COVID-19 Bulletin: December 28

December 28, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

  • Oil prices rose more than 2% Monday to the highest level since late November. Futures made further gains in late morning trading, with WTI up 0.5% at $75.98/bbl and Brent up 0.6% at $79.03/bbl. 
  • U.S. natural gas prices rose nearly 9% Monday on forecasts for colder weather and higher heating demand the next two weeks. Futures were 0.9% lower at $4.02/MMBtu in late morning trading today. 
  • Exxon Mobil’s refinery in Baytown, Texas, is still operating at reduced rates following a fire at one of its units Dec. 23. 
  • Russia reversed gas flows on a major pipeline to Germany for a seventh consecutive day Monday, keeping European gas prices at unusually high levels despite a favorable period of warmer weather. 
  • Japan will auction 629,000 barrels of oil from strategic reserves in February as part of a U.S.-led global effort to lower prices. 
  • OPEC’s next meeting to decide on monthly production increases for February is set for Jan. 4.
  • Crude oil demand in China is expected to keep growing for a decade on robust chemical demand, forecasts show.   
  • Wind and solar power generation accounted for 14% of U.S. electricity generation in October compared to 12.4% the same time last year and 11.3% in 2019. 
  • Saudi Arabia’s goods and commodities exports surged to $28 billion in value in October on the multiyear highs of oil prices.
  • Shell must keep a giant facility off Australia’s west coast temporarily shut down after crews were unable to restore power several times the past month, posing safety concerns.  
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.

Supply Chain

  • A snowstorm blanketed the U.S. Pacific Northwest over the weekend, shutting down several highways in Northern California and Nevada and leaving thousands without power. ​
  • A California oil and gas producer is responsible for a new offshore pipeline leak near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, officials say. 
  • Europe-bound trade lanes saw rising congestion last week due to a flood of new U.S. natural gas cargoes headed to the energy-starved continent. 
  • European officials are weighing a broad set of new powers, including export controls, that proponents say would be used to protect the bloc’s supply chain during future crises.
  • Several COVID-19 infections among logistics workers on China’s key Yangtze River transport route could slow shipments and increase congestion
  • Ocean contract rates are expected to remain high in 2022, supply chain advisers in London say. 
  • Washington state’s small Port of Everett is seeing growing container imports as companies seek paths around bottlenecks. 
  • Georgia’s Port of Savannah is turning to pop-up container yards to help quickly clear space on docks and reduce congestion. 
  • U.S. customs agents are requiring vessel operators to submit their passenger and crew list electronically instead of by paper in a small bid to streamline U.S. port operations.
  • Indonesian coffee exporters are testing the use of bulk ships to get around container shortages. 
  • Analysts estimate about 20% of professional truck driving jobs across the globe are currently unfilled. 
  • A growing number of food manufacturers are set to further raise prices in the first half of 2022 by as much as 5% on higher wage, material and freight costs. 
  • Candy cane makers have been hit with a growing shortage of sugar and other supply chain disruptions this holiday season. 
  • Steel production in China fell 22% in November, new data shows, the sixth consecutive month of declines alongside reduced steel imports. 
  • Panasonic and other technology manufacturers suspended production in Malaysia due to flash flooding in a factory region. 
  • J.C. Penney is partnering with DoorDash to offer same-day delivery on beauty and salon products from more than 600 stores nationwide. 
  • Japanese trader Sumitomo has launched a project to design and develop an ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier with Oshima Shipbuilding, with plans to deliver the first vessel by 2025. 
  • The world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier left Japan on Friday to pick up its first cargo in Australia. 
  • A snowstorm blanketed the U.S. Pacific Northwest over the weekend, shutting down several highways in Northern California and Nevada and leaving thousands without power. ​
  • Europe-bound trade lanes saw rising congestion last week due to a flood of new U.S. natural gas cargoes headed to the energy-starved continent. 
  • European officials are weighing a broad set of new powers, including export controls, that proponents say would be used to protect the bloc’s supply chain during future crises.
  • Several COVID-19 infections among logistics workers on China’s key Yangtze River transport route could slow shipments and increase congestion
  • Ocean contract rates are expected to remain high in 2022, supply chain advisers in London say. 
  • Washington state’s small Port of Everett is seeing growing container imports as companies seek paths around bottlenecks. 
  • Georgia’s Port of Savannah is turning to pop-up container yards to help quickly clear space on docks and reduce congestion. 
  • U.S. customs agents are requiring vessel operators to submit their passenger and crew list electronically instead of by paper in a small bid to streamline U.S. port operations.
  • Indonesian coffee exporters are testing the use of bulk ships to get around container shortages. 
  • Analysts estimate about 20% of professional truck driving jobs across the globe are currently unfilled. 
  • A growing number of food manufacturers are set to further raise prices in the first half of 2022 by as much as 5% on higher wage, material and freight costs. 
  • Candy cane makers have been hit with a growing shortage of sugar and other supply chain disruptions this holiday season. 
  • Steel production in China fell 22% in November, new data shows, the sixth consecutive month of declines alongside reduced steel imports. 
  • Panasonic and other technology manufacturers suspended production in Malaysia due to flash flooding in a factory region. 
  • J.C. Penney is partnering with DoorDash to offer same-day delivery on beauty and salon products from more than 600 stores nationwide. 
  • Japanese trader Sumitomo has launched a project to design and develop an ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier with Oshima Shipbuilding, with plans to deliver the first vessel by 2025. 
  • The world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier left Japan on Friday to pick up its first cargo in Australia. 

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported more than a half a million new COVID-19 infections Monday, a record, likely a result of backlogs in data over the holiday break. More than 1,700 virus fatalities were also tallied. Pediatric cases are up nearly 30% over the past week to 260 a day.
  • The CDC cut its recommended quarantine time for people infected with COVID-19 from 10 days to five, a move expected to lessen the impact of virus-induced labor shortages on many industries. 
  • The White House says it is racing to add COVID-19 testing options as surging demand depletes inventories. 
  • A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for domestic air travel is in discussion among U.S. officials. 
  • Florida’s weekly COVID-19 cases surged 330% for the week ending Sunday, while hospitalizations in the state are also rising but at a much slower pace. The state recorded 39,032 new cases yesterday, the most since early September. 
  • California’s seven-day average for COVID-19 infections last week rose to 11,914, a 73% increase from two weeks ago. 
  • COVID-19 cases are rising at a record pace in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, new data shows. 
  • Illinois is reporting record new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations among children.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York state are up 190% since Nov. 1, while admissions of infected children are up nearly 400% since early December. One in 60 people in Manhattan tested positive for the virus last week, while Monday marked the first day of the city’s vaccine mandate on private-sector employees
  • Texas’ health department has run out of monoclonal antibody treatments to treat rising numbers of Omicron patients at state hospitals.  
  • Massachusetts deployed 300 National Guard troops to state hospitals to help manage a surge in COVID-19 patients. 
  • Newark, New Jersey, will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars and theaters. 
  • Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate rose to over 10% for the first time in the pandemic, as state agencies prepare to distribute millions of free at-home virus tests and N95 masks later this week. 
  • Georgia’s test positivity rate topped 30% yesterday with COVID-19 patients comprising half of all hospital admissions and many hospitals forced to turn away ambulances. 
  • Alabama’s test positivity rate topped 18% over the past week. 
  • Louisiana’s positivity rate topped 20%, and COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state doubled in the past week. 
  • Goldman Sachs will mandate twice-weekly testing and COVID-19 booster shots in the coming weeks. 
  • Apple temporarily closed stores in New York City due to rising COVID-19 infections in the area. 
  • A second large Midwest healthcare system took to full-page newspaper ads in a plea for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Boise State withdrew from Friday’s Arizona Bowl due to COVID-19 infections among players and staff. The virus is also wreaking havoc on the college basketball season
  • Nearly 100 NFL players tested positive for COVID-19 Monday. 
  • COVID-19 can spread to cells beyond the lungs and remain for up to eight months, new research shows, potentially explaining the persistence of long-haul symptoms. 
  • U.S. airlines dropped another 1,000 flights Monday, extending the holiday weekend cancellations due to rising COVID-19 cases among staff and crew. They are expected to cancel more than 8,000 flights from Sunday through Tuesday.  
  • Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee are extending unemployment benefits for people who claim to have lost their jobs over COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 
  • Moody’s downgraded its growth expectations for the U.S. economy next quarter from 5.2% to 2.2% over rising COVID-19 cases fueled by Omicron. The nation’s GDP rose at an upwardly revised 2.3% pace in the third quarter, the latest data shows. 
  • A measure of U.S. consumer confidence rose sharply in December.
  • U.S. e-commerce sales rose 11% during the holiday season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 this year.

International Markets

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be closed Friday, Dec. 31 for the New Year’s holiday. We wish all a safe and happy new year!
  • 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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