Afternoon Coffee: China to Use Rare Earths as Trade War Leverage; Amazon to Purge Small Suppliers


Chinese newspapers were full of reports on Wednesday that China could use rare earths to strike back in the ongoing trade war with the U.S., according to Reuters. Rare earths are a group of 17 elements used in high-tech consumer electronics and military equipment.

Amazon to kick off a small-supplier purge

In the next few months, “bulk orders will dry up for thousands of mostly smaller suppliers” selling on Amazon, according to three people familiar with the plan, as reported by Bloomberg. “Amazon’s aim is to cut costs and focus wholesale purchasing on major brands like Procter & Gamble, Sony and Lego, the people said. That will ensure the company has adequate supplies of must-have merchandise and help it compete with the likes of Walmart, Target and Best Buy,” the article stated.

“This is the kind of change that will scare the living daylights out of brands selling on Amazon,” said James Thomson, who organizes the Prosper Show, an annual e-commerce conference focused on Amazon, as quoted by Bloomberg. “Amazon usually doesn’t give a lot of lead time and brands will be left scrambling. If they make this change soon, brands will have until the end of the summer to get their acts together or their holiday quarter will be at risk.”

DHL supply chain deploys Google Glass globally

As part of its company-wide digitization strategy, DHL Supply Chain is further expanding the deployment of smart glasses and wearables. As one of the first customers worldwide, DHL will now use the second generation of Glass Enterprise Edition, becoming one of the first customers worldwide to use the latest generation of Glass Enterprise Edition in warehouses and hubs.

New York may announce winner of offshore wind energy bids this week

It is widely expected that New York State will reveal the winning bid for its offshore wind-energy procurement, the first in what Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said will be 9,000 megawatts of power from ocean winds, according to Newsday. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has been reviewing some 18 bids by four large wind-energy companies to determine which will get the first contract.

IATA chief says Boeing 737 MAX may not return to service until August

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) holds the view that the grounded Boeing 737 MAX will not return to service before August this year. The 737 MAX was grounded globally in March after a crash in Ethiopia killed all 157 people on board.

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