“According to the International Monetary Fund’s October Fiscal Monitor, the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have prompted a plethora of fiscal measures amounting to $11.7 trillion, around 12% of global GDP — and that number has probably risen since it was calculated on Sept. 11.““In 2020,” according to the Fund, “government deficits are set to surge by an average of 9 percent of GDP, and global public debt is projected to approach 100 percent of GDP, a record high.”
In advanced economies, public debt relative to output has increased as much since the late 1970s as it did between 1914 and 1945. Together, the global financial crisis and the pandemic have had roughly the same doubling effect as World War II… The pandemic’s financial cost …looks similar to that of a world war.”
“The credit crunch is hitting small US companies as money flows to big business: …the central bank’s largesse has failed to trickle down to a large part of corporate America, with smaller businesses suffering the worst credit crunch since the financial crisis.”
“The US recession of 2020 is a retirement crisis recession.
“Millions of older workers quickly lost their jobs, while the pandemic also sharply increased risks to their health.”
“The spectre of hunger is haunting soaring numbers of families …across the US. Sudden job losses, especially among lower-income service workers, are mainly to blame…
“In a blunt illustration of our unbalanced economy, the Washington region, one of the world’s wealthiest metropolitan areas, is home to about 600,000 people unsure of where they’ll get their next meal.
“That’s up by 200,000 people since the recession began…”
“The world may remember 2020 as the year “normal life” was torn up by the coronavirus pandemic. But for many U.S. commercial real estate owners the big trouble hasn’t even started yet…
“The overall stakes have never been higher. Federal Reserve data shows U.S. commercial property debt climbed to an all-time high of $3.06 trillion in the third quarter, from a 10-year low of $2.2 trillion in 2012.”
“As spiking COVID-19 cases further derail travel, the U.S. hotel industry is closing in on a bleak marker: one billion empty rooms for the year….
“Sandip Patel, whose family owns eight hotels in Maryland, is… especially worried about hotels whose financing is tied to commercial mortgage-backed securities.”
“Britain’s jobless rate rose again in the three months to October and redundancies reached a record high as companies were hit by new coronavirus restrictions and prepared for the end of government job subsidies that were eventually extended into 2021…
“The number of redundancies reached a record high of 370,000 in the August-to-October period…”
“Following a burst of vaccine-induced euphoria, the outlook [for the UK economy] sadly remains a little bleak.
“And with it, the spotlight will shift once again to the government’s handling of lockdown and the economic support for households and businesses feeling the pinch. Only this time with the added chaos of Brexit.”
“New survey results from UK debt help company, PayPlan, found that during a year where two-thirds saw an income drop due to Covid-19…
“…A lack of income forced 55% of people [using PayPlan in the UK] to cut back on their food spend and almost half of people missed a meal because they couldn’t afford food in the first place. More worryingly, 54% said they have gone a whole day without eating altogether.”
“Not content with ambitions to limit judicial review, “update” (that is: weaken) the Human Rights Act, and pass laws that would insulate various agents of the state from accountability for human rights violations, the UK government is now, according to press reports last week, planning to introduce a new law that will limit our right to protest.”
“Germany is heading for a double-dip recession this winter after Berlin imposed a hard lockdown, economists have predicted, denting hopes that Europe’s largest economy will rebound to pre-pandemic levels by the start of 2022.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government announced at the weekend that schools and most shops would be closed from Wednesday until January 10…”
“China has suspended one of its top credit rating agencies after a former executive was accused of taking “massive” bribes, as a growing pile of defaults rattle the country’s $4tn corporate debt market.”
“The Chinese clothing maker that controls brands including The Lycra Company and Gieves & Hawkes revealed on Monday that it had failed to pay back investors on a $153m bond, the latest in a string of defaults in the country…
“It has joined a growing list of defaults among troubled companies that have sent tremors through China’s $4tn corporate bond market since November.”
“How Covid-19 has worsened China’s growing north-south economic divide:
“…if an economy’s jobs are in one place, and the people needed to fill them are in another, then that economy has a major problem. If that was true of a modest-sized country like Britain, imagine how much truer it must be for a giant economy like China.”
“As Australia’s relationship with China deteriorates beyond repair, we need to find new trade partners:
“So, what’s Plan B? For Australian exporters suddenly caught in the headlights of an increasingly hostile regime in Beijing, the answer, it appears, is: there isn’t one.”
“Joe Biden has said his nominee for trade chief Katherine Tai will target abusive trade practices by China in a possible sign that Donald Trump’s trade war will continue.”
“Leaders of Indian farmers’ unions have held a day-long hunger strike to put pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to repeal a set of new farm laws passed recently.
“The new laws seek to deregulate India’s enormous agriculture sector by allowing farmers to sell their produce to private buyers beyond government-run wholesale markets, where farmers are assured a minimum price for their crops.
“But the farmers say the laws threaten their livelihoods and will only benefit big corporations, leaving growers at the mercy of a free market.”
“Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Yemen’s southern city of Taiz to express their frustration after a plunge in the local currency led to a surge in prices and shops to close…
“The demonstrators, who have called their uprising a “revolution of the hungry”, are blaming the government, the Saudi-led coalition and the Shiite Houthi rebels for the devaluation.”
“Saudi Arabia says an oil tanker was attacked by an explosive-laden boat while it was anchored at Jeddah’s port…
“…the incident comes weeks after what Saudi authorities previously alleged were attacks by Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement on a Maltese-flagged tanker and two Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq’s Economic Collapse Could Be Biden’s First Foreign-Policy Headache:
“If the Iraqi government fails to pay state workers’ salaries in January, it could lead to widespread instability and violence. The United States and the international community must shore up Baghdad’s finances before it’s too late.”
“Lebanese Army troops were deployed near the home of parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri on Saturday as protesters targeted people they believe are a “privileged elite.””
“The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have intensified calls on Nigeria to speed up currency reforms without which Africa’s largest economy may fail to achieve the growth it needs to prevent millions more from falling into penury.”
“The post–civil war boom in shark fishing that saved Congolese fishermen and their families is now drying up: “As sharks become scarcer, following the trajectory of other species before them, Tinou says prices have shot up.
“At the same time, Congo’s latest economic crisis, prompted by falling oil prices and exacerbated by COVID-19, means that she also faces the double threat of fewer customers and rising competition from more and more women entering the processing sector to provide for their struggling families.”
“Argentina’s currency crisis will not be resolved with a “one shot” fix, Economy Minister Martin Guzman told Reuters, indicating a continued slow decline for the peso rather than a sudden devaluation.”
“At least 20 people died when a boat sank off the eastern Venezuelan coast over the weekend and the vessel’s owner has been arrested, the country’s chief prosecutor said on Monday.
“At least 40,000 Venezuelans live in Trinidad and Tobago, many of whom arrived in small rickety boats overloaded beyond capacity, with limited supplies of fuel and food.”
“Companies around the world are increasingly at risk of failure, and the size of the problem is growing.
“That’s the message being delivered by two of the world’s most respected monetary authorities — former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan — and a flurry of other top economists.”
You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a ‘Climate’ thread.
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