“In the past few weeks, international companies have begun to pull out of Iran after threats from US President Donald Trump that businesses must choose between trade with Tehran or trade with the US… Just a few weeks in, more than 80 million ordinary Iranians are starting to feel the pinch caused by the new sanctions, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) said.
“”The “devastating” impact of sanctions amounts to “collective punishment” of Iranian citizens, NIAC president Jamal Abdi said in a statement.
““The grievous harm sanctions cause the Iranian people cannot be overstated: As the economy and unemployment levels make daily life unbearable for millions of Iranians, families are choked off from life-saving medicines and starved of critical infrastructure,” he said…
“The Iranian government can no longer purchase US bank notes, which has sent the already fragile rial tumbling, exacerbated Iran’s housing affordability crisis and caused food prices to rocket. A travel ban imposed last year has cut off millions of diaspora families.
“Imported medicines are increasingly hard to come by; jobs in Iran’s graphite, coal and metal processing industries are on the line; and air travel has become more expensive and difficult as international carriers phase out flights. On Thursday, British Airways announced its London-Tehran flight, popular with dual nationality families and adventurous tourists over the last few years, would end in September…
“The Iranian currency has already lost half of its value since April this year, leading to street protests in several Iranian cities over the cost of living and government corruption.”
“The Russian Central Bank said Thursday that it has decided not to purchase foreign currency on the domestic market from Aug. 23 to the end of September in order to counter market volatility… Russia’s ruble has plunged to its weakest since mid-2016 as a result of Washington’s latest decision to impose a new round of sanctions on Moscow, which was expected to take effect around Aug. 22.”
“The lira slid on Thursday after Turkey accused the United States of waging “economic war” amid a bitter standoff between the NATO allies over the fate of a Christian pastor detained by Ankara… The lira is down 37% this year, with the crisis in Turkish-US ties exacerbating losses prompted by concerns about Erdogan’s influence on monetary policy. He says interest rates are the “mother and father of all evil” and opposes hiking them.”
““There is no business. Nothing works in this country, everything is very expensive,” Harb said, standing woefully outside his now shuttered shop. Nearly four months after Lebanon held its first general elections in nine years, politicians are still squabbling over the formation of a new government amid uncertainty over a long stagnating economy, struggling businesses and concerns over the currency.”
“U.S. and Chinese officials ended two days of talks on Thursday with no major breakthrough as their trade war escalated with activation of another round of dueling tariffs on $16 billion worth of each country’s goods.”
““The continued interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve have exerted depreciation pressure on currencies like the yuan and make it difficult for [the government to allow more] monetary expansion,” he added… According to Yu, previous economic stimuli relied heavily on investment – in particular, infrastructure spending – driven by looser monetary conditions to ensure sufficient credit. “The unavoidable result is excess money supply growth, the worsening of asset bubbles and a rapid increase in macroeconomic leverage,” he said.”
“Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull spent Thursday night drowning his sorrows as he was ousted from office in a bitter row that has thrust the country’s political landscape into turmoil.”
“The first quarter marked South Africa’s worst quarterly contraction in nine years, a reminder of the huge challenge faced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from Jacob Zuma in February…”
Argentina’s economy contracted 6.7%(!) in June from the year-earlier period, the third consecutive month of decline, the government said Thursday… Statistics agency Indec said the agriculture sector fell 31% in June from the same month last year, as crops were hammered by one of the worst droughts in decades. Manufacturing decreased 7.5%, while retail activity fell 8.4%… Earlier this month, the Central Bank of Argentina lifted its interest rate to 45%(!) from 40% in an unexpected meeting…”
“Anyone who thinks that the world’s emerging market woes will be confined to the likes of Argentina, Turkey and Venezuela has not being paying attention to the brewing Brazilian economic and political crisis. In particular, they have not noticed the dramatic swoon in the Brazilian currency. Since the start of this year, the Brazilian real has plunged by around 25 percent.”
“7% of [Venezuela’s] population, many suffering illness and malnutrition — have fled since 2014, but the patience and resources of regional host countries may soon wear thin.”
“Anti-immigration fervor has flared up in this year’s race for mayor of Lima, with conservative candidate Ricardo Belmont stoking fears that Venezuelans fleeing their country’s economic crisis are a threat to Peruvians’ jobs and to public order.”
“Stockpiles of at least six week’s supply of medicines will be held in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, with urgent medicines airlifted to the UK to avoid lengthy delays at road, rail and sea borders. The government has asked the pharmaceutical industry to make plans to hold additional stocks amid concerns that hospitals and pharmacists could run short of supplies in the event of disruption at UK borders.”
“Fearing the direction of the Italian economy under a populist-led coalition government at a time that the country still has a massive public debt mountain and the shakiest of banking systems, foreigners have been reducing their Italian government bond holding at a rate of around EUR 40 billion a month. That withdrawal has been at a greater rate than that in 2012 at the peak of the Eurozone debt crisis.”
“The European Central Bank has become increasingly confident that it can wean the eurozone off some of its crisis-era support without endangering the region’s economy. According to minutes published on Thursday from the July 26 meeting of the bank’s governing council, the eurozone was set to grow at a “solid pace”, with the risks to the outlook “broadly balanced” despite the threat of a global trade war.”
[misplaced optimism, I fear].
“Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will not lack for urgent topics to address when he gives the keynote speech Friday to an annual gathering of global central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“Fed watchers will be listening for anything Powell has to say about financial turmoil in emerging markets, the economic threats posed by the growing trade war launched by President Donald Trump, and Trump’s criticism of the Fed’s recent interest rate hikes.
“Investors will especially want to hear whether Powell addresses the central question of whether any of those developments might lead the Fed to alter its plan to raise interest rates two more times this year and to keep raising them next year as well.”