“The United States and Britain have launched military strikes in Yemen against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in response to the group’s attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, raising fears of an escalation of conflict in the region.
“US President Joe Biden warned on Thursday that he would “not hesitate” to take further action if necessary…”
“Oil’s Red Sea Pinch Point Could Get Tighter After US Airstrikes.
“A major drop in shipments of oil and fuel through the Red Sea could become even bigger due to the risk Houthi rebels will retaliate following the US-led attacks on their bases in Yemen.”
“Iran says US-British attacks on Yemen ‘a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty’.
“Saudi Arabia calls for restraint to avoid an escalation of the crisis in the Middle East, as Russia requests an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council.”
“Iran seizes oil tanker off Oman in dispute with US.
“Iran has seized a tanker with Iraqi crude destined for Turkey in retaliation for the confiscation last year of the same vessel and its oil by the United States, Iranian state media reported, a move likely to stoke regional tensions.”
“Why US airstrikes in Iraq add to fears of a regional war…
“Prior to the eruption of the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza, the government in Baghdad was striking a delicate balance between the US, on one side, and Iran and these Shia militias sponsored by Tehran, on the other. Yet, recent developments in Iraq and the region are making this balance increasingly difficult for Baghdad to maintain…”
“China and Russia push for Israel-Gaza ceasefire and two-state solution as foreign ministers vow to boost BRICS influence.
“China and Russia will work together to “enhance the international influence of BRICS”, a group of 10 developing economies, as Russia takes the chair this year, according to readouts of a phone call between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday.”
“China-Russia trade hits record high in 2023 amid decline in US commerce.
“This surge in bilateral trade surpassed the goal of $200 billion set by the two nations during their meetings last year. The figures marked a remarkable 26.3 per cent year-on-year increase, emphasising the strengthening economic ties between China and Russia…”
“China set to lose crown as top U.S. exporter after 17 years.
“China was likely knocked off the perch as the top exporter to the U.S. for the first time since 2006 last year, outpaced by Mexico as tensions between the world’s two largest economies reshape supply chains.”
“China’s annual exports drop for the first time in seven years.
“China’s annual exports fell for the first time in seven years in 2023, even as shipments in December beat expectations, customs data showed Friday… for 2023, exports fell 4.6%, the first such annual drop since a 7.7% decline in 2016, according to Wind Information. Imports dropped by 5.5% last year.”
“China’s economy faces growing deflationary pressures as prices extend fall.
“China’s consumer prices declined for a third month in December while factory-gate prices extended their prolonged slide, highlighting persistent deflationary pressures in an economy struggling to mount a solid recovery.”
“On the ballot in Taiwan: The global microchip supply chain.
“Forget Brussels, London and Washington. For the microchips industry, all eyes are on who grabs the power in Taipei this weekend… It’s all a painful reminder for some of Europe’s largest companies that deep-seated interdependency with and reliance on Taiwan is now a geopolitical risk.”
“Taiwan opposition presidential candidate rules out unification talks with China.
“The presidential candidate of Taiwan’s largest opposition party has ruled out unification talks with China if he is elected on Saturday, highlighting the unlikelihood of a resolution to the cross-Strait dispute even under a government in Taipei that is more flexible towards Beijing.”
“NATO pledges further major military, economic aid to Ukraine.
“NATO allies in a meeting with Ukraine have made it clear they will continue to provide the country with major military, economic, and humanitarian aid in the face of Russia’s almost two-year-old invasion, NATO said on Wednesday.”
“Russia’s Medvedev warns of nuclear response if Ukraine hits missile launch sites.
“A senior ally of President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday that any Ukrainian attacks on missile launch sites inside Russia with arms supplied by the United States and its allies would risk a nuclear response from Moscow.”
“Azerbaijan tells Paris not to ‘intervene’ over Frenchman’s arrest as tensions run high…
“Baku has accused France of supporting Azerbaijan’s arch-enemy Armenia, both diplomatically and militarily, and of seeking to fuel tensions in the South Caucasus. French national Martin Ryan was arrested on December 4 last year, according to Azerbaijan authorities, suspected of “espionage”.”
“Europe is the sick man of the global economy…
“The world economy, which was meant to bounce back to life after the pandemic, is showing signs of persistent illness… While almost everywhere is feeling the burn… the real sick man of the world economy at the moment is Europe. With the exception of Eastern Europe, the continent barely grew last year, and European manufacturing is now in recession.”
“Recycling market in Europe faces ‘collapse’ after EU waste export ban.
“The European Union’s decision to ban exports of plastic waste in and outside Europe is threatening to collapse the market for the collection and recycling of plastic packaging, Belgian industry association Valipac has warned.”
“Europe’s biggest economy hit by travel disruption in what ‘looks increasingly like a general strike’.
“Germany is in the grip of major travel disruption. A three-day nationwide strike called by train drivers from Wednesday to Friday evening has added to travel chaos in Europe’s biggest economy, which was already reeling from ongoing farmer protests.”
“Tesla’s Berlin plant to suspend most output over Red Sea supply gap.
“Tesla will suspend most car production at its factory near Berlin from Jan. 29 to Feb. 11, the company said, citing a lack of components due to shifts in transport routes because of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.”
“Polish opposition stages mass rally against Donald Tusk.
“Braving Poland’s harsh winter temperatures, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Warsaw in the largest anti-government demonstration since Prime Minister Donald Tusk took office a month ago. The protest was headed by Tusk’s longtime rival Jarosław Kaczyński…”
“Protest at Chile’s lithium salt flats snarls roads to SQM, Albemarle.
“A protest by several hundred people in northern Chile on Wednesday blocked access to the Atacama salt flat, the world’s largest lithium deposit… The demonstration, led by local indigenous groups after an agreement was signed last month between SQM and state-run copper firm Codelco, was affecting SQM operations, said a source…”
“Hundreds march for those killed in protests in Peru’s Andean region.
“Demonstrators march in the cities of Lima and Puno demanding justice from the authorities on the one-year anniversary of the deaths of 18 villagers who were victims of police repression in protests against President Dina Boluarte.”
“Violent cartels seek to ‘take over’ Ecuador, borrowing from ‘playbook of military staging a coup’.
“Ecuador’s president has declared war on drugs gangs holding scores of prison guards hostage in a wave of violence that saw the storming of a TV station on-air and explosions around the nation. The unrest appears to be in response to President Daniel Noboa’s efforts to tackle cocaine trafficking…”
“State repression to deepen as economic crisis worsens [Zimbabwe].
“Zimbabwean authorities have hinted that they will crackdown on dissent this year, as the long drawn-out economic crisis deepens, but leading political and social analysts say such actions will further close the democratic space. Tewnsions have been high in the southern African country since election on August 23 last year…”
“Military clashes in Sudan are responsible for the largest number of displaced persons on Earth, the UN announced on Wednesday.
“The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) office said, “Since April, more than 6 million people have been displaced inside the country, including more than 500,000 due to the clashes that erupted in Aj Jazirah State last month.””
“Gaza daily deaths exceed all other major conflicts in 21st century: Oxfam.
““Israel’s military is killing Palestinians at an average rate of 250 people a day, which massively exceeds the daily death toll of any other major conflict of recent years,” Oxfam said in a statement… Oxfam said the crisis is further compounded by Israel’s restrictions on the entry of aid into Gaza…”
“Lebanon on the Brink: Failing the State As War Sirens Blare.
“The ceasefire that concluded the last round of fighting between Israel and Lebanon back in 2006 has collapsed, with daily fighting and strikes on Lebanon’s southern border…. The Lebanese people hold their breath, knowing that the state is no longer functional in peacetime, let alone in a war.”
“UAE’s Al Habtoor Group threatens to sue Lebanon’s govt over $44mn investment dispute.
“The dispute stems from restrictions imposed by Lebanon’s embattled central bank preventing Al Habtoor Group from transferring its trapped funds out of Lebanese banks… In a major escalation of the long-running saga, the UAE-based company served an official notice to various state authorities…”
“Pakistan Cracks Down on Illicit Economy Amid Economic Crisis.
“Pakistan’s illicit economy, a subset of its broader informal economy, has posed a major economic and security challenge for the country over the last few decades. The fall of Kabul in August 2021, however, marked an inflection point…”
“A state of emergency has been declared in Papua New Guinea’s capital after at least 15 people were killed in rioting.
“More than 1,000 troops are on standby “to step in wherever necessary”, Prime Minister James Marape said on Thursday. Shops and cars were torched and supermarkets looted…”
“Central banks, geopolitical risks push gold prices 15% higher in 2023.
“Gold prices surged 15 percent year-on-year (YoY) to $2,078 per ounce in 2023, its all-time-high, supported by the increased demand by central banks and the geopolitical risks that benefit a haven like gold, according to a report by the World Gold Council (WGC).”
“Uranium prices hit highest level since 2007.
“The price of uranium hit $92.50 per pound, its highest level since 2007 as supply chain issues, nuclear expansion plans, and geopolitical tensions, have all combined to create a dramatic surge in uranium prices. The price per pound has more than doubled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022.”
“World’s two largest coal consumers won’t be weaning off the fossil fuel anytime soon…
““If India, China are still growing economically at decent rates for the next decade, we’re not going to see coal demand disappearing anytime soon, globally,” Ian Roper, commodity strategist at Astris Advisory Japan KK, told CNBC.”
You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.
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