The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 18th June 2021

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

Germany passes law on tougher oversight of supply chains

Germany’s parliament on Friday passed a supply chain act, paving the way for stricter regulation that will force large companies to pay fines of up to 2% of their annual global turnover if they violate the rules.

U.S. import prices accelerate in May; export prices surge

U.S. import prices increased more than expected in May as the cost of petroleum products rose and supply chain bottlenecks boosted prices of other goods, adding to signs that inflation was heating up amid a reopening economy.

GM looking at longer-term supply contracts and partnerships for chips

General Motors Co is looking at signing longer-term supply contracts or partnering with chip and wafer suppliers in the future to mitigate the impact it has seen from the global semiconductor shortage, the automaker's chief financial officer said on Wednesday.

Hyundai Motor Group chases local chipmakers to cut exposure to shortage

Hyundai Motor Group is in talks with South Korean chip companies to help it reduce reliance on foreign supplies amid a global shortage that has halted assembly lines at automakers around the world, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Column: A nickel refinery tops U.S. battery metals wish list

The United States government should invest in nickel refining capacity in coordination with its allies, according to the Biden Administration's 100-day review of critical supply chains.

Volkswagen seeks partners for battery materials race

Volkswagen is in talks with suppliers to secure direct access to raw materials for electric vehicle (EV) batteries via partnerships, one of its board members told Reuters on Tuesday.

Germany, Australia sign hydrogen accord to boost lower-emissions technology

Germany and Australia on Sunday signed a bilateral alliance on hydrogen production and trade to try to facilitate a renewable energy-based hydrogen supply chain between the two countries.

UK's Boohoo weathers supply chain failings with 32% jump in sales

British online fashion retailer Boohoo weathered negative publicity over its supply chain failings, reporting a 32% rise in sales in its latest quarter, benefiting from rising demand as lockdown restrictions eased and the integration of new brands.

Mexico industry output suffers setback in April despite record rebound

Mexican industrial output fell month-on-month for the first time in 11 months in April, even as activity rose by a record margin from the previous year thanks to a rebound from a pandemic-induced contraction in 2020, official data showed on Friday.

China solar association urges companies not to hoard raw materials

Chinese solar power companies should refrain from hoarding raw materials such as polysilicon to prevent a further jump in prices that have already forced some companies to slash production, an industry association said on Thursday.

U.S. solar installations soared in first quarter, supply squeeze weighs

U.S. solar installations are on track for record-breaking growth over the next three years, a view that could be challenged by soaring project costs or accelerated by new subsidies championed by the Biden administration, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.

Trading groups join forces in Brazil to create logistics platform

Commodities trading groups Amaggi, Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) have joined forces with the payments company TIP Bank to create a joint logistics and road freight platform, according to a statement on Wednesday.

China’s factory output, retail sales miss expectations in May

Growth in China’s factory output slowed for a third straight month in May, likely weighed down by disruptions caused by COVID-19 outbreaks in the country’s southern export powerhouse of Guangdong.

Ford starts shipping Bronco SUVs from Michigan assembly plant

Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it had started producing and shipping the new Bronco sport utility vehicles (SUVs) from its Michigan assembly plant, following a delay in the launch of the SUVs due to COVID-19-related issues with the automaker’s suppliers.

Congestion at South China ports worsens on anti-COVID-19 measures

Congestion at container shipping ports in southern China is worsening as authorities step up disinfection measures amid a flare-up in COVID-19 cases, causing the biggest backlog since at least 2019.

Hong Kong ends quarantine curbs on port calls by non-cargo vessels

Hong Kong providers of shipping services are breathing a sigh of relief after authorities announced they would ease strict quarantine restrictions imposed last July on vessels calling at the Asian shipping hub, trade sources said.

Mexican trucking sector asks to delay low-sulfur diesel rule

Arguing that cleaner-burning diesel is not available everywhere in Mexico, the country's trucking sector is asking for delay of an environmental rule that would mandate that all new vehicles use the fuel, according to an industry letter seen by Reuters.

From elsewhere around the web:

Carriers 'feasting' on rates boom, oblivious to supply chain chaos around them. [The Loadstar]

Retail sales remain strong in May; future freight flows look promising. [Freight Waves]

Maersk steps up plans to increase supply chain capacity in North America. [Port Technology]

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