Anyone eccentric enough to be following these daily economic updates – and bless you if you are – may be noticing that they are bleeding more and more across into the political and geopolitical arenas (also into the environmental arena but not today).
This is only to be expected as an ever expanding global population is competing for an ever-shrinking resource-base, making economic factors ever more politically sensitive. Those biophysical limits are really starting to chafe, resulting in more protectionism, nationalism and aggression.
Also, growing wage and wealth disparities, which are a hallmark of late-stage, energy-constrained civilisations, as ours is, are fuelling popular discontent, making national politics increasingly fractious.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought to tap into the “Long March” spirit of endurance to rally the public as trade and technology tensions rise with the United States, observers said.
“In his first domestic trip since the escalation of the US-China trade war this month, Xi visited one of the country’s major rare earths mining and processing facilities in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday…
“…the president’s visit sent a strong message of China’s determination in the stand-off.
“China has toughened its rhetoric in recent weeks as Washington raised tariffs on thousands of Chinese exports and put China’s telecoms champion Huawei on an export-control list. There is also growing speculation in China that Beijing could consider banning the export of rare earths to hit back at the US.”
“Expectations that $200 billion of foreign money would flow into China’s capital markets this year are looking nothing short of optimistic.”
“In China’s financial system, the bigger the role of the state, the cheaper the funding costs. As a rule.
“But in one corner of the country’s $13 trillion bond market, something different has happened.
“The highest yields in the 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) worth of debt sold by local government financing vehicles are found on the securities sold in regions where the public sector dominates the economy.”
“A collapse of U.S.-China trade talks and hike in tariffs on Chinese goods would push the world economy toward recession and see the Federal Reserve cut U.S. interest rates back to zero within a year, analysts at Morgan Stanley said on Monday.”
“…the Taiwanese government says May will bring a seventh straight month of contraction as slowing global tech demand continued to hurt the island’s trade-reliant economy. Orders in April dropped 3.7 percent from a year earlier…”
“Thailand’s economy grew at the slowest pace since 2014 in the first quarter as weaker global demand and trade tensions weighed on exports.
“Gross domestic product rose 2.8% from a year ago, down from a revised 3.6% in the fourth quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Council said on Tuesday.
“That’s the slowest pace since the end of 2014. The expansion was in line with the Bloomberg survey estimate of 2.8%.”
“Singapore’s economic growth in the first quarter of the year came in lower than officially estimated at 1.2 per cent – the slowest quarter growth in nearly a decade – as manufacturing shrank amid global trade tensions and an electronics slowdown…
“…[it was] the smallest annual expansion for any quarter since April-June 2009.”
“Australia’s central bank will consider cutting interest rates next month, Governor Philip Lowe said on Tuesday as the resource-rich economy looked set to join some of its global counterparts in easing financial conditions to boost growth.
“Lowe also urged the country’s newly re-elected government to do its part by slashing income taxes and boosting spending, as inflation and wages growth lagged the central bank’s expectations.”
“Economists have cut their forecast for Brazil’s growth in 2019 and now expect a third year of meager economic recovery following the country’s deepest-ever recession.”
“Crude oil production in Venezuela declined to its lowest level in more than 16 years in April, and the recent freefall could accelerate further as US sanctions-related deadlines pass.
“The politically and economically beleaguered country’s crude output averaged just 830,000 B/D in April, its lowest mark since January 2003, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.”
“Iran has accelerated the rate at which it’s enriching low-grade uranium four-fold, weeks after threatening to gradually scale back its commitments under a 2015 deal meant to prevent it from developing a nuclear bomb.”
“The EU Commission has confirmed that it will be making no changes to the Brexit withdrawal agreement following a claim by Theresa May that MPs would be voting on a new, better deal.
“A spokesperson told reporters in Brussels that collapsed talks between the government and Labour were “a Westminster process” and that there was “nothing that we can do at this stage”.
“Fake Russian collusion in Austria led to the demise of the nation’s government last weekend, and could result in criminal charges for a top far-right leader. The scandal has rocked Austria to its core, providing a blow to the growing clout of nationalist, anti-immigrant parties in Europe. While viewed as a local affair by some, it’s a political crisis that could potentially span the continent.”
“In the wake of the economic crisis, Paul Volcker called automated teller machines the last financial innovation that improved society.
“A decade later, their popularity is slipping.
“The number of ATMs around the world fell for the first time last year as banks closed branches and redirected resources toward digital payments, consulting firm RBR said in a study released Monday.”