COVID-19 Bulletin: July 14

July 14, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:

Supply

  • Crude prices were nearly unchanged in mid-day trading with the WTI crude price at $40.16 and Brent at $42.81/bbl.
  • The CEO of Parsley Energy, a leading producer in Texas, believes the U.S. has passed its “peak oil” threshold and will not return to pre-pandemic production levels.
  • The 23-nation OPEC+ alliance is expected to raise production quotas by 2 million barrels per day at its virtual meeting tomorrow.
  • 12.3% increase in gasoline prices in June drove a 0.6% boost in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the first CPI increase since February.

Supply Chain

  • A hodge-podge of border rules and restrictions is hampering the global recovery and threatens the $5 trillion travel industry and its 200 million jobs.
  • With 59% of respondents to a recent survey of less-than-truckload (LTL) shippers citing last-mile delivery as the least efficient part of their supply chains, companies are moving to “mobile-first” systems where mobile devices are the primary tools for logistics management.
  • We see the LTL shipping sector challenged in returning to full employment as the economy recovers after making workforce cuts early in the pandemic. 
  • Our Gold Standard logistics partners and U.S. ports continue to return to normal operations.

Markets

  • Sunbelt states continue to drive the surge in new COVID-19 infections, with more than 55,000 recorded nationally yesterday:
Surge of COVID-19 Cases Across US States
  • California reimposed statewide social distancing restrictions, while the state’s two largest school systems said students will not be returning to classrooms in August due to rocketing infection rates. 
  • At least 21 states have paused or reversed reopening:
State Reopenings Stall Amid COVID-19 Resurgence
  • Miami-Dade County has been labeled “the epicenter of the pandemic,” accounting for a fourth of Florida’s more than 12,000 new cases yesterday and with a testing positivity rate of 26%. Florida’s testing positivity rate stands at 11% the past two days, versus a rate of 2.3% in May and a less than 5% rate recommended by the World Health Organization.
  • Hospitals in Arizona and Texas are commandeering refrigerated trucks for use as makeshift morgues to deal with rising fatalities, while the Houston Chronicle published a 42-page obituary section on Sunday focused on COVID-19 victims.
  • With U.S. infection rates rising faster than testing capacity, long delays for test results are hampering efforts to trace and isolate those at risk of infection.
  • An estimated 5.4 million people lost their employer-sponsored health insurance between February and May.
  • Federal spending exceeded $1.1 trillion in June, while federal revenue fell to about $240 billion due to the extension of the federal income tax deadline to July 15, leaving a deficit of $864 billion. The trailing twelve month deficit exceeded $3 trillion.
  • The head of the Dallas Federal Reserve said the economic recovery is slowing under the weight of rising infection rates and promoted the use of masks as the best way to tame the virus and restore the economy.
  • Facing high absenteeism, GM is scrambling to maintain full production of sought-after light trucks, putting managers to work on assembly lines and recalling laid off workers from other plants.
  • Delta Airlines posted a higher-than-expected second-quarter net loss of $2.8 billion and said it is scaling back planned increases in flights for August as the travel recovery flags.
  • The rise in infections has prompted Costco to postpone plans to pare back its special, one hour early access period for seniors and those with disabilities.
  • The pandemic is prompting changes in home construction and design, including the use of more prefab components, placing emphasis on home offices and balconies, and moving to more cleanable surfaces and materials. 
  • Plastics bashing dominated a recent congressional hearing on plastic waste where the CEO of the Plastics Industry Association was among the only ones to testify about the safety role plastics have played during the pandemic.
  • Beverage giant Diageo, in its effort to reduce plastic packaging, will offer Johnnie Walker whiskey in a recyclable bottle made of wood pulp early next year.
  • COVID-19 infections surpassed 13 million globally. 

International

  • In an encouraging sign, consumer spending in France and Germany has recovered to near pre-pandemic levels as people rebound from sequestration fatigue.
  • Hong Kong, experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 spread, has imposed its strictest social distancing mandates yet, reducing permissible gatherings from 50 people to 4.
  • As Disney World is reopening amid some controversy about record infections in Florida, Hong Kong Disneyland has reclosed just a month after reopening due to the spike in new COVID-19 cases there.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak at the U.S. military base in Okinawa is drawing concern from officials in Japan.
  • Israel’s defense minister expects the pandemic to persist through 2021 and is preparing to run quarantine hotels through next year.

Our Operations

  • To access 3D printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our new online resource.
  • 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.
  • M. Holland’s official status statement is available here.

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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