COVID-19 Bulletin: October 8

October 8, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Hurricane Delta appears headed for Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is home to several major petrochemical sites and still recovering from Hurricane Laura.
  • In a precautionary move, LyondellBasell is shutting down its Lake Charles, Louisiana, complex, which remains in force majeure after Hurricane Laura, in advance of the new storm.
  • Oil prices gained in anticipation of the storm. In mid-day trading today, the WTI crude price was up 3.2% at $41.23/bbl and Brent was up 3.2% at $43.34/bbl. Natural gas was up $1.4% at 2.65/MMBtu.
  • Chevron overtook Exxon as the nation’s largest oil company as measured by market capitalization, the first time Exxon has been dethroned since Standard Oil days.
  • Midwestern power company DTE Energy is considering selling or spinning off its natural gas pipelines, the latest utility to divest Midstream assets.
  • For the first time in a century, there are no rigs searching for oil in Venezuela. The country is expected to earn $2.3 billion from oil exports this year — down from $90 billion annually a decade ago.
  • More than 60% of new car registrations in Norway are for fully electric vehicles.
  • RBC, Canada’s largest bank, is restricting lending to fossil fuel companies, saying it will not lend money for new coal-fired power generators, thermal coal mines or mountaintop coal mines. In addition, no financing will be provided for oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • A fleet of seven zero-emission, hydrogen-powered freight trucks debuted in Switzerland Wednesday. Hyundai, the maker, will be leasing the trucks to transport goods around the country.

Supply Chain

  • The first hurricane warnings were issued last night for Louisiana’s central and western coast as Hurricane Delta, a Category 2 storm packing 100-mile-per-hour winds, gains strength in the Gulf of Mexico, with landfall expected early Friday.
  • An early estimate pegs damages from Hurricane Delta in Cancun at $4 billion.
  • With three months left in 2020, the U.S. has already experienced a record 16 climate-related disasters that each produced more than $1 billion in damage.
  • California continues to battle 23 wildfires across the state, which have destroyed nearly 9,000 structures and scorched over 4 million acres.
  • North American rail traffic rose 1% last week, with a rise in intermodal volume offsetting a decline in carload volume.
  • The Logistics Managers Index of transportation capacity fell to 23.8% in September, with capacity at its lowest level on record. A reading below 50% indicates industry contraction.
  • Supply chain experts have been forced to literally rewrite the books on supply chain management due to the pandemic, U.S./China trade tensions and Brexit. 
  • 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

  • New U.S. COVID-19 infections increased for the fourth day in a row Wednesday, topping 50,000.
  • Half of U.S. states are reporting rising COVID-19 infections this week, with only two — Alabama and Hawaii — reporting declines. 
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has requested emergency approval for its antibody cocktail used to treat COVID-19, the same treatment given to the U.S. president.
  • Eli Lilly has requested emergency authorization for an antibody treatment it says will help mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases.
  • While plans for a broader COVID-19 stimulus bill were shelved, lawmakers are still working with federal negotiators on a potential bailout for the airline industry, another round of stimulus checks and more help to small businesses.
  • New unemployment claims came in at 840,000 last week, higher than expected.
  • The number of Americans in long-term unemployment (27+ weeks) jumped 32.5% from August to September. It is generally more difficult for such workers to return to work once the economy improves.
  • The trade group Independent Restaurant Coalition estimates that 85% of its members could close absent more government relief before year end.
  • Ruby Tuesday, with 250 restaurants, is the latest restaurant chain filing for bankruptcy because of the pandemic.
  • Apartment listings in Manhattan have tripled since last year, causing a steep decline in rent prices.
  • With interest rates as low as 3.01%, mortgage refinances are up 50% from a year ago.
  • new app that shows a person is COVID-free will be tested at a few airports later this month, including Newark. The app generates a barcode containing a person’s results from certified lab tests.
  • The Plastics Recycling Conference and Trade Show has been postponed to May because of the pandemic.
  • Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line have canceled sailings through November, more than a month beyond the U.S. government’s “no-sail” order is set to expire.
  • California is extending the shutdown of its theme parks, including Disney World
  • Mack Trucks has introduced its Mack LR Electric trash truck, as major cities such as New York and Los Angeles plan to convert their garbage collection fleets to all electric over the next two decades.
  • Samsung, a bellwether for the state of the consumer electronics industry, reported a 58% rise in third-quarter earnings fueled in part by robust demand for mobile phones and consumer electronics during the pandemic.
  • Caps and closure makers will be forced to redesign products to meet expected government mandates for tethered closures on containers and bottles.
  • Liquidators are enjoying a boon in office furniture sales as companies unload office furniture and shrink their offices and workers upgrade home offices in anticipation of prolonged work-from-home protocols.
  • Corporate compliance officers report a host of heightened compliance risks due to the pandemic, with cybersecurity ranking as the biggest concern.

International

  • Brazil became the third country with more than 5 million COVID-19 infections behind the U.S. and India.
  • Indonesia reported a record increase in COVID-19 infections today.
  • France’s Central Bank says the economy grew 16% in the third quarter compared with the prior quarter but remains 5% below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Dubai’s economy, heavily dependent on travel and tourism, will contract by 11% this year and not recover to pre-pandemic strength until 2023, according to Standard & Poor’s. Total government debt could reach nearly 150% of GDP. 
  • Singapore is launching sailings to nowhere as it seeks to revive its battered cruise industry and economy.
  • COVID-19 is spreading in London, with 19 out of 20 areas under lockdowns experiencing rising COVID-19 infection rates.
  • U.K. home prices are at an 18-year high but are expected to fall with the pending expirations of a temporary reduction in home transfer taxes and government relief for furloughed workers.
  • The Canadian government revealed the targets of its new plastics ban, announcing the phase out of plastic straws, stir sticks, carry-out bags, cutlery, dishes, takeout containers and six-pack rings by the end of 2021. Other plastic goods, such as plastic bottles, will require a higher amount of recycled content. 
  • With a slowdown in immigration in Canada and a migration from urban areas during the pandemic, condo listings in Montreal were up 72% in the third quarter, following a similar pattern experienced by Toronto.
  • The World Bank estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic has sent around 100 million people into extreme poverty around the world, where wages are the equivalent of less than $1.90 a day.
  • Mexico’s largest plastic trade show, Plastimagen, has been postponed a second time to March 2022.

Our Operations

  • 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 8-1 pm ET. Click here to learn more.
  • Plastics News featured an article on our new partnership with JL Goor in Ireland
  • 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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