Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

25th May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

“HISTORIC HEAT IN MEXICO CITY 34.4C/94F Hottest day in all climatic history of the historic Tacubaya Observatory.

“The record was broken for the third time in a few weeks in one of the world oldest observatory (nearly 1 century and a half of data).”


“Dozens dead in blistering, weeks-long heat wave in Mexico.

“The extreme heat smothering much of Mexico has killed dozens of people across multiple states over recent weeks, the country’s health ministry said in a report published on Thursday, with hotter temperatures forecast for coming days.”


“Intense hail is recorded in Puebla and causes ice floods in the state.

“The weather in Mexico remains very changeable, because despite the extreme heat that has occurred over the last few days, this Friday, May 24, an intense hailstorm was recorded in Puebla that left columns and streams of ice on the streets of several municipalities of the entity.”


“Drought, lack of water from Mexico shrinking Rio Grande in Zapata, Texas.

“Rocks and debris that would normally be beneath the Rio Grande jut out from what are now wide, green banks on both sides of this international river between Mexico and this rural part of South Texas… the town of Zapata worries it could soon run out of drinking water. Worse, they only have stored a day and a half of emergency water supplies.”


“Texas power demand breaks May record again as prices soar in heat wave.

“Power demand in Texas broke the record for the month of May for a second time this week on Friday as prices soared ahead of the U.S. Memorial Day long weekend with homes and businesses cranking up their air conditioners to escape a heat wave.”


“Tornado causes havoc in Texas as record-breaking heat wave looms.

“The city of Temple, northeast of Austin, declared a state of emergency and opened a shelter for displaced people after a twister caused widespread devastation. Cars were overturned, power lines destroyed and entire buildings toppled.”


“The warm eddy that has been developing in the Gulf of Mexico over the past few weeks is really becoming a major feature.

“This sequence of 4 images shows the latest sea surface temperature and its anomaly as well as the ocean heat content and its anomaly… the area-averaged OHC in the Gulf is the highest it’s been for this time of year.”


“NOAA issues highest-ever early forecast for the coming hurricane season.

““The forecast for named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes is the highest NOAA has ever issued for the May outlook,” Rick Spinrad, the agency’s administrator, said in a news conference. “This season is looking to be an extraordinary one in a number of ways.””


“Heavy snow falling on parts of the Prairies [Canada] may approach a long-standing record for the latest hefty snow this late in the year.

“Friday’s event could approach an all-time record for the most snow we’ve seen this late in the season. Regardless of precise totals, travel will be difficult for areas receiving this sloppy, wet snowfall.”


“A Giant Crater in Siberia Is Belching Up Russia’s Past.

“As the world warms, permafrost is thawing across two-thirds of Russia, threatening cities and towns that were constructed to house miners sent to dig up a subterranean trove of oil, gas, gold and diamonds. Even the roads are buckling, cracking and collapsing, as if in a slow-motion earthquake.”


“Incredible warmth in NORWAY, after the record high temperatures also records of spring warmest nights.

“Some important records of highest minimums: 19.7 [67.5F] Sunndalsøra; 17.9 Tafjord; 17.3 Voll; 16.2 Værnes: 16.2C.”


“Super warm in Scandinavia and Baltic countries, max temperatures are approaching 30C [86F] with also warm nights and mins near 20C ! (much above July average).

“More records yesterday in NORWAY fjords: 24.0 Svinøy; 24.6 Ytterøyane; ESTONIA: 17.6 MIN. Ristna Warmest May night on record.”


“Rescuers had never seen anything like mudslide that killed girl [UK]…

“…on Wednesday, heavy rain pounded the ground and a mudslide described as a “freak force of nature” took the life of ten-year-old Leah Harrison… “Everyone is shocked. We did not see or hear anything when it happened. There is not a problem with mudslides in the area and it is usually totally safe,” one employee said.”


“Thunderstorm and mudslide in Fouchécourt and Venisey [France]: “A flood which lasted 20 minutes”.

“Water entered homes and farms… A violent storm hit a very localized area around Jussey on Friday May 24 around 3 p.m. “In the space of 20 minutes, more than 26 millimeters of water fell. It really came suddenly!””


“Edremit [NW Turkey] was flooded, the roads turned into lakes! Shopkeepers watched the view with coffee.

“Heavy rain along with hail was effective in Edremit district of Balıkesir. As the main roads turned into lakes, tradesmen and citizens had a hard time.”


“The rain that started in Adana [SE Turkey] in the morning lasted for half an hour and paralyzed life.

“While children were swimming on the roads leading to the lake, citizens could not leave their homes… Some citizens could not leave their homes because the streets turned into a lake . Some citizens threw out the water entering their homes with a bucket.”


“ENDLESS RECORD HEAT IN AFRICA – always 47C [116.6F] in Senegal, Niger, Mali, Chad, Libya. 46.5C in ALGERIA.

“Record heat also at high elevations: 39.1 Tamanrasset “the Sahara door” 1377mm asl: Hottest spring day on record. Insane MINIMUM 32.9C at Illizi 542m : monthly record destroyed.”


“Ivorian cocoa farmers ‘barely survive’ while chocolate company profits soar…

“…climate change-induced hotter temperatures and altered rainfall patterns have further affected cocoa harvests. “A few seasons ago, one hectare [2.5 acres] would yield about 600 kilos of cacao. Nowadays, it barely produces 300 kilos,” Akoua says.”


“Climate change may be fuelling a resurgence of piracy across Africa.

“In the churning waters off Nigeria, armed pirates in small skiffs speed towards a cargo ship. They clamber aboard, seizing control of the vessel and its valuable cargo. This isn’t a scene from a swashbuckling film; it’s a stark reality for seafarers in many parts of the world.”


“Africa’s cholera crisis worsens amid extreme weather events…

“Extreme weather events that have relentlessly hit parts of Africa in the last three years have caused crises of hunger and displacement. The storms, floods and drought also leave another deadly threat behind: some of the continent’s worst outbreaks of cholera.”


“Zambians, suffering from climate change-induced drought, lock kitchens, guard fields as theft, prostitution levels spike.

“Devastating levels of hunger following a protracted period of drought have pushed up crime rates in Zambia’s hitherto ‘crime-free’ rural areas. The social condition is unprecedented and a cause for concern, according to observers and victims.”


“Minister Urges Against Child Marriages Amid Drought Crisis in Zimbabwe.

“Families must not marry off young girls to cope with the effects of drought and climate change, stated Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa.”


“The ongoing heatwave continued to bake major cities of Sindh [Pakistan] as maximum temperature surged to 51 degree Celsius [123.8F] mark on Friday.

“According to the Met Office, Mohenjo Daro was the hottest place in the country, where the maximum temperature was 51°C, followed by Jacobabad and Khairpur (50°C).”


“Alert sounded as sweltering heatwave ravages parts of Rajasthan [India], toll 14…

“On Friday, a mother and son succumbed to the heat in Pali district, highlighting the dire conditions residents of the desert state are facing. This tragic news follows a record-breaking temperature of 49 degrees Celsius [120.2F] in Phalodi on Friday.”


“Rotten Bananas in a Scorching India Expose Climate’s Food Cost.

“India wastes more food than almost any other country partly because of spotty refrigeration. Climate change is making the problem worse… as much as 15% of fruits and vegetables are lost after harvesting, despite still-persistent malnutrition and hunger. The spoiled food comes down largely to poor infrastructure.”


“Farmers in India are weary of politicians’ lackluster response to their climate-driven water crisis.

“India’s 120 million farmers share fast-shrinking water resources as groundwater is pumped out faster than rain can replenish it… Drought-prone areas like Marathwada are at the sharp end of the shortage, making life unbearable for many.”


“Six killed as torrential rains batter Sri Lanka

“COLOMBO: Six people were killed in rain-related incidents in Sri Lanka as heavy monsoon showers battered the island nation on Friday. The torrential rains also damaged some 1,346 homes and hampered train services in the country, officials said.”


“Severe Cyclone Remal heads for Bengal coast, Odisha braces for impact.

“Cyclone Remal Latest News: A red alert has been sounded in West Bengal’s coastal districts ahead of the arrival of severe cyclonic storm Remal on Sunday. The cyclone will bring with it extremely heavy rainfall and strong winds and is likely to impact Odisha too.”


“Climate crisis threatens half of world’s mangrove ecosystems…

“Many things threaten mangroves, including deforestation, development, pollution, and dam construction. However, this risk is growing because of rising sea-levels and the increased frequencies of severe storms. Ultimately, due to the climate crisis.”


“Today, 26 stations in China broke the record for the highest temperature in late May, and 5 of them broke the May record.

“China’s heat wave will move to the south tomorrow, with temperatures in the Yangtze River Basin rising significantly.”


“A massive landslide has struck Papua New Guinea’s highlands, local officials and aid groups said, with dozens believed to have been killed [hundreds, they think now]…

““Authorities say the scale of the landslide is ‘massive’, but they still cannot confirm the death toll,” said Al Jazeera’s Jessica Washington… This year has seen intense rainfall and flooding. In March, at least 23 people were killed by a landslide in a nearby province.”


“‘I’ve seen things no one should go through’: the overwhelming scale of loss in Brazil’s floods…

“In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, authorities are struggling to find shelter for half a million displaced people as a health crisis looms… The region has seen floods before, but nothing like these, residents say.”


“Huge contrasts in SOUTH AMERICA. While the Patagonia is having months well below average temperature, the unprecedented heat continues in the tropics.

“Some areas of Brazil this month stand at over +5C above average (exceptional for the tropics) with temperatures still at 38C [100.4F].”


“May 2024 is set to become the 12th consecutive month to break the monthly global temperature record...

““With half the month of data in, it is very likely (>95 percent chance) that May 2024 will be the warmest May on record, extending the streak of record-breaking months to 12 in a row,” Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist working with Berkeley Earth, told ThePrint.”


“Last summer’s temperature rise could be worse than we thought.

“The 19th century, used as a baseline for global heating, may have been a quarter of a degree cooler than previously believed… In an area including the whole of Europe, most of North America and Asia the average temperature last summer was 2.07C hotter than between 1850 and 1900… But it may be that even that measurement may be too optimistic.”


“The global clean water crisis looms large: Study finds water quality is underrepresented in assessments…

“Water quality—despite being crucial for safe water use—remains an underrepresented component of water scarcity assessments. “Previous assessments still predominantly focus on water quantity aspects only,” explains Jones. “Yet, the safe use of water also depends on the quality.””


“The surge in hydroelectric dams is driving massive biodiversity loss…

“…growing demand for renewable energy means there are at least 3,500 hydropower dams under different stages of development around the world, which, when complete, will nearly double the number of large dams on Earth. There are already over a million river barriers in Europe alone…”


“Tracking toward a greenhouse atmosphere and acid oceans.

“…we reaffirm the message that the biodiversity that makes our world so fascinating, beautiful and functional is vanishing unnoticed at an unprecedented rate. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way.”


“Parasite-led sea urchin die-off threatens global coral reefs, study finds.

“The deadly urchin epidemic, if left unattended, will pose a major threat to corals across the oceans, the researchers warned. “This is a growing ecological crisis, threatening the stability of coral reefs on an unprecedented scale,” said TAU researcher Omri Bronstein.”


“Bird flu detected in beef tissue for first time, USDA says, but beef is safe to eat…

“Bird flu has been confirmed in dairy cattle herds in nine states, has been found in milk and has prompted the slaughter of millions of chickens and turkeys. But finding it in beef is a new development for the outbreak, which began in 2022.”


“A second human case of bird flu in America is raising alarm…

“Although there is no evidence yet of human-to-human transmission, America’s public health authorities are on high alert. Half of the national pandemic stockpile of h5n1 vaccine is being made ready to deploy.”


You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back on Monday with an “Economic” thread.

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24th May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Bonds’ Decades-Long Lead Over Gold Vanishes as Debt Worries Grow. Safe haven’ of choice has become gold, Invesco says…

“To Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, the divergence of the two traditional havens signals investors’ heightened angst about skyrocketing government debt…

““The safe haven asset class of choice has become gold rather than Treasuries,” said Hooper. “The bigger theme is just the concern about a lot of debt and concern that the fiscal situation in the United States is unsustainable.”


“A New Trade War Offers No Easy Way Back for Old Global Order.

“The world’s three dominant economies are entering a combative phase that threatens to deepen fractures and challenges decades of free-market orthodoxy as the US uses trade weapons borrowed from China’s playbook, leaving Europe at a critical crossroads.”


“Geopolitical risks top concern for global family offices, UBS survey shows.

“A major geopolitical conflict is the top risk for global family offices in both the near- and medium-term, while North America and Asia Pacific are set to become the top destinations for fresh asset allocations, a recent UBS, opens new tab survey found.”


“For the first time since the financial crisis, investors in top-rated bonds backed by commercial real estate debt are getting hit with losses.

“Market watchers say the fact the pain is reaching all the way up to top-ranked holders, overwhelming safeguards put in place to ensure their full repayment, is a testament to how deeply distressed pockets of the US commercial real estate market have become.”


“Abrupt shutdown of financial middleman Synapse has frozen thousands of Americans’ deposits.

“The bank accounts of tens of thousands of U.S. businesses and consumers have been frozen in the aftermath of the abrupt shutdown and bankruptcy of financial technology company Synapse, which acts as a middleman between financial technology companies and banks.”


“Is US really in a recession? More than half of Americans think so.

“The larger picture suggests that inflation and the rising cost of living—factors not typically considered in the National Bureau of Economic Research recession determinations—are influencing Americans’ views. According to the poll, 70% of Americans cited the cost of living as their biggest economic concern…”


“‘Feel-bad’ effect of cost-of-living crisis sees Irish consumer confidence fall again…

““Chunky increases in food, drink and clothing prices in April and various high-profile price-hike announcements of late are a concern,” he said. “So too, is the renewed upward pressure on fuel costs. All in all, ‘feel-bad’ is still dominant.””


“‘Insidious and unsavoury’: how private debt collectors push vulnerable Australians to breaking point.

“Australia’s cost-of-living crisis has triggered concerns about the activity of private debt collectors among financial counsellors and the consumer watchdog… The National Debt Helpline has “never been busier”, with calls up by 25% in the last financial year…”


“Cost of living crisis drives 3 million cash-strapped Brits to ‘dangerous’ loan sharks, study finds.

“Illegal lending is a risky business, often involving eye-watering interest rates and the threat of physical violence. But almost one in 12 UK adults have turned to an illegal lender over the past three years, a report by financial inclusion organisation Fair4All has shown.”


“[UK] Abortions surge past record 250,000 in a single year, with experts blaming cost of living crisis forcing women to terminate pregnancies ‘for purely financial reasons’…

“This figure is about 17 per cent higher than the previous year, itself another record breaker since the Abortion Act was introduced in the 60s.”


“This may be the last [UK] election before the next world war…

“These are all compelling reasons why the major political parties need to make defence, and how they intend to keep the country safe from future challenges, a key feature in their election manifestos.”


“Finland hawks urge Aland Islands remilitarization…

“The self-governing archipelago stretching across the middle of the Baltic Sea officially belongs to Finland, its residents speak Swedish, and Russia is tasked with enforcing an accord that has banned any military presence on its shores for over a century.”


“Putin has ‘both eyes’ on Gotland, warns Sweden’s army chief…

“Gotland, Sweden’s largest island and comparable in size to the smallest U.S. state of Rhode Island, is strategically located in the middle of the Baltic Sea — between Stockholm and Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.”


“Russia alarmed NATO allies by proposing to unilaterally redraw its border in the Baltic Sea, before withdrawing the bombshell text without offering an explanation.

“The since-deleted draft decree authored by Russia’s defense ministry appeared on the government’s legal portal on Tuesday, and argued that the existing maritime border needed revising…”


“German defence industry says it will need government help to reduce dependence on China.

“The German defence industry depends heavily on Chinese raw materials such as rare earths, with Beijing mining 69% of rare earths globally and processing 86%, according to official figures. China also dominates the mining of other resources crucial for the defence industry…”


“OMV Warns Russia’s Gazprom May Halt Natural Gas Supply to Austria.

“The urgent market message from OMV highlights the vulnerability of Austria’s gas supply, which is still dependent on Russia’s Gazprom. While Gazprom suspended gas supply to many EU countries in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, Austria and several other central European countries continue to receive gas from Russia.”


“The West is tapping Russian money to arm Ukraine. Much more could follow…

“Finance ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies are discussing Friday new ways of using the proceeds from some €260 billion ($282 billion) of Russia’s foreign currency reserves that were frozen by Western countries after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.”


“Russia says EU will feel ‘full measure’ of retaliation over frozen assets plan.

“”We are talking about another attempt to legitimise theft at state level,” Maria Zakharova told reporters, saying the EU had shown it could not be considered a reliable jurisdiction for investors. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday that immobilised Russian assets represent a potential source of support for Ukraine through 2025 and beyond.”


“Russia deployed anti-satellite weapon into space, US warns.

“The United States believes Russia has launched a new weapon into space capable of destroying satellites. Cosmos 2576, deployed via a rocket launched from western Russia last week, has been described by Pentagon officials as “a counter space weapon”.”


“Serbia reels at UN resolution on Srebrenica massacre.

“Decades later, Belgrade is still determined to control the narrative over the slaughter of over 8,000 Bosniaks in 1995 during the Yugoslav war and mold it to its own interests.”


“Police Bank Raid Sets Back Kosovo’s Peace Talks With Serbia…

“Kosovo’s interior minister, Xhelal Svecla, said the operation on May 20 targeted an “illegal financial institution”… For Serb communities in northern Kosovo, it was the final severing of a cash lifeline, particularly for pension and welfare recipients. The bank was the last Serbian lender operating in the Albanian-majority country.”


“China’s second day of war games around Taiwan tests ability to ‘seize power’.

“China’s military carried out a second day of war games around Taiwan on Friday, with drills to test its ability to “seize power” and control key areas in exercises Beijing has said were launched to punish Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te.”


“Philippines, Japan near reciprocal troops deal in move to counter China.

“The pact allowing Manila and Tokyo’s defence forces to train in each other’s territories is expected to be signed next month. Philippine defence secretary Gilberto Teodoro said the two sides would also hold talks about a military intelligence-sharing accord.”


“South Korea, Japan unveil sanctions over alleged Russia-North Korea arms trade.

“South Korea and Japan announced on Friday a series of sanctions applied to individuals, organisations and ships related to Russia’s alleged procurement of weapons from North Korea in breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions.”


“Macron says French troops will stay in New Caledonia ‘as long as necessary’.

“Macron arrived in New Caledonia’s capital Noumea on Thursday, amid continuing protests over voting reforms the Indigenous Kanak people say would dilute their vote and undermine their struggle for independence.”


“Chinese weapons are taking over in Africa…

“China is now the largest arms-supplier to sub-Saharan Africa, dethroning Russia, whose arms exports to the region between 2019-2023 were 44% lower than in the previous four years. “China has been looking at new markets, particularly where Russia is on the retreat,” says Alex Vines of Chatham House…”


“US-led coalition airstrikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah airport…

“…the U.S.-British naval coalition has been carrying out air raids and missile strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen since January. This has led to an escalation, with the Houthis expanding their attacks to include U.S. and British commercial vessels and naval ships.”


“Palestinians fear economic collapse as Israel moves to withhold tax revenue…

“Mr Smotrich said he and other ministers were seeking “harsh punitive measures against the [PA] for its unilateral actions against Israel, including its pursuit of unilateral recognition”. But US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday that the decision “threatens economic stability in the West Bank”.”


“Lebanon’s economic reforms are insufficient to help lift the country out of its economic crisis, the IMF said on Thursday.

“Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, the head of the IMF mission visiting Lebanon, said in a statement that Lebanon’s ongoing refugee crisis, fighting with Israel at its Southern border and the spillover from the war in Gaza are exacerbating an already dire economic situation.”


“‘Suicide drones’ threaten Syrian farmers’ lives and livelihoods…

“Since late 2023, the Syrian regime has been waging a drone war in northwestern Syria… Repeated drone attacks there in recent months have not only struck HTS and Syrian opposition military targets, but also civilians and farmers tending their land, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.”


“Afghanistan’s climate and conflict crises have a dire global cost…

“The country is facing one of the most complex humanitarian crises of its recent history. It is a convergence of the past 45 years of imposed conflicts of geopolitics, endemic poverty, climate change, the global economic recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and chronic foreign aid dependency.”


“‘We have failed economically’: Bhutan turns to ‘Gross National Happiness 2.0’ as crisis deepens…

“…recent discussions of “Gross National Happiness 2.0” by its newly elected Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay suggest that change on some level is underway as the country struggles with an economic crisis that’s left it — as Tobgay has said— “teetering on the brink of collapse.””


“Looming threat: Climate change hits Lao economy.

“During a session on water scarcity management in South-East Asia at the 10th World Water Forum, Sengphasouk Xayavong from the Laos Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment emphasised the dire connection between climate change, water scarcity, and economic progress in Laos.”


“Investor interest in environmental, social, and governance funds has waned as a result of the challenging economic and geopolitical environment…

“”Greenwashing has become a huge problem and the fund management industry, as a whole, has not been clear enough about the challenges of making a measurable, real world impact through secondary market investments…””


“National Grid’s £7bn rights issue sheds light on energy transition costs…

“The trouble for investors, however, is that — at least initially — growth will not be enough to compensate them for all the additional equity they are putting in… Funding the green transition is a laudable ambition but it will not light up returns.”


“The “Energy Transition” Won’t Happen.

“Foundational innovation in cloud technology and artificial intelligence will require more energy than ever before—shattering any illusion that we will restrict supplies.”


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back over the weekend 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!

22nd May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Consumer confidence across richer economies has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, suggesting households are still feeling the pain of the cost of living crisis despite an economic rebound in many countries…

“…consumer confidence remains below its long-term average in most advanced economies — posing a headache for politicians campaigning in elections around the world this year…

“Economists say confidence is low because households are still under pressure despite the growth returning to their economies.”


“Banks’ Exposure to Shadow Lenders Should Have Regulators on Alert… Where Do Shadow Banks Get Their Money? Your Deposits…

“Just about every part of the shadow-banking industry — including pension funds and insurers — has recently been taking on more leverage, often in the form of short-term debt. A lot of that funding is coming from traditional banks.”


“Bond markets are behaving most oddly…

“Governments, ahead of all that of the United States, are borrowing prodigious sums of money, unprecedented ones, and instead of charging a higher rate of interest for pleasure, investors are not only falling over themselves to lend it at lower rates but are apparently feeling good about it.”


“Has the US finally borrowed too much?

“US government debt is high, and it’s getting higher. The US debt-to-GDP ratio is more than 100 per cent of GDP. The Congressional Budget Office thinks the deficit is headed to 6 per cent of GDP, and a lot of that is just the debt interest. Those numbers sound pretty scary, and neither political party seems ready to do anything about it.”


“Red Lobster, which brought affordable shrimp and lobster to middle-class America and grew to become the largest seafood restaurant chain in the world, has filed for bankruptcy.

“The company said it had more than $1 billion in debt and less than $30 million in cash on hand.”


“The sad reality of the cost of living crisis in Australia… One-in-five Australians are working a second job to keep up with rising costs and almost half are afraid they will be let go.

“An employment survey of more than 6000 Australians has found inflation and an employer-driven job market is pushing more workers to take on a second job…”


“Almost every NHS trust across England surveyed has seen health worsen in their area as a result of poverty and the cost of living crisis, research has found.

“The survey, conducted between February and March 2024 by NHS Providers, spoke to leaders at 72 NHS trusts, accounting for a third of all trusts in England.”


“[UK] Families will today be urged to stockpile three days’ worth of food and water to help build national ‘resilience’.

“Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden will advise people to make contingency plans for dealing with potential emergencies such as prolonged power cuts, cyber attacks and floods.”


“German property crisis deepens as foreign investment dries up…

“The country’s economy shrank by 0.3% in both the fourth quarter and over the whole of 2023, making Germany last year’s worst performing major economy on a global scale.”


“Italy’s large deficit, debt could erode investor confidence, IMF warns…

“In its annual Article IV report on the Italian economy, the IMF urged the government to reach a primary surplus – net of debt servicing costs – of around 3% of output to ensure a gradually declining debt-to-GDP ratio.”


“Italian far-right Lega files bill for mandatory military service…

“Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s League party has submitted a bill to the Chamber of Deputies proposing a mandatory six-month period of military or civilian service for all young people aged between 18 and 26…”


“EU data shows rise in employed young people living with parents…

“Eurofound has published a wide-ranging report outlining the challenges facing young people in the EU, including housing, the cost of living crisis, mental health and precarious employment.”


“How EU funds enable North African countries to push back Europe-bound migrants into the desert…

“…migrants are being arrested by the hundreds and deported to desert areas in Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania. Human rights are being violated with the backing of the European Union’s resources.”


“Expulsions in Algeria: 11 migrants died of thirst in desert…

“Expulsions of sub-Saharan migrants by the Algerian authorities continue at a sustained pace: Since January 2024, already 10,000 people have been abandoned in the desert, according to the association.”


“Austria hails controversial ‘Rwanda model’ as trailblazer in combating irregular migration to Europe.

“Karl Nehammer, speaking at a joint press conference in Vienna with Sunak, praised the Rwanda model, which was recently approved by the British parliament and states that those who enter the UK without valid documents will be sent to Rwanda…”


“Strikes in Russia with US weapons would help Kyiv hold line, says Ukrainian national security chief…

“US secretary of state Antony Blinken repeated his administration’s long-held position that it has not “encourage or enabled” strikes with US weapons inside Russia. But, he added, ultimately Ukraine “has to make decisions for itself about how it’s going to conduct this war”.”


“Russia begins tactical nuclear weapon drills near Ukraine border…

“The Russian defence ministry published footage on Tuesday showing trucks carrying missiles to a field where launch systems had been prepared and troops at an airfield readying a bomber to carry a nuclear warhead.”


“Eagles changed their migration routes across Ukraine to avoid fighting and because their habitats were likely damaged or destroyed by war, say scientists.

“The researchers believe the Greater Spotted Eagles skirted around dangers including artillery fire, jets and tanks as well as build-ups of troops.”


“Japan Trade Deficit Shows Weak Yen Is Weighing on Economy…

“Japan’s imports rebounded in April as the weak yen boosted their value, pushing the nation’s trade balance into deficit and highlighting the increasing economic burden stemming from the currency’s plunge.”


“The limits of yen intervention. Unilateral efforts to prop up Japan’s currency are expensive and potentially futile…

“… swollen US yields mean the dollar is set to put pressure on the yen and other currencies until US rates come down. That makes one-sided price interventions pointless.”


“China’s fiscal revenue slipped 2.7% in the first four months of 2024 from a year earlier, after a 2.3% slide in the January-March period, in a further sign of an uneven economic recovery.

“Fiscal expenditure rose 3.5% in the first four months, versus a 2.9% gain in the first quarter, according to finance ministry data released on Monday.”


“Brazil drops rice import tariffs after flooding hits key farming region.

“Some rice farms have been left covered in water by three weeks of deadly flooding in the region, which produces 70 percent of the rice grown in agricultural powerhouse Brazil.”


“Spain withdraws its ambassador to Argentina over President Milei’s insults, escalating crisis.

“A diplomatic crisis between historic allies Spain and Argentina expanded Tuesday as Spain announced the official withdrawal of its ambassador from Buenos Aires and Argentine President Javier Milei lambasted the move as “nonsense typical of an arrogant socialist.””


“Argentina’s Milei Lays Out Blueprint Toward Dollarization…

““The peso will become like a museum piece and when it becomes very rare, what do you think we will do?” Milei said in a keynote speech at a business event in Buenos Aires Tuesday evening. “We will dollarize and that way the peso will disappear.””


“Zimbabwe Asks Miners to Ramp Up Gold Output to Support ZiG Currency…

““This new currency is anchored on gold production, we have to determine ways to increase production,” Winston Chitando said Monday in a meeting with miners in the capital, Harare.”


“Nigeria Raises Interest Rate to a Record High to Aid Its Bruised Naira.

“The central bank has now lifted the key rate by 1,475 basis points since its tightening campaign began in May 2022 to temper inflation that’s accelerated since January 2023 and is now at 33.7%.”


“Niger’s military regime said Tuesday that seven soldiers and several dozen “terrorists” have been killed in fighting in a restive region plagued by insurgents linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS.

“Suspected extremists attacked a military position on Monday in Boni in the western Tillaberi region near Burkina Faso, the defense ministry said.”


“At least 40 villagers shot dead in latest violence in Nigeria’s conflict-hit north…

“Armed men attacked remote villages in northcentral Nigeria… the attack has been… blamed on the fight for control over water and land between nomadic herders and rural farmers.”


“Dozens of civilians have been killed so far this month in intercommunal clashes over land in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a UN humanitarian agency said on Tuesday.

“The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) said aid workers are helping the injured and displaced from the deadly clashes in the northeastern province of Tshopo.”


“Over 140,000 Displaced in Somalia in 4 Months Due to Conflict, Floods.

“More than 140,000 people have been internally displaced in Somalia over the past four months, primarily due to insecurity and conflict, the UNHCR reported on Monday. In April alone, the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network recorded 52,000 new displacements.”


“The United Nations has suspended food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah due to lack of supplies and insecurity.

“It also said no aid trucks have entered the territory in the past two days via a floating pier set up by the US for sea deliveries, and warned that the $320m (£250m) project may fail unless Israel starts providing the conditions humanitarian groups need to operate safely.”


“Torturers deployed as UN peacekeepers.

“Bangladesh and Sri Lanka sent officers implicated in torture and killings as UN peacekeepers, DW, Netra News, and Süddeutsche Zeitung reveal in a new investigation. And the UN is seemingly turning a blind eye.”


“Attacks on health workers in conflict zones at highest level ever – report…

“While the increase was largely driven by new wars in Gaza and Sudan, continuing conflicts such as Ukraine and Myanmar also saw such attacks continue “at a relentless pace”, the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition said.”


“Global economy trending towards fragmentation.

“World leaders are so preoccupied with wars, power struggles, social tensions and political polarization that they appear largely unwilling to invest in preserving global economic integration… Fragmentation also reflects the rapid escalation of climate risks and disasters. Many countries are at risk of destabilization.”


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!

20th May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Free trade is dead… Joe Biden’s new tariffs on Chinese goods mark the decisive rejection of an economic orthodoxy that dominated American policy making for nearly half a century…

“Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much, but for a long time, they agreed on this: the more free trade, the better. Now they agree on the opposite: Free trade has gone too far… That is a very big change from the world we were living in not long ago.”


“China imposes sanctions on Boeing, other US defence firms…

“China’s Commerce Ministry has imposed sanctions on three US companies from importing and exporting activities related to China. The ministry put General Atomics Aeronautical Systems on its unreliable entities list, and said that it sold arms to Taiwan.”


“Soaring [US] debt and deficits causing worry about threats to the economy and markets.

“Government debt that has swelled nearly 50% since the early days of the Covid pandemic is generating elevated levels of worry both on Wall Street and in Washington. The federal IOU is now at $34.5 trillion, or about $11 trillion higher than where it stood in March 2020.”


“Canada is experiencing one of the country’s worst declines in the standard of living in 40 years, according to a study.

“While Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown in recent years, driven by high population growth and labour supply, its GDP per person has fallen dramatically, the study said.”


“Canada’s auto theft crisis is deepening, as insurance claim costs top $1.5 billion for the first time…

“New data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) shows insurance providers handled 49,679 claims for stolen vehicles in 2023, with costs eclipsing $1.54 billion for the year. Overall, the number of claims has spiked 56 per cent since 2018…”


“Australian home lenders accused of ignoring mortgage customers in financial distress…

“Major Australian lenders are not doing enough to support mortgage customers in financial hardship, and in some cases they are ignoring requests for assistance altogether, the corporate regulator has found.”


“‘Clean water is a basic right’: protesters against sewage in seas and rivers gather across the UK…

“Wearing fancy dress and waving inflated plastic poops, they paddled into the bay on surfboards, kayaks and standup paddle boards – as did protesters at more than 30 other events across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland…”


“Thames Water’s biggest investor cuts value of its stake to zero…

“The Canadian pension fund Omers issued a “full writedown” of its 31.7% stake in Thames’s troubled parent company in its annual report published on Friday, signalling that it believes its share is worth nothing.”


“‘I have never in my lifetime seen as much anger’: how Ireland’s migration system was overwhelmed…

“The number of people applying for asylum in Ireland has almost tripled in the past year compared with before Covid, and the Irish government claims that Britain’s plans to deport applicants to Rwanda are behind 80pc of the recent rise.”


“European far-right leaders gather ahead of EU elections…

“International far-right leaders, including France’s Marine Le Pen, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Italy’s Giorgia Meloni and Argentina’s Javier Milei, came together in Madrid to rail against socialism and “massive illegal migration” three weeks before hard-right parties are expected to see a surge in support in June’s European elections.”


“U.S. and Europe Move Closer to Using Russian Assets to Help Ukraine…

“Finance ministers from the Group of 7 will be meeting in Italy later this week in hopes of finalizing a plan that they can deliver to heads of state ahead of the group’s leaders meeting next month.”


“Poland announces £2bn border defence project ‘to keep out Russia’…

“Donald Tusk, the prime minister, used the 80th anniversary of the 1944 allied victory at Monte Cassino, in which Polish troops played a key role, to unveil the scheme, dubbed “East Shield”.”


“Finland to present plan to push back migrants on Russian border.

“Finland will propose a law next week allowing border agents to block asylum seekers trying to enter from Russia, the prime minister said on Sunday, a decision that could cause Helsinki to temporarily breach its international commitments.”


“Let Ukraine use Western weapons in Crimea, Shapps urges.

“The UK Defence Secretary has urged Germany and other allies to give Volodymyr Zelensky permission to use their weapons to strike targets in Crimea. Grant Shapps did not confirm whether the UK would allow weapons supplied to Ukraine to be used against targets in Russia.”


“Nato training soldiers in Ukraine does not escalate war, says Estonian PM.

“Nato allies should not fear that sending troops to Ukraine to train its soldiers would risk dragging the military alliance into war with Russia, Estonia’s prime minister has said.”


“West ‘playing with fire’ : Moscow.

“The West is risking further escalation by arming Ukraine and encouraging it to strike Russian territory, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.”


“Cuba laments collapse of iconic sugar industry. Cuba now imports sugar to meet domestic demand – once unthinkable…

“Spiralling inflation, shortages of basic goods and the decades-long US economic embargo have made for a dire economic outlook across the board in Cuba. But things are particularly bleak in the sugar trade.”


“Venezuela has moved “substantial quantities of [military] personnel and equipment to the border with Guyana amid its territorial dispute over the Essequibo region.

“The update comes from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., which this week released a report on the latest developments in the Venezuela-Guyana dispute.”


“US troops to leave Niger by mid-September…

“In March, Niger announced the end of its military agreement with the US. Military spokesperson Col Amadou Abdramane accused the US of raising objections about the allies that Niger had chosen. Col Abdramane condemned the US for its “condescending attitude” and “threat of reprisals”.”


“At least three U.S. citizens – accused of being CIA agents – are arrested in Congo after failed coup…

“Video shows what is thought to be two of the men groveling for mercy on the ground as they were surrounded by government forces following a shootout in the capital Kinshasa on Sunday.”


“Tunisians protest as number of stranded migrants grows.

“Anti-migrant anger is mounting in impoverished towns like Jebeniana along the Tunisian coastline that have emerged as a launchpad for thousands of people hoping to reach Europe by boat.”


“Lebanon’s Far-Right ‘Soldiers of God’ Are Stirring Sectarian Tensions…

“When Soldiers of God goes out on patrol, it claims to do so in defence of Lebanon’s Christian lands against the “Islamist peril”, as well as “criminals” and “outsiders”… In Lebanon, these “others” often refer to Syrian refugees.”


“Smotrich: If Hezbollah doesn’t withdraw from border, IDF must take southern Lebanon.

“Israel should not shy away from launching a military takeover of southern Lebanon if Hezbollah does not withdraw from the border, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich declared Sunday, becoming the latest minister to publicly challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…”


“Israel war cabinet minister vows to quit if there is no post-war plan for Gaza.

“Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz has threatened to resign unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sets out a post-war plan for the Gaza Strip. Mr Gantz set an 8 June deadline for a plan to achieve six “strategic goals”…”


“UN humanitarian chief delivers ‘apocalyptic’ warning over Gaza aid…

““If fuel runs out, aid doesn’t get to the people where they need it. That famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming any more. It will be present,” the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, told AFP…”


“Georgia’s central bank spends $60 mln to support lari amid political crisis…

“Georgia has been mired in a political crisis over a bill on “foreign agents” passed by parliament on Tuesday, which critics say is authoritarian and Kremlin-inspired. A senior U.S. diplomat suggested that day that Washington might sanction some Georgian officials if it ultimately becomes law.”


“The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash has dealt a shock blow to the Islamic regime and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…

“Raisi had been expected to run for a second term in elections next year. Under the constitution, a vote now has to be held within 50 days.”


“Kyrgyz Security Forces Cordon Off Parts Of Bishkek Amid Violence…

“The Kyrgyz government said 28 people were injured, including three foreigners, in an incident that took place in Bishkek on the night of May 17-18. The violence was apparently triggered by a video of a fight in the courtyard of a Bishkek hostel involving “foreigners”…”


“Islamic State claims responsibility for gun attack that killed three Spanish tourists in Afghanistan.

“The terror group’s affiliate in Afghanistan is a major rival of the country’s Taliban government, and earlier claimed responsibility for an attack on Chinese citizens in Kabul in 2022.”


“Myanmar’s Rakhine state engulfed by conflict as rebels claim victory…

“Intense fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine state between the military regime and the Arakan Army (AA) ethnic armed group has dealt a further setback to the country’s military rulers. It has also fueled concerns about mass displacement and the destruction of dwellings amid spiraling communal tensions between ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya.”


“The Pacific territory of New Caledonia is “under siege”, the mayor of its capital has said, following days of rioting that has left six people dead.

“Nouméa mayor Sonia Lagarde said numerous public buildings on the archipelago had been set on fire and that, despite the arrival of hundreds of police reinforcements, the situation was “far from getting back to calm”.”


“Behind New Caledonia’s Riots, a Fight Over Vast Reserves of Nickel…

“Before riots swept New Caledonia last week, President Emmanuel Macron aimed to put the remote territory—and its massive reserves of nickel—at the center of France’s push to secure raw materials for the clean-energy transition… Those plans are colliding with a hard-line local political movement that seeks independence from France and is refusing to go along.”


“Gold price jumps to a record high, rising geopolitical tensions in focus…

“The gold price (XAU/USD) gains momentum on Monday. The yellow metal hit a record high near $2,450 during the European session on Monday amid renewed hopes for interest rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve (Fed) and rising geopolitical tensions…”


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!

17th May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“The era of globalisation is about to come screeching to a halt. The engine of prosperity that has propelled growth since the Cold War is on its way out…

“It is not in anybody’s interests to see a return to the sort of blanket protectionism ushered in by Smoot-Hawley. That particular piece of US legislation cast a long shadow over the 1930’s by prolonging the effects of the Great Depression, torpedoing world trade, and even complicating international efforts to contain Hitler. What a grim legacy.”


“Xi, Putin hail ties as ‘stabilising’ force in chaotic world…

“”China is ready to work with Russia to… uphold fairness and justice in the world,” Xi said… Putin, in turn, told Xi the two countries’ relations were “stabilising factors in the international arena”… “Together, we uphold the principles of justice and a democratic world order that reflects multipolar realities and is based on international law,” he added.”


“China sold a record amount of Treasury and US agency bonds in the first quarter, highlighting the Asian nation’s move to diversify away from American assets as trade tensions persist.

“Beijing offloaded a total of $53.3 billion of Treasuries and agency bonds combined in the first quarter.”


“U.S. defense spending and military aid costs are adding up.

“President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion U.S. military aid package in April 2024, allocating funding to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region. This is on top of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024, which authorized military spending of a record $886 billion.”


“House passes Republican-backed bill designed to pressure Biden on delivering weapons to Israel…

“The Republican-led House passed a bill Thursday that would restrict the president’s ability to withhold weapons transfers to Israel in a vote that drew attention to the divided Democratic caucus on the war in Gaza.”


“Dow Jones hits record milestone as US bets on faster rate cuts.

“The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record 40,000 this afternoon, seen as a major milestone for the index which tracks 30 of America’s top companies… The index surpassed its previous record high of 39,935.04, hit on Wednesday, and has recovered nearly 40pc from its October 2022 lows.”


“Fed Officials Suggest Interest Rates Should Stay High for Longer…

“Several Federal Reserve officials said the central bank should keep borrowing costs high for longer as policymakers await more evidence inflation is easing, suggesting they’re not in a rush to cut interest rates.”


“The U.S. just took its biggest step yet to end coal mining…

“In one of its biggest steps yet to keep fossil fuels in the ground, the Biden administration announced Thursday that it will end new coal leasing in the Powder River Basin, which produces nearly half the coal in the United States.”


“Chevron to sell UK North Sea assets as it exits ageing oil basin.

“The US oil major said the decision to leave the North Sea was not related to the UK tax regime… Instead, Chevron said it had reviewed its global portfolio “to assess whether assets are strategic and competitive for future capital”.”


“Nuclear waste to be stored 650ft under the English countryside…

“The facility, which has yet to be allocated a site, will hold some of the 5m tonnes of waste that was generated by nuclear power stations over the past seven decades… The proposals come amid fears Britain’s stockpile of nuclear waste will grow in the coming decades with nowhere to put it.”


“As countries toughen anti-gay laws, ‘rainbow refugees’ seek asylum in Europe.

“Ella Anthony knew it was time to leave her native Nigeria when she escaped an abusive, forced marriage only to face angry relatives who threatened to turn her in to police because she was gay.”


“Fifteen countries ask Brussels to explore creating migrant centers outside the EU.

“The group, led by Denmark, supports Italy’s controversial model based on sending asylum seekers to Albania. The petition comes shortly before European elections at a time when immigration has become a hot button issue.”


“The Netherlands veers sharply to the right with a new government dominated by party of Geert Wilders…

“With hard-right and populist parties now part of or leading a half dozen governments in the 27-nation European Union, they appear positioned to make gains in the bloc’s June 6-9 election.”


“Europe’s Youth Are Fueling the Far Right.

“Evidence is mounting that Europe’s far right will score better than ever before in the upcoming European Parliament elections on June 6 to June 9—and that the continent’s young voters will fuel its ascent.”


“Geopolitical tensions and policy uncertainty in a year featuring many elections worldwide present risks to euro area financial stability, the European Central Bank (ECB) warned Thursday…

“Luis de Guindos warned the outlook remained “fragile”. “Geopolitical tensions are a significant source of risk for not only euro area financial stability but also global financial stability,” he said.”


“EU under pressure after US levies tariffs on Chinese goods. Brussels scrambles to avoid being dragged into trade war…

“The bloc remains split on taking more muscular action against Chinese companies, also for fear of possible retaliation against European businesses.”


“Fico shooting not only exposes poisonous politics but Slovakia’s fractured zeitgeist… The country is at war with itself…

“The assassination attempt on Robert Fico, Slovakia’s prime minister, is unprecedented in the country’s history. But the attack, which the premier is likely to survive, speaks to an increasingly poisonous atmosphere in the central European nation of 5.5 million people.”


“As Russia Advances, NATO Considers Sending Trainers Into Ukraine.

“NATO allies are inching closer to sending troops into Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces, a move that would be another blurring of a previous red line and could draw the United States and Europe more directly into the war.”


“Washington no longer rules out US weapons being used to strike Russian soil.

“Ukraine had been waiting for this green light for months. In a visit to Kyiv on Wednesday, May 15, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted that Ukrainian forces could strike Russian territory with weapons supplied by the US, for the first time since the Russian invasion in 2022.”


“Putin ally says Ukraine risks dragging the West into a major war with Russia…

“Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma, …said that Ukrainian lawmakers were trying to convince the US to allow Kyiv to use U.S.-supplied weapons to strike Russian territory. “This path leads to a tragedy that can affect all of humanity… Western politicians need to realise their responsibility and do everything to avoid bringing the situation to a global catastrophe.”


“Japan protests after China, Russia call released water “contaminated”.

“Japan has lodged protests with China and Russia after they referred to treated water released from the crippled Fukushima power plant as “nuclear-contaminated” in a statement issued after their summit in Beijing the previous day.”


“Japan’s economy suffered a worse-than-expected contraction in the first quarter, official data showed Thursday, in further bad news for its unpopular government.

“Gross domestic product in the world’s number four economy shrank by 0.5 percent against market expectations of a drop of only 0.3 percent.”


“Philippine ships deployed to watch activists sail to disputed Scarborough Shoal fishing area as China tensions grow.

“Three coastguard patrol ships, a plane and a navy vessel have been deployed by the Philippines to ensure the safety of around 100 activists and fishermen heading to a disputed fishing area in the South China Sea.”


“North Korea fires ballistic missile, South Korea’s military says…

“Earlier on Friday, the powerful sister of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said its tactical rockets were intended solely as a deterrent against South Korean military aggression, while denying that Pyongyang was exporting the weapons.”


“US announces new sanctions over North Korea-Russia arms transfers.

“The United States announced sanctions on Thursday on two Russian individuals and three Russian companies for facilitating arms transfers between Russia and North Korea, including ballistic missiles for use in Ukraine.”


“North Koreans Worked Remotely for US Firms to Fund Missiles…

“Posing as Americans, North Korean technology workers secured remote work contracts with hundreds of US companies as part of a scheme to help fund Pyongyang’s illicit nuclear weapons and missile programs, the US government said on Thursday.”


“Hezbollah introduces new weapons and tactics against Israel as war in Gaza drags on…

“Hezbollah has regularly fired missiles across the border with Israel over the past seven months, but the one on Thursday appears to have been the first successful missile airstrike it has launched from within Israeli airspace.”


“How the wheels came off Israel’s Gaza invasion. Hamas is resurgent in places the IDF captured months ago.

“When the Israel Defense Forces announced Hamas had been “dismantled” in northern Gaza, the troops had good reason to believe that their job was done… [but] despite the destruction, Hamas has mounted a resurgence in the area, bombarding Israel with rocket fire from the ruins of the city.”


“Japan, on Wednesday, reacted to US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s call for continued arms support to Israel, referencing the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Japanese Foreign Minister, Kamikawa Yoko, expressed her disapproval of Senator Graham’s comparison made over the weekend, regarding the obligation of Japan to supply weapons to Israel.”


“Spain denies port of call to ship carrying arms to Israel…

““This will be a consistent policy with any ship carrying arms to Israel that wants to call at Spanish ports. The foreign ministry will systematically reject such stopovers for one obvious reason: the Middle East does not need more weapons, it needs more peace.” [Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares].


“Yemeni security forces deploy in Aden as anger simmers over lengthy power outages.

“Yemeni authorities have deployed security forces and armored vehicles across the port city of Aden, in preparation for the latest in a series of protests over hours-long electricity outages caused by a shortage of fuel for power stations.”


“Burst Oil Pipeline Risks South Sudan Violence, Economic Meltdown…

“A broken pipeline that exports about two-thirds of South Sudan’s crude production could heighten the risk of renewed fighting in the world’s newest nation if not repaired urgently, according to the International Crisis Group.”


“Sudan faces ‘inferno of violence’ and risk of famine, UN warns.

“Residents of conflict-hit Sudan are “trapped in an inferno of brutal violence” and increasingly at risk of famine due to the rainy season and blocked aid, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the country warned Wednesday.”


“‘The gangs are in charge’: Haiti’s outgunned police fight a desperate rear defence…

“Nine hours and countless bullets after gunmen began bombarding Stanley’s police station in Port-au-Prince, the twentysomething officer started fearing he would not make it out alive… “If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m dead,” he wrote…”


“Haiti’s crisis rises to the forefront of elections in neighboring Dominican Republic…

“As soaring violence and political turmoil grip neighboring Haiti, the Dominican Republic will hold elections Sunday that have been defined by calls for more crackdowns on migrants and finishing a border wall dividing the countries.”


“New Caledonia riots: parts of territory ‘out of state control’, French representative says.

“Tensions remained high in Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, on Friday after days of riots as the French government’s representative said areas of the Pacific territory have “escaped” state control.”


“Construction Industry Braces for Impact as Copper Prices Rise…

“Recent increases copper prices could pose a significant challenge for the U.S. construction industry and the copper market. The primary drivers behind the escalating prices is projected supply-demand imbalances and the recent LME and CME ban on Russian copper.”


“The US government is open to easing sanctions on billionaire, Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler if he gives up his business operations and assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo…

“The mines are rich in copper and cobalt… Gertler was sanctioned in 2017 by the U.S. Treasury for “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in Congo…”


“‘Blatantly failing’: Human rights abuses ‘widespread’ in transition metals mining sector, report warns…

“As the rapid deployment of clean energy technologies fuels demand for their components, human rights abuses linked to the supply of critical minerals show no sign of letting up.”


“Mining volcanic brine: a new era of mining could be about to erupt…

“Based at the Oxford Martin School, Royal Society Research Professor Jon Blundy is confident that the answer to mining’s problems is bubbling somewhere between two and four kilometres beneath the earth’s surface – specifically, under volcanoes.”


“Asteroid mining: Is the insurance industry ready for space?

““We have a couple of submissions in from companies that are looking at asteroid mining,” said Joseph Ziolkowski (pictured above). “It sounds crazy but there has been a massive amount of investment into companies that are building technology to mine asteroids.”


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!

15th May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Why the world won’t respond to shocks as it did before.

“A fragmenting world economy will not react to the more frequent violent shocks in the same ways it did before… In the absence of common policy commitments and external sources of convergence, the world will be subject to a much wider range of outcomes, on top of potentially more frequent and violent shocks.”


“BRICS, the West and the rest – a fractured world…

“BRICS’ main motive for de-dollarizing the world is the desire to circumvent the threat of trade sanctions and the seizure of foreign assets by Western governments… Recent higher interest rates in the West have provided another incentive.”


“Putin to visit China as Beijing plays key role in supporting Russia…

“The state visit to Beijing, the 43rd time Putin will have met President Xi Jinping, comes as China is playing a growing role in supporting the Russian economy following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.”


“The White House’s Green Trade War Is Just Getting Started.

“The desire to disentangle the US from dependency on China is bipartisan. Biden’s clean tech tariffs are only one piece of the puzzle… Economists and environmentalists alike are aghast. Reshoring clean tech supply chains cannot help but be inflationary, regardless of the IRA’s branding.”


“Biden signs bill banning imports of Russian uranium for nuclear fuel.

“Russia controls nearly half of the world’s supply of enriched uranium, according to the Department of Energy, and provides about one quarter of the U.S.’s enriched uranium… The ban… also unlocks $2.72 billion in federal funding to expand the country’s uranium industry.”


“US imposes sanctions after aborted sale of Russian tycoon stake.

“The U.S. Treasury has sanctioned a web of Russian companies it said were used to disguise ownership of a $1.6 billion industrial stake controlled by a Russian tycoon, warning Western companies to steer clear of such deals.”


“Joe Biden orders Chinese cryptominer to sell land near US military base.

“The White House has ordered a Chinese group that runs a crypto-mining operation in Wyoming to sell the land where it keeps its servers because the facility is next to a base that houses US nuclear ballistic missiles.”


“Fed’s Jay Powell hints interest rates will stay high as US inflation lingers. US inflation has remained higher than forecast for much of this year, denting investors’ hopes that the Fed would cut rates multiple times before the end of 2024.”


“A debt crisis at the [US] economy’s edge…

“…households who are on the lower end of the income spectrum and carry floating rate debt appear to be in real trouble. This is showing up in both delinquency statistics and the earnings of companies that serve the working class and poor.”


“More Americans are maxing out their credit cards and falling behind on payments…

“A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released Tuesday reveals that the portion of national credit card debt held by borrowers who have maxed out their cards is nearing pre-COVID 19 levels. And what’s more, those maxed-out borrowers are going into delinquency at a much higher rate than they were before the pandemic.”


“US officials worry the next recession could be intensified by a cascading series of failures in the mortgage industry caused by crashing home prices, frozen financial markets and soaring delinquencies.

“The US Financial Stability Oversight Council, a SWAT team of financial regulators formed after the 2008 crisis, sounded the alarm on Friday about… nonbank mortgage companies.”


“Nuclear workers have voted to strike over pay. The GMB union said around 500 staff at the Urenco nuclear site in Capenhurst, Cheshire [UK], backed industrial action after talks broke down.

“Albie McGuigan, GMB Organiser, said workers were “understandably angry”, and that staff were now five months beyond the date they should have had a pay rise.”


“Plans for a large nuclear power station on the Welsh island of Anglesey risk being derailed by government rules that will add an estimated £20bn to the national debt, insiders have warned…

“…one senior industry source warned there were concerns about the willingness of ministers to sign off on such a large project ahead of the general election…”


“EU rebuffs UK attempt to continue collaborating on nuclear fusion experiment…

“Brussels has told London it will be locked out of the Iter project, based in France, within months unless it affiliates to Euratom, which it quit when it left the bloc, according to people familiar with the matter.”


“Brexit border IT outages delay import of perishable items to UK by up to 20 hours…

“Businesses have described the government’s new border control checks as a “disaster” after IT outages led to lorries carrying meat, cheese and cut flowers being held for long periods, reducing the shelf life of their goods and prompting retailers to reject some orders.”


“A record 3.1 million emergency food parcels have been handed out in just a year, according to a charity [UK].

“The Trussell Trust says 3,121,404 were distributed by its network of 1,300 food banks in the year to the end of March. Some 1,144,096 were for children and nearly two million for adults. The total is nearly double that of five years ago.


“Interest rates: the ugly dilemma facing Europe’s central banks – and why it’s a mistake to cut too soon.

“Central banks in Europe are discovering an old dilemma: when they lower interest rates because inflation is slowing down, it’s likely to weaken their currencies. This in turn may delay the fall in inflation towards their canonical 2% target.”


“Russia’s War on Ukraine Is Raising Borrowing Costs for EU’s East.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has hit sovereign borrowing costs for the EU’s 10 eastern members, raising the cost by around half a percentage point since the war began, according to an analysis by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.”


“Intensifying war increasing threat to Ukraine economy, EBRD warns.

“Ukraine’s war-torn economy faces a renewed threat as Russia’s intensifying war takes its toll on power plants and forces Kyiv to send key workers to the frontline, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has warned.”


“Vladimir Putin is preparing for a forever war.

“Replacing Sergei Shoigu with Andrei Belousov is a warning to the West: Russia isn’t backing down… The new minister of defence was reportedly involved in a report drawn up by the security council last year on how to bring Russia’s economy onto a war-time footing. While he has no military experience himself, he knows plenty about how to run a tight economic ship.”


“Russia ready if West wants to fight for Ukraine, Lavrov says.

“If the West wants to fight for Ukraine on the battlefield, Russia is prepared for it, acting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Monday. “It’s their right – if they want it to be on the battlefield, it will be on the battlefield,” state-run news agency RIA cited Lavrov as saying.”


“To prepare for a Third World War, is conscription really the answer that Sweden and Germany think it is?

“…officials are in the final stages of discussions with German defence minister Boris Pistorius expected to go public with official plans [for conscription] next month… ““As the pre-war generation, we must similarly prepare,” said Gen Sanders. “That is a whole-of-nation undertaking.””


“How Europe and Britain are getting ready for ‘WWIII’…

“…many countries are reversing decades of peacetime policy to reignite their war engines. Others never stopped and are only consolidating efforts to ensure they are fit for conflict. But there is little doubt that all Europe is now scrambling to prepare in anticipation of what may lie over the horizon.”


“US warns Georgia not to side with Moscow against the west.

“In comments that appeared to signal a conviction in the US that the Georgian government was once again aligning with Russia, Washington’s assistant secretary of state, Jim O’Brien suggested funding could soon be pulled.”


“Reports on China’s Bad Lending Data Disappear on Social Media…

“China has increasingly hidden negative data over the past few years, making it harder for investors to accurately judge what is happening in the economy. The nation’s exchanges are set to switch off a live feed of foreign money flows into stocks as early as Monday, the latest example of closely-watched information being removed.”


“China is considering a plan for local governments nationwide to buy millions of unsold homes… after a meeting of leaders of the ruling Communist Party called for efforts to clear mounting housing inventory.

“The State Council is gathering feedback on the preliminary plan from various provinces and government bodies, the report added, citing people familiar with the matter.”


“Four dead in protests against flour and energy prices [Pakistan].

“Four people have died and 100 others were left wounded after violent clashes with authorities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Thousands of people have been on the streets since Friday to protest rising prices of flour and electricity.”


“ISIS resurgence in Iraq sees fresh attacks, clashes after commander killed…

“The Islamic State (ISIS) is suspected of killing several Iraqi soldiers, including a commander, on Monday, prompting retaliatory operations by the security forces as the group continues to pose a threat in the country.”


“Jordan foils arms plot as kingdom caught in Iran-Israel shadow war…

“Jordan has foiled a suspected Iranian-led plot to smuggle weapons into the U.S.-allied kingdom to help opponents of the ruling monarchy carry out acts of sabotage, according to two Jordanian sources with knowledge of the matter.”


“Biden advances $1 billion in arms for Israel amid Rafah tensions…

“The Biden administration informally notified congressional committees Tuesday that it planned to move forward with more than $1 billion in weapons deals for Israel, said U.S. officials familiar with the matter, a major transfer of lethal aid…”


“US encouraging Arab states to join multinational postwar force in Gaza…

“The US has been discussing the plans with Arab states. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco are considering the initiative, but President Joe Biden is not willing to deploy American troops into Gaza, western and Arab officials said.”


“Sudan civil war: 200 settlements hit by fires since start of conflict as scorched earth tactics intensify…

“The new data, verified by the Centre for Information Resilience (CIR), reveals that last month was the worst on record for the number of fires being used as a weapon of war.”


“Niger’s prime minister blames US for rupture of military pact…

“Zeine said US officials had attempted to dictate which countries Niger could align with, had failed to justify the presence of US troops in the country while “doing nothing” to counter an Islamist insurgency in the region.”


“In a city cut off from the world, guns and drugs keep flowing… On the rare days that the hills surrounding Port-au-Prince [Haiti] fall silent, people notice…

““Haiti doesn’t produce guns and ammunition, yet the gang members don’t seem to have any trouble accessing those things,” says Pierre Esperance, executive director of Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network.”


“‘The streets are on fire’: Violent riots engulf French Pacific island as airport closed.

“Authorities in the French-ruled Pacific island of New Caledonia sent more police onto the streets, shut the international airport and imposed a curfew in the capital after protests over the territory’s voting system turned violent.”


“Can banks fix the climate crisis? The evidence so far is lukewarm…

“[A report] makes sobering reading, finding “no evidence” (net zero evidence, if you will) that signatory banks have stopped lending to un-green borrowers. “Net zero banks neither reduce credit supply to the sectors they target for decarbonisation nor do they increase financing for renewables projects,” the paper states in its rather bracing summary.”


“‘Magical thinking’: hopes for sustainable jet fuel not realistic, report finds…

“There is currently “no realistic or scalable alternative” to standard kerosene-based jet fuels, and touted “sustainable aviation fuels” are well off track to replace them in a timeframe needed to avert dangerous climate change, despite public subsidies, the report by the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive thinktank, found.”


“Like many other commodities, tea is increasing in price. This is due to instability: instability in the climate and instability in the world of geopolitics…

“Like many crops​, tea requires very specific conditions to grow, and a disruption of these conditions results in a disruption of their growth.”


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

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