The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 5th February 2021

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

GM hit by chip shortage, to cut production at four plants
General Motors Co became the latest automaker hit by the global shortage of semiconductor chips as the U.S. automaker said on Wednesday it will take down production next week at four assembly plants.

Taiwan to discuss supply chains with U.S. next week amid auto shortage

Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua will hold a virtual meeting with the United States next week to discuss supply chains, with semiconductor firms present, her ministry said on Friday, amid a global shortage of chips used by automakers.

U.S. manufacturing sector slows; prices paid by factories highest since 2011 – ISM
U.S. manufacturing activity slowed slightly in January, while a measure of prices paid by factories for raw materials and other inputs jumped to its highest level in nearly 10 years, strengthening expectations inflation will perk up this year.

UK factory growth slows as COVID and Brexit combine -IHS Markit
British manufacturers suffered a double hit last month as COVID-19 disruption to global shipping combined with new trade barriers with the European Union, according to a survey published on Monday.

Wrapped in Brexit red tape, a UK freight firm struggles to trade
In just one month of post-Brexit trading, British logistics expert Jon Swallow has seen exports dive, prices rise and customers become so desperate that he is practically offering a counselling service to his customers. Soraya Ali reports.

Africa's pandemic-hit mining sector faces exploration challenge
Travel restrictions, supply chain disruptions and risk aversion since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have slammed the brakes on mining exploration in Africa, jeopardising the minerals supply pipeline.

Road block protests disrupt Argentine grains export operations

Argentine agricultural exports were disrupted on Wednesday as truckers blocked roads around the Buenos Aires ports of Bahia Blanca and Quequen and authorities cleared roads near the main export hub of Rosario.

China's factory recovery slows in January as COVID-19 returns
China’s factory activity grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, hit by a wave of domestic coronavirus infections, but still in line with the ongoing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

Manufacturing and freight drive diesel-led oil recovery
U.S. consumption of distillate fuel oil used as diesel and heating oil has recovered close to its pre-epidemic level, boosted by a rebound in manufacturing output and freight movements since the first wave of coronavirus.

Exclusive: Pharma distributors in talks with U.S. for cut of COVID-19 vaccine shipping deal – sources
U.S. pharmaceutical distributors are talking to federal officials about increasing the number of companies shipping coronavirus vaccines as part of the Biden administration’s push to speed up inoculations, according to an industry executive and three people familiar with the matter.

Congresswoman urges Biden team to involve more distributors in COVID vaccine shipments
A Democratic U.S. lawmaker urged the Biden administration to involve additional major healthcare distributors in the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to speed vaccinations, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Supply delays threaten German manufacturing prospects- PMI
Increasing supply delays threaten to slow Germany’s manufacturing sector, which remained in growth territory in January despite a hard lockdown to quell a second wave of the coronavirus, a survey showed on Monday.

White House plans to send millions of vaccine doses to retail pharmacies
The White House next week will start shipping coronavirus vaccines directly to retail pharmacies alongside ongoing deliveries to states, increasing weekly supplies of shots nationwide to 11.5 million, a top aide said on Tuesday.

Ebay earnings beat on pandemic-driven surge in online shopping; shares soar
E-commerce firm eBay Inc said on Wednesday it would emerge “stronger” from the COVID-19 crisis after a pandemic-driven surge in online shopping helped the company beat estimates for sales and profit in the holiday quarter.

Some silver dealers chase supply as retail frenzy hots up, but China and India stay cool
A GameStop-inspired frenzy of retail investment in silver has left physical dealers from the U.S. to Singapore scrambling for bars and coins, but the rush to buy was much more muted in the leading Asian consumers of physical bullion, China and India.

From elsewhere around the web

Why the empty container math doesn't add up in US exporters' favour[Supply Chain Dive]

Study Reveals Supply Chain Analytics Market to Cross $10B by 2027[SDC Exec]

The Home Depot’s culture of supply chain innovation [Freight Waves]

Plea for help as Brexit supply chain red tape 'strangles' UK fashion industry[The Loadstar]

Amazon says fulfilment, logistics expansion will help it return to 1-day delivery[Supply Chain Dive]

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