COVID-19 Bulletin: July 23

July 23, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Oil prices rose 2% Thursday on expectations of tighter supplies through the end of the year, with WTI closing at $71.91/bbl and Brent at $73.79/bbl. Futures have rebounded 8% in the past three sessions following Monday’s widespread selloff. 
  • Crude futures were mostly unchanged in morning trading, with WTI down 0.2% to $71.80/bbl and Brent essentially flat at $73.81/bbl. Natural gas was 0.8% higher at $4.04/MMBtu. 
  • Royal Dutch Shell is selling its stake in unused Malaysian oil and gas fields as part of a strategy to gradually reduce output and grow investments in low-carbon energy. 
  • The U.S. and Germany reached a deal that will allow completion of the Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline from Russia to Germany, a project opposed for years as giving undue regional energy influence to Moscow. 
  • A four-year-old tech startup claims to have found new, inexpensive battery technology that can store and supply large amounts of electricity to power grids for solar- and wind-energy off times. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  
  • Dow Chemical reported strong second-quarter revenue on higher prices and volume, along with a 70% increase in its packaging and specialty plastics business segments.  

Supply Chain

  • Another heat wave is set to hit the U.S. next week, with temperatures 10-15 degrees higher than usual in the majority of the nation. 
  • A number of devastating wildfires continue to impact the western U.S. and Canada:
    • Northern California’s Dixie Fire has burned nearly 104,000 acres with only 17% containment, prompting evacuations in two counties. 
    • South Lake Tahoe’s Tamarack Fire crossed into Nevada Wednesday after burning roughly 44,000 acres near the California border, prompting additional evacuations. 
    • Favorable weather conditions are helping firefighters battle Southern Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, the nation’s largest, now 38% contained after scorching more than 400,000 acres
    • Lumber prices have spiked in recent days as wildfires in the western U.S. and Canada disrupt production and the supply chain.
  • Freight volumes in the Port of Rotterdam increased by 5.8% year over year in the first half of 2021, with iron and coal driving the increase, as international trade continues to recover from the pandemic. 
  • A cyberattack forced an immediate halt to operations at the South African ports of Cape Town and Durban Thursday, causing a double-digit backup of ships and a lengthening port queue. 
  • Union Pacific saw a 59% jump in second-quarter profit to nearly $1.8 billion, fueled by shipping increases in industrial chemicals, metals, petroleum and LNG. 
  • A shortage of rail workers is threatening the U.S.’s economic recovery from the pandemic, with slowed deliveries of chemicals and fertilizers disrupting critical factory operations. 
  • The global semiconductor shortage could last well into 2022 and begin hampering smartphone production next, industry executives warn, while Intel predicted a longer rate of supply chain disruption lasting into 2023
  • Toyota temporarily suspended operations at three manufacturing plants in Thailand Thursday due to a continued parts shortage. 
  • Stock in Signify, the world’s largest light maker, fell more than 9% Thursday following company forecasts of reduced output in the months ahead due to multiple supply shortages, including plastics. 
  • French firm GTT is building fuel tanks capable of switching from LNG power to ammonia power for five of Samsung Heavy Industries’ container ship newbuilds.
  • Increased seasonal production of palm oil (used to make vegetable oil) led to a 10% decline in global food prices in June:
  • United Airlines is phasing out cargo-only flights in order to resume full-time passenger service as air travel continues to rebound. 
  • American miner Freeport-McMoRan crushed second-quarter earnings estimates, assisted by a 70% increase in the price of copper. 


  • Officials say widespread misinformation is slowing the U.S.’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, with cases across the country nearly tripling in the last two weeks. 
  • More than 97% of U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations and more than 99% of virus deaths are among unvaccinated people, officials say.
  • The U.S. reported 55,058 new COVID-19 cases and 315 deaths Thursday, with the seven-day infection average increasing to more than 37,000
  • Florida, Missouri and Texas currently account for 40% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. 
  • Florida’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are quickly approaching peak levels not seen since January, arising mostly from unvaccinated people who contracted the Delta strain. 
  • Only 43 of Texas’ 9,000 COVID-19 deaths since February were among fully vaccinated people, a rate of just 0.5%
  • COVID-19 cases in Nevada have surged to their highest levels in nearly five months, with infections up 200% compared to a month ago. 
  • COVID-19 infections are rapidly rising in Alabama, with all but eight counties labeled as “very high risk” due to extremely low vaccination rates.
  • Maryland reported 244 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, its highest daily total since May. 
  • Los Angeles County reported 2,551 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, its largest single-day total since March. Roughly 20% of new COVID-19 infections with the Delta variant in Los Angeles are among vaccinated people. 
  • Juneau, Alaska’s capital, is reimposing several pandemic restrictions including mask mandates for indoor gatherings and capacity limits on businesses. 
  • In a positive sign, the U.S. administration says it has seen upticks in COVID-19 vaccinations in counties with the worst inoculation rates, particularly in southern states. 
  • A federal panel of advisory health experts expressed support for administering COVID-19 booster shots to some Americans at high risk of COVID-19 infection. 
  • Missouri is launching a new COVID-19 vaccine incentive program with prizes up to $10,000 for hundreds of people who get the shots. 
  • Demand for New York City hotel rooms has rebounded to early-pandemic levels, with more than 481,000 rooms booked last week, a 17,000-room increase from the week before. The city hit a vaccine milestone yesterday, with 70% of adults having received at least one COVID-19 shot. 
  • White House officials are mulling an update of mask-wearing guidance, possibly asking Americans to wear the protective coverings in more indoor settings. 
  • The White House anticipates full FDA approval of at least one currently authorized COVID-19 vaccine by the fall, a move that could give greater justification for companies and governments seeking to impose vaccine requirements
  • The White House released an addition $3 billion in COVID-19 rescue funds to help support local economies trying to recover from the pandemic. The administration also announced new options for federally backed homeowners, increasing aid to mortgage borrowers at the end of forbearance. 
  • U.S. median home prices rose to a record-high $363,300 in June while home sales rose by 1.4% compared to the month prior, as the housing market continues to boom. 
  • Electric vehicle sales in the U.S. more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to the same time last year, significantly outpacing comparable sales increases for gas-powered cars during the period. 
  • Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker Rivian announced plans to build a second assembly plant in the U.S. to boost production of vehicle battery cells. 
  • General Motors issued a second recall of 2017-2019 Chevy Bold electric vehicles over fire risks.
  • Washington state announced that it will ban single-use plastics across the state beginning Oct. 1. 


  • Tokyo reported 1,359 new daily infections Friday, surpassing 1,000 for the fourth consecutive day as the Tokyo Olympic Games kicked off opening ceremonies in a much different format than the past. Japan is asking Pfizer to ramp up its vaccine delivery due to supply shortages.
  • More than a million Britons were instructed to self-isolate based on guidance from contract tracers and the nation’s COVID-19 alert app the past week, causing significant supply chain disruption as workers stayed home. The country reported 40,029 new infections and 84 deaths Friday. 
  • Following months of the world’s most intense virus surge, roughly two-thirds of India’s citizens now have COVID-19 antibodies, new data shows:
Two-Thirds Of Indians Have Been Exposed To Covid-19
  • Surging COVID-19 cases are pushing hospitals in Papua, Indonesia, to capacity, as the nation reported 49,509 new cases and 1,449 virus deaths Thursday. 
  • Roughly 75% of Singapore’s COVID-19 infections the past month were among people who had received a vaccine, a worrying new trend. Traditional retailers in the nation are reeling from continuing pandemic restrictions, with sales down as much as 70% for some.  
  • Vietnam is holding talks with the U.S. to begin producing COVID-19 vaccines locally after the nation reported a record 6,194 new infections Thursday. 
  • Australia’s prime minister issued an apology to the nation’s residents over its slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, as half of the country remains under strict lockdowns amid a recent surge in infections. 
  • Germany will list Spain and the Netherlands as COVID-19 high-risk areas, requiring unvaccinated travelers from the two countries to quarantine upon arrival. 
  • Italy will follow France in requiring people to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results before accessing most leisure activities. 
  • Israel is launching clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine administered orally, which could boost global vaccine access while streamlining booster shots. 
  • The EU has shipped less than 3% of the 160 million COVID-19 vaccine doses it planned to donate to low-income nations but maintains it is on track to donate 200 million shots by the end of the year. 
  • New research shows two doses of either Pfizer’s or AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is as effective against the Delta strain as against the Alpha strain, a highly transmissible variant first identified last year in the U.K. 
  • The EU added Guillain-Barré syndrome to its list of potential side effects from Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after 108 cases of the rare nerve disorder were reported worldwide.
  • Chile will begin inoculating children under age 12 with China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Germany’s economy grew at its fastest rate in 25 years in July, with IHS Markit’s flash Purchasing Managers’ Index rising to 62.5 from 60.1 the previous month, indicating expansion. 
  • South Korea is expected to post its strongest annual growth in more than a decade for the second quarter, with GDP likely expanding 6% from a year ago. 
  • An index based on a survey of U.K. purchasing managers hit its lowest level in four months, as economists worry rising COVID-19 infections have once again stifled economic activity. 
  • Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler will invest $47 billion in electric vehicle and battery production by 2030, with plans for all new vehicle platforms to be electric by 2025.

Our Operations

  • M. Holland will be exhibiting at MD&M West in Anaheim, California, Aug. 10-12! MD&M West is the largest medtech conference in the U.S. If you’re attending, please stop by Booth #4005 to meet our Healthcare experts.
  • 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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