15th Jan Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Food Prices Are Back to Where They Were in the 2011 Crop Crisis [which helped trigger the Arab Spring; see Tunisia below].

“Food is getting more expensive around the world due to increases in demand and scarcity because of transportation and supply chain issues. And the timing couldn’t be worse, coming just as government stimulus fades and consumer savings start to run dry.”


U.S. Retail Sales Slid Last Month Amid Inflation, Omicron Hits.

“U.S. retail sales slumped in December by the most in 10 months, suggesting the fastest inflation in decades is taking a greater toll on consumers just as the nation confronts more coronavirus infections.”


A second big energy supplier has been forced to apologise to thousands of British households after offering unwelcome advice on how to keep warm during the national energy crisis – with a pair of socks.

“E.ON Next said it was “incredibly sorry” after sending pairs of polyester socks branded with advice to turn down heating…”


European gas prices jump after collapse of Russia’s talks with US and Nato…

“Russia said on Thursday that this week’s talks with the US and Nato had failed to address its security grievances, casting doubt over the prospect of a western diplomatic push to defuse Moscow’s threat of military action against Ukraine.”


Energy Crunch Hammers French Nuclear Giant EDF.

“A decision by the French government to force electricity giant Électricité de France to eat higher energy prices slammed the company’s shares… The move reflects the fraught decisions facing governments in Europe over how to spread the pain from a surge in natural-gas and electricity prices.”


Spain Raises Pressure on EU for Action on Surging Energy Costs. Spain’s economy minister warned that soaring energy costs could hit company competitiveness and hurt households as she reiterated calls for bolder European Union action to curb a price surge that shows no signs of abating.”


German Economy Heads for Recession After Shrinking Last Quarter.

“Germany is headed for its second recession of the pandemic after the emergence of the coronavirus’s omicron strain compounded drags on output from supply snarls and the fastest inflation in three decades.”


North Korean roads begin to empty as nation runs out of tyres…

“While the shortages appear to have primarily affected the lives of ordinary citizens, Radio Free Asia reported on Friday, they may soon start to impact the military and vehicles used by senior members of the regime.”


Sri Lanka economists tell government to default on bond, buy food.

“Sri Lanka’s top economists and business leaders are urging President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government to default on a debt repayment next week and to use the nation’s foreign currency reserves to buy fuel, food, medicine and other essentials.”


Famine: new battleground for displaced Afghans – a photo essay…

“Like tens of thousands of other internally displaced people (IDPs) now back home in former battleground districts in Helmand and elsewhere in Afghanistan, [Sayed Muhammad] is faced with a challenge bigger even than rebuilding: keeping his family fed.”


An economic collapse [for Pakistan]?

“…What if our dollar creditors refuse to play along anymore? Briefly put, a simple headline in an international paper will set the ball rolling and become a juggernaut of fear and uncertainty (abroad and at home), evolving into a chain reaction. For those who want to brush this away as fearmongering, read Venezuela or Zimbabwe.”


Iran Teachers Protest New Pay Scales as Inflation Bites…

“Protesters chanted slogans such as “if embezzlement is reduced, our problems will be solved,” and “we only heard promises, we didn’t see justice”, it said… The government wants to introduce a new grading system for teachers based on experience and performance.”


Power cuts heat up interest in Syria’s traditional bathhouses.

“Syria’s traditional bathhouses once drew in customers seeking to relax in their leisure time. Now some families head there out of necessity, fed up with taking a cold shower at home because frequent power cuts after a decade of conflict mean their electric heaters don’t work.”


Labor Strike Paralyzes Lebanon Amid Economic Crisis.

“Traffic delays mounted throughout Lebanon on Thursday as striking members of the country’s public transportation union blocked roads with their vehicles to protest the government’s ineffective response to the country’s deepening economic crisis.”


Clashes Erupt as Protesters in Tunisia Demand End to Power Grab…

“Tunisian police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters in the capital marching to mark the country’s Arab Spring uprising and demand President Kais Saied reverse his power grab.”


First Sudan security death as coup opponents keep up protests.

“A senior Sudanese police officer was killed Thursday during protests in the Sudanese capital, an official statement said, as security forces fired tear gas at thousands who kept up rallies against an October military coup.”


Kenya got hit by a third countrywide power outage in four years…

“Blackouts are a common occurrence in Kenya and other African countries, crippling economies and leaving many people frustrated while disproportionately affecting the poor more than the rich… Elsewhere, in South Africa, people experience frequent power cuts that are conducted by the public utility Eskom to prevent a collapse of the national electricity grid.”


Energy Crisis: Nigeria LNG suspends cooking gas export, channels 100% to domestic market…

““Gas is essential for life and living at the moment, because it can support everything we will need to develop our economy and create better living standards for Nigerians. We need to change the narrative, and NLNG is being pragmatic about it.””


Kazakhstan unrest highlights tricky terrain of fuel subsidy cuts.

From France to Ecuador, Pakistan to Iran, and Zimbabwe to Lebanon, mass agitations over the past three years have revealed the tricky terrain that governments tread as they try to let the market determine energy prices without triggering mass uprisings.”


Central banks start turning off the cash taps.

“As speculation grows about when the Federal Reserve will begin reducing the size of its balance sheet, some analysts say the era of “quantitative tightening” has already started… Below are a series of graphics…”


The cure for spiralling inflation threatens a market crash.

“…once again, investors must hope that the Fed is more concerned about stability in the financial markets than in preserving its own credibility. Ever since the US central bank stepped in to support the economy and markets in the wake of the financial crisis, it has consistently stepped back from the brink when push came to shove.


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back on Monday with a ‘Climate’ thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It really means a lot.

Jan 13th 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

World Bank sees sharp world growth slowdown, ‘hard landing’ risk for poorer nations.

“The World Bank on Tuesday cut its forecasts for economic growth in the United States, the Euro area and China and warned that high debt levels, rising income inequality and new coronavirus variants threatened the recovery in developing economies.”


This won’t help: “Oil prices could hit $100 as demand outstrips supply, analysts say.

“Oil prices that rallied 50% in 2021 will power further ahead this year, analysts predict, saying a lack of production capacity and limited investment in the sector could lift crude above $100 a barrel.”


Highest US inflation in 40 years signals end of ultra-cheap money.

“Not since Ronald Reagan was president and Paul Volcker was the hardline chairman of the Federal Reserve has US inflation been as high as 7%, so inevitably the latest jump in the country’s cost of living index will have consequences.”


If prices keep rising, a nightmare scenario for the US economy is a real possibility.

“There’s no denying it: Inflation is here… But the question on the minds of many economists and Wall Street strategists is whether something even worse could be in the cards: prices rising as the economy slows. That’s the textbook definition of stagflation, and it would be the worst nightmare for consumers, investors and the Federal Reserve.”


Amid rising prices, American families fall deeper in debt.

Higher prices are already taking a toll. As consumers pay more for everything from groceries to gasoline, household income is failing to keep pace with a higher overall cost of living, according to recent reports.”


Energy bill crisis forces [UK] elderly to sacrifice hot food and showers.

“Thousands of pensioners are going without hot meals and baths, as they ration their energy usage in the face of spiralling bills, Britain’s biggest charity for the elderly has warned.”


‘Generation precariat’: Less than half of young people [in the UK] think they will ever be homeowners…

“The UK’s cost of living crisis will hit young people hard because they are more likely to be in precarious work and to be in debt, the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) said.”


Germany Fights Soaring Home Prices With Curbs on Mortgage Lending.

As in the U.S. and other economies, pandemic financial support has sparked a surge in property investment and borrowing in the country… Germany’s financial regulator said it would clamp down on mortgage lending, signaling mounting concerns about the risks posed by the nation’s rapidly rising house prices.”


Sweden to help households as electricity prices soar over 266%.

“Sweden announced on Wednesday it had earmarked some 6 billion kronor (€590 million) for a temporary scheme to help the most affected households across the Scandinavian country to cope with high electricity bills this winter.”


Energy crisis: Poland to introduce new financial aid for public institutions.

“Poland’s government has announced it will introduce new financial aid for public institutions affected by the rising gas prices as the country struggles with its highest inflation in years — currently at 8.6 per cent.”


Power fuels aluminium’s price surge to record in Europe.

“Costs of aluminium for European consumers are scaling record highs due to soaring energy costs and production cuts, which have exacerbated deficits of the metal used in the power, construction and packaging industries.”


Europe Faces $1 Trillion Energy Bill This Year, Citigroup Says…

““It is gas and electricity that is becoming prohibitively expensive in Europe,” Citigroup analysts including Alastair Syme wrote. “Consumers and industry across the region are likely going to have to make some tough choices about their energy consumption.””


IEA chief accuses Russia of worsening Europe’s gas crisis…

“The head of the International Energy Agency has accused Russia of throttling gas supplies to Europe at a time of “heightened geopolitical tensions”, implying that Moscow has manufactured an energy crisis for political ends.”


Russia’s Putin orders $2.3 bln pension hike as inflation bites.

“Ahead of parliamentary elections last year Putin ordered one-off social payments and public sector salary hikes worth at least 500 billion roubles ($7 billion), which analysts said may further fuel inflation.”


World’s Worst-Performing Bank Lent Billions to China Evergrande…

“It was once hailed as the future of Chinese banking, a privately run lender that would mint money by outmaneuvering its state-owned rivals [but] an ill-fated push into property lending has instead turned China Minsheng Banking Corp. into one of the biggest casualties of the real estate debt crisis that’s roiling Asia’s largest economy.”


North Korean women pay a heavy price as Kim turns on ‘black market breadwinners’…

“…despite their market power and newfound social influence, North Korean women remain vulnerable to antediluvian social attitudes and the predations of the state, say experts who have conducted extensive interviews with escapees from the country.”


Taliban increase payment in wheat as economic crisis deepens.

The Taliban administration said on Tuesday it was expanding its ‘food for work’ program, in which it uses donated wheat to pay thousands of public sector employees instead of cash as a financial crisis intensifies.”


S&P downgrades Sri Lanka to CCC, outlook negative.

“Standard and Poor’s has downgraded Sri Lanka to ‘CCC’ from an earlier ‘CCC+’ with the outlook negative at the lower level as the currency continued to be under pressure from liquidity injections though reserves were boosted in December with a swap from China.”


Yemen facing growing hunger, economic collapse amid escalating war: UN.

“Escalating military action in Yemen displaced more than 15,000 people over the past month, killed or injured more than 350 civilians in December and left the Arab world’s poorest nation facing growing hunger and economic collapse with no political solution in sight…”


Lebanon’s currency plummets again amid financial crisis and political deadlock.

“Lebanon’s currency has lost more than 15% of its value since the start of the year, piling further pressure on the population more than two years into a crisis that has plunged many into poverty and fuelled demonstrations.”


Turmoil in Turkey: Erdogan targets people’s jewellery to deal with financial crisis.

“Erzurum Mayor Mehmet Sekmen… said, “Every citizen should bring their earrings, bracelets, every piece of jewellery to the state, to be weighed, to be given a bond and all this to be put in a safe under the control of the state.””


Ghana Debt Moves Deeper Into Distress as Investors Lose Patience.

As the era of cheap money draws to an end, bondholders are no longer prepared to cut Ghana any slack. The West African nation’s dollar bonds have slumped 10% in 10 days, moving deeper into distressed territory…”


State win for Venezuela’s opposition masks deeper problems…

“Venezuela’s economy shrank by more than 75 percent between 2014 and 2020, according to the US government’s congressional research service, “the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years”. More than 5.9 million people have fled…”


Climate crisis is greatest global risk in 2022: World Economic Forum.

“The WEF’s Global Risks Report 2022, released on Monday, found that in addition to the climate crisis, top long-term global risks include growing social divides, heightened cybersecurity risks and uneven recovery as the pandemic persists around the world…”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a ‘Climate’ thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It really means a lot.

11th Jan 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Emerging economies should gird for possible rough times as the US Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates and world economic growth slows because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the IMF warned Monday

“Higher interest rates mean financing costs for some emerging economies with dollar-denominated debt will rise… some weaker banks and nonbank lenders may face solvency concerns if financing becomes difficult. Resolution regimes should be readied.”


The Federal Reserve has begun sketching out plans to shrink the size of its balance sheet, which ballooned during the pandemic as it hoovered up government bonds in an attempt to stave off an economic collapse.

“The US central bank now holds just under $9tn of assets, more than double the amount compared to early 2020 when it embarked on an unlimited bond-buying programme to prop up markets…”


Fed Unites Left and Right in Warning It’s Behind Inflation Curve… “As the reality of the need for balancing supply and demand becomes clear, interest rates will rise substantially over the next year and a half…””


Ovo Energy apologises after telling [UK] customers to ‘cuddle pets’ to keep warm…

“As well as cuddling pets for warmth, other tips included “challenging the kids to a hula hoop competition”, “doing star jumps”, and “cleaning the house”.”


The [UK] public won’t forgive food shortages…

“As the report makes clear, without subsidies farms in England make an average net profit of just £22,800 a year. There is a real fear among small and tenant farms that many will go out of business… many farmers are going to need to generate greater returns if they are to survive…”


ECB executive warns green energy push will drive inflation higher.

“Policies to tackle climate change are likely to keep energy prices higher for longer and may force the European Central Bank to withdraw its stimulus more quickly than planned, one of its senior executives has warned.”


Poland, a country that is heavily reliant on coal power, has been mired in an energy crisis driven by skyrocketing fuel prices, which Warsaw blames Moscow for while turning to Brussels for a potential solution.

“Inflation, which increased for the sixth month in a row to 8.6% in December, is at its highest levels in 20 years, forcing authorities to lower VAT to zero on food starting February 1.”


Bulgaria: Prices of Vegetables are Rising, Greenhouses are facing Bankruptcy…

“Bulgaria may be left without Bulgarian vegetable production in 2022 due to the energy crisis… “We do not observe shock price movements, but on the other hand they are smooth and constant [upwards], which is not a good trend,” said Vladimir Ivanov of the State Commission on Commodity Exchanges and Markets.”


Pristina: Kosovo police on Saturday seized hundreds of cryptocurrency mining machines and arrested one person in the tense ethnic-Serb majority north as the country suffered an energy crisis

“Tensions between the Serb-majority area and the ethnic Albanian majority government are running high…”


Opposition party supporters in Albania clash over leadership.

“Police have fired water cannon and tear gas as stone-throwing protesters stormed the headquarters of the opposition group – the Democratic Party – in the Albanian capital, Tirana, amid a deepening power struggle.”


Rising anger with Turkey drives calls for reunification in crisis-hit northern Cyprus.

“The economy is in freefall, thanks to the self-declared republic’s financial and political dependence on Turkey. Thousands have taken to the streets, spurred by inflation rates that have left many struggling to make ends meet…”


‘No path ahead but the sea’: Lebanese join migrant flow to EU.

“Lebanon, in the throes of a brutal economic crisis, is no longer just a launchpad for Syrian refugees and other foreign migrants. Its own desperate citizens now also risk drowning in the Mediterranean in their quest for a better life.”


Libyan security forces have raided and violently broke up a protest sit-in by migrants outside a shuttered UN community centre in the capital of Tripoli, activists and migrants said.

“The troops came overnight, smashed up the protest site and arrested hundreds, said activist Tarik Lamloum on Monday.”


Middle East, North Africa Risk Unrest on High Food Prices…

“Countries in the Middle East and North Africa such as Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt are the most exposed given their imports of wheat and sugar, according to Bloomberg Economics. Some of these are experiencing coups, regime changes, civil war and economic collapse.”


Nearly 8,000 Arrested, Dozens Dead In Kazakhstan As Officials Blame Terrorists For Violent Unrest.

“Nearly 8,000 people were arrested and dozens died throughout Kazakhstan last week, government officials announced Monday, following a security crackdown amid anti-government protests and waves of violent unrest authorities have linked to terrorism.”


“Sri Lanka seeks Chinese debt restructuring amid crisis.

“The president of debt-ridden Sri Lanka on Sunday asked China for the restructuring of its loans and access to preferential credit for imports of essential goods, as the island nation struggles in the throes of its worst economic crisis, partly due to Beijing-financed projects that don’t generate revenue.”


China’s next debt crisis will be municipal…

“While coastal provinces with strong export sectors have weathered the Covid-19 outbreak relatively well, local governments in the interior have been under heavy economic stress.

“That was only aggravated by Beijing’s decision to rein in the real estate market.”


Philippines urges Indonesia to lift coal export ban.

“The Philippines’s energy secretary Alfonso Cusi has appealed to Indonesia to lift its coal export ban, saying the policy will be detrimental to economies heavily reliant on the fuel for power generation, Manila’s Department of Energy said on Monday.”


Guatemalan migrants face soaring costs amid crises at home…

“When Sica migrated north in 1996, he said, “coyotes” charged him about 25,000 quetzales ($3,200). Today, they are charging up to 140,000 quetzales ($18,100) – a fortune in a country where approximately half of the population lives under the poverty line.”


In Cuba, queueing for hours ‘just to be able to eat’…

“The shortages affect everyone; even the well-heeled have to contend with long lines, though they often pay other people to hold their place. Those who can come armed with snacks, water, coffee or a wooden bench to sit on.”


In 1973, ‘Soylent Green’ envisioned the world in 2022. It got a lot right…

“The year is 2022. Our overpopulated planet is experiencing catastrophic climate change, megacorporations have excessive power over the government, and clean living is a luxury only the 1 percent can afford.”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a ‘Climate’ thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It really means a lot.

8th Jan 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Warning from Kazakhstan — energy and food inflation could ignite global political unrest this year…

“High global prices for energy and food often serve as a leading indicator for outbreaks of civil unrest,” Hugo Brennan, head of EMEA Research, at global risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft, told the Post in an emailed statement.”


Global food prices rose ‘sharply’ during 2021…

“The UN’s Food Price Index [saw] a 28.1 per cent increase over 2020… the consistently high cost of inputs, the ongoing global pandemic and ever more volatile climatic conditions “leave little room for optimism about a return to more stable market conditions even in 2022.””


Highest Ever Vegetable Oil Prices Risk Even Faster Inflation.

“More bad weather for the world’s oilseed growers is pushing rapeseed and canola prices to fresh records and adding to food-inflation worries… Paris rapeseed futures and North American canola notched new all-time highs on Friday.”


Kazakhstan Unrest Pushes Up Uranium and Oil Prices.

“Instability in Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest uranium producer, threatens to curb output and boost prices at the same time supplies of the nuclear fuel are becoming tighter.”


[US] Everyone Has a Job and Nobody’s Happy Why full employment doesn’t mean what it used to…

“The majority of Americans blame President Biden for his handling of the economy, according to a recent poll, and consumer sentiment is at its lowest point in a decade… Biden is now the third straight U.S. president to learn the hard way that low unemployment doesn’t mean that people feel that they’re any better off.”


U.K. Waves Goodbye to Nuclear Plant in Midst of Energy Crunch.

“Electricite de France SA will switch off the last unit at its Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Scotland on Friday, further crimping supplies in the middle of an energy crunch… expensive gas plants will need to step in to supply power when there’s not enough wind to generate renewable electricity.”


UK household income was beginning to flatline before the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis struck, according to damning new figures that show an enormous wealth gap between young and old.

“Data from the ONS released today showed that the median wealth of British families has risen by 20 per cent since the pre-Financial Crisis period to £302,500.”


Boris Johnson has been warned [by the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies] that the growing cost of living crisis could leave Brits worse off than the financial crash of 2008.

“The 2008/09 recession was one of the worst on record, with hundreds of thousands of businesses closing and an estimated 3.7m people being made redundant as a result.”


Extra gas extraction angers Dutch region hit by earthquakes.

“The government of the Netherlands has sparked anger by announcing it may have to double the amount of gas it pumps this year from a northern province that experienced a string of small earthquakes in recent years.”


Germany’s soaring energy prices force government to promise aid.

“German inflation remained close to multi-decade highs at the end of last year, forcing the government to promise aid for poorer households as energy prices continued to surge at double-digit rates.”


Gas flows eastward via Russian Yamal pipeline for 18th day…

“The Yamal-Europe pipeline, which usually sends Russian gas west into Europe, was flowing east from Germany to Poland on Friday for an 18th successive day, albeit at marginally lower levels than on Thursday, data from German network operator Gascade showed.”


Eurozone inflation hits new record as energy and food prices soar.

“Eurozone inflation rose to 5 per cent in December, setting a fresh record high since the single currency was created more than two decades ago and raising doubts over how quickly price pressures will ease this year.”


Near-empty flights crisscross Europe to secure landing slots…

“The highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19 has put many off flying, and because of it, getting people and goods from point A to point B has become an afterthought for thousands of flights.”


China Urges Banks to Boost Property Loans as Default Fears Grow.

“China called on banks to boost real estate lending in the first quarter and eased a key debt restriction for developers, a sign that authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about the industry’s liquidity crisis.”


Shimao’s debt woes deepen concerns over cash crunch in Chinese property.

“The Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended trading in several bonds of Chinese property developer Shimao, a day after the company’s failure to make a loan payment increased fears that a cash crunch will spread more widely across the country’s embattled real estate industry.”


China property debt crisis: R&F warns its asset sales may not meet bond repurchase deadline in a slumping real estate market.

“Guangzhou R&F Properties said it may not be able to sell assets in time to buy back some of its offshore bonds, as one of China’s largest and most indebted developers struggles to meet its debt obligations amid a sinking real estate market.”


China’s First City-Level Restructuring Shows Effect of Slowdown. A city in China’s northeast rustbelt became the latest casualty of the economy’s slowing growth, with local media and analysts reporting it recently began a fiscal restructuring.”


Drowning in debt, South Korean businesses revolt over COVID rules…

“In mid-December, the South Korean government reimposed a business curfew as COVID-19 cases surged to record highs across the country. Restaurants and bars must close after 9pm. Violators face fines or the suspension of their business.”


India’s jobs crisis is more serious than it seems…

“…jobs are diminishing… India’s unemployment rate crept up to nearly 8% in December… “This is way higher than anything seen in India, at least over the last three decades, including the big [economic] crisis of 1991 [when the country did not have enough dollars to pay for imports],” Kaushik Basu, former chief economist of the World Bank, said.”


Uzbekistan has halted exports of natural gas in order to meet domestic energy needs, the Interfax agency reported on Thursday.

“The announcement comes as protests rage in neighbouring Kazakhstan, spurred initially by gas price hikes.”


Turkey’s State Gas Importer Races for Funding as Prices Surge.

“Turkey’s national gas company is trying to raise billions of dollars to pay an import bill due early this year, following a surge in energy prices and a collapse of the lira.”


Brazil extends coal use to 2040 under new ‘just transition’ law…

“Broadly, “just transition” is a process aimed at ensuring the benefits of a green economy shift are shared widely, while supporting those who may lose out economically, whether nations, regions, industries, communities, workers or consumers.”


Brazil’s Industrial Production Unexpectedly Drops Amid Recession.

“Brazil’s industrial production fell in November for the sixth consecutive month, raising concerns about the extent of the recession in Latin America’s largest economy.”


Brazilian Army fears social unrest if Bolsonaro not reelected…

“According to press reports, senior military officials fear political polarization might unleash on a “Capitol Hill scene,” in reference to actions undertaken Jan. 6, 2021 by supporters of former US President Donald Trump, who stormed the building to prevent Joseph Biden’s win from being certified.”


Argentina raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in over a year as it faces calls from the International Monetary Fund to tighten its monetary policy.

“The Central Bank lifted the key Leliq rate to 40 percent from 38 percent, the level it had stood for over a year even with annual inflation running at around 50 percent.


Cubans turn to natural remedies in midst of prescription drugs shortage…

“Today, with many prescription drugs in short supply—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic—plant-based medications and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, cupping, and therapeutic massages have become increasingly important.”


New Studies Find Unprecedented Impact from Supply-Chain Turmoil.

“International shipping costs have swung far more sharply during the pandemic and amid recent supply-chain disruptions than in the wake of the financial crisis over a decade ago, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.”


Covid-19 Hit Supply Chains Hard. Climate Shocks May Hurt More…

“Consider that last year alone saw Hurricane Ida, a typhoon near Chinese ports, the Texas freeze, British Columbia flooding, and freak December tornadoes across the U.S., and it’s clear that global trade is struggling to cope with much more than a health crisis.”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back on Monday with (probably) a ‘Climate’ thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It really means a lot.

6th Jan 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The Federal Reserve may need to raise interest rates “sooner or at a faster pace” than officials had initially anticipated as the central bank seeks to tame soaring inflation, according to minutes from its latest meeting.

“Minutes released on Wednesday from the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee showed officials were fully on board with plans to accelerate the withdrawal of the massive bond-buying programme adopted at the onset of the pandemic.”


Is the Fed ready for another Minsky Moment if the asset bubble pops?

“While the current combination of an “everything” asset-price bubble and a prolonged period of reckless lending would seem to make a Minsky moment inevitable, the timing of that moment is always difficult to predict. However, there is good reason to think that this moment could come this year…”


Civil war in the United States is far more likely than you think. In fact, it may have already begun…

“…as an analyst “looking at events in America the same way you’d look at them elsewhere, you’d go down a checklist, assessing each of the conditions that make civil war likely. And what you would find is that the United States, a democracy founded more than two centuries ago, has entered very dangerous territory.””


A deep-freeze in Canada and Northern U.S. is disrupting oil flows, causing a surge in crude prices just as American stockpiles are declining

“U.S. stockpiles have been shrinking every week since mid-November and getting closer to September’s three-year low.”


U.K. Inflation Concerns Hit the Highest on Record for Businesses.

“More U.K. businesses than ever before are worried about inflation, and a record number are planning to increase their own prices, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce.”


A wave of concern over the soaring cost of living is sweeping across Britain, reveals fresh figures released today.

“Over half of households are worried the cost of living crisis will hit their living standards this year… Nearly one in three Brits are concerned their finances will deteriorate over the coming year.”


Sunak warns of limit to state help on soaring energy prices… Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned colleagues that there is a limit to how much help the government can give to offset soaring energy prices, and that support should be targeted at UK households that need it most.”


How Britain Falls Apart…

“The breakup of the U.K. is certainly not unthinkable.

“We tend to think of the world’s most powerful nations as unshakable actors on the world stage, but of course they are not.”


Gas price hike of more than 30% stokes home bills fears for Europe.

“European gas prices have risen by more than 30% on Tuesday, adding to mounting concerns about the cost of heating a home, as supplies that usually come into Europe from Siberia continued to flow eastwards for the 15th day in a row.”


Energy-Starved France Mulls Burning More Coal to Keep Lights On…

“The government may raise the annual cap on running coal-fired power stations, plugging a potential gap in supply as an unusually high number of nuclear reactors halt for maintenance just as the coldest months get under way.”


Polish miners threaten energy crisis if wage demands go unmet…

“A possible suspension of coal supplies to the power plants may result in a difficult situation for the power system. Deputy Minister of State Assets, Piotr Pyzik, called the protest “playing with energy security”.”


Kosovo bans cryptocurrency mining to save electricity.

“Kosovo’s government on Tuesday introduced a ban on cryptocurrency mining in an attempt to curb electricity consumption as the country faces the worst energy crisis in a decade due to production outages.”


Blinken warns Russia: No progress with “gun pointed at Ukraine’s head”.

“The U.S. and Germany’s top diplomats issued a joint warning to Russia ahead of high-level security talks in Europe next week, pledging “massive” economic consequences if Vladimir Putin proceeds with an invasion of Ukraine.”


‘Complete anarchy’: Kazakhstan cabinet resigns as rioters torch presidential palace…

Russia and its allies said they would send troops to help Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev quell protests after anti-government demonstrators seized official buildings and a major airport in the biggest challenge to the Central Asian country’s leadership in decades.”


Turkish lira faces a rocky new year as inflation hits 19-year high and could go higher.

“Turkey’s lira tumbled again overnight over rising inflation fears, with markets showing little faith in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s promises that the worst of the country’s economic turmoil is over.”


Lebanon’s currency hit a new low Tuesday reaching 20 times its value on the black market since the economic meltdown began in late 2019 and likely throwing more people into poverty.

“The pound was trading at 30,000 to 1 U.S. dollar on the black market as the economic crisis continues with no solution expected in the near future.”


Iraq hit by severe power shortages as Iran cuts gas supplies…

“Opec’s second-biggest oil producer depends on Iran for approximately a third of its electricity needs…”

“Iran has reduced gas supplies to Iraq due to unpaid bills, causing widespread electricity shortages in the centre and south of the country, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.”


In Pictures: Hunger, poverty continue to stalk desperate Afghans…

“Since the August 15 Taliban takeover of Kabul, an already war-devastated economy once kept alive by international donations alone is now on the verge of collapse. There is not enough money for hospitals.”


‘No legal pathways’: Myanmar poverty pushes thousands to Thailand.

“With borders closed since March 2020, migrants have no choice but to make the journey illegally. There is no official data on the size of the influx, but experts say one indicator is the number of migrants who have been caught by authorities.”


‘Starving’ Chinese residents trade Nintendo for noodles in world’s toughest lockdown…

“Authorities have banned 13 million people in the city of Xi’an from going outside even for essential reasons, as the country is trying to control one of its worst Covid outbreaks.”


China Evergrande’s $300 billion cash crunch is deepened by demolition order…

“A demolition order from authorities on the southern Chinese island of Hainan has plunged embattled property giant Evergrande into a fresh publicity crisis amid an investigation into the legality of a major project’s planning permits.”


Japan asks Indonesia to revoke coal export ban…

“Jakarta’s stranglehold over local coal supplies has driven a wedge into the free market economics of the global coal trade as miners and Indonesian authorities weigh up an export ban… Over the weekend Jakarta temporarily halted coal exports to avoid outages at domestic electricity generators as local stockpiles hit critical lows.”


The world’s largest coal port has announced [Newcastle, NSW, Australia] it will now be powered entirely by renewable energy.

“The announcement from Port of Newcastle comes as coal power generation in Australia’s national electricity market fell to its lowest level in the final three months of 2021.”


Thousands protest oil exploration project off coast of Argentina…

“Carrying placards reading “Oil is death”, “A sea without oil tankers” and “No to pollution,” environmental demonstrators and left-wing activists marched to drums, while classical dancers performed.”


How Venezuela became one big casino…

“This is the new Venezuela, where games of chance substitute for oil wells and the image of Bolívar has been replaced by the face of a new liberating hero: Benjamin Franklin.”


Brazilian families slammed by debt, inflation…

“Many workers in Brazil have found themselves trapped in a vicious circle of soaring prices and soaring debt…

“…as Latin America’s biggest economy is hit by high inflation, high interest rates and recession.”


OPEC Output Boost Severely Limited as African Members Struggle…

“Production up just 90,000 barrels a day on Libya, Nigeria woes… Constraints are hitting other countries in the wider coalition. Russia failed to boost oil output last month… Disruptions impede OPEC+ plan to revive halted output.”


Chip Delivery Times Are on the Rise Again, Shortages to Continue.

“Delivery times for chips rose in December, signaling persistent component shortages that have slammed growth for months in industries that span the economy.”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a ‘Climate’ thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It really means a lot.

4th Jan 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Deep uncertainty looms over global economy in 2022… I cannot recall a previous time when there were so many big question marks looming over so many key economic issues.

“This deep uncertainty is especially intriguing with respect to financial markets. Should any of several developments to watch take a negative turn, the implications for today’s elevated markets could be dire.


America’s Hunger Pandemic Is Getting Worse…

“…a range of factors is still preventing many Americans from finding enough to eat. Those stresses continue to fall on the nation’s food banks. As Covid drags on, their mission is becoming harder and more expensive.”


Food prices ‘going to have to go up’, says Irish Farmers’ Association president.

“Irish food prices “are going to have to go up”, according to Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan, who also accused the Government of “talking at farmers” rather than negotiating with them in good faith.”


UK farmers braced for spring fertiliser crunch after prices triple.

“Matt Culley, crops board chair at the National Farmers’ Union, said… “We are going to be running out of time soon. We are going to have some massive logistical problems in the spring even if farmers start [accepting] these higher prices,” he said.”


[UK] Food banks face turning hungry families away as demand soars in ‘bleak winter’…

“Charity bosses say they expect the number of people in dire financial trouble to shoot up this year because of rising food and fuel bills, the coming National Insurance hike and October’s cut to Universal Credit.”


Fury as EU moves ahead with plans to label gas and nuclear as ‘green’.

“The European Commission is facing a furious backlash over plans to allow gas and nuclear to be labelled as “green” investments, as Germany’s economy minister led the charge against “greenwashing”.”


Europe’s Aluminum Smelters In Turmoil Amid Rising Power Costs…

“The loss of so much primary capacity in Europe does not fare well for downstream mills and can be expected to support prices for both ingot and billets in 2022, in addition to conversion premiums, as downstream mills compete for primary metal supply.”


Europe Sleepwalked Into an Energy Crisis That Could Last Years… the continent is grappling with a supply crunch that’s caused benchmark gas prices to more than quadruple from last year’s levels, squeezing businesses and households.

The crisis has left the European Union at the mercy of the weather and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wiles…”


Russian gas flows via Yamal pipeline flow east for 14th day.

“The Yamal-Europe pipeline which usually sends Russian gas west into Europe was flowing east from Germany to Poland on Sunday for a 14th straight day, data from German network operator Gascade showed.”


Gas superpower Russia struggles to connect millions to network…

“Chita is one of many big cities in Siberia that have not been connected to Russia’s domestic gas network.

“Instead, coal-fired power stations heat the city centre, while residents of the suburbs fend off freezing temperatures by firing up furnaces, causing some of the worst air pollution in Russia.”


Russia may be nearing the limit of its oil production capacity, according to recent media reports.

“Bloomberg reported that the country’s December oil and condensate output together totaled 10.903 million bpd, which was flat on November, suggesting it was using up all its available production capacity.”


Turkey added to inflation pressure on Saturday by raising household electricity and natural gas tariffs substantially, citing the surge in global energy prices.

“The cost of electricity will soar as much as 130% for some households, the Haberturk newspaper estimated, as the country switches to a graduated tariff system.”


Kazakhstan: Gas price hike fuels Zhanaozen protests.

“Kazakhstan has begun the new year with a wave of demonstrations over fuel prices that began, alarmingly for the government, in the oil town of Zhanaozen, where protests spiraled into deadly violence a decade ago.”


Gas shortage hits Pakistan’s exports, adding to economic stress.

“Pakistan’s natural gas shortage is hurting its most important export industry, putting even more stress on an economy already struggling with accelerating inflation and a weakening currency.”


Iran: Retirees, workers hold protests rallies in several cities.

“In Isfahan, retired steelworkers and pensioners protested against their poor living conditions, demanding adequate pensions commensurate with rising inflation.”


‘There is no money left’: Covid crisis leaves Sri Lanka on brink of bankruptcy.

“Sri Lanka is facing a deepening financial and humanitarian crisis with fears it could go bankrupt in 2022 as inflation rises to record levels, food prices rocket and its coffers run dry.”


Nepal records lowest tourist footfall in 44 years.

““There was a hope that the industry would revive in 2021, (…) but it ended in disaster,” Nandini Lahe Thapa, spokesperson for the Nepal Tourism Board, told EFE.

“The sharp drop is partly due to restrictions in the Himalayan nation, which was forced to close its borders in March…”


People Of Myanmar Face Unprecedented Crisis In 2022, The U.N. Warns…

“The situation is escalating dramatically since the military takeover on February 1, 2021, and a severe Covid-19 outbreak. The report estimates that 14 out of 15 states and regions are within the critical threshold for acute malnutrition.”


North Korea’s Kim says focus on food, economy for 2022.

“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put the economy front and centre of an agenda-setting speech at the end of a key ruling-party meeting, state media reported Saturday, with no mention of the United States.”


Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of coal used in electricity generation, on Saturday said it has banned January exports of the fuel in a move aimed at safeguarding its domestic power supply.

“Rising demand for electricity in the country risks widespread blackouts unless more supplies are diverted to power stations, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said…”


Mexico plans to end oil exports in 2023 to reach self-sufficiency…

“Petroleos Mexicanos, the Mexican state-owned producer known as Pemex, will reduce crude oil exports to 435,000 barrels a day in 2022 before phasing out sales to clients abroad the following year, Chief Executive Officer Octavio Romero said…”


Four beekeepers were detained after protesting in front of Chile’s presidential palace in Santiago on Monday, according to local officials, with seven police officers stung during the demonstrations.

Honey production has been hurt by a long-term drought in Chile that has withered the bees’ food sources such as flowers and crops.”


Developers owe $19.8bn in dollar-denominated offshore debt in the first three months of the year as issues that blighted Evergrande spread.

The crisis engulfing the Chinese property sector appears certain to intensify in 2022 as companies face debt repayments in the new year that are double those of the final months of 2021, risking what one China expert calls a systemic crisis for the world’s second-biggest economy.”


A Chinese state-run enterprise will buy into struggling developer China South City Holdings Ltd., as Beijing moves to limit the fallout from a widening debt crisis engulfing the country’s real estate industry

“The effective bailout is the latest move by the authorities to prevent an unprecedented cash crunch in the nation’s property sector from hurting economic growth and threatening financial and social stability.”


Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic FC head coach Chang Woe-ryong was on the verge of tears after describing the year his club faces, unable to pay players and coaching staff, symbolic of a deep financial crisis within the Chinese Super League

Many CSL clubs have buckled under the financial stresses of their corporate owners, losing key players and unable to pay staff.”


From a coup in Beijing to electricity blackouts: my bold predictions for 2022… It’s a cold January in Europe and, with Germany sticking with its decision to shut several nuclear plants, the continent faces electricity blackouts…

“A sharp drop in US equity values prompts the Federal Reserve to suspend talk of interest rate hikes and to resume quantitative easing.”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I will be back tomorrow with a ‘Climate’ thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It really means a lot.