COVID-19 Bulletin: May 7

May 7, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

Hello,

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Supply

  • Oil prices slipped on Thursday on news of India’s continuing COVID-19 crisis. Crude futures were slightly higher in mid-day trading today with the WTI up 0.5% at $65.01/bbl and Brent up 0.5% at $68.42/bbl. Natural gas was up 1.5% at $2.97/MMBtu. 
  • U.S. energy production dropped by 5% last year, the steepest annual decline on record, the Energy Information Administration said. 
  • Chinese crude imports fell to 10.41 million bpd in April, an 11% drop from the previous month. 
  • Norway’s oil companies struck a wage deal with labor unions this week, avoiding a potential strike that could have taken significant portions of output offline.  
  • The recent rise in crude oil prices has prompted Brazilian state-owned oil major Petrobras to reopen bidding for its Golfinho offshore oilfield cluster, one of dozens of asset sales the company is offloading to reduce debt.
  • The global liquefied natural gas market could get tighter in several years as major projects in Mozambique, a country expected to become a top liquefied natural gas producer by the middle of the decade, stall due to a worsening security crisis.
  • Texas grid manager ERCOT is expecting record demand for electricity this summer while also requiring power plants to inspect their preparedness for potential extreme heat and weather events. 
  • Roughly 3% of U.S. homes have installed solar panels for homegrown energy production. 
  • The International Energy Agency is urging Western nations to stockpile cobalt and lithium, warning of geopolitical risks that accompany the transition to renewable energy. 
  • Italian energy giant Enel announced plans for five new renewable energy projects in the U.S. alongside adding 57 megawatts of battery storage to two existing projects in Texas. 
  • Plastic IQ, a tool launched by The Recycling Partnership and SystemIQ, aims to help U.S. companies develop plastic packaging waste reduction strategies, meet sustainability goals and hasten progress toward a circular economy. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here. 

Supply Chain

  • Expanding global capacity for semiconductor production is a lengthy and complicated process, a major reason behind the shortage’s continued effects on key industries. 
  • Some shipyards in China are banning ships that have recently visited coronavirus-plagued India.  
  • Copper supply from existing projects will only meet 80% of the world’s demand by 2030, a situation that could double the industrial metal’s price from its current 10-year high. 
  • General Motors is eyeing significant new investment into the development of autonomous vehicles and “urban air mobility” machines, an industry term for flying cars and taxis. 
  • Southern California port trucker Total Transportation is in talks to purchase roughly 100 electric vehicles made by Nikola. 
  • Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability and continued congestion at ports due in part to operating challenges related to the pandemic. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.

Markets

  • There were 47,366 new COVID-19 cases and 789 deaths in the U.S. yesterday. Over 251 million vaccine doses have been administered with 30.6% of the population fully vaccinated. 
  • New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. hit a seven-month low, with the seven-day moving average dipping below 47,000. Eleven states have vaccinated at least half their population
  • Washington D.C.’s recent pandemic restriction banning dancing at weddings is drawing fire from all angles. 
  • Massachusetts became the latest state to allow walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations at its mass vaccination sites. 
  • New York City will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to tourists
  • Minnesota will end all COVID-19 business restrictions on May 28, alongside dropping the state’s mask mandate by July 1. 
  • Virginia will lift all COVID-19 restrictions on June 15, keeping a statewide mask mandate in place. 
  • Harvard is the latest major U.S. university to require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the fall semester. 
  • At least 15 of 76 New York City restaurants have fallen off the famed Michelin-star list due to the pandemic. 
  • Pfizer/BioNTech have enough supplies to produce up to 3 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine this year, more than double production expectations from six months ago. 
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 booster shot showed promising results in a recent trial, proving effective against highly infectious variants found in South Africa and Brazil. The company also reported that its vaccine is 96% effective in adolescents aged 12-17.
  • Successful rollouts of Moderna’s vaccine spurred the company’s first ever quarterly profit totaling $1.73 billion. 
  • The White House’s top medical adviser said that people who had COVID-19 and later received a vaccine are likely to have better protection against virus mutations. 
  • New research shows that COVID-19 is capable of infecting two types of brain cells, possibly shedding light on the disease’s array of neurological symptoms. Up to one-third of COVID-19 patients were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection, while 17.4% suffered an anxiety disorder. 
  • Roughly 20% of unvaccinated people say the U.S.’s temporary pause on rolling out Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine caused them to decline getting a shot
  • Only 266,000 new jobs were created in the U.S. in April, well below the one million new jobs economist expected, as the unemployment rate rose to 6.1%.  
  • The COVID-19 pandemic remains one of the biggest near-term risks to the stability of the financial system, the Federal Reserve said. The central bank warned that swelling asset values and rising corporate debt pose a risk to the economy.  
  • Eight states say they aren’t receiving enough low-dead-space syringes to extract every last dose of COVID-19 shots from vials, with up to 17% of the vaccine in Pfizer vials and up to 13% in Moderna vials going to waste.
  • Seven of the world’s 10 most active international flights link with U.S. locations, suggesting the nation’s widening vaccine rollout is spurring increased tourism
  • Global home prices rose 4.9% during the year of the pandemic, the largest increase since the U.S. housing boom of the mid-2000s, the Federal Reserve reports. 
  • Movie theater shutdowns allowed AMC Entertainment to expand its market share by more than 25%, while the company reported roughly 7 million attendees at its reopened U.S. locations in the first quarter. 
  • Google will let 20% of employees continue working from home after the company’s offices reopen later this year, an easing of earlier plans. 
  • A federal moratorium on evictions will stand while the government appeals a recent judicial decision overturning the pandemic-induced order. 
  • Volkswagen reported strong first-quarter earnings yesterday, with revenue rising 13% on doubled sales of electric vehicles.

International

Which Countries Have Banned Travel From India
  • Sweden joined the growing list of nations to log more than one million COVID-19 infections.  
  • Quality-control issues at a plant in Maryland have forced health officials in Europe, South Africa and Canada to hold back millions of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses. 
  • Germany’s CureVac is seeking European approval of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine by next month, with a goal of producing up to 300 million doses in 2021 and up to one billion in 2022. 
  • German lawmakers eased many restrictions for those vaccinated against COVID-19. The nation’s chancellor pushed back on White House support for getting rid of COVID-19 vaccine patent protections, saying the plan would cause complications for global production. 
The Countries Funding Covid-19 Vaccine R&D
  • Pfizer/BioNTech will significantly increase vaccine donations to Olympic participants in a bid to keep the games as scheduled.  
  • Canada is considering allowing patients to mix and match two different types of COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to offset supply shortages. 
  • The U.K.’s National Health Service is revising its booking system for COVID-19 shots over concerns that it can easily reveal a person’s vaccination status to third parties. 
  • Amazon is postponing its annual Prime Day in Canada and India due to spiking COVID-19 infections.  
  • Economists in Canada are estimating that employment dropped by 160,000 across the country last month, halting two months worth of job gains. 
  • To help ensure social distancing measures, an Israeli company has developed a device that can attach to a user’s clothing and uses Bluetooth technology to inform them if they are within two meters of someone.
  • A new report from the United Nations said that the world needs to make drastic cuts to its methane emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 
  • Germany announced a goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, five years earlier than planned. 
  • A study suggests that global sea levels are expected to rise twice as fast by 2100 even if countries fulfilled international climate goals under the Paris Agreement. 
  • Recently expanded climate pledges by the U.S. have prompted scientists to lower global warming forecasts by 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2100. 

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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