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“Gradually rising interest rates have yet to dent Americans’ appetite for borrowing, with the total stock of new debt climbing to $13.3 trillion in the second quarter, continuing a gradual rise in household borrowing over the past four years.

“Debts rose by $82 billion in the second quarter, driven by rising mortgage, credit-card and auto-loan balances, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly report on household debt and credit.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/household-borrowing-reaches-record-13-3-trillion-as-rising-rates-have-yet-to-bite-1534258838


What could possibly go wrong?

“The U.S. stock market could soon lay claim to being in the longest bull run in modern history, and it is more likely to power on than fizzle as it heads toward its golden years.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/14/this-could-be-the-longest-bull-market-in-stocks-ever-and-it-still-has-.html


“…the biggest concern is that aggregate debt levels in relation to global GDP have continued to grow… Because that was the problem that ignited the 2008 financial crisis, and the scope to respond is much more limited now than it was then. From both the monetary policy and the fiscal perspective, the room for manoeuvre is much smaller… Compared with a year ago, the situation, looking ahead, is more worrisome.”

https://financialtribune.com/articles/world-economy/91834/aggregate-debt-levels-continue-to-grow


“The escalating political dispute between the United States and Turkey, along with the sharp drop in the value of the Turkish currency, the lira, have captured front-page headlines in recent days. The political dispute threatens to realign major alliances while the drop in the lira threatens to undermine the global economy if it continues.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/world/middle-east/article/2159692/growing-global-links-mean-turkeys-lira-crisis-poses-risk


“Sharp declines in the Turkish lira, Indian rupee and other currencies have raised the prospect of a self-reinforcing flight from riskier emerging markets.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/plunging-turkish-lira-indian-rupee-raise-specter-of-contagion-1534252079


“Turkey has sharply raised tariffs on US imports, including passenger cars, alcohol and tobacco. A decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the tariffs on cars to 120%, on alcoholic drinks to 140% and on leaf tobacco to 60%. Tariffs were also increased on cosmetics, rice and coal. Turkey had previously said it would boycott US electronic products. It comes after Washington imposed punitive sanctions on Ankara.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45194003


“The currency crisis in Turkey is being exacerbated by a skyrocketing annual inflation rate, which by some estimates, exceeds 100 percent.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/14/turkey-annual-inflation-rate-is-running-at-an-estimated-101-percent.html


“After 40 years of economic reforms, Chinese society has amassed too many contradictions. Public dissatisfaction with the authorities is well known… the economic impact of the trade war with the United States is likely to exacerbate the crisis in Chinese society. So far, the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods have caused China’s stock and currency markets to fluctuate and public pessimism to spread… Depending on how the conflict develops, we may see large-scale business closures, a rise in unemployment and serious inflation. If the economy sinks into a recession, living standards may fall sharply.”

https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/united-states/article/2159628/trade-war-raises-spectre-china-collapse-and


“China’s state planner pledged on Wednesday to keep debt levels under control even as Beijing rolls out fresh stimulus to support the stumbling economy as a trade war with the U.S. deepens.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy/china-vows-to-control-debt-despite-fresh-stimulus-for-cooling-economy-idUKKBN1L007B


“A company controlled by an economic and paramilitary organisation in China’s Xinjiang region has missed the interest and principal repayment on an onshore debt market note, in the latest sign of the stresses in China’s financial system.”

https://www.scmp.com/business/money/markets-investing/article/2159720/bond-default-xinjiang-latest-sign-stresses-chinas


“The [Iranian] regime is attempting to hold onto its power, even as the economic turmoil continues to rise. There are calls to replace members of Rouhani’s administration, especially those involved in economic issues. Others are calling for a new election or the replacement of Rouhani’s civilian-led government with a military-led one.”

https://themediaexpress.com/2018/08/14/economic-crisis-in-iran-deepens-as-value-of-rial-continues-to-drop/


“President Nicolas Maduro said Monday that some of the world’s cheapest petrol that Venezuelan drivers enjoy will soon be sold at world market prices to combat rampant smuggling. [Currently] for the price of a cup of coffee, a driver can fill the tank of a small SUV nearly 9,000 times.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/14/venezuela-abandon-petrol-subsidies-inflation-set-hit-one-million/


“Nicaragua’s National Assembly on Tuesday, August 14, approved a drastic cut to the national budget because of the economic impact of months of anti-government unrest.”

https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/latin-america/209593-nicaragua-sharply-cuts-budget-unrest


And some ominous signs of an overall slowdown in the global economy:

“Oil prices ended lower Tuesday for the fourth time in five sessions as investors worried that growth in global demand may soon weaken.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/oil-ticks-up-amid-supply-risks-1534245421


“”We’re not earning anything from it any more, we have nothing,” says a rubber farmer in Ivory Coast, Africa’s top producer, where revenues from natural rubber have been slashed by global oversupply… Rubber prices are linked to that of crude because of the tyre industry, which uses a mix of natural and synthetic petroleum-based products.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-6061749/In-Ivory-Coast-global-rubber-glut-erases-profits.html


“Copper sank below $6,000, while the dollar climbed and stocks fell, as investors fret that the Turkish crisis will spill over into emerging markets, hurting demand already threatened by a U.S.-China trade war. Other metals, crude oil and gold declined too.”

https://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/2018/08/15/base-metals-prices-mixed-as-investors-follow-talks-at-escondida


Read yesterday’s ‘Economy’ thread here.

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