COVID-19 Bulletin: April 7

April 7, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

Hello,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • The American Petroleum Institute reported a larger-than-expected 2.6 million-barrel draw in crude oil inventories for the week ending April 2. The news, coupled with growth in the U.S. and Chinese services sectors, helped lead oil prices to a 1% gain on Tuesday after being down about 10% from a March 5 peak.
  • Crude futures were higher in early trading today, with the WTI up 0.8% at $59.83/bbl and Brent 1.0% higher at $63.34/bbl. Natural gas was 0.9% higher at $2.48/MMBtu.
  • Russia slashed estimates for domestic crude oil, gas and coal production for the rest of this year and next.
  • India will buy 36% less crude oil from Saudi Arabia next month after the kingdom said it would increase its official selling price for Asian buyers. 
  • Saudi Aramco is in talks to sell up to a 49% stake in its oil pipelines to a consortium of U.S., Chinese and local investors for up to $15 billion
  • Mexican lawmakers are looking to change the country’s fuel laws after some gas station operators did not pass on government subsidies to consumers after a spike in global oil prices.
  • Canada’s strategy to become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 could displace three-quarters of oil and gas workers in the nation, or up to 450,000 people. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

Infrastructure The US Is Falling Short On Investment
Where Americas Bridges Are Crumbling
  • Amazon’s chief executive indicated support for a White House infrastructure plan funded by an increase in the corporate tax rate, a rare instance of the company’s input on hot-button political issues. 
  • Healthcare providers say medical examination gloves are the toughest protective item to find, according to a survey. 
  • Silicon Valley-based delivery startup Gatik is partnering with Isuzu North America Corp. to build autonomous delivery trucks to serve retailer customers. 
  • After a year of stop-start openings, American restaurants are now facing a nationwide ketchup shortage, the latest in a series of shortages across consumer markets during the pandemic. 
  • Royal Dutch Shell signaled that the recent winter storm that shut down Gulf Coast refineries will cause a $200 million hit to its quarterly results. 
  • 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.

Markets

  • There were 61,958 new COVID-19 cases and 835 deaths in the U.S. yesterday. Over 168 million vaccine doses have been administered, with 18% of the population fully vaccinated.  
  • Nearly 44% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases over the past week were in just five states — New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  
  • COVID-19 patients occupy roughly 78% of ICU beds in Michigan, the infection epicenter in the U.S., with a higher number of younger patients and those suffering from more virulent strains of the virus.  
  • California will fully reopen its economy on June 15 if COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low and vaccine supplies are sufficient for everyone over the age of 16 to get shots, the governor announced.
  • The White House moved up its deadline for making all adult citizens eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to April 19. Thirty-three states now have extended vaccine eligibility to all adults.
  • The U.S. government won’t issue vaccine passports, the White House announced, just hours after Texas joined a group of states that signaled their opposition to use of the passes. 
  • One in three COVID-19 survivors was diagnosed with a brain or psychiatric disorder within six months after contracting the disease, an American study of 230,000 patients shows. 
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against the virus for at least six months, according to new research. 
  • AstraZeneca paused a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in children, citing the need for more data regarding rare blood clotting issues in adults who received the shot.
  • Drug manufacturer Catalent is expanding U.S. production of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, a boon for the nation’s inoculation campaign.
  • The U.S. Army will begin testing adult volunteers for a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine that has shown early signs of effectiveness against fast-spreading mutations of the virus. 
  • Lawmakers in Texas and at least 19 other states that let bars and restaurants sell to-go cocktails during the pandemic are moving to make those allowances permanent, but face increasing opposition from liquor and convenience stores. 
  • Next week, the White House will launch a funeral assistance program to provide up to $9,000 to cover the burial costs of each American who died of COVID-19.
  • At least seven colleges have joined a growing list requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to campus this fall.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 80% of K-12 educators and staff in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Job openings in the U.S. rose to a two-year high in February, increasing by 268,000 from January to 7.4 million. 
  • General Motors will start producing an electric model of its Silverado pickup truck late next year at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, with the vehicle expected to go on sale as early as 2023. 
  • An automotive trade group estimates the global semiconductor shortage will dent U.S. automobile production by 1.3 million vehicles this year.  
  • Landlords in the largest U.S. markets are offering long-term leases up to 13% below rent rates reached in the first quarter of 2020, while companies are seeking on average about 10% less space. 
  • United Airlines plans to enroll 100 students in its pilot training academy this year in anticipation of a rebound in passenger air travel. 
  • Several U.K. airlines are pushing for a quarantine- and test-free travel corridor with the U.S., an attempt to capitalize on the two countries’ widespread vaccinations.
  • Foot traffic in grocery stores is declining from historically high levels. 
  • Shortly after the world’s largest cruise operator threatened to relocate its ships to other markets, the CDC said cruises could resume by mid-summer with restrictions. 
  • Starbucks is launching a two-month trial program at select Seattle locations giving customers the option to receive their drinks in reusable cups

International

Our Operations

  • Our next Plastics Reflections Web Series is Tuesday, April 20 at 1:00 pm CT. This webinar focused on Driving Sustainability Action in the Plastics Industry will feature panelists Andrew Reynolds, Director of Business Publishing International (BPI); Brad Rodgers, Vice President of Technology, Danimer Scientific; Dwight Morgan, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development at M. Holland; and Debbie Prenatt, Application Development Engineer, Sustainability at M. Holland. Click here to register.
  • 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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