COVID-19 Bulletin: September 8

September 8, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More pandemic news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.

Supply

  • Oil prices have fallen for five straight days on fears about a faltering economic recovery after 22 states experienced rising COVID-19 infections over the long weekend.
  • Saudi Aramco cut its crude prices for October, portending a wavering recovery in demand.
  • Crude prices collapsed in early trading today, with the WTI down 6.3% at $37.26/bbl and Brent down 3.9% at $40.37/bbl.
  • Natural gas prices were down 2.0% at $2.54/MMBtu.
  • With natural gas prices up nearly 70% from their pandemic lows, coal is getting a brief reprieve from its multi-year decline as a favored fuel for utilities.
  • The last drilling rig in Venezuela, home to the world’s richest oil reserves, has shut down as production has fallen by more than two thirds in the past 18 months, leaving refineries in the region short of oil and creating widespread fuel shortages.
  • The cost of “green hydrogen,” hydrogen made from renewable energy sources, is expected to fall by 64% by 2040 as more utilities turn to it to help meet their carbon emission goals.
  • Risk-averse banks are tightening lending standards to commodity traders or withdrawing from the practice altogether, leaving small traders scrambling for funding.
  • NOVA Chemicals lifted its force majeure in its Joffre C4 (butene) linear low density polyethylene.

Supply Chain

  • Temperatures in California reached as high as 121° Fahrenheit over the weekend, prompting a resurgence in wildfires that have already charred more land in the state than any previous year, prompting an emergency declaration by the governor. With heavy winds today, PG&E began cutting power to some communities to avoid the risk of sparking more fires.
  • August ranks among the busiest months in history for the Port of Los Angeles due to a surge in container imports from Asia as the U.S. economy improves and retailers restock shelves.
  • With rail traffic down 11% this year and 29% of railcars in storage, railcar makers are cutting jobs and costs in preparation for a slow recovery.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering lowering the minimum driving age for big rigs from 21 to 18 to help address a driver shortage, prompting safety concerns.
  • Japan and South Korea were hit by the second typhoon in as many weeks when Typhoon Haishen struck with 80 mile-per-hour winds Sunday and Monday.
  • South Korea is facing challenges luring manufacturers home from China to bolster the local economy because of higher wages, labor protections and less access to export markets.
  • The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has scheduled its (USA/CAN/MEX) Roadcheck for September 9 to 11 — we expect this to reduce capacity and service levels for the week.
  • 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

  • New COVID-19 cases nationally eased to 24,257 yesterday as total confirmed cases topped 6.3 million and deaths approached 190,000.
  • Leading vaccine developers pledged to refrain from seeking government approval until their vaccines are proven safe and effective.
  • More than 35,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported by 171 colleges and universities in the few weeks since students returned to campuses.
    • Iowa’s three public universities are among the hardest hit by COVID-19, with more than 3,000 cases recorded since school reopened.
    • Some colleges returning to online courses are sending students home, causing concern among health experts that they could be exciting community spread of COVID-19.
    • Northeastern University in Boston dismissed 15 students for violating its face mask and social distancing mandates, refusing to refund their tuition.
  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates the loss of learning due to school shutdowns will cost the U.S. an economic loss of $15.3 trillion through the remainder of the century.
  • A recent study suggests some asymptomatic children can spread the COVID-19 virus for as long as three weeks
  • Many COVID-19 patients experience a prolonged gut infection long after recovering from the virus’s respiratory effects.
  • Dentists are experiencing a rash of cracked teeth due to increased stress, sleep disorders and poor work-from-home ergonomics caused by the pandemic.
  • There’s growing understanding of how vaping and smoking significantly increase the risks of COVID-19.
  • GM is investing $2 billion for an 11% stake in electric truck startup Nikola.
  • Exercise equipment maker Peloton, riding a surge in sales during the pandemic and facing new competition from gyms offering streaming classes, is adding equipment offerings and slashing the prices on its core bike by 24% in hopes of gaining more members for its subscription service as the holidays approach.
  • Beleaguered jet maker Boeing is facing another FAA investigation, this time related to quality control issues with its Dreamliner 787 jets that could extend back a decade.
  • The global plastics industry could peak by 2027 due to government bans and environmental pressure, according to Carbon Tracker, a non-profit think tank.

International

  • India surpassed Brazil for the second highest number of reported COVID-19 infections behind the U.S. after registering more than 90,000 new cases on Monday.
Countries with the Most COVID-19 Cases
  • Health experts fear a second COVID-19 wave has arrived in Europe: France experienced a record 8,975 COVID-19 cases on Friday, the U.K saw its highest daily infection rate since May, and Spain had nearly 9,000 new infections on Thursday.
  • Germany experienced nearly 1,900 new COVID-19 infections yesterday, the highest since April.
  • The U.K. is considering tightening social distancing restrictions in the face of a recent spike in COVID-19 infections.
UK COVID-19 Cases per 1K Tests on the Rise
  • Israel, experiencing daily COVID-19 infections rates approaching 3,000 last week, has imposed social distancing restrictions in many cities and has engaged its military to help fight the virus.
  • Malaysia added the U.S., U.K. and Russia to countries whose citizens are banned from entering and also banned fist bumps as COVID-19 infections reached a three-month high.
  • Many parts of Mexico have run out of death certificates due to the COVID-19 crisis, prompting the Health Ministry to order 1.1 million more.
  • China’s exports rose for the third consecutive month in August, up a higher-than-expected 9.5%.
  • Car sales in China continued their recovery in August, up 8.8%, the second consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
  • South Africa’s economy shrank 17.6% year-over-year in the second quarter, or 51% on an annualized basis.

Our Operations

  • To access 3D Printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our new online resource.
  • Resource Center: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers. To arrange a videoconference or meeting, contact:
  • M. Holland’s official status statement is available here.

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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