COVID-19 Bulletin: August 3

August 3, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.

Supply

  • Oil futures dropped 3.6% Monday, their sharpest decline in two weeks, as continued spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant threatens global demand. Crude futures were lower in morning trading, with WTI down 1.3% at $70.32/bbl and Brent off 1.1% at $72.12/bbl. Natural gas was 2.4% higher at $4.03/MMBtu. 
  • Exxon produced just 3.6 million bpd in the second quarter of 2021, the lowest output since 1999. The company is an outlier among several other Big Oil companies that are increasing dividends and share buybacks on improved financials from rallying crude prices. 
  • A recent COVID-19 surge in Indonesia has hammered the world’s fourth-largest country’s oil demand, with imports of gas declining almost 25% in July. 
  • More U.S. utilities are looking to develop miniature nuclear reactors over the next several years, a developing technology that provides carbon-free, 24-hour-a-day power without the cost overruns and construction delays of traditional sites.
  • Greek officials are asking residents to conserve electricity at peak usage times to prevent a power grid collapse, as the nation reels from the hottest temperatures in 30 years.  
  • A small number of coal-fired power plants account for nearly three-quarters of the world’s carbon emissions from electricity generation, new data shows.
  • Italian energy company Eni saw its earnings return to pre-COVID levels of $1.1 billion in the second quarter, reversing a loss of $849 million for the same period last year. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • Drought conditions covering 95% of the U.S. West are expected to cause above-normal wildfire activity through September, according to the latest forecasts. Eighty-seven blazes continue to burn across 13 states, with secondary smoke effects prompting some Midwestern states to issue air quality alerts.
  • Southern Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, the U.S.’s largest blaze, is now 84% contained, while California’s Dixie Fire has burned roughly 249,000 acres with just 35% containment. 
  • California officials are revamping the state’s wildfire strategy as criticism mounts over a decision to let a small blaze spread unchecked for a week, until it rapidly consumed 70,000 acres in South Lake Tahoe. 
  • Production outages at German chipmaker Infineon Technologies could impact near-term deliveries for several core auto clients, compounding the effects of the existing chip shortage. 
  • Jeep- and Dodge-maker Stellantis warned that increases in raw-material prices and a shortage of semiconductor chips will likely get worse in the second half of 2021, as the company raised growth forecasts for the North American market from 8% to 10%
  • BMW, so far less affected by the global chip shortage than many of its peers, lowered its forecasts for second-half sales volumes due to the shortage. 
  • Chinese regulators announced a new probe into semiconductor suppliers for the auto industry, alleging hoarding, price gouging and collusion that have driven up prices during the global chip shortage. 
  • Despite nearly doubling the size of its fulfillment network over the past 18 months, Amazon executives say the company is still playing “catch-up” to continued high levels of e-commerce demand that is expected to surge further during the peak holiday season. 
  • New York’s Port Authority and New Jersey’s Metropolitan Transit Authority will require employees to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. 

Markets

  • More than 700,000 COVID-19 shots were administered daily in the U.S. for four consecutive days, as vaccination rates pick up in response to surging Delta variant infections. On Monday, the nation surpassed its milestone of inoculating 70% of adults with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. 
  • The U.S. reported 127,976 new COVID-19 cases and 451 virus deaths Monday. 
  • More than 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been discarded across 10 states since December due to weak demand for the shots. 
  • New COVID-19 cases in California rose more than 10% over the weekend, increasing the state’s total infections by almost 50% since last week. 
  • Texas reported 13,149 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the most since February, as the state’s seven-day infection rate nearly tripled from just two weeks ago.  
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alabama rose nearly 30% in a single day of reporting, rising tenfold over pandemic lows set in mid-June. The state joins Florida and Louisiana in returning to their highest virus hospitalization levels of the pandemic, with Florida setting a new record of 10,389 patients Monday. 
  • Ohio reported 8,030 new COVID-19 cases last week, a 60% increase from the previous week. 
  • The COVID-19 Delta variant now accounts for 90% of COVID-19 cases in Indiana, with the state steadily reporting more than 900 cases per day and a testing positivity rate of 6.8%. 
  • Lindsey Graham became the first fully vaccinated U.S. senator infected with a breakthrough case of COVID-19. 
  • Two leading OB-GYN associations issued new recommendations that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women
  • A spate of new COVID-19 vaccine and mask-wearing mandates were announced by retailers, restaurant chains, states and local governments Monday:
    • New Jersey imposed a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for many of its state employees. 
    • Denver will require all city workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September.  
    • Louisiana reimposed a statewide mask mandate amid surging COVID-19 infections that have strained a growing number of the state’s hospitals to capacity
    • San Francisco and the greater Bay Area reinstated an indoor mask mandate for all people regardless of vaccination status.
    • New York City’s mayor will not reissue an indoor mask mandate despite rising COVID-19 infections in the city.
    • Tyson Foods will require that all of its 120,000 U.S. employees be vaccinated by Nov. 1. 
    • Facebook reimposed a mask mandate for all employees regardless of vaccination status, a move followed by TargetHome Depot and McDonald’s
    • Kaiser Permanente will require all employees and physicians to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • New research suggests that fully vaccinated people who suffer a breakthrough infection with the COVID-19 Delta variant could be more susceptible to long-haul virus symptoms, while also potentially being just as likely to transmit the strain as unvaccinated people. 
  • The U.S. administration says it has donated more than 110 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 65 countries so far in the pandemic.
  • The White House is urging the CDC to implement a new moratorium on evictions after the current ban expired Saturday. Agency officials pushed back strongly against the request, citing an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling from last month.
Millions of Americans Fear Eviction as Moratorium Expires
  • Median U.S. rent prices have increased more than 10% the past year, reflecting how soaring housing prices are forcing more would-be homebuyers out of the market. 
  • U.S. manufacturing activity slowed for the second straight month in July, with an index falling to 59.5 from 60.6 in June.
  • Roughly 76% of U.S. businesses with no employees other than the owner suffered revenue declines over the past year, illustrating the pandemic’s outsized impact on the nation’s smallest firms. 
  • U.S. construction spending rose slightly in June, with an increase in private projects offsetting a fall in public sector building.
  • Ride-hailing companies are warning of continued hits to their bottom lines as driver shortages continue amid spreading COVID-19 Delta variant infections.  
  • Procter & Gamble announced plans to use recycled plastic material from Eastman Chemical’s Renew brand in some of its products and packaging. 

International

  • India reported more than 40,000 new COVID-19 infections Monday and 400 deaths, while researchers forecast the nation could see a new peak of 150,000 cases per day in October. 
  • Despite totaling only 300 infections, China’s latest COVID-19 cluster has spread to half of the nation’s provinces, the nation’s widest outbreak of the pandemic.  
  • Malaysia reported 219 COVID-19 deaths Monday, a record. 
  • Indonesia averaged about 33,800 new COVID-19 infections per day last week, a decline from record case counts reached in mid-July as officials prep for reopening the nation’s economy in September. 
  • Vietnam saw a drop in its COVID-19 infections Monday, reporting 7,455 new cases, down from 8,620 Sunday. 
  • Hong Kong will require most municipal employees to pay for regular COVID-19 testing, a bid to encourage more vaccinations. 
  • Israel reported 221 COVID-19 patients in serious condition Monday, the most in four months, as the nation began inoculating people over the age of 60 with a third booster vaccine. An Israeli study suggests the global death toll from COVID-19 could be 1 million fatalities higher than the official count of 4.2 million. 
  • The United Arab Emirates will begin offering China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 3
Where Chinese Vaccines Are Used
  • Iran reported 37,189 new COVID-19 infections Monday, an increase of almost 5,000 from the day before and its biggest one-day count of the pandemic. 
  • More than 90% of physicians at Nigerian teaching hospitals have gone on strike over a lack of pay from the government, as COVID-19 cases have climbed back to their highest levels since March.  
  • Kenya’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate has risen to 18% while hospitals in Nairobi, its largest city, are warning of oxygen shortages and a scarcity of beds for infected patients.  
  • EU officials say the bloc is on course to fully vaccinate at least 70% of its population against COVID-19 by the end of summer.
  • The U.K. is expected to warn travelers against visiting some popular tourist destinations such as Spain this summer amid heightened concerns about the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Germany will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to children as young as 12
  • A new Danish study shows that combining AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine with a second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech shot offers strong protection from the virus. 
  • Ride-hailing apps, restaurants and food delivery services in the U.K. are offering new incentives to boost the country’s lagging vaccination rate in people under age 30. 
  • Factory activity in Mexico ended a 17-month contraction in July, with an index rising to 49.6 compared to 48.8 in June. 
  • A British think tank expects the nation’s inflation rate to hit 3.9% sometime early next year, nearly double the target set by the Bank of England. 
  • New home growth in China slowed in July for the first time in five months, driven mostly by higher mortgage rates and price caps on the resale of homes. 

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.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.