The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 19th April 2024

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

US manufacturing output increases in March; February data revised higher

Production at U.S. factories increased solidly in March as output at motor vehicle assembly plants and elsewhere rose, suggesting that manufacturing was turning the corner after being constrained by higher borrowing costs.

US business inventories pick up in February

U.S. business inventories rose in February amid strong gains at retailers and wholesalers, suggesting that inventory investment could contribute to economic growth in the first quarter.

China's economy grew faster than expected in the March quarter

China's economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter, data showed on Tuesday, offering some relief to officials as they try to shore up growth in the face of protracted weakness in the property sector and mounting local government debt.

India's industrial output grows at fastest rate in four months in February

India's industrial output (INIP=ECI) grew at the fastest annual rate in four months in February, increasing 5.7% compared with the same month last year, government data showed on Friday.

German investor morale reaches highest level in two years

German investor morale brightened more than expected in April, reaching the highest level since March 2022, the ZEW economic research institute said on Tuesday.

Smaller US manufacturers warm to Biden's big industrial plan, survey shows

America’s small and mid-sized manufacturers may be warming up to the Biden administration’s push for an aggressive industrial policy.

Baltimore's alternate shipping channels not deep enough, Maersk says

The Baltimore port's alternate shipping channels are not deep enough to accommodate the oceangoing container vessels that Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) and other carriers use, the Danish shipping group said in a statement on Wednesday.

Broker Howden launches Red Sea cargo war insurance as ship risks surge

Howden has started offering war risk cargo insurance to cover vessels sailing through the Red Sea against drone and missile attacks as geopolitical tensions escalate in the region, the UK-based insurance broker told Reuters on Tuesday.

At Chinese trade fair, exporters fear goods are 'as cheap as cabbage'

Wu Huazhan's Chinese television factory used to impose minimum orders to manage production efficiently. Times are now so bleak, it will take any order.

IMF sees slow, steady 2024 global growth; China, war escalation pose risks

The global economy is set for another year of slow but steady growth, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday, with U.S. strength pushing world output through headwinds from lingering high inflation, weak demand in China and Europe, and spillovers from two regional wars.

Biden calls for higher tariffs on Chinese steel

President Joe Biden on Wednesday called for sharply higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese metal products as part of a package of policies aimed at pleasing steelworkers in the swing state of Pennsylvania, at the risk of angering Beijing.

Trump's import tariff proposal would be lose-lose, WTO chief says

The World Trade Organization's chief said on Tuesday that U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to impose a 10% import tariff would prompt retaliation from partners, resulting in a "lose-lose" situation that could upend the trading system.

UK drug shortages swell amid Brexit supply woes, think-tank data shows

Drug shortages in the UK more than doubled between 2020 and 2023 with Brexit likely to "significantly weaken" the country's ability to tackle supply chain snags, according to a report published by the Nuffield Trust think-tank on Thursday.

US trade chief calls for action to shield EV sector from China

The U.S. must take "decisive" action to protect electric vehicles (EVs) from subsidized Chinese competition, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday as she completes a review of Trump-era China tariffs and considers President Joe Biden's call for higher tariffs on imports of Chinese steel.

Exclusive: US plans to restore tariffs on dominant solar technology

The Biden administration is expected to grant a request by South Korea’s Hanwha Qcells to reverse a two-year-old trade exemption that has allowed imports of a dominant solar panel technology from China and other countries to avoid tariffs, two sources familiar with the White House plans said on Wednesday.

Chinese body says EU electric vehicle probe is stacked against China

The European Union's investigation into electric vehicles is stacked against Chinese manufacturers, not transparent and in violation of global trading rules, even before its outcome is known, a Chinese industry body said on Friday.

Laggard EU seeks growth fixes to compete in global shift to new technologies

The European Union risks being left behind by the United States, China and other rivals in the global shift to new technologies if it fails to radically improve the competitiveness and dynamism of its economy.

Losing hope of rescue, some European solar firms head to US

European governments due to move to support their solar power manufacturers this week will be too late to stop solar panel maker Meyer Burger packing up a German factory to send production to the United States.

China's overproduction of clean energy goods needs to be mitigated, Yellen says

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that China's massive investments in advanced manufacturing of clean energy goods have resulted in an unfair playing field that puts American workers and businesses at risk, and it needs to be mitigated.

Micron set to get $6.1 bln in chip grants from US

April 18 (Reuters) - Memory chip maker Micron Technology (MU.O) is set to receive $6.1 billion in grants from the U.S. Commerce Department to help pay for domestic chip factory projects, Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.

Apple CEO says it is considering a manufacturing facility in Indonesia

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) will look into building a manufacturing facility in Indonesia, its CEO said on Wednesday after meeting President Joko Widodo, who hoped the tech giant would increase its local content by partnering with domestic firms.

Apple says it wants to spend more on suppliers in Vietnam

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) wants to boost its investment in Vietnam, state media quoted the U.S. tech giant's CEO Tim Cook as saying in Hanoi on Tuesday, a day after the U.S. company said it wanted to increase spending on suppliers in the Southeast Asian nation.

Volkswagen to invest $210 mln in South African plant

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) plans to invest 4 billion rand ($210.67 million) in its South African manufacturing plant in the Eastern Cape in preparation to manufacture a new SUV from 2027, it said on Tuesday.

Tesla's Musk likely to unveil $2-$3 bln India investment during visit, sources say

Tesla chief Elon Musk is set to announce an investment in India of $2-$3 billion, mainly for building a new factory, when he visits New Delhi next week to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, two sources familiar with the discussions said.

Japan Inc makes a renewed U.S. push as China fears mount

Japanese companies are increasingly hitching their growth plans to the United States, as concerns about Chinese demand and Beijing's influence over supply chains prompt a noticeable pivot toward the world's largest economy.

Exclusive: Mexico, facing US pressure, will halt incentives to Chinese EV makers

Mexico's federal government, under pressure from the U.S., is keeping Chinese automakers at arm's length by refusing to offer such incentives as low-cost public land or tax cuts for investment in EV production, three Mexican officials familiar with the matter said.

US awards Samsung $6.4 billion in grants to boost Texas chip output

The Biden administration will award up to $6.4 billion in grants to South Korea's Samsung (005930.KS) to expand its chip production in central Texas as part of a broader effort to boost U.S. chipmaking, the Department of Commerce said on Monday.

EU countries to pledge help for solar sector, but no trade curbs on China, draft shows

Most European Union countries are set to commit more support to help Europe's ailing solar panel manufacturers on Monday, but steer clear of restrictions on cheap panel imports from China, a draft document showed.

China's Chery to open its first European manufacturing site in Spain

China's Chery Auto has signed a joint venture deal with Spain's EV Motors to produce cars at its first factory in Europe, EV Motors and the Catalan regional government said on Tuesday.

Seeking edge over rivals, Intel first to assemble ASML's next-gen chip tool

Intel (INTC.O) said on Thursday it had become the first company to assemble one of Dutch tech group ASML's new "High NA EUV" lithography tools, an important part of the U.S. computer chip maker's drive to outshine rivals.

TSMC estimates losses of $92.4 mln due to Taiwan earthquake

Taiwan chipmaker TSMC (2330.TW) said the biggest earthquake in at least 25 years that struck the island on April 3 caused estimated losses of T$3 billion ($92.44 million) to the company in the second quarter.

DS Smith agrees $7.2 bln all-share deal with International Paper

U.S.-based International Paper (IP.N) on Tuesday agreed to an all-share deal to buy DS Smith (SMDS.L), valuing the British packaging firm at 5.8 billion pounds ($7.2 billion) and edging out a bid by Mondi (MNDI.L).

DP World to acquire EZW for $2.6 billion in Dubai asset shuffle

DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, has agreed to buy Dubai industrial and logistics infrastructure firm Economic Zones World (EZW) for $2.6 billion, in the latest shuffle of assets among the emirate's state-linked companies.

Paraguay on track for record soy crop, but low river levels slow exports

Paraguay is headed for a record soybean harvest but exporters are worried about low river levels that are slowing shipments along the key Paraguay-Paraná waterway, with a drought in central-west Brazil affecting water levels running downstream.

Exclusive: Russia-Ukraine Black Sea shipping deal was almost reached last month, sources say

Russia and Ukraine negotiated for two months with Turkey on a deal to ensure the safety of shipping in the Black Sea and reached agreement on a text that was to be announced by Ankara but Kyiv suddenly pulled out, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

US sanctions impacting Sovcomflot's ability to trade, CEO of Russian tanker group says

U.S. sanctions are limiting tanker activity for Russia's top shipping group, Sovcomflot, the company's head said on Tuesday, as Washington tightens the screws on Moscow.

Exclusive: Russia and China trade new copper disguised as scrap to skirt taxes, sanctions

Russian copper producer RCC and Chinese firms have avoided taxes and skirted the impact of Western sanctions by trading in new copper wire rod disguised as scrap, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Climate change damage could cost $38 trillion per year by 2050, study finds

Damage to farming, infrastructure, productivity, and health from climate change will cost an estimated $38 trillion per year by 2050, German government-backed research finds, a figure almost certain to rise as human activity emits more greenhouse gases.

UK online retailer ASOS confident on second-half recovery

British online retailer ASOS (ASOS.L) forecast its results would improve this year, as its more flexible model takes shape and it cuts excess stock, making it better placed to compete with Chinese-founded fast fashion giant Shein.

E-commerce firm MercadoLibre to increase staff by 30% in 2024

Latin American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre (MELI.O) plans to increase total staff by 30% in 2024 by hiring some 18,000 people as it seeks to build its business in Mexico and elsewhere, it said on Wednesday.

Zando launches international unit to counter Shein and Temu in South Africa

South African online fashion retailer Zando on Thursday launched an international e-commerce division called Zando Global in the hopes of taking on fast-fashion Chinese e-commerce retailers Shein and Temu at home.

Warehouse-focused REIT Prologis lowers FFO forecast on slowing freight demand

Warehouse-focused real estate investment trust (REIT) Prologis (PLD.N) lowered its full-year forecast for core funds from operations (FFO) on Wednesday, citing lower occupancy due to a slowdown in freight demand, sending its shares down 3% in premarket trading.

US labor union backs Norfolk in proxy battle with Ancora

A top federation of U.S. labor unions has urged Norfolk Southern (NSC.N) shareholders to vote against Ancora's director candidates, arguing the hedge fund's plans for the railroad would compromise safety and improvements being considered.

Euro zone inflation outlook still in the balance - ECB's Hansson

The outlook for euro zone inflation still hangs in the balance, European Central Bank rate setter Ardo Hansson said on Monday, adding it was too early to discuss a possible extension of the ECB's money-printing programme.

Poland to decide by summer if European funds will support EV plant

Poland's government faces a decision by the summer on whether to support a plan of the previous administration to build an electric vehicle (EV) plant with support from European Union recovery funds, a senior official told Reuters.

China Vanke seeks to offload stake in logistics operator GLP, Bloomberg reports

China Vanke (000002.SZ) is seeking to sell its entire stake in logistics firm GLP, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, as the cash-strapped state-backed property developer looks to raise liquidity.

CMA CGM opens trans-Pacific route, orders additional Boeing cargo plane

Shipping giant CMA CGM's air cargo branch will take delivery of two Boeing (BA.N) 777 Freighters later this year as it opens a new trans-Pacific route and has ordered a fifth one for next year, it said on Tuesday.

Japan's Nissan bets on solid-state batteries, gigacasting for next-gen EVs

Japan's Nissan Motor (7201.T) will begin to produce solid-state batteries for electric vehicles at scale by early 2029 and use huge casting machines as it seeks to raise efficiency and drive down costs on future models, the automaker said on Tuesday.

A company's environmental, health and safety team could play a significant role in ESG performance

Environmental Social Governance (ESG) may be used to assess a company's sustainability and brand.

EU to fine Mondelez for blocking cross-border sales, FT reports

The European Union is set to fine Oreo maker Mondelez International (MDLZ.O) for blocking cross-border sales, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Truck maker Volvo's profits drop less than expected as markets normalise

Truck maker Volvo (VOLVb.ST) reported a smaller drop in first-quarter profit than expected on Wednesday as demand returns to more normal levels in many markets following a strong 2023.

US lawmakers angry after Huawei unveils laptop with new Intel AI chip

Republican U.S. lawmakers on Friday criticized the Biden administration after sanctioned Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei unveiled a laptop this week powered by an Intel AI chip.

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