The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 15th September 2023

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

US holiday sales set for slowest year since 2018 as consumers turn frugal, report says

Holiday sales in the United States are estimated to grow at their slowest pace in five years, according to a report released on Wednesday, as dwindling household savings and worries over the economy prompt consumers to spend judiciously.

Focus: Walmart bets on inventory software ahead of tough holiday shopping season

With 10 weeks to go before the kickoff of the critical holiday shopping season, retail executives are preoccupied with how much and what merchandise to stock to meet demand from choosy shoppers who may be financially strapped.

Instant View: US retail sales, produces prices rise; jobless claims lower than forecast

A slew of U.S. economic data on Thursday showed stronger-than-expected numbers that stoked worries about sticky inflation and reinforced the view that the Federal Reserve is likely to keep interest rates higher for longer.

Asia apparel hubs face $65 billion export hit from extreme weather, study shows

Extreme heat and flooding could erase $65 billion in apparel export earnings from four Asian countries by 2030, as workers struggle under high temperatures and factories close, research from Schroders (SDR.L) and Cornell University showed on Wednesday.

What people are saying about the US auto worker strike

The United Auto Workers union launched simultaneous strikes at three factories owned by General Motors (GM.N), Ford (F.N) and Chrysler parent Stellantis (STLAM.MI) on Friday, kicking off the most ambitious U.S. industrial labor action in decades.

As UAW strike looms, Biden administration considers aid for small suppliers, source says

President Joe Biden's administration is discussing emergency aid to protect smaller firms that supply U.S. auto manufacturers if the United Auto Workers union goes on strike, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

Global diesel shortage boosts prices

Global distillate fuel oil inventories remain much lower than normal for the time of year which is putting strong upward pressure on fuel prices.

US West Coast ports gained market share in August after labor deal, report says

U.S. West Coast ports, which reached a labor deal with their workers this summer, gained market share in August from the previous month, while their main rivals on the East Coast lost ground, Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) said on Monday.

US, Vietnam firms talk business during Biden visit; AI and Boeing deals unveiled

Executives at top U.S. and Vietnamese firms in the semiconductor, tech and aviation sectors met on Monday seeking to forge business partnerships during U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Hanoi which has seen new deals on on planes and AI.

US and Vietnam ink historic partnership in Biden visit, with eyes on China

U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday secured deals with Vietnam on semiconductors and minerals as the strategic Southeast Asian nation lifted Washington to Hanoi's highest diplomatic status alongside China and Russia.

German autos production under growing threat from China - IW study

Imports of Chinese vehicles and parts to Germany jumped 75% in the first half of the year while trade the other way slumped, showing the mounting pressure on Europe's biggest auto production hub.

Focus: Synthetic graphite for EV batteries: Can the West crack China's code?

New investments in the United States and Europe aim to challenge China’s stranglehold on a key ingredient used in most electric vehicle batteries – graphite – but industry experts said that will be an uphill battle.

What is driving Chinese EV exports and their price competitiveness?

The European Commission began investigating on Wednesday whether to set punitive tariffs to protect its producers from imports of cheaper Chinese electric vehicles that it says benefit from state subsidies.

WTO sees signs of fragmented trade, but no de-globalisation

Global tensions have started to fragment trade as rival trading relationships form, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Tuesday, but argued it is premature to declare that globalisation has gone into reverse.

Western firms shift investment from China to India as worries mount

U.S. and European firms are shifting investment away from China to other developing markets, a report from Rhodium Group showed, with India receiving the vast majority of this redirected foreign capital, followed by Mexico, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Peak China gloom or geopolitical quagmire?

Whether China has become "uninvestable" or not, avoidance of the world's second-largest economy suggests the economic and political risks there have simply become too hard to assess.

Apple suppliers slide on China anxiety, threat from Huawei

China's widening curbs on iPhone use by government staff intensified a sell-off in global tech stocks on Friday on fears Apple (AAPL.O) and its suppliers could take a hit from rising Sino-U.S. tensions and growing competition from Huawei.

Qualcomm to supply Apple with 5G chips until 2026 under new deal

Qualcomm (QCOM.O) said on Monday it had signed a deal with Apple (AAPL.O) to supply 5G chips until at least 2026, at a time when the iPhone maker faces increased challenges in China and looks to reinforce its supply chains elsewhere.

Nvidia strikes deals with Reliance, Tata in deepening India AI bet

U.S. chip firm Nvidia (NVDA.O) on Friday announced AI partnerships with Indian conglomerates Reliance Industries and Tata Group to develop cloud infrastructure and language models, as well as generative applications.

Comment: To keep to 1.5C, companies have to resolve the disconnect between growth and climate strategies

We are way past the need to open up our eyes to the future reality we are heading towards.

Amazon plans higher pay for contracted delivery partners (AMZN.O) on Tuesday said it is investing over $440 million over the next year to boost wages for its contracted delivery partners.

Flexport unveils e-commerce tools as returned CEO aims to regain profitability

Logistics startup Flexport on Tuesday unveiled services to make it easier for small businesses to import, store and restock goods they sell on e-commerce marketplaces as its returned CEO races to regain profitability amid a broad freight downturn.

Facing supply glut for chips, Apple-supplier IQE targets Asian and AI markets

British chip components maker IQE (IQE.L) said on Tuesday it was focussed on penetrating Asian markets and growth opportunities from the artificial intelligence (AI) space as it forecast a slower-than-anticipated recovery in the chip industry this year.

ABB invests $280 million in new robotics factory in Sweden

ABB (ABBN.S) is spending $280 million on a new robotics factory in Sweden, the Swiss engineering and technology group said on Wednesday, to meet growing demand from customers moving back production from Asia to avoid supply chain log-jams.

Explainer: RTX engine snag puts spotlight on aerospace quality issues

Aerospace giant RTX Corp (RTX.N) on Monday told airlines hundreds of their Airbus jets would be grounded at any one time in coming years to check for a rare manufacturing flaw, souring the mood in an industry that was only just experiencing some relief from supply chain pressures.

US renewable energy capacity could triple in 10 years on IRA boost: Wood Mackenzie

United States' annual renewable energy capacity could triple in 10 years to 110 gigawatts (GW) as clean-energy law powers more investment in the sector, research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzine said on Wednesday.

Argentina insists on key river tolls amid criticism from neighbors

Argentina must collect tolls on a crucial waterway, the country's energy chief said on Monday after meeting with Paraguayan officials, as a multi-nation conflict over fees for ships carrying grains and other exports intensifies.

OCI Global doubles capacity as shipping industry seeks green methanol

OCI Global (OCI.AS) the world's biggest producer of green methanol, plans to double the production capacity at its Texas facility to 400,000 metric tons per year, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Shipping group Maersk sets up green methanol company

Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) has teamed up with its majority owner to form a new company to produce "green methanol", the shipping company said on Thursday, as it held a naming ceremony for the world's first container vessel powered by the low-carbon fuel.

Trucking firm Estes Express submits revised $1.525 billion bid for Yellow's shipment centers

Trucking firm Estes Express has submitted a revised stalking horse bid worth $1.525 billion in cash for bankrupt Yellow Corp's shipment centers, according to a bankruptcy court filing on Wednesday.

Battle heats up for Hamburg port operator as MSC makes $1.4 billion offer

Swiss-based MSC, the world's biggest container shipping company, has offered to buy almost half of the main operator of Hamburg port in a deal that could be worth nearly 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion), setting the stage for a potential bidding war.

Smurfit Kappa strikes $11 billion WestRock deal to create packaging leader

Ireland's Smurfit Kappa (SKG.I) is buying U.S. rival WestRock (WRK.N) for an agreed $11 billion to create the world's biggest paper and packaging company and try to better navigate weak economies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Waitrose and Aldi cut more prices as Britain's food inflation picture improves

British supermarkets Waitrose and Aldi (ALDIEI.UL) announced further rounds of price cuts on Monday, adding to the country's improving outlook for food inflation.

Ionic Rare Earths ties with Ford in Belfast magnet recycling venture

Ionic Rare Earths (IXR.AX) said on Tuesday it has received UK government investment to build a commercial rare earth magnet recycling facility in Belfast that will supply Ford's (F.N) electric vehicle production facilities in the country.

Instacart's flat shopping orders could hurt ad growth, analysts say

As Instacart touts its hefty advertising revenue in its hotly anticipated IPO offering, purchases on the online grocery platform have flattened in the first half of 2023, a possible obstacle to future ad growth.

China's Gotion to set up a $2 billion lithium battery plant in Illinois

China's Gotion High-tech Co Ltd (002074.SZ) will set up a $2 billion electric vehicle (EV) lithium battery manufacturing plant in Manteno, Illinois that would create about 2,600 new jobs, the state governor's office said on Friday.

Trudeau summons top Canadian grocers in fight against rising food prices

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said he had summoned the country's top grocers to help find solution to the surging food prices and vowed to cut federal taxes on new rental buildings, as he fights an affordability crisis that has dented his party's opinion poll ratings.

Analysis: To cut reliance on China, Russia turns to India for aluminium feedstock

Russia has stepped up imports of the aluminium feedstock alumina from India in recent months to supply its vast Siberian plants, a move that diversifies the sanctions-hit country's supply, helps reduce dependence on China and cuts costs.

Time to target fossil fuel demand, not supply

Just stop oil production - and, for that matter, gas and coal supply. Then there will be hardly any greenhouse gas emissions. Mission accomplished.

Lloyd's in talks with UN over new Black Sea grain insurance cover

Lloyd's of London (SOLYD.UL) is in talks with the United Nations over providing insurance cover for Ukrainian grain shipments if a new Black Sea corridor deal can be reached, its CEO John Neal told Reuters on Thursday.

Verkor raises 2 billion euros for Dunkirk EV gigafactory

PARIS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - French battery startup Verkor said on Thursday it has secured more than 2 billion euros ($2.15 billion) in funding to build its gigafactory in Dunkirk, thanks mainly to a capital increase from investors including infrastructure funds and insurers.

Singapore working with neighbours to build strong regional supply chains

Singapore is working with Malaysia and Indonesia to build a strong regional supply chain base to take advantage of changes in global manufacturing flows, the city-state’s top investment executive said on Thursday.

UPDATE 1-Japan plans to cooperate with Canada on storage battery supply chains

Japan plans to sign a memorandum of cooperation on storage battery supply chains with Canada, an industry ministry official said on Thursday, confirming a report that Tokyo will step up collaboration with the North American country in this area.

Battery startup Lyten raises $200 million in new funding round

Silicon Valley battery startup Lyten said on Tuesday that it raised $200 million in new funding as it looks to scale up manufacturing of lithium-sulfur EV batteries, lightweight composites and sensors.

Spain's Endurance to produce lithium batteries at Mexico auto hub

Spanish battery maker Endurance Motive (END.MC) will start production in the central Mexican state of Puebla next year, becoming one of the first firms to assemble lithium batteries for vehicles in the country, an executive said on Tuesday.

TikTok launches online shopping in the US

TikTok has officially rolled out its e-commerce business in the United States after months of testing, according to a blog post on Tuesday, as its Chinese-owner ByteDance looks to capitalize on the popularity of the social media app.

Amazon opens its biggest last-mile delivery center in Latin America

Amazon (AMZN.O) on Thursday inaugurated its largest last-mile delivery center in Latin America, a warehouse in Mexico's capital, as it seeks to offer faster deliveries in one of the region's most populous cities.

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