COVID-19 Bulletin: December 22

December 22, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices rose about 3.5% Tuesday, nearly regaining Monday’s steep losses. Futures were higher in late morning trading, with WTI up 0.9% at $71.76/bbl and Brent up 0.73% at $74.49/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 2.9% higher at $3.98/MMBtu. 
  • The American Petroleum Institute reported a larger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude inventories last week, bringing total draws since January to 65 million barrels
  • European gas prices hit a record Tuesday for the second consecutive day, rising 16% after Russia began reversing flows on a major pipeline to Germany. 
  • Spain is extending energy tax cuts until May to keep skyrocketing consumer bills down through winter. 
  • China’s largest LNG importer signed a deal with U.S. firm Venture Global to buy LNG from a new export facility in Louisiana
  • Indian crude refiners processed 5.25 million bpd in November, up from 4.96 million bpd in October to the highest level since February 2020. 
  • Norwegian exploration company Aker BP inked a deal to purchase the oil and gas unit of Sweden’s Lundin Energy for $14 billion, creating the second-largest petroleum firm on the Norwegian continental shelf. 
  • The Hornsea 2 wind farm offshore the eastern U.K. has generated its first power, a milestone, as it aims to become the world’s highest-producing wind power project by next year. 
  • The U.K. will subject all future North Sea oil and gas licenses to a “net-zero test” to align potential projects with the nation’s long-term climate goals. 
  • Asian nations will be the primary source of new global nuclear capacity in the coming years, new data shows: 
Asia's Going Nuclear
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.

Supply Chain

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 172,072 new COVID-19 infections and 2,093 virus fatalities Tuesday. Just 61.6% of Americans are fully vaccinated.
  • The U.S. has the highest number of new COVID-19 cases of any country, the World Health Organization said. Cases could peak in January, according to the CDC. 
  • To help blunt the Omicron wave, the White House announced new plans to send out 500 million free at-home COVID-19 tests, deploy 1,000 military personnel to hospitals and promptly add to the nation’s 20,000 federal testing sites. 
  • Chicago will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry into most indoor public venues starting Jan. 3, including restaurants and bars. 
  • Ohio reported 12,502 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, a pandemic record. Six hospital systems in Cleveland ran a full-page newspaper ad imploring residents to get vaccinated as they grapple with overwhelming COVID-19 infections.  
  • New York reported 22,258 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, a decrease of 1,000 from Monday, with 61% of cases concentrated in New York City. 
  • Massachusetts deployed 500 National Guard troops to state hospitals to help with non-medical tasks such as food service and transportation, while nonessential procedures could be postponed as soon as Monday due to rising COVID-19 patients. 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in California are up 10% over the last two weeks. The state will require all healthcare workers to get a booster dose
  • Florida could average 40,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by February, new models predict, a 75% increase over case counts in previous waves of Delta. 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations at Texas Children’s Hospital have tripled in the past week, officials say. 
  • Atlanta is the latest large U.S. city to reimpose an indoor mask mandate
  • The governors of Minnesota and Maryland tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The National Hockey League reversed course and will not let players participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in China due to soaring COVID-19 infections. 
  • Wells Fargo has indefinitely delayed its return-to-office plans. 
  • Major U.S. pharmacies will start limiting the number of at-home COVID-19 tests customers can buy, as surging demand depletes inventories
  • New Yorkers will receive $100 for getting a COVID-19 booster dose at any city-run vaccination site before the end of the year. 
  • Many employers are adding booster shots to their vaccine mandates. 
  • Fully vaccinated people with a COVID-19 booster dose are unlikely to suffer serious illness with a breakthrough infection, top medical experts say, lending support to the U.S.’s expected decision to shorten quarantine requirements for breakthrough cases. 
  • U.S. regulators are expected to approve the nation’s first at-home COVID-19 antiviral pills later this week. 
  • Tremors and vibrations are two symptoms commonly associated with long-term COVID-19, new research shows. 
  • More than 39 million Americans resigned from their jobs in the first 10 months of 2021, the highest number in data going back two decades. 
  • Over one-fifth of nurses surveyed said they plan to resign within the next six months, while two-thirds say the pandemic has made them consider resigning. 
  • The U.S. population grew by just 0.1% in the year ending July 1, the lowest rate on record, continuing a string of declining growth rates since 2008. 
  • American life expectancy fell 1.8 years to 77 in 2020, a larger decline than initially expected, with COVID-19 confirmed as the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. 
  • Federal grants to U.S. states rose 37% in the 2020 fiscal year, the largest increase since 2009, largely due to the distribution of emergency pandemic funds.  
  • The Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading economic indicators rose by 1.1% in November, bolstering views that the nation’s economy will continue to expand in the first half of 2022. 
  • Foot traffic to U.S. stores and shopping centers rose 19% last week from a year ago, signaling little impact from the COVID-19 Omicron variant on brick-and-mortar retail. 
  • U.S. electric vehicle startup Canoo will build its vehicles at plants in Arkansas and Oklahoma, with plans to produce up to 6,000 units next year. 

International Markets

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, in observance of Christmas. We wish all a wonderful holiday!
  • 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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