“Governments are continuing to run up huge debt levels, with emerging countries helping push the total global IOU to 80 percent of gross domestic product [GDP].
“The worldwide tab through 2018 is now up to $66 trillion as measured in U.S. currency terms, about double where it was in 2007, just as the financial crisis was beginning to unfold, according to Fitch Ratings’ new Global Government Debt Chart Book released Wednesday.
“”Government debt levels are high, leaving many countries poorly positioned for financial tightening as global interest rates begin to move higher,” James McCormack, Fitch’s global head of sovereign ratings, said in a statement.”
“…there’s the distinct possibility that many …elderly people just can’t afford to retire.
“Whether their nest eggs were wiped out in the housing crash, or they just didn’t save enough, or whether their kids don’t make enough money to support them, the decline of retirement seems like an ominous development.”
“Unconventional mortgages — the likes of which were criticized for their role in the financial crisis — are making a comeback. These loans are aimed at buyers facing circumstances such as not being able to provide standard proofs of income, the Wall Street Journal reported. And they’re on the rise — even amid higher home prices and interest rates.”
“Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has secured significant international support after declaring himself interim president in a bid to force out Nicolás Maduro as two nights of unrest gripped the country, leading to the deaths of 14 people.
“Guaidó was quickly recognised by the US, Canada, Brazil, Colombia and other US allies in the Americas, while the European Union said the voice of the people “cannot be ignored”.”
“A third of African countries have unsustainable debt positions and the continent must reduce its reliance on foreign funding for projects that don’t help them service loans, Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said.”
“The Arab countries should be fully prepared for a potential economic crisis that may start in 2020…
“Arab countries should not entirely rely on the United States as a global economic crisis is expected to hit in 2020, said Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of Jordan-based Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization for professional services and education. The next economic crisis in 2020 is expected to be worse than the 2008 global financial crisis…”
“Some 70,000 UK retail jobs were lost in the final months of 2018 and nearly a third of retail businesses plan to shed staff in the coming months, according to a new report that underlines the tough trading conditions on the high street.
“The survey, carried out by the British Retail Consortium, came as John Lewis revealed it is to close its smallest department store, Knight & Lee in Southsea in Hampshire, putting 127 jobs at risk.”
“Manufacturers’ hopes for their export businesses are at their their lowest ebb since the 2008 global financial meltdown amid sustained Brexit uncertainty, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).”
“French business activity fell unexpectedly this month, pulling back at the fastest rate in over four years in the face of weakening demand and the impact of anti-government protests, a survey showed on Thursday.
“Data compiler IHS Markit said that its preliminary composite monthly purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 47.9 points from 48.7 in December, confounding economists’ expectations on average for an improvement to 51.0.”
“Germany’s industrial woes carried into the new year as factory output contracted for the first time in four years.
“The poor reading for the IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index in January will reinforce fears about the health of both the European and the global economy. That’s been a key talking point at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, where the IMF cut its outlook and said an escalation of trade tensions could add further damage.”
“Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte brushed aside fears Italy is headed for a recession, insisting that economic growth could climb as much as 1.5 percent this year and ruled out any need for a budget adjustment to meet targets.
“Key measures in the populist government’s budget are now taking effect, Conte told Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.”
“To understand part of why China’s downturn looks different this time, you have to understand how Chinese consumers have changed.
In short — like the rest of their country — they’re way more in debt than they used to be. According to analysts at Autonomous Research, household debt has grown nearly twice the pace of income since 2008.”
“Disposals of bad debt in China are reaching levels not seen in nearly two decades as the banking sector grapples with an onslaught of poor-quality loans that amounted to about Rmb1.75tn ($258bn) last year.”
“After decelerating to its slowest pace in six years in 2018, South Korea’s economy is set to further brake in 2019.”
“The beleaguered Australian dollar faces another threat in addition to slowing global growth and the U.S.-China trade war: an addiction to real estate has created a debt mountain.
“After being the worst-performing developed-nation currency in 2018, the Aussie is set to extend losses this year as a near-record level of indebtedness at households make it more likely the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates to support the economy…”
“For at least a year, a growing chorus of financial analysts and CFOs has predicted that a recession is going to hit the US sooner than later—perhaps even by the end of 2019.
“Now Deloitte, a global accounting and auditing firm, has chimed in to say that the worrying signals are growing.”
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