The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 10th May 2024

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

European firms souring on China, lobby group warns

The proportion of European firms that rank China as a top investment destination has hit a record low, a European business lobby group said on Friday, warning that it could take years to restore confidence in the world's No.2 economy.

US overtakes China as Germany's top trading partner

The United States overtook China as Germany's most important trading partner in the first quarter of this year, according to Reuters' calculations based on official data from the German statistics office.

Biden set to impose tariffs on China electric vehicles, sources say

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce new China tariffs as soon as next week targeting strategic sectors including electric vehicles, according to two people familiar with the matter.

EU to target LNG, ships, violations in new Russia sanctions package

European Union ambassadors will hold a first discussion on Wednesday on a planned 14th package of sanctions against Russia over its 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Maersk says Red Sea disruption could cut Asia-Europe capacity by 20%

Disruption to Red Sea container shipping is rising, Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), opens new tab said on Monday, forecasting this will cut the industry's capacity between Asia and Europe by up to 20% in the second quarter.

Focus: Too many tractors: As boom times fade, farm equipment piles up

Falling crop prices are leaving agriculture equipment sellers with an excess of unsold tractors and combines.

Brazil floods hit food silos, disrupt routes to major grains port

Heavy flooding in southern Brazil has hit food storage facilities in lower areas while hampering the shipping of grains to port, jeopardizing the nation's exports and wreaking havoc to the economy of Rio Grande do Sul state, a large soy, rice, wheat and meat producer.

US could ban Chinese connected vehicles or impose restrictions

The U.S. could take "extreme action" and ban Chinese connected vehicles or impose restrictions on them, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday, in the first indication a ban could be on the table after a national security investigation.

Vietnam's China ties loom large in US hearing on market economy upgrade

U.S. President Joe Biden's bid to draw Vietnam closer as a strategic ally clashed with his desire for union workers' votes on Wednesday as trade lawyers sparred over whether the Commerce Department should upgrade the communist-ruled country to market economy status.

South Korea welcomes US decision to extend use of Chinese graphite in EVs

South Korea on Wednesday welcomed a U.S. decision to extend automakers' eligibility for electric vehicle tax credits for cars containing Chinese graphite through 2026.

China issues draft rules to regulate booming lithium battery expansion

China issued draft rules on Wednesday to regulate its lithium battery market, after rapid expansion in the sector hit industry profits and sparked concerns about overcapacity in international market.

Cambodia says it will cut shipping through Vietnam by 70% with new China-funded Mekong canal

Cambodia plans to cut shipping through Vietnamese ports by 70% as a result of a $1.7 billion China-funded upgrade of a canal connecting the Mekong River basin to the Cambodian coast, the country's deputy prime minister told Reuters.

US official says Chinese seizure of TSMC in Taiwan would be 'absolutely devastating'

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Wednesday a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and seizure of chips producer TSMC (2330.TW), opens new tab would be "absolutely devastating" to the American economy.    

US online retail spending up 7% Jan-April, driven by demand for cheaper products, report says

Online retail sales in the U.S. rose about 7% from January to April this year, an Adobe Analytics report showed on Thursday, driven by strong demand for groceries and cheaper discretionary items.

Turkey says it is not easing Israel export ban

Israeli claims of Ankara easing its trade ban with Israel are "absolutely fictional and have nothing to do with reality," Turkish Trade Minister Omer Bolat said on Thursday, as Ankara introduced a three-month reprieve for companies with existing export deals to Israel.

China's exports and imports return to growth, signalling demand recovery

China's exports and imports returned to growth in April after contracting in the previous month, signalling an encouraging improvement in demand at home and overseas as Beijing navigates numerous challenges in an effort to shore up a shaky economy.

German exports rebound in March but industrial orders disappoint

German exports rebounded in March, buoyed by strong U.S. and Chinese demand for German-made goods, but a disappointing month for industrial orders dashed hopes for a swift economic recovery.

German economy likely to stagnate in 2024, IW forecasts

Germany's economy will stagnate in 2024 despite a stronger than expected start to the year, and will continue to lag behind European peers, according to German economic institute IW.

Argentina industrial output crashes near pandemic lows as Milei austerity bites

Argentina's industrial output plunged 21.2% in March from a year ago, the INDEC statistics agency said on Wednesday, the worst slide since the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic as libertarian President Javier Milei pushes a tough austerity package.

French cosmetics sector eyes Xi visit for reprieve on Chinese import rules

France's world-leading cosmetics sector is counting on talks between Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron next week to help minimize the impact on French companies of tough new Chinese import rules requiring the sharing of formulas and manufacturing know-how.

China says it firmly opposes US export control tools

China firmly opposes the abuse of export control tools such as the U.S. entity list, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday, after the U.S. added 37 Chinese firms to a trade restriction list over national security concerns.

Euro zone business activity grows at fastest pace in almost a year

Euro zone business activity expanded at its fastest pace in almost a year last month as a resurgence in the bloc's dominant services industry more than offset a deeper downturn in manufacturing, a survey showed on Monday.

US wholesale inventories drop by unrevised 0.4% in March

U.S. wholesale inventories fell in March, confirming that inventory investment was a drag on economic growth in the first quarter.

Exclusive: Huawei's new phone uses more China-made parts, memory chip

Huawei's latest high-end phone features more Chinese suppliers, including a new flash memory storage chip and an improved chip processor, a teardown analysis showed, pointing to the progress China is making towards technology self-sufficiency.

US Post Office chief defends restructuring plan as net loss narrows

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy defended the Postal Service's 10-year restructuring plan in the face of harsh criticism from lawmakers as the agency reported a second quarter net loss of $1.5 billion.

Gasoline demand growth to slow this year on EV growth in China, U.S.

Global petrol demand growth could halve in 2024, squeezing second-half refinery margins, analysts said, driven by a shift to electric cars in China and the United States and a return to normal consumption after last year's bounce following COVID-19.

Bear market for diesel spells fresh troubles for oil

Profit margins for diesel are slumping as new refineries boost supplies and as mild weather in the northern hemisphere and slow economic activity eat into demand, putting oil prices under further downward pressure.

Hapag-Lloyd: risk zone around Red Sea has not spread to Mediterranean for now

German container shipper Hapag-Lloyd (HLAG.DE), opens new tab on Monday said it continued to avoid the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, adding that the "risk zone" related to possible attacks by Iran-aligned Houthi militants had not spread to the Mediterranean Sea.

Yemen's Houthis chief says group will target any ships related to transport of goods to Israel

The leader of Yemen's Houthis, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, said on Thursday the group would target ships of any company related to supplying or transporting goods to Israel regardless of their destination.

Insight: Sea drone warfare has arrived. The U.S. is floundering.

The U.S. Navy's efforts to build a fleet of unmanned vessels are faltering because the Pentagon remains wedded to big shipbuilding projects, according to some officials and company executives, exposing a weakness as sea drones reshape naval warfare.

Amazon unveils first electric seaport trucks amid push to slash tailpipe emissions (AMZN.O), opens new tab on Tuesday unveiled the first of a dozen Volvo electric big rigs it plans to deploy this year to pick up cargo from the nation's busiest container seaport in Southern California.

Amazon launches online shopping service in South Africa

Amazon (AMZN.O), opens new tab launched its online shopping service in South Africa on Tuesday, challenging a number of online retailers dominated by Naspers' (NPNJn.J), opens new tab

How homegrown startups are boosting e-mobility in Africa

Africa’s cities are some of the most heavily congested in the world.

War upends Ukraine's economy in a shift that may be permanent

Within days of Russian forces invading Ukraine in early 2022, architect Oleh Drozdov made up his mind: he would move his home and business from the besieged eastern city of Kharkiv more than 1,000 km to the west, far from the fighting.

Exclusive: Corporate climate watchdog document deems carbon offsets largely ineffective

Staff at an influential corporate climate action group whose board announced a plan to allow companies to offset greenhouse gas emissions from their supply chain with carbon credits has now found such offsets are largely ineffective, a confidential preliminary draft reviewed by Reuters shows.

Green steel needs tiered incentives to become reality in Asia

It's time for a reality check about decarbonising Asia's vast and growing steel sector. Reducing the carbon footprint is possible, but only in stages, and over a far longer than ideal time period, and only if incentives to do so are available.

Trump vows to target EVs, LNG exports in meeting with oil CEOs, report says

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed to reverse dozens of the Biden administration's environmental rules and policies at a meeting with top U.S. oil executives, where he also asked them to raise $1 billion for his presidential campaign, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Nikola's revenue misses estimates on slowing truck demand

Nikola (NKLA.O), opens new tab missed Wall Street expectations for first-quarter revenue on Tuesday, as the electric truck maker delivered fewer hydrogen fuel cell trucks amid an uncertain macroeconomic outlook and reduced spending by customers.

French carmakers target fourfold jump in EV sales by 2027

France's car industry will aim to ramp up electric car sales fourfold by 2027 under a strategy agreement to be signed with the government on Monday, just as the president of China embarks on a state visit in the country.

Chinese EV makers' plans to make cars in Europe

Some Chinese carmakers are looking to set up manufacturing and assembly plants in Europe as they aim to ramp up sales in the region of lower costs cars to rival their European competitors amid slowing demand at home, the world's largest car market.

China's BYD will consider second Europe plant in 2025, executive says

Chinese automaker BYD (002594.SZ), opens new tab will consider building a second assembly plant in Europe in 2025, its European managing director Michael Shu said on Thursday.

China's April car sales swing to contraction despite NEV milestone

China's car sales fell 5.8% in April from a year earlier, industry data showed on Friday, as a ferocious price war and incentives failed to shake off consumers' caution about spending on big items during a shaky economic recovery.

China's car exports hit record high in April, as domestic sales fall

China's car exports surged to a record high in April, data showed on Friday, as domestic sales slipped 5.8% from a year earlier amid intensifying price competition and consumers' caution about spending on big items during a shaky economic recovery.

Aldi urges suppliers to cut costs and go green amid U.S. expansion

The U.S. arm of German-owned discount supermarket chain Aldi urged its suppliers on Monday to drive down costs, increase production of items like cheese, bring operations closer to stores, and focus on sustainability to sharpen the chain's competitive edge against rivals.

China's green aluminium ambitions hit by erratic rains, power cuts

Erratic rainfall in China's southwest is frustrating a multibillion-dollar push to green an aluminium industry that accounts for almost 60% of global output and, by some estimates, emits more carbon dioxide than Australia.

Interest rates start to fall in Europe as the Fed lags

Global central banks that moved together to battle inflation are starting to scatter, with European rate setters turning dovish while the U.S. Federal Reserve stays cautious about cutting too soon.

Tesla confirms 'one day' shutdown at German factory on May 10

Tesla (TSLA.O), opens new tab will suspend production at its Gruenheide plant near Berlin on Friday, the EV maker confirmed on Tuesday following a newspaper report that said the company was shutting down the factory for four days.

India imposes export duty of 40% on onions, exempts duty on bengal gram imports

India will impose a 40% export duty on onions from May 4, according to a government notification on Friday.

Tyson Foods shares suffer worst one-day decline in a year over demand concerns

Tyson Foods (TSN.N), opens new tab shares suffered their worst one-day decline in a year on Monday after the U.S. meatpacker warned that consumers are under pressure from persistent inflation and high commodity costs could weigh on upcoming results.

Summer of sport to help revive global beer sales

Global brewers are set to sell more beer this year after several quarters of declines, helped by factors from sports and slower inflation to weather patterns and a fading boycott.

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