Afternoon Coffee: U.S. Grants ZTE Temporary Reprieve, European Grocers Form Group Purchasing Alliance

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ZTE moved one step closer Wednesday to overcoming a ban on working with U.S. suppliers when the Commerce Department granted a temporary authorization for the smartphone maker to conduct business needed to maintain existing networks and equipment, Reuters reports. ZTE has also agreed to pay a $1 billion penalty as part of the deal to resume business with U.S. suppliers, which provide almost a third of the components used in ZTE’s equipment.

Grocers Team Up 

Carrefour and Tesco, two of Europe’s largest supermarkets, are forming a group purchasing alliance that should last three years, according to Supply Chain Dive. The plan is to pressure suppliers like Nestle, P&G and Unilever to lower prices, which should help the two grocers compete with discount rivals like Aldi.

Platinum Tumbles

Platinum prices have sunk to their lowest levels in nearly a decade after the threat of auto tariffs cast doubt on future demand for the critical car engine component, The Wall Street Journal reports. Most-actively traded futures contracts of the metal slid 5.2% Monday, closing at their lowest level since December 2008.

June NMI 

And finally, an economic update: The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index posted surprisingly strong gains in June, the Washington Post reports, rising to 59.1 last month, compared with 58.6 in May. The June gain marked 101 months of consecutive growth for the services sector.

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