COVID-19 Bulletin: July 12

July 12, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

  • Oil prices continued to rise Friday as new data showed a 6.9-million-barrel draw in U.S. crude inventories, which are at their lowest since February 2020, with Brent crude closing up 1.6% at $75.31/bbl and WTI up 1.9% at $74.35/bbl. 
  • Oil prices were lower in late morning trading, with WTI down 0.6% at $74.08/bbl and Brent off 0.6% at $75.10/bbl. Natural gas was 1.2% higher at $3.72/MMBtu. 
  • The number of active oil and gas rigs in the U.S. rose by four last week to 479, up 221 from the same time last year, as average oil production rose slightly to 11.3 million bpd week over week. 
  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts average Brent crude spot prices will hit $68.78/bbl for 2021, roughly $3 higher than the agency’s June forecast, on continued recovery in demand. 
  • Analysts do not expect rising crude prices to hamper the world’s economic recovery from the pandemic, positively noting the recent price surge has been driven mostly by increased demand rather than supply problems. 
  • Millions of Texans will pay higher gas prices for years as utilities seek to recover roughly $11.1 billion in costs incurred during February’s five-day “winter freeze.” 
  • Brazilian officials hope increasing investment in the nation’s oil industry will make it the world’s fifth-largest crude exporter by 2030. 
  • India has received zero bids for 48 of its 67 coal mines up for sale, highlighting the lack of interest from private companies to invest in an industry that poses coal’s environmental risks. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. West are under excessive heat warnings again, with temperatures expected to break many regional records through Tuesday and Wednesday. Las Vegas and Utah tied all-time highs of 117 degrees, while Death Valley broke 130 degrees twice in three days. 
  • California’s governor is asking residents to cut their water usage by 15% amid high temperatures and widespread drought conditions.
  • Canada issued a 48-hour halt to train operations in parts of British Columbia due to wildfires that broke out in the area. 
  • Tropical Storm Elsa finished its track up the Eastern Seaboard Friday, drenching New York City in record rainfall and prompting tornado warnings in parts of New Jersey. 
  • The average price to ship a container from China to California is now $6,043, up 43% year to date and 344% since the start of 2020, as small and midsize businesses face the harshest effects from global shipping delays and high freight rates. 
  • The Port of Long Beach moved 724,297 twenty-foot containers in June, up more than 20% from the same time last year, while imports to the port rose 18.8%.
  • Stellantis announced plans to close its Sterling Heights, Michigan, assembly plant for RAM 1500 trucks next week due to the global semiconductor shortage.
  • Taiwanese tech suppliers and chipmakers are cementing plans to purchase millions of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 doses for the island. 
  • Total U.S. business logistics costs dropped 4% in 2020 to roughly $1.6 trillion, while transport costs rose by 0.8% to $1.06 trillion.
  • U.K. exports to the EU in May were the highest since October 2019, a reversal of the post-Brexit slump in the first few months of the year. 
  • Dollar Tree’s nearly 16,000 U.S. locations are seeking creative ways to keep trademark store prices at $1 amid rising transportation, employee and raw materials costs. 
  • Our logistics team reports that bulk trucking firms are often declining to book long-haul, out of network loads due to extreme capacity constraints.
  • Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability and continued congestion at ports primarily due to increased volume of ships and containers. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.

Markets

  • The U.S. reported over 20,000 COVID-19 infections for four straight days late last week, the first time since May the country has suffered back-to-back days of more than new 20,000 cases. 
  • New cases were lower Sunday, with 6,164 infections and 24 deaths. Nearly 160 million Americans, 48.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated. 
Report: Vaccines Saved Hundreds Of Thousands Of U.S. Lives
  • Forty-two states experienced rising COVID-19 infections last week.  
  • Florida reported 15,684 new COVID-19 cases last week, a 42% increase from the previous week.
  • Los Angeles County reported rising COVID-19 infections, with more than 1,000 cases per day since Friday. 
  • Average daily COVID-19 cases in New York state rose 42% last week from the prior week to 525 per day. 
  • Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in New Jersey rose above 300 for the fourth straight day, as officials warned of the continued spreading of the Delta variant. 
  • Nevada is seeing a surge in new COVID-19 infections, with its two-week COVID-19 positivity rate more than doubling to 8.2% in the past month. 
  • The Delta variant now accounts for 55% of cases in Indiana, where only 49% of the state’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Maine and New Hampshire both reported zero new COVID-19 deaths late last week.
  • Only 38% of Americans aged 18 to 29 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, the lowest rate among any age group. 
  • With nearly 75% of its population inoculated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Vermont is on the verge of becoming the first U.S. state to reach herd immunity.
The U.S. States Closest To Full Vaccination
  • The Federal Reserve on Friday reiterated a commitment to near-zero interest rates until 2023 and $120 billion in monthly asset purchases as it continues “powerful support” for the rebounding U.S. economy. The central bank also noted that shortages of materials and labor have held down activity in several industries. 
  • Economists predict higher-than-average inflation of more than 2% to persist for several years, longer than the U.S. has seen in decades. 
  • A new White House executive order aimed at curbing the size of major U.S. companies is not expected to lead to actionable change for several years. 
  • The pandemic brought radically divergent change to employee compensation at large U.S. companies, leading to big swings in median pay.
  • The U.S. construction industry, where employment is at 80% of pre-pandemic levels, will need to hire 430,000 workers this year and 1 million more over the next two years to meet expected demand.  
  • United Airlines is looking to add roughly 150 flights to cities in the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean in anticipation of a travel surge during the winter holidays, as leisure travel on U.S. airlines recently surpassed pre-pandemic levels
  • American Cruise Lines cut short an Alaskan cruise last week when two passengers and a crew member were infected with COVID-19. 
  • Taiwan-based electronics company Foxconn is looking to build electric vehicles at its site in Wisconsin, part of a plan to shortcut its way into vehicle market competition and provide components or services to 10% of the world’s EVs by 2027. 
  • Tesla, hoping to create a new model for large-scale sustainable housing projects, announced plans to build a new solar neighborhood in Austin, Texas, that will feature solar roof tiles made by the company as well as electric vehicle charging stations. 
  • Walmart is offering thicker, reusable plastic bags to customers in Connecticut after the state banned single-use plastic bags.
The Countries Banning Plastic Bags

International

  • COVID-19 cases are rising in most regions of the world, with more than 500,000 new cases and 9,300 virus deaths reported in a 24-hour period late last week. 
  • The U.K. is steadily reporting one-day COVID-19 case counts above 30,000 again, while infections in the nation are estimated to have risen to 1 in 160 people last week, up from 1 in 260 people the week prior. 
  • Africa saw more than 251,000 new COVID-19 cases last week, 20% higher than the previous week and 12% higher than the continent’s previous peak in January. Libya and Senegal both recorded a record number of new infections.
  • Southeastern Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam have reported record COVID-19 cases or deaths in the last several days, while case counts have increased in many nations in the region. 
  • South Korea reported 1,378 COVID-19 cases Friday, a daily record, and 1,324 cases Saturday. 
  • Indian officials say the country’s deadly second wave of COVID-19, which started in March, is not over as the country reported an additional 43,393 new infections Friday, and 41,506 cases Saturday.
  • India’s neighbor Bangladesh posted record one-day increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths. 
  • With only 18.5% of Russians vaccinated against COVID-19, the nation is reporting daily case counts above 25,000 alongside record virus deaths. The nation recorded more than 428,000 excess deaths from April 2020 to May 2021, nearly three times the official death toll from the pandemic. 
  • Australia reported its first COVID-19 death of 2021, while the nation’s most populous state of New South Wales saw 77 new infections late last week, a record. 
  • The Netherlands imposed new pandemic restrictions after more than 7,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in a 24-hour period, led by infections in young adults. 
  • Some nations are considering abandoning Chinese vaccines in favor of western alternatives over questions about their efficacy, including Thailand, where 600 healthcare workers caught the virus after Sinovac inoculations. Thailand’s central bank warned that a recent surge in COVID-19 cases could disrupt its tourist industry and economic recovery.  
  • China’s CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine is only 66% effective in preventing infections, new data shows. 
  • Airlines are reporting increased bookings in flights from the U.K. after the government relaxed isolation policies for travelers returning from moderate-risk COVID-19 countries. 
  • Canada’s most populous province of Ontario will ease some pandemic restrictions this week amid high vaccination rates.
  • Central bank officials in Canada and Mexico raised forecasts for economic growth this year, as spillover from the surging U.S. economy leads to increased trade and travel among the nations. 
  • Canada added a higher-than-expected 230,700 jobs in June, bringing the country’s unemployment rate to 7.8% and within 1.8% of the country’s pre-pandemic levels. 
  • General Motors’ second-quarter deliveries in China rose 5.2% to more than 750,000 vehicles, with the largest gains coming from sales of large, three-row luxury SUVs. 
  • G20 finance ministers failed to reach an agreement on a climate pledge to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but the group recognized carbon pricing for the first time as a method to force polluters to pay for emissions. 
  • The world’s biggest wind turbine planned for an offshore site in the German North Sea will have a wingspan of more than 750 feet with the capacity to power 20,000 households. 

Our Operations

  • 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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