Auquan’s Weekly Wrap | 6th-10th March: What you might have missed

Three key themes Auquan customers were tracking this week.

U.S. Solar Imports from China Grow Amid Forced Labour Concerns

The U.S. continues to struggle to wean itself from Chinese solar power, with imports from China growing to help alleviate gridlock. This trend is occurring amid ongoing concerns about forced labour and slavery in the production of solar panels, which have led the U.S. to block over 1,000 solar shipments over the past few months.

  • The ongoing issues with forced labour and slavery in the production of solar panels are leading some in the industry to look to alternative energy sources, such as wind turbines.
  • The continuing influx of Chinese solar panels also contributes to supply chain issues in the U.S.
  • Last year, the Commerce Department announced it was investigating major Chinese producers JinkoSolar, JA Solar, TrinaSolar, BYD and LONGi Solar.

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Italy Tightens Smoking Laws: Impact on Tobacco Companies

Italy has proposed a nationwide smoking ban in open-air settings in addition to the already existing smoking ban in indoor public places. The proposal has caused concern among tobacco companies, leading to tensions among Italian ministers.

  • Philip Morris International, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and Japan Tobacco could decline sales due to the proposed smoking ban in open-air settings in Italy.
  • The ban could lead to increased pressure on these tobacco companies to find alternative sources of revenue or diversify their product offerings.
  • The tension among Italian ministers suggests that there may be more stringent anti-smoking measures in the future, which could further impact tobacco companies operating in Italy.

Samsung, SK Hynix Impacted by Server Memory Order Decline

  • The four major North American cloud service providers have reduced server procurement quantities for 2023 and buyers of enterprise servers are slowing down the migration of server CPUs due to the economic downturn and inflation.
  • The YoY growth rate of global server shipments for 2023 has been lowered to 1.31%. Server OEMs, including Dell EMC, HPE, and Inspur have revised their projections down.
  • In turn, Dell EMC and HPE overstocked on existing DDR4 volumes have significantly reduced or delayed  orders for DDR5.
  • This darkens the Q1 earnings outlook for Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, who expected that the replacement demand for DDR5 generation this year would partially offset the slowdown in the memory industry.

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