COVID-19 Bulletin: October 12

October 12, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Oil futures in New York fell below $40/bbl over the weekend as Gulf Coast production resumed and supply constraints eased.
  • With the reopening of its largest oil field Sunday, Libya has increased its daily output by potentially 300,000 barrels a day, putting downward pressure on oil prices globally.
  • Norwegian oil workers ended their strike that threatened to disrupt 25% of the country’s production.
  • The WTI crude price was down 3.4% in early trading today at $39.24/bbl, while the Brent price was down 3.1% at $41.64/bbl. Natural gas was nearly 5% higher at $2.87/MMBtu.
  • Plastics manufacturers and consumer products companies are embracing fees and disposal surcharges to encourage recycling.

Supply Chain

  • Hurricane Delta touched down on the Louisiana coastline Friday evening, moving east across Mississippi and into Georgia Saturday and Sunday. Power outages topped 800,000 at the storm’s peak, while the first death was reported Sunday.
  • Hurricane Delta greatly disrupted operations in refineries and export ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast that were still recovering from the destruction caused by Hurricane Laura just six weeks ago. Petrochemical operations in the Gulf and along the Louisiana coast began reopening on Sunday, along with coastal ports.
  • PG&E has warned that it may cut off power in parts of Northern California this week as windy conditions increase the chance that company equipment could start more wildfires.
  • A Siberian seaway used to move Russia’s energy exports to overseas markets has seen double digit increases in traffic this year due to accelerating ice melt in the region.
  • Installation delays can expose oil and natural gas pipes to too much sun, leading to deteriorations in the coatings that prevent corrosion.
  • 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

  • On Sunday, the U.S. marked a fourth straight day of 50,000+ new COVID-19 infections. The total number of confirmed U.S. cases is 7.7 million, while more than 214,000 have died from the disease.
  • Thirty-eight states have rising infection trends this week.
  • Twelve states recorded their highest seven-day average infection rates last week, suggesting the beginning of a “second wave.” Five states — Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont — experienced increases of more than 50%
  • U.S. government officials failed to agree on an economic relief package over the weekend. As talks are set to continue this week, the White House is asking Congress to approve a smaller stimulus package using leftover money from the Paycheck Protection Program created earlier this year.
  • As COVID-19 cases surge in Brooklyn and Queens, New York City officials issued more than $150,000 in fines over the weekend for violations of the city’s new lockdown measures.
  • Minnesota reached a single-day high of new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, followed by almost the same amount of new infections Sunday.
  • Target, the largest employer in Minneapolis, plans to keep its corporate offices closed at least through June.
  • COVID-19 cases in Arizona spiked more than 150% after a stay-at-home order, but fell more than 75% after a mask mandate, according to a report by the CDC.
  • Use of face masks is increasing: 92% of Americans recently surveyed by National Geographic said they usually wear a face mask when leaving home, and nearly three quarters of respondents said they always do.
  • The autumn wave of rising COVID-19 cases appears less deadly than in earlier months due to improved testing, better healthcare and a younger demographic being infected. However, hospitals still risk being overburdened with sick patients.
  • The healthcare industry saw 53,000 jobs return in September, while many older doctors are retiring early out of concern for health risks posed by the pandemic.
  • Up to half of recovered COVID-19 patients report suffering from “COVID-19 brain fog,” manifested by memory loss and cognitive disorders that can be debilitating.
  • A recent study revealed that 25% of pregnant women who fall ill with COVID-19 suffer “long haul” symptoms long after their recovery.
  • Vaccinations for childhood diseases such as measles and mumps were down as much as 50% during pandemic shutdowns, raising a fear the pandemic may cause spikes in other illnesses.
  • AstraZeneca is beginning wide-scale trials of its experimental antibody drug to treat COVID-19. 
  • Sales of outdoor equipment have soared during the pandemic, led by bicycles and golfing gear:
Outdoor Equipment Sales Soar
  • Meijer is installing electric car charging stations at stores in Illinois and Michigan. 
  • The National Automobile Dealers Association has opted to go virtual for its upcoming annual show and convention, which has been rescheduled from next January to February.
  • Persistent shortages of laptops are creating obstacles for schools adopting digital learning and widening the gap between wealthy and struggling school districts.
  • Robotics are encroaching on more front-line jobs as the pandemic has accelerated years’ worth of progress in automation into the past six months.
  • In Colorado, COVID-19 Essentials opened, the first retail outlet dedicated solely to selling products relating to the pandemic.
  • Using 3D printing, researchers at the University of Washington have created simple plastic products that can communicate with computers without electronic or digital power
  • In the NBA “bubble” complex in Orlando, Florida, the Los Angeles Lakers won their first title in a decade and 17th championship in team history.
  • COVID-19 is disrupting the NFL: A New England Patriots – Denver Broncos game has been postponed twice due to infections, while two Tennessee Titans games have been postponed until later in the year. Each postponement forces a reconfiguration of much of the NFL’s schedule.

International

  • COVID-19 infections in India topped 7 million, second highest behind the U.S.
  • On Sunday, China recorded its first locally transmitted COVID-19 infections since September 24. Four infections were reported from the coastal city of Qingdao.
  • For the week ending Saturday, new cases of COVID-19 in Brazil fell to their lowest level since early June. The country still has the third most infections behind the U.S. and India.
  • India announced an additional stimulus package to encourage demand and invest in infrastructure.
  • Consumer confidence in India hit an all-time low in September as the country experiences a divergence in inflation rates, with wholesale prices subdued due to slow demand and consumer inflation spiking from supply chain constraints.
  • England is creating a three-tiered alert system that will tighten restrictions on areas hardest hit by COVID-19.
  • For the first time since March, Italy’s rate of new COVID-19 infections topped 5,000 each day over the weekend, prompting calls for tightened restrictions.
  • The Czech Republic became Europe’s top hotspot for COVID-19 infections over the weekend, with 8,618 new cases Friday. The country has already banned cultural and sports events, and officials are set to impose further restrictions today.
  • Wholesale prices in Japan fell 0.8% in September, the seventh consecutive month of declining prices, raising fears the country could sink into a prolonged period of deflation.
  • Strong growth in hybrid and electric vehicles led Germany’s car market to its first year-over-year increase in car sales in September.
  • GM enjoyed a 12% jump in car sales in China in the quarter ended September 30, its first year-over-year increase there in two years.
  • Global food prices are rising due to smaller soybean stockpiles, increasing global competition for wheat, and dry weather in South America and Europe, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Testing will soon begin in Hong Kong on an experimental COVID-19 vaccine delivered by nasal spray that would also protect against influenza.
  • An Australian study suggests the COVID-19 virus may remain infectious for nearly a month on surfaces such as touch screens and bank notes. The virus also keeps longer in cooler temperatures.
  • In a novel attempt to earn money during the airline recession, Singapore Airlines has converted two jumbo jets at Changi Airport into restaurants. Reservations for their opening later this month sold out in 30 minutes.

Our Operations

  • Last week’s webinar sponsored by M. Holland and Braskem reviewed polypropylene advancements in 3D printing. Watch the recording here.
  • Stop by M. Holland’s virtual booth at IWCS to meet our team of Wire & Cable experts. The M. Holland team is exhibiting October 15-16 from 8 am to 1 pm ET. Click here to learn more.
  • Global Healthcare Manager Josh Blackmore will be a featured speaker at the Plastics in Healthcare Virtual Edition, sponsored by Plastics News, October 26-30. The title of his talk: Applying the Lessons from the First Wave of COVID-19 to Successfully Navigate the Second
  • To access 3D Printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our new online resource.
  • 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.

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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