26th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The head of the World Bank has warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could cause a global recession as the price of food, energy and fertiliser jump.

David Malpass told a US business event on Wednesday that it is difficult to “see how we avoid a recession”. He also said a series of coronavirus lockdowns in China are adding to concerns about a slowdown.

“His comments are the latest warning over the rising risk that the world economy may be set to contract.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-61575387


Another Month Closer To Global Recession…

“The whole range of global data indicates exactly what markets have been pricing the entire year, since the beginning of Euro$ #5. The more time passes, the more most everything continues in this – not the inflationary – direction. That direction is firmly toward recession…”

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4514299-another-month-closer-global-recession


Global Price Shock ‘Magnitudes’ Worse Than ’70s, Says Stiglitz.

“Two leading US economists have sounded warnings over the size of the current inflation shock as they attended the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. The runup in prices is “an order of magnitude worse” than the 1970s, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz told Bloomberg in the Swiss ski resort.”

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/global-price-shock-magnitudes-worse-than-70s-says-stiglitz


[Bellwether] Copper drops for the third consecutive day as recession fears escalate…

“Copper remains on the back foot around weekly low, prints three-day downtrend. China’s covid conditions, geopolitical headlines raise concerns over global economic downturn.”

https://www.fxstreet.com/news/copper-drops-for-the-third-consecutive-day-as-recession-fears-escalate-202205260530


The Next Crisis to Hit Markets May Be About Liquidity.

“…liquidity has been slowly draining from various markets to the point where the Federal Reserve this month warned that it threatens financial stability. Investors who ignore this warning do so at their own peril.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-05-24/the-next-crisis-to-hit-markets-may-be-about-liquidity


Central banks hiking everywhere…

“Being late as a central bank means raising rates more aggressively and higher than would otherwise have needed to be the case. Often just as as the nation is entering a slow-down created by the runaway inflation the bank allowed in the first place.”

https://www.fxstreet.com/analysis/central-banks-hiking-everywhere-202205260456


Davos elites fear ‘Volcker Moment’ as central banks draw their swords… Experts warn the Fed is ready to raise rates as high as 5pc – even if it results in a recession…

“There are mounting worries that the Fed will ultimately be forced to dish out the ‘Volcker’ medicine of the late 1970s. It has already begun to engineer a deliberate and (hopefully) controlled crash in equity and asset prices.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/25/davos-elites-fear-volcker-moment-central-banks-draw-swords/


Rising Rates Are Battering Mortgage Lenders [US].

“Mortgage lenders are scrambling to survive a sharp drop-off in the number of homeowners refinancing their loans, with demand drying up as interest rates rise… the drop-off in refinancing activity is a giant blow because refinancings made up the bulk of U.S. mortgage originations throughout the pandemic.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-rates-are-battering-mortgage-lenders-11653471002


Natural Gas Tops $9 in US as Supply Crunch Concerns Mount.

“Natural gas briefly surged above $9 per million British thermal units in the US for the first time since 2008, extending a breakneck rally as fears of a supply crunch intensified, before paring gains into close.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-25/natural-gas-tops-9-in-the-us-as-supply-crunch-concerns-mount


UK homeowners are spending more to live in their house than at any point in the last 15 years, with mortgage repayments equalling almost 33 per cent of monthly income.

“The cost of living crisis and increase in interest rates has put renewed pressure on property-owners, with house prices soaring and the cost of repayments nearing the 2008 financial crash levels.”

https://www.cityam.com/average-mortgage-repayments-approaching-33-per-cent-of-monthly-income-akin-to-2008-financial-crash-levels/


The UK economy is “grinding to a halt” as a tightening cost of living squeeze sends a chill through private sector activity, reveals a closely watched survey.

“Households are cutting spending in response to rampant inflation eroding their budgets, weighing heavily on the UK’s services sector, the country’s economic engine.”

https://www.cityam.com/uk-economy-is-grinding-to-a-halt-amid-cost-of-living-crisis/


Britain Faces Another Energy Shock as Bills Set to Surge 42%…

“British consumers will face another sharp jump in their power and gas bills in October, just as the price of about everything else is surging too… The sharp jump will pile even more pressure on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to help consumers…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-24/uk-regulator-expects-energy-price-cap-to-jump-42-in-october


ECB warns a house price correction is looming as interest rates rise…

“A reversal in the region’s housing markets was one of the main risks identified by the ECB’s twice-yearly financial stability review(opens a new window), which also warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine meant more companies were likely to default due to lower growth, higher inflation and rising borrowing costs.”

https://www.ft.com/content/4ca7ff91-35bc-428e-8690-e3617afab47c


Harsh winter may compel Europe to ration gas, warns International Energy Agency…

“”I’m afraid that I cannot exclude the risk this winter that we are facing a rationing of gas,” Mr Birol said during an interview at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland. “I’m advising several European governments to prepare a contingency plan.””

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/energy-and-resources/harsh-winter-may-compel-europe-to-ration-gas-warns-international-energy-agency-1.4887331


Europe’s primary aluminium smelters are continuing to curtail production in the face of soaring energy costs.

“The region’s output of the light metal has fallen by an annualised 550,000 tonnes over the last year with the slide still accelerating. Aluminium smelting is an energy-intensive business and Europe’s smelters were struggling with elevated power pricing even before Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/europes-aluminium-output-slides-energy-crunch-bites-2022-05-24/


China’s Economic Slump Shows No Signs of Bottoming Out in May…

“China’s economy remained deep in a slump in May as lockdowns continued to weigh on activity, and as the threat of omicron and expanded restrictions dampened sentiment… Bloomberg’s aggregate index of eight early indicators for this month… stayed below the mark that separates improving from deteriorating conditions for a second straight month.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-26/china-s-economic-slump-shows-no-signs-of-bottoming-out-in-may


100,000 Chinese officials attend emergency meeting to revive Covid-hit economy.

“China’s cabinet held an emergency meeting with more than 100,000 participants on Wednesday, according to state media, as top leaders urged new measures to stabilize an economy battered by the country’s stringent Covid-19 restrictions.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/26/business/china-state-council-economic-meeting-intl-hnk/index.html


China Protesters Demand Back Billions Invested in Suspected Scam…

“Hundreds of people took to the streets of the largest city in China’s Henan province this week, calling on authorities to ensure the return of tens of billions of yuan invested in what could be one of the nation’s largest financial scams.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-25/china-protesters-demand-back-billions-invested-in-suspected-scam


Food protectionism is on the rise in the developing world as governments try to safeguard local supplies, and the effects are threatening to spill over into richer economies.

“Countries are restricting exports to cope with high prices that have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Malaysia just announced a ban on chicken exports, causing consternation in Singapore, which gets a third of its supplies from there. India has moved to curb wheat and sugar shipments…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-24/rising-global-food-protectionism-risks-worsening-inflation-woes


Fuel Shortage in Laos Sees People Asked Not to Travel.

“The Laos government has called on residents to avoid unnecessary travel amid fuel shortages, citing the need to prioritize agriculture and other essential industries, according to local reports. Local farmers have complained that they are unable to plow their fields or irrigate their crops…”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/fuel-shortage-in-laos-sees-people-asked-not-to-travel_4485747.html


They could not save their baby’: the human cost of Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis…

““The depressing memory for the parents that they could not save their baby just because they could not find a litre of petrol will haunt them for ever,” Pathirana said in a social media post, which accused the government of failing to protect the lives of vulnerable people.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/24/they-could-not-save-their-baby-the-human-cost-of-sri-lanka-fuel-crisis


Several major cities in Pakistan have become battlegrounds as supporters of ousted prime minister Imran Khan march toward Islamabad.

“Police resorted to firing tear gas and baton charges on Wednesday in the northern state of Punjab, the country’s largest province and a stronghold of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), after protesters tried to forcefully remove barricades to stop them from moving towards the capital.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/south-asia/pakistan-imran-khan-march-islamabad-b2086855.html


Investors start to worry as Pakistan’s IMF bailout not final yet.

“Investors are getting nervous. Without a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan may default for the second time in its history. As talks with the IMF conclude Wednesday in Doha, officials acknowledge that winning a loan from the multilateral lender might involve trade-offs, including the politically tough decision of raising fuel prices.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/5/25/investors-start-to-worry-as-imf-bailout-not-firmed-up-yet


Iraq’s political stalemate raising chances of Shia on Shia clashes.

“After months of frustration and impasse, relations between Muqtada al-Sadr and his Iran-backed Shia rivals have deteriorated so badly that Iraqi Shia leaders are predicting armed clashes could even be on the cards.”

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iraq-political-stalemate-raising-chances-shia-clashes


Turkey’s default insurance costs jump to highest since global financial crisis.

“The cost of insuring Turkey’s debt against default shot to its highest since the 2008 global financial crisis on Tuesday as the country veered towards what looked like another serious bout of financial trouble.”

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/turkeys-default-insurance-costs-jump-to-highest-since-global-financial-crisis


Africa: Fuel Shortage Crisis – Who is Responsible?

“…Governments must be held accountable when a woman dies because she could not get to the health facility in good time due to a lack of transport caused by fuel shortages. Farmers must hold governments accountable if they are not able to cultivate their lands in readiness for rains due to fuel shortage.”

https://allafrica.com/stories/202205250222.html


Currency Slump, 132% Inflation No Cause for ‘Panic’ in Zimbabwe.

““We are instituting measures that every other country in the world is instituting,” Ncube said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Manus Cranny and Yousef Gamal El-Din from Davos on Thursday. “We are not in panic mode.””

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-26/currency-slump-132-inflation-no-cause-for-panic-in-zimbabwe


Ugandan security forces re-arrested a veteran opposition politician on Tuesday and broke up a protest in the capital that he was leading against soaring consumer prices…

“”We are holding him on charges of inciting violence,” police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said…”

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/uganda-arrests-oppositions-besigye-again-breaks-up-price-protests-2022-05-24/


The South Africa Reserve Bank on Wednesday said that the rising cost of living could lead to episodes of social unrest as food and fuel prices, as well as the level of household debt remain high.

“In its latest Financial Stability Review, the Reserve Bank said rising interest rates would lead to higher debt servicing costs and add pressure to household balance sheets…”

https://www.news24.com/citypress/business/reserve-bank-warns-of-social-unrest-as-costs-go-through-the-roof-20220525


Bolsonaro fires Petrobras CEO who warned of diesel crisis.

“Brazil’s right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro fired the chief executive of oil producer Petrobras — the second in two months — after the company refused to sell fuels at a discount to consumers warning it would lead to diesel shortages.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/24/energy/bolsonaro-petrobras/index.html


Economic Collapse Has Venezuela’s Cars Looking a Lot Like Cuba’s…

“Visiting the Venezuelan capital of Caracas this month, The Associated Press spoke to car owners and mechanics to understand the plights of locals who struggle to maintain their cars—never mind replacing them.”

https://www.thedrive.com/news/economic-collapse-has-venezuelas-cars-looking-a-lot-like-cubas


Crisis, migration and unrest: is Cuba going through a new special period?

“The serious economic crisis that Cuba is experiencing, the strong increase in migration and social unrest have led many in recent times to draw comparisons between the current moment and the so-called Special Period that the country went through in the 1990s.”

https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/crisis-migration-and-unrest-is-cuba-going-through-a-new-special-period/


Global energy and funding shocks test climate commitments.

“Six months after the world agreed in Glasgow to a U.N. climate pact with bold, new targets, political and business leaders facing an energy crisis, volatile markets and an economic downturn are grappling with how to cut carbon emissions.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/global-energy-funding-shocks-test-climate-commitments-2022-05-24/


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.

24th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The global economy is being brought to the edge of a precipice by crisis upon crisis.

“As the first World Economic Forum to be held in person since 2020 opened in Davos, Switzerland on Monday, the International Monetary Fund said the economy faces “perhaps its biggest test since the Second World War… “We face a potential confluence of calamities,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/23/business/davos-global-economy-imf/index.html


World faces ‘unprecedented’ wave of hunger as Ukraine harvests worse than feared.

“The world faces an unprecedented wave of famine and hunger triggered by a further “explosive” increase in food prices, experts have warned, after new figures revealed the extent to which the war in Ukraine will decimate global supplies of wheat.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/ukraine-food-security-wheat-famine-b2083877.html


Global food crisis looms as fertilizer supplies dwindle…

““I’m not sure it’s possible any more to avoid a food crisis,” says World Farmers’ Organization President Theo de Jager. “The question is how wide and deep it will be. Most importantly, farmers need peace. And peace needs farmers.””

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/global-food-crisis-looms-as-fertilizer-supplies-dwindle


Global Power Grids Face Biggest Test in Decades With Summer Blackouts Expected…

“War. Drought. Production shortages. Historically low inventories. And pandemic backlash. Energy markets across the planet have been put through the wringer over the past year, and consumers have suffered the consequences of soaring prices. But, somehow, things are on track to get even worse.”

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2022/05/23/668755.htm


Natural Gas Market Is Hurtling Toward Historic Winter Shortages.

“The liquefied natural gas market is hurtling toward a potentially historic shortage this winter as the world rushes to secure the super-chilled fuel… “This coming winter has everyone on edge,” said James Whistler, the global head of energy derivatives at Simpson Spence Young.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-23/natural-gas-market-is-hurtling-toward-historic-winter-shortages


Aramco CEO warns of global oil crunch due to lack of investment…

“”What happened in Russia-Ukraine masked what would have happened. We were going through an energy crisis because of a lack of investment. And it started to bite following the pandemic,” Amin Nasser, head of the world’s largest oil producer, said on Monday…”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/aramco-ceo-warns-global-oil-crunch-due-lack-investment-2022-05-23/


Why Shale Drillers Are Pumping Out Dividends Instead of More Oil and Gas…

“After years of losses, investors demanded changes to how bonuses are formulated, pushing for more emphasis on profitability. Now, executives who were paid to pump are rewarded more for keeping costs down and returning cash to shareholders, securities filings show.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-shale-drillers-are-pumping-out-dividends-instead-of-more-oil-and-gas-11653274423


White House considers burning “home heating oil” reserve to reduce diesel prices…

“The White House has become increasingly aware of the “worrisome decline” in diesel inventories in the Northeast… Given the reduction in East-coast diesel inventories of ~45mb, and given the size of the strategic “home heating oil reserve” of ~1mb, it is unlikely the measure will fix existing imbalances.

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3841709-white-house-considers-burning-home-heating-oil-reserve-to-reduce-diesel-prices


Inflation Will Lead Inexorably To Recession [US]…

“Eventually unchecked inflation… will make business planning so fraught with uncertainty that businesses will forgo investment projects that would otherwise enhance the economy’s productive potential and encourage job growth. Also as is already evident, workers, even if able to secure wage hikes, will still struggle to keep up with the rapidly rising cost of living and cut back their spending accordingly.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/miltonezrati/2022/05/22/inflation-will-lead-inexecrable-to-recession/


The UK is unprepared for huge food price hikes and shortages of essential goods that will be triggered by the Ukraine war, the head of a government advisory body fears.

“Ian Wright has told The Independent of growing concerns that there is no proper plan for a “scary” future of disrupted food supplies, warning: “This is a bigger crisis than energy.””

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/food-prices-shortages-ukraine-energy-b2083815.html


Police prepare for summer of chaos amid fears of civil unrest as ‘frustration grows’ over cost-of-living crisis [UK]…

“Though there is no ‘specific intelligence’ about disorder, policing officials and chief constables are expecting a rise in crime and aggressive behaviour due to the growing frustration over spiraling prices, according to a police source cited by The Times.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10847537/Police-prepare-summer-chaos-amid-fears-civil-unrest-cost-living-crisis.html


Italy’s economic prospects sour as inflation bites.

“… Italy relies heavily on Russia for its energy, leaving it vulnerable to the conflict in Ukraine. “Some countries are more exposed than others,” said Lorenzo Codogno, former director-general of the Italian treasury.”

https://www.ft.com/content/8dd69dbb-b476-4192-9db2-944f7e937f8f


Bigger Shocks Are Coming With Your Electricity Bills [UK and Europe]…

“An oil crisis hits the economy like a big wave breaking on the beach: The impact is immediate and dramatic as the crest plunges onto the shore. An electricity crisis is another kind of shock: Akin to a rising tide, it is slow but relentless and then, surprise, you are overwhelmed.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-05-23/electricity-prices-are-going-to-be-overwhelming-for-late-2022-and-all-of-2023


Global gas crunch claims first Australian trading casualty.

“A gas seller that supplied 7% of the eastern Australian market has collapsed due to soaring global gas prices, the first significant casualty in the country from the global gas supply crisis due to sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.”

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/global-gas-crunch-claims-first-040508176.html


Cost of living crisis shows it’s time for a Universal Basic Income [NZ]…

“Like the two-month extension of half-price fares for public transport, the Government is being too timid. In this current cost of living crisis, there is one policy that other political parties lack the courage to discuss – a Universal Basic Income (UBI).”

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/300594852/cost-of-living-crisis-shows-its-time-for-a-universal-basic-income


Chinese real estate defaults have increased so much that Goldman Sachs analysts have shifted to their worst-case scenario for the riskiest part of the market.

“Twenty-two China high-yield bond issuers, all related to the property sector, have either defaulted on their U.S. dollar-denominated bonds or deferred repayment with bond exchanges since the start of this year…”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/24/goldman-sachs-expects-more-china-real-estate-defaults-switches-to-bear-case.html


China Coal Expansions Threaten Higher Methane Levels Worldwide…

“China’s plans for 169 new and expanded coal projects could boost global methane emissions from mines that produce the dirtiest fossil fuel by 10%… President Xi Jinping is deepening China’s dependence on coal as a way to mitigate the impact of soaring energy prices and geopolitical instability created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-23/china-coal-could-boost-methane-from-world-s-mines-10


Oil prices at $110 per barrel pose ‘bigger threats’ than inflation, India’s oil minister says [hard to separate the two, surely?]…

“”If oil prices remain at $110 (per barrel) you are not just talking about inflation, then you’re talking about bigger threats. You know, that’s where the R (recession) word comes in,” Puri told CNBC TV18 in an interview at Davos.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/oil-prices-110bbl-pose-bigger-threats-than-inflation-india-oil-min-2022-05-23/


Nepal raises retail fuel price, stoking inflation fears.

“Nepal’s state-owned oil company has hiked the retail prices for fuels, including petrol and cooking gas, by up to 12.5% because of rising global oil prices, an official said on Monday, stoking concerns consumer inflation will be further pushed up.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/nepal-raises-retail-fuel-price-stoking-inflation-fears-2022-05-23/


Sri Lanka raises fuel price to record high…

“Crisis-hit Sri Lanka on Tuesday raised the petrol price by 24.3 per cent and diesel by 38.4 per cent, a record hike in fuel prices amidst the country’s worst economic crisis due to the shortage of foreign exchange reserves.”

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/sri-lanka-raises-fuel-price-to-record-high-petrol-at-rs-420-diesel-rs-400-per-litre/cid/1866619


[Pakistan] wheat shortages threaten to turn into full blown crisis.

“With Islamabad already struggling to arrange financing for its rapidly expanding current account deficit, there is more bad news to come. Not only will the government likely be forced to withdraw the massive fuel and electricity subsidies that have hemorrhaged tens of billions from the treasury, it may find it has no option but to raise wheat prices.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1691226/situationer-wheat-shortages-threaten-to-turn-into-full-blown-crisis


Afghanistan’s new poor line up for aid to survive as food crisis bites…

“Many of the people waiting for support in Khwaja Rawash, a middle-class neighborhood near the Kabul International Airport airport, are Afghanistan’s new poor. They used to have decent jobs; now they lean on international aid to survive.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/22/asia/afghanistan-hunger-new-poor-intl-cmd/index.html


Thousands of people took to the streets in Istanbul on Saturday to protest against a prison sentence imposed on one of Turkey’s leading opposition politicians.

“The demonstrations follow a decision by the country’s Supreme Court of Appeal to uphold a nearly five-year jail sentence on Canan Kaftancioglu for insulting the president and the state, based on her posts on Twitter from 2012 to 2017.”

https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-thousands-protest-opposition-politicians-conviction/a-61891768


Wheat mill owners in the Palestinian Gaza Strip are struggling.

“Prices have jumped by around 20%, largely following the fighting in Ukraine – which has closed off access to lower-priced Black Sea wheat. It means the territory’s five mills are finding it hard to compete with cheaper imported stock.”

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/video/gaza-flour-mills-ground-down-151148782.html


Egypt’s Bread Crisis Awakens Old Fears of Political Unrest…

“In a country where political discontent often follows spikes in food prices, the potential for bread shortages is among the most urgent security challenges the Egyptian state has faced since the 2013 coup that installed President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in power.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/egypts-bread-crisis-wheat-supplies-russia-ukrain-warawakens-old-fears-of-political-unrest-11653318765


Tunisia: Islamic Liberation Party protests at ‘political conflict’…

“”All politicians today are dependent on Western plans for them,” Karbaka added. “We do not want to establish an Islamic state, but rather a state for the entire Islamic nation.” Tunisia has been experiencing a severe political crisis since last July, when President Kais Saied froze (and then dissolved) parliament…”

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220523-tunisia-islamic-liberation-party-protests-at-political-conflict/


Malawi is facing acute shortages of foreign exchange currency, forcing two international airlines to suspend some of their services in the country. The situation has negatively affected the operations of many more local and international cross-border businesses.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/malawi-faces-shortages-of-foreign-exchange-currency/6584639.html


How shadow banks threaten the global economy… This realm beyond regulators is where the next crisis will arise…

“Shadow banks include creditors of many kinds, from pension funds to private equity firms and other asset managers. Together they manage $63tn in financial assets — up from $30tn a decade ago. What started in the US has spread worldwide…”

https://www.ft.com/content/d22ec352-a4a4-4f4c-832a-cb05af5110f1


The world’s financial system is entering dangerous waters again, warns guru of the Lehman crisis…

“There is a frighteningly-long list of shoes to drop as inflation finally forces central banks to do what they desperately wish not to do, which is to yank away the debt shield that lulled both investors and the political class into a false sense of security.

“We don’t know what is going to break until it does, but there are a lot of reasons to worry, and there is going to be severe stress,” Columbia professor Adam Tooze said on the eve of the World Economic Forum, the conclave of the great and the good in Davos.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/23/worlds-financial-system-entering-dangerous-waters-warns-guru/


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.

21st May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The “first global energy shock” is currently underway as sharp rises in prices have resulted in a “consumer-driven crisis,” says Angela Wilkinson of the World Energy Council

““If you look at the price of … refined products in many parts of the world, they’re now unaffordable for many of the bottom half of societies,” Wilkinson warned. “We’re going to have to see some form of massive reallocation of … money coming out of … this crisis. Consumers are really, really hurting.””

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/20/global-oil-crisis-and-inflation-hurt-consumers-world-energy-council.html


Global diesel shortages herald imminent economic slowdown…

“In recent decades, distillate shortages have always been resolved by either a mid-cycle slowdown or an end-of-cycle recession and there is no reason to think this instance will be different. Rising interest rates around the world, tightening credit conditions and the impact of inflation on household and business budgets are all likely triggers for a slowdown.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/global-diesel-shortages-herald-imminent-economic-slowdown-2022-05-19/


Diesel’s 100% Surge and Scarcity Deny Farmers Their ‘Lifeblood’…

“Farmers from Iowa to Ukraine are grappling with surging diesel prices and an unsteady supply, forcing them to spend unprecedented sums on fuel in a chaotic market and raising concerns about the autumn harvest.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-19/diesel-s-100-surge-and-scarcity-deny-farmers-their-lifeblood


World has just ten weeks’ worth of wheat left…

“Gro Intelligence chief executive Sara Menker warned global food supplies are being hit by a number of “extraordinary” challenges, including fertiliser shortages, climate disruptions and record low inventories of cooking oils and grains.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/20/world-has-just-ten-weeks-worth-wheat-left-ukraine-war/


Dow Jones industrial average on longest losing streak since 1932.

“The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its eighth straight week of declines, ensuring its longest losing streak since 1932, despite adding 8.77 points to 31,261.90 yesterday… The sell-off started weeks ago with a flight from technology stocks, but analysts said investors had been spooked this week by signs of collapsing consumer confidence.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dow-jones-industrial-average-on-longest-losing-streak-since-1932-hzcp3qp3c


More Subprime Borrowers Are Missing Loan Payments.

“Consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on payments for car loans, personal loans and credit cards, a sign that the healthiest consumer lending environment on record in the U.S. is coming to an end.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-subprime-borrowers-are-missing-loan-payments-11652952602


A 900% Jump in Hedging Costs Looms Over Commercial Mortgages…

“Now that the Fed really is hiking, the cost of that protection has multiplied by 10 this year. For a $25 million mortgage, the cost was $535,000 in early May, compared with just $52,000 in January, for a two-year 2% rate cap, according to Chatham Financial Corp…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-20/a-900-jump-in-hedging-costs-looms-over-commercial-mortgages


Contrast Dye Is the Biggest Medical Supply Shortage Since Masks…

“American doctors haven’t sounded this worried about a hospital supply issue since the early pandemic. This time, instead of masks, it’s “contrast media” made by General Electric — medical dye critical in diagnosing strokes, heart attacks and dangerous lung clots.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022-05-19/contrast-dye-is-the-biggest-medical-supply-shortage-since-masks


Britain faces summer of shortages on supermarket shelves after just one in four seasonal crop pickers turn up to work in some areas.

“Worried industry figures are said to be particularly concerned about the coming fortnight, when Tenderstem broccoli and courgettes both come into season. Julian Marks, MD of food and farming company Barfoots, told industry magazine The Grocer that the situation was getting ‘pretty desperate’.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10836933/Britain-faces-summer-shortages-supermarket-shelves-lack-season-crop-pickers.html


Emergency plans to stop food crisis as biggest rail strike in modern British history looms…

“The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union is midway through a ballot for strike action of workers at train operators and Network Rail, with voting due to close on Tuesday.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/05/20/emergency-plans-stop-biggest-rail-strike-modern-british-history/


UK consumer confidence falls to lowest on record.

“The UK consumer confidence index fell 2 percentage points to minus 40 in May, its lowest since records began in 1974, said research company GfK in a report published on Friday… Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, said that “as prices and rates rise, the ability of consumers to spend is falling”.”

https://www.ft.com/content/de798aac-2162-42cd-baaf-2accf546762c


Trains cancelled due to staff shortages: ‘Unprecedented situation’ [Belgium]…

“Belgium’s national rail service, SNCB is cancelling trains due to a huge staff shortage, reports De Standaard. The cancellations have led to chaotic scenes in some stations… passengers are angry. “Travellers are getting desperate. This is no longer a quality service,” stressed Kees.”

https://www.brusselstimes.com/226030/trains-cancelled-due-to-staff-shortages-unprecedented-situation


Germany eases cost of living crisis with €9 a month public transport ticket…

“A €9 a month ticket scheme is to be introduced from 1 June allowing travel on all modes of city and regional transport. A different ticket will apply for each region and it will be available for three months until the end of August.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/20/germany-public-transport-boost-9-euro-month-ticket


German producer prices soar 33% annually in April, highest increase on record.

“Producer prices rose 33.5% on year, Destatis said. Energy prices rose 87.3% from a year earlier, it said. Strong gains in the price of natural gas, up 154.8% on year, were a major factor behind the increase, it said.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-producer-prices-in-april-posted-highest-increase-on-record-271653032416


Fearing Russian cutoff, German industry braces for gas rations race.

German big business is drafting a plan to use an auction system to help ration available supplies in the event Russia cuts off its gas, although some fear it could punish smaller firms… Germany… is approaching a deadline this month to pay for the fuel under a rouble scheme demanded by Moscow.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/fearing-russian-cutoff-german-industry-braces-gas-rations-race-2022-05-20/


Russia halts gas supplies to Finland as payments row with the west escalates…

““Gas imports through Imatra entry point have been stopped,” Gasgrid Finland said in a statement. Imatra is the entry point for Russian gas into Finland… Finland, along with neighbouring Sweden, this week broke its historical military non-alignment and applied for Nato membership…”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/21/russia-halts-gas-supplies-to-finland-as-payments-row-with-the-west-escalates


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday (May 21) that he was disappointed in China’s efforts to develop areas in the East China Sea, saying that it was “unacceptable”.

“Speaking to reporters in the western city of Kyoto, he said that the government had lodged a complaint against China via diplomatic channels.”

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/japan-pm-kishida-calls-chinas-development-east-china-sea-unacceptable-2697521


Beijing has criticised Japan’s recent comments on Taiwan and warned it not to join forces with the United States to confront China.

“Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments in a call with his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi on Wednesday – two days before US President Joe Biden starts his visit to East Asia to push forward his Indo-Pacific strategy.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3178259/china-warns-japan-against-joining-forces-us


‘Do whatever it takes’: Beijing urged to act as China’s economy falters.

“At a recent online gathering of top Chinese economists, a palpable sense of urgency filled the virtual meeting room. In recent weeks, a slew of reports by Chinese and foreign economists pointed to a deteriorating economy. Outside the country, talk of China being the engine of global economic growth no longer convinces.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/20/do-whatever-it-takes-beijing-urged-to-act-as-china-economy-falters


China slashes key interest rate as housing sales collapse…

“The People’s Bank of China cut its five-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 15 basis points to 4.45%, the second reduction this year and the largest on record. Most analysts had expected a cut of five basis points.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/20/economy/china-record-lpr-cut-property-market-intl-hnk/index.html


India won’t collapse like Sri Lanka or Pakistan but we are certainly in trouble: Swaminathan Aiyar…

“We are in a situation where on the one hand there is a recessionary trend, recession is coming because demand is falling, at the same time prices are going up. Some people call this stagflation. In the case of India we have been hit both ways.”

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/india-wont-collapse-like-sri-lanka-or-pakistan-but-we-are-certainly-in-trouble-swaminathan-aiyar/articleshow/91685298.cms


‘We are going to die’: Food shortages worsen Sri Lanka crisis.

““There is no point in talking about how hard life is,” said APD Sumanavathi, a 60-year-old woman selling fruit and vegetables in the Pettah market in Colombo, the commercial capital. “I can’t predict how things will be in two months, at this rate we might not even be here.””

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/20/we-are-going-to-die-food-crisis-worsens-misery-of-sri-lankans


Rising inequality now an urgent matter, BIS central bank group warns.

“A new study by the central bank to the world’s central banks, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), has called for urgent action to tackle rising wealth inequality, warning the problem was feeding a dangerous loop of recessions and poverty.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/rising-inequality-now-an-urgent-matter-bis-central-bank-group-warns-2022-05-19/


Social Unrest Is Rising, Adding To Risks For Global Economy – Analysis.

“Prior to the pandemic, unrest rose around the world… Unrest declined sharply at the start of the pandemic amid an increase in social distancing, both voluntary and mandatory. IMF research shows that this is consistent with experience during past pandemics… [Unrest is now] close to its highest levels since the onset of the pandemic.”

https://www.eurasiareview.com/21052022-social-unrest-is-rising-adding-to-risks-for-global-economy-analysis/


‘Breaking Point’: Soaring Inflation Drives Cuts to Hunger-Relief Programs.

“A dearth of funding coupled with a surge in inflation is forcing hunger-relief programs across the globe to cut back on services just as the world’s poorest need it most, creating a situation that will erode human welfare and possibly plant the seeds of political instability.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-20/soaring-food-inflation-brings-cuts-to-global-hunger-relief-programs


Age of Scarcity Begins With $1.6 Trillion Hit to World Economy.

The ties that bind the global economy together, and delivered goods in abundance across the world, are unravelling at a frightening pace… “Fragmentation is going to stay,” says Robert Koopman, the WTO’s chief economist.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-19/global-economy-loses-1-6-trillion-as-world-struggles-to-avoid-a-new-cold-war


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.

19th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

China, U.S. lead rise in global debt to record high $305 trillion – IIF.

“The world’s two largest economies borrowed the most in the first quarter as global debt rose to a record above $305 trillion, while the overall debt-to-output ratio declined, data from the Institute of International Finance showed on Wednesday…

“”As central banks move ahead with policy tightening to curb inflationary pressures, higher borrowing costs will exacerbate debt vulnerabilities,” the IIF report said.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/china-us-lead-rise-global-debt-record-high-305-trillion-iif-2022-05-18/


Global fund managers hoard cash at 9/11 levels amid stagflation fears.

“Nervous global investors have built up cash levels last seen in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, amid growing fears about the twin risks of low growth and high inflation, according to Bank of America’s latest monthly fund manager survey.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/global-fund-managers-hoard-cash-at-9-11-levels-amid-stagflation-fears-1.4881107


Global banks privately prepare for ‘Dangerous Levels’ of Imminent Civil Unrest in Western Homelands’.

“Global banks and investment firms are bracing themselves for an “unprecedented” upsurge in civil unrest in the US, UK and Europe as energy and food price spikes are set to drive costs of living to astronomical levels, Byline Times can exclusively reveal.”

https://bylinetimes.com/2022/05/17/global-banks-privately-prepare-for-dangerous-levels-of-imminent-civil-unrest-in-western-homelands/


American stocks have suffered their worst losses since June 2020 as investors panic that rocketing inflation will prompt a recession in the world’s biggest economy.

“The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 3.6% and the broader S&P 500 by 4% on Wednesday after a series of retailers posted disappointing financial results.”

https://news.sky.com/story/us-stocks-head-for-worst-day-since-2020-amid-recession-fears-12616232


US asking rents reach record highs in April, some areas see 30% surge in prices…

“Currently, renters in popular migration spots such as Portland, Oregon, and South Florida are getting charged 30% more compared to this time last year, Fairweather said. Austin is getting hit the hardest with rents surging nearly 50% compared to 2021.”

https://jnews.uk/asking-rents-reach-record-highs-in-april-some-areas-see-30-surge-in-prices/


U.S. natural gas prices have more than doubled this year, and they could soar another 25% or more this summer in the hotter weather…

“In the futures market, gas prices rose 4.4% Tuesday as hot spring weather in the Southern U.S. pressured a market that has already been concerned about tight supplies. The warmer weather is forecast to continue across the region.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/17/natural-gas-prices-have-already-doubled-this-year-a-hot-summer-could-push-them-even-higher.html


Runaway diesel prices threaten to do a lot more than make inflation worse—American infrastructure is at stake…

“The average driver in the U.S. doesn’t rely on diesel, as it’s commonly used by truck drivers and heavy farming vehicles. But sky-high diesel prices could not only aggravate an inflation problem that is already hurting U.S. consumers—they could have dire implications for U.S. infrastructure, and the fate of the global supply chain.”

https://fortune.com/2022/05/17/diesel-prices-threaten-inflation-us-infrastructure/


Vast Swath of US at Risk of Summer Blackouts, Regulator Warns…

“A vast swath of North America from the Great Lakes to the West Coast is at risk of blackouts this summer as heat, drought, shuttered power plants and supply-chain woes strain the electric grid. Power supplies in much of the US and part of Canada will be stretched…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-18/vast-swath-of-us-is-at-risk-of-summer-blackouts-regulator-warns


UK Is About to Become Stagflation Nation.

“In a world reeling from soaring inflation and weak growth, the UK holds a special place. It’s on track to be the advanced nations’ stagflation capital. Prices are expected to rise 13.1% over this year and next, the most in the Group of Seven…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-19/stagflation-shock-to-uk-likely-to-be-among-world-s-worst


UK School meals will shrink without help to tackle rising costs, warns food boss. Soaring food inflation could force schools to choose between offering smaller portions at lunchtime and using cheaper ingredients, the boss of one of the UK’s largest food wholesalers has warned, as providers in the sector called for more funding to tackle rising costs.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/17/inflation-uk-schools-meal-food-bidfood


EU new car demand falls 21% in April.

“New passenger car demand in the EU saw a significant drop in April as registration fell 20.6% to 684,506 units. With the exception of the pandemic year in 2020, this was the weakest April result in terms of volumes sold since records began…”

https://www.european-rubber-journal.com/article/2091429/eu-new-car-demand-falls-21-in-april


EU accepts it will burn more coal in move away from Russian gas.

“Coal is the most carbon-intensive fuel but the European Commission said the EU would use 5 per cent more than previously expected over the next five to 10 years as the bloc tries to replace Russian energy imports.”

https://www.ft.com/content/5d95b294-280f-4b38-9d23-70035e077392


Three Protests Hampered the Movement in Bulgaria Today.

“Three parallel protests took place in Sofia since the morning – of carriers, of public transport workers and of taxi drivers. Key intersections at peak hours were closed. Everyone protested against the high prices and asked for measures and help from the state.”

https://www.novinite.com/articles/215158/Three+Protests+Hampered+the+Movement+in+Bulgaria+Today


Recession Risks Are Contagious As Japan’s GDP Stumbles—Again…

The real wake-up call here is how little Kishida and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda can do about it. Fiscal policy options are greatly limited by a debt-to-GDP ratio well above 250%, making Tokyo quite the outlier among Group of Seven nations. In fact, the zeros are almost getting too numerous to type out here.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/williampesek/2022/05/18/recession-risks-are-contagious-as-japans-gdp-stumbles–again/


China diverts anti-poverty funds to Covid testing as crisis deepens…

“China’s cash-strapped local governments have been forced to divert funds from poverty alleviation and infrastructure to finance mass coronavirus testing as President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy causes growing financial strains.”

https://www.ft.com/content/a21aa7f0-860a-45ae-9cef-19b23b9f2292


Chinese depositors left in dark as three local banks freeze deposits.

“Three banks in China’s central Henan province have frozen at least $178 million of deposits, offering scant information on why or for how long, leaving firms unable to pay workers and individuals locked out of savings, depositors told Reuters.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/asia/chinese-depositors-left-dark-three-local-banks-freeze-deposits-2022-05-18/


Poor Countries Face a Mounting Catastrophe Fueled by Inflation and Debt…

““It’s like wildfires in all directions,” said Jayati Ghosh, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “This is much bigger than after the global financial crisis. Everything is stacked against the low- and middle-income countries.””

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/17/business/inflation-developing-economies.html


Sri Lanka is poised to default on its foreign debt as the grace period for missed payments expires on Wednesday, with the government scrambling for dollars to top up depleted fuel supplies

The island, which has never missed debt payments, joins countries including Zambia and Ecuador in defaulting as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll.”

https://www.ft.com/content/89dea1c0-0b01-42c5-82ce-e27ac3eb410d


Myanmar Fuel Importers Blame Shortages on Junta Dollar Controls…

““Imports have almost halved. Major importers now only try to keep the pumps working and they can’t sell fuel to the wholesale market like before,” said the manager. Another fuel importer said firms lacked access to dollars.”

https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-fuel-importers-blame-shortages-on-junta-dollar-controls.html


Is Bangladesh heading toward a Sri Lanka-like crisis?

“…The Russia-Ukraine war, which began at the end of February, has compounded the inflationary pressure. Bangladesh has been particularly vulnerable as the country imports significant amounts of goods like cooking oil, wheat and other food items, as well as fuel.”

https://www.dw.com/en/is-bangladesh-heading-toward-a-sri-lanka-like-crisis/a-61838597


Pakistan must address its dire issues of external debt and current account deficit to avoid a Sri Lanka-like default, according to the latest report by the Institute for Policy Reforms.

“The independent and non-partisan think-tank termed resolution of the issues critical for the economic revival and security in the face of a “national emergency”.”

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2356989/pakistan-faces-national-emergency-to-resolve-economic-crisis


Crypto crash leaves El Salvador with no easy exit from worsening crisis.

“El Salvador’s big bet on bitcoin, which the Central American nation has been buying since September, has soured in recent weeks as a cryptocurrency rout shaved over a third of the value of the government’s holdings, Reuters calculations show.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/crypto-crash-leaves-el-salvador-with-no-easy-exit-worsening-crisis-2022-05-19/


Protests continue against high cost of living in Panamanian province.

“Popular leaders of the Panamanian province of Colon said that they will maintain protests against the high cost of living and questioned the most recent meeting on the subject of the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo.”

https://www.plenglish.com/news/2022/05/18/protests-continue-against-high-cost-of-living-in-panamanian-province/


Ukraine war has stoked global food crisis that could last years, says UN.

“UN secretary general António Guterres said shortages of grain and fertiliser caused by the war, warming temperatures and pandemic-driven supply problems threaten to “tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity”, as financial markets saw share prices fall heavily again on fears of inflation and a worldwide recession.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/19/ukraine-war-has-stoked-global-food-crisis-that-could-last-years-says-un


The Global Safety Net Against Hunger Is Frailer Than You Think.

“For all the sophistication of the global trade in calories, we’re still overwhelmingly dependent on half-a-dozen breadbaskets to feed ourselves — the US Midwest, South America, western Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Indo-Gangetic plain, and eastern China.

“If freak weather conditions knock out two at once, we’re more dependent on the others, plus stocks from previous years, to keep ourselves fed. Throw politics into the mix, and the margin of safety gets even narrower.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-global-safety-net-against-hunger-is-frailer-than-you-think/2022/05/17/e6983790-d635-11ec-be17-286164974c54_story.html


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.

17th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

‘Apocalyptic’ food prices will be disastrous for world’s poor, says Bank governor.

“The Bank of England governor has blamed the war in Ukraine for the highest inflation in the UK for three decades and warned that “apocalyptic” food prices caused by Russia’s invasion could have a disastrous impact on the world’s poor…

“Andrew Bailey told MPs that while he was unhappy about the level of price rises, 80% of the inflation target overshoot was caused by factors outside the Bank’s control.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/16/apocalyptic-food-prices-will-be-disastrous-for-worlds-poor-says-bank-governor


Central bankers should worry about the food insecurity crisis…

“A global food shortage is pushing food prices to record levels, with economic and political implications for developed countries and a threat of famine and debt distress in the emerging world. Much more must be done.”

https://www.ft.com/content/17d7e07f-46c6-4c41-9202-e445928a405a


Wheat prices surged to a new record high in European trading on Monday after India decided to ban exports of the commodity as a heatwave hit production.

“The price jumped to 435 euros ($453) per tonne as the Euronext market opened, up from the previous record of 422 euros reached on Friday.”

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220516-wheat-prices-hit-record-high-after-indian-export-ban


Dollar’s Strength Pushes World Economy Deeper Into Slowdown [still the best looking horse in the glue factory, apparently].

“The soaring dollar is propelling the global economy deeper into a synchronized slowdown by driving up borrowing costs and stoking financial-market volatility — and there’s little respite on the horizon.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-14/dollar-s-strength-pushes-world-economy-deeper-into-slowdown


Bond Traders Reel as Inflation Hits World’s Emerging Local Debt. As spiraling inflation spreads across the globe, emerging-market bonds from Turkey to Thailand are feeling the brunt.

“Local-currency debt from developing nations — which is far more sensitive to a country’s domestic inflationary pressures than dollar denominated equivalents — has slumped almost 9% this year.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-15/bond-traders-reel-as-inflation-hits-world-s-emerging-local-debt


The US is facing a “very, very high risk” of recession as the Federal Reserve pushes up interest rates to tame inflation, former Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein has warned.

“Mr Blankfein, who is now senior chairman at the banking giant, urged businesses and households to brace for a downturn in the world’s largest economy as living costs soar and the US central bank tightens its position.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/15/goldman-boss-warns-high-recession-risk-us/


$5 gas could become widespread as prices hit another record.

“Prices at the pump continue to shatter records ahead of Memorial Day weekend. The national average for regular gas hit a fresh record of $4.48 a gallon Monday, according to AAA. That marks an increase of 15 cents in the past week and 40 cents in a month.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/16/business/gas-prices-inflation/index.html


‘I cannot survive on $260 a week’: US retail and fast-food workers strike…

“The unrest also comes as corporations have often reported record profits and showered executives with pay increases, stock buybacks and bonuses, while workers received minimal pay increases. Workers at billion-dollar corporations from Dollar General to McDonald’s still make on average less than $15 an hour while often being forced to work in unsafe, grueling conditions.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/16/strikes-us-retail-fast-food-dollar-general-mcdonalds-wendys


Russia cuts power exports to Finland over failed payments.

“Russia had cut all its exports of electricity to Finland on Monday, flow data showed, after Russian utility Inter RAO said last week it would halt them because it had not been paid.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/russia-cuts-power-exports-finland-over-failed-payments-2022-05-16/


Outlooks for EU growth and inflation worsen as energy crisis hits. Brussels has cut its growth forecasts further and lifted its inflation outlook as the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exacts its toll on the EU economy.”

https://www.ft.com/content/cf9794ee-6b0d-4a50-a433-91cd76fab7a0


European dealmakers face shrinking debt options as recession risk looms…

“Global economic uncertainty and market volatility triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war, coupled with monetary tightening from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England and expectations the European Central Bank will follow suit, have made deal financing costlier and harder to access…”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/european-dealmakers-face-shrinking-debt-options-recession-risk-looms-2022-05-16/


China’s economic activity plummets as Covid lockdowns hit growth…

“Retail sales, the country’s main gauge of consumer activity, slumped 11.1 per cent year on year, compared with forecasts of a 6.6 per cent fall… Industrial production, which underpinned China’s rapid economic recovery from the initial Covid shock in early 2020 and was expected to rise slightly despite the recent restrictions, dropped 2.9 per cent.”

https://www.ft.com/content/41f80bad-0eca-445a-a7fb-922262611311


China April property sales post steepest drop since 2010…

“Property sales by value in April slumped 46.6% from a year earlier, the biggest drop since at least 2010, and sharply widening from the 26.17% fall in March, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics released on Monday.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-april-property-sales-plunge-466-fastest-since-least-2010-2022-05-16/


Food inflation pain puts emerging markets between rock and hard place…

“Rising food prices are a hot topic in emerging market, raising the risk of civil unrest with echoes of the Arab spring and putting policy makers in a bind between stepping in with fiscal support to ease the pain on their population or preserve government finances.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/food-inflation-pain-puts-emerging-markets-between-rock-hard-place-2022-05-17/


Indonesian farmers protest against rising cost of palm oil export ban.

“Hundreds of Indonesian smallholder farmers on Tuesday staged a protest in the capital Jakarta and in other parts of the world’s fourth most populous country, demanding the government end a palm oil export ban that has slashed their income.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/indonesian-farmers-stage-protests-against-palm-oil-export-ban-2022-05-17/


Sri Lankan MP ‘beaten to death by angry mob’ during anti-government protests.

“A sitting Sri Lankan MP was beaten to death by anti-government protesters in a “horrific murder scene”, an eye-witness told the Telegraph, as the country’s new prime minister warned there is just one day’s worth of fuel left.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/sri-lankan-mp-beaten-death-angry-mob-anti-government-protests/


3 in 5 Indian homes face power outages amid massive heat waves…

“A survey conducted by LocalCircles has found that as temperature almost hit 50 degree Celsius [122F] in many parts of India and power outages continue for 3 in 5 households for over a month of heatwave, people demand solutions.”

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/3-in-5-indian-homes-face-power-outages-amid-massive-heat-waves-11652695018846.html


Pakistan sleepwalks deeper into an economic crisis, testing families’ and businesses’ endurance, while the government and the opposition continue to indulge recklessly in power games, risking the country’s future with anarchy and systemic collapse.

““How can they not hear the shrill sound of ringing alarm bells? I see no problem with street mobilisation in a democracy…”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1689926/ignoring-alarm-bells


Price protests turn political in Iran as rallies spread.

“Spreading protests across Iran over a cut in state subsidies on food have turned political… Now protesters have expanded their demands, calling for more political freedom, an end to the Islamic Republic and the downfall of its leaders, according to witnesses and social media posts.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/price-protests-turn-political-iran-rallies-spread-2022-05-15/


Street violence and protests are breaking out in Tajikistan over rising food prices and general inflation.

“This follows similar protests in Iran and Sri Lanka. Russia’s war in Ukraine has made a bad situation worse. This is just the start.”

https://twitter.com/visegrad24/status/1526318578756108288


Clashes erupted in Libya’s capital on Tuesday as the parliament-appointed prime minister, Fathi Bashagha, tried to take control of government from a rival administration that has refused to cede power…

“The crisis risks plunging Libya back into prolonged fighting after two years of comparative peace, or returning it to partition…”

https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20220517-clashes-in-tripoli-as-rival-libyan-government-enters-capital


Thousands hold protests against Tunisia president over rising food prices.

“Thousands of Tunisians took to the streets in the capital, Tunis, on Sunday to protest against President Kais Saied’s political measures and rising food prices… Islamist Ennahda Movement official Ali al-Arid told the channel that protests would continue in the form of sit-ins, marches and hunger strikes.”

https://www.myjoyonline.com/thousands-hold-protests-against-tunisia-president-over-rising-food-prices/


Uganda’s Government readies self for cost of living protests…

“Several sources we have spoken to indicate that both the military and the police have orders to “decisively” deal with any whiff at a protest or social dissent. Former FDC president, Dr Kizza Besigye was on Thursday met with a heavy-handed restriction that ended in a preventative arrest after he tried to protest rising fuel and commodity prices.”

https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/news/national/govt-readies-self-for-cost-of-living-protests-3816178


CIVIC society organisations (CSOs) are planning on massive street protests against the Emmerson Mnangagwa led government [of Zimbabwe] as the economic crisis worsens, this publication has learnt.

“The chairperson of Zimbabwe civic society organisations mother body, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Peter Mutasa, said arrangements are on course.”

https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mass-protests-over-poor-governance-looms/


Africa is facing significant fuel shortages…

“We’re really seeing shortages of different kinds of fuel – diesel, petrol, sometimes jet fuel for airplanes – everywhere from Senegal and Nigeria right over in West Africa to Kenya and Ethiopia in the east and then right down to South Africa, with jet fuel, in particular, in the far south. So really, it’s touching all corners of sub-Saharan Africa.”

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/15/1099010203/africa-is-facing-significant-fuel-shortages


Ukraine war: Global fertiliser crunch pressures Brazil’s Amazon; Brazil agribusiness is keen to mine for potassium in resource-rich Amazon region…

““We have fertiliser in Brazil, at the mouth of the Madeira River,” said Jair Bolsonaro, referring to the Amazon River’s largest tributary. “We have potassium in abundance, but it is [on] an Indigenous reserve.””

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/16/ukraine-war-global-fertilizer-crunch-pressures-brazils-amazon


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.

14th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Global stocks record longest weekly losing streak since 2008 crisis… A short-term rally in US government bonds also reversed on Friday as haven buying, driven by recession fears, reverted to traders calculating the effect of sustained inflation on fixed interest-paying securities…

“Some investors characterised Friday’s gains as a bear market rally, referring to short periods of optimism within a longer trend of declines.”

https://www.ft.com/content/32991501-910b-4a6e-af44-d9d84e033d05


The week that shook crypto.

“…this week, luna lost it all. Its value slid to zero… Its sudden death, at a time when crypto valuations were already sliding, has sparked serious questions over the functioning of the entire crypto market.”

https://www.ft.com/content/3e0a65bb-a953-433a-819e-ff29de847336


Central Banks Face The Growth-Inflation Dilemma…

Unfortunately, there are no good answers. Raising interest rates to attack high inflation will exacerbate the growth slowdown; easing monetary policy conditions to shore up growth also means letting inflation run too hot for too long.”

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4510704-central-banks-face-growth-inflation-dilemma


Nations move to tackle inflation, increasing risk to global economy.

The Federal Reserve’s bid to calm inflation by raising interest rates and withdrawing emergency stimulus programs is gearing up just as the global economy is displaying worrisome signs of weakness… The risk, some economists said, is that the Fed and other central banks that are implementing similar anti-inflation policies may adjust too slowly to a complex and fast-changing global landscape.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/05/13/federal-reserve-global-economy/


Record Diesel Prices Pressure European Drivers, U.S. Deliveries.

“A global shortfall of the fuel—the workhorse for much of the world economy—is straining industries from trucking to farming and adding to the pressure consumers face from higher energy prices. Europe, dependent on imports of Russian diesel that are expected to slump because of sanctions, is particularly vulnerable.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/record-diesel-prices-pressure-european-drivers-u-s-deliveries-11652416873?mod=markets_lead_pos4


The US Can’t Make Enough Fuel and There’s No Fix in Sight.

“From record gasoline prices to higher airfares to fears of diesel rationing ahead, America’s runaway energy market is disquieting both US travelers and the wider economy. But the chief driver isn’t high crude prices or even the rebound in demand: It’s simply too few refineries turning oil into usable fuels.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-13/gasoline-diesel-jet-fuel-refining-capacity-is-too-low-in-the-us-to-meet-demand


Russia Diesel Exports Drop Sharply In April…

“The resulting supply reduction will fuel already significant inflation in diesel prices not only in Europe but in the United States as well… In the United States, diesel prices have been breaking records in the past few weeks, sparking worry for the wider economy as the bulk of freight transport uses diesel as a fuel.”

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Russia-Diesel-Exports-Drop-Sharply-In-April.html


Cass Freight Index sees ‘considerable’ U.S. freight recession risk.

“A closely watched transportation report on Thursday said “the prospect of freight recession is now considerable” as the spending shift from goods to services accelerates, inflation erodes disposable income and interest rates climb. Freight transportation is viewed as a barometer for the U.S. economy…”

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/cass-freight-index-sees-considerable-us-freight-recession-risk-2022-05-12/


‘Golden era’ of cheap food over as two in five Britons buy less to eat.

“Households have been warned that the UK’s “golden era” of cheap food is over, as official figures published on Friday pointed to the toll of the cost of living crisis, with two in five people buying less food to get by.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/13/cost-of-living-golden-era-of-cheap-food-over


UK economy ‘only going to get worse’ as growth slowdown begins.

” A growth slowdown is underway in the U.K. after the economy shrank by 0.1% in March, with economists expecting further contractions this year… Sterling hit a two-year low versus the U.S. dollar following the data as traders digested growing uncertainty about the U.K.’s economic outlook.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/12/uk-economy-only-going-to-get-worse-as-growth-slowdown-begins.html


Some UK public swimming pools forced to close over national chlorine shortage…

“The Chemical Business Association said: “The horrific situation in Ukraine has wrought further havoc on an already heavily disrupted chemical supply chain caused by factors such as Covid, Brexit or driver shortages.””

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/13/some-uk-public-swimming-pools-forced-to-close-over-national-chlorine-shortage


Eurozone Industrial Production Declined in March as Ukraine Conflict Takes Its Toll…

“Output from factories, mines and utilities across the region declined 1.8% in March compared with February, the European Union statistics agency Eurostat said Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 1.0% decrease.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/eurozone-industrial-production-declined-in-march-as-ukraine-conflict-takes-its-toll-271652432410


Europe gas spikes 22% as Germany quarrels with Russia over supply…

“The benchmark contract surged more than 22%, with shipments from Russia via Ukraine set to fall by about 30% on Thursday following interruptions at a cross-border entry point as a result of the war. It adds to the market’s concerns as Moscow halted shipments to Gazprom Germania GmbH and its units in retaliation.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/5/12/europe-gas-spikes-22-as-germany-quarrels-with-russia-over-supply


Germany Girds for Day of Reckoning in Gas Showdown With Russia.

“Europe’s largest economy is bracing for the prospect that Russian natural gas gets cut off suddenly, a shock that would trigger a form of martial law for energy and affect 80 million residents and businesses from bakers to chemical producers. ”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-14/germany-girds-for-day-of-reckoning-in-gas-showdown-with-russia


Finland is ready to cope in the event that Russia cuts off its supply of natural gas, the government’s emergency preparedness committee said after a meeting on Friday.

“Key Finnish politicians had been warned of a possible halt to gas exports by Russia on Friday, Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported on Thursday.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/finland-prepared-case-russia-cuts-off-gas-emergency-committee-says-2022-05-13


The hidden city under Helsinki built for the nuclear apocalypse: Finnish city has 500 bunkers where the entire population of 600,000 people can shelter from the fallout of nuclear war for months…

“Emergency bunkers are receiving new attention as Finland’s NATO bid meets Moscow tough talk; Kremlin has vowed ‘retaliatory steps’ including moving nukes closer to Europe.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10813491/Hidden-city-Helsinki-built-nuclear-apocalypse-entire-population-shelter-months.html


China tightens ban on ‘non-essential’ overseas travel as lockdown anger rises.

“Authorities in China have imposed a de facto international travel ban, forbidding citizens from going overseas for “non-essential” reasons, as the government ramps up efforts to enforce its zero-Covid policy.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/13/china/china-covid-outbound-travel-restriction-intl-hnk-mic/index.html


China’s Economic Slowdown Is Rippling All Around the World…

“The effects of China’s slowdown are showing up everywhere from German factories to Australian tourist spots. Exports are weakening in Asia as China’s neighbors watch their largest market sag. Companies including Apple Inc. and General Electric Co. warned investors about production and delivery problems…”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-economic-slowdown-is-rippling-all-around-the-world-11652347800


India bans wheat exports to deepen global food crisis.

“The Indian government has blocked all exports of wheat with immediate effect… India, the world’s second-largest producer of wheat, was expected to bolster supply badly depleted by Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has caused exports from the Black Sea region to plummet and the UN to warn of a global hunger crisis.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/14/india-bans-wheat-exports-deepen-global-food-crisis/


Nepal’s economy hammered by power outages.

“Nepal’s industrial sector has been hit hard by power cuts in recent weeks, with many small, medium as well as large firms forced to shut down operations due to a lack of electricity. The Himalayan nation relies heavily on energy imported from India, especially during the summer months.”

https://www.dw.com/en/nepals-economy-hammered-by-power-outages/a-61789615


Sri Lankans running out of food, fuel and medicine.

“”I have a 10-month-old baby. I couldn’t even buy medicines for her when she was sick last week,” said Gunarathna Vaani… “There are no medicine stocks available in the market. Even basic tablets like paracetamol or Benadryl are not there. I had to borrow medicines from my neighbors to treat my baby,” she told DW.”

https://www.dw.com/en/sri-lankans-running-out-of-food-fuel-and-medicine/a-61773302


Pakistan Default Risk Surges as Ousted Khan Plans New Protests.

“Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif faces a crucial few weeks when he must end fuel subsidies and convince the International Monetary Fund he’s doing enough to win a bailout, while ousted premier Imran Khan threatens new protests amid soaring inflation.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-13/pakistan-default-risk-surges-as-ousted-khan-plans-new-protests


‘They’re imposing famine on us’: Soaring food prices fuel angry protests in Iran.

“Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in cities across southeastern Iran since the beginning of the week. They are protesting against sudden increases in the price of staple foods, which have soared up to 300% for some products.”

https://observers.france24.com/en/middle-east/20220513-they-re-imposing-famine-on-us-protests-spread-among-iranians-faced-with-soaring-food-prices


Dubai’s workers struggle with cost of living crisis…

“Food delivery riders for Talabat, a unit of Germany’s Delivery Hero, have gone on an illegal strike to protest over their low wages as the rising cost of living sparks widening unrest among the poorest workers… The rare outbreak of industrial unrest in the Gulf state comes as fuel prices have soared since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

https://www.ft.com/content/17fc356f-4351-4f2d-9001-c9b4c61e4b52


Lebanon Central Bank Governor’s Son Moved Millions Abroad While Lebanese Watched Blocked Savings Dwindle.

“In late 2019, a financial crisis led Lebanese banks to block most depositors from withdrawing or transferring U.S. dollars. But the central bank governor’s son was able to move more than $6.5 million overseas, leaked documents show.”

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/lebanon-central-bank-governors-son-moved-millions-abroad-while-lebanese-watched-blocked-savings-dwindle


With floods and electricity shortages, South Africa’s economy is threatening to go into reverse…

“The port city of Durban and the wider KwaZulu-Natal province in eastern South Africa were besieged by the country’s worst flash flooding for decades in April, which killed hundreds and throttled freight operations at sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest port.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/13/floods-and-electricity-shortages-south-africas-economy-threatening-downturn.html


Air Zimbabwe grounded by jet fuel shortage.

“Troubled national flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe, has grounded its planes because of jet fuel shortages, a development which could result in flight schedule disruptions. In a statement Thursday, the airline management said passengers will be advised on flight schedule changes as soon as possible.”

https://www.newzimbabwe.com/air-zimbabwe-grounded-by-jet-fuel-shortage/


‘Now it will only get worse’: Cuba grapples with impact of Ukraine war.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine has created fresh problems for its Caribbean ally Cuba, already shaken by street protests and facing severe financial stress amid tighter US sanctions and a pandemic-induced collapse in tourism.”

https://www.ft.com/content/1f3bbd52-4ef9-4c6f-88fa-e9f06a235114


Chilean Journalist Dies After Being Shot During May Day Protests

“A journalist who was shot near May Day protests in the Chilean capital Santiago died Thursday, a hospital official said, as the country’s president promised there would be no “impunity” in the case. The death of 30-year-old Francisca Sandoval was also confirmed in a statement…”

https://www.voanews.com/a/chilean-journalist-dies-after-being-shot-during-may-day-protests-/6569804.html


Thousands of Argentines protest soaring inflation.

“Calls to protest have become more frequent since the start of the year, as the Argentine economy shows no signs of stemming its inflationary trend. In the first four months of 2022, prices rose 23 percent, including a 6 percent jump in April, according to figures published Thursday.”

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220512-thousands-of-argentines-protest-soaring-inflation


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.