COVID-19 Bulletin: July 29

July 29, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • Brent rose to nearly $75/bbl Wednesday after new data showed a significant drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. Crude futures were higher in late morning trading, with WTI up 1.0% at $73.12/bbl and Brent up 1.1% at $75.56/bbl. Natural gas was 3.0% higher at $4.08/MMBtu.
  • U.S. oil refiners are set to post their first profits since the start of the pandemic, with Valero Energy, Phillips 66 and Marathon Petroleum expected to report a combined net income of roughly $675 million for the second quarter. 
  • U.S. oil producer Hess Corp expects U.S. output to take more than four years to return to pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Higher prices pushed the value of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports up 147% in May compared to the prior year period. 
  • New data shows that Russia was the world’s second-largest oil producer behind the U.S. for the first five months of 2021, with an average of 10.2 million bpd
  • Exxon Mobil announced a new oil and gas discovery off the coast of Guyana in the Stabroek Block, increasing the company’s confidence in the region and adding to its estimate of 9 billion recoverable oil-equivalent barrels. 
  • Mexico’s methane leak rate from oil and gas operations is twice as high as that of the U.S., a new report shows.
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • U.S. power prices rose Wednesday amid the nation’s most recent heat wave, with California’s grid operator asking consumers to conserve electricity to lower strain on the state’s power grid. 
  • Dozens of wildfires are continuing to rage across the U.S. West:
    • Union Pacific and BNSF halted some train operations in Northern California due to blazes. 
    • California’s Dixie Fire, the state’s largest, has burned more than 217,000 acres and is just 23% contained. 
    • Rain and slower winds helped slow the growth of Southern Oregon’s Bootleg Fire Wednesday, with some areas lifting evacuations. 
    • Cooler weather in California’s South Lake Tahoe is helping firefighters combat the Tamarack Fire, now 59% contained after burning more than 68,000 acres.
  • Air conditioning is the fastest growing component of electricity consumption:
Air Conditioning Biggest Factor in Growing Electricity Demand
  • Airlines for America, a trade group representing U.S. passenger and cargo airlines, has asked federal regulators to take emergency action to address fuel shortages at Reno-Tahoe Airport in Nevada, while the area simultaneously faces capacity and trucker shortages due to wildfires. 
  • Nissan’s CEO expressed concern over continued effects of the global chip shortage on the auto industry, with the company reiterating its forecasts that chip shortages will cost it 500,000 vehicles of production this year. 
  • General Motors plans to resume production of full-sized pickup trucks next week at plants in Michigan, Indiana and Mexico, while six of its other North American plants will remain idled due to the chip shortage. 
  • U.K. car output rose by a third in the first half of 2021 compared to the year prior but remained well below five-year averages, a result of continued disruption caused by the global chip shortage:
UK car manufacturing facing new challenges in staff and material shortages
  • At least 220,000 of the U.S.’s bridges are in need of repair work, while 80,000 need to be replaced, according to a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. 
  • Shipping company Costamare announced plans to acquire an additional 21 dry bulk vessels this year, expanding its fleet to 37 with a total capacity of roughly 1,910,000 dead-weight tonnage. 
  • New research shows that a rise in e-commerce could lead retail stores to allocate over 34% of their available space to online order fulfillment by 2023. 


  • The U.S. reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases last week of any country, the World Health Organization says. The nation’s seven-day infection average neared 52,000 Tuesday, more than four times the level three weeks ago on higher cases of the Delta variant in unvaccinated people. 
  • More than 68,771 new COVID-19 infections were reported in the U.S. Wednesday, alongside 387 virus fatalities. 
  • Internet search queries for “delta variant loss of taste and smell” have trended 60% higher in the past week. 
  • The CDC reversed its COVID-19 testing guidance Wednesday, now recommending fully vaccinated people get tested after being exposed to the virus even if they show no symptoms. 
  • California is averaging almost 7,400 new COVID-19 cases per day, roughly eight times the rate of four weeks ago, while state officials urge residents to wear masks indoors again. 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alabama have surged more than 500% to almost 1,100 patients since July 3, with the state posting the country’s lowest vaccination rate at just 34% of residents:  
The U.S. States Closest To Full Vaccination
  • Daily hospital admissions in Florida have jumped 150% in the past two weeks, shattering records from January on a surge in patients infected with the Delta variant of COVID-19. Forecasts show the state exceeding 83,000 new virus cases per day by Aug. 9. 
  • Virginia reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday, the most since April. 
  • New York City announced plans to give $100 to any resident who gets a first COVID-19 vaccine, a bid to boost widespread low vaccination rates. 
  • Nevada reinstated its indoor mask mandate, while officials in Oregon and Illinois are recommending mask-wearing indoors regardless of vaccination status. 
  • The U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon became the latest federal bodies to impose new mask mandates.
  • Apple will require masks to be worn at the bulk of its U.S. retail stores starting Thursday.  
  • Google pushed back its planned return-to-office date to Oct. 18 and will join Facebook in requiring returning workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Netflix is the first major Hollywood studio to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on all actors and set personnel. 
  • Disney is reinstating mask mandates at its U.S. theme parks beginning Friday.  
  • Pfizer said a third “booster” dose of its COVID-19 vaccine can significantly increase antibody levels against the Delta variant, while the World Health Organization reiterated its stance that booster shots are not needed except for specific high-risk populations. 
  • Pfizer raised forecasts for COVID-19 vaccine sales this year by nearly $8 billion, while AstraZeneca narrowed but could not reverse losses from developing and producing its own shot.
  • The Federal Reserve concluded a two-day meeting yesterday, releasing a statement indicating it may scale down monthly asset purchases by the end of the year while keeping interest rates near zero.
  • U.S. GDP expanded 6.5% in the latest quarter, slower than economists expected, but the fastest pace of the pandemic as the economy grew beyond its pre-pandemic level.  
  • First-time jobless claims declined by 24,000 last week to 400,000, nearly twice the average pre-pandemic level despite labor shortages in many segments of the economy.  
  • Walmart, hoping to attract more talent amid a tight job market, announced plans to pay full college tuition and book costs at some colleges for its U.S. workers. 
  • McDonald’s sales jumped 40.5% in the second quarter, climbing above pre-pandemic levels for the second consecutive quarter. 
  • Samsung posted a 54% jump in operating profit for the second quarter, the biggest jump in two years, with the company forecasting strong demand for memory chips in the latter half of 2021. 
  • Panasonic’s second-quarter profit crushed expectations as the company experiences increased activity in its electric vehicle battery and home appliance unit. 
  • Mattel’s sales surged 40% in the second quarter, indicating the pandemic-induced toys boom is continuing and portending a strong holiday season.  
  • Boeing reported its first quarterly profit in almost two years, assisted by higher orders from defense and aircraft carriers, while the company shelved plans to eliminate 10,000 additional jobs by the end of the year as production surges for its 737 MAX jet. 
  • American Airlines pilots and flight attendants report having difficulty finding available hotel rooms, the latest sign of disruption caused by a surge in summer travel. 


  • Over 70% of people in India’s eight largest states are estimated to have COVID-19 antibodies, translating to significantly higher case levels than official tallies. 
  • Tokyo reported 3,865 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, its third record in as many days, as the nation’s overall case count is set to cross 10,000 for the first time.
  • A strict lockdown in Sydney, Australia, will remain in effect for another month after the city reported 177 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday. 
  • COVID-19 infections in South Korea continue to rise amid a delayed vaccine rollout, with the nation reporting 1,896 new cases Wednesday, a record.  
  • Vietnam’s populous cities are set to extend or tighten pandemic restrictions as the country’s COVID-19 case count rose above 6,000 for the seventh straight day. 
  • The U.S. will ship a combined 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to South Africa and to Nigeria, where infections rose to their highest levels in nearly five months Tuesday. 
  • The U.K. will drop quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and EU starting Aug. 2. The country reported 27,734 new infections Wednesday, its first daily increase in a week as 88% of the population has received a first vaccine dose. 
  • Romania will begin administering Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12
  • The EU inked a deal with drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline for 220,000 units of a new COVID-19 antibody treatment designed for high-risk patients. 
  • An index of confidence in the euro-area economy rose to 119 in July, a record. 
  • Germany’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7% in July, beating analyst forecasts despite recent spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 
  • Canada’s inflation rate slowed more than expected in June, easing to 3.1% from a decade-high 3.6% in May.   
  • Tesla plans to start limited production of its Model Y crossover vehicle in Berlin before the end of the year, the automaker’s first foray into production in Europe. 

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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