COVID-19 Bulletin: October 14

October 14, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

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Supply

  • Crude prices sank 0.8% yesterday, with the WTI falling briefly below $40/bbl on fading hopes that a new stimulus package can be done before the November elections.
  • OPEC trimmed demand estimates for the rest of the fourth quarter and next year. An OPEC committee will hold a meeting Monday to further assess the global market.
  • Energy prices were higher today in mid-day trading with the WTI crude price up 1.6% at $40.83/bbl and Brent up 1.5% at $43.09/bbl. Natural gas was down 6.6% at $2.67/MMBtu.

Supply Chain

  • heat wave and high winds are returning to California this week, prompting heat warnings in much of Southern California and red flag fire warnings in the north.
  • Maersk will cut 2,000 jobs as part of a $100 million restructuring plan in the third quarter, even as forecasts for full-year earnings increased as a result of rebounding shipping volumes and freight rates.
  • U.S. container imports rose 9.7% in August from July, a record.
  • Toshiba is planning to develop a high-power hydrogen fuel cell for use by vessels, railroad vehicles and construction machinery by 2024. Several other companies — including Toyota, Oslo-based TECO, Bloom Energy and Samsung Industries — are developing hydrogen fuel cells to power heavy maritime machinery and ships.
  • Swedish truck manufacturer Scania is developing a hybrid freight truck with solar-cell trailer walls that could save 5% to 10% in fuel costs.
  • Torc Robotics, in a partnership with Daimler Trucks, will test autonomous freight trucks in the American southwest in 2021.
  • Global parcel volume surpassed 100 billion in 2019 and is expected to more than double by 2026.
  • High online sales and a stretched holiday season are taxing the parcel delivery industry, which already was at capacity.
  • Wage inflation is taking hold in the trucking industry as firms compete for scarce drivers.
  • 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. recorded more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases and over 800 deaths yesterday.
  • More than 20 states reported new highs in their seven-day average of COVID-19 cases since Saturday, while more than half those states set new records again on Tuesday.
  • Midwestern states are experiencing the highest per capita levels of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the U.S.
  • Starting Friday, bars and restaurants in New Mexico must close by 10:00 p.m., and new restrictions on indoor dining and large gatherings will take effect as the state battles a “booming” increase in COVID-19 infections. 
  • Drug maker Eli Lilly has paused clinical trials of a COVID-19 treatment that mixes an antibody-based drug with Remdesivir. An independent board recommended the company halt the trials, which the company agreed to do without releasing specifics of the safety concerns.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared a new 10-minute COVID-19 test from Access Bio, Inc., that will cost around $20 and require no additional equipment.
  • U.S. lawmakers again failed to agree on a stimulus package for relief from COVID-19.
  • Data from 44 states show a 6%, or $31 billion, drop in tax revenue from March through August compared to the year before.
  • Hawaii, Nevada, Tennessee and Vermont have been hardest hit economically by the pandemic due in part to their large tourism and hospitality industries.
  • Inflation remained in check in September due in part to the slowing economic recovery. Core inflation was up 0.2%.
  • Used car prices in September surged by their largest amount in 50 years, accounting for most of the increase in the latest consumer-price index.
  • JPMorgan Chase reported a third-quarter profit increase of 4% compared with a year ago, while Citigroup also delivered better-than-expected results. The banks set aside less than half of expected amounts for loan losses in the third quarter, indicating cautious confidence in an economic rebound from COVID-19.
  • In a sign of wealth disparity made worse by the pandemic, luxury home sales jumped 42% in the third quarter compared to a year earlier, while mid-priced home sales increased only 3% and affordable purchases declined 4%.
  • Boeing had no new orders in September and canceled 51 more. The beleaguered jet manufacturer has had only 67 new orders this year and 448 cancellations.
  • Delta Air Lines delayed $5 billion in deliveries from Airbus until at least 2022, dealing a blow to the jet manufacturer.
  • Apple released four new iPhone 12 models Tuesday, sporting 5G capabilities and a major redesign.
  • Apple is becoming a player in healthcare, focusing on wearable hardware and home accessories, software apps, and subscription services.
  • Attendance is down 85% from a year ago at reopened AMC theaters. The company said Tuesday it will run out of cash by year’s end without additional funds.
  • Starting tomorrow, Hawaii will allow tourists to visit the state without enduring a 14-day quarantine provided they test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their trip. 
  • Remote work is becoming a permanent fixture in white-collar companies, with return-to-office dates often pushed back as far as summer of 2021, making July the new January for many companies.
  • Professional golfer Dustin Johnson has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this week’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

International

  • After a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, several countries throughout Europe widened restrictions on social gathering and imposed other mandates to curb a potential second wave of the virus.
  • Dutch woman became the first person to die of COVID-19 after contracting the virus a second time.
  • The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast of global gross domestic product losses from 5.2% to 4.4% in 2020, spurred largely by a swift economic recovery in China.
  • With most bars, restaurants and hotels closed again in Ireland, the government announced a record-setting budget deficit for 2021 that attempts to deal with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of Brexit.
  • The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development painted a dire outlook for the U.K. economy, expecting GDP could fall as much as 10% this year and a meager recovery in 2021.
  • Germany’s leading economic institute downgraded its economic forecast for 2020 and 2021 by a full percentage point, now projecting the country’s GDP will shrink by 5.4% this year and recover more slowly next year.  
  • Singapore, a global financial center and bellwether for the health of international trade, experienced a 7% GDP contraction in the quarter ended September 30 compared with the prior-year period, indicating the path to global economic recovery may be long.
  • The consumer confidence index in Australia surged nearly 12% this month as the country appears to have eradicated community spread of COVID-19.
  • The World Trade Organization is permitting the European Union to put $4 billion worth of tariffs on American goods in response to subsidies the U.S. government granted to Boeing.
  • A warmer ocean has killed off half the coral populations of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

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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