“The world is looking at a debt crisis that will span the next 10 years and it’s not going to end well, economist Arthur Laffer has warned, with global borrowings hitting a record of $307.4 trillion last September…
“To meet debt payments, it is estimated that around 100 countries will have to cut spending on critical social infrastructure including health, education and social protection.”
“The oil market will face a supply shortage by the end of 2025 as the world fails to replace current crude reserves fast enough, Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub told CNBC on Monday.
“About 97% of the oil produced today was discovered in the 20th century, she said… “The market is out of balance right now, but again, this is a short-term demand issue,” Hollub said. “But it’s going to be a long-term supply issue,” she said.”
“A Banking crisis is quietly brewing.
“The Federal Reserve’s most recent policy statement came with a curious omission. Fed officials removed language from previous statements that proclaimed “the U.S. banking system is sound and resilient.” That begs the question: Is the banking system no longer sound and resilient?”
“Yellen Says Commercial Property Is a Worry, But Regulators Are on It.
“Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that while losses in commercial real estate are a worry, US regulators are working to ensure that loan-loss reserves and liquidity levels in the financial system are adequate to cope.”
“Credit card delinquencies surged in 2023, indicating ‘financial stress,’ New York Fed says.
“With a total of $1.13 trillion in debt, credit card debt that moved into serious delinquency amounted to 6.4% in the fourth quarter, a 59% jump from just over 4% at the end of 2022, the New York Fed reported.”
“The Bank of England has pushed the UK into recession by refusing to clearly communicate its plans to cut interest rates, top economists have warned.
“Britain fell into a recession at the end of 2023, according to estimates by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), as GDP fell by 0.1pc in part because of the Bank’s insistence high interest rates would not fall soon…”
“Give ministers powers to ban protests, says Braverman…
“In an article for The Telegraph, the former home secretary set out her four-point plan to tackle “mass extremism” on UK streets ahead of James Cleverly, her successor, announcing the Government’s new protest laws on Thursday.”
“Dutch coalition talks collapse, Omtzigt calls a halt over money…
“The main stumbling block appears to be the government finances, Dutch media said on Tuesday evening. Some 20 cabinet briefings with confidential information about the state of ministry funding have “shocked” the party leader, RTL correspondent Fons Lambie said.”
“‘Symbol of polarisation’: EU scraps plans to halve use of pesticides.
“The European Commission is shelving plans to cut pesticide use and is taking the pressure off agriculture in its latest emissions recommendations, as farmers around Europe continue protests demanding higher prices for their products and an easing of EU environment rules.”
“‘We agree to disagree’: German, French leaders clash over Mercosur deal.
“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on Monday traded barbs over whether to conclude the EU’s landmark trade agreement with the Mercosur bloc of South American countries.”
“After scrapping nuclear reactors, Germany to spend billions on new gas power plants…
“In a statement Monday, officials said the new strategy came “in addition to the consistent expansion of renewable energies,” and was key to ensuring steady power supplies “even in times where there is little sun and wind.””
“Kosovo accused of raising ethnic tensions by banning use of Serbian dinar…
“Police raids ordered by Pristina’s interior ministry on four organisations working in Serb-populated areas, which came days after the currency switch, have intensified fears of the security situation deteriorating.”
“Lawmakers from Hungary’s ruling party have boycotted an emergency parliament session in which a vote on Sweden’s bid to join NATO was on the agenda.
“At Monday’s session, which was supported by six opposition parties, Fidesz lawmakers didn’t attend, scuttling the attempt to place a vote on the National Assembly’s schedule.”
“‘Now we are not safe’: Sweden’s Kurds fear Nato deal has sold them out…
“Members of the sizeable Kurdish population say that Stockholm’s diplomatic success has come at their expense and that they feel systematically targeted by the Swedish state.”
“Ukraine: Is Europe starting to change its strategy?
“NATO generals are bracing themselves for an increased risk of war with Russia and are calling for investment in deterrence… Above all, both military leaders and analysts are concerned about the lack of ammunition and new military equipment, and about current arms production capacities in Europe.”
“US, Russia clash at UN over North Korea, Patriot missiles in Ukraine.
“The United States accused Russia on Tuesday of firing at least nine North Korean-supplied missiles at Ukraine, while Moscow labeled Washington a “direct accomplice” in the downing of a Russian military transport plane last month.”
“Georgia accuses Ukraine of trying to spread war after explosives found at border…
“Georgia’s State Security Service said on Monday it had seized the clandestine shipment of explosives bound for the Russian city of Voronezh, hidden in a cargo of car batteries driven overland from Ukraine via Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.”
“Palestinian Authority to pay reduced salaries as Israel blocks funds.
“The Palestinian Authority said, on Tuesday, it will pay public sector workers 60 per cent of their December salaries this week as it grapples with the long-running fallout of Israel’s refusal to transfer tax funds earmarked for Gaza, Reuters reports.”
“Middle East crisis: Houthi rebels target two more vessels in Red Sea, including one carrying coal to India.
“Yemen’s Houthi rebels said Tuesday (Feb 6) they attacked two more ships in the Red Sea, causing damage to both of them. The US military’s Central Command also confirmed the missile attacks on Star Nasia and Morning Tide, the two vessels.”
“Iran has warned the US not to target a ship which officials believe is providing vital intelligence to the Houthis to enable their continued Red Sea attacks.
“The Iran-backed proxy group, which claims its attacks are in support of Palestine, has targeted commercial vessels in the region with drones and missiles, forcing shippers to change course and take longer routes around the southern tip of Africa.”
“China, Russia and Iran to hold navy drills aimed at ‘regional security’, admiral says as Middle East tensions flare.
“Top Iranian naval official reportedly confirms joint exercise will be held before end of March and says other countries have been invited to take part. The news comes as US-led coalition launches new round of strikes on Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen in response to Red Sea cargo ship attacks.”
“‘We learned to be numb.’ South Koreans stay calm despite North’s escalating threats.
“Kim Jong Un said in January that his nation was abandoning its fundamental objective of peaceful reconciliation with South Korea. He also repeated a threat to annihilate the South if provoked. At the same time, North Korea has conducted a streak of weapons testing…”
“Bangladesh summoned neighbouring Myanmar’s ambassador on Tuesday to protest the escalating border violence that killed two people on the Bangladeshi side as fighting between Myanmar’s rebel forces and its junta regime intensifies.
“A Bangladeshi woman and a Rohingya man were killed and a child was injured when a mortar shell from Myanmar hit a border district in Bangladesh on Monday…”
“At least nine grenade attacks, targeting election offices of candidates and polling stations, were carried out in various areas of Makran division and the provincial capital, on Tuesday [Pakistan].
“According to police reports, individuals riding motorcycles threw hand grenades at a government school in Killi Ahmedzai, located on the outskirts of Quetta, late in the evening.”
“Ukrainian special forces ‘in Sudan operating against Russian mercenaries’…
“Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, met Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, at Ireland’s Shannon airport in September. “We discussed our common security challenges, namely the activities of illegal armed groups financed by Russia,” the Ukrainian leader said at the time.”
“Nigerians have been calling on their government to do more in tackling the increasing cost of living in the country, which has led to protests in some states.
“The cost of fuel and food items are reported to be particularly high since the government lifted subsidy.”
“Protests erupt across Haiti as demonstrators demand that the prime minister resign.
“Protesters shut down major cities in Haiti on Monday and clashed with police as they demanded the resignation of unelected Prime Minister Ariel Henry. This comes as a communist leader in Kenya warned his country’s president against interfering in the Caribbean nation.”
“AI will trigger global surge in gas demand, says BP boss…
“AI relies on data centres to power its technology, with each search entered in tools such as ChatGPT consuming about 10 times the energy of a standard browser search, given the number of calculations needed… The amount of energy consumed by the 8,000 data centres globally is predicted to soar by 73pc to 800 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2026…”
“AI chatbots tend to choose violence and nuclear strikes in wargames.
“In multiple replays of a wargame simulation, OpenAI’s most powerful artificial intelligence chose to launch nuclear attacks. Its explanations for its aggressive approach included “We have it! Let’s use it” and “I just want to have peace in the world.””
“Is AI really the biggest threat when our world is guided more by human stupidity?
“The proliferation of megathreats – each an element in the broader “polycrisis” – confirms that our politics are too dysfunctional, and our policies too misguided, to address even the most serious and obvious risks to our future. These include climate change…”
“Oil spills and fading glaciers: a beautiful world in peril – in pictures.
“A huge retrospective of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s work showcases the terrifying, but oddly beautiful marks we can leave on the planet.”
You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.
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