COVID-19 Bulletin: July 27

July 27, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

More COVID-19 news relevant to the plastics industry:

Supply

  • 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.

Supply Chain

  • 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. 
  • Major truck stop operators, including Pilot Co. and TravelCenters of America, are joining other major companies in mandating face masks for patrons.
  • 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.
  • Beyond the transportation challenges, our Gold Standard logistics partners and U.S. ports continue to operate without interruption.

Markets

  • 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.
  • After much back and forth over the weekend, White House and Senate leaders said they will announce a fourth economic recovery proposal today.
  • Over 30 million unemployed Americans face a significant drop in income with the expiration of federal supplemental benefits this week:
  • The U.S. dollar is on pace for the weakest July in a decade, as fears about the virus, the recession, the pending election and relations with China weigh on the currency.
  • The price of gold hit a record high on Friday, passing the previous high set in 2011.
  • McDonald’s is mandating that customers wear face masks at all its U.S. restaurants beginning August 1.
  • The White House issued executive orders to reduce domestic pharmaceutical prices, including pegging them to lower overseas prices and expediting imports from Canada.
  • Google parent Alphabet said it will maintain work-at-home protocols for all its 200,000 employees at least until July 2021, the first major company to announce such an extended time frame.
  • While remote work has not resulted in compromised productivity, companies are discovering it hampers training, new-employee onboarding, comradery and culture.
  • A team at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is using 3D printing to “bio-print” replicas of human organs for testing drugs to fight COVID-19.
  • Wool is being developed as an alternative to expanded polystyrene for thermal packaging of food and drugs.
  • Global COVID-19 cases passed 16 million over the weekend, and confirmed cases in the U.S. topped 4.2 million:

International

  • 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.
  • China reported 61 COVID-19 infections yesterday, the highest single-day rate since early March.
  • Facing infection flare-ups, Vietnam imposed a lockdown in the coastal city of Danang and is evacuating about 80,000 tourists, and Hong Kong tightened restrictions by banning indoor dining and public gatherings of more than two people.
  • 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.

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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