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UK, Australia strike new free trade agreement

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Australia and the United Kingdom have agreed to a new trade deal, a first major deal post-Brexit.

The Australian Prime Minister had a working dinner with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street last night, with a formal announcement expected on Tuesday.

According to the BBC, the meal served up to the pair on Monday evening included Welsh lamb and Scottish smoked salmon, and was washed down with Australian wine.

It is the first trade deal to be negotiated from scratch since the UK left the EU.

The new deal is expected to give UK and Australian food producers and other businesses easier access to each other’s markets.

However, the leaders were initially stuck on several issues, including a plan by the British to add tariffs to Australian farming imports for the next ten years.

Behind the scenes, bureaucrats have been working frantically to reach a deal, and now both leaders are believed to have made concessions.

The new trade deal is expected to give UK and Australian food producers and other businesses easier access to each other’s markets.

According to the National Farmers Union (NFU), Australian farmers are able to produce beef at a lower cost of production, and could undercut farmers in the UK.

Australia’s top 10 export markets

Australia still leads the world when it comes to exporting ironcoal and petroleum gases.

Australia’s biggest export products by value in 2020 were iron, coal, petroleum gases, gold and aluminium. In aggregate, those major exports account for 63.1% of overall exports sales from Australia.

The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Australian global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Australia.

  1. Ores, slag, ash: US$91.3 billion (35.9% of total exports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $65.4 billion (25.7%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: $19.6 billion (7.7%)
  4. Meat: $10.4 billion (4.1%)
  5. Inorganic chemicals: $5.2 billion (2%)
  6. Machinery including computers: $4.4 billion (1.7%)
  7. Cereals: $3.8 billion (1.5%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals: $3.4 billion (1.4%)
  9. Electrical machinery, equipment: $3.1 billion (1.2%)
  10. Aluminum: $3.1 billion (1.2%)

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Global markets hit record highs all thanks to AI

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Is AI the main contributor behind the soaring markets in Australia, the US, Japan, and Germany?

Financial markets worldwide have witnessed record highs, creating a wave of optimism among investors.

The surge is attributed to a combination of positive economic indicators, policy developments, and the integration of AI across key economies, including Australia, the United States, Japan, and Germany. #ticker today #featured

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Dune Part 2 sets box office ablaze with $178m worldwide

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As “Dune: Part Two” continues its intergalactic journey on the silver screen, director Denis Villeneuve’s epic sequel has ignited the international box office, amassing a stellar $97 million from 71 overseas markets.

This impressive overseas performance has propelled the film’s global tally to a promising $178.5 million, further solidifying its status as a cinematic force to be reckoned with.

Starring powerhouse talents such as Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, “Dune: Part Two” has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, earning widespread acclaim and enthusiastic support.

The film’s success in North American theaters, where it secured the biggest domestic opening weekend of the year with $81.5 million, has been complemented by robust ticket sales in international territories.

Large formats

The immense popularity of “Dune: Part Two” has been particularly evident in premium large formats, such as Imax, which accounted for 48% of initial sales, driving up the film’s revenue even further. Mary Parent, producer of “Dune,” remarked on the film’s cultural impact, expressing confidence in its longevity at the box office.

Despite facing challenges due to the hefty production and promotional costs—reportedly totaling $190 million and $100 million respectively—the sequel has already demonstrated its box office prowess, surpassing expectations in its initial run.

With a global audience eagerly embracing the continuation of Frank Herbert’s epic saga, “Dune: Part Two” is poised for a successful box office run.

The film’s international debut marks a significant milestone in Villeneuve’s career, achieving the largest opening weekend in all 71 markets—a testament to its universal appeal. Notable highlights include the United Kingdom, where it earned $11.8 million, as well as France ($9.6 million), Germany ($9.1 million), Korea ($6.9 million), and Australia ($6 million).

With upcoming releases in key markets such as China and Japan, “Dune: Part Two” is poised to further bolster its global box office performance.

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Can’t beat ’em, buy ’em – Will Apple buy an EV maker next?

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Tesla’s competitors, including Rivian, Lucid, and Fisker, find themselves grappling with significant challenges, sparking speculation about potential acquisitions and partnerships within the industry.

Rivian, once hailed as a formidable rival to Tesla, has faced a stark reversal of fortunes.

Following a disappointing quarter and outlook, the company announced a workforce reduction of approximately 10%, while its market capitalization plummeted from a peak of $153 billion in 2021 to $11 billion.

Speculation arose about tech giant Apple considering an acquisition of Rivian, with industry experts citing the company’s low valuation as a potential attraction.

Gene Munster, managing partner of Deepwater Asset Management, suggested that Apple, having recently abandoned its own EV project, might view Rivian as an opportunity to enter the EV market.

Apple’s bad luck

While Apple’s history of acquisitions has been relatively conservative, Munster emphasized the potential significance of such a move for the tech giant.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered a grim assessment of Rivian’s prospects, highlighting the urgency for cost-cutting measures and operational improvements. Musk’s remarks underscored the precarious position facing Rivian as it navigates through challenging market conditions.

In a similar vein, Lucid Motors has experienced a substantial decline in its market capitalization, dropping from a peak of $91.4 billion to $7.6 billion.

The company’s production targets have been revised downwards significantly, leading to speculation about its future viability. Despite rumors of a potential acquisition by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, no such deal has materialized, leaving Lucid to confront its operational and financial hurdles independently.

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