling as COVID-19 infections surge.
  • South Dakota posted a record-high 2,019 new infections as the state’s governor draws criticism for a lack of lockdowns or other restrictions.
  • Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, is among retailers restoring purchase limits on some goods as consumers revert to stockpiling food and staples.
  • Costco has tightened its facemask restrictions, now requiring all shoppers, including those with medical conditions, to wear masks or face shields.
  • New data shows that low interest rates – down to 0.01% in some instances – are not stopping customers from stashing cash at banks. Total deposits have increased from $13.2 trillion to $15.9 trillion from the start of the year.
  • Low mortgage rates have prompted a historic surge in home values, with prices nationally increasing 12% in the third quarter and prices rising in every region, according to the National Association of Realtors.
  • U.S. inflation remained unchanged from September to October, with price increases on airfare and new cars offsetting price drops for gasoline, medical care, vehicle insurance and clothing. The inflation measure was the weakest in five months.
  • The federal government’s budget deficit in the first month of the fiscal year nearly doubled from the year-ago period due to higher spending on healthcare and safety-net programs as well as lower federal tax collection.
  • Supply shortages from Mexico forced GM to cancel overtime shifts at its SUV plant in Arlington, Texas. Earlier this week, supply shortages interrupted production at the company’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, facility.
  • Starting next year, new buildings in San Francisco will be prohibited from using natural gas for heating and cooking fuel. Restaurants are excepted from the rule, which requires all-electric construction for buildings.
  • On Tuesday, Apple initiated a shift in its Mac computers toward processors developed in-house rather than by Intel. The move could further boost the company’s already stellar profits, analysts say.
  • Seven northeastern states are suspending interstate youth hockey in a new measure to limit community spread of COVID-19.
  • Ivy League colleges are canceling their winter sports seasons due to surging COVID-19 infections.

International

  • The U.K. posted a record daily COVID-19 case count of 33,470.
  • Austria’s daily count of new COVID-19 infections surpassed 9,000 for the first time as pressure increases for the government to impose new lockdown measures.
  • India’s capital recorded a surge of 8,593 COVID-19 cases, while concern spreads over the country’s upcoming celebration of Diwali – a potentially superspreading event.
  • More people than ever are requiring hospitalization in France, where officials are holding fast on lockdown measures despite retailers’ objections.
  • Greece posted record numbers of cases, deaths and intubations on Thursday.
  • Sweden, known for its light-touch, anti-lockdown coronavirus response, is witnessing surging infections and hospitalizations.
  • Japan hit a new daily record of COVID-19 cases with 1,661, raising fears of rising infection rates.
  • Global measles cases are at a 23-year high as countries around the world shift their focus from vaccinations to fighting the pandemic.
  • Belgian researchers have discovered a link between severe COVID-19 symptoms and deficient Vitamin D, which stimulates the absorption of nutrients and strengthens and regulates the immune system.
  • Positive news on the vaccine front has not eased the concerns of industries, such as entertainment and hospitality, that still must suffer through months of weak demand before business returns. On the other hand, some industries that saw increased sales during the pandemic could suffer the opposite fate – weakening demand as economies pick up and people spend more time away from home or the internet.
  • German experimental vaccine CureVac NV has potential to overcome distribution challenges faced by Pfizer’s vaccine, which must be stored at -70°C. Early data showed the CureVac vaccine remained stable for three months when stored at standard refrigerator temperature.
  • The effectiveness of a Russian vaccine potentially given to 50,000 people is being questioned, as four doctors who received the vaccine later contracted COVID-19.
  • China has imposed its first work hour restrictions in the technology hub of Shenzhen, requiring workers to take paid leave in a move to help reduce burnout.
  • Large cities are taking a cue from Barcelona “superblocks,” which reroute traffic around several blocks in dense areas to create islands of car-free space.
  • Food supply has held up during the pandemic despite fears over protectionist policies and port/trucking disruptions. The value of imported food in the first half of 2020 was equal to that of the year-ago period.
  • The first cruise ship to resume sailing in the Caribbean has locked passengers down after a person on board tested positive for COVID-19.
  • In less than a year, the coronavirus pandemic has eliminated a third of the world’s air routes, wiping out the gains of a decades-long aviation boom.
  • Zambia could become the first country to default on its sovereign debt during the pandemic. The African nation has already missed interest payments on $1 billion in bonds ahead of a meeting with creditors in London.

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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