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Food insecurity in the world’s poorest countries reached record highs in 2020, with millions staring at famine, a situation exacerbated in part by the COVID pandemic, according to a UN report.

“From Haiti to Syria, some 155 million people across 55 countries who rely the most on humanitarian assistance were classified as being in “crisis” – meaning in urgent need of food – a 20 million increase since 2019, according to the report released Wednesday.

The report… attributed three main factors to the worsening situation: conflict, economic factors related to the COVID pandemic and climate change.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/5/food-insecurity-in-worlds-poorest-countries-reaches-record-highs


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US birth rate falls to lowest point since records began.

Birth rate in the United States fell 4% in 2020 to about 3.6 million babies, its sixth straight annual decline and the lowest since 1979, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-birth-rate-fall-cdc-b1842431.html


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Can’t find chicken wings, diapers, or a new car? Here’s a list of all the shortages hitting the reopening US economy.

“As the US economy increasingly reopens, it is seeing shortages of all sorts of items… Insider rounded up some of the major supply shortages and why they’re lagging.”

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-supply-shortages-economy-inventory-chips-lumber-cars-toilet-paper-2021-5?r=US&IR=T


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Fed Hawks Join the Chorus Playing Down Worries On Inflation

Fed officials want to ensure investors and the U.S. public are not alarmed by higher inflation readings in the coming months as the economy reopens… They are playing down the risk of economic overheating that has been raised by critics of President Joe Biden’s ambitious spending plans.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-05/fed-s-evans-says-risk-of-upward-inflation-spiral-is-remote


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White House grapples with reports of labor shortage, inflation as recovery picks up steam

“White House officials are carefully monitoring inflationary risks amid a flurry of concerns on Wall Street, particularly as news reports point to rising prices across sectors.

“National Economic Council Director Brian Deese has shown a keen interest in how White House officials are talking about inflation, worried about sending any signals the administration is overly concerned about it.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/05/05/labor-shortage-inflation-white-house/


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French military ship heads to Jersey to join post-Brexit fishing protest as Royal Navy patrols waters.

“France has threatened to cut off Jersey’s electricity as it says fishing licences are being granted with conditions not agreed.”

https://news.sky.com/story/uk-to-send-two-royal-navy-boats-to-jersey-after-france-threatens-blockade-of-island-port-12297840


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Europe’s carmakers and pharmaceutical firms have suffered a slowdown in trade with the UK since the Brexit vote, according to the eurozone’s central bank.

“Researchers at the European Central Bank found that British imports of vehicles and pharmaceutical products have fallen “from stable double-digit positive growth to double-digit negative growth”.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/05/04/carmakers-pharma-hit-slowdown-uk-imports-europe/


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Cautious German Savers Brave the Stock Market: Earlier this year, a typical German investor, Michael Schact, 70… was told by his bank it wanted to charge him a negative 0.5% interest rate to hold his money.

“Furious, Mr. Schacht did something he never considered: He put it all in the market.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cautious-german-savers-brave-the-stock-market-11620120602


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Tunisia’s third COVID-19 wave: Doctors warn of health system collapse.

“Hospitals are full, oxygen supplies are low, doctors are exhausted and locals don’t trust the government. Why is Tunisia the worst affected country in North Africa?”

https://www.dw.com/en/tunisia-covid-19-doctors-warn-of-health-system-collapse/a-57425281


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Chad unrest casts pall over debt deal and global relief push:

“Political turmoil in Chad has cast doubt over the Central African oil producer’s efforts to agree relief on its nearly $3 billion debt burden, widely seen as a test case for a global plan to help the world’s most indebted countries.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/chad-unrest-casts-pall-over-debt-deal-global-relief-push-2021-05-05/


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Kyrgyzstan’s economy is going through the most serious crisis over the past years, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said in Bishkek on Wednesday

“According to the president, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the Central Asian republic has failed to fully restore trade and economic ties with other states.”

https://tass.com/world/1286473


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Thousands of Afghans were forced to flee their homes as fierce fighting erupted between government forces and the Taliban in a southern province after the US military began withdrawing its remaining troops from Afghanistan, officials said yesterday.

“Afghan forces pushed back insurgent attacks on multiple checkpoints in the past 24 hours itself in the province of Helmand…”

https://www.thedailystar.net/world/news/thousands-flee-clashes-flare-aghanistan-2088485


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Growth setback likely as rural India begins to reel from Covid-19.

“With India’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic lashing at its interiors, the economic fallout is likely to be far more severe than the first wave, further delaying a recovery in Asia’s third-largest economy”

https://www.livemint.com/economy/growth-setback-likely-as-bharat-faces-2nd-wave-11620153341837.html


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Cambodia’s COVID-19 lockdown has created an avoidable food crisis

“… with the arrival of the country’s first serious outbreak, the government has taken an approach that essentially manufactures a food security and economic crisis in the capital.”

https://www.aseantoday.com/2021/05/cambodias-covid-19-lockdown-has-created-an-avoidable-food-crisis/


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North Korea faces economic ruin amid food and medicine shortages

“The country’s economy has been battered by more than a year of border restrictions imposed after the coronavirus outbreak, flooding caused by natural disasters, and international sanction…”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/05/north-korea-economic-crisis-food-and-medicine-shortages-covid


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“Were corruption and corner cutting to blame?

Why the Mexico City metro crash was an avoidable tragedy… funding issues have been exacerbated by the economic slowdown caused by coronavirus.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/mexico-city-metro-crash-deaths-why-b1841929.html


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Creditors urge Belize for IMF involvement in debt overhaul.

“Holders of Belize sovereign bonds on Wednesday reiterated their call for the government to implement their economic policies under an International Monetary Fund-supported programme.”

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/creditors-urge-belize-for-imf-involvement-in-debt-overhaul-2021-05-05


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‘No food and no fuel’: Colombia torn by protests and violent crackdown.

“Mass protests were held across Colombia on Wednesday after a night of unrest in the capital city, as street violence continued after more than a week of angry anti-government demonstrations. Twenty-three protesters and one police officer have been killed…”

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/may/05/colombia-protests-unrest-protesters-police


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The global chip shortage is set to ignite a power struggle between chip manufacturers and their customers about how the industry’s supply chain works and who pays the costs of carrying inventory.

“In an interview with the Financial Times, the chief executive of one of Europe’s biggest chipmakers said that customers would have to accept that their “dream is over”.”

https://www.ft.com/content/e40ddf7c-b81c-4e2d-8ac9-cdcff56b305c


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The Chip Shortage Is Getting Worse at the Worst Possible Time

“The global semiconductor shortage is entering a new. more serious phase, with the potential to do damage to the stock prices of car manufacturers.”

https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-chip-shortage-is-getting-worse-at-the-worst-possible-time-51620154999


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Global economic recovery rests on cutting vaccine inequity: US trade chief.

“United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai says that making vaccines more widely available throughout the world is needed to end the coronavirus pandemic and foster economic recovery.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/5/5/global-economy-rests-on-cutting-vaccine-inequity-us-trade-chief


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Global Vaccine Crisis Sends Ominous Signal for Fighting Climate Change.

“The gap between rich and poor countries on vaccinations highlights the failure of richer nations to see it in their self-interest to urgently help poorer ones fight a shared crisis.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/04/climate/vaccine-shortage-india-climate-change.html


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.

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