The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 31st May 2024

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

Cleaner shipping fuel is contributing to ocean warming, scientists say

Shipping fuel regulations introduced in 2020 have led to a substantial cut in sulphur dioxide (SO2) pollution, but may also have made the ocean warmer by reducing cloud cover, according to a modelling study in a paper published late on Thursday.

How disruption from Houthi attacks in the Red Sea is driving up shipping emissions

This is a cargo ship, used to transport goods around the world and often through the Suez Canal in the Red Sea.

Growing armada shipping sanctioned oil burns dirty fuel in a setback for clean-up efforts

The growing shadow fleet of tankers transporting sanctioned Iranian, Venezuelan and Russian oil is filling up with the cheapest fuel available, hindering industry efforts to use cleaner fuel to cut shipping emissions, according to shipping data and sources.

Yemen's Houthis claim to attack six ships in three seas

Yemen's Houthis launched attacks on six ships in three different seas, the Iran-backed group said on Wednesday, including the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Laax that was damaged after reporting a missile strike off the Yemeni coast.

Deutsche Bahn Schenker takes CVC, Maersk, DSV and Bahri into final round, sources say

Germany's national rail operator Deutsche Bahn has chosen Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), DSV (DSV.CO), Bahri and CVC (CVC.AX) in consortium with ADIA and GIC to enter the final round of a sale process for its logistics subsidiary Schenker, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Royal Mail owner agrees to $4.6 bln takeover by Czech billionaire Kretinsky

The owner of Britain's Royal Mail has agreed to a 3.57 billion pound ($4.55 billion) takeover by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, it said on Wednesday, in a take-private deal of one of the world's oldest postal firms.

Brazil's Congress advances bill to tax low-cost online orders

Brazil's lower house of Congress approved on Tuesday the main text of a bill that would enact a new 20% import tax on international online purchases under $50, significantly down from a higher tax rate that was originally proposed.

Google to invest $350 mln in India's Flipkart, valuing co at $37 bln, source says

Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O) will pick up a minority stake worth $350 million in Walmart-backed Flipkart, valuing the Indian e-commerce firm at $37 billion, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

USTR extends some Chinese tariff exclusions, but many to fall away

The U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) office on Friday announced a further extension of all China Section 301 tariff exclusions on 352 Chinese import and 77 pandemic-related categories through June 14, and said some would be extended through May 31, 2025.

Car battery makers to fight EU cartel charges at hearing next week, sources say

A group of car starter battery makers will contest European Union accusations of operating a cartel to fix battery prices at a closed hearing next week, people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

EU clears law to increase domestic green tech production

European Union governments formally cleared on Monday a new law designed to ensure the bloc produces 40% of its solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps and other clean tech equipment and to help European industry compete with U.S. and Chinese rivals.

US tariffs on Chinese medical imports face industry doubt as alternative suppliers emerge

Higher U.S. tariffs on medical gloves, syringes and face masks from China are unlikely to make U.S. producers more competitive, as other low-cost suppliers are expected to rush in to fill the gap, industry executives said.

China to restrict export of some aviation, space components from July 1

China will control exports of some aviation and space components from July 1, its commerce ministry announced on Thursday, citing a need to protect the country's national security and interests.

China gears up to make a deal with Europe as EV tariffs loom

The European Commission's expected move to hike tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles is set to kick off a round of talks that Chinese executives hope will soften the blow for the world's biggest EV industry.

EU Commission to postpone Chinese EV tariff decision, source says

The European Commission will postpone its decision on Chinese electric vehicle tariffs until after the European Parliament election on June 9, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Biden administration expands tax credits beyond wind, solar

The Biden administration on Wednesday proposed expanding tax credits that have for years boosted U.S. solar and wind energy projects to cover a wider range of clean energy technologies including nuclear fission and fusion.

Exclusive: To help Airbus, Macron pressed Canada to ease Russia titanium sanctions

French President Emmanuel Macron personally intervened to persuade Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to give Airbus and other aerospace firms relief from sanctions on Russian titanium, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Temu will have to comply with tougher EU online content rules, EU says

Temu will have to comply with stricter EU online content rules after its user numbers exceeded a key criterion, the European Commission said on Friday, putting the PDD Group's (PDD.O) fast-fashion e-commerce retailer in a group that includes Amazon (AMZN.O), Meta Platforms (META.O) and TikTok.

Indonesia's Shopee accused of antitrust behaviour in delivery services

Indonesia's antitrust agency on Tuesday accused e-commerce platform Shopee's local unit of violating anti-competition rules by directing customers to use certain delivery services, the agency said in a statement.

US judge rejects Amazon bid to get FTC lawsuit over Prime program tossed

A U.S. judge in Seattle on Tuesday rejected's (AMZN.O) request to dismiss a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit that accuses the company of enrolling millions of consumers into its paid Amazon Prime service without their consent.

Senior UK lawmakers want more scrutiny of Shein ahead of possible London listing

Senior British lawmakers, including the chairs of three parliamentary committees, have questioned fast-fashion giant Shein's suitability for a London stock market listing and called for greater scrutiny of the Chinese-founded firm.

Oil falls as US reports surprise fuel build, weak demand

Oil prices fell for the second consecutive session on Thursday, after the U.S. government reported weak fuel demand in the country and a surprise jump in gasoline and distillate fuel stockpiles.

China's factory activity unexpectedly dips as property pain persists

China's manufacturing activity unexpectedly fell in May, keeping alive calls for fresh stimulus as a protracted property crisis in the world's second-largest economy continues to weigh on business, consumer and investor confidence.

US core capital goods orders rise, inflation expectations improve

New orders for key U.S.-manufactured capital goods rebounded more than expected in April and shipments of those goods also increased, suggesting a moderate improvement in business spending on equipment early in the second quarter.

Consumers curb US economic growth in first quarter, inflation cools

The U.S. economy grew more slowly in the first quarter than previously estimated after downward revisions to consumer spending and a key measure of inflation ticked down, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to possibly begin cutting interest rates at least once before the end of the year.

Costco tops revenue estimates on rebound in demand for low-priced discretionary items

Costco Wholesale (COST.O) beat third-quarter revenue expectations on Thursday, as cash-strapped consumers flocked to its warehouses to grab low-priced discretionary items and groceries.

Dollar General says consumer spending to be pressured through 2024

Dollar General (DG.N) warned on Thursday that customers would remain price sensitive throughout the year, hurting demand for its more profitable discretionary items, at a time when sticky inflation continues to pressure household budgets.

German business sentiment stagnates in May

German business morale stagnated in May, a survey showed on Monday, falling short of a forecast improvement and suggesting the recovery of Germany's economy this year will be slow progress.

India's economy seen growing at slower pace in March quarter

India's economy is expected to have grown at a slower pace in the January-March quarter than the previous three months, dampened by a moderation in manufacturing and urban spending, but economists see economic momentum remaining strong in Asia's third-largest economy.

Japan upgrades factory output view in monthly report

Japan's government upgraded its assessment of factory output for the first time in a year, saying in its monthly economic report that it showed signs of picking up and signalling production may have bottomed out.

UK shop price growth back to normal, retailers say

Prices in British shops rose at the slowest pace in 2-1/2 years this month, according to the British Retail Consortium which said the rate of inflation in the sector was back to normal after its surge.

Canadian factory PMI climbs to 10-month high in February

Canadian manufacturing activity moved closer to stabilizing in February as employment rose alongside a slower downturn in output and new orders, data showed on Friday.

China sets up third fund with $47.5 bln to boost semiconductor sector

China has set up its third planned state-backed investment fund to boost its semiconductor industry, with a registered capital of 344 billion yuan ($47.5 billion), according to a filing with a government-run companies registry.

EU approves Italian aid for $5.4 bln STMicro chip plant

The European Commission on Friday approved Italian state aid for STMicroelectronics (STMPA.PA) to build a 5 billion euro ($5.4 billion) chip plant, as Europe battles to reduce its reliance on Asian imports for vital manufacturing components.

UPS to make some parcel-tracking tags in India, executive says

United Parcel Service (UPS.N), the world's biggest parcel delivery firm, is in talks with several Indian state governments to make some of the tags used in tracking packages in the Asian country, a senior executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

China to invest more than $830 mln in solid-state battery research -source

China plans to invest more than 6 billion yuan ($830 million) in a government-led project to develop solid-state batteries with six firms eligible for state funding to work on the next-generation technology, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Aircraft shortages turn into cash bonanza for some airlines

Aircraft shortages are turning into a moneymaker for some airlines as the dearth of supply allows carriers to sell new planes to leasing companies at much higher prices than they paid.

Sri Lanka's tea producers warn 70% wage hike will hit industry

Sri Lanka's tea producers on Monday condemned a government order to increase wages by 70%, saying it would make their tea globally uncompetitive and reduce dollar earnings essential for the island nation to emerge from a financial crisis.

After repairing its war-damaged factory, Mondelez resumes making Oreos in Ukraine

Snack maker Mondelez (MDLZ.O) resumed its production of Oreo cookies in Ukraine, after its plant in a small city in the eastern part of the country was badly damaged during Russia's invasion roughly two years ago.

FedEx reinstates services in Ukraine after two-year suspension

Parcel delivery firm FedEx Corp (FDX.N) said on Friday that it has reinstated international priority inbound and outbound services in Ukraine.

How China's EV makers aim to beat Tesla, legacy automakers in Europe

Starting in the 1980s, European automakers steadily conquered China, racking up millions in sales with little local competition.

Americans still prefer gas vehicles over hybrid or EVs, study shows

Americans still prefer to buy a standard gas vehicle over a hybrid or an electric vehicle even with the same price and features, a KPMG study said on Thursday.

China's GWM to start Brazil plant operations in May 2024

Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor Co Ltd (601633.SS) will start operations of its Iracemapolis plant in Brazil on May 1, 2024, the company announced on Thursday, also disclosing which vehicles it will manufacture there.

Toyota showcases compact engines adaptable to different fuels

Toyota Motor (7203.T) showcased next-generation engines on Tuesday that can be used in cars as varied as hybrids and those running on biofuel, as it targets tougher emissions standards and doubles down on its strategy of selling more than just EVs.

Exclusive: Vietnamese EV maker VinFast considers delaying $4 bln US plant, source says

Vietnamese electric car maker VinFast is looking at further delaying a planned $4 billion factory in North Carolina, a person briefed on the matter said, as the loss-making company struggles to gain favour with U.S. consumers.

Ford and GM outline dueling hybrid vehicle strategies

Ford Motor (F.N) and General Motors' (GM.N) chiefs on Thursday offered clashing perspectives on the importance of hybrid vehicles to their long-term strategic outlooks.

Stellantis to introduce Italy-made hybrid versions of Fiat 500 EV, Jeep Compass

Fiat owner Stellantis (STLAM.MI) said on Monday it would build a hybrid version of its 500e small electric car at its Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, amid a slowdown in electric car sales.

Renault to develop Twingos priced under 20,000 euros with Chinese partner

Renault (RENA.PA) said it would link up with a Chinese engineering company to develop future Twingo cars priced below 20,000 euros ($21,676), as European automakers target smaller and cheaper electric vehicles to compete with Chinese peers.

Volkswagen to develop low-cost electric car to tackle Chinese rivals

Volkswagen will develop low-cost electric vehicles in a bid to better compete with fierce Chinese rivals, Europe's largest carmaker said on Tuesday, after talks with Renault (RENA.PA) to team up on the project collapsed earlier this month.

EV switch to hit auto suppliers hard, Stellantis CEO says

The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) would impose a "significant burden" on auto suppliers, Stellantis (STLAM.MI) CEO Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday as Western automakers race to cut costs and compete with Chinese peers.

US sues Hyundai, others over child labor at Alabama parts plant

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday sued South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), an auto parts plant and a labor recruiter over illegal use of child labor in Alabama.

Britain's creaking power grid leaves green energy revolution adrift

British ferry operator Wightlink wants to order a $60 million, state-of-the-art electric ferry to make its crossings cleaner and greener. But it can't commission the vessel until it gets a power upgrade.

Lilly invests further $5.3 bln in new Indiana site as obesity drug demand soars

Eli Lilly (LLY.N) said on Friday it has invested another $5.3 billion in its new Lebanon, Indiana manufacturing plant, more than doubling its previous investment, as it scrambles to meet soaring demand for its weight-loss and diabetes drugs.

BioNTech gets $145 mln funding for African vaccine plants

COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech (22UAy.DE) has secured up to $145 million in funding from a global coalition against infectious diseases to help build a production network in Africa for shots based on cutting-edge messenger-RNA (mRNA) technology.

US allows bulk milk testing for bird flu before cattle transport

U.S. farmers will be able to test bulk supplies of milk from their dairy cows for bird flu rather than milk from individual cows before gaining approval to ship them across state lines, the Agriculture Department said on Thursday, in a move aimed at expanding testing.

Cyprus scraps $1.3 billion port concession in legal wrangle

Cyprus has scrapped a 1.2 billion euro ($1.30 billion) concession agreement for the development of Larnaca port, in a legal wrangle that the state and the contractor traded blame for on Monday.

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