Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Tuesday that the United States and Europe needed to work together to push back against China’s excess industrial capacity, warning that a wave of cheap Chinese exports represents a grave threat to the global economy. Ms. Yellen’s remarks, delivered during a speech in Germany, highlighted what is expected to be a central topic of discussion when the Group of 7 finance ministers meet in Italy this week. China’s excessive production of green energy technology has become a pressing trans-Atlantic concern in recent months. Officials in President Biden’s administration have grown increasingly worried that his efforts to finance domestic manufacturing of clean energy and other next-generation technologies will be undercut by China, which is churning out steel, electric cars and solar panels at a rapid clip.

Electric vehicle, wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers face a shortfall in critical metals and minerals unless more investment is made in projects such as new mines and recycling, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. While market pressures eased in 2023—leading to a slump in prices for metals including copper, lithium, cobalt and nickel—long-term investment is vital to avoid projected demand outpacing supply, according to the analysis from the IEA. The minerals are used in a number of technologies essential to the green transition. According to the analysis, the world’s current projected supply of lithium will meet only 50% of global demand by 2035, while copper resources will meet just over two-thirds of demand by that time.

U.S. import prices rose by the most in two years in April amid rising costs for energy products and other goods, suggesting that domestic inflation could remain elevated for a while. Import prices surged 0.9% last month, the largest increase since March 2022, after an upwardly revised 0.6% rise in March, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected import prices, which exclude tariffs, to advance 0.3% following a previously reported 0.4% gain in March. In the 12 months through April, import prices accelerated 1.1%, the largest gain since December 2022. Prices rose 0.4% in March, which was the first year-on-year increase since January 2023. The firmer import price readings cast a shadow on the inflation outlook. Data on Wednesday showed inflation resuming its downward drift after surging in the first quarter, with consumer price growth moderating in April after posting solid gains for two straight months.

With ongoing economic tensions between the United States and China, companies looking to relocate parts or all of their supply chains continue to look to Mexico. According to Mexico’s secretary of the economy (SE), there were 378 foreign direct investment (FDI) announcements last year, totaling over $6.4 billion. Private sector businesses from the U.S. were the top investors in Mexico, accounting for 38% of FDI. China was ranked second at 12%, followed by Denmark (9%), Australia (7%) and South Korea (6%). Mexico hit a new record for FDI in the first quarter of 2024, increasing 9% year over year to $1.2 billion.

At the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las Vegas this morning, Hexagon Purus in partnership with Hino Trucks, has announced the launch of a dedicated zero-emission battery electric Class 8 truck branded ‘Tern’ for the US truck market. A product of the new long-term agreement between Hexagon Purus and Hino Trucks, valued at up to approximately $2 billion, Tern is designed to deliver a seamless transition to electrification for the US commercial vehicle sector. Manufactured in Hexagon Purus’ new facility in Dallas, Texas, the Tern RC8 is scheduled for serial production in late 2024. Tern RC8 is based on Hino’s XL Series 4 x 2 chassis and is equipped with Hexagon Purus’ zero-emission technology, featuring proprietary battery systems, auxiliary modules, and power modules. The Tern RC8 also features an e-Axle from Dana for optimum efficiency and battery cells supplied and manufactured by Panasonic Energy, initially in Japan before transitioning to De Soto, Kansas from 2026 onwards.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the long weekend and the song of the week, Kerry Von Erich’s intro music, Tom Sawyer by Rush.

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