COVID-19 Bulletin: October 16

October 16, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Crude prices were modestly lower in early trading, with the WTI at $40.59/bbl and Brent at $42.72/bbl. Natural gas was 2.0% higher at $2.83/MMBtu.
  • OPEC’s secretary general gave an assurance that oil prices will not plummet again as they did in spring of this year, even as the organization plans to relax production cuts as early as January.
  • Russian oil producers, meanwhile, are contemplating cutting drilling activity by 20%, after already reducing drilling activity by a third earlier this year.
  • The Philippines government has lifted the moratorium on petroleum exploration in the South China Sea, potentially restarting delayed projects from several regional countries, including China.
  • Occidental Petroleum believes the industry has reached “peak oil” with the arrival of the pandemic and that production will never return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Hydrogen power is re-emerging as both a realistic and profitable industry, with large energy companies, banks and governments planning investments.
  • Alberta’s government will once again sell oil and gas leases to encourage investment in the province, despite weak oil demand.
  • Diesel sales in India are rising above last-year’s levels this month, the first year-over-year growth during the pandemic.
  • The pandemic has delivered at least one silver lining: a drop in carbon emissions:

Supply Chain

  • A wildfire in Colorado grew to be the largest in state history yesterday, fueled by high winds.
  • American Honda filed a federal lawsuit accusing the four largest Class 1 railroads of price fixing.
  • COVID-19 infections among seafarers from the Philippines, which provides a quarter of the world’s shipping crews, prompted an investigation by the Philippine government and concerns about potential bans of Philippine sailors.
  • Supply chain and logistics companies, plagued early in the pandemic by a shortage of goods and materials, now face a different shortage: workers to deal with rising demand.
  • Car dealer Carvana and its digital rivals are rapidly changing the way Americans buy cars, offering an empowering consumer experience and safety during the pandemic.
  • The blockchain platform TradeLens is processing over 10 million shipping events and documents each week, providing supply chains with a common view of transactions for nearly half of global ocean freight. On Thursday, CMA CGM and MSC became the most recent carriers to sign onto the platform.
  • With U.S. imports up 15% year over year in September, ports across the U.S. are experiencing equipment shortages and rising container lease costs.
  • Swedish start-up Einride released a line of electric, driverless freight trucks that can be controlled remotely. The company plans to put the trucks on the road in 2021.
  • 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

International

  • The International Monetary Fund raised its outlook for the global recovery based on China’s robust rebound:
IMF Forecast Shows Slight Improvement for 2020
  • Australia is adding flights and expanding quarantine capacity to bring stranded citizens home from COVID-19 hotspots as the virus resurges in much of the world.
  • Italy was added to the U.K.’s quarantined nations list, frustrating those planning for holiday vacations in Italian sunspots.
  • With winter approaching, concern is growing for elder care homes, which have accounted for 47% of COVID-19 deaths globally and where an estimated 1 in 20 residents have perished.
  • China and Russia are already distributing experimental COVID-19 vaccines to citizens without the results of large-scale testing like in the U.S. and Europe, raising safety concerns.
  • Britain’s National Health Service is in talks to start rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine in December
  • The United Arab Emirates is already distributing the Chinese vaccines to workers, while Indonesia is requesting emergency use of the vaccines as early as next month.
  • A hospital in India has delivered more than 700 babies from mothers infected with COVID-19, mostly with good outcomes.
  • The World Bank’s top economist warned that the monetary easing path followed by many nations to counter the economic crisis “is not a sustainable one” and expressed concerns about a possible financial crisis due to the pandemic.
  • With the passing of a self-imposed October 15 deadline for reaching a Brexit deal, the U.K.’s prime minister will announce today whether negotiations will continue.
  • Failure to strike a Brexit trade deal with the European Community could impact the already struggling U.K. economy by another $25 billion in 2021.
  • Millions of garment workers around the world face job losses as beleaguered retailers and fashion houses delay payments and demand price reductions from garment manufacturers. 
  • Several groups are calling on the United Nations to create a plastic pollution treaty, arguing that an international binding approach will be better for industry-wide change, rather than reliance on the voluntary sustainability initiatives of large companies.
  • Auto sales in Europe were up 1.1% in September, the first year-over-year rise during the pandemic.
  • Europe’s top aviation regulator determined Boeing’s 737 Max jetliner is airworthy, paving the way for a return to the skies there before year end.
  • To make up for lost goods and services taxes, India’s government will borrow a record $177 billion in the second expansion of the country’s borrowing plan this year.
  • shipment of gloves linked to a forced-labor factory in China have been held at a California port until the U.S. importer can prove they were not made using illegal labor.

Our Operations

  • Last week’s webinar sponsored by M. Holland and Braskem reviewed polypropylene advancements in 3D printing. Watch the recording here.
  • 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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