Supply chain tensions intensify on Christmas Eve


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The supply chain pressures that are stifling global business seem to have barely eased.

We reported today how the freight costs around the world are achieved Record level, Because the company is trying to meet soaring demand during the critical pre-Christmas period.

Container shortages and congestion in the port are still severe. According to logistics group Kuehne+Nagel, in Los Angeles-the destination of about 40% of Chinese imports-about 75 container ships are waiting to dock, some of which have been stuck for several weeks.

This left many companies with no choice but to switch to air freight, resulting in a doubling of prices on key routes connecting Chinese manufacturers with consumers in the United States and Europe.

The grounding of passenger planes during the pandemic made the problem worse, and passenger planes under normal conditions carry half of the world’s air cargo.

US$95 billion worldwide Toy market It is one of the obvious victims of supply chain tightening, which has caused Western companies to reconsider their dependence on China, which accounts for 80% of global toy exports. With the rising cost of energy and raw materials and transportation, the country no longer has a cheap manufacturing base like before.

Lego, the world’s largest toy manufacturer, announced last week that it would invest $1 billion in new toys Vietnam factory, And France has achieved some success in establishing domestic production bases.

But in addition to “subconscious outsourcing”, there is another way to relieve stress. Alan Beattie reported in today’s trade secret newsletter: better understanding How is this going.

He wrote that this year’s outage revealed big holes in the data about who made what, when, where, and how.

For example, the British logistics company Unipart is developing a machine learning product to try to create a more flexible supply chain. “You can start teaching the system to use data about container usage and location, port congestion, vehicle driving, driver shortages and raw materials,” said boss John Neal. “Then you will have more information than before to manage and plan delivery times.”

Allen explained that the only obstacle is some data-like China Shipping Line -It is getting harder, not easier, to draw. (You can sign up for excellent trade secret newsletters here.)

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Need to know: economy

This is an important week for central banks and global monetary policy. G7 Finance Minister Met today With the end of Britain’s one-year presidency; this United States Federal Reserve Meeting tomorrow and Wednesday to discuss its asset purchase plan and release new economic and interest rate forecasts; this European Central Bank May announce its decision on its stimulus plan on Thursday-and Bank of EnglandThe interest rate decision.

Unhedged The author, Rob Armstrong, wonders whether it is correct for the market to remain so optimistic in the face of the Fed’s imminent rate hike. Spoiler warning: He is still gloomyAt the same time, consumer spending debit and credit card In the United States Soaring last month, Even if Americans are worried about the economic situation.

The latest UK and Europe

European Natural gas futures After the new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will double the capacity of the existing Russia-Europe route, it rose by 10% this morning. Does not comply with EU law.

TurkeyMonetary policy drama intensified Hit a new low, Passing the US$14 threshold, is expected to cut interest rates again on Thursday.

The latest in the world

Rising oil prices and the end of pandemic restrictions have resulted in Saudi Arabia Predict a Budget surplus Net annual income is 24 billion U.S. dollars, which is the first time since the oil price plummeted in 2014. The economy is expected to grow by 7.4% after growing by 2.9% this year.

Investors do not have a crystal ball.But they do have Yield curve. And now in the United States, it behaves strangely. “You don’t usually see this flattening out in the early stages of recovery,” said a bond manager.If you want to know what this implies for the future of the U.S. economy and understand what the yield curve actually is, please read this New narrator. You can even use interactive tools to create some music.

Japan business According to the Bank of Japan’s quarterly report, at least until the arrival of Omicron, the mood is full of confidence Tankan SurveyThe sentiment of the manufacturers was flat, but since the Covid-19 emergency was lifted at the end of September, there has been a leap in sentiment in the service industry.

Need to know: business

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group gives Virgin Atlantic Airways One 400 million pounds cash injection, Because worries about the new coronavirus have weakened people’s confidence in the tourism industry.Virgo and others British Airways Call for “disproportionate” passenger testing rules scrapped And asked the government to provide a new package of support to prevent “permanent scars” in the industry. flight and hotel reservation Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the whole world has been severely hit The arrival of Omicron Variants.

European Ski resort It was hoped that this winter will erase the memory of the Covid “super spreader” incident in spring 2020, but many people are worried about this season May sink By Omicron. Skiing accounts for about half of Swiss tourism revenue and 2.5% of GDP. In Austria, its value is as high as 4%.

Bar chain JD Wetherspoon Already warned “Stealth lock“After Westminster reintroduced certain restrictions last week in an attempt to prevent the spread of Omicron.

World of work

Nearly two-thirds American company Plan to do now Mandatory vaccination For their workers. In Europe, where vaccination rates are high and mandatory requirements focus on individuals rather than businesses, this number is low. According to ManpowerGroup’s research, President Joe Biden’s plan to vaccinate or test weekly all U.S. companies with 100 or more employees is currently shelved in court, but it still has an impact on the company’s policies. .

Algorithm used Gig economy company Deploy, monitor and discipline their staff are Questioned by frustrated workers Across Europe, technology journalist Madhumita Murgia wrote. An Uber driver commented: “The lower class, odd jobs, self-employed people, we are the first to be affected because we are the most vulnerable. But what happens next? If AI decides whether to send an ambulance to your home, you will Do you feel safe without talking to human operators? This will affect all of our lives.”

Covid cases and vaccination

Total global cases: 270.1m

Get the latest global pictures through our website Vaccine Tracker

At last. ..

Facts have proved that even the Arctic is not immune to labor shortages. FT’s Lex column looks at Demand for Santa Claus has surged.

Santa Claus wears a face mask to prevent coronavirus while posing for a photo with children wearing masks in a shopping mall in Johannesburg
Santa Claus is in a shopping center in Johannesburg. Readers considering exiting banking or brokerage business should keep in mind that rewards may be heartwarming, not rechargeable © AP

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