COVID-19 Bulletin: February 11

February 11, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

Good Afternoon,

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Supply

  • Oil prices extended their longest winning streak in two years for a ninth straight day yesterday, supported by producer cuts and global vaccine rollouts.
  • Crude prices eased in early trading today, with the WTI down 0.6% at $58.31/bbl and Brent down 0.7% at $61.03/bbl. Natural gas was 2.2% higher at $2.97/MMBtu.
  • Crude prices in North Dakota’s Bakken shale region hit their highest levels in six months, a result of producers reigning in output amid the uncertain future of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • The Energy Information Administration upped its average price forecast for WTI crude spot prices to $50.21 in 2021 and $51.56 next year.
  • A recent report calculates that oil producing nations face a $9 trillion income decline as the world shifts to renewable energy, prompting a warning for oil-dependent countries to diversify their economies.
  • Brookfield Infrastructure made a $5.6 billion unsolicited offer to acquire Canadian midstream giant Inter Pipeline, which manages 4,300 miles of pipelines, 5 million barrels of oil storage in western Canada, and a PDH/PP complex under construction in Alberta.
  • In a strategy update yesterday, Royal Dutch Shell said its oil production has peaked and will decline by 1% to 2% annually moving forward, with its production of “traditional fuels” down 55% by the end of the decade. The company also said it will freeze salaries and eliminate bonuses this year to preserve cash.
  • Baystar, a joint venture between Total and Borealis, will start its new Port Arthur, Texas, ethane cracker by the end of March with over a million-tonnes-per-year capacity, while a new 625,000-tonne-per-year polyethylene unit in Pasadena will start by March 2022.
  • Despite slashing its capital expenditures for 2021, ExxonMobil plans to complete a new ethane cracker, polyethylene and mono-ethylene glycol chemical complex in Corpus Christi by the end of the year, several months ahead of schedule.
  • Braskem is forecasting a tight market for North American polypropylene in early 2021 due to low inventories and non-pandemic-related maintenance issues.
  • Renewable energy such as wind and solar power is expected to surpass natural gas as the predominant source of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. Around the same time, U.S. crude production is expected to level off as Wall Street investment shifts away from fossil fuels.

Supply Chain

  • 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the South Pacific region yesterday, triggering tsunami warnings.
  • The impacts of a global computer chip shortage are spreading:
  • The U.S. Postal Service registered a profit in the fiscal first quarter on an 11% rise in revenue.
  • Shipping giant Maersk, hurt by pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, posted a lower-than-expected $1.3 billion profit in the fourth quarter.
  • A surge in e-commerce warehouse construction in Houston the last few years is creating a glut of space, driving vacancies up and rents down.
  • Hapag-Lloyd raised nearly $900 million in green financing to support building six new 23,500-teu liquified natural gas-powered box ships, early evidence of an expected surge in newbuild ship orders placed this year and next.
  • Vietnam port container volumes rose by 8.5% in 2020.
  • Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability, continuing congestion at ports, and backlogs at warehousing and packaging facilities due in part to operating challenges related to the pandemic. Shipping containers are in short supply, with demurrage charges rising. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.

Markets

  • There were 94,704 new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. yesterday and 3,364 fatalities.
  • More than 900 Americans are now infected with the virulent U.K. strain of the coronavirus, a pace far outstripping the first virus strain in the same time period more than a year ago.
  • The White House is considering domestic travel restrictions as several virulent strains, including from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, spread in Florida, threatening hard-fought progress against the pandemic.
The U.S. States Reporting New Variants Of Covid-19

International

  • Germany extended COVID-19 restrictions to March 7 over fears about virus mutations.
  • Australia reported that a cluster of 11 COVID-19 cases of the virulent U.K. strain in Melbourne was caused when a person at a quarantine hotel used a medical nebulizer that also vaporized the virus.
  • Coronavirus patients in Spain will have to wait six months before being vaccine eligible, the first measure in Europe that assumes reinfection with the virus is unlikely.
  • About 90 people in China were infected with coronavirus-like symptoms two months before the virus broke out full force, suggesting a wider spread than first thought. The WHO’s probe into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan ended yesterday, with a full report expected soon.
  • The global travel and hospitality sectors are bracing for a slow recovery:
Tourism Experts Fear Long Road to Recovery
Pandemic Causes Historic Decline in Air Passenger Traffic
  • Same-store sales at Mexican retail businesses fell 8.2% in January compared to the same time last year.
  • France’s industrial output was weaker than expected in December, falling 0.8% from the previous month amid a 1.3% decline in fourth-quarter GDP.
  • digital currency issued by the Canadian central bank could come sooner than expected with the pandemic, although officials give no timeline.
  • The European Union is asking for a two-month extension to ratify Britain’s exit from the bloc.
  • Coca-Cola is beginning consumer testing in Europe on a fully recyclable beverage bottle made of plastics-lined paper.

Our Operations

  • Our 3D Printing business unit has launched a new e-commerce site. Access the new site here.
  • 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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