The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 14th June 2024

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

EU hits Chinese EVs with tariffs, drawing rebuke from Beijing

The European Commission said it will impose extra duties of up to 38.1% on imported Chinese electric cars from July, risking retaliation from Beijing which said on Wednesday it would take measures to safeguard its interests.

EU tariffs on China: Global reaction

The European Commission said on Wednesday it would set provisional duties of up to 38.1% on imports of Chinese electric vehicles, a move likely to draw possible retaliation from China.

Breakingviews: Chinese EV makers will drive around EU tariffs

Chinese electric-car makers in Europe can circumnavigate the bloc’s new duties.

US bars imports from China footwear, seafood, aluminum firms over Uyghur labor

The U.S. has added three more companies to a list that bars imports from firms allegedly involved with Uyghur forced labor in China, according to a U.S. government notice posted online on Tuesday.

China firms seek probe into EU pork as trade row deepens

Chinese firms have formally applied for an anti-dumping probe into pork imports from the European Union, the state-backed Global Times reported, escalating tensions after the bloc imposed anti-subsidy duties on Chinese-made electric vehicles.

Bound by rules and economics, EU trails U.S. on China tariffs

The European Union's plan to hike tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) reflects a firming of its stance towards Beijing, but falls short of a tougher U.S. position tending towards an outright decoupling from China.

U.S. East Coast port union strike threat to test shippers' nerves

Labor talks at U.S. ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico are a looming risk for retailers, manufacturers and other shippers already grappling with longer transit times and higher costs.

Exclusive: Ghana to delay more cocoa deliveries as supply crisis worsens

The world's second largest cocoa producer Ghana is looking to delay delivery of up to 350,000 tons of beans to next season due to poor crops, five sources told Reuters in a further worsening of the outlook for the global chocolate industry.

Biden administration touts quick Baltimore channel reopening

This week's reopening of Baltimore's main shipping channel - less than three months after the Key Bridge collapse - was due to expertise gained from a COVID-era task force, a highway overpass collapse and the 2021 infrastructure law, government officials said.

FedEx to cut up to 2,000 back-office jobs in Europe amid weak freight demand

FedEx (FDX.N) is planning to cut between 1,700 and 2,000 back-office jobs in Europe, in its latest push to cut costs as the parcel delivery giant combats a slump in freight demand.

Rhine in south Germany reopens to shipping as water levels fall

The river Rhine in south Germany reopened to cargo shipping on Wednesday after being closed by high water on Tuesday, navigation authorities said.

Indians get hooked on 10-minute grocery apps, squeezing small retailers

In a middle-class suburb of Mumbai, workers at SoftBank-backed Swiggy's grocery warehouse race against time to deliver orders within 10 minutes. Their speed is tracked by the seconds on a screen that flashes red warnings for slowness.

China's discount wars risk cementing frugal consumer mindset

An aggressive market grab by low-cost Chinese retailers has delivered bumper earnings for some firms but has also intensified a bruising price war, exacerbating deflationary fears in the world's second-largest economy.

Germany says 'serious movement' needed from China in EV tariff row

Germany wants "serious movement" from China on the issue of tariffs on imported electric vehicles and hopes that talks in the coming weeks can stave off an escalating trade conflict, a government spokesperson said on Friday.

US manufacturing group calls for stronger protection against Chinese imports

A policy group led by the United Steelworkers union and domestic manufacturers is calling for the U.S. to enact stronger trade barriers to Chinese imports after President Joe Biden imposed steep tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, solar panels and other strategic goods.

EU slaps tariffs on China: A breakdown by company

The European Commission notified carmakers on Wednesday that it would apply additional duties of up to 38.1% on imported Chinese electric vehicles from next month, a move likely to draw possible retaliation from China.

Stellantis cuts costs rather than turn defensive as Chinese threat grows

Stellantis (STLAM.MI) will aggressively move to cut costs as competition from Chinese automakers intensifies rather than use a "defensive" strategy that relies on tariffs on Chinese-made imports that European officials are set to institute in that region, its CEO said on Thursday.

Chinese solar firms suspend some production in Southeast Asia after US tariff holiday expires

Two of the world's largest solar panel producers said they were suspending some production in Southeast Asia this week, after a U.S. tariff reprieve on solar panels from some Southeast Asian countries expired.

South Africa's tax change to level playing field for clothing retailers, Mr Price CEO says

Regulatory changes that will impose a 45% import duty on all imported clothing items that come into South Africa will level the playing field for local retailers, the CEO of value fashion retailer Mr Price (MRPJ.J) said on Thursday.

China solar panel manufacturers seek government action to halt freefall in prices

Chinese solar panel manufacturers said they are seeking immediate government intervention to curb investment and industry collaboration to arrest a plunge in prices of solar cells and modules, as the industry faces overcapacity.

US lawmakers call to add China's CATL, Gotion to import ban list, WSJ reports

Chinese battery companies CATL (300750.SZ) and Gotion High Tech (002074.SZ) should be added immediately to a U.S. import ban list, a group of Republican lawmakers said, alleging their supply chains use forced labour, the Wall Street Journal reported.

European carmakers exposed to any Chinese retaliation for EU tariffs

The European Commission will apply additional duties of up to 38.1% on imported China-made electric cars from July, a move that Beijing is likely to retaliate against.

Chinese automakers committed to Europe despite EV tariff probe, industry group says

Chinese automakers' plans to invest in Europe won't be deflected by the EU's anti-subsidy probe into Chinese-made electric vehicles, a leading Chinese auto industry association said on Tuesday.

China's Chery Auto: EU factory will help mitigate EV tariffs

Chery Auto (CHERY.UL), China's largest automaker by export volume, expects its planned production in Europe to help offset the impact of European Union tariffs on imports of China-made electric vehicles, a senior executive said on Thursday.

BMW electric Mini threatened with highest EV tariff from EU, source says

BMW's all-electric Mini made in China is set to be hit by the highest EV tariff of 38.1% under the EU's provisional plans, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday, a potential terminal blow for the mid-range car's sales prospects.

Tesla expects to raise price of China-made cars in EU after duty increase

Tesla (TSLA.O) expects to increase the price of its Model 3 because of European Union import duties on electric vehicles (EVs) made in China, the carmaker said on its website on Thursday.

German government considers pausing supply chain law for two years, says minister

The German government is considering pausing the country's supply chain due diligence law for two years to ease the bureaucratic burden on companies until a European directive takes effect, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Friday.

Airbus frets over global trade tensions amid EU-China spat

Europe's Airbus (AIR.PA) on Wednesday highlighted the impact of growing trade tensions after Europe followed the United States in increasing tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles.

Boeing plane deliveries drop by half in May year-on-year

Boeing (BA.N) said on Tuesday it delivered 24 commercial planes in May, about half of the 50 jets it handed over to customers during the same month a year earlier, as it continued operating a slower assembly line to complete outstanding work.

Exclusive: Boeing investigates quality problem on undelivered 787s

Boeing (BA.N) is investigating a new quality problem with its 787 Dreamliner after discovering that hundreds of fasteners have been incorrectly installed on the fuselages of some undelivered jets, two people familiar with the matter said.

FAA investigating titanium used in some Boeing and Airbus jets

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether false or incorrect documents were used to verify the authenticity of titanium used in some recently manufactured Boeing (BA.N) jets, the agency said.

Volvo shifting EV production to Belgium to avoid China tariffs, The Times reports

Volvo cars (VOLCARb.ST) has started to shift production of Chinese-made electric vehicles to Belgium in the expectation that the European Union will drive ahead with a crackdown on Beijing-subsidised imports, the Times reported on Saturday.

French cognac makers 'deeply concerned' after EU slaps tariffs on Chinese EVs

French cognac producers are "deeply" worried about the results of a Chinese probe into European cognac imports, a trade body said on Wednesday, after the European Commission imposed tariffs on imports of Chinese electric vehicles.

Oil demand set to peak by 2029, major supply glut looms, IEA says

Global oil demand will peak by 2029 and begin to contract the following year while the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries add to supply, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday, resulting in a major surplus this decade.

US refining margins slump as fuel stocks climb

U.S. oil refineries have been processing petroleum at the fastest rate for the time of year since before the pandemic, but rising fuel inventories have begun to weigh on crack spreads and likely signal a slowdown ahead.

US manufacturers in halting recovery but diesel use tepid

U.S. manufacturers are gradually emerging from a prolonged but shallow slowdown over the last two years, but progress has been fitful, and their consumption of diesel remains tepid, which is weighing on oil prices.

Malaysia begins diesel subsidy reforms, prices to rise by about 50% on Monday

Diesel fuel prices in much of Malaysia are set to rise by roughly 50% on Monday as the government begins shifting away from costly blanket subsidies to a targeted approach that mainly helps the needy.

US producer prices unexpectedly fall in May

U.S. producer prices unexpectedly fell in May amid lower energy costs, another indication that inflation was subsiding after surging in the first quarter.

US import prices unexpectedly fall in May

U.S. import prices import unexpectedly fell in May amid lower prices for energy products, providing another boost to the domestic inflation outlook.

US raises truck, SUV fuel economy rules, much less than first proposed

President Joe Biden's administration Friday finalized tighter vehicle fuel economy rules through 2031 that are significantly less stringent than first proposed, a win for the Detroit Three automakers who lobbied heavily for revised rules.

Italy's De Nora says orders already equal new electrolyser gigafactory output

Industrie De Nora (DNR.MI) began construction of Italy's largest electrolyser manufacturing plant on Tuesday to meet expected demand growth for green hydrogen, which forms part of the EU's plans to replace fossil fuels in energy intensive industries.

Audi to invest $1 bln in electric vehicles projects in Mexico

German carmaker Audi will invest one billion euros ($1.08 billion) in electric vehicle projects in the Mexican state of Puebla, the state's governor said on Tuesday.

Gotion High Tech Morocco gigafactory to start production in 2026

China's Gotion High Tech (002074.SZ) will start production at a gigafactory it plans to build in Morocco in the third quarter of 2026, Hicham Chaoudri, director at the investment department said on Friday.

Chipmaker Intel to halt $25-billion Israel plant, news website says

Intel Corp (INTC.O) is halting plans for a $25-billion factory in Israel, Israeli financial news website Calcalist said on Monday, in a report that the chipmaker did not confirm or deny.

DFS Furniture warns on profit, shares hit record low

A profit warning from Britain's DFS Furniture (DFSD.L) sent its shares to record lows on Wednesday reflecting subdued demand, delivery delays and higher freight costs due to shipping disruptions in the Red Sea.

Houthis say they targeted Greek-owned ship damaged in Red Sea

Iran-allied Houthi militants on Wednesday took responsibility for small watercraft and missile attacks that left a Greek-owned cargo ship taking on water and in need of rescue near Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

US military confirms Houthi missile strikes on two ships in Gulf of Aden

Yemen's Houthi damaged two commercial vessels in missile attacks in the Gulf of Aden in the last 24 hours as part of the militia group's ongoing campaign against international ocean shipping, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Sunday.

Red Sea ships attacks push 47% more crude oil, fuels around Africa

Global crude oil and oil products shipments taking the long route between Asia, the Middle East and the West is up 47% since attacks began on vessels using the shorter Red Sea route, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

China's vast copper overhang will clear, one way or another

The massive overhang of copper in China is starting to work its way through the global market dynamics for the industrial metal, with prices easing and trade flows likely to adjust.

China issues draft rules to expand cross-border e-commerce

China on Tuesday issued draft rules to promote construction of overseas warehouses and expand cross-border e-commerce businesses, which have become a vital force in its foreign trade, according to the Chinese commerce ministry.

Launch of US wind installation vessel masks critical shortage

The launch of the first U.S.-built wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) in April marked an important milestone for the offshore wind sector.

Rewarding farmers for regenerative agriculture is ‘critical for decarbonising the food sector’

The food sector is one of the biggest contributors to the climate and nature crises. The way we grow, distribute, consume and dispose of food is responsible for one third of total greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Exclusive: Italian prosecutors probing supply chain of around a dozen fashion brands

Prosecutors in Milan are investigating the supply chain of around a dozen more fashion brands, a person with knowledge of the matter said, after a unit of France's LVMH (LVMH.PA) in Italy was placed under court administration in a worker exploitation probe.

Italian court seeks tougher checks on luxury suppliers after worker exploitation probes

Luxury firms should beef up checks on suppliers to ensure they respect labour laws, according to Italy-wide proposals from Milan's court of justice following worker exploitation probes involving units of LVMH (LVMH.PA) and Giorgio Armani.

Mexico to review alleged labor rights violations at Volkswagen facilities

Mexico accepted a formal request from the United States to review alleged labor rights violations at Volkswagen Mexico facilities in the state of Puebla, the government said on Tuesday.

UK imposes first sanctions targeting ships breaching Russian oil restrictions

Britain on Thursday imposed its first sanctions targeting vessels in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s "shadow fleet" that it said was used to circumvent Western sanctions on the trade in Russian oil.

Canada's Shopify posts smaller-than-expected third-quarter loss

Canadian e-commerce software maker Shopify Inc reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday as more merchants used its software platform to set up and manage online stores.

Amazon fends off US class action over 'guaranteed' delivery window (AMZN.O) has persuaded a Seattle federal judge to dismiss a proposed consumer class action that accused the ecommerce giant of failing to meet its stated "guaranteed" delivery for some purchases.

FTC lawsuit over Amazon's Prime program set for June 2025 trial

A judge has set a June 2025 trial in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s case accusing of deceptively enrolling millions of online shoppers into the e-commerce giant’s Prime service without their consent and making it hard for them to leave.

India's Ola Electric wins approval for $660 mln IPO, sources say

Indian e-scooter maker Ola Electric has received regulatory approval to go ahead with its $660 million Initial Public Offering, said two sources with direct knowledge, paving the way for the country's first ever EV stock listing.

Fast fashion retailer Shein hikes prices ahead of IPO

Fast fashion retailer Shein, known for its China-made $5 tops and $10 dresses, has hiked prices by over a third on some core products, in a move likely to boost revenues ahead of its planned IPO, according to an analysis of its pricing strategy.

Shein's pre-IPO charm offensive hits roadblocks in Europe

As online fast-fashion retailer Shein ramps up its pre-IPO charm offensive in Britain, pushback is growing too from Europe's retail industry and lawmakers.

South Korea's Yoon heads to Central Asia for talks on energy, minerals

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol embarked on a trip to Central Asia on Monday to hold talks on strengthening diplomatic ties and cooperating in areas such as energy and minerals, Yoon's office said.

Workers at Inditex's Zaragoza logistics hub to get 12% pay rise

Around 1,800 workers at one of Zara owner Inditex's main logistics centres in Spain will get a direct pay increase totalling 12% over the next three years plus additional compensation under a preliminary deal unions said they had reached with the company.

Sigma's $5.9 bln merger with Australia's Chemist Warehouse raises regulatory concerns

Australia's competition regulator on Thursday flagged major concerns with Sigma Healthcare's (SIG.AX) proposed merger with retailer Chemist Warehouse Group to form a A$8.8 billion ($5.9 billion) company.

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