COVID-19 Bulletin: July 15

July 15, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:

Supply

  • Crude prices were higher in mid-day trading with the WTI crude price up 2.0% at $41.11/bbl and Brent up 2.0% at $43.76/bbl.  
  • Prices got a boost from an American Petroleum Institute estimate that U.S. inventories fell by a higher-than-expected 8.3 million barrels last week.
  • In its monthly letter, OPEC projects that oil demand will rise by a record 7 million barrels per day next year, but still not enough to return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Many downstream refiners are facing an existential threat, unable to take advantage of low oil prices because of weak gasoline and jet fuel demand.
  • Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company, has suffered an unprecedented 202 COVID-19 fatalities as of yesterday, more than any other single company.

Supply Chain

  • Amazon has ordered a fleet of 2,200 larger, walk-in delivery trucks as it struggles to meet its one-to-two day delivery pledge. It also is imposing new restrictions on what independent vendors can store in its warehouses as it prepares for the holiday season in anticipation of further pandemic-related pressures.
  • Amazon has developed a shopping cart, called Dash Cart, for physical stores that uses cameras, sensors and scales to identify, tally and charge consumers for items on their Amazon account, no cashiers required.
  • Supply chain disruptions from China and industrial shutdowns hurt sales of 3D printers in the industrial and design segments, while sequestered consumers and those working from home boosted sales into the personal and professional segments. 
  • We see the less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping sector challenged in returning to full employment after making workforce cuts early in the pandemic. 
  • Our Gold Standard logistics partners and U.S. ports continue to return to normal operations.

Markets

  • More than 67,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded yesterday, the fourth record in the past eight days, with Oklahoma and Nevada joining states with record daily infections.  
  • Florida reported 132 COVID-19 deaths yesterday, a single-day record, and 9,200 new cases.
  • Historically low interest rates are prompting sales in big-ticket items such as homes and vehicles, helping to support an economy struggling with business shutdowns and the spreading pandemic.
  • Biotech company Moderna will begin phase 3 testing of its vaccine after initial tests showed promising results in inducing an immune response in COVID-19 patients, sending global stock markets higher.
  • Federal Reserve officials are growing increasingly concerned about a slowing pace of economic recovery and the possibility of a double-dip recession as the nation struggles to tame the virus.
  • Thirty large companies have filed for bankruptcy this year, and the number is likely to double by year end, according to one expert.
  • Glassdoor, a jobs website, says job openings nationally have fallen 5.5% in the past two weeks, portending a slowdown in employment gains in the face of rising infection rates.
  • Today is the extended tax filing deadline, which is presenting challenges for some cash-strapped businesses as well as tax advisors.
  • The federal government reversed a controversial policy that would have required foreign university students to attend physical classes in the fall, which could have effectively sent thousands of students home.
  • In announcing second-quarter results yesterday, J.P. Morgan Chase set aside more than $10 billion for expected loan losses, eight times its normal loss reserve. J.P. Morgan, Citibank and Wells Fargo have set aside nearly $30 billion combined.
  • Walmart will join a growing list of companies requiring patrons to wear face masks across all U.S. stores beginning next week.
  • Although the risks of COVID-19 infection remain for front-line workers, many companies are phasing out “hero-pay” programs initiated early in the pandemic. 
  • Absenteeism due to a surge in COVID-19 cases has left Ford and GM struggling to man assembly lines.
  • Generous government subsidies have brought the cost of electric vehicles in Europe down to the level of a mobile phone and even free for some buyers, spurring a surge in electric vehicle sales.
  • A product designer in the U.K. has devised an experimental package for ramen noodles made of potato starch, glycerin and flavorings that can be cooked and eaten.
  • COVID-19 infections approached 13.5 million globally today.

International

  • China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest economy and will further distance itself this year as it grows and the U.S. contracts:
The Biggest Economies in the World

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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