“Global economy faces period of prolonged weakness, UN warns.
The world faces a protracted period of weak economic growth that will undermine progress on sustainable development, the UN has warned, as it urged countries to raise investment to tackle the climate emergency…
“The warning comes as leading central banks continue to deploy high interest rates in response to the sharpest inflationary burst in decades after the economic impact of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
“The global economy is poised for another tumultuous year in 2024…
“As geopolitical tensions rise and polls suggest that Trump currently is the favourite to win the US presidential election, 2024 is poised to be yet another tumultuous year for the global economy. This is especially true for emerging markets, but don’t be surprised if 2024 turns out to be a rocky year for everyone.”
“No recession in 2023 but it’s not yet time to breathe a sigh of relief.
“2023 ended without the technical recession economists expected, but their warning of stagflation and a potentially crippling debt crisis should not be easily dismissed.”
“The simmering crisis in the Middle East, sparked by the start of the war in Gaza nearly three months ago, threatens to boil over amid strikes and violence across the region.
“…experts warn that given the range of actions happening across the region, and the array of actors with different motivations, a simple miscalculation could quickly spiral out of control.”
“ISIS claims responsibility for deadliest attack in Iran since 1979 revolution.
“ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly twin blasts near the burial site of slain military commander Qasem Soleimani in southern Iran… ISIS considers the Shia branch of Islam to be heretical and has targeted shrines and religious sites in Iran previously.”
“US strike kills Iran-backed militia leader in Baghdad as regional tensions rise.
“A US airstrike in Baghdad on Thursday killed the commander of an Iranian-backed Shia militia that Washington blames for attacks on American forces in the region, according to US officials.”
“Israeli military strikes south Lebanon stoking fears of widening conflict…
“Several Hezbollah members have been killed in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon in one of the deadliest days for the Iran-aligned group as cross-border fighting has escalated since the start of the Gaza war in October.”
“Houthi rebels defy US warning with new Red Sea explosion…
“The detonation — the Houthis’ first use of a USV in its latest Red Sea campaign — did not damage any ships, but occurred despite the US and 11 allies warning the rebels on Wednesday of military action unless they halted attacks on vessels in the Red Sea…”
“Tech Trade War Looms as China Restricts Rare Earth Exports.
“The ban includes technology for producing rare earth magnets and refining rare earth metals. This move is seen as a response to efforts by the U.S. and Japan to decrease reliance on Chinese rare earth supplies.”
“Hot uranium threatens a meltdown for Western energy security. A mining and enrichment capacity crunch looms for US, Canadian, and EU utilities…
“…the supply chain for uranium runs from Kazakhstan through Russia, which together account for 40 per cent of US supply — and Putin controls half of the world’s enrichment capacity. Even more concerning: in plain sight, Russia and China have cornered the market for U3O8.”
“Nuclear power output hits lowest level since 1980s as Britain faces cold snap…
“Nuclear power is increasingly seen as essential to the UK’s future energy security because it provides constant baseload power. This will be vital as the country becomes increasingly reliant on renewable sources such as wind whose output can plummet if the wind drops.”
“Flood risk in Germany reignites coalition fight over debt rules.
“Rising water levels across large swaths of Germany in recent weeks have led to calls among members of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Greens for increased federal aid. Rolf Mützenich, the SPD’s parliamentary group chair, has called for new spending…”
“Railway staff, lorry drivers and farmers are among those threatening strike action across Germany from Monday in nationwide protests over grievances ranging from pay and conditions to cuts in agricultural subsidies and higher road tolls.
“Long Europe’s powerhouse, Germany is struggling with a potent mix of short-term and deeper structural problems…”
“Business activity in the eurozone continued to contract at the end of last year, with survey data published on Thursday indicating the single currency bloc went into recession…
“”Demand for euro area goods and services continued to weaken while employment levels fell again, just the second time this has been the case in almost three years,” S&P said.”
“Wave of debt sales adds to January nerves in euro zone bond markets.
“A 150 billion euro ($165 billion) deluge of government bond sales in January is fueling unease in euro area bond markets, a foretaste of a potentially record amount of public debt that markets will have to absorb this year.”
“Serbia’s army proposes bringing back the draft as tensions continue to rise in the Balkans.
“The ministry said in a statement that the proposal for service of up to four months is made “in order to increase the defense capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces, through the rejuvenation and improvement in the training of the active and reserve forces.””
“Polish Farmers Resume Blockade Of Ukraine Border Crossing.
“Polish farmers resumed their blockade of the Medyka border crossing with Ukraine on January 4, as Prime Minister Donald Tusk attempted to defuse the dispute. The farmers suspended their protest, which aims to secure government subsidies for corn and prevent tax hikes, on December 24.”
“Having taken a heavy toll on Ukraine’s ecosystems and water resources, the war with Russia threatens to create a another environmental disaster: damage to the region’s extensive nuclear infrastructure—including 15 power reactors and three research reactors.”
“Japan earthquake casts cloud over push to restart nuclear plants.
“Monday’s magnitude 7.6 earthquake… struck days after regulators lifted an operational ban on Tokyo Electric’s (9501.T) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant. Tepco hopes to gain local permission to restart the plant, which is around 120 kilometres from the quake’s epicentre and has been offline since 2012.”
“Distressed Builder Puts Korea on Edge Again as Debt Risk Mounts.
“South Korea is again in damage control mode, seeking to contain fallout from a construction firm’s debt woes that risk replicating a recent credit crunch as high interest rates inflict more pain on businesses. In the cross-hairs this time is Taeyoung Engineering & Construction…”
“North Korea’s Kim orders increased production of mobile launch vehicles as tensions grow with US…
“The report on Kim’s order came hours after the White House said U.S. intelligence has determined that North Korea has supplied ballistic missile launchers to Russia for its war in Ukraine. The U.S. and its allies have previously accused North Korea of sending artillery and ammunition to Russia in return for Russian technologies…”
“As Sheikh Hasina Hangs on to Power, Bangladesh’s Economy Nears Collapse.
“With tens of thousands of opposition leaders and activists arrested in a crackdown ahead of the election, Sheikh Hasina – leader of the Awami League political party – is all set to serve as Bangladesh’s Prime Minister for the fourth consecutive time.”
“Sri Lanka Declares Some Services Essential Amidst Deepening Financial Crisis….
“The essential services, now bearing the government’s seal of priority, encompass the supply of electricity, distribution of petroleum products and fuel, activities related to the handling of food, drink, coal, oil, or fuel within ports, and the provision and maintenance of air transport services, including the operation of airports and ports.”
“Workers at First Quantum’s shuttered Panama mine warn of threat to ‘invade’ site.
“The union representing workers at First Quantum’s (FM.TO) copper mine in Panama on Wednesday warned of another union’s plan to “invade” the site next week, the latest face-off over the now-shuttered mine that provoked nationwide protests last year.”
“Impacts for half of the world’s mining areas are undocumented…
“The demand for materials, and the rush for lithium in particular — which is used in batteries for electric vehicles — is raising concerns that the global appetite for energy is coming at too great a cost. In 2022, in Serbia, for example, massive protests over fears of habitat destruction and toxic-waste spills led to licences being revoked for a proposed lithium mine.”
“Copper prices are set to soar more than 75% over the next two years amid mining supply disruptions and higher demand for the metal, fueled by the push for renewable energy.
“Rising demand driven by the green energy transition and a likely decline in the U.S. dollar in the second half of 2024 will push copper prices higher, according to a report by BMI, a Fitch Solutions research unit.”
“Central banks should be fighting the climate crisis – here’s why.
“Central banks are public institutions, charged with maintaining economic stability through controlling the supply of money in an economy. These banks have enormous power to catalyse a more just, equitable and climate-stable future.”
“Climate change should be tackled by the state, not central banks…
“If we do nothing else, we will head towards climate chaos and not notice that we only tweaked central bank tools. There is also a risk that delegating climate matters to central banks generates complacency, convincing people that the hard decisions have been taken, when the opposite is the case.”
You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back over the weekend with a “Climate” thread.
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