“Global trade expected to shrink by nearly 5% in 2023 amid geopolitical strains and shifting trade patterns.
“The outlook for 2024 remains “highly uncertain and generally pessimistic,” UNCTAD says in the Global Trade Update released on 11 December, citing factors like ongoing geopolitical tensions, escalating debt, and widespread economic fragility.”
“World economy on brink of ‘cold war two’, IMF official warns…
“Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s first deputy managing director, said the accelerating fragmentation of the world economy into regional power blocs – centred around the US and China – risked wiping out trillions of dollars in global output.”
“Oil Falls to Five-Month Lows as US, Russia Bolster Glut Concerns…
“Oil is on the longest weekly losing streak since 2018 and is down by about more than a quarter from this year’s peak in late September. Forecasts for slowing Chinese consumption growth and lingering risks of recession in the US are making for a gloomy demand outlook in the first quarter.”
“The West Moves To Secure Further Emergency LNG Supplies.
“Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Europe has been racing to secure as much of the world’s regular liquefied natural gas supply as possible. China also began signing massive long-term LNG supply deals with major suppliers a full year before Russian troops moved into Ukraine.”
“U.S. short-term financing markets saw a three-day spike in interest rates at month-end. That’s left Wall Street wondering whether the financial system is running out of cash.
“A spike in repurchase agreements, or repo, where investors borrow against Treasury and other collateral, can be a sign that cash is getting scarce. Markets need a minimum amount of liquidity to function smoothly.”
“Are we in a ‘silent depression’? TikTokers claim 2023 economy is worse than Great Depression [US].
“Inflation is easing, unemployment is relatively low, and the stock market looks strong, economics experts say. So why does it still feel so bad? A host of TikTokers have coined a name for it: “silent depression.” They say the economy is bad – just as bad as it was during the Great Depression – but no one is acknowledging it.”
“‘Don’t get sick. It’s too expensive’: medical debt is putting more Americans in financial crisis…
“As a new year and presidential election approach, Americans face a worsening crisis: the affordability of healthcare. More Americans than ever, about 92%, now have health insurance – and simultaneously face enormous bills.”
“Millions of Australian kids at risk as families struggle to cool dangerously hot homes in cost of living crisis.
“As another record-setting summer approaches, millions of Australian families will be unable to keep their kids cool in dangerously hot homes, with cost-of-living pressures stretching households to the financial limit, a new report from Parents for Climate and Sweltering Cities warns.”
“Farmer fury in Australia signals tough road to renewable energy.
“Hundreds of farmers are refusing to allow high-voltage overhead power lines to pass through their land, opposition that is threatening Australia’s plans to increase renewable generation and reduce emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2030.”
“Wind farm power line requires major tree felling [UK].
“A new overhead power line to link wind farms to the electricity network will require 50 hectares (120 acres) of trees to be felled along its path. Dumfries and Galloway Council has been advised not to oppose the six mile (9.2km) Glenmuckloch to Glenglass scheme.”
“Britain is in the grip of the longest slump in jobs vacancies on record as higher interest rates knock the labour market.
“The number of vacancies has now fallen steadily since May 2022, marking a longer run of falls than at any point since records began in 2001, including the aftermath of the financial crisis.”
“‘Britain is broken.’ Dire poverty could usher in Victorian-era inequality…
“The 300-page report, published Sunday, is the latest evidence of how the UK’s economic stagnation has made it much harder to tackle poverty, with a cost-of-living crisis exacerbating the hardship experienced by the least well-off in society.”
“‘The system is broken’: Trade union chief urges EU leaders to address growing social crisis.
“The head of Europe’s largest trade union organisation has issued a blistering attack on EU political and business leaders, arguing that current policy measures are proving insufficient to address – and in some cases are even exacerbating – the bloc’s growing social and economic crises.”
“The German economy will contract by 0.5% in 2024 due to the uncertainty caused by a budget crisis, the German economic institute IW said on Wednesday.
“The government is struggling to strike a budget deal for 2024 after a court ruling last month upset its financing plans.”
“How Sweden’s commercial real estate problems could spark financial meltdown.
“Soaring interest rates and too much debt are weighing down Sweden’ commercial real estate firms, making them the biggest threat to financial stability. The full effect of recent rate hikes has yet to be felt and authorities have told Sweden’s banks to hold on to capital in case the situation deteriorates and loans turn sour.”
“Global Turmoil and Rising Tensions on the Korean Peninsula…
“…there should be concern that an escalation of inter-Korean tensions on the ground following North Korea’s successful launch might turn the Korean Peninsula into another international security flashpoint and a possible breaking point for global stability.”
“Guyana vows to defend itself ‘by all and any means’ from Venezuela threat…
““We will defend our country by all and any means whatsoever,” Bharrat Jagdeo told the Financial Times in an interview in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital, as the US ally faces an increasingly bellicose claim from Caracas over the vast and mineral-rich Essequibo region.”
“Argentina devalues peso, cuts spending to treat fiscal deficit ‘addiction’.
“Argentina will weaken its peso over 50% to 800 per dollar, cut energy subsidies, and cancel tenders of public works, new Economy Minister Luis Caputo said on Tuesday, economic shock therapy aimed at fixing the country’s worst crisis in decades.”
“Cameroon petrol pumps overwhelmed after weather disrupts fuel deliveries.
“Stormy weather off the West African coast has stranded vessels and disrupted fuel deliveries to Cameroon, the energy minister said, leading to days of shortages that have caused long queues at petrol stations in several cities.”
“Blackout worsens as national grid collapses again [Nigeria].
“The national grid has collapsed again, leaving many Nigerians in darkness, with most of the country without electricity. The system collapsed at about 1pm cutting down electricity from 4,032.80 megawatts at about 12pm to 43 megawatts 1pm and a meagre 303 megawatts at about 5:00 pm.”
“Tensions between Congo and Rwanda have escalated, heightening the risk of a military confrontation that could draw in Burundi, the top U.N. official in Congo warned the Security Council on Monday.
“Special representative Bintou Keita’s warning came shortly before the ambassadors from Congo and Rwanda traded accusations in the council…”
“The Crisis of African Democracy. Coups Are a Symptom—Not the Cause—of Political Dysfunction…
“…although local dynamics inspired each coup, discontent with governing authorities cuts across much of Africa. Economic woes are the primary driver of popular frustration.”
“The World’s Poorest Countries Buckle Under $3.5 Trillion in Debt.
“A debt crisis is brewing across the developing world as a decade of borrowing catches up with the world’s poorest countries. In 2024 these nations, known to rich-world investors as “frontier markets,” will have to repay about $200 billion in bonds and other loans.”
“How lending-based climate finance is pushing poor countries deeper into debt.
“…behind the rhetoric of first-world reparations for the global harm caused by a century and a half of fossil-fuel-led industrial development squats an uglier reality: most of the money that makes its way to developing nations in public climate finance is going to have to be paid back – with interest.”
“Climate financial crisis: Can we contain it?
“”The problem with fossil fuel is that it’s worth between $16 trillion to $300 trillion, depending on how you calculate. So it’s massive,” says Joyeeta Gupta, an economics professor of Amsterdam University. But this industry is also the base for a huge pile of financial wealth.”
“‘Historic’ COP28 deal to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels adopted…
“The deal is not legally-binding but calls on all countries to move away from the use of fossil fuels. And instead of the phrase “phase out” – which many governments wanted, the text tells countries to “transition away” from coal, oil and gas, beginning this decade.”
You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.
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