The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 7th May 2021

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

Supply chain bottlenecks amid roaring demand slow U.S. manufacturing

U.S. manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in April, restrained by shortages of inputs as rising vaccinations against COVID-19 and massive fiscal stimulus unleashed pent-up demand.

UK factory activity expands at fastest rate since 1994

British manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace in almost 27 years last month, amid supply chain delays and shortages of raw materials, as businesses tried to make up for ground lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

EU unveils plan to cut dependency on China, others

The European Union unveiled on Wednesday a plan to cut its dependency on Chinese and other foreign suppliers in six strategic areas like raw materials, pharmaceutical ingredients and semiconductors after the pandemic-induced economic slump.

Deutsche Post DHL hikes outlook again on ecommerce boom

German logistics company Deutsche Post raised its financial outlook again on Wednesday after more than tripling its operating earnings in the first quarter, predicting e-commerce will keep booming and global trade will rebound.

Amazon’s sales and profit rise as retailer rides wave of pandemic shopping Inc, one of the biggest winners of the pandemic, posted record profits on Thursday and signaled that consumers would keep spending in a growing U.S. economy and converts to online shopping are not likely to leave.

Daimler, Volvo seek huge cuts in hydrogen fuel cell costs by 2027

Daimler Trucks and Volvo AB (VOLVb.ST) said on Thursday they aim jointly to cut the costs of hydrogen fuel cells by a factor of five or six by 2027 as they seek to make the zero-emission technology commercially viable for long-haul trucking.

GM's Barra sees a more profitable future through the haze of chip shortage

General Motors Co and Chief Executive Mary Barra were forced by the semiconductor supply-chain crunch to slash production and sell fewer vehicles at higher prices

German car industry association cuts 2021 output forecasts

The German auto industry association VDA cut its production forecast for the year, blaming supply chain bottlenecks and a disappointing recovery over the first quarter for the move.

ASIA RICE Indian rates hit 5-month low as pandemic strains logistics

Top exporter India's rice prices slipped to their lowest in five months this week on a weaker rupee and as rising coronavirus cases posed logistical bottlenecks.

Caterpillar flags supply-chain risks as global recovery boosts earnings

Caterpillar Inc on Thursday reported higher quarterly earnings but warned supply-chain bottlenecks, particularly a global shortage of semiconductor chips, could affect its ability to keep up with increasing customer orders.

German business optimistic, but supply chain troubles weigh

 German companies are increasingly optimistic about their operations in China and North America, a survey issued on Tuesday by the German Chambers of Commerce found, but they took a dimmer view of their prospects in eastern Europe and South America.

Boohoo's earnings soar despite criticism of UK supply chain

British online fashion retailer Boohoo reported a 37% jump in annual core earnings, benefiting from the rise in digital shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic and weathering the negative publicity over its supply chain failings.

Signify raises 2021 forecasts, lighting up shares despite supply woes

Signify, the world’s largest lighting maker, said it would continue to suffer supply-chain disruptions into the second quarter including fallout from the Suez Canal blockage, prolonging shortages of semiconductor and other components.

U.S. solar industry unveils guidelines to free supply chain of forced labour

The top U.S. solar industry trade group on Thursday issued a set of voluntary guidelines to solar panel manufacturers that it said could help rid products installed in the United States of components built abroad with forced labour.

Cargill steps up push to cut carbon emissions from shipping fleet

Cargill, one of the world's biggest charterers of ships, has cut nearly 1.5 million tonnes of gross carbon emissions from its fleet since 2017, a top company executive said, as it steps up efforts to go green.

Low Parana river level 'trims' Argentine farm exports

Argentina’s Parana River, the grains superhighway that takes soy and corn from the Pampas farm belt to the world, has gotten so shallow that it has started “trimming” international shipments just as the country’s export season gets underway.

From elsewhere around the web:

Supply chains play inventory catch-up against a growing backlog of orders.[Supply Chain Dive]

COSCO Shipping, China Mobile and Dongfeng Motor Corporation to develop self-driving vehicles.[Port Technology]

Aircraft flying full as volumes – and air freight rates – go up another gear.[The Loadstar]

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