“‘No playbook’: policymakers face up to changing global economy at Jackson Hole.
“Gathering for their annual meeting in the foothills of the Teton Range in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, leading officials and economists traded last year’s angst about inflation and central banks’ credibility for fears that the upheaval caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have ushered in a new era for the global economy.”
“Global inflation pressures could become harder to manage in coming years, research suggests.
“Rising trade barriers. Aging populations. A broad transition from carbon-spewing fossil fuels to renewable energy. The prevalence of such trends across the world could intensify global inflation pressures in the coming years and make it harder for the Federal Reserve and other central banks to meet their inflation targets.”
“No real fix to the sharp rise in public debt loads, economists say.
“The steep jump in public debt loads over the past decade and a half, as governments borrowed large amounts of money to battle the Global Financial Crisis and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, is probably irreversible.”
“The rise of the walking dead: Zombie firms around the world.
“The rise in the number of unproductive and unviable (‘zombie’) firms worldwide does not bode well for future productivity growth. This column documents global trends in zombification over the last two decades by creating a new dataset of nonfinancial zombie firms, listed and private, for a large set of countries.”
“Across the US, the legalized marijuana industry is buckling under the strain of plunging prices, patchwork state regulation, and burdensome taxes…
“‘All of these issues are chipping away at the health of the industry to the point where I would describe the industry as in crisis in the United States,’ Beau Whitney, senior economist for the National Cannabis Industry Association, told DailyMail.com this week. ‘This is unsustainable from an economic perspective.'”
“Personal loans are masking Americans’ credit card problems…
“”Though it may be tempting to see that available credit limit, it’s really important to keep that balance low in order to not get yourself further into debt,” Liz Pagel, senior vice president and consumer lending business leader at TransUnion, told Yahoo Finance.”
“A record 1.5 million people – almost one third of all mortgage holders – are now considered at risk of mortgage stress across Australia as interest rate hikes continue to bite.
“The figure surpasses the previous highest number of people experiencing mortgage stress: 1.46 million in the three months to May 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.”
“Tax cut hopes fade as UK’s debt interest bill rockets.
“Britain’s soaring debt interest bill looks set to extinguish any flickering prospect of significant pre-Election tax cuts, economists have warned. Hopes that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt may have some room for big giveaways rose last week when public borrowing figures came in at less than expected.”
“At least 26 English councils ‘at risk of bankruptcy in next two years’.
“At least 26 councils in some of Britain’s most deprived areas are at risk of effective bankruptcy within the next two years, according to a leading local government group, which says many authorities simply have “nothing left”.”
“Swedish government removes nuclear power promise from website.
“The Swedish government has quietly walked back an announcement that it would build at least 10 nuclear reactors by 2040 as part of its plan to ditch fossil fuels… Daniel Liljeberg, state secretary to the minister for energy, business and industry, said there is no official target matching Ms Pourmokhtari’s statement.”
“France to pay farmers €200mn for destroying wine surplus.
“Drinkers’ fading appetite for French wine has left farmers with a glut that the government is planning to spend €200mn destroying. The French agriculture ministry has obtained approval and financial support from the EU to pay so-called crisis distillation aid…”
“Weak yen puts pressure on Bank of Japan to tighten policy…
“The Japanese currency slid to ¥146.6 per dollar after Jay Powell, chair of the US Federal Reserve, raised the prospect of further domestic interest rate rises, potentially widening the vast gap between US and Japanese borrowing costs. Japan has been the only major developed market not to raise interest rates over the past 18 months…“
“China’s Worsening Economic Slowdown Is Rippling Across the Globe…
“Asian economies are taking the biggest hit to their trade so far, along with countries in Africa. Japan reported its first drop in exports in more than two years in July after China cut back on purchases of cars and chips. Central bankers from South Korea and Thailand last week cited China’s weak recovery for downgrades to their growth forecasts.”
“China’s summer of climate destruction…
“This month, 40% of the area’s famous Wuchang rice crop has been wiped out, visibly flattened by the volume and speed of the water. Places which should appear lush and green are today brown and dead… In a little over a decade, the number of floods being recorded in the country has increased tenfold.“
“India Further Tightens Rice Shipments in Threat to Global Supply.
“India, the world’s biggest exporter of rice, imposed more curbs on shipments of the grain in a move that’s likely to further squeeze global supplies of the food staple. The government will set a floor price of $1,200 per ton for basmati rice exports, according to a commerce ministry statement.”
“Record-breaking temperatures, reduced rainfall and changes in the natural climate are set to damage Thailand’s economy and increase poverty…
“As [the World Meteorological Organization] said that July was the hottest July in history. But the hottest month of the year [for Thailand] is April,” said Chaowat Siwapornchai, a meteorologist in Bangkok.”
“Myanmar: Rapper Byuhar receives 20-year prison sentence for criticising blackouts.
“Following a long blackout in Yangon, on 23 May, the rapper posted a video to social media criticising the junta’s management of the power supply, comparing it unfavourably to the way power was supplied under the NLD government. Byuhar was then arrested…”
“Protests Over Power Bill Increases Spread in Pakistan.
“Protests against soaring power prices continued in Pakistan for a third consecutive day on Sunday, with television footage showing enraged consumers at rallies burning their electricity bills… The protests erupted on Friday and spread to many cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.”
“Iran Opens Criminal Case Against Pop Star Over Anti-Hijab Song.
“Iran’s judiciary has opened an unspecified criminal case against prominent pop singer Mehdi Yarrahi. The judiciary said on August 27 that “a legal case was filed…following the release of an illegal song which defies the morals and customs of Islamic society.””
“Lebanon: Popular comedian detained after sketch on economic conditions…
“According to local media platform Megaphone News, the comedian spoke about Lebanese army personnel being forced to take on multiple side jobs such as delivery services in order to make enough money. Hajjar was summoned for interrogation at the military police barracks in Rihaniye…”
“Protesters demanding an end to authoritarian rule shut the ruling Baath party headquarters in the southwestern Syrian Druze city of Sweida as protests which entered their second week showed no signs of abating, civic activists and witnesses said.
“Youths with welding machines sealed the gates of the building of the party led by President Bashar al Assad, which has been in power since a 1963 coup.”
“Kurds Back Protests in Syria’s Sweida, Daraa…
“The city of Raqqa in the northern part of the country, along with several towns in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor and the city of Qamishli in Hasakah province in the far northeast of Syria, have witnessed supportive gatherings and condemning demonstrations against the government’s decision to lift subsidies on fuel and oil derivatives.”
“The longest nationwide power outage in Kenyans’ memory remained a mystery Sunday as the government-owned power company blamed a failure at Africa’s largest wind farm, which laid the responsibility on the power grid instead.
“Some of Kenya’s more than 50 million people, including in the capital, Nairobi, saw power return almost 24 hours after the massive outage occurred late Friday.”
“Coincidence? Tanzania announces three day power rationing…
“As Kenyans continued to hold on to hope as normalcy is restored by Kenya Power in part hit by the blackout, their Tanzanian counterparts were also facing the same.”
“Power cuts plague Ethiopia’s capital as electricity woes worsen.
“Residents of Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa have expressed growing frustration over persistent and prolonged electricity interruptions in recent weeks. Several neighborhoods across the city have experienced prolonged rolling blackouts…”
“Gabon blocks internet access, imposes curfew amid election voting delays.
“Gabon cut internet access and announced a nightly curfew as voting drew to a close Saturday, and opposition leader Albert Ondo Ossa denounced “fraud” in his battle for the presidency against incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba.”
“‘Suffering is continuing’: Mnangagwa declared winner in Zimbabwe election.
“Voters fear economic disaster as incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa is returned for a second term… Zimbabwe’s economy has tanked after years of economic mismanagement by Zanu PF, which has been in power since the end of white minority rule in 1980.”
“Argentina offers financial aid to crisis-hit workers and pensioners.
“Argentina’s economy ministry on Sunday announced a series of benefits for workers and pensioners intended to soften the blow of a severe economic crisis which has seen inflation spiral and the government devalue the country’s currency.”
“Chilean economy in recession: declines in consumption and investments.
“Chile’s economy has contracted for three consecutive quarters, with significant weakness in household consumption and decline in investments. The last negative figure was reported last week by the Central Bank, showing GDP contracted by -1.1% over the same period between April and June 2023. previous year.”
“Haiti gang opens fire on protesters in capital, killing seven…
“Hundreds of parishioners, some armed with machetes, marched through a suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince, in a bid to rid the area of gang members. The gang is said to have opened fire on them with machine guns.”
You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.
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