COVID-19 Bulletin: August 13

August 13, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices dipped slightly Thursday following the International Energy Agency’s forecast of decreased demand for the rest of 2021, projection disputed by some analysts, including Goldman Sachs. Energy futures were lower in mid-day trading, with WTI down 0.2% at $68.93/bbl and Brent down 0.4% at $71.06/bbl. Natural gas was 0.1% lower at $3.93/MMBtu.
  • OPEC’s oil output in July rose by 640,000 bpd to 26.7 million bpd as the cartel rolled back recent supply constraints and stuck to its forecasts of strong growth in second-half demand alongside a 560,000-bpd rise in U.S. shale production next year. 
  • Analysts worry the effect of spreading COVID-19 infections in Japan could dampen oil demand just weeks after the nation’s major refiners returned to profit in the April-June quarter. 
  • Several Asian refiners are buying less crude oil from Saudi Arabia for September amid concerns that the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 will impair demand. Meanwhile, refiners in South Korea and China, taking advantage of lower prices, are picking up more U.S. Mars crude, potentially lifting U.S. volume to Asia from June’s four-year low. 
  • Texas’s Midland Basin averaged 1.7 million bpd of crude production last year, accounting for 15% of U.S. crude output in 2020. 
  • The New York state pension fund, the third largest in the U.S., announced it will review its oil holdings and cut more coal investments following a recent United Nations report on climate change. 
  • A new study suggests that “blue” hydrogen, sourced from fossil fuels combined with carbon capture, is more environmentally damaging than burning diesel fuel, natural gas or coal for heat.
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • More than 145 million Americans lived in areas under excessive-heat advisories from the National Weather Service Thursday, with the wave’s harshest effects centered on the Pacific Northwest.
  • Wildfire activity continues to affect the U.S. West:
    • California’s Dixie Fire surpassed 510,000 acres Thursday, burning more than 550 homes with only 30% containment. Bay Area officials issued an air quality advisory due to large amounts of smoke from the flames. 
    • Montana’s Richard Spring wildfire spread to more than 150,000 acres Thursday, forcing hundreds to evacuate with the blaze just 15% contained. The state is currently battling 25 fires, the most in the U.S. 
    • Southern Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, formerly the nation’s largest blaze, is not expected to be fully contained until October after burning more than 413,000 acres since July. 
  • Tropical Storm Fred has been downgraded to a tropical depression after weakening near Cuba, but is expected to regain some strength as it heads toward Florida this weekend. 
  • Argentina is facing its worst drought in 100 years, with falling water levels in its main transport river reducing the country’s farm exports and increasing logistics costs. 
  • Major eastern Chinese container ports are seeing increased congestion following the partial shutdown of a Ningbo terminal Wednesday. Ships operated by CMA CGM, Seaspan and APL removed the terminal from their schedules and Hapag-Lloyd asked affected owners to consider moving their volume to terminals in Shanghai.
  • Loaded imports at ports in South Carolina grew 47% year over year, with the Port of Charleston handling a record 244,831 TEUs in July, an increase of 38% compared to last year. 
  • Trucker U.S. Xpress expects a tight truckload market to raise contract rates this quarter, adding that a driver shortage will keep spot rates even higher through the end of the year. 
  • U.S. producer price inflation rose 7.8% over the past 12 months to an all-time high. 


  • The U.S. reported 116,545 new COVID-19 cases and 614 virus deaths Thursday.
  • Fifty-three hospitals in Texas have reached capacity following a surge of more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients in the past week. The state reported 14,214 new infections Wednesday, with roughly 40 children hospitalized per day, a record. 
  • A day after reporting record new one-day infections, Florida hospitals reported a total of 15,449 COVID-19 patients Thursday, topping a previous record set two days earlier. The state’s recent virus surge has prompted officials in Brevard County to ask residents to limit their usage of 911
  • Nearly 40% of new COVID-19 infections nationally are in Florida and Texas.  
  • Mississippi’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases rose to 2,700, a 54% increase compared to the week prior, with the state reporting more than 4,400 new infections Thursday. Health officials are warning that the state is nearing full capacity at its hospitals, while more than 1,000 schoolchildren have tested positive for COVID-19 since school reopened in early August. 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York more than quadrupled the past month to 1,400, with the state’s incoming governor announcing support for public school mask mandates.  
  • Ohio reported 3,393 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday with nearly 90% of cases stemming from the highly contagious Delta variant. 
  • Arizona reported 2,970 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, the most since February.  
  • Starting Aug. 20, San Francisco will require COVID-19 vaccinations for most indoor activities including dining, bars and gyms, making it the first major U.S. city to impose such a mandate. The move was quickly followed by a similar announcement in New Orleans
  • The U.S. Supreme Court made its first decision over vaccine mandates at U.S. colleges, rejecting a challenge to Indiana University’s requirement without explanation. 
  • Boston will require all city employees to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing starting in September. 
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • The FDA authorized third COVID-19 shots for certain people with weakened immune systems, while the U.S.’s top medical adviser said the boosters are not required for the general population now, but could be at some point in the future.  
  • Facebook pushed back its return-to-office date until January 2022 amid resurgent COVID-19 cases in the U.S. 
  • The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment plunged 11 points to 70.2 in early August, the lowest level since 2011, on concerns about the spreading COVID-19 virus and the economy. 
  • New York-based Blade Urban Air Mobility became the first U.S. flight provider to require COVID-19 vaccinations for passengers. Other U.S. airlines are expected to follow Southwest Airlines in lowering revenue forecasts in the face of slowing reservations and rising cancellations as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads.  
U.S. Airports Get Busier, Still Trail 2019 Throughput
U.S. Airlines Hit Turbulence Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
  • WarnerMedia, the city of Philadelphia and Virginia’s K-12 schools are the latest notable entities to reimpose indoor mask mandates, regardless of vaccination.
  • The president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher’s union, announced support for requiring all educators to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing.  
  • New York City’s mayor says that 50,000 residents have received $100 gift cards for getting COVID-19 shots, touting the method’s effectiveness in boosting lagging vaccination rates.  
  • U.S. job postings requiring that candidates be vaccinated against COVID-19 have doubled in the past month. 
  • U.S. home prices surged in the second quarter, with the median price for a single-family home rising 22.9% to $357,900 from the year-ago period, a record dating back to 1968. 
  • Ford is halting deliveries of some new Bronco sport-utility vehicles due to unspecified production problems related to the vehicles’ roofs.


  • Tokyo reported 4,989 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, down slightly from last week’s record-high, as the nation’s top health adviser called for stricter pandemic restrictions for the next two weeks. 
  • Vietnam reported more than 9,000 COVID-19 infections Thursday, a worrying spike as the country faces a dwindling supply of vaccine doses. 
  • South Korea could mandate that hospitals set aside more intensive care beds for severe COVID-19 patients amid a spike in new infections and hospitalizations. 
  • Cambodia began offering AstraZeneca COVID-19 booster shots Thursday to supplement initial doses from China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac. 
  • Hundreds of military personnel will be deployed to Sydney to help enforce lockdowns after the city posted more than 350 new COVID-19 cases, a record. 
  • New Zealand unveiled plans to reopen to travelers early next year, while outlining a new program that will allow vaccinated citizens returning to the country to self-isolate at home instead of at hotels.
  • Italy has administered first shots of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of its population over the age of 12, a milestone. 
  • The U.K.’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases stood at 28,007, a 41% drop from three weeks ago, prompting officials to allow fully vaccinated people to forgo self-isolation requirements if they come in contact with an infected person. 
  • Israel is prepared to offer COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 40 and up, as health officials warn the country could face a fourth lockdown if vaccination rates don’t improve. 
  • Passenger travel is surging at London’s Heathrow airport, with 1.5 million people passing through security in July, its busiest month since March 2020. 
  • Credit and debit card spending in the U.K. has returned to 99% of pre-pandemic levels following the widespread easing of pandemic restrictions. 
UK GDP Recovery Back on Track
  • India’s industrial output in June grew 13.6% compared to a year earlier and retail inflation eased to 5.6% in July. 
  • Taiwan’s economy is forecast to grow at its fastest pace in more than a decade in 2021, led by higher tech exports. 
  • Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, has reported a trade surplus every month since May 2020 and is expected to further that streak in July on higher prices of commodity exports. 
  • European stocks are on pace for their longest streak of record closes since 1999. 
  • India plans to allow Boeing’s 737 MAX jets to resume flying following a two-and-a-half-year grounding of the model over safety concerns. The aircraft-maker also began testing the jet in China, hoping to end a similar ban. 

Our Operations

  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight during prevailing force majeure. 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. 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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