COVID-19 Bulletin: March 22

March 22, 2022 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

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  • More oil news related to the war in Europe:
    • Oil prices rose more than 7% Monday on news that the EU may join the U.S. in a Russian oil embargo, a measure with rising support from member nations. 
    • In mid-morning trading today, WTI futures were down 2.0% at $109.90/bbl, Brent was down 1.0% at $114.50/bbl and U.S. natural gas was 3.1% higher at $5.05/MMBtu. 
    • German officials are intensifying calls for OPEC to boost production
    • Russian natural gas transit to Europe via Ukraine continues on schedule, officials say. 
    • The U.K. is preparing to step in and temporarily run the British supply arm of Russia’s Gazprom, which supplies more than 20% of the nation’s commercial gas volume. 
    • Roughly 9 million barrels of Russian oil will offload in the U.S. this month, the most since July, ahead of an import ban that begins in April. 
    • Albanian cities should turn off lights in public buildings and on streets wherever possible, authorities said, as the tiny European nation struggles with surging power prices. 
    • Europe has some of the highest gasoline prices in the world, with much of the continent paying upward of $6 a gallon as of last week. 
How Gas Prices Compare Around the World
EIA projects U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions to fall in the near term, then rise

Supply Chain

  • Severe weather will hit Texas this week, with wildfires growing in the western part of the state and floods threatening the Houston area. 
  • An index of U.S. warehouse inventory levels grew last month at its fastest recorded pace since data collection began six years ago, with retailers finally making headway in restocking. 
  • The cost of goods imported into the U.S. rose 1.4% from January to February and 10.9% from a year earlier. 
  • Shenzhen launched a six-times-weekly air freight service to Hong Kong to help make up for losses in trucking capacity due to recent lockdowns. In separate news, Apple supplier Foxconn resumed full operations in Shenzhen after a week of shutdowns. 
  • J.B. Hunt plans to grow its intermodal fleet to as many as 150,000 containers in the next five years, a 40% increase in concert with capacity growth at BNSF Railway. 
  • Crews are still trying to free an Evergreen container ship that ran aground near the Port of Baltimore last week. 
  • China’s CATL, the world’s biggest maker of batteries for electric vehicles, is raising prices for its products by an unspecified amount to reflect higher raw material costs. The company expects carmakers to raise prices in tow. 
  • Chinese smartphone shipments dropped more than 30% in February from a year earlier due to semiconductor shortages. 
  • After quadrupling last year, prices for lithium are up nearly 95% since the start of 2022, with the global energy transition driving higher demand for the key battery component. 
  • More supply chain news related to the war in Europe:
  • Germany is looking to kickstart European free-trade talks with the U.S. after negotiations were halted during the prior U.S. administration. 
  • Taiwanese regional container carrier Wan Hai Lines will issue $2 billion in bonds to fund a fleet expansion. 
  • Maserati said it plans to revamp its distribution strategy by fulfilling specific dealer orders instead of maintaining dealer inventories. 
  • South Dakota culled 85,000 birds across two state facilities following an outbreak of bird flu, the first since 2015. 

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 44,101 new COVID-19 infections and 1,472 virus fatalities Monday. 
  • The CDC predicts that the BA.2 “stealth” subvariant of Omicron will soon become dominant in the U.S., while independent research suggests it already accounts for over 50% of cases:  
Omicron BA.2 Variant to Become Dominant in the U.S.

International Markets

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight. 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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