COVID-19 Bulletin: September 2

September 2, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Hurricane Ida

  • Governors in New Jersey and New York issued emergency declarations after Ida dropped record rainfall and spawned deadly tornadoes, closing airports, flooding buildings and subways, and causing multiple fatalities. New York City received its first ever flash-flood emergency alert from the National Weather Service.
  • Onshore infrastructure damage from Hurricane Ida is hampering efforts to get workers back to offshore production platforms and refineries in Louisiana, leaving around 1.7 million bpd of production offline, with analysts anticipating it could take weeks to fully restore service. 
  • A number of Louisiana’s schools and universities will remain closed for the rest of the week as utility crews work feverishly to restore power to New Orleans. Officials imposed a city-wide curfew to prevent store looting, and set up sites and cooling stations to provide free food and relief from the area’s sweltering heat. 
  • Louisiana’s governor asked evacuees not to return home until officials report it is safe to do so. 
  • Some 37,000 Mississippi residents are still without power following the storm’s inward march Tuesday and Wednesday. 
  • Vessel traffic resumed at the Port of New Orleans, with port conditions categorized as “Normal,” but terminal and breakbulk operations remain closed due to the lack of power.  

Supply

  • Oil prices steadied Wednesday on news that OPEC+ will continue its schedule of modest production increases in coming months. The cartel also revised its 2022 demand forecast higher to 4.2 million bpd from 3.3 bpd. 
  • Energy prices were firmly higher in late morning trading today, with WTI up 2.8% at $70.53/bbl and Brent up 2.5% at $73.39/bbl. Natural gas was 1.6% higher at $4.69/MMBtu.
  • U.S. crude inventories fell sharply by 7.2 million barrels last week, exceeding analyst expectations, as demand for refinery products rose to an all-time high of 22.8 million bpd despite resurgent COVID-19 cases. 
  • Gas demand in India is expected to hit record levels this year following July’s 45% rise in passenger vehicle sales compared to a year ago. 
  • Mexico state-controlled Pemex is buying out majority partner Royal Dutch Shell in its Deer Park, Texas, refinery venture.  
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking court approval to reconsider waivers from the previous administration that exempted oil refiners from biofuel blending mandates. 
  • Norway is looking to overhaul its taxation of oil and gas firms, proposing plans to remove deductions and scrap reimbursements for exploration costs, a surprise announcement ahead of a new election later this month. 
  • Israel announced it will no longer issue onshore oil exploration permits, pledging to shift the country’s focus to renewable energy sources. 
  • A surge in India’s power demand prompted the government to ask utilities to import coal before several power plants run out of fuel. 
  • Braskem is partnering with recycler Vartega in a program to recycle 3D printing filament.
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • Wildfires continue to make news:
    • Heavy winds are pushing California’s 200,000+-acre Caldor Fire closer to Lake Tahoe, prompting more than 53,000 evacuations as wildlife rescue groups rush to remove the area’s animals
    • California’s Dixie Fire expanded nearly 40,000 acres in one day to 844,000 acres, with 52% containment. 
    • Favorable weather helped firefighters keep Minnesota’s Greenwood Fire 37% contained, as crews now work to clean up the surrounding area. 
  • Analysts predict widespread shortages, narrower selections and higher prices for products this holiday season because of months-long disruptions in the production and shipping markets. 
  • The expansion of Amazon’s dedicated cargo airline, Amazon Air, has significantly enhanced the company’s overnight deliveries, putting 70% of the U.S. population within reach of the service. 
  • Illinois shipper Dillon Transport shuttered its operations Tuesday after 41 years in the dry- and liquid-bulk trucking business, a decision reportedly made by its private equity owner. 
  • Almost all the 755 office staffers at HMM, South Korea’s largest container shipper, joined seafaring employees in a strike over wage disputes, putting the company at risk of losing $580 million due to disrupted operations. 
  • Tesla’s Chinese factories and domestic electric vehicle competitor Nio both announced production halts due to the global chip shortage.
  • A new United Nations report shows weather-related disasters have increased fivefold over the last 50 years, resulting in the deaths of more than 2 million people and $364 billion in damages. 
Weather Damage Grew More Costly in Past Decade

Domestic Markets

  • The U.S. reported 198,025 new COVID-19 infections and 1,973 virus fatalities Wednesday. 
  • U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped 2.4% since last week, the first decline since June, while the country’s average daily infections remain at elevated levels nearing 160,000
  • TennesseeAlaska and Hawaii are each reporting record numbers of COVID-19 patients in state hospitals, straining supplies and facility capacity while leading to burnout among healthcare workers.
  • Idaho began deploying National Guard troops to its healthcare facilities amid an overwhelming surge of COVID-19 patients. 
  • Texas reported more than 17,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to more than 3 million since the start of the pandemic. 
  • Arizona’s COVID-19 hospitalizations rose to 2,057 Tuesday, the most since February. 
  • A Florida agency is suing the state in a bid to bring back its daily COVID-19 data reports, a practice controversially halted when case numbers were low in June. 
  • More than half of Colorado teens aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • In a positive trend, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Missouri have declined by more than 300 to 2,146 since last week. 
  • Chicago updated its COVID-19 travel advisory to all regions of the U.S. except Vermont. 
  • San Diego County declared COVID-19 misinformation a public health crisis, the first county in the nation to do so. 
  • New York is expected to extend a moratorium on evictions into 2022 following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will force the wind down of federal protection. 
  • In direct contradiction to private sector trends, New York City will require all remote city workers to return to the office full-time on Sept. 13.
  • A new study of COVID-19 “long-haulers” shows recovering patients face a greater likelihood of kidney damage, including those who were not hospitalized and who had no history of renal problems. 
  • More than half of U.S. companies are developing plans to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, new survey results show. 
  • Chicago’s United Center became the latest pro sports arena to require documentation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain entrance. 
  • First-time jobless claims fell to 340,000 last week, a pandemic low.
  • Rising COVID-19 infections are causing another autumn of uncertainty that is beginning to sink consumer sentiment and the economic recovery.  
  • The spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant is taking its toll on the airline industry, with the number of airline passengers screened at U.S. airports falling to 1.345 million people Tuesday, its lowest level since May. 
  • U.S. mortgage applications dropped 2.4% compared to a week earlier, while refinancing applications fell 3.8% for the week ending Aug. 27. 
High Prices & Low Rates Drive Mortgage Refinance Boom
  • Apple stopped short of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, opting instead to require all employees to disclose their vaccination status
  • The latest COVID-19 wave has prompted another ripple of delayed movie releases in Hollywood, causing further pain for beleaguered theater companies.  
  • Nike gave headquarters employees the week off to support mental health and encourage de-stressing from the pandemic.

International Markets

  • Japan is expected to extend its state of emergency across Tokyo and 20 other prefectures for an additional two weeks beyond Sept. 12, as Tokyo announced more than 125,600 new COVID-19 infections for the month of August, almost triple July’s level. 
  • Australian officials extended a COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne by an additional three weeks as Victoria state infections climbed to 120 Wednesday.
  • Tourism officials in Mexico, which has yet to impose border restrictions for international arrivals, are asking the government to require travelers to show proof of vaccination or a negative test.  
  • The U.K. joined the growing list of countries approving COVID-19 booster shots for people with weakened immune systems, while France extended its booster drive to anyone over age 65. 
  • Scotland will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter nightclubs and attend large-scale events starting later this month. 
  • Spain has now fully vaccinated 70% of its population against COVID-19, a milestone.  
  • Germany is exploring options to temporarily loosen data privacy laws so companies can find out if their employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • More than 80% of firms internationally plan to significantly reduce travel budgets as the pandemic tapers off. 
  • A new British study shows that roughly 1 in 7 teens could continue to have COVID-19 symptoms months after testing positive for the virus. 
  • Mexico’s Central Bank raised its GDP growth expectations for 2021 to 6.2%.  
  • Strong growth in consumer services and retail helped U.K. businesses grow at their fastest pace since May 2014 during the three months ending in July, with an index rising to +34 from July’s +33. British housing prices, meanwhile, rose 2.1% month over month in August, the second largest rise in 15 years after falling 0.6% in July. 
  • A new report published by Botanic Gardens Conservation International shows that roughly 30% of the world’s tree species are on the verge of extinction, raising concerns about the continued effects of climate change. 

At M. Holland

  • M. Holland will be closed Monday, Sept. 6 in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
  • During last week’s Plastics Reflections Web Series event, panelists from M. Holland, BPI, LyondellBasell and MTS Logistics discussed how global supply chain complexities are impacting the plastics industry. Click here to access the recording.
  • 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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