More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:
Crude prices were higher in early trading with the WTI price at $41.60/bbl and Brent at $43.64/bbl.
The Gulf Coast faced the twin challenges of a raging pandemic and Hurricane Hanna, which struck Texas on Saturday. The storm was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday as it delivered high winds and flooding along the Texas-Mexico border.
Energy companies continued to operate normally as the storm crossed the Gulf of Mexico.
Even if a vaccine for COVID-19 can be quickly found and manufactured in quantity, supply chain constraints could hamper its distribution.
Demand for new ships is down 53% this year, creating uncertainty for shipyards and questions about the shipping industry’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 by converting to more environmentally friendly fleets.
General Mills is boosting its number of outsourcing partners by 20% in response to supply chain challenges as it faces rising demand during the pandemic.
Some Ford dealerships report a shortage of repair parts is causing a backlog of cars in their service departments awaiting repairs.
Delivery robots, a novelty on college campuses up to now, are seeing rising mainstream demand in the social-distancing era, including in the hotel industry.
A pickup in package delivery business during the pandemic will not solve the financial woes for the U.S. Postal Service:
We continue to experience challenges with truck deliveries, particularly LTL shipments, due to labor shortages and operational delays caused by COVID-19 protocols. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help assure delivery dates will be met.
The infection rate appeared to crest in hotspot states over the weekend, with Florida, Arizona, California, Texas and New York all reporting lower new cases and deaths on Sunday.
Florida recorded 12,000 new cases on Saturday and passed New York in total COVID-19 infections, taking second place nationally behind California, which took the lead last week.
Noting that global COVID-19 infections have doubled in the past six weeks, the head of the World Health Organization said the pandemic is “easily the most severe” emergency the organization has ever declared.
Global COVID-19 cases passed 16 million over the weekend, and confirmed cases in the U.S. topped 4.2 million:
Following passage of the European Union’s 750 billion euro rescue package, optimism among the business community in Germany is at its highest since 2018, but companies are not yet ready to resume hiring.
Mexico said the pandemic has contributed to a 50% increase in deaths in the nation, as the country now ranks sixth globally for total infections and fourth for fatalities.
COVID-19 infections in India topped 1.4 million, up 20% in the past week, giving the country the fastest growing spread in the world.
Spain, among the hardest-hit countries early in the pandemic, is experiencing a resurgence just a month after lifting its state of emergency, with a tripling of the infection rate in the past two weeks. Concerned about the spread, other European counties are instituting restrictions on travelers from Spain.
South Africa, Africa’s most advanced economy, is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections and now ranks fifth among nations for total infections.
Developing nations could default on some $70 billion in debt held by investors in developed countries as they struggle against the pandemic and a collapse of commodity prices that support their economies.
Face mask mandates took effect last week in the U.K. and Belgium as most of Europe is now under face mask restrictions.
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We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.