COVID-19 Bulletin: May 25

May 25, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

Hello,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.

Supply

  • Oil prices rebounded on Monday after doubts arose about an Iranian nuclear deal with the U.S. that would allow Iran to resume crude exports. Prices were higher in mid-day trading today, with WTI up 0.1% at $66.09/bbl and Brent up 0.3% at $68.69/bbl. Natural gas was 0.5% higher at $2.90/MMBtu. 
  • OPEC member nations have increased their collective crude oil exports by over 1 million bpd since the start of the month, driven by Saudi Arabia. 
  • A federal judge will allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to remain in service pending an environmental review of an easement, a rare victory for the pipeline industry. 
  • Alberta remains Canada’s COVID-19 hotspot, with 684 people currently infected and two deaths recently reported at oil sands camps in the province. 
  • Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex is buying Shell’s 50% interest in a jointly owned oil refinery near Houston, Texas, as part of the nation’s effort to achieve oil and gas self-sufficiency.  
  • In anticipation of falling oil demand, companies such as BP, Shell and Total are building new wind and solar projects, hoping to secure long-term deals to supply electricity as they prepare for a lower-carbon economy. 
  • Shale energy companies Cabot Oil and Gas and Cimarex Energy plan to merge in a $17 billion transaction that will combine Cabot’s leading natural gas assets with Cimarex’s prized oil and gas properties.  
  • Exxon, in a proxy fight with an activist investor ahead of its annual meeting of shareholders, yesterday pledged to add two new directors with energy and climate experience to its board of directors within the next 12 months. 
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here. 

Supply Chain

  • A bipartisan proposal to invest $52 billion in the U.S. semiconductor industry could spawn up to 10 new fabrication facilities and boost the nation’s market share, which has fallen to 12% from 37% since 1990. 
  • Peloton, which has struggled with supply chain issues during the pandemic, will invest $400 million to build its first U.S. manufacturing site in Ohio.  
  • Citing high volumes and tight capacity due to the pandemic, FedEx is planning to increase three peak surcharges on both Express and Ground shipments in June. 
  • A recent surge in grain demand has pushed spot rates for supramax bulkers to an 11-year high
  • Dockworkers at Argentinian ports staged a 24-hour strike over the lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • Soaring steel plate prices have prompted some shipyards to hold off on quoting for new vessel orders.
  • New research shows that 80% of ships demolished between 2014 and 2018 were falsely registered, allowing owners to skirt environmental regulations and have ships dismantled cheaply.
  • An Egyptian court ruled that Egypt may continue to detain the Ever Given container ship, which blocked traffic in the Suez Canal for six days in March, as the ship’s owner blames the Egyptian canal authority for the accident. 
  • 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. reported 25,925 new COVID-19 cases and 427 deaths on Monday. Over 286.8 million vaccine doses have been administered with more than 39.8% of the population fully vaccinated. The seven-day average of new infections is down 24% compared to one week ago, with nine states reporting that 70% of their adult population have received at least one vaccine dose.
  • The New York City Department of Education, the nation’s largest school district, will drop all remote learning for students in the fall, a move prompting other state and city governments to decide whether to offer remote options during the upcoming academic year. 
  • New York plans to open seven new pop-up vaccination sites at airports for both locals and visitors, hoping to boost the state’s inoculation numbers. 
  • Florida reported 1,606 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the state’s lowest number of daily infections in seven months. 
  • New Jersey announced it will end its indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated people on May 28, citing new federal guidance from the CDC. 
  • Michigan relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people at the workplace, allowing them to disregard social distancing measures and work without a mask. 
  • Oregon joined the list of states adopting a million-dollar lottery for people who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a bid to encourage inoculations. 
  • New guidance from the CDC says that the majority of people who have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines and have no symptoms can skip being screened for the virus, even if they were exposed to an infected person. 
  • While 15 of the largest Fortune 500 companies are encouraging employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, they are stopping short of requiring them, fearing a backlash and possible legal ramifications. 
  • The CDC has launched an investigation into reports of a small number of teenagers and young adults who experienced heart inflammation after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • People who recovered from mild COVID-19 infections may have immune cells in their bone marrow that can unleash new antibodies to protect against the virus long-term, new research shows. 
  • A new study of available COVID-19 vaccinations shows that they are all highly effective in preventing serious disease and death, while the Pfizer/BioNTech shot is more effective against two emerging variants.
  • The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory urging Americans not to travel to Japan due to rising COVID-19 infections, raising doubts about the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July.  
  • United Airlines is offering loyalty program customers the chance to win free flights for one year if they provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. 
  • Large crowds at U.S. sporting events highlight more Americans getting vaccinated and returning to pre-pandemic routines, with both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets reporting more than 90% of the 30,000 fans at recent playoff games were vaccinated.
Fans Have Warmed to a Crowdless Return of Sports
  • Optimism is growing among Americans, with 56% of respondents in a recent poll saying the economy is strong, but 88% concerned about rising inflation.  
  • U.S. consumers are filling their shopping carts with grooming, clothing and travel products as they emerge from pandemic isolation.
  • Roughly one-third of Americans report spending more on groceries now than at the beginning of the year, with red meat and poultry prices cited as the most expensive. 
  • The cost of motor vehicle insurance was up 6.1% in April compared to one year earlier, reversing falling premiums during the pandemic as people drove less. 
  • Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it will restart its sailing operations in the U.S. beginning Aug. 7. 
  • Home Depot reported a 31% year over year increase in comparable sales in the most recent quarter, a record and the company’s fourth consecutive quarter of gains, on strong home improvement spending.

International

  • India’s daily tally of COVID-19 infections fell to 196,427 Tuesday, the lowest in six weeks, as virus deaths dropped to 3,511. 
    • The country’s leaders convinced farmers to call off a mass protest this week, saying it could serve as a superspreader event.
    • Growing worker unrest over the nation’s outbreak is threatening vehicle production, with Hyundai suspending operations for five days and workers at a Nissan plant planning a strike for Wednesday. 
    • India’s Finance Ministry has begun work on a recovery plan to help industries most impacted by the country’s devastating COVID-19 wave.
  • Argentina, Bahrain, Nepal and Taiwan are representative of the growing list of countries around the world experiencing record COVID-19 surges in the wake of an uneven global inoculation rollout.  
  • The director of the World Health Organization is criticizing the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, saying that 10 countries account for 75% of administered doses and calling for the agency’s member states to ensure that at least 10% of every country’s population is fully vaccinated by September. 
  • Japan opened two new mass vaccination sites in Tokyo and Osaka, hoping to inoculate its elderly population and accelerate its vaccination efforts before hosting the Olympics in July. 
    • Japan’s business leaders are adding to the growing chorus urging a cancellation of the games. 
    • The International Olympic Committee is planning to provide COVID-19 vaccines for 20,000 people who will either compete or work the games, while organizers are mulling banning spectators
  • The U.K. is considering shortening the time between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses as the more contagious variant first found in India continues to spread across the country. 
  • A new study from the U.K. shows that two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was 88% effective against the variant first found in India, while AstraZeneca’s was 60% effective. 
  • France is considering new border restrictions with the U.K. to protect against the Indian COVID-19 variant spreading in that country. 
  • France recorded just 66 new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, a seven-month low. 
  • After reporting only 12 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, Israel announced plans to end its local pandemic restrictions next weekend. 
  • Vaccine sharing program COVAX will receive 200 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Thailand is increasing the time between first and second doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from 10 to 16 weeks, hoping to inoculate more of its population at a quicker pace. 
  • Authorities in Australia are trying to determine the source of a new COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne after the city reported four new infections, its first in nearly three months. 
  • Malta’s health minister says that the country has achieved herd immunity against COVID-19 after inoculating 70% of its adult population, making it the first country in the EU to do so. 
  • Singapore’s airport has become the nation’s largest COVID-19 cluster, prompting tightened restrictions, including segregating passengers and workers into risk zones.  
  • The U.S. plans to downgrade Mexico’s air-safety rating in coming days over concerns about oversight.  
  • The U.K.’s Premier Soccer League is backing a plan for fans to hold “vaccine passports” to allow them quick entry into stadiums instead of waiting in long lines to get tested. 
  • The German economy shrank a higher-than-expected 3.1% in the first quarter from the prior-year period, as household consumption fell 5.4% while savings rose 23.2%.  
  • Central banks in Asia are running out of monetary options to counter the economic fallout of rising COVID-19 infections and slow inoculation rollouts.  
  • Thailand’s government is considering borrowing up to $16 billion to fund economic relief efforts under pressure of rising COVID-19 infections and restrictions.  
  • The G7 is nearing a deal on a corporate taxation of multinational corporations, with the U.S. agreeing to a minimum rate of at least 15%, paving the way for a global deal by July. 
  • Indonesia’s state-owned battery corporation will build a $1.2 billion battery plant with South Korea’s LG as part of a broader $9.8 billion electric vehicle agreement.

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.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.