COVID-19 Bulletin: September 25

September 25, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • Crude prices were down in early trading today with the WTI at $39.92/bbl and Brent at $41.71/bbl.  
  • Natural gas prices rose yesterday after the Energy Information Administration reported a smaller-than-expected rise in inventories last week.  
  • The natural gas price was modestly lower in early trading today at $2.19/MMBtu. 
  • OPEC’s efforts to stabilize crude markets with supply cuts may not be enough to offset persistently weak demand and rising inventories.

Supply Chain

  • Lowe’s is installing lockers for customers who order online and want to pick up locally.
  • Tesla sued in the U.S. Court of International Trade to block tariffs on China.
  • Despite a rebound in U.S. Class 1 railroad volumes, including the highest monthly intermodal volumes since 2018 in August, railroad employment remained 15.5% below year-ago levels, continuing a five-year employment decline in the industry.
  • As competition for truck drivers intensifies, Schneider National is offering up to $90,000 in wages and $10,000 signing bonuses for drivers.
  • Surging freight demand and changes in consumer spending are prompting some trucking firms to partner up to expand their logistics capabilities.
  • 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

  • Total COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 7 million yesterday, according to the New York Times.
  • There were 44,110 COVID-19 infections in the U.S. yesterday, up from 37,330 cases on Wednesday.
  • COVID-19 infections in 26 states are trending higher this week.
  • Many recovering COVID-19 patients are experiencing hair loss, whether a consequence of the virus itself or related stress. 
  • Funding for the $300 supplemental unemployment payments authorized by White House executive order will soon run out as only 22 states have implemented the payments with uneven results for idled workers.
  • First time unemployment claims of 870,000 last week dwarf the 665,000 filings that marked the peak of filings during the Great Recession. It was the 27th consecutive week of record claims during the pandemic.
  • A scaled down, $2.4 trillion pandemic aid package is being prepared in the House of Representatives.
  • data tracker maintained by a team from Harvard indicates that the recession has ended for high-wage employees while it remains embedded in lower-income sectors, illustrating the asymmetric impacts of the pandemic.
  • New home sales rose 4.8% in August from July, the highest level since September 2006 prior to the Great Recession.
  • California’s announced ban on the sale of gasoline powered cars by 2035 is just the latest governmental mandate upending the global automobile industry and accelerating the advance of electric vehicles.
  • California ranks among the top 10 car markets in the world:
California is Among the Worlds Largest Car Markets
  • Costco reported record earnings in its fourth quarter, boosted by a shift in consumer spending from travel and services to groceries and home furnishings.
  • United Airlines is the first U.S. carrier to offer free COVID-19 testing to passengers, offering tests for travelers flying from San Francisco to Hawaii.
  • Boeing supplier Impresa Aerospace filed for bankruptcy, citing the impacts of the pandemic and grounding of the 737 MAX airliner.
  • Walmart is ending one-way traffic aisles in its stores in October.
  • Legislators in New Jersey passed the strictest bag ban in the nation, restricting the use of both paper and plastic bags as well single-use Styrofoam containers and plastic straws.
  • L’Oréal is installing recycling bins for cosmetics packaging at its retail locations in partnership with recycler TerraCycle.
  • The PAC-12 football conference agreed to return to the field on November 6; the PAC-12 is the last of the big five conferences to resume play.
  • The SEC football conference begins its season this weekend in many counties with some of the higher COVID-19 infection rates in the country.

International

  • Europe is employing “lockdown lite” countermeasures to combat a disquieting spike in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations:
    • France reported a record 16,096 new COVID-19 infections yesterday, its fourth daily record in eight days, while intensive care hospitalizations topped 1,000, the highest level since June. 
    • The U.K. suffered its highest daily COVID-19 infections on record yesterday — 6,634
    • Total COVID-19 infections in Spain topped 700,000, with 200,000 added in the past month.
  • Daily COVID-19 cases in Russia were at a three-month high today, prompting Moscow’s mayor to urge people to work from home.
  • Israel, now experiencing the highest COVID-19 per capita infection rate in the world, imposed a lockdown on non-essential businesses and activities starting today in the midst of its High Holy Days.
  • Myanmar is suffering a surge in COVID-19 cases, forcing the closure of garment factories there.
  • African nations appealed at the U.N. for economic aid to counter the impact of the pandemic, saying the continent’s 54 nations will need $100 billion a year for the next three years.
  • Electrical vehicles comprised 21% of European auto sales in August, helping car makers challenged to meet emission standards because of high demand for SUVs
  • Global electric car sales approached 7.2 million in 2019:

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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