Global sales of passenger cars and trucks likely surpassed 90 million for the first time in 2017, the latest indicator that demand for conventional automobiles remains strong even as driverless cars and ride sharing get increasing attention.
. . .Global demand remains robust, however, with 2017’s relatively modest 2.7% growth estimate far outpacing population growth.
Farmers are producing too much food, holding down prices and holding back economies in states with big agricultural industries.
South Dakota and Iowa are the only two states in the country where gross domestic product fell in the second quarter. Ultra-low crop and livestock prices stemming from a global oversupply have squeezed farm incomes, pulling down Iowa’s GDP 0.7% and South Dakota’s 0.3% from the prior quarter.
Trucking companies are bumping up orders for new big rigs, anticipating that 2018 will be a banner year for shipping demand.
Trucking fleets ordered 32,900 Class 8 trucks, the kind used on long-haul routes, in November, according to ACT Research, which compiles industry statistics. That was up about 70% from a year earlier. The last two months were also the strongest since the start of 2015.
Fleets are adding capacity as strong economic growth fuels surging volumes of freight through the nation’s transportation networks. Trucks are in high demand to carry record imports from ports to distribution centers, move machine parts and heavy goods for manufacturers and merchandise during the holiday shopping season. Shippers are paying higher rates as capacity tightens, creating an incentive to put more trucks on the road.
California’s export trade dipped in October, according to a Beacon Economics’ analysis of U.S. trade statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Foreign shipments by California businesses totaled $14.82 billion for the month, a nominal 2.6 percent decline from the $15.21 billion recorded in October 2016.
The state’s exports of manufactured goods fell 4.6 percent to $8.87 billion from $9.30 billion one year earlier. Exports of non-manufactured goods (chiefly agricultural products and raw materials) ebbed slightly by 0.4 percent to $2.31 billion from $2.32 billion. Re-exports, meanwhile, rose by 1.7 percent to $3.65 billion from $3.59 billion.
Wedged between iron and nickel on the periodic table, cobalt has suddenly emerged as the electric car killer. The once-obscure metal, a critical part of batteries, has nearly tripled in price since last summer as concerns grow about whether there will be enough cobalt to meet demand. The ingredients are certainly there for a shortage. Output is concentrated in the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo and refining is dominated by China. Demand is set to soar as companies from Tesla Inc. to Volkswagen AG ramp up production of electric vehicles.