“Given the magnitude of the shared global challenges humanity confronts today, from climate change to nuclear proliferation, the world desperately needs a quiet phase of international comity, enlightened leadership and steady cooperation.
“Alas, the Boring ‘20s are not on the cards. The new decade seems poised to be as volatile and divisive as the Roaring ‘20s a century ago.”
“Gold surged Monday to its highest level in nearly seven years as investors fled riskier assets such as stocks amid rising tensions between Iran and the U.S.
Futures for February delivery settled up 1% at $1,568.80 per ounce and hit a high of $1,590.90 per ounce…”
““A lasting conflict would have wide-ranging implications through broad economic and financial shock that significantly worsen operating and financing conditions,” Moody’s senior analyst Alexander Perjessy wrote in a note to clients Monday.
““A protracted conflict would potentially have global repercussions, in particular through its effect on oil prices,” he added.”
“Lebanon sailed through the financial crisis. Now it’s lunging toward Greek status, and signs of a crisis are everywhere.
“On Friday, a near-riot broke out in a bank…”
“Thousands took to the streets in Guinea in a new anti-government protest on Monday, with partisan violence injuring at least 12 people.
“The West African country has been hit by rolling protests since mid-October.”
“Liberian police fired tear gas and a water cannon to clear thousands of anti-government protesters from a central district in the capital Monrovia.
“A crowd of some 3,000 people had gathered outside Monrovia’s capitol building since Monday morning to protest the deepening economic crisis under President George Weah.”
“University entrance exams to be taken by 300,000 students around Chile were disrupted in some cities on Monday by fresh protests over inequality and elitism, with some students blocking access to test sites and burning exam papers…
“The test had been suspended twice since November amid widespread social unrest in Chile that has left more than 27 people dead, thousands injured and thousands more arrested.”
“The protests that began [in Colombia] on November 21 last year waned over the holiday season, but could reignite to convince the government to negotiate demands for far-reaching policy changes.
“So far, the National Strike Committee has not called any new strikes or protests, but this could change after the January 19 meeting with the government.”
“No one can escape Argentina’s biggest economic crisis in almost two decades – not even the dead.
“The cost of buying, renting and maintaining graves and tombs is so high that many people opt to cremate their loved ones instead.”
“Australian firefighters used a break from searing temperatures on Tuesday to strengthen containment lines around huge wildfires as the financial and environmental costs of the crisis mounted.
“More than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres) of land an area the size of South Korea – have been razed by bushfires across the country in recent weeks, according to the latest data…”
“As the effects of climate change grow increasingly evident across the world, Federal Reserve officials are signaling fresh concerns about the dangers that extreme weather poses to the economy and to the financial system…
“Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell has acknowledged the imminent risks of climate change and that humans contribute to it.”
“An unprecedented combination of low U.S. unemployment, weak inflation and low interest rates has the U.S. Federal Reserve grappling with how to fight the next recession, as experts debate new approaches to financial regulation as well as a fuller overhaul of Fed strategy.”
“Vacancies in US shopping malls have hit the highest level in at least 20 years, a milestone that shows how landlords are struggling to come to terms with the age of Amazon. More shopping centre units lay empty across the country at the end of 2019 than any time during the past two recessions, according to figures published on Tuesday by Reis Moody’s Analytics.”
“If anything, the level of systemic risk may be underestimated. Yield-starved investors have gradually replaced banks as lenders to the real economy. Their share of global debt is at record levels.
“With low interest rates and relatively weak economic growth, the financial system is more fragile than before the previous crisis.”
“Humanity is at something of a crossroads.”