COVID-19 Bulletin: June 22

June 22, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

  • Oil prices surged Monday as discussions on ending U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude were paused, with Brent crude jumping 1.9% to $74.90/bbl and West Texas Intermediate increasing by 2.8% to $73.66/bbl. Futures were lower in mid-day trading today, with WTI down 0.7% to $73.14/bbl and Brent down 0.2% to $74.73/bbl. Natural gas was 2.4% higher at $3.27/MMBtu. 
  • Bank of America raised its Brent crude price forecasts for the remainder of this year and next, expecting that supply and demand balances could push oil to $100 per barrel next year. 
  • China cut its crude oil import quotas for non-state refiners by 35% this year compared to last, allowing just 35.2 million tonnes amid a recent crackdown on trading. 
  • China discovered a new 900-million-tonne oil and gas field in the country’s northwestern Tarim Basin after six years of intense exploration. 
  • Italian energy company Eni has made a new oil discovery in the North Sea, with estimates showing potential reserves of up to 135 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents. 
  • Exxon will cut an additional 5%-10% of its workforce over the next five years, adding to 14,000 cuts worldwide announced last year. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here. 

Supply Chain

  • An intense heat wave gripping the western part of the U.S. subsided in California Sunday, with forecasters warning of more record heat for Northern California as soon as this weekend. 
  • Last week’s intense heat wave has caused wildfires to break out in California, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon.
  • Nissan announced more production cuts at Japanese plants in July, a result of the global semiconductor shortage.
  • The global semiconductor shortage is forcing some companies to push costs onto customers, with both Dell and HP upping their prices for computers and other tech-related gear. 
  • U.S.-based chipmaker GlobalFoundries will spend $6 billion on capacity expansions in the U.S., Germany and Singapore. 
  • Japan will offer tax breaks and other incentives for companies to build new semiconductor-related facilities in the country, hoping to boost its domestic supply chain. 
  • Polaris is changing production plans for its sports vehicles by the day as the company experiences more than 30 supply-chain constraints.
  • Global logistics constraints and associated cost increases are driving up inflation throughout the supply chain.  
  • Since the start of the pandemic, jobs in many industries including restaurants and retail have posted their highest-ever hourly wages relative to wages in manufacturing, as traditionally lower-pay industries make it increasingly difficult for factories to hire workers. 
  • Supply chain constraints continue to elevate trucking rates, with spot load posts up 290% and truck postings down 15% year-over-year in May.
  • Record-high prices for copper fell 8% last week as China released reserves of the metal. 
  • British cardboard maker DS Smith, a supplier for Amazon, Nestle, Unilever and others, saw record growth in the second half of 2020 with operating profit rising nearly 20%.
  • The owners of the Ever Given container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for several days in March have made a new compensation offer with the canal authority, hoping to reclaim the ship still detained by the Egyptian government. 
  • 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 single-day number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. dropped below 300 for the first time since March 2020, as the country nears a milestone of fully vaccinating 150 million Americans. The country reported 12,388 new COVID-19 cases and 268 deaths Monday. 
  • COVID-19 cases have been rising in several poorly vaccinated states, with the seven-day average of virus hospital admissions rising 30% in the past two weeks in Missouri, Arkansas and Utah. 
  • The virulent Delta strain of COVID-19 is spreading most in the Midwest, making up more than 23% of new infections in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, with Indiana reporting 97 cases Saturday. 
  • Arizona recorded 641 new COVID-19 infections Saturday, the highest single-day increase in a month. 
  • Maryland reported zero new COVID-19 deaths Saturday, the first time since October 2020, while Virginia announced it has vaccinated 70% of its population with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. 
  • New CDC research shows that adults 18- to 29-year-olds are least likely to get a COVID-19 shot, with just 38% of the demographic fully vaccinated, while 80% of adults over 65 have received both shots. 
  • Moderna is prepping to boost production of its COVID-19 vaccines by 50%, hoping to supply booster shots and target variants as the pandemic evolves. 
  • U.S. employers are struggling with how to safely bring workers back into the office without requiring employees to disclose their vaccination status
  • The AFL-CIO, the U.S.’s largest union, will require its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and back in the office on July 6. 
  • The Federal Reserve chair made public remarks Monday on the U.S. economy’s “sustained improvement,” with job growth expected to pick up in the coming months and inflation pressures expected to ease. The remarks come before he testifies before a House subcommittee on inflation and the labor market
  • Rising U.S. inflation, currently at a 13-year high, may be disconnected with the reality of the U.S. economy, as the rates appear more normal when compared to pre-pandemic levels rather than the pandemic-induced economic crisis of 2020. 
  • Casino-goers in Las Vegas are returning in droves, as the city’s first new mega casino in more than a decade opened on the Strip. 
  • U.S. consumers are continuing to spend more on food as the pandemic recedes, with online shopping fueling sales gains at Kroger and Walmart, while monthly sales at U.S. restaurants grew above pre-pandemic levels for the first time in May.
U.S. Restaurant Sales Climb As Pre-Pandemic Life Returns
  • The boom in online shopping has not been limited to groceries:
Amazon Prime Day: That Escalated Quickly
  • Medicaid enrollment increased significantly during the pandemic, with roughly 10 million more Americans signing up for the program between February 2020 and January 2021. 
  • New York City posted an 11.8% decline in jobs between February 2020 and April 2021, nearly three times the national level. 
  • Labor shortages paired with weather-related issues caused American Airlines to cancel hundreds of flights over the weekend and at least another 100 Monday as the industry struggles to keep up with increased travel demand. 
  • Electric vehicles are posing new safety hazards for emergency responders, with federal regulators looking to provide new guidance on how to extinguish chemical fires
  • Porsche announced plans to design and manufacture new battery cells powerful enough to be used in high-performance race cars.
  • Volkswagen plans to use a binder jet 3D printing process to build parts for vehicles at its main plant in Germany, hoping to print up to 10,000 components annually by 2025. 
  • General Motors recalled 135,400 new-model vehicles after discovering that a plastic emergency jack can break while a vehicle owner is using it. 
  • Atlanta-based packaging company WestRock is introducing a new line of 100% recyclable packaging material made with sourced wood fiber. 
  • Manufacturing company Zume has recommissioned its pizza-making robots to turn its agricultural waste into compostable packaging.

International

  • After leading the world in COVID-19 cases for two-and-a-half months, new infections in India are starting to drop, with the country reporting 42,640 new cases and 1,167 deaths Tuesday. Indian officials are warning that the country could be hit by a third wave of infections in the next several months. 
  • India administered a record 5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses Monday after announcing a new federal campaign to provide free shots. 
  • India’s southern Tamil Nadu state will allow auto factories to operate at 100% capacity even though 75% of the industry’s workforce has not been vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Indonesia is tightening pandemic restrictions after reporting more than 14,000 new COVID-19 cases Monday, with total infections in the country surpassing 2 million.  
  • Japan will allow up to 10,000 domestic spectators to watch the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in July. A member of Uganda’s Olympic team was barred entry into Japan after testing positive for COVID-19, the first detected infection among athletes. 
  • Hong Kong is shortening its mandatory quarantine time to seven days for fully vaccinated people traveling from abroad. 
  • As the pandemic recedes in many other regions, South America still faces COVID-19 infection and death rates significantly higher than anywhere else, a result of several factors including slow vaccinations, weak healthcare systems and poor government responses. 
  • Colombia, facing a shortage of medical oxygen and treatment drugs, surpassed 100,000 total COVID-19 deaths yesterday. 
  • Canada will get rid of its 14-day quarantine requirement for incoming travelers who are fully vaccinated beginning July 5. The Canada-U.S. border is unlikely to be completely reopened until 75% of Canadians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Africa and the EU are working to create regional COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing hubs to provide access to shots when an expected crisis unfolds on the continent. 
  • The U.K. expects to ease domestic pandemic restrictions July 19 while keeping controls on foreign travel. 
  • The highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 is fueling a surge in Lisbon, Portugal, responsible for 60% of new infections in the region. 
  • Russia posted more than 17,000 new COVID-19 infections Sunday, with over 8,000 reported in Moscow. 
  • Turkey will further ease pandemic restrictions beginning July 1 amid a decline in new COVID-19 infections. 
  • Health officials in Israel are urging more 12- to 15-year-olds to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid new outbreaks linked to the highly transmissible Delta variant.
  • Pfizer inked a deal with the Philippines to supply 40 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, the company’s largest vaccine deal to date. 
  • A new Hong Kong study showed Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to be significantly more effective than China-made Sinovac’s. 
  • Nearly half of London companies whose staff can telework expect them to do so for up to five days a week while smaller businesses say they are more likely to move ahead with permanent remote working
  • Finnish tech company Nokia will allow employees to work remotely up to three days per week.
  • The U.K. secured just 56 foreign direct investments in 2020 compared to 99 in 2019.  
  • Mexican exports of commercial trucks surged to 12,892 units in May, a 277% increase compared to the same time last year. 
  • Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have discovered a way to convert plastic waste into vanilla flavoring with genetically engineered bacteria. 
  • Japan is pledging $10 billion in financial support for decarbonization projects in Asia, hoping to help the region transition to cleaner and renewable energy. 

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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