The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 17th May 2024

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

Biden sharply hikes US tariffs on an array of Chinese imports

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled steep tariff increases on an array of Chinese imports including electric vehicle (EV) batteries, computer chips and medical products, risking an election-year standoff with Beijing as he woos American voters who give his economic policies low marks.

Biden hikes US tariffs on Chinese imports

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled steep tariff increases on an array of Chinese imports, including electric vehicle (EV) batteries, computer chips and medical products.

As US hikes China tariffs, imports soar from China-reliant Vietnam

As the United States intensifies efforts to reduce trade with China by hiking tariffs, it has greatly boosted imports from Vietnam, which relies on Chinese input for much of its exports, data show.

Biden's new China tariff wall faces leakage via Mexico, Vietnam

The Biden administration's new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and other strategic sectors aim to protect the future of U.S. manufacturing, but they will likely accelerate a shift of Chinese production to Mexico, Vietnam and elsewhere to avoid them.

How hard will new US tariffs hit China EVs and other exports?

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce new China tariffs as soon as Tuesday, targeting sectors including electric vehicles, medical supplies and solar equipment, according to people familiar with the matter.

China tariffs could boost Fed rate cut case

Escalation of the U.S.-China trade war seems unavoidable whoever wins the White House in November, but the equally inevitable inflationary pressures that brings won't automatically steer the Federal Reserve toward a more hawkish policy stance.

White House moves to protect US solar manufacturers from Chinese competition

The White House on Thursday said it would protect domestic solar factories from Chinese competition by scrapping a tariff exemption for imported double-sided panels and making it easier for projects to claim a subsidy for using American-made products.

US bars imports from 26 Chinese textile firms over suspected Uyghur forced labor

The United States blocked imports from 26 Chinese cotton traders or warehouse facilities on Thursday as part of its effort to eliminate goods made with the forced labor of Uyghur minorities from the U.S. supply chain.

US makers of masks and gloves get lifeline: higher tariffs on Chinese-made products

President Joe Biden’s move to hike tariffs on Chinese goods should help U.S.-based medical mask and glove makers, a sector that has largely flamed out after surging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' China trolls new US tariffs

China's measured response to the U.S. move to hike tariffs on $18 billion of Chinese goods from syringes to batteries suggests relations between the world's two largest economies face more frost rather than a fresh firefight over trade.

A US-China EV trade war threatens Biden's clean-car agenda

The Biden administration's plan to slap heavy new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and batteries would provide temporary protection for U.S. auto jobs, potentially at the expense of White House efforts to fight climate change by accelerating U.S. EV adoption.

US to issue rules on Chinese connected vehicles this autumn

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday that her department plans to issue proposed rules on Chinese connected vehicles this autumn, citing national security risks to the data of Americans.

EU launches trade investigation into Chinese tinplate steel

The European Commission has launched an investigation into flat-rolled products of iron or steel plated or coated with tin from China to assess whether imports into the European Union are sold at excessively low prices.

'Choose France' investment push bags record $16 billion in pledges

France won a record 15 billion euros ($16.17 billion) in foreign investment pledges on Monday, allowing President Emmanuel Macron to bask in the limelight with global CEOs and forget about strained public finances and weak polls for a while.

Amazon to invest $1.3 bln in France, create 3,000 jobs

Amazon (AMZN.O) said on Monday it would invest more than 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in its French operations and create more than 3,000 permanent jobs in the country.

China's Alibaba profit tumbles 86% though revenue beats estimates

China's Alibaba Group Holding (9988.HK) reported an 86% plunge in fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday primarily due to valuation changes from equity investments, pushing its U.S.-listed shares down almost 6% in early trading though revenue beat forecasts.

Chinese retailer's low price strategy helps revenue beat expectations

Chinese online retailer (9618.HK) on Thursday reported first-quarter revenue that beat market estimates, as price cuts and discount coupons helped boost sales that have been hit by cautious consumers.

US Postal Service wants 25% price hike for high-volume package shipping

The U.S. Postal Service on Friday said it is seeking an average 25% price hike for high-volume shippers to enter packages for regional delivery through its Parcel Select service.

US Postal Service will delay processing network consolidation plans

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to pause planned further consolidation of the postal service's processing network after a bipartisan group of senators raised concerns about the impact on mail deliveries.

Renewable fuels take bite out of US diesel consumption

Biodiesel and other renewable diesel fuel oils are displacing a small but growing volume of petroleum-derived distillate fuel oil in the United States, especially in California and other parts of the West Coast.

Fears of German 'de-industrialisation' may be overblown - for now

High energy costs, weak global demand, a disruptive shift towards net-zero economies, and growing competition from China are raising existential questions for Germany's economic model.

How Europe reduced its greenhouse gas emissions last year

The European Union's greenhouse gas emissions fell by 5% last year, official data published this week showed, continuing a trend of declining emissions in Europe.

Exclusive: Panama's president-elect vows to help fix canal water problems, build major train line

Panama's president-elect, Jose Raul Mulino, said on Wednesday he will urge lawmakers to approve a law enabling the Panama Canal to build large water reservoirs in the face of an unprecedented drought that has hit the capacity of the vital waterway.

US import prices increase by the most in two years in April

U.S. import prices rose by the most in two years in April amid rising costs for energy products and other goods, suggesting that domestic inflation could remain elevated for a while.

US retail sales unexpectedly flat in April

U.S. retail sales were unexpectedly flat in April as higher gasoline prices pulled spending away from other goods, indicating that consumer spending was losing momentum.

Japan economy expected to shrink in Q1 due to weak consumption: Reuters poll

Japan's economy likely contracted an annualised 1.5% in the January-March quarter as all key drivers of growth slumped due to an uncertain outlook, a Reuters poll showed, which will probably set back Bank of Japan efforts to raise interest rates.

US manufacturing output unexpectedly falls in April

Production at U.S. factories unexpectedly fell in April amid a decline in motor vehicle output, data showed on Thursday.

US consumer inflation resumes downward trend as domestic demand cools

U.S. consumer prices increased less than expected in April, suggesting that inflation resumed its downward trend at the start of the second quarter in a boost to financial market expectations for a September interest rate cut.

China's consumer prices rise for third month, signalling demand recovery

China's consumer prices rose for a third straight month in April, while producer prices extended declines, signalling an improvement in domestic demand, as Beijing navigates challenges in its bid to shore up a shaky economy.

Chinese firms make headway in producing high bandwidth memory for AI chipsets

Two Chinese chipmakers are in the early stages of producing high bandwidth memory (HBM) semiconductors used in artificial intelligence chipsets, according to sources and documents.

Intel nears $11 billion deal with Apollo for Ireland factory, WSJ reports

Intel (INTC.O) is in advanced talks for a deal with Apollo Global Management (APO.N) in which the equity firm would provide more than $11 billion to build a facility in Ireland, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

South Korea prepares support package worth over $7 billion for chip industry

South Korea is readying plans for a support package for chip investments and research worth more than 10 trillion won ($7.30 billion), the finance minister said on Sunday, after setting its sights on winning a "war" in the semiconductor industry.

Australia to invest $15 billion in renewable energy, critical minerals

The Australian government on Tuesday announced a A$22.7 billion ($15.0 billion) package to boost domestic manufacturing and renewable energy as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on foreign suppliers for key technologies.

Japan's Honda raises electrification investment to $65 bln through FY2030

Japan's Honda Motor (7267.T) pledged to double its electrification and software investment to about $65 billion over the 10 years running through the 2030 business year, it said on Thursday.

Exclusive: Toyota repeatedly halted Mexico plant after suppliers hit by worker shortage

Toyota Motor (7203.T) was forced to repeatedly halt production at a Mexico plant in February and March after local labour shortages snarled output at suppliers, according to people with knowledge of the automaker's operations.

Ford to build new partly electric car at Spanish plant from 2027

U.S. automaker Ford (F.N) plans to start production of a new partly electric car at its plant in the Valencia region of Spain starting in 2027, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

Ford asks suppliers to cut costs in push to turn EV business profitable, memo says

Ford Motor Co (F.N) has asked its electric-vehicle suppliers to reduce costs in an attempt to support profitability, saying "everything is on the table," according to a company memo seen by Reuters.

South Korea urges better cooperation on supply chain with China

South Korea's finance minister on Thursday said Seoul and Beijing should seek better economic cooperation on the supply chain for raw materials.

Hapag-Lloyd raises lower end of outlook on strong shipping demand but profit falls

German container firm Hapag-Lloyd (HLAG.DE) on Wednesday raised the lower end of its 2024 outlook amid rising demand and freight rates, but posted an 84% drop in first-quarter net profit.

Can timber construction overcome its growing pains?

A 5,000-seat football stadium in the UK, a replacement terminal at Zurich airport, the Naples central underground station and the aquatic centre for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games have one thing in common: they are all using timber as the main construction material.

Philippines eyes boost to nickel processing capacity

The Philippines said on Friday it aimed to add three more processing plants in the effort to develop a downstream industry for its abundant nickel resources, after nations such as China and the United States expressed interest in the mining sector.

Rising US soybean crush set to face off with Argentine supplies into 2025

U.S. soybean meal exports are predicted to notch a third consecutive record in the upcoming 2024-25 marketing year despite the recovery of top meal exporter Argentina from last year’s apocalyptic soybean harvest.

Tesla is sued over emissions from California plant

Tesla (TSLA.O) has been sued by an environmental nonprofit that accused Elon Musk's electric car company of violating the federal Clean Air Act hundreds of times by letting its Fremont, California, plant emit harmful pollutants.

CPKC to resume contract negotiations with Canadian rail workers union

Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) (CP.TO) said on Thursday its leadership, with the assistance of federal mediators, will resume contract negotiations with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) union on May 17.

Walmart's strong forecast signals a resilient consumer

A positive forecast from retail bellwether Walmart (WMT.N) on Thursday signaled a resilient U.S. shopper, in line with earlier remarks by one of its key suppliers and one of its retail rivals.

Collapsed Baltimore bridge blasted into pieces in effort to clear wreckage

U.S. crews in Baltimore set off controlled explosions on Monday to allow them to remove a portion of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge from the bow of the massive container ship that toppled the span in March.

China-Gulf free trade talks stall on Saudi industrial agenda, sources say

Negotiations between China and an Arab bloc for a free trade agreement have stalled over concerns by Saudi Arabia that cheap Chinese imports could undermine its ambitions to transform the kingdom into an industrial powerhouse, sources say.

Fewer people in the US plan to buy EVs this year, study shows

The number of buyers in the U.S. considering an electric vehicle purchase in 2024 has fallen from a year ago due to a shortage of affordable cars, inadequate charging infrastructure and ignorance about EV benefits, a study by J.D. Power has shown.

China's BYD postpones plans for 2025 Chile lithium cathode plant

Chinese carmaker BYD Co (002594.SZ) has postponed plans to produce lithium cathodes for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Chile by 2025, the firm's Americas head told Reuters on Tuesday.

Tyson Foods unsure when tight US cattle supplies will expand, CEO says

Tyson Foods (TSN.N) cannot predict exactly when U.S. ranchers will start rebuilding the cattle herd in a meaningful way, CEO Donnie King said on Wednesday, as tight supplies squeeze the meatpacker's beef business.

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