COVID-19 Bulletin: April 4

April 4, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices dropped Friday to close the week about 13% lower, the steepest weekly fall in two years, after members of the International Energy Agency agreed to join in the largest-ever release of emergency oil reserves. Details of the agreement, which includes Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and most of Europe, will be released early this week.  
  • In late-morning trading today, WTI futures were up 2.3% at $101.60/bbl, Brent was up 1.8% at $106.20/bbl, and U.S. natural gas was up 0.3% at $5.74/MMBtu. 
  • OPEC raised production by just 90,000 bpd in March, well short of a planned 253,000-bpd increase. Separately, the oil-producing cartel will stop using International Energy Agency data to assess compliance with production quotas. 
  • U.S. energy firms added three oil and gas rigs last week, the second week of gains, although growth remains slow as drillers continue returning cash to shareholders rather than boosting production. 
  • The average U.S. gasoline price dropped to $4.19 a gallon Sunday, a decline of 14 cents since hitting an all-time high of $4.33 three weeks ago. 
Daily average regular gas and diesel prices in the United States throughout the war in Ukraine (in U.S. dollars)

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 4,586 new COVID-19 infections and 32 virus fatalities Sunday. 
  • Total COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. dropped 90% over the past two months to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. 
  • New COVID-19 cases rose 16% in Florida and 77% in Massachusetts last week. 
  • Cases of the BA.2 “stealth” subvariant of Omicron doubled in Los Angeles County last month, raising fears that overall infections could soon plateau and start rising again. 
  • The percentage of Los Angeles children who are chronically absent from school, defined as missing at least 9% of the school year, is nearing 50%, more than twice as high as it was before the pandemic. 
  • More U.S. companies are relaxing vaccine and other COVID-19-related requirements in response to updated guidance from health authorities and declining case counts. 
  • The share of U.S. employees telecommuting dropped to 10% in March, down from 22% last year and 35% two years ago.  
  • Average U.S. hourly earnings were up 0.4% in March, a level slightly below the half-year average in a sign that employers are feeling less pressure to offer pay increases to keep up with inflation. Compensation for chief executives has risen sharply
  • College enrollment nationwide is down 5% since 2019 as schools grapple to overcome pandemic disruption and the lure of a robust job market for prospective students.  
  • The average nightly hotel rate in the U.S. hit $149.38 last week, the third highest ever recorded, as hoteliers seize on a rise in travel after two years of pandemic restrictions. 
  • Mortgage delinquencies rose for the first time in nine months in February as pandemic relief programs began expiring. The delinquency rate is now near its pre-pandemic levels. 
  • GM’s U.S. sales slid over 20% in the first quarter, one of the largest drops amid an industry-wide slump, even as sales of electric vehicles surged. 
  • While 68% higher than last year, Tesla delivered a lower-than-expected 310,000 vehicles across the globe last quarter due to supply disruptions and COVID-induced lockdowns in China. 
  • Washington is the first state to strike a deal on the budding question of ride-hailing worker status, with a new law imposing minimum per-mile pay and other worker benefits while decisively stating that drivers are not employees. 
  • Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, New York, became the company’s first employees to successfully unionize.  

International Markets

Cumulative number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the United Kingdom (UK) since January 2020 (as of March 31, 2022)

At M. Holland

  • In case you missed it, watch M. Holland’s Plastics Reflections webinar about the current and future state of the North American plastics industry. Click here to access the recording.
  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight. For more information, email our 3D Printing team.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets.

For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

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