Key global insights

Chinese Premier Li Qiang met with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese last week in Canberra, marking the first visit to Australia by a Chinese Premier in seven years. The visit underscores the improving relations between Australia and China—the world's second largest economy and Australia's largest trading partner. While not confirmed during the visit, there is hope that the current Chinese ban on Australian lobster imports will be lifted soon. Australian rock lobster has been banned from China since a raft of sanctions were introduced in 2020. In 2019, Queensland fresh lobster exports to China were worth $34 million. 

Gears Mining, based in Toowoomba, has launched the world’s largest liner handler machine with a capacity of 8,100 kg, significantly advancing the mining equipment industry and creating over 100 jobs in the region. The new machine is designed for high performance, reliability, and operator safety, featuring advanced safety modes and a CANBus system for optimal operation. The machine will help to boost productivity and set new benchmarks in the mining industry.

A consortium of NATO allies has confirmed the first tranche of companies awarded funding as part of the group’s AUD $1.6 billion innovation fund, which aims to invest in technologies to enhance capabilities in defence, security, and resilience. It comes as global military expenditure grew by 6.8% in 2023, pushing spending to the highest level ever recorded and presenting opportunities for Queensland's defence sector.

The University of Queensland has developed a highly effective vaccine to protect cattle from the effects of tick feeding by breaking the life cycle of any tick that bites a vaccinated animal. Cattle ticks cause up to $128 million of losses in the Australian industry. The Australian Economic Accelerator Seed Grant allowed the study to be tested on 30 cows in a proof-of-concept trial for commercial adoption. Once fully developed, Queensland could look to export this vaccine globally to highly impacted areas.

Graphic of Russia flag

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently travelled to North Korea and Vietnam to deepen trade and security ties with both countries. Shortly after Putin’s visit to Vietnam, a US Senior Diplomat visited Hanoi and said that trust between the two countries is at an all time high, highlighting how Vietnam has been able to strategically position to maintain relationships with Russia, China and the United States. A Queensland delegation from Trade and Investment Queensland and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) recently visited Vietnam to advance major trade and investment engagements.

In a bid to challenge China's rare earths industry, Brazil is pushing to boosting rare earth production. Low labour costs and regulatory clarity have driven investment from overseas into Brazil's rare earths industry. Queensland also competes in the rare earth element industry, with Queensland's Critical Minerals Strategy underpinned by $245 million of initiatives to develop Queensland's rare earths industry. 

Featured insights

Exponential growth of solar will change the world

  • The Economist says solar cells could be the biggest source of global electricity generation by the mid-2030s, and the largest source of all energy by the 2040s. 
  • Installed global solar capacity is doubling every three years. In contrast to some other energy sources, solar power has become cheaper over time – and is expected to continue to do so.
  • Currently, the majority of the world's solar panels are manufactured in China, with 1% of solar panels in Australia produced domestically. 
  • The $1 billion Solar Sunshot program could see that grow to up to 20%presenting opportunities for manufacturing in Queensland.

Supply chain update: Rising shipping costs, delays

  • Retailers, manufacturers and other industries that rely on massive box ships are battling surging shipping rates, port delays and shortages of empty containers.
  • The Drewry World Container Index price of US$5,117 for week ending 20 June is up 233% compared to the same week last year, and up 260% compared to the 2019 average.
  • The increased costs have been driven by congestion in Asian ports, shippers moving peak inventory shipping dates forward to avoid peak bottlenecks, and re-routing of ships around Africa due to the ongoing Red Sea crisis.
  • The impacts are extending to Air Freight, with the BAI Index up 6.4% in the week to 24 June.

In case you missed it...

  • OpenAI has partnered with Apple to bring the direct integration of ChatGPT to Apple applications. 
  • The Federal Opposition has announced plans to introduce nuclear energy in Australia. Seven locations, where existing coal power stations are closing (including Callide and Tarong power station in Queensland) have been proposed for new nuclear plants. Queensland's Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Act prohibits the construction and operation of nuclear reactors and other nuclear facilities.
  • The Consumer Price Index rose 4.0% in the year to May 2024, raising the likelihood of the interest rate rises.
  • China has launched an anti-dumping investigation into European pork exports in retaliation to European Union tariffs against Chinese EV.
  • Modelling by the Economist suggests Donald Trump has a 3 in 4 chance of winning the US election in November.