COVID-19 Bulletin: September 21
September 21, 2020 • Posted in COVID-19
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- Crude prices, which were up 10% last week, sank today on pandemic concerns and news that Libya may return to international markets.
- Crude prices were lower in early trading today, with the WTI down 2% at $40.28/bbl and Brent down 1.9% at $42.33/bbl.
- The natural gas price was steady at $2.01/MMBtu.
- Baker Hughes said active drilling rigs in the U.S. stood at 179 on Friday, down over 600 from the prior year.
- The collapse of the airline industry has driven prices for jet fuel so low it is being blended for lower cost shipping fuel.
- The Interior Department is proposing regulations to hold bankrupt oil companies accountable for abandoned offshore wells.
- Mexico’s government is openly talking about repealing constitutional changes made in 2013 that opened the energy sector to competition and foreign investment.
- Many residents of the Alabama coast and Florida panhandle remained without power over the weekend three weeks after Hurricane Sally, as forecasters were forced to turn to the Greek alphabet to name two new storms, Alpha and Beta, after running out of names on its seasonal list.
- Power in Lake Charles, Louisiana, may not be fully restored for weeks.
- Tropical storm Beta, the 23rd named storm of the season, is expected to hit the Gulf Coast today, dumping heavy rain from Corpus Christi to New Orleans and putting 10 million people under storm warnings.
- Twenty-seven major wildfires continued to burn in California, but the state was able to reopen 9 of 18 national parks closed on September 9, and westerly winds gave citizens a reprieve from smoky air.
- Cooler, more humid temperatures over the weekend helped firefighters contain historic wildfires in Oregon and eased hazardous air conditions in the state.
- 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.
- COVID-19 infections in the U.S. topped 6.8 million and global infections surpassed 31 million over the weekend.
- U.S. COVID-19 deaths are expected to pass 200,000 today.
- The CDC said non-COVID-19-related deaths are over 200,000 above normal this year, an indirect result of the pandemic caused by stress, financial strains and deferred healthcare.
- The CDC reversed a recent change in its COVID-19 guidance, now once again recommending testing for potential asymptomatic people.
- The CDC has concluded that COVID-19 primarily spreads through aerosols and warned about the dangers of poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
- Negotiators in Washington missed their Friday deadline to agree on a short-term spending deal to avert a government shutdown in October. Negotiations are to resume today.
- Jobless rates are running highest in the Northeast and West, where the pandemic has disproportionately impacted more populous areas with tourism- and service-driven economies.
- The supply of homes available for sale in July fell to the lowest level since 1982, down nearly 30% year-over-year, as prospective buyers seek more living space and potential sellers delay listing due to the pandemic.
- GM has shrunk its global footprint from 25 countries to 9 and has cut its workforce by 25% in a strategic shift from chasing size to focusing on profitability and new technologies, such as electric cars and autonomous vehicles.
- With battery prices falling, electric cars are approaching price parity with their fossil fuel counterparts and accelerating adoption.
- Nikola, an electric truck start-up, is looking at sourcing batteries from a third party as its founder resigned under the cloud of SEC and Justice Department investigations for fraud and misrepresentation.
- Up to 11,000 people may have been infected by COVID-19 on flights, according to the CDC.
- Hawaii will reopen to tourists on October 15, requiring arriving travelers to be tested for COVID-19.
- Conditions in the meat industry have reversed, with the demand surge early in the pandemic replaced by weak demand and supply constraints replaced by overabundance, sending prices falling.
- The pandemic has prompted a 92% increase in the use of chatbots in B2B marketing.
- Employers could face a legal quandary trying to mandate employees to get an eventual vaccine.
- AT&T said it will achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, while Walmart raised its sustainability ambitions and will achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.
- Global trade is recovering faster than expected and faster than after the Great Recession, with exports growing in 14 of 38 countries surveyed and China’s year-over-year exports up 9.5% in August.
- COVID-19 cases are spiking in 73 countries.
- The United Nations, commemorating its 75th anniversary and confronted by a pandemic-disrupted world, will meet virtually today.
- India, with more than 5.4 million COVID-19 infections and adding about 90,000 a day, is on pace to surpass the U.S. with the highest number of cases in the coming weeks.
- With daily infection rates back to May levels, the U.K. is considering another national lockdown and has imposed a nearly $13,000 penalty on infected people who fail to isolate.
- Canada, Mexico and the U.S. extended restrictions on border crossings through October 21.
- Ontario, Canada, is extending crowd limits province-wide as daily COVID-19 infections spike to the highest levels in months.
- The head of Canada’s Conservative Party tested positive for COVID-19.
- The president of Guatemala tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
- COVID-19 cases among older people are accelerating in Europe, raising concerns about coming hospitalization and mortality rates.
- Japan appears to have cracked the code on coexisting with COVID-19, achieving falling infection rates with an active economy through smart science and personal discipline among the population.
- With international travel stalled, some airlines are scheduling “trips to nowhere” for nostalgic travelers. A recent Qantas Airways flight sold out in 10 minutes.
- 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.