Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

11th December 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Central banks, markets are now operating in opposite realities. Remember the “everything rally”? …Well, it’s back. The last month has seen the same kind of all-encompassing buoyancy overtake financial markets across virtually all geographies, asset classes, styles and sectors.

“Sensing victory in the fight against inflation, traders have electrified financial markets with the growing belief that big cuts to interest rates are coming soon.

“The problem with this market-wide prophecy is that it could be self-defeating… Meanwhile, the Fed has not even acknowledged that rates have risen high enough for its liking.”


“Central banks prepare to rebuff investors over path of interest rates…

“Leading central banks are preparing to rebuff investors’ bets about the pace at which interest rates will fall, as they meet for the final time this year amid strong employment numbers.”


“America’s biggest threat is debt…

“The US government debt has skyrocketed from $3.5 trillion in 2000 to $34 trillion now, or nearly 125 per cent of its GDP. More than half of this increase is due to waging wars, the rest to Covid expenses and financial crises.”


“Bank credit has officially entered contraction territory.

“After witnessing one of the sharpest drops on record. Since 1974, a contraction has only happened ONE time: During the 2008 Financial Crisis.”


“‘It’s lending on steroids’: How Buy Now, Pay Later companies are meeting an influx of demand despite higher costs [US].

“On Cyber Monday, BNPL purchases hit an all-time high, up 43% from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics. The number of items per order also rose 11% annually as shoppers used BNPL for larger purchases. Like credit cards, these companies allow customers to make purchases even if they don’t have the money on hand…”


“Around 50,000 children in Northern Ireland — 12% — are going without the basics like warmth, fresh food or a celebration this Christmas.

“That’s the startling figure revealed in new research from Action for Children, which also revealed a third of children aged eight to 18 across the UK fear a friend or classmate won’t get any presents or celebrate Christmas this year because their family can’t afford it.”


“Millions of young children are being exposed to potentially life-threatening mould as a growing number of Britons in the grip of the energy crisis struggle to heat their homes this winter.

“Shock new figures shared with The Independent reveal that one in three young families in the UK are stuck in homes with a recurring mould problem.”


“‘Time is running out for the economy’: UK’s tax level highest on record.

“The UK’s tax level has soared to an all time high, according to new figures, raising deep concerns about the nation’s appeal to businesses and investors. The UK’s tax-to-GDP ratio jumped to 35.3 per cent in the 2022/23 financial year, according to the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).”


“Unpopular hydrogen trials to be expanded to thousands more homes [UK].

“Hydrogen could replace natural gas in thousands of homes under controversial plans to decarbonise entire towns in Britain’s push towards net zero. Ministers have asked the UK’s main gas network operators to nominate the most suitable towns…”


“Is Britain facing an EV car finance bombshell?

“In the 12 months to October 2023, some £17bn was loaned by financial institutions to motorists looking to purchase a new car. Of these, one in five new cars sold in Britain is an electric vehicle. According to the motor industry, some of these… are losing more than half of their value within 12 months. This collapse in value is prompting concern among financial experts.”


“How Mounting Demand for Rubber Is Driving Tropical Forest Loss…

“Electric automobiles are typically a third heavier than equivalent combustion-engined vehicles, largely because of the weight of their batteries. Also, they can accelerate and brake faster, which adds further to wear and tear on tires.”


“Net zero has doomed Europe’s car industry…

“One of the main reasons it costs around a third less to manufacture batteries in China than in Europe is cheap energy. But China’s energy is not just cheap, it is very dirty, too. In 2022, 61 per cent of Chinese electricity was coal-powered. We call electric cars ‘zero emissions’, but their manufacture is anything but.”


“Europe in recession, no engines of growth.

““Final figures confirmed eurozone GDP contracted 0.1% in the third quarter. What’s more, the detailed breakdown showed the European economy has no engines of growth at the moment. Although private consumption posted a small gain over the previous quarter, the near-term outlook still looks dire…,”Oxford Economics said.”


“China’s consumer prices fell the fastest in three years in November while factory-gate deflation deepened, indicating rising deflationary pressures as weak domestic demand casts doubt over the economic recovery.

“The consumer price index (CPI) dropped 0.5% both from a year earlier and compared with October, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Saturday.”


“Chinese property stocks are now down ~65% from their highs and back to 2008 levels.

“Over the last year, sales of Chinese property stocks are down almost 25%. To put this in perspective, this is worse than 2008 when sales fell by ~20%. China also cut interest rates on $5.6 trillion of mortgages with their HY real estate index down 80%+. China’s real estate market is beyond recession territory.”


“New clashes between Chinese and Philippine ships as row over disputed islands escalates…

“The Philippines claims that the Chinese coastguard assaulted three of their vessels with water cannon blasts and rammed one of them, causing “serious engine damage”, while China’s coastguard accused the Filipinos of intentionally ramming their ship.”


“Fighting engulfs over two-thirds of Myanmar, fueling humanitarian needs.

“Over half a million people have been displaced in Myanmar amid a surge in fighting between the military and armed groups that started in late October and has spread to over two-thirds of the country, the UN humanitarian affairs office reported on Friday.”


“For Myanmar’s generals, energy crisis threatens shaky grip on power…

“Myanmar’s natural gas reserves, a key revenue source for the ruling State Administration Council (SAC), are set to dwindle drastically in the coming years, posing a major threat to the already generals struggling to quell opposition to their rule.”


“‘People are fearful’: Guyana alert for land grab by Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro…

““We are not in need of Mr Maduro’s ID cards! We already have one. We are Guyanese!” said Ashley. “Even the Venezuelans who have sought refuge here stand with us on this. They do not want to suffer more of the hardship that sent them here in the first place.””


“Return of The Beast, the train that mutilates migrants’ dreams.

“In Mexico, with laws preventing undocumented foreigners from taking buses – and with many vehicles in the hands of criminal groups – migrants have turned to the feared freight train, which travels across the country to the U.S. border.”


“A crisis at the Mexico border felt in Ukraine.

“…the infamous border wall that cuts through the desert between Mexico and the state of California has long been a focal point for America’s heated debate on migration. But with funding for the war in Ukraine and Gaza on the line in Washington DC, the issues at the wall have taken on new urgency.”


“Much of Kenya falls into darkness in the third nationwide power blackout in 3 months.

“A power blackout has hit Kenya, paralyzing large parts of the country, and the transport minister is calling for an investigation into “possible acts of sabotage and coverup” over the third nationwide outage in three months.”


“Kenyan Lending Rates Heading Toward 30%, Standard Reports.

“Kenyan banks have begun aggressively raising lending rates, with interest charges potentially reaching 30% in the coming months… The surge is set to burden borrowers with substantial debt servicing costs against the backdrop of a rising cost of living…”


“Ethiopia Is About to Become Africa’s Next Debt Defaulter.

“Ethiopia is set to join Zambia and Ghana as a sovereign defaulter, with an interest payment falling due to its bondholders on Monday that the the state says it won’t meet. The government last week held what it referred to as restricted discussions with some of the holders of its $1 billion of eurobonds, the Finance Ministry said in a statement late Friday.”


“War-torn Sudan faces ‘catastrophe’ as UN funds run short.

“The United Nations has only been able to reach a fraction of the nearly 25 million people needing aid in war-devastated Sudan, the head of the UN’s humanitarian response in the country says. But assistance to even those four million could soon stop if the chronic lack of funding continues…”


“Hunger, thirst and chaos in southern Gaza as hostilities drive humanitarian aid to the brink of collapse.

“A dire food and water shortage is putting many at risk of infection and death, according to humanitarian aid groups that stressed difficulties in delivering aid due to the intensity of hostilities. Israel continued to intensify its offensive in southern Gaza into Sunday.”


“Violence escalates between Israel, Lebanon’s Hezbollah…

“Senior Hezbollah politician Hassan Fadlallah, in a statement to Reuters, said Israeli air strikes were a “new escalation” to which the group was responding with new types of attacks, be it “in the nature of the weapons (used) or the targeted sites”.”


“Middle-class fears of losing a high standard of living because of green policies is driving the rise of the far right across the world, the president of Colombia has warned.

“In a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian at the Cop28 UN climate summit, Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s first leftwing president, said the world had to find carbon-free ways of being prosperous…”


“COP28 enters crunch time with countries at odds over fossil fuels…

“Despite the rapid growth of renewable energy, today, fossil fuels produce around 80% of the world’s energy. Negotiators told Reuters other OPEC and OPEC+ members [in addition to Saudi] including Russia, Iraq and Iran have also resisted attempts to insert a fossil fuel phase-out into the COP28 deal.”


“The US and OPEC+ are once again locked in a battle to establish a dominant position for control over oil prices.

“Oil prices have been on the slide for the past seven weeks; the longest sustained drop for around five years. From a 2023 high point of $94 a barrel at September’s end, international benchmark Brent Crude sunk to $75 per barrel on Friday.”


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 an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.

8th December 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Higher interest rates are here to stay, so we need a rethink…

“The possibility that a sharp rise in interest rates would dramatically increase interest payments on existing debt, including debt held by central banks as bank reserves, was simply dismissed. But here we are: the Fed, which previously paid zero interest on these reserves, is now paying more than 5%…

“While it is feasible to expand social programmes or boost military capabilities without running large deficits, doing so without raising taxes is not costless. We are likely to find out the hard way that it never was.”


“Andrew Bailey [Bank of England] has joined a growing chorus warning of the risk to the [global] financial system of a collapse in the £1.8 trillion private credit market, which boomed in the era of rock-bottom interest rates.

“The scale of these loans, which are often considered high-risk and take place behind closed doors rather than in banks or in public debt markets, has more than tripled globally since 2015.”


“How deglobalization could ripple across the economy.

“Major economic powers, including the U.S., are turning inward — a trend sped up by the pandemic and efforts to boost domestic industries… These geopolitical divides could create a more brittle global economy, warned IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva and other leading thinkers at a Council on Foreign Relations event on Wednesday.”


“Global central banks maintain gold buying momentum in October: World Gold Council…

“The People’s Bank of China continued its trend as the largest purchaser of gold in October, adding 23 tons to its reserves. This marked the twelfth consecutive monthly addition, bringing the year-to-date purchase of gold by PBoC to 204 tons, with its overall reserves reaching 2,215 tons.”


“U.S. consumers are still spending freely, and they’re using their credit cards to do it.

“U.S. consumers added another $2.9 billion to their revolving debts—mainly credit cards—in October, bringing the total to a fresh record high of nearly $1.3 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. It was the smallest rise in credit card debt since June’s decline.”


“The income needed to afford a typical home in the US hits a record 41.4% in 2023. This is up from 21.1% in 2012 and 28.5% in 2020, according to Redfin.

“On a POST-TAX basis, homebuyers are spending nearly 60% of their income on home payments. A homebuyer would need to make at least $110,000 per year to spend 30% or less of their income on home payments. How is this sustainable?”


“Doomsday company seeks ‘average’ buyers for its 575 bunkers — for $55K each.

“In South Dakota’s Black Hills mountain range, an end times-focused real estate agency of sorts called Vivos is looking to offload hundreds of catastrophe-ready apartments… Unlike other bunker retailers, they’re not targeting billionaires or Armageddon-obsessives — but basic buyers who are aware that the world is a mess and it’s good to be ready for whatever may come.”


“‘It’s a crutch to lean on’ – The Irish Prepper Community is growing.

“When you think of preppers, people who live their lives in a state of readiness for a catastrophe, one’s mind wanders to images of Americans in massive bunkers. But did you know that Ireland has an active prepper community of 3000 people.”


“‘We never drop below 30 toilet rolls’: the Britons stockpiling for a crisis…

“Kathryn puts a lot of thought into what goes into her family’s stockpile. “I’ve finessed the stash as time has gone on and it’s now both streamlined and all-encompassing,” she said. “I’m confident that my family and I could now live quite comfortably from it for at least two months, if not longer.””


“Sellafield, Europe’s most hazardous nuclear site, has a worsening leak from a huge silo of radioactive waste that could pose a risk to the public, the Guardian can reveal.

“Concerns over safety at the crumbling building, as well as cracks in a reservoir of toxic sludge known as B30, have caused diplomatic tensions with countries including the US, Norway and Ireland…”


“EU Says Nuclear Energy Is Clean After All.

“27 EU member ministers agreed at a meeting this week that nuclear power should be included in the list of acceptable strategic technologies. With this new position, the number of strategic net-zero technologies available to members increases from 8 to 10.”


“Eurozone banks ‘greenwash’ loans to big polluters, ECB says.

“Commercial banks in the eurozone that portray themselves as green are doing the most new lending to big polluters, according to a blog published by the European Central Bank on Wednesday.”


“The EU is set to give member states powers to end gas imports from Russia and Belarus nearly two years after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“The proposal could provide a basis for EU energy companies to get out of contracts with Russian gas providers without having to pay hefty compensation, according to a senior official of the bloc.”


“German coalition parties at loggerheads as budget crisis grows…

“The failure of talks between coalition leaders before Wednesday means it is unlikely parliament will approve a 2024 budget by the end of the year, leaving in limbo spending plans from climate projects to benefits and for local authorities.”


“Vladimir Putin and the leader of Saudi Arabia have urged members of the OPEC+ oil cartel to follow through with an agreement to cut supplies as oil prices plunge.

“The Russian president and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said other countries joining its agreement to reduce output is in the interests of the global economy.”


“Oil heads for 7th weekly loss as supply surplus, weak China demand weigh on market…

“Concerns about China’s economy and surging U.S. oil output have also fuelled the market’s downturn this week. Chinese customs data showed its crude oil imports in November fell 9% from a year earlier as high inventory levels, weak economic indicators and slowing orders from independent refiners weakened demand.”


“China’s imports unexpectedly shrank in November from a Covid-19-hit period one year ago, dashing hopes domestic demand would rebound from a low base to spur growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

“Imports in US dollar terms declined 0.6 per cent after clocking an improvement the previous month… That was much worse than economists’ consensus forecast of a 3.9 per cent gain.”


“Chinese property is beyond repair. How can creditors delay its collapse?

“Since the beginning of 2020, at least 60 China property issuers with more than $140bn in outstanding dollar bonds have defaulted, Barclays calculates… Patch up the roof, ignore the foundations, feed the hedgies… It won’t even right-size any balance sheets. It certainly won’t help sell more houses. But it might just be enough to give the can one more kick.”


“Japan’s Deepest Contraction Since Pandemic Clouds Path for BOJ.

“Japan’s economy shrank at the sharpest pace since the height of the pandemic, an outcome that complicates the policy path for the Bank of Japan amid soaring speculation it is edging closer to scrapping the world’s last negative rate regime.”


“Thailand, Myanmar to form aid task force as border unrest intensifies…

“Violence has intensified in Myanmar’s border regions as an alliance of ethnic minority armies carry out coordinated attacks against the military, emboldening pro-democracy resistance fighters to target security forces elsewhere. The United Nations estimates more than 300,000 people have been displaced since October…”


“Peru’s Economic Miracle Destroyed by Non-Stop Political Chaos…

“Now under President Dina Boluarte, it is mired in the harshest recession in two decades excluding the pandemic. Its branches of government are all in crisis and experts are sounding alarm bells not just about its economy, but about the health of its democratic institutions.”


“The nightmare economic in-tray awaiting Argentina’s Javier Milei…

“At the root of Argentina’s problems is the government’s chronic overspending. The size of the state has almost doubled over the past two decades, with the government expanding the public sector payroll, handing out hefty fuel and electricity subsidies and boosting welfare programmes.”


“Soaring pollution in Pakistan’s Lahore fills wards with sick children…

“”We are disturbed and tense,” said Mohamad Qadeer, holding a nebulizing device to his three-year-old daughter Rameen’s nose, engulfing her face in a billow of steam delivering medication to ease her congested airways.”


“One of Sudan’s biggest cities has been struck by a fly infestation of a size and intensity never seen before.

“Port Sudan, the northeast African country’s main seaport and the source of 90 per cent of its international trade, faces a looming health crisis as billions of flies infiltrate homes, offices and food supplies… The infestation follows a mass migration of people to the port city after vicious fighting broke out in the capital Khartoum earlier this year.”


“Egypt Needs Cash and Gaza War Gives World New Reasons to Help Out.

“Two months ago, Egypt looked like a country in grave danger of financial collapse. Now the world has urgent new reasons to come to the rescue. Israel’s war with Hamas has put Egypt center-stage. It’s the only gateway for aid to reach Gaza, and besieged Palestinians to escape.”


“UN chief rings alarm bell on global security threat from Gaza war.

“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a rare move on Wednesday to formally warn the Security Council of a global threat from the Gaza war as Arab states seek to leverage that to renew a push for the council to call for a ceasefire.”


“Two months of Israel-Gaza war: How divided is the world?

“The war has cleaved the world between those calling for a ceasefire, those backing Israel and some sitting on the fence… diplomatic clashes have… deepened. UN votes, public comments and major diplomatic steps over the past two months have underscored just how divisive the war has been for the world.”


“Prescription Drug Prices Are Soaring – Soon, They Might Be Rationed.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have indicated that they might impose discriminatory guidelines in the latest round of Medicare drug pricing negotiations. These guidelines would unfairly prioritize the care of certain patients over others…”


“Emergency hospital services are closing because of staff shortages.

“The world has faced a shortage of medical workforce for decades. Failure to tackle problems of recruitment and retention, accelerated by the covid-19 pandemic, is now manifesting in the closure of urgent and emergency services, and even whole hospitals, across high income countries.”


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 an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.

6th December 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Central banks could soon turn their taps back on…

“Gold has just hit an all time high of $2,100 an ounce. Bitcoin… has soared back above $40,000 a unit, doubling in a year. Even the bond market is rallying.

“There is a stark message in those extreme price movements. It is not just that interest rates may have peaked as inflation starts to come under control. The markets are betting that central banks will soon have no choice but start printing money again to bail out bankrupt governments.”


“Central banks ‘not out of the woods’ in inflation battle – BIS…

“Central banks are proving “laser focused” in bringing inflation down, Borio added, but in a further sign of the softening rhetoric he said they needed to be “flexible and nimble” if a slowing global economy required it.”


“Global banks face negative outlook, property stress in 2024 – Moody’s…

“Sluggish global growth, a higher risk of borrowers defaulting on loans and pressure on profitability mean that banks face a negative outlook in 2024, credit rating agency Moody’s said on Monday. Prior rate hikes by central banks and rising unemployment in advanced economies will weaken asset quality…”


“Real estate 2024: get ready for the hard grind.

“Whatever happens to interest rates next year, finance costs are not returning to pandemic lows. That’s a big burden for investors, developers and contractors, as well as home buyers and owners in mortgage stress.”


“Companies Are Going Broke Gradually, Not Suddenly.

“Like a US recession or China’s post-Covid rebound, a wave of corporate defaults was anticipated this year — but didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean it won’t… Financial strength has been declining for a while, a trend that was only briefly interrupted by the attempted cleanup in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.”


“Deflating ‘QT cushion’ may have raised red Fed flag…

“…these moves may matter an awful lot: both to U.S. bank credit going into next year’s economic slowdown as well as asset prices that many reckon feed directly off funding liquidity shifts in the system… the marriage of falling credit demand and supply could pack a greater punch to the U.S. economy next year than seen in the tightening process to date.”


“Collapsed US money supply is a threat to employment, growth, and inflation, Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel says.

“US money supply has seen its longest stagnation since World War II, according to Jeremy Siegel. The Wharton professor said the US now faces major recession, unemployment, and deflation risks. “You can’t really have a growing economy when the M2 money supply is decreasing,” Siegel told CNBC.”


“U.S. manufacturing activity has been in contraction territory for 13 months, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s November factory index — the longest such stretch since August 2000 to January 2002.

“November’s PMI remained flat at 46.7, although new orders ticked up 2.8 percent to reach 48.3. Nearly every subindex supporting the PMI read below 50, the demarcation line between contraction and growth.”


“U.S. and China diverge on how to avert military clashes.

“…the prospects for defusing tensions between the two countries and promoting deeper cooperation seem grim. The U.S. and China have opposing views on how to navigate bilateral relations; their approaches to preventing military confrontation are like oil and water.”


“Taiwan’s Big China ETF Bust Shows Extent of Financial Decoupling.

“Taiwan’s economic and financial decoupling from China has deepened with the near-collapse of what was once the world’s largest Chinese bond exchange-traded fund market. It’s the latest example of the widening gap in relations between the two economies…”


“China’s state banks stepped in to support yuan Tuesday, Moody’s downgraded China’s outlook.

“…major state-owned banks buying yuan and selling US dollars (by swapping yuan for dollars in the onshore swap market, then selling the dollars in the spot market) after Moody’s cut China’s outlook to negative in the afternoon the intervention gathered pace.”


“Wanxiang Trust: Another Chinese ‘shadow bank’ faces major financial trouble.

“Wanxiang Trust, an investment and asset management company in China, has reportedly missed payments on several investment products to investors, adding to fresh worries about the stability of the country’s shadow banking sector.”


“Australia’s economy slows to a crawl, consumer spending surprisingly weak.

“Australia’s economy barely grew in the third quarter as exports flagged and households – reeling from a surge in mortgage payments – were reluctant to spend, suggesting rate hikes were working to restrain demand.”


“English town halls face unprecedented rise in bankruptcies, council leaders warn.

“The financial crisis engulfing English local authorities will trigger an unprecedented increase in town hall bankruptcies in the coming months, local government leaders have warned, as they prepare to increase council tax bills and impose a fresh round of cuts to services.”


“‘Stock up on candles and battery-powered radios’: Deputy PM says UK must be prepared for catastrophe…

“He spoke ahead of the launch of a government website designed to encourage people to be ready for major incidents. These includes terrorism, natural disasters, cyber attacks or even another pandemic like coronavirus.”


“Dublin Riots Expose Irish Frustration at Housing, Cost-of-Living Crisis…

“The riot was spurred in part by disinformation and online rumors about a possible foreign attack, despite the lack of any proof. But the agitators harnessed a deeper set of grievances among young people, struggling with spiraling prices and a desperate lack of affordable housing.”


“Ireland has admitted that it can no longer provide accommodation to all asylum seekers due to a severe shortage of emergency housing, and will hand out tents and sleeping bags where needed.

““Despite intensive efforts to source emergency accommodation, the Department (of Integration) is currently not in a position to provide accommodation to all international protection applicants due to the severe shortage,” said a statement sent to AFP on Monday.”


“More EU countries threaten to close Russian borders amid migrant surge…

“Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are increasingly concerned after Finland last week shut all of its crossings with Russia for two weeks after undocumented migrants from crisis-hit countries in the Horn of Africa and Asia entered the Nordic nation.”


“Eurozone moves closer to recession…

“A closely watched survey of businesses in the single currency area remained in contractionary territory, according to the purchasing managers’ index. The monthly PMI for the eurozone was 47.6, below the 50 mark that indicates overall growth.”


“German cabinet tries to solve ‘no-debt’ crisis after court outlaws budget.

“You know it’s a crisis when Germany’s Green vice-chancellor cancels attending a climate summit. Robert Habeck, who’s also economy minister, was supposed to be at the COP28 summit this week in Dubai. Instead, he is in Berlin, wrangling with coalition partners…”


“Germany’s budget woes risk dampening its chipmaking ambitions.

“Germany’s budget crisis could affect plans to hand out billions of euros in government subsidies to chip companies, potentially stymying its hopes of playing a significant role in the global semiconductor industry.”


“Olive oil price skyrockets as Spanish drought bites…

“Spain is the world’s biggest olive oil producer, covering 70% of European Union consumption and 45% of that of the entire world. The lack of rain that this province and other olive-producing areas around Spain have been seeing therefore has an enormous impact on both the amount of oil being produced and its price.”


“South African economy contracts marginally in third quarter.

“The South African economy recorded a minor contraction in the third quarter of this year as output fell in the agriculture, mining and construction industries, statistics agency data showed on Tuesday. The 0.2% contraction in quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted terms was slightly larger than the 0.1% predicted.”


“Once lauded for opening borders to African refugees, South Africa is trying to clamp down on migrants ahead of next year’s elections.

“The government was forced to extend special residence permits for some nationals from Zimbabwe and Lesotho by two years after the appeals court barred it from rescinding them… Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is appealing the ruling, warning foreign nationals are placing an excessive burden on taxpayers.”


“Why record numbers of Rohingya refugees are making a ‘terrifying’ boat trip to Indonesia.

“Many fled to the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh in the wake of a brutal 2017 campaign of ethnic cleansing waged by Myanmar’s armed forces — known as the Tatmadaw — but are now forced to flee again with conditions deteriorating in the camp.”


“Karabakh refugees in Armenia face uncertainty and poverty in exile…

“Alina Harutyunyan, 34, fled her village of Harutyunagomer – Qizilqaya in Azerbaijani – with dozens of others in the back of an industrial truck belonging to one of her neighbours. Now she, her husband and four children share one room on the ground floor of a derelict library.”


“Pakistan economy: Price spikes, political woes hit millions.

“…and there is more uncertainty on the horizon, with soaring inflation, energy prices due to increase further in January and a general election looming in February. Industrialists in Karachi… have even threatened to shut down production completely on 4 December, unless the government reverses unprecedented gas tariff hikes.”


“The World Food Programme said on Tuesday it had paused general food distribution in north Yemen due to limited funding and disagreement with local authorities over how to focus on the poorest there.

“Sanaa and northern Yemeni regions are under the control of the Iran-aligned Houthi group…”


“Oil CEO says blaming the energy industry for the climate crisis ‘like blaming farmers for obesity’.

“The burning of coal, oil and gas is by far the largest contributor to the climate crisis, accounting for more than three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s our societal consumption that is the issue,” Majid Jafar told CNBC’s Dan Murphy on Tuesday.”


“World’s major oil producers spurn fossil fuel phase-out in net zero push…

“The Net Zero Tracker, an independent data consortium including Oxford University, said its findings laid bare the gap between the targets countries have set to avoid disastrous levels of climate change and their real-world plans to continue producing CO2-emitting energy.”


“Global wind power outlook takes hit from US weakness, China slowdown.

“The global wind power sector will add less capacity in the next decade than previously expected due to financial trouble in the U.S. offshore wind industry and sluggish approval and project execution in China, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said on Tuesday.”


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 an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.

4th December 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

““Local” Wars Keep Punishing Global Markets. It is becoming impossible to ignore how seemingly isolated foreign wars create disruptions that ripple through the global economy…

“A complete account of war’s costs must include the market shocks felt by global markets, including how conflict undermines economic performance and puts developing countries at risk.”


“Despite rising demand, arms sales hampered by production woes, says Stockholm study.

“Dr Diego Lopes da Silva, a senior researcher at Sipri, told AFP that… the slowdown in revenue was “unexpected”. “What the decrease really shows is that there is a time lag between a demand shock like the war in Ukraine and the ability of companies to scale up production and really meet that demand,” he said.”


“Gold prices notched a new record on Monday for a second day in a row — with spot prices touching $2,100 as the global rush for bullion appears set to continue…

“Prices of the yellow metal have risen for two consecutive months with the Israel-Palestinian conflict boosting demand for the safe-haven asset, while expectations of interest rate cuts have provided further support.”


“The global economy isn’t out of danger, despite what you’re hearing…

“The global economy is still grappling with the effects of significantly increased borrowing costs. In an environment where interest rates are projected to remain elevated for a prolonged period, refinancing certain debt contracts – particularly in the commercial real-estate sector – becomes increasingly difficult.”


“Global recession is knocking on the door…

“The overall global balance sheet is under stress as well. The fiscal space is shrinking with high debt levels and ever rising financing costs. The fiscal buffers are fast eroding and countries are breaching their debt ceilings.”


“Here’s why some bond traders care so much about the US government’s budget deficit…

“How do we manage the budget deficit? Does that require more tax? Can you inflate it away? Can you grow out of it? So that’s very top of mind amongst creditors. It’s not just the spending, it’s also the lack of revenue… There are a lot of moving parts and potential implications of the deficit.”


“Is the world’s most important asset market [US Treasuries] broken?

“…Debt-ceiling brinkmanship has pushed America towards a technical default. Rising interest rates and incontinent spending have seen debt balloon: the country’s total stock of it now amounts to $26.6trn (96% of gdp), up from $12.2trn (71% gdp) in 2013. Servicing costs come to a fifth of government spending.”


“What Happens If the U.S. Defaults on Its Debt?

“…A default could trigger significant volatility in financial markets. Investors might panic, leading to a sell-off in Treasury securities, which are typically considered one of the safest assets. This could also result in a sharp decline in bond prices and a spike in interest rates…”


“Billions in U.S. Funding Hasn’t Convinced Developing World to Ditch Coal.

“Wealthy nations are sending tens of billions of dollars to poorer ones for clean energy, the linchpin of a global strategy to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in the developing world. But two of the most ambitious efforts yet—in South Africa and Indonesia—are now at risk of unraveling…”


“Net zero policy for new gas projects abandoned after industry objected [Australia].

“The Northern Territory government walked away from a proposal to set net zero emissions requirements for new onshore gas developments after the industry objected, government documents show… “Unfortunately, this has a strong sense of being the tip of the iceberg.”


“UK Water companies can make sewage pollution disappear from the official figures, a BBC Panorama investigation has revealed.

“Leaked documents suggest one firm, United Utilities, wrongly downgraded dozens of pollution incidents in north-west England last year. The Environment Agency signed off all the downgrades without attending any of the incidents.”


“Thames Water told by auditors it could run out of money by April. Company is expected to face further scrutiny over its debt when it publishes its results on Tuesday…

“The parent company of Thames Water has been warned by its auditors that it could run out of money by April if shareholders do not inject more cash into the debt-laden firm.”


“The number of UK households defaulting on essential payments has increased sharply ahead of the Christmas season…

“One in 10 households said they’d missed payments on their loans, credit cards or household bills in the month to 10 November – the highest level since the Which? Consumer Insight Tracker* began in April 2020. Consumers remain worried about price rises.”


“Macron at COP28: ‘Nuclear energy is back’.

“France and around twenty other countries signed a pledge to ‘triple nuclear energy capacity from 2020 by 2050’ at Dubai’s COP28 international gathering on Saturday. This declaration, which is not legally binding, recognises “the key role of nuclear energy in achieving global net-zero…”


“Uranium hitting 15-year highs as nuclear power demand surges.

“Uranium is trading at a 15-year high of more than $80 a pound. Experts say the astonishing rise from $48 a pound at the start of the year is partly a sign of the times. After years of rhetoric about cutting carbon emissions, many countries are now setting out longer-term ambitions to use nuclear power.”


“Ukraine on Saturday (Dec 2) said that the two power lines providing electricity supply to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant were snapped overnight, and placed it at risk of a “nuclear accident”…

“The plant remained at the centre of fighting from the time it was captured by Russian forces last year, and the two sides have held each other responsible for compromising its safety.”


“China Youths Swap City Dreams for Country Living as Jobs Crisis Mounts.

“… as the world’s second-largest economy slows, young people are bearing the brunt of an unemployment crisis that’s leaving one of five of them jobless. Families who invested in college educations for their children with the promise of a middle-class life now see their hopes dimming.”


“Chinese borrowers default in record numbers as economic crisis deepens…

“A total of 8.54mn people, most of them between the ages of 18 and 59, are officially blacklisted by authorities after missing payments on everything from home mortgages to business loans, according to local courts. That figure, equivalent to about 1 per cent of working-age Chinese adults, is up from 5.7mn defaulters in early 2020…”


“Global debt crisis goes well beyond China’s property sector woes.

“The crisis in China’s property sector has been in the spotlight in the past year, but the rise in global debt levels should not escape the world’s attention. Investors and analysts have been more focused on inflation, but with price rises abating, debt is likely to be the leading concern once again.”


“China on Monday said the United States was responsible for “deliberate stirring up” of tensions in the South China Sea, after a US warship navigated through waters claimed by Beijing.

““On December 4, littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords illegally entered the waters adjacent to Ren’ai Reef in the Nansha region of China without the approval of the Chinese government,” Southern Theatre Command spokesman Tian Junli said.”


“North Korea’s state media on Sunday warned that a “physical clash and war” have become a matter of time after the scrapping of a key military pact designed to reduce tensions with the South.

“The 2018 agreement, which aimed to reduce the chance of accidental military escalation along the highly-militarised border, fell apart late last month…”


“Tensions rise as Venezuelans vote on disputed territory in neighbouring Guyana.

“Venezuelans are voting in a referendum to supposedly decide the future of a large swath of neighbouring Guyana of which their government claims ownership, arguing the territory was stolen when a north-south border was drawn more than a century ago.”


“Guinea-Bissau president says this week’s violence was ‘attempted coup’…

“Clashes between the National Guard and special forces of the presidential guard broke out in Bissau on Thursday night and continued on Friday after National Guard soldiers freed two senior government officials who were detained on a corruption investigation.”


“Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Addresses Attempted Coup…

“The president revealed that investigations carried out by the security and intelligence community strongly indicate a premeditated and coordinated effort to overthrow the democratically elected government through violent and unlawful means.”


“How life be for Niger pipo wey dey live under tough sanctions [from BBC pidgin news]…

“For July, one group of di West African kontri neighbours place tough penalties to punish di Junta – wey dey limit di kontri trade, power supply and cash inflow. Leaders of di West African regional bloc bring dem in partly to prevent any coups for di Sahel region. Since 2020, six successful coups don happun for West Africa.”


“Near Sfax, refugees scramble after violent clashes with Tunisia police.

“…the fields around Al Amra have been locked down by the police and national guard as security units comb the area for a gun and ammunition reportedly lost during confrontations with the refugees and migrants sleeping rough there.”


“Israel says its ground forces are operating across ‘all of Gaza’.

“Israel continued with its intense bombing campaign across the north and south of Gaza for a third day since the end of the truce with Hamas, killing hundreds of Palestinians in a 24-hour period, according to local officials. On Sunday night, the Israeli military also said it has expanded its ground operation to all of Gaza.”


“Three commercial vessels attacked in Red Sea by Houthi rebels, says US.

“Three commercial vessels came under attack in international waters in the southern Red Sea, the US military said on Sunday, as Yemen’s Houthi group claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area.”


“A top Sudanese general has said the United Arab Emirates is sending supplies to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), publicly accusing the UAE of involvement in its war with its powerful paramilitary rival for the first time.

“Army leaders had previously only hinted at interference from unnamed neighbouring countries in the seven-month-old war, which has displaced more than 6 million people and triggered waves of ethnically driven killings in Darfur.”


“Cop28 president [UAE’s Sultan Al Jaber] says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels…

“Al Jaber said… “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C… Please help me, show me the roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.””


“Smog obscures Dubai skyline on ‘Health’ day at COP28 climate summit.

“Dubai’s glitzy skyline was obscured by a blanket of smog rated as “unhealthy” on Sunday as thousands of delegates attended the fourth day of the COP28 summit, which was designated as “health” day and where topics of discussion include air quality and the unhealthy affects of climate change.”


“Sam Altman, Sugarcoating the Apocalypse…

“Altman is no longer casting himself as humanity’s watchdog. He’s running a for-profit outfit, creating an A.I. cookbook. He’s less interested in peril than investors, less concerned about existential danger than finding A.I.’s capabilities… as Musk warned last Thursday, “The apocalypse could come along at any moment.””


“Doomsday Goals. A pessimist prepares for a job interview…

“HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS ROLE? …I was perusing crossbows at a yard sale upstate when this guy came over and invited me to a private Discord group. There, I met a guy who introduced me to a guy who knew a guy who told me about the job. Oh, also via LinkedIn.”


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 an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.

1st December 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Central banks ‘risk tipping UK and other developed countries into recession’… Stance on inflation poses threat to “soft landing”…

“The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the chances of policymakers getting it wrong were “pretty high” and posed a threat to its central “soft landing” forecast for the global economy.”


“Keep interest rates high or risk a return to 1970s inflation crisis, IMF warns…

“The Fund has urged central bankers to “pay the most attention” to the lessons of history, which suggest it takes “years to ‘resolve’ inflation by reducing it to the rate that prevailed before the initial shock”.”


“Why are US banks hoarding liquidity?

“…So what gives? Why would a bank hoard liquidity if (at least in theory) they’re losing money on it? He attributes this in part to the more-than-half-trillion-dollar elephant in the room: unrealised losses on bond portfolios.”


“New York’s Near Zombie Apocalypse…

“…wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale deposits that supply much of the eastern U.S. with natural gas froze, reducing production by 23% to 54%. While gas supply fell, demand for electricity and heating surged, causing the pressure in interstate pipelines that supply downstate New York to plunge.”


“Economist at Major Bank Warns of Possible Civil Unrest Over Housing [Canada].

“CIBC’s Benjamin Tal Tells Real Estate Forum Affordability Issues Require Urgent Action. An economist from one of Canada’s Big Five banks said housing affordability issues are now so acute civil unrest is a possibility.”


“Do they know something we don’t? UK health chiefs issue guidance on what to do in a radiation emergency amid escalating WW3 fears…

“Brits will be told to ‘go in, stay in, tune in’ if the UK is hit by a ‘radiation emergency’, according to new advice from health chiefs. The guidance was published today by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).”


“Chart of the week: Exploding debt [UK].

“Our chart this week takes a look at how UK public debt has exploded since the financial crisis to more than quintuple from £0.6trn in March 2008 to a projected £3.1trn in March 2029.”


“Sweden’s economy shrank in the third quarter of 2023 to mark the second time of contraction and signal that a recession may have hit the country.

“Data released Wednesday by Statistics Sweden showed that the country’s gross domestic product declined by 0.3% in the period ending in October.”


“Europe’s Longest Recession Grips Estonia as Region Suffers…

“The Baltic nation of 1.3 million registered its seventh-straight drop in gross domestic product in the third quarter, declining 1.3% from the previous three months, the statistics office said Thursday. The figure is down more than 4% from its peak at the end of 2021, according to the Bank of Estonia.”


“Slovak truckers to block Ukraine crossing, joining Polish protests…

“Slovak drivers staged a symbolic protest earlier this month but will begin their blockade at the Vysne Nemecke/Uzhhorod crossing from 3 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Friday. “The purpose of the protest is to join truck carriers from Poland,” UNAS said in a statement on its Facebook page on Wednesday. “We cannot leave them alone in the fight.””


“Euro-Zone Crisis Doom Loop Revisited by S&P in Warning for 2024.

“Euro-zone countries haven’t broken the link between public finances and banks that dominated the region’s sovereign debt crisis, and investors could refocus on that vulnerability next year, S&P Global Ratings said.”


“France ‘omits’ renewable energy target in 2030 energy-climate plan…

“Instead, France defined a “decarbonised energy” target corresponding to a 58% share of its final energy consumption, thus conflating renewables and nuclear in the same calculation. In doing so, France appears to dodge the EU’s renewable energy directive…”


“How Colombia’s dirty coal fuels Germany’s energy transition.

“At El Cerrejon, Latin America’s largest open-pit coal mine, reports of human rights abuses and environmental destruction are piling up. Is that compatible with Germany’s values-driven foreign policy and Supply Chain Act?”


“In China’s coal country, full steam ahead with new power plants despite climate pledges…

“Surrounded by cranes, the main building at the 3 billion-plus yuan ($419 million) Yushen Yuheng plant is taking shape, part of a spate of new coal-fired power construction in China even as the country pledges to begin reducing coal use during its next five-year plan, beginning in 2026.”


“China’s factories fall deeper into contraction, more policy support expected.

“China’s manufacturing activity shrank for a second straight month in November and at a quicker pace, suggesting more stimulus will be needed to shore up economic growth and restore confidence that the authorities can ably support industry.”


“China edges towards a big bail-out…

“According to Bloomberg, banks are being asked to supply unsecured short-term loans to a handful of developers. Prices of developer bonds traded in Hong Kong have risen recently on reports that authorities are drawing up a list of 50 firms eligible for new financing through banks, bonds and equities.”


“Two Chinese business executives at companies controlled by the embattled financial conglomerate Zhongzhi have gone missing, according to statements by their respective firms.

“The development comes just days after Chinese authorities launched a criminal investigation into the troubled shadow bank, one of China’s largest. Last week, Zhongzhi told its investors that it is “severely insolvent.””


“Argentina will not be joining the BRICS bloc of developing economies next year as scheduled, a senior official in President-elect Javier Milei’s team said Thursday…

“The move appears to be a preview of the drastic shift in foreign policy that will be implemented in Argentina once right-wing populist Milei takes office.”


“Brazil set to join OPEC+ in 2024.

“Brazilian Energy Minister Alexandre Silveira made the announcement on Thursday during a rescheduled OPEC+ meeting convened to discuss the oil output strategy for next year. Brazilian President Lula da Silva had already given consent for his country to join OPEC+, the minister said.”


“Sudan’s warring sides forcibly recruit civilians, even refugees who return.

“The two warring sides in Sudan have been forcibly recruiting civilians to join the fight, and conditions in some refugee camps outside the country are so awful that some men who fled have returned to Sudan, only to be captured and pressed into combat, refugees said.”


“UN warns of humanitarian ‘tsunami’ as Israel-Hamas hostilities resume…

“Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, said the population of Gaza had been weakened so much that he feared many people would start dying from diseases as well as Israel’s bombardment of the enclave.”


“Cargo vessels are being warned to be extra vigilant sailing near Yemen and Somalia after a spate of attacks on merchant shipping in the vicinity of Israel’s war in Gaza.

“On Wednesday the UK navy issued a security notification warning of multiple reports of small vessels acting suspiciously in the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean.”


“Why Kenya Power is teetering on brink of collapse…

“The corporation has suffered losses for seven consecutive years, totaling a staggering Sh4.43 billion before taxes. The report by the auditor general reveals alarming financial statistics, raising concerns about the company’s long-term sustainability. These worries persist despite the country’s frequent power outages.”


“Air Pollution Crisis Worsens As Iranian Winter Bites. The use of dirty low-quality fuels to produce electricity amidst a natural gas shortage raises risks as winter months require ever rising heating demands for families across the country.

“The National Crisis Management Center this week forecast a surge in air pollution levels across industrial hubs such as Tehran, Karaj, Arak, Esfahan, and Tabriz, coupled with a deterioration in air quality.”


“Kashmir’s oxygen-reliant patients in dire straits amid unscheduled power cuts…

“Patients and their families said they are grappling with the challenge of managing power backup solutions and ensuring the safety of their loved ones. While some have resorted to alternative power sources, these solutions come with their own set of challenges, and not everyone can afford generators or backups…”


“India turns to coal as hydro generation falls.

“India produced a record amount of electricity from coal in October to make up for a shortfall in hydro generation following lower-than-normal monsoon rains. Coal remains fundamental to the country’s energy security, despite rapid deployment of wind and solar generation, underscoring the challenge of reducing emissions.”


“Fossil fuels still dominate global power systems.

“Over 60% of global electricity generated so far in 2023 was produced by fossil fuels, despite the ongoing aggressive roll-out of renewable energy sources in every major economy. Several key countries have sourced well over half of their electricity from fossil fuels this year, including the United States (59%), China (65%), India (75%), Japan (63%), Poland (73%) and Turkey (57%)…”


“Oil and gas companies stall on net zero plans…

““Progress on emissions has stalled,” says Mike Coffin, a former BP geologist who is now head of oil, gas and mining at Carbon Tracker, a think-tank. “We’ve seen incremental progress from some people and some new net zero goals,” following on from initial targets, he notes, but very few commitments to cut production.”


“Yara announces world’s first clean ammonia-powered container ship…

“It’s far from a perfect solution; diesel still carries twice as much energy by weight and about two and a half times as much by volume. But ammonia can be burned cleanly in a combustion engine, provided the process is well managed to avoid producing nitrous oxides, it delivers enough energy to cover *some* shipping routes, and it’s a widely produced chemical for agricultural use, so it’s relatively accessible even today.”


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 an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.

29th November 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Just a heads-up that tomorrow’s climate thread will be later than usual and possibly a bit truncated, as I have a medical appointment in the morning.

“Most companies sponsoring the UN climate talks in Dubai are not committed to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions in line with globally recognised net zero targets, it has been revealed.

“Only one of the more than 20 sponsors of Cop28 has signed up to UN-backed net zero science-based targets, (SBTi), according to an analysis.”


“Will the Green Energy Stock Crash Continue Next Year?

“In a recent Bloomberg survey, 57% of respondents expected a continued downturn in green energy stocks next year. The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF has experienced a significant decline of over 30% this year, with investors split on whether it has hit rock bottom or not.”


“Wind and solar power face an end-of-life sustainability challenge… As the world switches to renewables, difficulties in dealing with spent panels and turbines are coming into focus…

“For context, the production of a 1-terawatt peak photovoltaic system, the EU’s aim by 2030, will require 56mn tonnes of steel, 12.5mn tonnes of aluminium, 42mn tonnes of glass, 29,000 tonnes of silver, 2.3mn tonnes of silicon and 7mn tonnes of copper…”


“US oil and gas production set to break record in 2023 despite UN climate goals.

“The United States is poised to extract more oil and gas than ever before in 2023, a year that is certain to be the hottest ever recorded, providing a daunting backdrop to crucial United Nations climate talks that hold the hope of an agreement to end the era of fossil fuels.”


“US home prices continued to rise in September, hitting a new record high and marking the eighth consecutive month of increases, according to data released Tuesday.

“Even as mortgage rates lingered above 7% in September, historically low inventory continued to push up the price of a home.”


“Mom’s viral TikTok sums up modern middle-class struggle; ‘We’re all one financial crisis away from disaster’…

“Mackenzie Moan and her husband live in a dual-income household. They work four jobs between the two of them: two full-time jobs and two side hustles, each. And they live paycheck to paycheck.”


“Shipping rates, bottlenecks, and backlogs have collapsed due to one of the worst freight recessions in history – after all, freight is a commodity.

“I suspect Biden is unaware of this. The industry is experiencing a bloodbath.”


“Irontrax to sell assets from the largest freight bankruptcy in history…

“The demise of Yellow Freight, a once-prominent trucking company, this past summer was attributed to years of poor management, substantial debts, and labor disputes with the Teamsters union.”


“National Christmas Tree Topples Over In Gusty Wind At White House.

“Gusty winds toppled the National Christmas Tree outside the White House on Tuesday afternoon, just two days before the massive evergreen is slated to be unveiled in a tree lighting ceremony, as part of one of the biggest holiday displays at the White House in years.”


“Christmas dinner at risk amid warnings of broccoli and Cauliflower shortages and ‘smaller sprouts’ [UK].

“Christmas at risk as Britain battles one of its toughest harvests after storms decimate vegetable crops, driving potato yields to record lows and produce shelves to empty right in time for the holidays. Shoppers face celebrating with smaller, pricier vegetables…”


“UK’s Fuel Poverty to Grip Over 20% of Households, Charity Says.

“The number of UK households in fuel poverty will continue to worsen, touching 6.5 million from January, because of a planned energy price increase and the scaling back of government support.”


“Britain’s growth outlook is ‘worst I’ve ever seen’, says Andrew Bailey.

“The Bank of England Governor raised concerns over the UK’s future prospects just days after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) slashed its predictions for growth over the next two years… “It does concern me that the supply side of the economy has slowed. It does concern me a lot.””


“Eurozone bank lending continues to weaken as economy adjusts to higher rates.

“Loans to businesses are now 0.3% lower than in October last year, the first annual decline since July 2015. This confirms that monetary tightening is having a clear effect on the economy. A divide between countries is also opening up, with Southern European countries mainly contributing negatively to the decline.”


“Europe Under Pressure to Confront Borrowing Dilemma.

“The EU’s longstanding rule limiting budget deficits to 3% of gross domestic product and public debt to 60% of GDP is supposed to kick in again in January. Finance ministers from the bloc’s 27 members are debating the details, but the bigger picture is clear: Borrowing can’t be allowed to run amok anymore.”


“Germany is having a budget crisis while the economy struggles.

“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed Tuesday that his government will work “as fast as possible” to solve a budget crisis, but he offered few details on how he would achieve his goals of promoting clean energy and modernizing the struggling economy…”


“Germany’s energy crisis is “definitely not finished,” with high natural gas prices still putting a strain on the country’s economy, Chancellor Olaf Scholz told lawmakers.

“Germany was among the countries hardest hit when Russia curbed shipments of pipeline gas to Europe last year, driving up energy costs and forcing Berlin to hand out billions of euros to ease the burden of soaring power and gas bills.”


“Crackdown on French far right urged after boy’s killing sparks protests.

“The French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin told France Inter broadcaster he was seeking to shut down Division Martel and two other groups he did not name, warning there was a risk of militias targeting people of different skin-colour.”


“Finland is closing all crossings on the Russian border after accusing Moscow of deliberately helping migrants into the country.

“Seven of eight road posts have already shut over a rise in crossings this month. The government now says the last, located in the Arctic Circle, will close on Thursday for two weeks.”


“Polish truckers extend blockade… [they] have been blockading border crossings with Ukraine for at least twenty days, protesting against an alleged loss of business due to the increased influx of Ukrainian drivers and companies in Poland.

“According to reports, the situation results in major shortages in Ukraine and affects the transport of fuels and humanitarian aid, among other things.”


“Austerity Plans Spark Czech Protests, Record School Strike.

“The Czech Republic faced one of the biggest displays of public discontent since the end of communism as unions protest spending cuts and tax hikes that the government sees as central to its agenda. More than 7,000 kindergartens and schools were closed across the country on Monday as part of a strike…”


“The human cost of China’s property crisis…

“Zhang, a 42-year-old make-up artist from the city of Hefei in Anhui province, had hoped to move into her new flat with her elderly parents in August. But two years after she paid a deposit for a 667 sq ft flat costing Rmb580,000 ($80,000), it is still not finished and she has not been able to get her deposit back from Evergrande.”


“China’s Nov factory activity likely contracted for second month.

“China’s manufacturing activity likely contracted for a second consecutive month in November, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, keeping alive calls for further stimulus measures as factory owners struggle for orders both at home and abroad.”


“Nepal’s Pro-King, Pro-Hindu Rallies Mask Deepening Economic Crisis…

“Shrestha believes a lot of the pro-monarchy din flows from Nepal’s parlous economic situation characterised by inflation and unemployment with an estimated 1000 young people leaving the country every day for jobs overseas. The politicians know this but seem unable to do anything to correct matters.”


“Capital takes flight as Peru’s crisis deepens.

“Between August and September, some US$1.92bn left the local market, while only US$42mn entered in the first half of the year, according to a recent central bank report. The short-term capital outflow is the biggest since 1Q22, when US$2.62bn left, and corresponds to non-financial assets.”


“Panama will shut one of the world’s largest copper mines, its president said on Tuesday, after the country’s Supreme Court struck down a Canadian company’s contract to operate it amid large protests.

“The court’s unanimous vote against the contract for the Cobre Panamá mine came after analysts and investors had begun to reassess Panama’s business-friendly image.”


“From tobacco to lobsters, how climate change is hitting Cuba’s economy.

“In Cuba, not only is the island hit by hurricanes that are becoming more frequent and powerful as sea temperatures rise; but long-term disruptions are already having serious consequences on two important economic sectors: Tabaco production and catching lobsters for export.”


“Cuban family business produces flour from coconut and yucca amid shortages.

“On a small farm outside Havana, a Cuban family-run business produces gluten-free flour from banana, coconut and yucca, preferring locally-sourced ingredients to pricey imports as Cubans seek innovative solutions to a growing food crisis.”


“Niger junta revokes law curbing migrant smuggling from Africa to Europe.

“Niger’s junta has signed a decree revoking a 2015 law that was enacted to curb the smuggling of migrants traveling from African countries through a key migration route in Niger en route to Europe, according to a government circular issued on Monday.”


“Inflation’s sharp slowdown across advanced economies has created a stand-off between markets and central banks over when borrowing costs will edge lower.

“To one side are central bankers warning it is too early to do a victory dance in their fight for stable prices, while on the other investors are already celebrating by betting on how soon interest rates will be cut.”


“Premium whisky prices decline as weak global economy hurts taste for luxury…

“The value of rare whiskies sold at auction has recorded the steepest fall in a decade other than during the pandemic, indicating that softening demand for luxury items is spreading to an asset class previously seen as a haven from volatile markets.”


“Virgin Atlantic completes first long-haul flight fully powered by sustainable fuel.

“The first trans-Atlantic flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel departed London for New York on Tuesday as the industry seeks to prove the viability of greener air travel. 787 burned a blend of 88% waste fats supplied by AirBP, and 12% synthetic aromatic kerosene made from plant sugars.”


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 an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.