COVID-19 Bulletin: September 9

September 9, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More pandemic news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.

Supply

  • The recovery in fuel demand has flattened, giving a reality check to oil markets about the near- and intermediate-term outlook.
  • Crude prices were modestly higher in early trading today, with the WTI at $37.46/bbl and Brent at $40.27/bbl.
  • The natural gas price was up at $2.42/MMBtu. 
  • Ratings agency Fitch Ratings lowered its long-term outlook for Brent crude from $55/bbl to $53/bbl and its projection for WTI from $53/bbl to $50/bbl.
  • Reversing course, the White House extended a 10-year moratorium on drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
  • LyondellBasell notified customers that restoration of power, the “critical path” to restarting its Lake Charles, Louisiana, complex, could take three to four weeks.  
  • Many resin products are in short supply. Clients are urged to confer with their M. Holland account managers for specific information and provide as much lead time as possible for orders.

Supply Chain

  • Wildfires stretching from near the Mexican border to Northern California forced thousands to evacuate their homes, while a total of more than 85 fires scorched California, Oregon and Washington in an unprecedented fire season.
  • Uber will spend $800 million to help convert drivers to electric vehicles with a goal of achieving zero emissions by 2040.
  • Electric vehicle manufacturers are employing blockchain to help verify the ethical compliance of their supply chains.
  • Supply chains of multi-national corporations account for up to a fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to a recent study.
  • With the average age of truck drivers about 60, the industry is struggling to attract recruits from younger generations.
  • The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (USA/CAN/MEX) Roadcheck runs from today through Friday — 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 increased to 26,387 yesterday with 445 fatalities.  
  • Visitors from Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia were added to the list of people subject to mandated quarantine by New York and Connecticut.
  • Testing was suspended on a promising vaccine under development by AstraZeneca and Oxford University after a test subject suffered an adverse reaction.
  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases among children have jumped 16% in the past two weeks, raising total infections among children above 500,000.
  • Many young people are returning to live with their parents during the pandemic:
Majority of US Young Adults Now Live With Their Parents
  • Airlines enjoyed their best passenger traffic in six months over the Labor Day weekend but remain cautious about the outlook.
  • Restaurant Brands International has introduced its Restaurant of Tomorrow, a Burger King with less indoor dining space and multiple options for drive-up service, including an ordering app, pickup lockers, parking slots for curbside delivery, and beefed-up drive-through lanes.
  • Ford is experimenting with robots, including “Fluffy the dog,” to scan plants in preparation for redesigns and repurposing, replacing human engineers.
  • Kohl’s, which has had an alliance with Amazon since 2019 to expedite returned goods, is looking to expand the relationship by leasing available space in stores it is downsizing during the pandemic for Amazon grocery sales.
  • The trade show industry is limping back to life, experimenting with hybrid virtual/physical models that could become permanent.
  • Oaki has seen a 60% increase in demand this year as many schools opt for outdoor classes, requiring rain gear, tents and outdoor desks.
  • Food wrappers have replaced cigarette butts as the most littered item on the world’s waterways and beaches.

International

  • COVID-19 deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed 300,000, with Peru suffering the region’s highest per capita mortality rate with more than 30,000 deaths.
  • The U.K. reduced acceptable gatherings from 30 people to just 6 to stall its recent spike in COVID-19 infections, which are running near their highs in May. 
  • Israel, preparing for the Jewish New Year holiday later this month, imposed curfews and school closures in COVID-19 hotspots.
  • Ratings agency Fitch Ratings raised its 2020 growth forecast for China from 1.2% to 2.7% while lowering its projections for India from a 5.0% contraction to a 10.5% decline.
  • The U.K.’s currency fell to six-week lows as the government planned to renege on Brexit custom terms related to its border with Northern Ireland, casting further doubt that a trade agreement with the European Community can be achieved before the December 31 deadline.
  • Property values in London have fallen 10% this year due to the pandemic.
  • Japan is suffering the deepest recession in its history:
Japanese Economy Suffers Historic Contraction

Our Operations

  • We mourn the passing of Joan Holland, 91, who co-founded M. Holland Company with her husband, Marvin, 70 years ago.
  • 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.
  • 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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