As we approach mid-June, a lot of counties within Pennsylvania have or are preparing to move into the green phase of re-opening. However, there are still a lot of areas in and outside of Pennsylvania that have delayed any re-opening, Philadelphia for example still remains in the yellow phase. Over the past twoweeks we started to see an uptick in the market as small businesses begin re-open with hopes of the economy getting back to a more optimal function. The question then becomes, have we seen the worst effects physically and economically that COVID-19 has caused?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since February 2020, you’ve probably noticed the economic impact worldwide of the novel corona-virus, Covid-19. There has been little to no positive news even as Governors ease restrictions and states/counties move from red to yellow to green phases, until the May 2020 unemployment rates were released days ago. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May saw an increase of 2.5 million jobs and an unemployment rate of 13.3%, down from April’s 14.7%. This number came as a overwhelmingly positive shock as most experts had predicted it to increase to near 20%, the worst figure since the Great Depression.
Just last week, India was hit with the 1st cyclone of the season. Cyclone Amphan struck West Bengal directly wiping out any structure within reach. Amphan’s path of destruction included farmland, schools, businesses, and homes. 10 million people have been affected and 500,000 have lost their homes due to the cyclone. This storm is especially unique because India has recently been on “lockdown” of sorts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A disaster like this is forcing the intermingling of people that have previously been practicing the social distancing concept to flatten the COVID-19 curve. 3 million people were successfully evacuated prior to the storm, but the balance would rather try to fight off mother nature instead of being confined in a small space. It was a true case of “pick your poison”.
With global chatter circling around the latest mass scale respiratory ailment, the coronavirus, there is global glut of petroleum fuels. Like SARS, in 2003, the coronavirus is thought to spread through respiratory droplets being transmitted form one person to another (i.e., sneeze or cough). With the potential for person to person transmission being so high, major travel has been hindered by the fear of either spreading or acquiring the new virus. With more than 17,000 cases already and growing, there is now concerns on how to handle the temporary glut of fuels in the market.
January 1, 2020, marked a big change for marine vessels. The IMO (International Maritime Organization) has implemented a significant reduction in the sulfur content for the shipping industry in 2020. The reduction brings the previous 3.5% sulfur content (bunker fuel), plummeting down to the new 0.5% sulfur requirement. Goldman Sachs estimates the monetary impact could be as much as $240 billion during the 2020 calendar year.