The need to know
The need to know for the week ending 9th February 2024
The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists
China's consumer prices fell at their steepest pace in more than 14 years in January while producer prices also dropped, ramping up pressure on policymakers to do more to revive an economy low on confidence and facing deflationary risks.
When Kris Lin, who owns a lighting factory in China, received this year's first order from a close overseas client, he faced a distressing choice: take it at a loss, or tell workers not to come back after the Lunar New Year.
In Beijing's biggest wholesale food market the butcher blocks are quiet. The lead up to the Lunar New Year should be the busiest season, but pensive consumers are holding back.
Some of the world's top food, drinks and tech companies have struck a sour tone about Chinese demand, deepening investor worries about damage to firms exposed to the country and Beijing's ability to revive the world's second-biggest economy.
Bank of England rate-setter Catherine Mann said on Thursday that supply chain disruption from hostilities in the Red Sea could quickly feed into companies' pricing decisions, exacerbating Britain's inflation problem.
The Panama Canal sees no need for further vessel transit restrictions until at least April, when its authority will evaluate water levels at the end of the dry season, Deputy Administrator Ilya Espino told Reuters.
How Houthi militants in Yemen are attacking ships in one of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes
War underwriters have raised the premiums they charge to U.S., British and Israeli firms by as high as 50% for ships transiting the Red Sea and some providers are avoiding such business due to targeting of the vessels by Yemen's Houthis, sources said.
Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis said on Tuesday they had fired missiles at two vessels in the Red Sea, causing damage to the ships.
Shipping group CMA CGM on Friday suspended until further notice all crossings by its vessels of the Bab al-Mandab Strait in and out of the Red Sea due to security risks, a source familiar with the matter said.
TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA), opens new tab has not sent ships through the southern strait leading to the Red Sea and the Suez canal for several weeks, extending its ships' travel time to Europe, the French oil major said on Wednesday.
Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), opens new tab warned on Thursday that container shipping overcapacity would hit profits more than expected this year and that it didn't see a major boost from the jump in freight rates due to Red Sea disruptions, hammering its shares.
Shipping giants are paying the price for going overboard following the pandemic.
Global stocks of diesel and other middle distillates are below normal and prices could start to rise quickly if the industrial economies of North America and Western Europe emerge from their lingering recession in 2024.
U.S. manufacturers are nearing the end of an unusually prolonged but shallow slowdown in the business cycle which should start to boost energy consumption later in 2024.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday cut its forecast for domestic oil growth in 2024 by 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 170,000 bpd, sharply lower than last year's output increase of 1.02 million bpd.
The Red Sea crisis sounds like positive news for Europe’s troubled electric vehicle makers.
The latest spate of strikes by German train drivers made life difficult for Bentheimer Eisenbahn AG, a 129-year-old freight and logistics company that lost 10% of its sales in January and worries it may lose important clients.
German industrial orders unexpectedly jumped in December, posting their highest month-on-month increase in more than three years, driven by "an exceptionally" high number of aircraft orders, the federal statistics office said on Tuesday.
German industrial production fell more than expected in December, the federal statistics office said on Wednesday, marking the seventh monthly decline in a row and highlighting weakness in the backbone of Europe's largest economy.
German exports fell more than expected in December due to weak global demand, data from the federal statistics office showed on Monday, underlining concerns about the health of Europe's biggest economy that may be slipping back into recession.
Europe's green energy transition is stuck between a rock and a hard place. A flood of cheap Chinese solar panel imports is driving record solar energy installations. But those same imports are crushing Europe's few local solar manufacturers.
China's commerce ministry said on Wednesday it would encourage the new energy vehicle industry to "actively" respond to foreign trade restrictions and cooperate with overseas firms, amid a European probe into Chinese subsidies for the sector.
European Union policymakers agreed new rules on Tuesday to promote local production of equipment for solar and wind power, fuel cells and other clean technologies and help Europe's industry compete with Chinese and U.S. rivals.
Solar installations will account for “almost all growth” in U.S. power generation in 2024-2025, increasing solar’s share of power production from 4% in 2023 to 5.6% this year and 7% in 2025, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said last month.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday said her department plans to make several funding awards within two months from the government's $39 billion program to boost semiconductor manufacturing.
Germany's state-owned KfW bank placed some 50 million shares of its stake in DHL (DHLn.DE), opens new tab for 2.17 billion euros ($2.33 billion) on Tuesday as part of a government plan to sell its holdings in companies to invest in the rail network.
Japan's Panasonic Energy, a supplier for Tesla's (TSLA.O), opens new tab electric vehicles, said on Friday it has struck a graphite supply agreement for its U.S. battery plants with Australian materials company Novonix (NVX.AX), opens new tab.
BERLIN, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Germany will abstain from a vote on a European law that aims to require large companies to take action if they find their supply chains employ child labour or damage the environment, the Social Democrat labour minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
Britain sold its one millionth battery electric vehicle (BEV) in January despite a drop in private buyer demand, an industry body said Monday, calling on the government to provide relief to buyers in next month's budget.
China's new energy vehicle sales fell 38.8% versus the previous month, the first such drop since August 2023, industry data showed, as demand faltered in the world's largest auto market despite a renewed discounting push led by Tesla (TSLA.O), opens new tab.
Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE), opens new tab luxury car brand Audi has reduced output at its Brussels plant, where it produces the Q8 e-tron model, for at least two weeks due to component shortages, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Supply chain pressures rose but remained quite low at the start of the year suggesting shipping disruptions tied to trouble in the Middle East have yet to manifest themselves in generalized disruptions, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said on Tuesday.
E-commerce logistics provider ShipBob is seeking to hire underwriters for a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) that could be launched this year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Germany's second-largest supermarket chain REWE opened a new logistics center on Friday to serve its fast-growing online groceries business as e-commerce competition hots up in the retail food retail sector.
Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group (9988.HK), opens new tab is looking to sell a number of consumer sector assets, including grocery business Freshippo and retailer RT-Mart, three sources with knowledge of the situation said.
British retailers reported sluggish sales in January as shoppers remained cautious about spending, according to a survey published on Tuesday which underscored how high inflation and borrowing costs are weighing on households.
To see how escalating deforestation and rising temperatures are already having profound impacts, look no further than the Amazon rainforest, where water levels last year reached their lowest since measurement began, threatening both humans and animals, and the integrity of the world’s biggest tropical forest.
Millions of dollars in sales of North Korean false eyelashes - marketed in beauty stores around the world as "made in China" - helped drive a recovery in the secretive state's exports last year.
Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N), opens new tab will invest in autonomous technology to limit any defects in its production of Boeing 737 fuselages, its CEO said Tuesday after a series of manufacturing problems and last month's mid-air blowout on a 737 MAX 9.
The sale of listed contract drugmaker Catalent (CTLT.N), opens new tab to the parent of Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO), opens new tab this week demonstrates the importance for big pharma companies of building an independent supply chain, Astrazeneca (AZN.L), opens new tab said Thursday.
Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO), opens new tab notched a win on Monday in its race to boost output of its popular obesity drug Wegovy, with its parent company announcing it was buying Catalent (CTLT.N), opens new tab, a key manufacturing subcontractor of the product, for $16.5 billion.
Amazon.com Inc is in advanced talks to buy self-driving startup Zoox Inc, in a move that would expand the e-commerce giant's reach in autonomous-vehicle technology, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The global economy is on course to hold up better this year than expected only a few months ago as an improved outlook in the United States offsets euro zone weakness, the OECD said on Monday.
Base metals are in for a subdued 2024 with weak demand damping any bullish supply pressures, judging by the latest Reuters poll of analysts.
Italian industrial output was slightly stronger than expected in December, rebounding 1.1% on a month-on-month basis following a 1.3% fall in November, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported on Friday.
China's imports of major commodities have made a strong start to the new year, but caution is warranted in reading too much into the robust January figures because of the potential influence of the upcoming Lunar New year holidays.
Romania's coalition government said on Friday it had reached an agreement with farmers and hauliers to end weeks of protests against high business costs, even as farmers elsewhere in the EU continued to block roads and border crossings.
Amazon.com (AMZN.O), opens new tab has begun rolling out a new artificial intelligence assistant that is meant to address shoppers’ product questions, but the feature raises as many questions as it answers.
The conditions that would allow the EU to conclude a trade agreement with the Mercosur group of South American countries have not been met, European Commission Executive Vice President Maros Sefcovic said on Wednesday, although talks continue.
Britain on Thursday said it would extend tariff-free trade with Ukraine on almost all goods until 2029, giving continued favourable trading terms to Kyiv in the wake of Russia's invasion.
Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC (2330.TW), opens new tab said on Tuesday it will build a second Japanese plant to begin operation by the end of 2027, bringing total investment in its Japan venture to more than $20 billion with the support of the Tokyo government.
Chinese chipmakers expect to make next-generation smartphone processors as early as this year despite U.S. efforts to curb their development of advanced technologies, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Soaring appetite for Huawei's (HWT.UL) artificial intelligence (AI) chips coupled with manufacturing constraints has forced the Chinese tech giant to prioritise AI and slow production for its premium Mate 60 phones, people familiar with the matter said.
India is close to finalizing a trade deal that could see a small group of European nations invest as much as $100 billion over 15 years for easier trade access to the country, Bloomberg News, opens new tab reported on Wednesday.
Britain's Mondi (MNDI.L), opens new tab said on Thursday it is in the early stages of considering a possible all-share bid for its smaller rival DS Smith (SMDS.L), opens new tab, a move which could create a packaging giant worth more than 10 billion pounds ($12.6 billion).