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COVID-19 - News digest as of 31.07.2020

July 31/2020

1.Crude oil futures steady to higher on a weaker US dollar

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were steady to higher during mid-morning trade in Asia July 28 as a weaker US dollar boosted risk appetites and provide support for the global crude complex, as per S&P Global. NYMEX September WTI settled up 31 cents at USD41.60/b, and ICE September Brent was up 7 cents on the day at USD43.41/b. At 11:05 am Singapore time (0305 GMT), ICE Brent September crude futures was up 19 cents/b (0.44%) from the July 27 settle to USD43.60/b, while the NYMEX September light sweet crude contract was up by 6 cents/b (0.14%) at USD41.66/b. The US Dollar Index was at 93.64, down 0.02% from the close of the US trading session. The weaker US dollar is trading below the 94.0 level, its lowest since May 2018, continuing to boost investor appetite for risk assets, such as crude oil. With an upcoming Federal Open Market Committee meeting on July 28 and 29 where Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is expected to express continued support for the Fed's dovish monetary policy, the decline in the US dollar is likely to continue, keeping oil prices buoyant. "Oil markets are receiving support from expectations of the FOMC's firmer commitment in the upcoming policy meeting towards allowing above-target inflation to occur for some time, which should be viewed as incredibly positive for risk assets. And oil prices will continue to draw support from the Fed's dovish policy, which sees the US dollar move lower," Stephen Innes, chief global markets analyst at AxiCorp, said in a note July 28. Meanwhile, the US' Senate Majority Leader McConnell had formally announced details of a newly proposed trillion-dollar fiscal stimulus package on July 27, which will provide most Americans with a one-time, $1,200 stimulus check and cut enhanced weekly unemployment benefits by two-thirds, from the current USD600 to about USD200 a week, according to media reports. Negotiations over the final details of the fiscal stimulus package will ensue just as the weekly USD600 unemployment benefits from the USD2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act expires.

2. Ineos launches consumer healthcare business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos has launched its previously announced consumer healthcare business, Ineos Hygienics. The new business will produce a range of hospital-grade hand gels, sanitizer sprays for hands and surfaces, and sanitizer wipes for retail sale, available for the home and to the public, said Chemweek. Ineos Hygienics is headquartered in the UK and operates manufacturing plants at Newton Aycliffe, UK; Herne, Germany; Etain, France; and at Jacksonville, Arkansas, and Neville Island, Pennsylvania.

3. Huhtamaki reduced sales in the second quarter by 8%

MOSCOW (MRC) - Finnish company Huhtamaki (Finland), one of the largest European suppliers of food and beverage packaging, reduced sales in the second quarter by 8%, the company said. Low demand for food packaging in restaurants and cafes during the COVID-19 pandemic affected the company's sales in the second quarter of 2020. Thus, the sales of the Finnish packaging manufacturer Huhtamaki ("Huhtamaki") in the second quarter of 2020 decreased by 8% - to EUR797 million, as due to the pandemic the demand for its products from restaurants and cafes sharply decreased. The company's profit decreased from EUR53.3 million to EUR46.3 million.

4. Linde earnings drop on one-time impacts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Linde reported second-quarter 2020 income from continuing operations of USD458 million, down 11% year-on-year (YOY), said the company. Excluding purchase accounting impacts and one-time charges, income from continuing operations was USD1.0 billion, up 1% YOY as stronger price and cost savings offset volume declines. Adjusted earnings per share were USD1.90, up 4% YOY. Second-quarter sales were USD6.4 billion, down 5% YOY excluding negative currency translation, cost pass-through and divestitures. Price improved 2% YOY. Volume decreased 7% as growth from project start-ups and engineering was more than offset by the global macroeconomic slowdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Demand destruction, low margins squeeze Reliance petchem profit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries says that its group net profit for the fiscal first quarter ended 30 June increased 30.6% compared with the same period of the prior year, to Rs132.48 billion Indian rupees (USD1.77 billion), said Chemweek. The company recorded an exceptional gain of Rs49.66 billion from the divestment of shares in the Reliance BP Mobility Services Ltd. business. The company reports a 42% year-on-year (YOY) decline in sales, to Rs1.0 trillion. EBITDA decreased by 11.8% YOY to Rs215.85 billion because of a lower contribution from the oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business, which faced significant demand destruction and margin pressure across transportation fuels and the polyester chain, Reliance says. УThe severe demand destruction due to global lockdowns impacted our hydrocarbons business but the flexibility in our operations enabled us to operate at near-normal levels and deliver industry-leading results,Ф says Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director at Reliance.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, gas processing, petrochemistry, adhesives, Huhtamaki, Ineos, Linde Group, Reliance Industries, COVID-19, India, USA.
Category:General News
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