COVID-19 Bulletin: December 21

December 21, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices suffered their biggest loss in a month Monday, with U.S. benchmark WTI falling nearly 4%. Futures were higher in late morning trading, with WTI up 2.5% at $70.31/bbl and Brent up 2.2% at $73.06/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 1.0% higher at $3.91/MMBtu. 
  • Libya declared force majeure on oil exports after losing more than 300,000 bpd of production over shut-ins by a group tasked with guarding the nation’s major oil fields. 
  • Russia is limiting volumes on a key gas pipeline to Europe this week as domestic demand surges with the onset of colder weather. European gas prices rose as much as 11% to a record high Monday. 
  • OPEC+ likely missed production targets by 650,000 bpd last month, slightly smaller than October’s miss, on continued output slumps in Nigeria and Angola. 
  • The U.S. administration raised the fleet mileage standard for passenger cars and light trucks from 43 mpg in 2026 to 55 mpg, prompting automakers to say they’ll need government help to comply. 
  • Exxon Mobil is in talks to sell 5,000 gas wells in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas, part of the company’s drive to raise cash by shedding unwanted assets. 
  • Equinor is set to drill 25 exploration wells off Norway’s coast next year, an affirmation of the producer’s long-term plans to stick with oil and gas despite a global shift toward renewables. 
  • India launched its biggest ever oil and gas tender, with 75 blocks up for grabs both onshore and offshore. 
  • Compared to its 1 gigawatt (GW) of battery storage capacity last year, the U.S. is on pace to add 6 GW of storage this year and another 9 GW next year as renewables transform the electricity industry.   
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.

Supply Chain

  • November U.S.-bound containerized freight imports — totaling 2.85 million TEUs — were down 4.7% compared to October’s record while up 6.3% from the same time last year.  
  • The Port of Los Angeles is set to move 10.8 million TEUs by year’s end, the most ever. 
  • Seventy-five container ships called on the Port of Oakland in November, the most in six months. 
  • Container lines canceled more than 28% of trips from Asia to the U.S. West Coast at the end of October, new data shows. 
  • Bids for next year’s 40-foot container contracts from China to Northern Europe are already averaging $11,900, up from $3,807/FEU this time last year. 
  • U.S. rail carloads were up 6.8% and intermodal units were up 5.6% through the first 48 weeks of 2021 compared to the same time last year. 
  • An index of conditions in the U.S. trucking industry came in at its lowest level in more than a year in October, largely a result of higher fuel prices. 
  • 2021 spending on newbuild and secondhand vessels stood at a combined $147 billion last Friday, more than double the same time last year and on pace to smash a previous record set after the 2008 financial crisis. 
  • Emirati DP World is building the first deep seaport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
  • South Korean bulk carrier SW Shipping will start container operations next year on intra-Asia trade routes. Freight forwarders are also increasingly jumping into container shipping operations
  • Walmart is building two new million-square-foot online fulfillment centers in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Lebanon, Tennessee. 
  • American semiconductor giant Micron Technology forecasts better-than-expected revenue for the latest quarter on continued effects of the global chip shortage, which it expects to ease over the coming year. 
  • FedEx received its first 500 all-electric vans from GM-backed BrightDrop, with plans to roll out the 250-mile-per-charge vehicles in Los Angeles next year. 
  • U.S. lawmakers are raising security concerns over the rapid expansion of China’s data gathering on global logistics flows. 

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 70,815 new COVID-19 infections and 137 virus fatalities Sunday. Top government officials forecast record infections and hospitalizations this winter, but are not expecting reimposed lockdowns. 
  • New York state reported more than 22,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday, a record and up over 150% from last week.
  • Total COVID-19 hospitalizations in California are up 12% from two weeks ago, with surges of 30% or more in southern cities including Los Angeles. 
  • New COVID-19 cases in Florida have risen to their highest level since the tail end of a Delta variant surge in September. 
  • Michigan is running out of COVID-19 antibody treatments due to surging demand. 
  • The U.S. reported 253,954 new COVID-19 infections and 1,513 virus fatalities Monday. Cases and hospitalizations are both up about 50% over the past month, with new restrictions largely coming from states in the Northeast and Midwest.
  • U.S. infections with the COVID-19 Omicron variant surged sixfold last week, now accounting for nearly three-quarters of all new cases and more than 90% of cases in the New York area, the Southeast, the industrial Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. More than 80% of virus patients at a Houston-area hospital had the strain. 
Omicron Jumps to Dominance Within Weeks of Its Emergence

International Markets

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, for the Christmas holiday. We will be closed Friday, Dec. 31, for New Year’s Eve.
  • 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.

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

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