COVID-19 Bulletin: July 20

July 20, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices fell more than 7% Monday, the largest daily decline since March, after OPEC agreed to boost its output over the coming months and concerns grow about the spreading Delta variant of COVID-19. Futures were higher in morning trading, with WTI up 0.7% at $66.85/bbl and Brent up 0.6% at $69.02/bbl. Natural gas was 2.1% higher at $3.86/MMBtu. 
  • Goldman Sachs expects Brent crude to hit $80/bbl this summer on rebounding demand, despite OPEC’s agreement to add 400,000 bpd each month beginning in August. 
  • Saudi Arabian crude exports increased to 5.6 million bpd in May, the most in four months. 
  • Motiva, owned by Saudi Aramco, is suspending a $6.6 billion expansion project at its Port Arthur, Texas, complex. Motiva could revive the project in 2023, but without a planned ethane cracker.  
  • BP and Germany’s EnBW have submitted a joint bid for offshore wind acreage off Scotland’s east coast that could end up producing 2.9 gigawatts of capacity. 
  • The world’s largest carbon capture and storage project in Australia missed initial targets for injecting CO2 underground, highlighting the practical challenges of achieving ambitious environmental goals. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • A fourth heat wave struck the U.S. West and western Canada over the weekend, with unusually high temperatures expected to persist throughout the week. 
  • Firefighters are working to contain roughly 80 large wildfires that have burned more than 1.2 million acres in the U.S. West:
    • Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, the nation’s largest, has burned more than 350,000 acres and forced thousands to evacuate. 
    • California utility PG&E fears its equipment may have started the Dixie Fire burning in the Sierra Nevada, which has grown to more than 30,000 acres
    • Lake Tahoe’s Tamarack Fire has spread to more than 18,000 acres with zero containment, prompting evacuations. 
  • Chinese electricity providers are starting rolling blackouts amid record demand caused by extreme high temperatures in many regions, a similar situation to the U.S. West in recent weeks. 
  • The ongoing global semiconductor shortage is taking its toll on the smartphone industry, with shipments expected to be down 10% in the second quarter and many companies forced to delay product launches. 
  • Volvo’s second-quarter operating profit fell short of expectations, while the company warned of further production disruptions caused by the global computer chip shortage in the second half of the year. 
  • Taiwan’s export orders, a bellwether for global tech demand, rose a larger-than-expected 31.1% in June from a year earlier, the 16th month of expansion.
Big Tech Profits Soar On Pandemic Boost
  • Contractors report higher instances of shelling out their own money to cover excessive project costs, a result of rising materials prices that have upended the bidding market.   
  • A completed merger between International Seaways and Diamond S Shipping has created the second-largest U.S.-listed tanker company by vessel count and the third largest by deadweight volume. 
  • The FAA suspended operations of Hawaii-based Rhoades Aviation after one of its cargo jets crash-landed in the ocean earlier this month.


  • Average U.S. daily COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks, rising from 13,200 July 4 to more than 32,300 July 18. The country reported 52,111 new infections and 212 virus deaths Monday.
  • Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, is averaging more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases per week, mostly caused by the Delta variant. Meanwhile, local governments in California’s Bay Area are asking fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors, consistent with the U.S. surgeon general’s support of reissued mask mandates. 
  • New York City’s mayor will not renew an indoor mask mandate despite rising COVID-19 cases throughout the city, with the weekly average ticking up more than 64% compared to a month ago. New York state’s single-day COVID-19 infections topped 1,000 Sunday for the first time since May. 
  • Virginia is averaging 336 new COVID-19 cases per day, more than double the infection rate of the previous month and the highest since May. 
  • With just over one-third of its residents vaccinated against COVID-19, Arkansas has the highest per-capita rate of infections among states. 
  • Mississippi reported 2,326 new COVID-19 cases Monday, its highest one-day total since January. 
  • Arizona is reporting a rise in COVID-19 infections, with its testing positivity rate up 11% so far this week to the highest level since February. 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in Hawaii increased to 70 Saturday, the most since January. 
  • Maryland reported more than 100 daily COVID-19 cases for the fifth consecutive day, while the state’s governor maintained a pandemic state of emergency through Aug.15. 
  • Health officials in Kansas City, Missouri, are asking residents to wear masks in public places as COVID-19 hospitalizations rose to 1,357 Friday, the most since February. 
  • Health officials in Las Vegas are advising the public to wear masks in crowds and indoor spaces. 
  • A federal judge upheld Indiana University’s vaccine mandate for students and staff, potentially clearing the way for widespread adoption of the policy for students returning this fall.   
  • Newly published research shows that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine produces 10 times more antibodies than China’s Sinovac vaccine. 
  • Apple delayed its planned return-to-office date by more than a month in response to the resurgence of COVID-19 in many countries. 
  • Major U.S. stock indexes fell more than 2% yesterday, the steepest decline since October, over fears of higher inflation and increased outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 
  • U.S. mortgage rates dropped for a third straight week, with the average 30-year fixed rate falling to 2.88%, a five-month low
  • Last year’s two-month economic recession from March to April was the shortest on record, U.S. data shows, ending the nation’s longest recorded economic expansion that begin in June 2009 and lasted 128 months.
  • After nearly 50 years of making the Passat and its predecessor models, Volkswagen will stop producing and selling the sedan in the U.S. after 2022 in favor of SUV production at its assembly complex in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 
  • Some preowned vehicle models are regularly selling for thousands of dollars more than brand-new versions, as auto retailers run historically low on inventories. 
  • Uber is expanding same-day and on-demand grocery deliveries to more than 400 U.S. cities and towns, doubling the size of its current service.
  • Roughly 77% of Americans believe it is the responsibility of consumer-packaged goods companies to ensure their products and packaging are recyclable and don’t contribute to global pollution.


Covid-19 Burden Now Heaviest On Israel's Youth
  • South Africa is experiencing its worst rioting since 1994 following a third wave of COVID-19 amid an extremely low vaccination rate of just 2.8%.
  • With COVID-19 infections up over 120% this month, Mexico moved the state of Sinaloa to red alert status and five other states to yellow.  
  • Canada announced it will begin allowing fully vaccinated U.S. travelers into the country beginning Aug. 9. 
  • The U.S. sent 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to Jordan over the weekend, part of an effort to help low-income countries combat the pandemic. 
  • The EU first-dose COVID-19 vaccination rate has surpassed that of the U.S., despite the percentage of fully vaccinated people being significantly lower:
The Race Towards Full Vaccination
  • U.K. consumers are spending roughly 30% less in restaurants, bars and hotels than they were prior to the pandemic. 
  • Up to 3 million people may be unable to afford a healthy diet because of the pandemic, new research shows, worsening maternal and child nutrition in many low- and middle-income countries. 
  • New research from China highlights the development of a new degradable plastic that breaks down after being exposed to sunlight and air for only one week. 

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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