COVID-19 Bulletin: October 19
October 19, 2020 • Posted in COVID-19
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- Energy prices were modestly lower in early trading today, with the WTI at $40.75/bbl, Brent crude at $42.78/bbl and natural gas at 2.74/MMBtu.
- The Baker Hughes count of active rigs in the U.S. rose by 12 last week to 205.
- ConocoPhillips could soon announce a deal to acquire Concho Resources, potentially the largest energy industry deal of the year.
- The Dakota Access Pipeline has cleared state approval to double its capacity from 570,000 bpd to 1.1 million bpd.
- Oil production in Libya has ballooned to 500,000 bpd after operations in the country’s largest oil field resumed over the weekend.
- Oil production in South Sudan, meanwhile, has declined by more than 20,000 bpd due to the pandemic.
- Argentina is seeking $5 billion in U.S. investments to boost shale production.
- Several of the descendants of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller publicly called on banks to reduce lending to fossil fuel companies.
- As part of its 2050 goal to transfer 80% of its power production to renewables, Portland General Electric closed Oregon’s only remaining coal-fired power plant last week.
- The Canadian government has allocated more than $15 million for mini nuclear power plant investments.
- Prices for PE, PP and PVC rose for the fourth consecutive month in September due in part to supply disruptions caused by Gulf Coast hurricanes.
- New wildfires, fueled by drought and high winds, erupted in Colorado and Utah over the weekend, forcing thousands to evacuate.
- Evacuation orders were eased to warnings on Saturday in the vicinity California’s August Complex fire, the largest in state history, which is now 86% contained.
- Parcel delivery services, including FedEx and UPS, already are experiencing capacity constraints as the holidays approach, leaving many shippers with few alternatives.
- Rail carload volume was down 5.2% year-over-year for the week ended October 10, while intermodal container and trailer volume was up 8.4%.
- Nearly 200 countries are in talks to establish a carbon rating system for the world’s cargo ships, an effort led by the International Maritime Organization to reduce industry pollution.
- A Swedish ship will be able to carry more than 7,000 cars across the Atlantic using wind power alone, although the trip will take twice as long as normal.
- Spot market rates for van and refrigerated truckload freight reached all-time highs in September.
- With tight freight capacity nationwide and supply constraints with many plastic resins, clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.
- The U.S. added more than 48,000 COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing its total number of infections to 8.1 million with a death count of almost 220,000.
- Thirty-three states have rising COVID-19 infection trends this week.
- Only Texas, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands experienced declining COVID-19 infections in the two weeks ended Saturday.
- Several studies suggest that people with Type O blood are less likely to get infected or, if infected, less likely to get severely ill, with COVID-19 than other blood types.
- U.S. industrial production fell 0.6% in September, after rising for several months prior.
- The $3.1 trillion budget gap in the U.S. shattered decades-old records, while cementing the country’s standing as one of the world’s most indebted nations.
- The speaker of the House of Representatives set a Tuesday deadline to come to an agreement with the White House on further relief legislation, dimming hopes for a deal before the November 3 election.
- Dannon will conduct an asset review and pare smaller brands, joining other companies simplifying their product offerings in response to pandemic pressures.
- Coca-Cola is discontinuing its Tab brand, the company’s first-ever diet soda.
- BMW, GM, Ford and Hyundai are confronting battery fire dangers with their electric vehicles, presenting a safety hurdle for the rising category.
- Volkswagen’s trucking unit agreed to buy the shares of Navistar International that it does not already own for $3.7 billion.
- The holiday shopping season, which usually provides 20% of annual U.S. retail sales, is expected to slow down this year after several years of increases.
- A survey of global manufacturing executives conducted by HP found that 71% plan to invest in 3D printing technologies to attain greater speed, flexibility and manufacturing resiliency.
- COVID-19 infections globally topped 40 million today, with no signs of slowing.
- Daily COVID-19 infections are hitting new highs in Italy, where new restrictions include the closing of streets at 9 p.m.
- British officials have bumped up London’s COVID-19 danger level to “Tier 2,” meaning increased lockdowns.
- On Saturday, France reported a record 32,000 new cases of COVID-19, while government officials ordered a nighttime curfew in Paris that will last at least a month.
- Czech Republic officials will wait two weeks before deciding whether to impose a full lockdown again as COVID-19 cases rise.
- Switzerland has ordered a nationwide mask mandate and a ban on large-scale public gatherings.
- COVID-19 cases are rising in Ireland, where regional restrictions will be scrapped in favor of tougher national rules today.
- New Zealand saw its first case of COVID-19 community spread in three weeks in Auckland over the weekend.
- Peru became the first nation with a COVID-19 death rate above 100 per 100,000 inhabitants.
- Strict lockdowns in Israel and Australia were eased over the weekend after new COVID-19 infections decreased.
- The economic recovery in China accelerated in the quarter ended September 30, with GDP up 4.9% from the prior-year period but below economist estimates. Consumer spending rose 3.3% and industrial production was up 6.9%.
- Officials in China found active COVID-19 virus on refrigerated food packaging.
- In export-dependent Japan, exports were down 4.9% in September from the prior-year period, better than expected and significantly better than the nearly 15% decline in August. U.S. exports were higher for the first time in 17 months, fueled by an 18% increase in automobile shipments.
- Visa applications and work permits among the Organization of Economic Development’s 37 member states are down 46% this year, indicating a sharp reduction in global migration and foreshadowing economic risks ahead.
- Ratings firm Moody’s cut its credit rating for the U.K., where national debt now exceeds GDP.
- Chinese officials have warned they may detain U.S. nationals in China in retaliation for U.S. prosecutions of Chinese scholars with ties to China’s military.
- The MAPP 2020 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference starts today. Stop by M. Holland’s virtual booth, and mark your calendars for our breakout session on Thursday, October 22. Click here for more details.
- Global Healthcare Manager Josh Blackmore will be a featured speaker at the Plastics in Healthcare Virtual Edition, sponsored by Plastics News, October 26-30. The title of his talk: Applying the Lessons from the First Wave of COVID-19 to Successfully Navigate the Second.
- 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.
We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.