COVID-19 Bulletin: May 17

May 17, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin


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  • Oil prices moved higher today after rising 2.5% on Friday, reversing some of Thursday’s losses. At mid-day, the WTI was up 1.2% at $66.15/bbl and Brent was up 1.0% at $69.41/bbl. Natural gas was up 6.0% at $3.14/MMBtu. 
  • India’s road fuel sales have dropped roughly 20% since last month, as large parts of the nation remain under local lockdowns.
  • Widespread gasoline shortages along the U.S. East Coast began to ease on Saturday as the nation’s biggest pipeline returned to delivering millions of gallons per hour. However, supply disruptions continue to have a ripple effect through markets:
    • Nearly 90% of gas stations in Washington, D.C., were empty at the end of last week. 
    • As of Sunday, more than half of stations were dry in North Carolina, while close to half of stations ran out of fuel in South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and Georgia. 
    • High gas prices and long lines at gas stations have forced third-party ride-sharing and delivery drivers off the roads just as demand is picking up. 
  • The rapid development of battery storage technology is threatening to upend billions of dollars in natural gas investments over the next decades. 
  • Pending a deal with the U.S. to ease sanctions, Iran could return to pre-sanctions production levels of almost 4 million bpd in as little as three months. 
  • The White House’s pending proposals for infrastructure spending could be a further boom to the renewable energy industry after a surge in growth in 2020. 
Renewable Energy Boomed In 2020
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here. 

Supply Chain

  • There’s no end in sight to the supply chain disruptions and shortages of a swath of commodities and products that is disrupting the global economic recovery.  
  • A widespread power outage caused blackouts through half of Taiwan’s industrial parks on Thursday, taking chipmaker TSMC offline for several hours. 
  • The Suez Canal Authority has started building a second lane to allow for two-way traffic in a southern section of the canal near where a giant containership got stuck for six days in March. 
  • FedEx is raising its international peak surcharges while also warning its European customers of delivery delays to the U.S. 
  • South Korean shipbuilders raised prices by 15% for very large crude carriers while pushing delivery slots to 2024. 
  • A brush fire discovered Friday near Los Angeles grew to more than 1,300 acres by Sunday, forcing evacuations.  
  • A train hauling fertilizer derailed and caught fire yesterday, forcing the evacuation of residents in Sibley, Iowa.  
  • Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability and continued congestion at ports due in part to operating challenges related to the pandemic. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.


  • There were 16,864 new COVID-19 infections and 262 deaths in the U.S. yesterday.  
  • With most U.S. adults vaccinated against COVID-19, the rate of young children and early teens catching the virus is now higher than among those 65 and older. 
  • The CDC’s decision to relax mask-wearing requirements for vaccinated people was the result of greater research on the effectiveness of vaccines, increased vaccination levels and significantly declining case counts.
  • The CDC will spend the next few weeks updating other pandemic guidelines for travel, summer camps and childcare. 
  • Many local governments and businesses now face a challenge in deciding whether to relax or maintain their localized mask mandates.
  • The CDC and the World Health Organization revised their stances on the risk of virus aerosols, calling for a major overhaul of ventilation systems to lower the chances of catching respiratory infections. 
  • Eight players and staff members of the New York Yankees have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated, prompting a new probe by the state’s health department. 
  • Delta Air Lines announced that all new employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • U.S. manufacturing output increased for the second straight month in April, rising by 0.4% following a 3.1% jump in March.
  • A new analysis of Census Bureau surveys showed that more wealthy Americans relocated during the pandemic than in years prior, with 16% of workers earning $150,000 or more moving in 2020, up from 11.5% in 2019. 
  • More than one third of workers changed employers or lost their job since the start of the pandemic, a new study shows.
  • JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, reopened its offices today.  
  • In a pandemic-induced irony, movie theaters are leaning on Netflix-produced movies for content as major Hollywood studios continue paring back their release calendars. 
  • While many people, particularly senior citizens, started buying groceries online during the pandemic, many grocery chains are reporting a significant drop in online orders as COVID-19 restrictions lift. 
  • With the average sticker price on an electric vehicle $19,000 higher than a gas-powered counterpart, it could still take several years for the industry to scale up enough for mass consumption. 
  • Washington’s governor is expected to sign into law today the nation’s toughest emissions regulations, which will establish a state carbon exchange and require most industries to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.  
  • Environmental concerns, along with an increased focus on personal health, has many restaurants and college campuses shunning meat in favor of more “climate-friendly” meals.  


  • India reported 281,386 new COVID-19 cases today, dropping below 300,000 new daily infections for the first time in 25 days. Daily virus deaths, however, have plateaued near the 4,000 mark. The country’s COVID-19 response was disrupted today by the arrival of the worst cyclone to strike the nation in three decades.
  • Taiwan reported a record high 180 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, as the island’s capital immediately faced tighter pandemic restrictions. 
  • Singapore reported 24 more cases of COVID-19 after an outbreak at an airport. The country will continue its ban on indoor dining while limiting social gatherings to two people, while the World Economic Forum cancelled its upcoming annual meeting that was to be held in the city-state in August. 
  • Malaysia is considering a complete lockdown in response to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. 
  • Japan added three more prefectures to its state of emergency, hoping to combat a recent surge in infections before the Tokyo Olympics in July. 
  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.K. stemming from the variant first found in India has more than doubled in the last week, prompting health officials to reconsider ending the country’s lockdown measures. The rise in infections caused Germany to add the U.K. back to its list of COVID-19 risk areas, requiring travelers from the country to face stricter quarantine and testing rules. 
  • Canada’s government is mulling ways to reopen its border with the U.S., even as the country remains well behind its southern neighbor’s vaccination drive. 
  • Brazil, with the second-highest COVID-19 death count in the world, continues to lose 2,000 people a day as its vaccine campaign struggles with just 15% of its population having received at least one shot.  
  • Confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Colombia surpassed 80,000 on Friday as the nation’s ICU beds are nearly full in the biggest cities.
  • Turkey is easing its COVID-19 restrictions from the full lockdown measures it implemented three weeks ago, allowing for workers to return to the office and permitting certain businesses to reopen, but still instating a curfew on nights and weekends. 
  • Dubai relaxed restrictions for vaccinated citizens and is allowing hotels to operate at full capacity as COVID-19 cases fall.  
  • Countries that have maintained strict lockdowns for even minimal numbers of COVID-19 cases are falling behind in the global race to fully reopen economies. 
  • With more than 60 countries approving Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, the nation is struggling to meet overwhelming demand, fulfilling only about 15 million doses so far of more than 630 million doses under contract. 
  • COVID-19 infections fell by 80% in Italian adults who received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca. 
  • Portugal will allow U.K. tourists with a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. 
  • Italy plans to lift its quarantine restrictions for tourists from the EU, U.K. and Israel who test negative for COVID-19 beginning May 16. 
  • Australia is sticking to plans to delay its reopening to the rest of the world until the middle of 2022.
  • The U.K. still plans to host an in-person global climate summit in Glasgow later this year, with organizers exploring options of how to best protect against COVID-19. 
  • Paris’s mayor is proposing a new plan to help curb car use in the city, recommending a ban on most vehicle traffic crossing the city center in 2022. 

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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