COVID-19 Bulletin: June 2

June 2, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

Hello,

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Supply

  • Brent crude closed 1.3% higher to $70.25/barrel on Monday, its highest closing price in more than two years, reflecting optimism over increased demand. Recent price gains have helped prompt Weatherford International, once the world’s fourth-largest oilfield services company, to relist on the Nasdaq stock exchange after filing for bankruptcy in 2019. 
  • Oil futures were higher in mid-day trading today, with the WTI up 1.6% at $68.78/bbl and Brent up 1.5% at $71.31/bbl. Natural gas was down 0.9% at $3.08/MMBtu. 
  • The White House is suspending all oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending an environmental impact review. 
  • OPEC is keeping its global oil demand growth forecast for 2021 unchanged at about 6 million bpd.
  • OPEC pumped 25.52 million bpd in May, up 280,000 bpd from April as member nations further eased pandemic-induced supply curbs. The cartel has agreed to stick to the current pace of easing supply curbs through July. 
  • Saudi Aramco is preparing to sell about $5 billion worth of bonds to help fund a $75 billion dividend commitment, the latest in a string of cash-raising moves by the world’s largest oil producer. 
  • While Colombia’s proven oil reserves fell 11% from 2019 to 2020, reduced production during the pandemic kept the relative worth of the reserves stable at about 6.3 years worth of consumption.  
  • The fluctuating price of gasoline caused revenues from Nigeria’s crude oil exports to drop by as much as 98% between March and April. 
  • Equinor, Exxon Mobil and Petrogal Brasil announced plans to develop a new oilfield in Brazil, with expected output to reach 220,000 bpd when it begins operation in 2024.
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here. 

Supply Chain

  • Despite the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, the industry’s giants are reporting record profits, with the 10 biggest chip manufacturers recording a combined total revenue of $22.75 billion in the first quarter of this year.
  • Several production indicators for German car manufacturers fell in May, suggesting export demand and output will grow more slowly in the months ahead due to the chip shortage. 
Automotive Industry Hungry for Microchips
  • General Motors plans to resume production over the next month at most of its facilities impacted by the chip shortage. 
The U.S. Car Models Worst Hit By The Microchip Shortage
  • Taiwan Semiconductor began construction on a new $12 billion plant in Arizona, as the company vies for a share of $54 billion in subsidies for U.S. chip production proposed in pending legislation. 
  • Daimler’s India plant has temporarily shut its bus and truck-making unit for the next three days as it deals with parts shortages caused by the country’s pandemic restrictions. 
  • Tesla’s CEO says that the increasing costs of its vehicles is a result of supply chain pressures being felt throughout the industry. 
  • Civil unrest in Colombia is threatening the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic, with the nation’s largest Pacific port and one of its main coal mines forced to shut down.
  • A surge in raw material pricing coupled with a labor shortage has caused some Chinese manufacturers to stop accepting new orders and debate shutting down their operations temporarily, putting a continued strain on global supply chains. 
  • A recent industry survey concludes that most U.S. ports are not building resiliency to protect against service disruptions caused by more frequent and severe climate events. 
  • JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, suffered a cyberattack Sunday that disrupted production. 
  • 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. seven-day average of new COVID-19 infections has fallen below 20,000 for the first time since March 2020.  
  • The U.S. recorded 23,010 new COVID-19 cases and 641 deaths Tuesday. More than 296.4 million vaccine doses have been administered with 41.4% of the population fully vaccinated. 
  • New York City recorded zero new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, while the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to under 1%, its lowest since the start of the pandemic.
  • California upgraded eight of its counties yesterday, allowing loosened pandemic restrictions.  
  • Moderna is seeking full FDA approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, currently administered under emergency use authorization, which would make it the company’s first approved product since Moderna’s founding in 2018. The company plans to scale up vaccine production in the U.S. in partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific, which will provide manufacturing and packaging support.  
  • The federal government has started tests on whether fully vaccinated people can use different COVID-19 shots as boosters
  • Roughly half of immunocompromised people who received two COVID-19 vaccines did not develop adequate antibodies to the virus, prompting the need for booster shots for more than 10 million Americans. 
  • A new study from Northwestern Medicine shows that the COVID-19 vaccine had no effect on the placentas of pregnant women who received the shot, a finding that could encourage more inoculations. 
  • Citing concerns about unvaccinated colleagues and other virus precautions, a growing number of U.S. adults say they would consider quitting their jobs if their employers were not flexible regarding remote work once pandemic restrictions ease. 
  • A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that despite COVID-19 vaccines being free to the general public, roughly one-third of unvaccinated adults were concerned they may need to pay for one. 
  • U.S. movie theater chains removed their mask mandate for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19, asking those who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing masks unless eating or drinking.
  • Doctors say that increased hand-washing and the continued disinfecting of surfaces is helping keep other childhood viruses such as the flu and chickenpox at bay, advising that the practices should continue even after COVID-19 has receded.
  • A decline in individuals seeking COVID-19 tests has forced medical device company Abbott Laboratories to trim its earnings forecast
  • Amid increased demand stemming from the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions, an index of U.S. manufacturing activity rose to 61.2 in May, up from 60.7 in April. 
  • The U.S. Southwest — including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma — increased its manufacturing output more than any other region between 2017 and 2020, a result of open land, local tax breaks and a growing supply of tech-savvy workers. 
  • Ride-hailing company Uber said that drivers are starting to return to its network, with the company adding 33,000 new drivers during the week of May 17, the largest increase since the start of the year. 
  • Deutsche Bank announced its new remote work policy, committing to a hybrid work environment where employees can work from home up to 60% of the time once the pandemic eases.
  • Despite higher bookings in the last few weeks, business air travel trips remain 70% below pre-pandemic levels
  • The Association of Plastic Recyclers is looking to revise the definition of chemical recycling to narrow the scope to circular loops that make new plastic from discarded waste polymers. 

International

  • India reported 132,788 new COVID-19 infections and 3,207 deaths Wednesday. The country may be able to triple the number of COVID-19 vaccines it administers by July as vaccine manufacturers rush to boost supplies. 
  • China tightened its lockdown and cancelled flights in Guangzhou as the city experiences a daily doubling of COVID-19 infections connected to the Delta variant first identified in India. Theaters have been closed in surrounding Guangdong province to counter the spread.  
  • Thailand’s health minister is assuring the public that the country’s planned COVID-19 vaccine rollout will go on as planned beginning June 7. 
  • Australia extended lockdowns by a week in Victoria state after six new COVID-19 cases were reported Wednesday, bringing the latest cluster to 60. 
  • The World Health Organization has approved China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The move, which makes the shot eligible for distribution by vaccine-sharing group COVAX, has the potential to open millions more available vaccine doses in the world’s poorest countries.
  • The U.K. recorded no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in the pandemic, while a recent rise in infections puts the country’s plan to relax lockdowns in doubt. 
  • Following a recent drop in COVID-19 infections, Germany downgraded its risk level of the disease from “very high” to “high.” 
  • Poland announced plans to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to 12- to 15-year olds beginning June 7.
  • Turkey began easing some of its pandemic restrictions after the number of daily new COVID-19 infections in the country dropped below 6,500, a four-month low. 
  • The EU will add Japan to its list of countries it will allow for non-essential travel but stopped short of adding the U.K. to its list due to the country’s recent rise in COVID-19 infections. 
  • Seven EU countries began issuing “digital green certificates” yesterday, allowing for travelers to move freely between member countries if they have been either fully vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the virus or tested negative within 72 hours. All of Europe is scheduled to be up on the program by July 1.  
  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention is asking EU countries to review global shortages of COVID-19 vaccines before administering shots to adolescents after regulators in the bloc authorized use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to children as young as 12. 
  • Citing a continued drop in active COVID-19 infections, Israel lifted its remaining restrictions on unvaccinated people. 
  • Remittances to Mexico from people living overseas jumped 40% in April year over year, the biggest increase in four decades, fueled in part by the economic recovery and government stimulus money.   
  • Inflation rose to a nine-year high in South Korea on the back of rising prices in oil and agriculture. 
  • Australia’s first-quarter GDP growth of 1.8% makes it one of only five countries whose economies are now larger than before the pandemic. 
  • Mexico’s manufacturing sector shrank for the 15th consecutive month in May; however, the rate of decline was the second slowest since the start of the pandemic, signaling optimism as the nation recovers from COVID-19. 
  • Chile’s economic activity surged 14.1% in April, a record, as the nation continues its post-pandemic recovery. 
  • Electric vehicles made up over 60% of all new cars sold in Norway in May, with Ford Motors’ electric Mustang having the most sales. 

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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