COVID-19 Bulletin: September 15

September 15, 2020 • Posted in News

Good Afternoon,

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Supply

  • Crude prices were higher in mid-day trading, with the WTI up 2.9% at $38.34/bbl and Brent up 2.5% at $40.60/bbl.
  • The natural gas price was up at $2.33/MMBtu. 
  • Hurricane Sally has disrupted oil and gas imports and exports along the Gulf Coast as refineries and ports in the region shut down in advance of its arrival.
  • In a win for farmers, the EPA rejected applications by refiners for retroactive waivers from biofuel mandates.
  • Saudi Aramco unseated Apple as the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization after the tech giant’s stock dropped 17% this month.
  • Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state-owned oil company, said it will drill as many as 100 shale wells in the Permian Basin by the and of next year in an alliance with Occidental.
  • Bankruptcies in the U.S. energy industry are up 62% this year.

Supply Chain

  • Wildfires have consumed more than 4.6 million acres in 10 western states. Hazardous air covers much of the west, with Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco ranked among the most polluted cities in the world.
  • Sally intensified to a Category 2 Hurricane as it slowed and tipped eastward, now expected to strike the Gulf Coast in Mississippi during the next 24 hours. A hurricane warning stretched from New Orleans to the Alabama-Florida border. The storm is moving at just 2 miles per hour, collecting water over the Gulf that could cause life-threatening flooding.
  • Five tropical cyclones are swirling in the Atlantic Ocean for only the second time in recorded history — hurricanes Paulette and Sally, tropical storms Teddy and Vicky, and tropical depression Rene.
  • The federal government is imposing new cybersecurity measures and restrictions on the use of products made in China in its procurement practices in an effort to bolster its supply chain.
  • 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

Confirmed COVID019 Cases in the US
  • Arizona, a COVID-19 epicenter earlier in the summer, reduced its infection rate by 72% in August from July and had no deaths yesterday.
  • Colleges and universities are encountering spiking COVID-19 infection rates, forcing many to lock down and return to online learning.
  • Ohio passed a law providing legal immunity to businesses, schools, healthcare providers and other institutions from legal liability for unintentional harm caused in responding to the pandemic.
  • Only 0.2% of the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion Main Street Lending Program has been issued, as major banks have shunned participation or imposed unattractive terms, posing risks to the economic recovery.
  • Apple’s latest Apple Watch, debuted at the company’s annual launch event today, can measure blood oxygen levels.
Apples Supporting Cast is Ready for Primetime
  • 3M said its healthcare sales in August rose 23% year over year.
  • Thermo Fisher is investing over $140 million to expand production of laboratory consumables amidst historic demand for testing and lab supplies.
  • Demand among reopening businesses for timely COVID-19 testing has spawned a new profession — intermediaries who help find available testing resources.
  • Citibank and Wells Fargo are planning job cuts to counter expected loan losses as the pandemic and economic impacts persist.
  • JP Morgan Chase is urging a return to offices after determining that productivity and “creative combustion” have suffered during the work-from-home era. 
  • Amazon plans to hire 100,000 more hourly workers in North America on top of the 175,000 new hires it has already made during the pandemic. Separately, the company announced last week it is hiring 30,000 office and tech workers.
  • Delta Air Lines, losing $27 million a day, will borrow $6.5 billion against its SkyMiles frequent flier program, joining American Airlines and United Airlines in borrowing against their loyalty programs.
  • In another symbol of the ascendance of the digital economy over bricks-and-mortar retail, Facebook is buying the just-built headquarters of REI near Seattle before the outdoor equipment retailer had a chance to move in.
  • Kroger’s CEO sees food inflation abating and says the trend toward home cooking is here to stay.
  • Hershey is offering online advice for safe trick-or-treating, modifying its product offering and starting promotions early in an effort to salvage its Halloween season, which accounts for 10% of the candymaker’s annual sales.
  • In December, PepsiCo is introducing Driftwell, a new beverage to help pandemic-stressed consumers sleep.

International

  • The World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S.’s 2018 tariffs against China violated international trade regulations.
  • The U.S. State Department lowered its travel warning for Mexico from the highest, Level 4, to Level 3. Restrictions on border crossings are scheduled to expire on September 21.
  • Retail sales in China grew 0.5% in August, the first year-over-year gain of the year.
  • The U.K. unemployment rate rose in July for the first time since lockdowns were imposed in April, putting pressure on the government to extend expiring employment protections as the country faces a second COVID-19 wave.
Daily UK COVID-19 Cases

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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