COVID-19 Bulletin: July 30

July 30, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

  • Crude futures were higher in mid-day trading, with WTI up 0.2% to $73.74/bbl and Brent down 0.3% to $76.30/bbl. Natural gas was 4.3% lower at $3.89/MMBtu. 
  • Exxon reported better-than-expected results for the latest quarter on rising energy demand and higher oil and chemicals prices.  
  • Royal Dutch Shell reported $5.5 billion in second-quarter profit, the highest in two years, on recent gains in oil prices and demand approaching pre-pandemic levels. The company announced it would buy back $2 billion in company shares.
  • Chevron posted $3.1 billion in second-quarter profit, its strongest results in a year, as the company laid out plans for increasing oil and gas production by about 3% per year through 2025. 
  • U.S. gas prices have plateaued around $3.15 per gallon over the past week, suggesting a potential peak after seven months of increases. 
  • American utility Southern Company further delayed the start date for two nuclear reactors being built in Georgia, the only nuclear units under construction in the U.S.  
  • Canadian operator TC Energy will start a transition to power its oil pipelines with wind and solar energy instead of natural gas, hoping to help reach Canada’s low-emissions targets. 
  • TotalEnergies is supplying Amazon with renewable electricity in exchange for help with the company’s digital strategy. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • Heat watches, warnings and advisories are in effect across 19 U.S. states with temperatures around 10 to 15 degrees higher than average. Temperatures in the Pacific Northwest could approach highs seen during last month’s record heat wave. 
  • Nevada and California are asking the federal government for increased support to battle raging wildfires.   
  • California’s Dixie Fire spread to more than 226,000 acres Thursday with just 23% containment, while the state’s Tamarack Fire grew by more than 5,000 acres in a day with roughly 60% containment.
  • Port Houston was forced to close two main container terminals Tuesday after a hardware failure shut down operations. The terminals were back up and running Thursday afternoon. 
  • Florida ports will receive $250 million in state-funded relief following significant volume and value declines caused by the pandemic. 
  • The U.K. produced just 69,097 cars in June, its second worst month since 1953, as carmakers urge the government to exempt their workers from quarantine requirements that are causing labor shortages. 
  • Chipmaker STMicro’s CEO expects ongoing industry shortages to extend past the first half of 2023, with disruption spreading to affect major tech companies including Apple. 
  • Walmart is expanding its two-day online fulfillment services to more small and midsize businesses through a new partnership with Adobe Commerce. 
  • Pet food ingredient costs have risen by 20% since the start of the pandemic on higher demand and continued supply chain disruption.
  • Trailer-maker Wabash National is adding 20% more dry van manufacturing capacity on forecasts of higher freight demand beyond the current peak. 
  • Despite capacity additions, shippers are preparing for higher costs and limited delivery space ahead of the upcoming peak season.
  • The Ever Given container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March has finally begun offloading containers after arriving at the Port of Rotterdam Thursday. 
  • Prices for goods ordered online rose 2.3% in June on a continued surge in e-commerce activity during the pandemic. 
  • Higher levels of inflation are forcing some of the world’s top-selling food and beverage companies to raise prices due to increased costs for ingredients, packaging and transport. 
  • Autonomous trucking software company TuSimple will use more than 500 Ryder terminals to expand its driverless freight network from Arizona to Florida by the end of the year.

Markets

  • The U.S. reported 78,170 new COVID-19 infections and 321 deaths Thursday. 
  • Hospitalizations in states with COVID-19 vaccination rates below 50% are nearly three times higher than other states, new data shows. 
  • A new White House order will require all federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or take regular virus tests and follow stricter safety protocols, including social distancing and travel restrictions. 
  • Top restaurants in New York City will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for access to indoor dining, with the city’s seven-day infection average surpassing 1,000 for the first time since May. 
  • Washington, D.C. issued a new mask mandate for anyone over the age of two after a fivefold increase in COVID-19 infections since July 1. 
  • Florida reported more than 16,000 COVID-19 infections Tuesday, the most since January, while the state’s virus hospitalization levels approach last summer’s highs. A new virus strain first identified in Colombia has spread to account for 10% of the state’s new infections. 
  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital reported treating 24 child patients infected with COVID-19, the most since the start of the pandemic, while 32 children are hospitalized in Alabama, the nation’s least vaccinated state.  
  • COVID-19 deaths in Louisiana nursing homes have tripled in the past week, while some state hospitals have been forced to postpone elective surgeries due to a crush of new COVID-19 patients. 
  • Chicago officials fear 10,000 attendees of the city’s Lollapalooza music festival will lead to a surge of new COVID-19 infections in the city despite vaccination and testing requirements. 
  • Fully vaccinated people accounted for more than a quarter of all new COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles County from July 1 to July 16.
  • Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine still offered significant protection from the virus six months after inoculation, new research shows, while the company stands to significantly increase its overall revenue on sales of the shot:
Pfizer Gets a Booster Shot From Its COVID-19 Vaccine
  • The White House is asking states and cities to use federal rescue aid to persuade unvaccinated people to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • The FDA extended the shelf life of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to six months, up from four-and-a-half months.
  • AstraZeneca could apply for U.S. approval of its COVID-19 vaccine as soon as this fall. The drugmaker has delivered more than 1 billion vaccine doses to 170 other nations this year. 
  • Twitter closed its offices in New York and San Francisco amid a recent surge in COVID-19 infections, just two weeks after reopening them at 50% capacity. 
  • Ride-hailing company Lyft pushed back its return-to-office date by six months to next February. 
  • LinkedIn will allow most employees to work from home as pandemic restrictions lift, reversing course from a previous requirement of 50% in-office time. 
  • Citigroup reinstated a mask mandate for employees regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Face mask sales have risen 24% in the past week, the first weekly sales increase since May. 
  • The White House is asking Congress to extend a moratorium on evictions set to expire this week amid a rise in COVID-19 infections throughout the country.
  • The U.S. economy contracted 19.2% between late 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, the nation’s largest contraction on record. 
  • U.S. pending home sales fell 1.9% in June following a spike in average home prices, reversing course from an 8.3% gain in May. 
  • U.S. GDP growth of 6.5% in the second quarter was led primarily by increases in personal consumption:
Consumer Spending Drives U.S. GDP Growth in Q2 2021
  • Amazon’s second-quarter sales of $113.1 billion came in just under analysts’ expectations, while the company reported otherwise strong financial results on increased activity in its advertising and cloud-computing units. 
  • Comcast reported a 20.4% rise in second-quarter revenue to $28.55 billion, a result of record new broadband and cable customers.
  • Quarterly revenue for U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck topped analyst expectations on higher sales of non-COVID-19 vaccines and drug treatments. 
  • Procter & Gamble posted slowing growth in the latest quarter and a challenging outlook amid easing pandemic demand and rising raw materials and transportation costs.  
  • While fewer Americans drove during the pandemic, the number of car crash fatalities rose by 7% from 2019 to 2020 on higher instances of speeding, intoxicated driving and driving without a seat belt. 

International

  • Japan will extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and expand it to four other prefectures after COVID-19 cases in the country topped 10,000 Thursday, a record, with 3,300 new infections in Tokyo including 24 infections linked to the Olympic Games. Lawmakers in the nation are considering additional economic stimulus amid the latest surge. 
  • Thailand faces worrying hospital bed shortages following a surge of new COVID-19 infections, with a record 17,669 new cases and 165 deaths reported Thursday. 
  • New COVID-19 cases in China dropped from 86 to 49 Thursday, while Beijing reported its first infection in nearly six months. 
  • More than 40% of Vietnam’s 128,413 total COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic were reported last week, as the nation rushes to add pop-up field hospitals to contain surging patients. 
  • COVID-19 cases in the U.K. are continuing to fall, surprising health experts and leading to hopes of a similar abrupt weakening of the U.S.’s most recent surge. Britain reported 30,871 cases and 91 virus deaths Thursday. 
  • The EU has moved ahead of the U.S. in inoculating its citizens against COVID-19, administering 102.7 vaccine doses per 100 people compared to 102.4 in the U.S., alongside a 70% first-dose vaccination rate.
  • Portugal will lift its nighttime curfew and ease other pandemic restrictions amid an increase in the country’s COVID-19 vaccination rate.
  • Israel will start offering a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people over age 60. 
  • Germany’s inflation accelerated to 3.1% in July, a 13-year high, compared to just 2.2% in the broader euro zone, while the nation’s economy grew less than expected in the second quarter. 

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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