John Burn-Murdoch

The 2015-16 El Niño episode has been either the most or one of the most intense on record, depending on which measure you use.

Going on sea surface temperatures alone, the latest El Niño narrowly edges out 1997-98, the previous strongest. Temperatures in the Niño 3.4 region of the Pacific Ocean — the most commonly used of the regions scientists measure for signs of an developing El Niño or La Niña conditions — peaked at 2.37°C above the long term trend in November 2015, just ahead of the 2.33°C mark reached in 1997. Read more

Valentina Romei

Commodities prices are generally falling but lithium spot price tripled in the past year, driven by demand for batteries used in electric cars and devices. Read more

The COP21 climate change calculator allows users to track and project greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from China, US, EU1, India, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Australia and the Rest of the World (“Others”), over the period 1870 to 2100. China, US, EU, India, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Canada are the highest GHG emitters in the world. Together with Australia, they accounted for two-thirds of global GHG emissions in 2010.

To learn more about the underlying data, methodology for computation of temperature values and key messages from the COP21 calculator please read on… Read more

Kate Allen

Australia’s economy is on the up, the latest data shows, with GDP rising by 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter. But the national figures hide a lot of variation at state level. In effect, Australia has a two-speed economy.

Most of the growth was driven by the Northern Territory, where the economy is booming thanks to its dominant mining industry. By contrast Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia were in recession.

Australia final demand by state

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Kate Allen

Angela Merkel has been making much of Germany’s predominant role in the EU’s trade relationship with China – the oft-touted ‘special relationship’. The EU overtook Japan as China’s main source of imports back in 2011, and Germany is the biggest contributor to that. But Europe’s elevated status is not due to its own export growth; rather, it is due to Japan’s continuing performance slide.

Chinese imports

Source: IMF/Haver Analytics

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A new military spending forecast from analysts at IHS Jane’s Defence suggests that China’s defence spending will accelerate substantially in the next three years.

This interactive graphic examines defence spending and gross domestic product growth in the region – as well as showing contextual numbers for the US – the world’s biggest spender on defence. Read more