COVID-19 Bulletin: December 23

December 23, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

  • Four people were injured today when a large fire broke out at Exxon’s Baytown, Texas, refinery. The cause of the fire has not been disclosed. 
  • Oil prices rose more than 1.5% Wednesday on news of a larger-than-expected crude draw last week. Crude futures were marginally higher in late morning trading, with WTI up 0.3% at $72.99/bbl and Brent up 0.4% at $75.56/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 8.4% lower at $3.64/MMBtu. 
  • Russia reversed flows on a key gas pipeline to Germany for the second day in a row on Wednesday, keeping European energy prices at extremely high levels. 
  • Spanish industrial production prices rose at a record 33.1% annual pace in November to a new all-time high, largely the result of skyrocketing energy prices. 
  • Global oil and gas discoveries are on pace for their lowest level in 75 years in 2021, with discovered volumes hitting just 4.7 million barrels at the end of November compared to 12.5 billion last year.  
  • The U.S. government approved Pemex’s purchase of Shell’s oil refinery in Deer Park, Texas, in a deal to be concluded early next year. 
  • Frustration is growing between U.S. oil producers and the White House over contradictory calls to decrease emissions yet raise production, as domestic gas prices rise to multiyear highs.
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.

Supply Chain

  • The Port of Los Angeles saw annual volume declines three out of the last four months, capped by an 8.8% drop in November. 
  • Volumes at the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest, rose 5% this year to a record 15 million TEUs
  • The global shipping benchmark Baltic Dry Index dropped to its lowest level in eight months Wednesday. 
  • Asia-bound LNG carriers are changing course to Europe to meet high demand and lock in record high prices. 
  • Labor shortages at U.S. air-cargo hubs have disrupted operations for ground-handling companies that unload planes, leaving goods piling up at airports. 
  • U.S. freight tonnage is forecast to grow up to 28% over the next decade, the American Trucking Associations said. 
  • The U.S. administration is urging container lines to improve services for agricultural exporters
  • Qatar announced early plans to invest more than $10 billion in U.S. ports, primarily on the East Coast, and is currently working with banks for a financial package.  
  • U.S. regulators approved Kansas-based transport company Watco’s acquisition of 650 miles of short rail lines from Canadian National.   
  • U.S. furniture dealers are shifting manufacturing and sourcing out of Vietnam to bypass transportation delays and other bottlenecks, including pandemic-induced factory shutdowns. 
  • Women’s apparel retailer Chico’s is the first fashion client for Walmart’s new same-day delivery service for third-party businesses, joining other big customers including The Home Depot. 
  • Louisville has emerged as a microcosm for labor shortages plaguing logistics firms, with employee wages and benefits quickly rising as a result. 
  • The White House’s impending order of more than 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests will further strain suppliers already struggling to keep up with surging demand. 
  • Amazon is reimposing mask requirements for all warehouse workers. 
  • Amazon’s cloud-computing unit suffered a new outage Wednesday, its third this month, spurring wide-ranging disruption at companies that rely on the digital infrastructure. 
  • Australia’s government forecasts rebounding demand in China for iron ore and metallurgical coal in 2022. 

Domestic Markets

International Markets

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At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be closed tomorrow in observance of Christmas. We wish all a wonderful holiday!
  • 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.

For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

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