COVID-19 Bulletin: November 17

November 17, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Oil prices were modestly lower in early trading today, with the WTI at $41.76/bbl and Brent at $43.76/bbl. Natural gas was at $2.70/MMBtu.
  • In a Monday meeting, OPEC members expressed widespread support for a three-month extension of the current level of oil production cuts, though no official action has yet been taken.
  • Eighty-three oil and gas discoveries were announced between January and October of 2020, inching past the multi-decade low of 7.7 billion barrels-of-oil-equivalent (BOE) discovered in 2016.
  • U.S. natural gas inventories on October 31, the end of the refill season, approached record high levels previously set in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration.
  • Cash hungry Saudi Aramco will issue a large U.S. dollar-denominated bond that will likely be used to continue paying out $75 billion in annual dividends.
  • Michigan has taken measures to halt repairs to Enbridge’s twin Line 5 pipeline from southern Ontario, a major supplier of gas to the U.S. Midwest.

Supply Chain

  • Hurricane Iota became the second Category 4 storm to strike Nicaragua, making landfall just 13 miles from where Hurricane Eta landed less than two weeks ago.
  • Hurricanes in the 2020 season have seen higher rates of “rapid intensification,” a potential effect of climate change.
  • Almost 500,000 people were left without power over the weekend after a string of severe thunderstorms hit parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the U.S.
  • USPS package volume increased 19% year over year for the fiscal year ending September 30, new data shows. The service expects a permanent elevation of volumes due to shifting consumer behavior toward e-commerce.
  • With tight freight capacity nationwide and supply constraints with many plastic resins, clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help assure delivery dates. 
  • M. Holland published its view of how COVID-19 has disrupted the already complicated logistics network of plastics distribution. Click here to read our view on the future of logistics.

Markets

How Effective Are the COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates
  • A top Federal Reserve official said there are still fiscal and monetary measures that will likely be used to ensure a continued U.S. economic recovery, including changes to the central bank’s asset-purchase program that has acquired $120 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage bonds.
  • More than 300,000 residents have left New York City in the last eight months, fueled by coronavirus concerns, economic worries, school complications and crime, a new report says.
  • Foreign enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities has declined by the largest number since 2003, a confluence of restrictive federal immigration policies alongside travel bans occasioned by the pandemic.
  • Legal risks are fueling further reluctance among white-collar companies about reopening offices as COVID-19 exposes them to a new form of employee safety liability.
  • Southwest Airlines is taking a contrarian bet against the rest of the aviation industry, expanding into a record number of new cities while rivals shrink operations and cut costs.
  • Electric vehicle maker Tesla will become the largest company ever to join the S&P 500.
  • As COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S., Walmart has resumed counting the number of customers that enter its doors to comply with strict capacity restrictions of 20%.
  • While retail stores attempt to cut pandemic-induced losses by shutting stores, industry experts say the measures will not solve a company’s underlying problems.
  • Amazon announced $791 million in donations to the Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund and other environmental groups as part of the company’s $10 billion climate pledge.
  • IT professionals focused on data storage, cloud computing and artificial intelligence were a critical force in providing reliable COVID-19 numbers during history’s quickest attempt to comprehend a pandemic.

International

  • Hopes are growing that Europe’s second wave of COVID-19 is slowing, as new case numbers in several hard-hit countries fell below recent highs.
  • RussiaIran, and Hungary reported record infections Monday. 
  • 750-billion-euro aid package for the European Community was blocked by Hungary and Poland in a political dispute, creating uncertainty in the bloc.
  • Sweden banked containment hopes on large-scale immunity from COVID-19 rather than lockdowns and restrictions. Recently, the country has seen a 50% increase in cases per week, consistently reporting more infections than Scandinavian peers that imposed early lockdowns.
  • The World Health Organization is investigating a cluster of 65 coronavirus infections among staff at the group’s Geneva headquarters.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns that the U.S. is falling behind in international trade following the formation of the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP), now the world’s largest trade pact with 15 Asia-Pacific countries encompassing 30% of the global population and economy.
RCEP-Asia-Pacific Forms Worlds Largest Trade Bloc
  • The first passengers to take part in United Airlines’ free virus testing took flight from Newark, New Jersey, to London Monday evening, potentially paving the way for a dedicated U.S.-Europe route with relaxed quarantine requirements.
  • Budget carrier AirAsia Japan filed for bankruptcy.
  • To overtake Tesla as the world’s leading maker of electric cars, Volkswagen announced plans to invest $86 billion in electric vehicle development over the next five years. The company also announced a $233 million investment in new production lines at a Central Mexico plant.
  • miniature electric vehicle developed by General Motors recently overtook Tesla’s Model 3 as the best-selling electric vehicle in China.
  • Quebec joined California in banning the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars as of 2035.

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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