COVID-19 Bulletin: September 14

September 14, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

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Supply

  • Oil prices today were buffeted by concerns about a slowing global economic recovery contrasting with the threat of a potential hurricane striking the Gulf Coast.
  • Crude prices were modestly lower in early trading, with the WTI at $37.21/bbl and Brent at $39.77/bbl.
  • The natural gas price was up more than 5% at $2.39/MMBtu. 
  • OPEC meets virtually on Thursday as it confronts weak demand, growing crude inventories and member countries pressing to increase production quotas.
  • The United Arab Emirates, OPEC’s third largest producing member, exceeded the consortium’s production quota in August.
  • BP became the first oil major to proclaim that “peak oil” has arrived, predicting that oil consumption could fall 50% by 2050. BP is among several oil giants pivoting toward alternative energy production.
  • Exxon, which has doubled down on crude exploration and production, has lost its place as the world’s most valuable company and a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Supply Chain

  • Wildfires continue to rage in Western states, causing at least 33 fatalities and hazardous air conditions in many areas. High winds and dry conditions are expected to aggravate the crisis in coming days.
  • Tropical Storm Sally is expected to become a hurricane before striking the Gulf Coast near New Orleans late today or early Tuesday.
  • The Coast Guard is closing the Port of New Orleans today at 6:00 p.m. CDT due to the approaching storm.
  • Fidelity International is warning of a potential supply chain crisis due to a shortage of seafarers as hundreds of thousands of sailors remain stranded at sea facing high COVID-19 infection risk and clamoring for relief.
  • Trucking capacity remains tight throughout the U.S., and spot pricing remains elevated.
  • Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates will be met.

Markets

  • U.S. COVID-19 cases topped 6.5 million and deaths climbed above 194,000 over the weekend.   
  • COVID-19 cases were growing in 11 states as of yesterday — Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
  • The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects a deadly December, with a possible doubling of COVID-19 fatalities by January.
  • A new CDC study suggests that adults who dine indoors at restaurants are twice as likely to contract COVID-19 as those who don’t.
  • No large employers are opting into the White House’s payroll tax deferral program that took effect September 1.
  • Pfizer’s CEO expressed optimism that its COVID-19 vaccine could be available for distribution by year end if current human testing is successful.
  • Oxford University and AstraZeneca have resumed human testing of their COVID-19 vaccine, paused last week after test subjects suffered apparent adverse reactions.
  • Spikes in Google search results related to gut symptoms and loss of smell and taste can predict COVID-19 hotspots weeks in advance, according to Massachusetts General Hospital researchers.
  • A new study indicates COVID-19 can invade brain cells to replicate itself, causing headaches, confusion and delirium.
  • Doctors at The Ohio State University are urging cardiac screening for athletes who have been infected by COVID-19, including asymptomatic victims, after a study found 1 in 7 suffer from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can be deadly. 
  • The CDC warned about a new and potentially deadly syndrome associated with COVID-19 — multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) — that affects children and strikes several weeks after exposure to the virus.
  • Research suggests Vitamin D may mitigate the risk and consequences of COVID-19.
  • Northeast retailer Century 21, which filed to liquidate under bankruptcy protection last week after 60 years in business, cited the denial of its business interruption insurance claim as a reason for its failure, echoing a dilemma of thousands of businesses facing claim denials.
  • The pandemic and Sino-American trade tensions have frustrated Volvo’s global expansion plans as the company refocuses its Charleston, South Carolina, plant from exports to the U.S. market. 
  • Wood Mackenzie expects electric vehicle sales to comprise 40% of passenger car sales by 2030, creating expanding needs for batteries and the raw materials to build them.
  • Toyota, Continental, Aisin, Navistar and Tesla have all announced automotive projects in Texas, making the state a hotbed of automotive investment.
  • Robots are gaining more functionality in operating rooms as technology advances toward fully autonomous robotic surgery.
  • Recycling as a solid waste solution has fallen short of the industry’s early projections, according to a recent Frontline investigation.
  • As companies rethink their office spaces during the pandemic, the “open office” concept is being replaced by “dynamic workplace,” with varied work spaces designed for collaboration among rotating employees with flexible schedules.

International

  • New COVID-19 cases globally set a daily record yesterday — 307,930 — with 58 countries experiencing rising infections rates, according to the World Health Organization.
  • India recorded more than 92,000 new cases Sunday as total cases in the country approach 5 million, the second highest globally behind the U.S.
  • Brazil, with the second highest COVID-19 fatality rate behind the U.S., recorded 415 deaths on Sunday and 814 on Saturday.
  • COVID-19 infections are spiking in Eastern Europe, with Hungary and the Czech Republic reporting daily infection records.
  • The U.K. experienced more than 10,000 new COVID-19 infections over the weekend, as new restrictions took effect today banning indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than six people.
  • Israel, which experienced over 4,000 new infections in a single day last week, will reinstate a three-week national lockdown starting Friday, closing schools, malls and hotels.

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.

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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