COVID-19 Bulletin: October 5

October 5, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Crude prices jumped in early trading, with the WTI up 4.1% at $38.57/bbl and Brent up 3.7% at $40.72/bbl. Natural gas was 3.7% higher at $2.53/MMBtu.
  • Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil sands producer, is cutting 2,000 jobs, up to 15% of its workforce.
  • Shareholders of Noble Energy approved Chevron’s $13 billion acquisition of the company.
  • Hurricane Laura shut in an estimated 14.4 million barrels of offshore crude production in the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest disruption since Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.
  • Bioplastics producer Danimer Scientific plans to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
  • The White House declared a national emergency and plans to use the Defense Production Act to accelerate the development of rare earth mines to break China’s dominance in production of strategic materials used in batteries and electronic devices. Separately, a federal agency is investing $25 million in an Irish firm that makes and recycles cobalt and nickel for batteries.

Supply Chain

  • Tropical Storm Gamma dropped heavy rain across southeastern Mexico and Central America over the weekend.
  • Tropical Storm Delta, the 26th named storm of the season, grew in the Caribbean and is forecast to become a hurricane and hit the Gulf Coast late this week.
  • Online logistics jobs jumped by more than 32,000 in September.
  • Coca-Cola is paring its 500+ brands in response to the pandemic, which has choked supply chains and prompted many companies to focus on their high-volume products.
  • Restaurants are struggling to anticipate food demand as fewer patrons are making reservations during the pandemic.
  • Amazon and other cargo companies are pressing older, higher polluting aircraft into service to meet surging demand, creating an obstacle to their zero-emission ambitions.
  • Trucking capacity remains tight throughout the U.S., and spot pricing remains elevated.
  • Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates will be met.

Markets

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in the US
  • Some New York City schools and businesses are being reclosed on Wednesday due to high levels of COVID-19 infections.
  • Specialty retailing, which has revived America’s small towns over the past 30 years, could be set back by a decade or longer by the pandemic.
  • The Speaker of the House of Representatives reported little progress on negotiations for a fourth economic stimulus package after the president expressed his desire for more aid.
  • The U.S. recovery is getting little help from export markets as many export destinations suffer economic disruption, driving the merchandise trade deficit to a record high in August.
  • The next James Bond film became the latest anticipated release to be delayed due to a lack of theatergoers during the pandemic. The film’s original release was postponed until November and now is scheduled for release next April.
  • Citing a lack of compelling new films, Cineworld, owner of Regal Cinemas in the U.S. and the world’s second largest theater chain, will close 663 theaters in the U.S. and the U.K., affecting 45,000 employees.
  • Auto sales continue to recover, but not fast enough to help some distressed parts suppliers as bankruptcies and consolidation loom for the industry.
  • Tesla reported that third-quarter sales were up 53% over the prior quarter to a record 139,300 vehicles.
  • Researchers at Northwestern University and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed a handheld game device that uses no batteries but instead uses energy from the player’s actions as well as solar power.
  • Major law firms are experiencing a pandemic windfall, with strong demand and slashed expenses driving a 25% increase in net income in the first half of the year, according to a survey of 125 law firms.
  • Business road warriors are dealing with pandemic shutdowns in different ways, with some pining for a return to traveling and others savoring life with friends and family.
  • Congress is considering a record number of recycling and sustainability bills.
  • In a rare bit of positive news during the pandemic, lightning deaths are on pace to be the lowest in recorded history, just 10 year-to-date compared with 26 in an average year.

International

  • New Zealand lifted restrictions in Auckland, its largest city, after experiencing no new COVID-19 cases for the past 10 days, as the nation of 5 million appears to have eliminated the virus for the second time.
  • COVID-19 infections approached 80,000 in India yesterday, raising total cases in the country above 6.5 million.
  • Some countries across Europe are setting records for new infections as a second wave grows on the continent with weather turning colder and people spending more time indoors.
  • Total infections in the U.K. topped 500,000 on Sunday.
  • Paris raised its pandemic alert to the highest level and will close all bars beginning Tuesday.
  • Europe’s most recent Purchasing Managers Index rose only marginally to 51.9 as weakness in service sectors offset manufacturing gains, with only Germany showing solid economic growth.
  • Malaysia’s AirAsia, one of Asia’s leading budget airlines, is suspending operations in Japan and considering a suspension in India due to the pandemic and resulting drop in air travel. 
  • Singapore reported new infections in the single digits, its lowest daily infection rate since March.
  • With many would-be parents delaying family plans due to the pandemic, Singapore, which has among the lowest birth rates in the world, is offering payments to encourage more births.
  • The White House ordered an investigation of Vietnam for possible currency manipulation, a potential precursor to an imposition of tariffs.
  • The world will lose the equivalent of 245 million full-time jobs in the last quarter due to the pandemic, according to the International Labour Organization. 

Our Operations

  • 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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