Covid Closures in Chinese Ports Disrupt Global Trade

China has closed some ports partially over an increase in Covid cases. The closures are expected to impact global commodity markets with Africa likely to be the most affected. China has become a major market source for Africa. China-Africa trade has reached $185.2 billion between January and September 2021, up more than 38% from previous year.

Dalian has become the second major Chinese port to be affected by Omicron cases last week after Tianjin was hit by the new variant.

Some shipping lines have temporarily suspended operations with at least three Chinese ports, including Shanghai and Shenzhen, remain partially closed. The shipping companies said they will review the situation before resuming operations.

As ships try to avoid Covid delays, the congestion in the world’s biggest container ports keep growing. Due to partial closure in Chinese ports, manufacturing giants like Toyota and Volkswagen have been forced to suspend production.

While some companies try to divert shipments from Ningbo to other ports, others prefer to wait at a shared anchorage for the Shanghai and Ningbo ports.

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France, Spain Joining Forces to Strengthen European Industry

Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez and French President Macron met in Barcelona on Thursday to sign a “friendship and cooperation” treaty to reinforce ties on issues including energy, defense and immigration. The treaty calls on both countries to support the adoption of measures to protect European companies against economic coercion and unfair practices, as well as an “ambitious European industrial policy aimed at strengthening the EU’s strategic autonomy and recovery capacity”. Paris is looking to build stronger ties with its southern neighbors, at a time when its relations with Berlin, which is the building block of the European Union, are showing signs of deterioration. 

U.S. Department of Energy to Boost Nuclear Plants with $6 Billion Program

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) said that it looks for input from utilities, advocates and communities as it tries to develop a $6 billion program to help struggling nuclear power plants. The bipartisan bill passed last year and gave the DoE green light to create the Civil Nuclear Credit Program. 

US Looks Into Security Impact of Magnets Imported for Missiles, Aircraft

Certain magnets used for fighter aircraft and missiles concern the US Government as the administration investigates if the imports of those pose national security risks. The Commerce Department says it will look into those risks as part of its review of global supply chain. The magnets have many uses in industries other than military, including MRI machines, electric vehicles, hard drives, wind turbines and audio equipment. 

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