U.S. manufacturing drops to its lowest levels since 2009
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index has fallen again in December 2019 for the fifth consecutive month. The index measured its lowest readings for 10 years when it fell to 47.6% in December and according to ISM, this indicates that the manufacturing sector is contracting.
Experts suggest that on-going trade tensions between the U.S. and China are part of the reason for the continuing decline in the manufacturing industry. A recent report conducted by the Federal Reserve Board noted that while the implemented tariffs on certain chinese goods were meant “to boost the U.S. manufacturing sector”, their research concluded that they “have not led to increased activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector”.
However, with a phase-one trade deal agreed by the two countries and due to be signed on January 15th, “there are signs that several industry sectors will improve as a result” according to Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
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Track the origins of your cup of coffee
A new app “Thank My Farmer”, which was created by Farmers Connect and the IBM Food Trust, was unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas. The app will use blockchain technology to allow the consumer to track their coffee from bean to cup.
By using blockchain technology to simplify the exchange and tracking of information and payments, the technology creates a permanent digitized chain of transactions, which can not be altered. This information is then used to create an interactive map on the app for the consumer, which will allow them to track their coffee’s supply chain.
The app will initially be available in both North America and Europe but only on specific brands of coffee. However, companies both large and small are being invited to join the app throughout the year to allow further traceability across more coffee brands.
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New partnership to put flying taxis in the sky
Uber and Hyundai have partnered together in order to create a flying taxi. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the two companies revealed a model for a four-seat, electric flying vehicle which consumers will be able to summon through Uber’s app. According to a Hyundai spokesperson, the taxi will be operated by human pilots until the software is finalized to autonomously control it with the first prototype expected in 2023.
The partnership is not the first to announce the development of a flying car. Boeing has also developed a prototype, which made its first autonomous flight in January 2019. However, experts suggest that there may be some time before consumers see commercial flying vehicles due to the number of hurdles that need to be overcome including safety software, how the battery is powered, software to autonomously control it and Federal Aviation Administration approval.
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Have a lovely weekend!