I’m going to breach protocol and start with something uplifting today – a little light amidst the gathering darkness:
“Poor neighbourhoods of Istanbul have been visited by an anonymous benefactor paying off debts at grocery stores and leaving envelopes of cash on doorsteps, at a time when desperation at the spiralling cost of living has been blamed for recent suicides.
“Residents of Tuzla, a largely working-class shipbuilding district on the Asian side of the city, were overjoyed last week to find their shopping bills in several grocery stores had been cleared by an unknown male benefactor.
““Someone came and asked me to show him the notebook where I record customers’ debts,” Coşkun Yılmaz, the owner of one of the shops, told Demirören news agency.
““There were four people with large amounts outstanding and I told him where they lived. He came back again after talking to them and paid all the debts. I also learned he gave extra cash to those families,” Yılmaz said.
““I asked him his name and he told me: ‘Just call me Robin Hood’.”
“Food prices and rent soared after the Turkish lira crashed in 2018, and while inflation has now dropped to 8.6% from a high of 25%, unemployment is still rising and electricity is 10 times more expensive than last year.”
“Half a million Algerian workers have lost their jobs, as several companies, which were subjected to corruption investigations for months, shut down their activities.
“The inquiries included companies owned by businessmen, known for their closeness to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and who ended up being arrested. Among the detainees was the former chairman of the Forum of Heads of Institutions, Ali Haddad.”
Yet another nation erupting into protests:
“Police in riot gear on Monday clashed with anti-government demonstrators outside the Parliament buildings in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Water cannons were fired on the crowds as authorities attempted to break up a second day of wide-spread rallies.”
“Hong Kong’s accountants see a bleak outlook for the local economy as the city grapples with a recession caused by six months of increasingly violent protests, a slowing global economy and the US-China trade war. Two thirds of accounting professionals surveyed by CPA Australia expect Hong Kong’s economy to contract in 2020, as the recession that began in the last quarter continues.
“That represents a huge slump in economic confidence.”
“The current crisis goes back to Pinochet’s vicious neoliberal economic model, which has been effusively embraced by all post-Pinochet governments from center-left to right.
“The system has given Chile the dubious honor of being one of the countries with the world’s highest concentration of wealth.”
“Western Canada is currently facing uncertain times not witnessed since the Petro-Canada Centre, better known as Red Square, was built to house the then Crown Corporation in downtown Calgary in 1983.
“And with no resolution in sight for the five-year-long rout in oil and natural gas prices, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.”
“Slowing shale-drilling activity is the latest damper on U.S. manufacturers that had come to rely on a booming domestic energy market.”
“The New York Federal Reserve on Monday accepted $61.043 billion in bids from primary dealers at a repurchase agreement (repo) operation, a move intended to help maintain the federal funds rate within the target range.
“Monday’s amount was slightly lower than the $68.34 repos accepted on Friday.”
“Europe will be struck by an even larger wave of debt defaults in the next downturn compared to the financial crisis after a surge in junk-rated companies, Moody’s has predicted.
“The credit ratings agency warned that the proportion of B3-rated companies, those graded as “speculative” quality, has doubled in Europe over just three years. The deterioration means the region will see “a much larger number of downgrades and defaults during the next cyclical downturn compared with the crisis in 2008-09”, Moody’s said.”
“Central banks in developed economies “are very close to being out of bullets,” Donald Amstad, head of Asian investment specialists at Aberdeen Standard Investments, tells me.
“Having saturated markets with printed money and slashed interest rates, in some cases to below zero (meaning investors pay to lend), there seems to be little left in the arsenal with which to slay the next downturn.”