COVID-19 Bulletin: August 5

August 5, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

  • U.S. crude inventories rose by 3.6 million barrels in the week ending July 30, topping analyst expectations of a 3.1-million-barrel drop and causing oil prices to fall for the third consecutive day to a two-week low. 
  • Energy futures were higher in mid-day trading, with WTI up 1.1% at $68.93/bbl and Brent up 1.1% at $71.14/bbl. Natural gas was 0.6% higher at $4.18/MMBtu.
  • Saudi Arabia raised its oil prices for buyers in the U.S. and Asia for September on forecasts of continued demand recovery despite a global surge in COVID-19. 
  • U.S. oil refiner Marathon Petroleum expects to process less crude in the third quarter compared to the second, a combined result of the end of the summer driving season and a resurgence of COVID-19. 
  • Gas demand in India is on the rise, climbing above pre-pandemic levels in July as widespread summer lockdowns ended. 
  • In a policy shift, Exxon is considering joining its big oil competitors in pledging to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2050.  
  • Lawmakers in Costa Rica proposed a new bill that would permanently ban fossil fuel exploration and extraction, as the country aims to fully decarbonize by 2050. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • California regulators voted to restrict water access for thousands of central valley farmers amid intensifying drought conditions in the area. 
  • Wildfires are continuing to rage in the U.S. West, with the National Weather Service issuing red flag warnings for parts of California, Nevada and Oregon until evening today: 
    • California’s central Dixie Fire grew to more than 250,000 acres Tuesday, forcing an additional 15,000 people in the area to evacuate. 
    • Despite significant increases in containment this week, officials in Southern Oregon warned that more residents may have to evacuate as the Bootleg Fire still covers more than 340,000 acres
  • A shortage of tanker drivers is causing fuel delivery disruptions at many U.S. airports, with the FAA issuing a notice that some airports won’t have enough jet fuel through Monday.
  • Container shipping rates from China to the U.S. soared above $20,000 per 40-foot box this week, a record. 
  • Despite high levels of underlying demand, Class 8 truck orders were unexpectedly low in July due to continued production losses from parts shortages, especially of semiconductor chips. 
  • NXP Semiconductors says it is signing more long-term contracts with automakers, a response to production losses caused by just-in-time inventory management amid the global chip shortage. 
  • Despite beating analyst expectations, last month’s rebound in German industrial orders was hampered by ongoing delivery bottlenecks and high levels of order backlogs. 

Markets

  • The U.S. reported 92,714 new COVID-19 infections and 490 virus deaths Wednesday. 
  • The highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 now accounts for 93% of new cases in the U.S., up from just 3% at the end of May. 
  • Daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. could double to more than 200,000 per day in the next several weeks, the White House’s top medical adviser said. 
  • COVID-19 infections among U.S. children and teens climbed 84% last week and doctors report higher cases of the virus in unvaccinated young adults
  • The White House is in early discussions about mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all incoming foreign travelers. Meanwhile, EU officials are urging the U.S. administration to reverse a ban on nonessential travel from the bloc. 
  • Florida saw a third day of record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations at 12,000 patients and reported the highest number of pediatric hospitalizations in the nation yesterday. The state reported 17,000 new virus infections on Tuesday. Up to 60% of the state’s hospitals are expected to face critical staffing shortages over the next week.
  • Texas reported 19,003 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday while virus hospitalizations surpassed 7,600, the most since February. Hospitals in the state have requested roughly 2,800 emergency staff, as officials struggle to grant the requests after already allocating leftover pandemic relief funds to other programs when case counts were low. 
  • The COVID-19 vaccination rate in Louisiana has quadrupled in recent weeks as fear of the Delta variant motivates the unvaccinated to seek shots. 
  • Illinois’ governor issued a new mask mandate for returning public school students while also requiring many state workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  
  • The FDA could grant full approval of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine as early as September. 
  • Many Arizona school districts are reimposing mask mandates for returning students despite a state law banning the requirement and other pandemic restrictions.  
  • Netflix is the latest tech leader to require all employees and office visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Investment giant Vanguard will give $1,000 to employees who get vaccinated against COVID-19 by October. 
  • Roughly 54% of Americans expect the pandemic to get worse before it gets better, new survey results show. 
Americans' Optimism Fades In the Face of Virus Resurgence
  • Walgreens has seen a 30% increase in COVID-19 vaccination rates over the last several weeks, with the largest jumps in low-rate states such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas.  
  • A century-old auto show set to take place in New York City later this month was canceled due to rising COVID-19 Delta infections in the area. 
  • Payroll giant ADP reported that U.S. companies added just 330,000 jobs in July, the lowest monthly total since February and a significant drop from the 680,000 jobs added in June. 
  • First-time jobless claims decreased to 385,000 last week, the second consecutive week of decline.  
  • Half of all cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. by 2030 must be electric, hydrogen-fuel cell or plug-in hybrid vehicles under a new White House order backed by automakers. 
  • Recent quarterly earnings reports reflect the continuing influence of the pandemic:
    • CVS’s revenue grew 11% year over year to $72.6 billion in the second quarter, boosted by more than 17 million COVID-19 vaccines administered between April and June.  
    • Sony raised its full-year earnings outlook after reporting record first-quarter profit of $2.6 billion fueled by pandemic-driven demand for devices and digital content. 
    • Kraft Heinz posted strong quarterly net sales of $6.6 billion Wednesday, a similar number to last year as a pandemic-led boom in home cooking continues. 
    • Honda’s reported operating profit of $2.2 billion in the three months ending June 30, more than double analyst estimates, as the company raised its full-year forecast by 18% in a stark reversal from last year’s losses. 
    • General Motors raised its full-year profit forecast after posting second-quarter net income of $2.8 billion, reversing an $806 million loss from the same time last year. 
  • Pepsi is selling its Tropicana brand among others as it looks to simplify its product range and move away from high-sugar drinks. 
  • The pandemic spurred a shift in homebuyers’ locale preferences, with less populated metro areas in California, Florida and North and South Carolina seeing the most inbound residents over the past year.
  • Toy maker Mattel unveiled a new Barbie doll in the likeness of British COVID-19 vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert, part of its new “role model” doll line. 
  • Amazon is launching two new programs aimed at giving products a second life after being returned or if they fail to sell. 

International

  • Global COVID-19 cases topped 200 million Wednesday as the fast-spreading Delta variant pushed up infections in 83 countries. 
  • New daily COVID-19 cases in Tokyo hit a record 5,042, while nationwide cases in Japan topped 15,000 for the first time, as lawmakers expanded the nation’s pandemic curbs to more than 70% of its population. 
Japan's Virus Surge Continues During Olympics
  • Less than 18% of people in Latin American and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as the region experiences one of the world’s fastest resurgences of the virus. 
  • Indonesia reported 1,747 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, pushing total fatalities past 100,000. Health officials in the country have shifted away from goals of reaching herd immunity, favoring instead a comprehensive system to control future outbreaks.  
  • China reported 94 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday as an outbreak of 500 cases scattered to more than half the country, with officials imposing strict domestic travel restrictions on more than 140 regions nationwide. 
  • Hong Kong ended a two-month COVID-free streak after a man with no symptoms, recent travel history or vaccination was found to have virus antibodies in his blood. 
  • South Korea reported more than 1,725 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday as it struggles against a fourth virus wave. 
  • Vietnam is cutting quarantine requirements in half for incoming travelers fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Israel further tightened pandemic restrictions Wednesday, imposing expanded vaccine and mask-wearing mandates, travel restrictions and a remote work policy. The nation ordered that air travelers from the U.S. must self-isolate for at least a week upon arrival. 
  • Pakistan says it is vaccinating 1 million people per day against COVID-19. 
  • The U.K. reported more than 29,000 COVID-19 infections and 119 deaths Wednesday. The nation relaxed quarantine restrictions for several countries including France and India. 
  • The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots through August as part of an effort to prioritize vaccines for countries with single-digit vaccination rates.  
  • The EU inked a deal with U.S. firm Novavax to purchase up to 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that is still in development. 
  • Nigeria has received 4 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. 
  • A new U.K. study shows that most children infected with COVID-19 recover within a week, with 4.4% of children suffering symptoms lasting four weeks or longer. 
  • Euro zone business activity expanded at its fastest pace in 15 years in July following a lifting of pandemic restrictions, with an index rising to 60.2 from 59.5 in June. The bloc’s retail sales rose 1.5% month over month in June, settling 5% higher than the same time last year. 
  • Russia will begin subsidizing the purchase of its domestically manufactured electric vehicles (EVs), hoping to boost the nation’s EV industry and catch up to gains in Europe. 
  • International cities are increasingly reclaiming downtown land for vehicle-free pedestrian areas, a move that could boost local commerce at the expense of delivery and out-of-town customer spending. 

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.

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