The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 3rd February 2023

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

Traders see inflation falling this year - JPMorgan survey

Most traders believe global inflation has peaked, while potential recession has emerged as the main risk to markets this year, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

'Party is over': Hapag Lloyd CEO says freight rates to keep declining

Container freight rates will keep declining in the current realignment of shipping demand and supply, said the chief executive of Germany's liner Hapag Lloyd (HLAG.DE), the world's number five by transport capacity.

How can retailers shore up their supply chain contracts in 2023?

If you were a gambler, would you bet that the conflict in Ukraine will end in 2023 and that global sanctions against Russia will be removed? Or that another trade war won't spark new tariffs? Could you pick which industries have no ties whatsoever to forced labor? Or could you tell a greenwashed product apart from one that is legitimately carbon-neutral?

ESG and the Supply Chain

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues remain a priority for regulators, investors, and other corporate stakeholders, making it crucial for companies to develop robust polices and mandates to address ESG risks in their supply chains.

EU diesel price cap to limit Moscow's choice of buyers, including Asia

A proposed EU price cap on Russian diesel may be high enough to allow Moscow to continue exporting the fuel, but in practice could deter big Asian buyers who have become used to buying cheap Russian crude to refine it themselves, analysts say.

Column: U.S. diesel stocks start the year critically low

Slowdowns in manufacturing activity and freight transportation have combined with unusually high refinery run rates to stabilise and rebuild U.S. distillate fuel oil inventories modestly since the start of October.

Global factory activity contracted again in January, highlighting fragile recovery

Manufacturing activity across the United States, Europe and Asia contracted again last month, underscoring the fragility of the global economic recovery, although factories in the euro zone at least may have passed the trough, surveys showed on Wednesday.

Column: U.S. manufacturing is in recession

U.S. manufacturing is already in recession based on the latest monthly report on business from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) issued on Feb. 1:

German manufacturers' outlook brightens but orders keep falling in Jan-PMI

German manufacturers started the year with a slightly brighter outlook on the year ahead despite the fact that orders continued to fall, as inflation and supply chain problems eased, a survey showed on Wednesday.

German exports drop 6.3% in Dec, suggesting slowing economy

German exports fell more than expected in December amid high inflation and market uncertainty, suggesting a slowing down in Europe's largest economy despite fading supply chain problems.

U.S. factory orders rebound in December

New orders for U.S.-manufactured goods rebounded in December, but higher interest rates are weighing on business spending on equipment, which could keep manufacturing under pressure.

China's industrial profits contract in 2022 on COVID woes

Profits at China's industrial firms fell 4% in 2022 from a year earlier, official data showed on Tuesday, squeezed by the impact of strict COVID-19 curbs, but an expected economic recovery this year is likely to revive the sector's sales and earnings.

China's Jan factory activity contracts at slower pace - Caixin PMI

China's factory activity shrank more slowly in January than in the previous month thanks to the end of the country's zero-COVID policy, though infections among workers still hampered production, a private sector survey showed on Wednesday.

China's 2022 smartphone sales plunge to lowest level in a decade

China's smartphone sales endured a record fall in 2022, tumbling 13% to their lowest level in a decade as COVID controls and a slowing economy sapped consumer appetite, data from third-party research firms showed.

U.S. solar prices still soaring as projects stalled

U.S. solar energy contract prices have soared by a third over the past year as project developers have struggled to get imported panels, according to a report published late on Monday.

EU sets out green industry deal to take on U.S. and China

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed allowing increased levels of state aid so that Europe can compete with the United States as a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and other green products and reduce its dependence on China.

British EV startup Arrival to lay off half its staff, names insider as CEO

Britain's Arrival SA said it was laying off 50% of its employees in a move that will help halve its cash operating expenses, as the electric-vehicle startup tries to ride out a cash crunch threatening its survival in the competitive market.

Exclusive: EV maker Rivian to cut 6% of jobs amid price war -internal memo

Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O) is laying off 6% of its workforce in an effort to cut costs as the EV maker, already grappling with falling cash reserves and a weak economy, braces for an industry-wide price war.

China's to shut e-commerce sites in Indonesia, Thailand

China's (9618.HK) is to close its e-commerce services in Indonesia and Thailand, retreating from Southeast Asia after a bruising year for China's retail and technology sectors.

China, U.S. spar at WTO meeting over disputes

China and the United States exchanged sharp criticism at a World Trade Organization meeting on Friday, with Beijing calling Washington a "unilateral bully" and the U.S. accusing its rival of illegal retaliatory measures.

Europe’s autos have weak defences against China

China has been a golden goose for western carmakers like Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and BMW (BMWG.DE). But increasingly it is looking like a threat.

Scholz seeks to secure more critical minerals on South America tour

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz lobbied this week for South America to prioritize cooperating with Germany in its commodities sector as Berlin joins the race for critical minerals, with lithium key for its auto industry.

Column: China hikes aluminium tariffs but export boom already over

China raised export tariffs on unwrought primary aluminium and alloy at the start of this year after a rare burst of export activity in the first part of 2022.

EU steel demand to fall 1.6% in 2023 on costs, supply chain - Eurofer

Steel demand in the European Union is expected to drop 1.6% this year, hit by raging inflation, supply chain problems and cheap imports, industry group Eurofer said on Thursday.

U.S. job openings increase to five-month high as labor market stays tight

U.S. job openings unexpectedly rose in December, showing demand for labor remains strong despite higher interest rates and mounting fears of a recession, which could keep the Federal Reserve on its policy tightening path.

Polish competition watchdog accuses Amazon EU of misleading consumers

Poland's competition watchdog has accused e-commerce giant Amazon's (AMZN.O) European arm of misleading sales and delivery practices, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) said on Wednesday.

Amazon workers in Barcelona strike over warehouse closure

Workers at an Amazon (AMZN.O) logistics centre on the outskirts of Barcelona protested on Thursday on the second day of an indefinite strike sparked by the company's plans to shut down the warehouse and relocate employees to other provinces.

India's Mahindra Logistics reports sharp fall in Q3 profit as costs surge

Indian logistics solutions provider Mahindra Logistics (MALO.NS) reported a 21.5% fall in its third-quarter profit on Wednesday as costs ballooned.

FedEx to cut senior jobs as part of larger staff reduction

FedEx Corp (FDX.N) on Wednesday said it would cut its officer and director ranks by more than 10% as part of a broad cost-reduction effort that has reduced staffing at the delivery giant by 12,000 workers since June, a spokeswoman said.

C.H. Robinson misses profit estimates as freight prices fall

Logistics company C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc (CHRW.O) on Wednesday reported a lower-than-expected quarterly adjusted profit as a sagging economy hurt freight demand and prices.

UPS beats quarterly profit target, poised for 'cloudy' 2023

United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) on Tuesday said it would shelter 2023 profits from expected revenue declines as decades-high inflation, rising interest rates and recession fears weigh on the bellwether global transportation industry.

Senegal president says finance constraints lifted for DP World's $1.1 bln port

Senegal's President Macky Sall said on Thursday that financing is in place to enable construction to begin in earnest on a $1.13 billion deep-water port being developed by Dubai's state-owned port operator DP World.

Israel's StoreDot partners with Circulor on supply chain tracking

StoreDot, an Israeli start-up developing fast-charging batteries, said on Tuesday it has partnered with UK start-up Circulor, which uses blockchain technology to map supply chains for companies pursuing greener, more sustainable production.

As Tesla ignites an EV price war, suppliers brace for Musk seeking givebacks

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) suppliers are bracing for pressure from Chief Executive Elon Musk and his team to cut their prices further after the electric car leader aggressively slashed vehicle prices in a slowing economy, industry officials who work with the automaker and its suppliers said.

Factbox: Chinese chipmakers caught in U.S.-China tech spat

China's semiconductor industry has become a key target of the United States, which has imposed a slew of export restrictions targeting several parts of the country's chip sector supply chain as it bids to slow its rival's technological advancement.

Global supply chain scars will spark sea change: podcast

The business of shifting goods around the world plunged into chaos during the pandemic.

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