COVID-19 Bulletin: August 16

August 16, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

  • Oil prices dipped Friday, ending the week roughly 1% down after falling by the largest amount in four months the previous week. Crude futures were lower in mid-day trading, with WTI down 1.7% at $67.25/bbl and Brent down 1.6% at $69.48/bbl. Natural gas was 2.6% higher at $3.96/MMBtu.
  • The number of active U.S. oil and gas rigs rose by nine last week, with the total rig count now at 500, up 256 from the same time last year but still down from 790 active rigs prior to the pandemic.
  • BP, Shell and French major TotalEnergies are now among the most active clean-tech investors by number of deals closed as they work to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and expand low-carbon activities. 
  • Credit Suisse predicts the market for carbon burial could one day reach $2 trillion as more companies face higher regulatory costs for emitting into the atmosphere rather than storing or eliminating emissions at their source. 
  • Coal production in the EU has declined significantly over the last few decades, including complete elimination of the fuel source in several nations:
The Gradual Death of EU Coal Production
  • Iran’s crude oil output has dropped to a 40-year low of just 2 million bpd, a combined result of U.S. sanctions and the pandemic’s effect on global demand. The country just imposed a six-day COVID-19 lockdown
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • More than 1,200 people died after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Saturday, collapsing buildings in the country’s southern peninsula and overloading strained hospitals with injured patients. The quake was from the same system of seismic faults that caused a similar disaster, which killed tens of thousands of Haitians in 2010, at a time when the nation reels from political turmoil and pandemic-induced disruptions in food supply and healthcare. 
  • Tropical Storm Fred reformed in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend and is now on track to touch down on Florida’s panhandle Tuesday, delivering high winds and heavy rainfall across the U.S. South and Southeast.
  • Tropical Storm Grace, downgraded to Tropical Depression Grace, caused heavy rains and flooding across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Sunday and is expected to strike the Dominican Republic and Haiti later today. 
  • Torrential rain flooded roads and buildings in much of western Japan over the weekend. 
  • A record-setting heat wave in the Pacific Northwest eased slightly due to wildfire smoke encompassing the region. Air quality alerts were widespread, however, as temperatures remained at sweltering levels.
  • Wildfire pollution may be increasing COVID-19 fatalities in California, Oregon and Washington, according to a new study.  
  • A single COVID-19 case that forced the partial closing of China’s Ningbo port is sparking fears that rising global infections could lead to more closures of other ports this year. Spreading infections have also halted Southeast Asia’s production of electronics, garments and many other products in recent weeks. 
  • 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

  • Weekly average COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have surged 700% since July 1, concentrated almost entirely in areas with low vaccination rates. The U.S. reported 38,482 new COVID-19 cases and 382 virus deaths Sunday.
  • More than 1 million vaccines doses were administered in the U.S. Saturday, the most in a single day since July. 
  • Adults in their 30s are seeing their highest rates of COVID-19 hospitalization since the start of the pandemic, a result of low vaccine uptake and rising infections with the Delta variant.  
  • COVID-19 outbreaks among children are picking up pace as students return to classes, with the largest case counts in South and Southwestern states including Mississippi, Arizona and Florida. The number of U.S. children hospitalized with COVID-19 hit a record high of more than 1,900 Saturday.
  • Arizona reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 infections for the third consecutive day Sunday, the highest daily infection rate in six months. 
  • Florida has broken its daily COVID-19 infection record three times since the start of August, while the state reported a total of 15,740 hospitalized patients, a record. Researchers at the University of Florida expect the state’s current surge to peak by Aug. 18, as virus fatalities in the state climb to their highest levels since January. 
  • Roughly 96% of ICU beds across Texas are full, as the state’s hospitals have begun suspending elective surgeries amid a surge in COVID-19 patients. 
  • Alabama’s COVID-19 hospitalizations now stand above 2,300, up from just 277 one month ago. The state’s governor renewed a limited state of emergency in the hope of securing additional supplies and workers for hospitals.
  • Mississippi reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the state’s highest daily total since the start of the pandemic and the third single-day infection record broken last week. 
  • Los Angeles and Chicago, the nation’s second- and third-largest school districts, will require all teachers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Texas’ highest court temporarily suspended mask mandates imposed by local governments that defied the governor’s recent order banning the measures. The U.S. Department of Education has pledged to make up lost state funding for school districts that impose such mandates. 
  • Maine’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases rose to 170, more than doubling the average from two weeks ago. 
  • Michigan is encouraging employers to require masks for employees and visitors as the state averages 1,164 new COVID-19 cases per day, a 5% rise since early July. 
  • New York City’s COVID-19 transmission rates have surged, with the highly contagious Delta variant now accounting for more than 90% of new infections, up from 26% in early July.  
  • The rate of COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated Californians is nearly six times higher than that of fully vaccinated residents, new data shows. 
  • While COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes remain far below peaks reached last year, facilities in several states including Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are beginning to reimpose restrictions on visitations and group activities, as concern spreads over the unusually low vaccination rates among nursing home staff
  • IBM joined a growing number of companies requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when offices reopen Sept. 7.
  • Chevron indefinitely delayed its return-to-office date for employees in Texas and California. 
  • The Mormon church is encouraging all members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear face masks in public. 
  • A U.S. federal judge’s ruling will allow the CDC’s latest eviction moratorium to stand until the issue’s complex legality is resolved by higher courts. 
  • A new U.S. study suggests that children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced overall cognitive performance, with researchers pointing to a lack of stimulation at home as a result of parents struggling to balance work and childcare. 
  • An index of personal consumption inflation in the U.S. is expected to rise 4% or more the rest of the year, double the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation goal as supply chain disruptions and labor market shortages continue to constrain growth and push up prices. 
  • U.S. GDP grew almost twice as fast as China’s in the second quarter of 2021, possibly marking the U.S.’s first sustained period of faster growth since 1990 as economists point to China’s harsh responses to even small outbreaks of COVID-19. 
  • Just 39% of U.S. small business owners expect the nation’s economic conditions to improve over the next year, down from 50% in July as spreading Delta variant infections weigh on business confidence. 
  • Rising COVID-19 infections have not significantly decreased air travel in the U.S. so far, despite airlines reporting declining bookings and asking the federal government for more aid. 
  • Twenty-seven COVID-19 infections were reported Friday on Carnival’s “Vista” cruise ship, the company’s first ship to resume sailings in the U.S. in early July following more than a year of hiatus.
  • Entertainment company Live Nation announced it will require all artists, crew members and attendees to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at their venues and festivals beginning Oct. 4. 
  • The White House will expand the average food stamp benefit by 25% in October, marking the biggest long-term increase in benefits since the program’s founding. 
  • Louisiana’s rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted organizers of the New Orleans French Quarter Fest to postpone the event scheduled for the end of September to April 2022, while Vermont cancelled its planned Oktoberfest for the second year in a row for similar reasons. 

International

  • Japan logged more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the third single-day record in as many days, while infections in Tokyo more than quadrupled since three weeks ago to 5,773, as the city’s governor urged residents to get vaccinated and avoid going out. The country will extend a state of emergency for many regions until mid-September. 
  • Thailand reported 22,782 COVID-19 cases Thursday, a record. The government cut its growth forecast for 2021 because of the virus surge.  
  • Half of Indonesia’s 115,000 COVID-19 deaths have been reported since the start of July, with the country currently averaging about 1,600 virus fatalities per day.
  • China reported 30 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections Friday, marking the fourth consecutive day of declines. The country has now fully inoculated more than 50% of its population.
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest, extended pandemic lockdowns for another month. 
  • Strict pandemic lockdowns were extended to Australia’s entire New South Wales state after Sydney reported 466 new COVID-19 infections Saturday, a record. 
  • French protestors marched for the fifth straight weekend against rules requiring COVID-19 vaccine certificates to access indoor activities, including dining, despite the measure working to rapidly boost vaccination rates with nearly 70% of the nation’s population now having received one shot.
  • Daily COVID-19 cases in the U.K. are steadily declining, with the nation posting 32,700 new infections Friday, 29,520 Saturday and 26,750 Sunday. 
  • Russia reported 815 COVID-19 deaths Friday, its highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic.
  • Germany has labeled the U.S., Turkey and Israel as countries that pose a high risk for COVID-19 and will mandate unvaccinated travelers from those nations to quarantine for a minimum of five days on arrival.
  • Hong Kong elevated the travel risk level for the U.S. and 14 other countries from “medium risk” to “high risk.”  
  • South Africa is facing weakened demand for COVID-19 vaccines despite recently widening their availability to people aged 35-49. The country’s tourism industry is lobbying for the U.K. to remove the nation from a list of places its residents should avoid. 
  • China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine was found to be less effective in Indonesia between April and June compared to the previous three months, when Delta variant cases were not as widespread.
  • COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are set to reap billions over the next several years as more countries begin recommending booster shots. 
  • EU exports to Britain rose 5.7% month on month in June, the second monthly surge this year as firms continue adapting to new trade requirements following Brexit.  
  • Japan’s GDP expanded 1.3% from the first to the second quarter of 2021, with higher consumer activity helping the nation avoid a double-dip recession despite rising COVID-19 cases. 
  • Clean energy investment in Australia has dropped to its lowest levels since 2017 this year, with the country securing financial commitments for just three projects in the second quarter. 

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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