The collective unconscious is roiled. Everyone intuits on some level that something big is brewing: “The 73rd United Nations General Assembly opens on Tuesday in New York with world leaders bracing for the next global crisis – and the rest of us uncertain about what they would do if it comes.
“Don’t be fooled by the fact that U.S. markets hit record highs this past week, that global growth remains steady, or that the Trump administration in its first two years has escaped any crisis of the sort that came with the 9-11 terrorist attacks of 2001, the 2003 Iraq War or the Lehman Brothers meltdown of 2008.
“In my many years of taking the global pulse around UN week, where more than 120 leaders will gather, I’ve seldom seen or sensed such uneasiness and uncertainty. I’ve never known a time when the potential sources of volatility have been so widespread geographically.
“The debate, hence, has become less about the likelihood of a crisis and more about what form it might take, with what severity it will strike, and whether world leaders will have the capacity to contain it.”
“The trade fight between the United States and China intensified Monday as the two economic superpowers hit each other with their biggest round of tariffs yet. The Trump administration imposed new 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods just after midnight ET (noon in Beijing), spanning thousands of products… China retaliated immediately with new taxes of 5% to 10% on $60 billion of US goods such as meat, chemicals, clothes and auto parts. The moves are a significant escalation in the growing conflict between the world’s top two economies.”
“There’s a $6.3 trillion elephant in the room. And it just might cause the next recession. The last downturn was triggered by Wall Street and Americans accumulating too much debt — particularly in the sizzling housing market. A decade later, it’s Corporate America borrowing with gusto. Egged on by extremely low rates, US companies have piled on a record-setting $6.3 trillion of debt, according to S&P Global Ratings.”
“The country’s outstanding student loan balance is projected to swell to $2 trillion by 2022, and experts say a large portion of it is unlikely to ever be repaid; nearly a quarter of student loan borrowers are currently in a state of delinquency or default.
“Because of these loans, many Americans are unable to buy houses and cars, start businesses and families, save or invest.”
“China’s spiralling debt, a major concern for the slowing down of its economy, has risen to USD 2.58 trillion, a media report said Sunday.
“China’s local government debt balance stood at 17.66 trillion yuan (USD 2.58 trillion) by the end of August… Regarded as the “hidden debt”, the steady rise of the local government debt worries economists and regulators.”
“Surging interbank rates. A shock jump in the currency. Hong Kong’s decade-long liquidity party suddenly appears to be ending, and that can only be bad news for its expensive property market.
“The one-month rate known as Hibor rose 28 basis points on Monday, the most since December 2008…”
“The peso slumped to a 13-year low of 54.28 to the US dollar on September 17, bumping up the cost of imported food ingredients…
“This month, Duterte blamed the US President Donald Trump and the trade war with China for the inflation that has hit the Philippines. “Who started it? America!” Duterte said. “When America raised [tariff] rates and interest rates, everything went up.””
“Campaigning for Indonesia’s presidential election in April kicked off on Sunday, pitting incumbent Joko Widodo against a former military general in the race to lead the world’s third-biggest democracy…
“But his bid for a second term is facing headwinds over his economic record, with the Indonesian rupiah sitting at two-decade lows…”
“Inflation [in Japan] has stubbornly refused to tick up towards the bank’s two-percent target; growth has remained sluggish and the bank is stuck in neutral, without a major policy change in years. The bank is in “deadlock,” Shigeto Nagai, head of the Japan department at Oxford Economics told AFP. “They can’t tighten, they can’t ease further from here. They have to stick to the current policy but inflation will not rise,” added Nagai.”
“Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd., an Indian conglomerate that has missed payment on more than five of its obligations since August, is seeking to raise more than 300 billion rupees ($4.2 billion) selling assets to cut debt, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. The company, which has been categorized as a “systemically important” non-banking financial firm by the Reserve Bank of India, plans to sell 25 assets…”
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guards yesterday vowed “deadly and unforgettable” vengeance for the mass shooting at a military parade as Iran’s president blamed US-backed insurgents for killing 25 people in a hail of bullets… President Hassan Rouhani accused the US of inciting an unnamed ally in the Persian Gulf to carry out the attack… Mr Rouhani is on a collision course for US President Donald Trump, whose decision to quit the 2015 nuclear deal is, to Mr Rouhani’s mind, directly to blame for Iran’s crippling financial crisis.”
“Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter has warned of a silent revolution in the country as a result of the ‘near collapse’ of the economy.
“Keter says the country, with the Sh 6 trillion debt and corruption cartels seizing most sectors of the economy, is literally bankrupt. In a statement, he blamed those in charge of the economy of living in denial and continuing to drive deep into more problems.”
“Zimbabwe faces a deepening economic crisis as hopes fade of a new wave of international investment and aid following historic elections in July…
“Majory Manjoro, a part-time currency dealer in Harare, said life had become unbearable. “Things are getting worse. Everything goes up [in price]. Those in authority need to make sure things get better,” Manjoro, 33, said.”
“”China equals Hitler” said the sign held up in the Zambian capital Lusaka by a protester opposed to Beijing’s tightening grip on the economy of the southern African nation…
“…his criticism echoes concerns shared by many across swathes of Africa and beyond, where some fear that China’s mega-projects risk leaving already fragile economies in even worse shape.”
“A Chinese navy hospital ship docked near Venezuela’s capital on Saturday as the OPEC nation’s deepening economic crisis garners the attention of the U.S. and other world powers.
“Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino was on hand to greet the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s ship, the Peace Ark, on its latest stop as part of the 11-nation “Mission Harmony” tour announced in June.”
“First went the chicken, then the sugar. Meat disappeared and bread soon after. Venezuela’s food shortages, skyrocketing prices and rampant crime made the decision for Veronica Garcia: She would find refuge in Buenos Aires. Instead, Garcia was greeted by Argentina’s currency crisis when she and her boyfriend, Miguel Nicorsin, arrived in late June.
“The peso is down 50% this year, inflation is climbing and the economy is sinking into recession.”
“There can be no doubt that the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, suffered a hurtful humiliation in Salzburg, Austria this past week as the leaders of the other 27 European Union (EU) nations rejected her Chequers Brexit plan… Across the Eurozone the level of Debt:GDP stands at 86.7%. A far cry from the 60% limit that was established by the deeply flawed Stability and Growth Pact… Interest rates in the Eurozone have been fixed at 0.0% since March 2016 and there is no sense of conviction when the European Central Bank will be able to raise them again.”
“Germany, one of the world’s main maritime players, saw its commercial fleet shrink by a third over the past six years, becoming the biggest loser in a vicious industry slump that has reshaped global shipping…
“The contraction in German shipping stems from an unprecedented downturn over the past decade in which a glut of ships in the water, exacerbated by easy lending practices, pushed freight rates well below break-even levels.”
“Any increase in deficit spending that does not help boost structural economic growth could put Italy’s debt on an unsustainable course, the head of the Bank of Italy said… If budgetary expansion was accompanied by a fall in investor confidence, the impact on interest rates could be particularly marked, he said. The negative impact of this on economic growth (GDP) could put the debt-GDP ratio on “an unsustainable course”, he said.”
“Are we nearing another financial crisis? … the economic expansion is very mature, now about a decade old. Another downturn is only a matter of time. Global “synchronized growth” ended earlier this year, with emerging markets running into trouble. The U.S. is largely alone with robust GDP figures, and it is hard to believe that this rate of growth can be sustained with the expansion slowing elsewhere… The icing on the cake could be high oil prices… The stage is set for a downturn in the next year or two.”
“The US tariffs have already undermined global growth and weakened the WTO.
“In a world of cross-border supply chains and increasing interconnectivity, the unnecessary disruption to the iron and steel trade will result in less production not just in exporting countries, but also in the US. And the likelihood that other countries will retaliate makes the situation all the more dangerous.”
“The global economy could face a “relapse” of the crisis that rocked the world a decade ago, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) warned in its annual report on Sunday, stressing that there would not be enough “medicine” available to treat the problem this time, AFP reported.
““Things look rather fragile,” BIS chief economist Claudio Borio told reporters. “There is little left in the medicine chest to nurse the patient back to health or care for him in case of a relapse.””