COVID-19 Bulletin: May 13

May 13, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

Hello,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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Supply

  • The owner of Colonial Pipeline has started to restore operations following last week’s cyberattack but cautioned a full return of services could take days. 
    • After a run on gas prompted by the shutdown, several states are reporting high levels of completely dry gas stations: North Carolina (68%), Virginia (49%), Georgia (45%), South Carolina (45%), Tennessee (18%), Florida (14%) and Maryland (13%). 
    • More than 3 in 4 stations in some southern cities have reported running out of gas.  
    • The shutdown sparked a surge in the price of tankers, as U.S. refiners rushed to book vessels to help store fuel. 
  • With the Colonial Pipeline reopening and a lower-than-expected oil inventory draw last week, crude futures were lower in mid-day trading today, with WTI down 3.6% at $63.68/bbl and Brent down 3.5% at $66.88/bbl. Natural gas was flat at $2.97/MMBtu. 
  • The Energy Information Administration reported a crude draw of 400,000 barrels for the week ending May 7, significantly lower than the record 8 million barrel-draw reported last week. 
  • OPEC predicts that American oil supply will fall by 100,000 bpd this year after dropping 800,000 bpd last year, a result of low capital expenditures and February’s unexpected winter storm. 
  • In its monthly report, OPEC said it still expects global oil demand will rise by 6 million bpd this year, even with continued uncertainties caused by the pandemic. 
  • With more countries lifting COVID-19 restrictions, international flights are starting to return, sparking a renewed demand for jet fuel
  • The COVID-19 catastrophe in India is disrupting Apple’s efforts to diversify iPhone manufacturing from China.  
  • Canada issued a warning to the U.S. over Michigan’s plan to close a pipeline transporting Canadian crude to U.S. refineries, saying shutting down the line will harm relations between the two countries. 
  • Covestro is collaborating in developing 3D printing as a tool in the quest for a sustainable and circular economy. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here. 

Supply Chain

  • Truckers are bracing for dual supply disruptions from the Colonial Pipeline shutdown as average prices for diesel fuel rose to $3.14/gallon as of yesterday.  
  • The Port of Long Beach moved 746,188 TEUs last month, the port’s busiest April on record and a 43.6% increase from the same time last year. 
  • The Federal Maritime Commission plans to set up a Shipper Advisory Committee that will advise exporters on how to obtain containers amid an ongoing shortage. 
  • The Cass Freight Index reported a 27.6% year over year increase in shipments with expenditures jumping 45.1%, a record. 
  • German container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd reported a net profit of $1.45 billion in the first quarter, a 1,423% increase compared to the same time last year. 
  • Despite U.S. consumer prices rising to their highest levels since 2009, the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chairman played down inflation risks, calling supply-chain congestion and reopening frictions “transitory.” 
  • The soaring cost of lumber in North America is prompting suppliers to turn to Europe, where a recent beetle infestation killed large swaths of trees that must now be harvested.  
  • Despite high demand for its products, Under Armour plans to continue tightening its inventory to avoid rising supply chain costs. 
  • Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A announced that recent supply chain disruptions have forced the company to limit the number of free sauces it gives to its customers. 
  • 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

  • Newly reported U.S. COVID-19 cases fell below 40,000 for the fourth straight day yesterday, with 35,878 infections and 848 deaths. Over 264 million vaccine doses have been administered with 35.8% of the population fully vaccinated. 
  • The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered daily in the U.S. increased slightly from last week, up to 2.2 million jabs per day
  • Washington state has paused lifting further COVID-19 restrictions and put in more strict rules in certain counties while the state battles a fourth wave of the virus. 
  • The U.S. economy’s reopening is picking up steam, with New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island all lifting most restrictions this month. 
  • To encourage inoculations, Ohio has created a free $5 million lottery for people who have been vaccinated. The state will lift all pandemic restrictions on June 2.  
  • Oregon announced plans to lift the majority of its pandemic restrictions once 70% of its population aged 16 and older have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Maryland will lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday. 
  • A CDC advisory panel recommended the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 12-15, clearing the way for administration of the shots after U.S. regulators granted emergency authorization last week. 
  • Virginia state officials are asking local school systems and private schools to hold on-site vaccination clinics once the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully authorized for those aged 12-15.  
  • Mississippi and Tennessee joined the list of states cancelling an extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits funded by the federal government in an effort to drive people to look for employment. 
  • The U.S. Secret Service announced the recovery of over $2 billion in pandemic-related funds fraudulently acquired by people through state unemployment insurance programs. 
  • New research from the University of Miami suggests that COVID-19 could contribute to virility problems in men. 
  • Citing losses of income and insurance during the pandemic, a new survey of 1,100 adults aged 18-70 showed many Americans are still delaying trips to the doctor for preventative healthcare appointments. 
  • Low usage during the pandemic is threatening the viability of public transportation, with just 45% of ridership back nationally from pre-pandemic levels.
  • The nation’s airports and New York’s subways saw their busiest day of the pandemic last Friday.  
  • Boeing obtained approval from U.S. regulators for fixes to an electrical problem that has grounded more than 100 of its 737 MAX jets, clearing the way for airlines to restore flights with the plane. The company expects a fix for faulty engine covers on its 777 jets in June.  
  • Toyota said most of its vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 will still use gasoline, with only 15% of its total sales in the form of battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles. 
  • Canadian electric truck and bus manufacturer Lion Electric announced plans to build a new manufacturing site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty trucks in Illinois, capable of producing up to 20,000 vehicles per year. 
  • A growing number of consumers want zero-waste packaging and products, spawning innovations such as toothpaste tablets, plastic-free floss and plant-based toothbrushes. 

International

  • India recorded 4,120 COVID-19 deaths Thursday, the second consecutive day topping 4,000, alongside 362,727 new infections. 
The Global Problem of Under-reporting COVID-19 Deaths

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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