Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

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

“Why the world is due for MORE conflicts…

“According to Justin Crump, an intelligence, security and defence expert and CEO of global risk analysis firm Sibylline, further regional conflicts can be expected in the years ahead, especially as climate change worsens and resources grow scarce, and as the world’s superpowers fight proxy wars with Grey Zone tactics.”


“The ‘New Cold War’: Rising Tensions in the East-West Geopolitical Climate.

“The world watches as the specter of a ‘new Cold War’ looms over the global geopolitical landscape. With tensions between the East and West escalating, echoes of the historical Cold War period pervade the international discourse.”


“Israel’s Netanyahu doubles down on opposition to Palestinian statehood.

““I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area in the west of Jordan – and this is contrary to a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu posted on X late on Saturday night, doubling down his opposition to a Palestinian state a day after speaking to the US president…”


“More than 25,000 people have now been killed in Gaza during Israel’s offensive there, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

“It said there had been 178 deaths in the last 24 hours, making it one of the deadliest days in the war so far. As fighting continued, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again rejected creating a Palestinian state.”


“Biden draws up plan for ‘sustained’ military action against Houthis…

“The US officials interviewed by the Post said that they do not expect the campaign to stretch on for years, as in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but could not estimate when it might end… However, others in the administration fear the US will end up entangled in yet another open-ended Middle Eastern conflict without an exit strategy.”


“The Oil Market Is Making Plans for Red Sea Chaos to Last Weeks.

““More and more owners are avoiding the area,” said Alexander Saverys, Chief Executive Officer of Euronav NV, whose own fleet can transport more than 50 million barrels of oil. “What looked like something that could be solved within weeks, now could indeed have consequences for many months.”


“Amid Rising Tensions With Iran, Pakistani Police Say Member Of Iranian-Backed Militant Group Arrested In Karachi.

“The Counter-Terrorism Department in Pakistan’s southwestern Sindh Province has said it has arrested a suspect in the 2019 attempted assassination attempt on a top Pakistani cleric, accusing the arrested man of being a “trained terrorist” who belongs to the Zainebiyoun Brigade, a militant group allegedly backed by Iran.”


“Iran-backed militants strike US-led coalition base in Iraq…

“”Multiple ballistic missiles and rockets were launched by Iranian-backed militants in western Iraq targeting al-Assad Airbase,” CENTCOM said in a social media post, which placed the time of the attack at 6:30 pm Baghdad time (1530GMT) Saturday evening.”


“UN envoy for Iraq warns against dragging Iraq further into regional conflict…

“”Despite the (Iraqi) government’s efforts to prevent the escalation of tensions, continued attacks originating from within and outside of Iraq’s borders stand to undo the hard-won stability of the country and the achievements it has made in recent years,” the UN envoy said.”


“Iran accuses Israel of killing Revolutionary Guards spy chief in Damascus.

“A suspected Israeli strike killed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ espionage chief for Syria and three other guard members on Saturday, Iran has said, in an attack that destroyed much of a multistorey residential building in Damascus.”


“Turkish Airstrikes Threaten Essential Infrastructure in North and East Syria.

“This recent spate of strikes marks the third such aggressive campaign by Turkey targeting North-East Syria’s vital infrastructure in the span of three months. The repeated targeting has ignited fears of an impending humanitarian disaster in the region.”


“Syria’s civilians are increasingly forgotten as humanitarian aid dries up.

“The Islamic State and drug kingpins fill the void as desperate civilians look for alternatives to feed themselves… The millions of civilians in need of humanitarian aid in Syria are bracing themselves for dwindling international help this year, after the World Food Programme has ended its mandate for the country as of 2024.”


“Bank credit is shrinking for the first time since the Great Recession – and that’s a red flag for the economy [US].

“Bank credit is seeing a sustained contraction for the first time since the Great Recession, according to Fed data. That means businesses are borrowing less, as high interest rates chip away at confidence levels.”


“The buy now, pay later holiday debt hangover has arrived, as consumers wonder how they’ll pay bills…

““Sales, especially online sales, were probably juiced to some extent because of buy now, pay later usage,” said Ted Rossman, senior analyst at Bankrate. “A lot of people are drawn to this financing method as an alternative to something like a credit card where the average interest rate is a record high 20.74%.””


“Energy costs have Britons borrowing to keep the lights on…

“Our latest analysis, published tomorrow, suggests that over 5mn people live in households that are behind on their energy bills. This spring, the typical monthly energy bill is expected to drop by about £20, but they remain worryingly high.”


“UK risks being ‘burnt-out nation’ due to poor mental health, charity says…

“The head of Mental Health UK has suggested global issues such as climate change and artificial intelligence fuelling “feelings of hopelessness” could be contributing to burnout. It comes after a survey revealed more than a third of adults faced extreme pressure in the workplace in the past year.”


“A British laser gun worth £140million has blown up drones in landmark new tests for the space age anti-missile weapon.

“The formidable prototype weapon dubbed “DragonFire” was fired at a remote range in Scotland’s outer Hebrides – with each shot costing just £10… The DSTL, based in Wiltshire, said it blasts targets at the speed of light.”


“European manufacturers and retailers face ‘chaotic’ period after Red Sea attacks…

“Delayed arrivals of components have brought some car manufacturers’ production lines to a halt. If the disruption endures, retailers’ inventories will probably be depleted because of the delays, and companies shipping goods face surcharges as shipping lines try to recoup the costs of diversions…”


“Red Sea crisis seeps into German chemicals sector.

“Germany’s chemicals sector, the country’s third-biggest industry after cars and engineering with annual sales of around 260 billion euros ($282 billion), relies on Asia for around a third of its imports from outside Europe.”


“German far-right leader hails Brexit as ‘model for Germany’…

“The far-right Alternative for Germany will push for a Brexit-style referendum on membership of the EU if it comes to power, its leader Alice Weidel said, hailing the UK’s exit from the bloc as “dead right”… Weidel was speaking against the backdrop of a big surge in support for the AfD…”


“Tens of thousands of protesters across France call on Macron not to sign immigration law.

“Tens of thousands of people marched in the streets of cities across France on Sunday to call on President Emmanuel Macron not to sign into law tough new legislation on immigration that they say bears the footprint of the far right and betrays French values.”


“Albania’s constitutional court is set to rule on a controversial migration deal made with Italy’s far-right government to utilize Albanian territory for establishing reception centers for individuals attempting to enter the European Union via the sea route.

“The court will examine if the arrangement violates Albania’s constitution by potentially ceding territory for migrant processing…”


“Farmers in Romania, France and Germany continue road convoy protests.

“Agricultural workers say green policies and taxes are eating into their profits and are demanding more government subsidies. Farmers’ protests have sprung up in Romania, Germany and France, ahead of the EU elections in June.”


“Europe Moves Into a New World After a Crippling Energy Crisis…

“It’s now relying more on renewables, and will have to deal with the intermittency of that power generation. With the loss of Russian gas, on which it was overly dependent before the invasion of Ukraine, it’s also had to look elsewhere to fulfil its fuel needs. That means vying for a share of foreign liquefied natural gas cargoes with other parts of the world.”


“Owners warn of dire consequences as gas crisis paralyses factories across Bangladesh…

“Industrialists are concerned that the ongoing gas crisis, which has been affecting the supply of the industry’s main fuel, is pushing these long-operating factories to the brink of closure. The crisis has also raised fears of an increase in unemployment and disruptions in export activities.”


“Global Rice Markets in Crisis Due to India’s Export Bans.

“The global rice market, a lifeline for over half the world’s population, is grappling with a severe shortage, the most severe in twenty years. This crisis… has catapulted rice prices to a 12-year high, with increases ranging from 15% to 20%. The ripple effects of this crisis are being felt around the globe, particularly in developing nations in Africa and Southeast Asia…”


“Africa in debt spiral as restructuring efforts drag on.

“While the explosion of debt is throwing a shadow over global economic growth, experts warn that sub-Saharan Africa, where several countries are already in default, is experiencing its worst-ever crisis.”


“More than 13,000 people have been killed and 26,000 others injured in the ongoing conflict in Sudan since last year, the United Nations humanitarian office said Sunday.

“Sudan has been mired by fighting between the army, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the country’s ruling Sovereign Council, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group since April 2023.”


“Hedge funds are making a killing betting on disaster as the ‘catastrophe bond’ market swells to a record $45 billion…

“Cat bond issuance has been turbo-charged by concern about extreme weather events fueled by climate change, and by decades-high inflation that’s added to the cost of rebuilding after natural disasters.”


“The Guardian view on medicine shortages: a global issue for which Britain needs a plan…

“The UK is not alone in facing drug supply-chain challenges. This is a global issue, which has been rising up the agenda of EU states and the US as well. Rich western countries, along with much of the rest of the world, are heavily reliant on the pharmaceuticals manufacturing capacity of India and China for sufficient quantities of generic, off-patent drugs.”


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.

19th January 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Are we witnessing the opening salvos of World War 3?

“With tit-for-tat missile strikes by Iran and Pakistan, tensions are rising in the Middle East – as are fears that small but distinct local skirmishes could trigger a new global conflict…

“What cannot be ignored… is that what has spread out from Gaza is a growing sense of permissiveness, a diminution of restraint and a readiness on all sides to resort to arms.”


“How Ten Middle East Conflicts Are Converging Into One Big War…

“The escalation—and the inherent dangers for the future—reflects a merger of crises in the Middle East. Ten conflicts among diverse rivals or in different arenas over disparate flash points and divergent goals are now converging.”


“Iran-Pakistan: At least nine dead as Pakistan uses ‘killer drones and rockets’ in retaliatory airstrikes on Iranian territory.

“Four children and three women are among those killed in Thursday’s raids, according to an Iranian official. It follows Iran’s attack on Tuesday on Pakistani soil that authorities there said killed two children.”


“Middle Eastern powers take their struggle to Kurdistan, threatening region’s stability.

“The area is a facing an explosive cocktail of forces, caught between strikes from Iran and Turkey, and America’s military presence. So far it’s managed to keep the situation under control, but it could ignite at any moment.”


“Yemen’s Houthi rebels have targeted a US-owned cargo ship with a kamikaze drone just hours after Washington put the group back on its list of global terrorists.

“The drone smashed into the Genco Picardy bulk carrier late on Wednesday, 70 miles (110km) southeast of Aden, causing a fire…”


“Red Sea Unrest Is Bad News for World’s Fragile Food Supply.

“Chaos in the Red Sea is starting to disrupt shipments of produce from coffee to fruit — and threatening to halt a slowdown in food inflation that brought some relief to strained consumers… “Everyone is a loser here,” said Nitin Agrawal, managing director of Euro Fruits, a major Indian grape exporter.”


“Israel bombs Gaza as disagreements with US simmer.

“Israel bombarded southern Gaza on Friday after it publicly sparred with its main ally the United States over the possibility of a Palestinian state, the creation of which Washington sees as the only pathway to a lasting peace.”


“Rising Somalia-Ethiopia tensions could plunge the Horn of Africa into chaos.

“A breakout of a war between Ethiopia and Somalia would carry catastrophic consequences not just for the region, but for Africa as a whole… The rupture in Ethiopian-Somali ties could have grave consequences for the region and the Red Sea countries as a whole.”


“Azerbaijan revives demand for corridor through Armenia.

“Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s latest remarks about border delimitation/demarcation and transit links “totally unacceptable” and a “blow” to the peace process.”


“NATO warns of all-out war with Russia in next 20 years.

“Civilians in the West must prepare for all-out war with Russia within the next 20 years, a top Nato military official has warned. While armed forces are primed for the outbreak of war, private citizens need to be ready for a conflict that would require wholesale change in their lives, Adml Rob Bauer said on Thursday.”


“Moody’s points to further pain after surge in corporate defaults.

“Global corporate defaults surged in December, according to a report by rating agency Moody’s, setting the stage for more missed debt payments ahead as low-grade, highly leveraged businesses grapple with a prolonged period of steep funding costs.”


“IMF official warns central banks against fuelling market hopes for rapid interest rate cuts…

““The job is not done,” Gopinath told the Financial Times during an interview in Davos, Switzerland. “[Central banks] must move cautiously. Once you cut rates, it solidifies expectations of further rate cuts and you could end up with much larger loosening — which can be counter-productive.””


“[UK] Mortgage losses are growing at the fastest rate since the financial crisis as families struggle to keep up with rapidly rising interest rates.

“Banks and building societies reported the biggest rise in households failing to keep up with repayments on secured loans – overwhelmingly mortgages – since early 2009, according to a closely watched Bank of England survey.”


“UK Recession Risk Grows With Worst Retail Slump Since Lockdown…

“The volume of goods sold in stores and online fell 3.2% in December, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. That was the worst reading since January 2021 and well below the 0.5% drop economists had expected.”


“Britain is on the brink of another 1973-style disaster. Repeated failure to control inflation and political dysfunction point to catastrophe ahead…

“…the Bank of England’s miserable record over the last two years should put to rest the idea that any surge in inflation would be swiftly tamed. That leaves us needing a shock to set the crisis in motion.”


“French police protest highlights threat of strike action during Paris Olympics…

“Aware of the risk to the country’s image, French authorities are scrambling to agree pay deals with a host of public sector trade unions who are demanding bonuses for working during the July 26-August 11 Olympics.”


“New wave of farmer protests loom as German government refuses to budge.

“Germany’s ruling coalition refused to back down in its political showdown with protesting farmers, deciding late on Thursday to stick to its plans to cut farm subsidies, opening the floodgates to an unprecedented “eruption” of new protests.”


“Turmoil in Germany over neo-Nazi mass deportation meeting…

“Over the past week tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of German cities to demonstrate against rightwing extremism. The protests were sparked by the revelation that members of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party had attended a meeting with neo-Nazis and other extremists to discuss the mass deportation of migrants…”


“The newly elected pro-European Union Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, finds himself at the helm of a political storm as large-scale protests sweep the capital city, Warsaw.

“Reportedly, around 300,000 citizens have taken to the streets to voice their discontent against Tusk’s government’s media policies, marking a significant challenge to his leadership.”


“Thousands Protest in Slovakia to Stop Prime Minister’s Judiciary Revamp.

“Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Slovakia to protest a proposed overhaul of the judiciary by Prime Minister Robert Fico, the European Union’s latest leader accused of eroding democratic standards and the rule of law.”


“Protests in Romania rage on despite the government adopting brokered measures.

“Since Thursday morning, demonstrators have also been blocking the road to Halmeu customs on the border with Ukraine, demanding a halt to grain imports from Ukraine and leaving only one lane open for emergencies.”


“Russian police make arrests as protest moves to regional capital…

“It was the third protest this week, but the first in the regional capital, in support of minority rights activist Fail Alsynov, who was sentenced on Wednesday to four years in a penal colony on charges of stirring ethnic hatred, which he denied.”


“Serbian Opposition Says Democracy At Stake As Protests Over Elections Resume.

“After a two-week break, new protests were held in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, on January 16 over disputed national and municipal elections. Several thousand demonstrators gathered in front of the offices of the national election commission, demanding the annulment of the December vote.”


“Bulgaria migrants: Torrid lives at bottom of people-smugglers’ pyramid…

“The Balkan migration route is growing in importance again. Last September, according to the EU’s border police organisation Frontex, this route overtook the Central Mediterranean route through Italy in numbers of irregular border crossings. Many cross through Bulgaria.”


“Greece found to have violated Syrian refugee’s right to life by firing on vessel…

“The Strasbourg-based court ordered Greece to pay €80,000 (about £68,000) in damages to the wife and two children of Belal Tello, who was shot in the head as Greek coastguards attempted to halt the boat he was travelling in…”


“‘Libya is hell’ 126 refugees rescued in the Mediterranean say…

“Another survivor on board Humanity 1 testified to the inhumane conditions in Libyan prisons over the past year, after he had been forced back in a failed attempt to leave the North African coast in early 2023. “You don’t understand, we were not even treated as humans”, he said.”


“Protests erupt in Tunisian town as search continues for 37 missing migrants…

“Frustrated by the lack of news since the boat’s disappearance, the families of the missing undocumented migrants erected roadblocks and burned tyres around the village yesterday…”


“China’s dollar-denominated GDP and share of global economy fall…

“Although China’s real gross domestic product grew by 5.2% in 2023, achieving Beijing’s target of around 5%, its nominal GDP in dollar terms fell for the first time in 29 years as its share of the global economy shrank for the second straight year.”


“For many in China, the economy feels like it is in recession…

“More than one in four of the roughly 100 million Chinese aged 16-24 were unemployed in June, the last data point before officials suspended the series. China resumed publication of the data on Wednesday, excluding college students from it, to put youth unemployment at 14.9% in December. China’s Generation Z is the most pessimistic of all age groups…”


“Unrest grips Comoros as opposition rejects president’s re-election…

“During the day, demonstrators ransacked a former minister’s house and set it on fire, as others tried to block roads in the capital. Police responded with tear gas and arrests, AFP reporters saw. In the evening, citing “public necessity”, the government ordered a night curfew.”


“Gold miners bring fresh wave of suffering to Brazil’s Yanomami…

“Brazil is losing the upper hand in its battle to save the Yanomami Indigenous people, who are dying from flu, malaria and malnutrition brought into their vast, isolated Amazon rainforest reservation by resurgent illegal miners.”


“A rush for ‘green’ iron is on in Guinea. Will chimpanzees be a casualty?

“In December, Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto announced plans to sink $6.2 billion into a long-delayed iron ore mine in Guinea’s Simandou mountain range. Simandou contains the largest undeveloped high-grade iron deposits on earth…”


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.

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

“‘We have a huge fiscal problem’: Banking group IIF sounds the alarm on record global debt… IIF CEO Tim Adams sounded the alarm on rising levels of debt while speaking to CNBC’s Silvia Amaro at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland…

““We have a debt problem globally. We have the highest levels of debt in a nonwar period in modern history and it’s at the corporate, household, sovereign, sub-sovereign [levels],” Adams said.

““We have a huge fiscal problem everywhere, including the U.S. We’re running [a] deficit at 7% of GDP. We need sobriety and we need to focus on how we are going to get our fiscal house in order,” he added.”


“Top economists predict global growth will weaken this year as geopolitical rifts grow.

“The majority of economists surveyed by the World Economic Forum expect the global economy to weaken this year, saying that geopolitical fragmentation around the world will deepen.”


“Global Conflict Has Surged to an 80-Year High. Why?

“…According to researchers at Uppsala University, this might be the most violent period of the 21st century, with more total conflicts than any year since World War II. Why is it all happening at once?”


“Iran strikes ‘militant bases’ in Pakistan in latest Middle East flashpoint…

“Iran and Pakistan have long had a tense relationship, in large part because of the activities of Balochi separatists and other militant groups in the border area. However, this would mark a significant escalation on the territory of its nuclear-armed neighbour.”


“Iran strikes targets in northern Iraq and Syria as regional tensions escalate.

“Iran says it fired missiles at what it claimed were Israeli “spy headquarters” near the U.S. Consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, and at targets linked to the extremist group Islamic State in northern Syria.”


“US Deploys 1,500 Soldiers to Iraq, Syria Amid Rising Tensions in the Region.

“The United States has announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to Iraq and Syria, with the stated objective of combating the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The decision comes at a time when tensions between the US and Iran-aligned groups in the region are escalating rapidly.”


“Israel hits deep in Lebanon; U.S. strikes Yemen again as tensions rise across region.

“Israel’s military said it launched a barrage against Hezbollah targets deep in southern Lebanon on Tuesday. Tensions are rising across the region amid a spate of military activity, including Israel’s continued strikes in Gaza and tit-for-tat exchanges with Hezbollah.”


“Red Sea attacks: Greek vessel hit by missile fired by Houthi rebels.

“The Greek-owned bulk carrier Zografia was sailing from Vietnam to Israel when it was struck on Tuesday. It is said to have suffered only minor damage. The incident comes as the US military announced it had seized Iranian-supplied weapons bound for the Houthis during an operation last week.”


“Red Sea war insurance rises with more ships in firing line.

“War risk insurance premiums for shipments through the Red Sea are rising after further attacks on merchant vessels by Yemen’s Houthi movement and the expectation that ships with a UK or U.S. connection will be targeted, insurance sources said on Tuesday.”


“West braces for global ‘rewiring’…

“Conflict in the [Red Sea] region threatens to prolong the inflation crisis that has gripped the world for the last two years. By adding weeks to the time it takes to ship goods to Europe and thousands to the cost, strikes in the Red Sea may keep prices high. Hopes of rapid falls in interest rates look to be dashed in the process.”


“US, South Korea and Japan conduct naval drills as tensions deepen with North Korea.

“The United States, South Korea and Japan conducted combined naval exercises involving an American aircraft carrier in their latest show of strength against nuclear-armed North Korea, South Korea’s military said Wednesday, as three countries’ senior diplomats were to meet in Seoul to discuss the deepening standoff with Pyongyang.”


“Britain is sending a task force of 20,000 to take part in the biggest NATO exercise since the Cold War which aims to make the alliance battle-ready at an increasingly dangerous time with conflicts raging in the Middle East and Ukraine.

“The UK contingent, from the army, Royal Navy and the RAF will provide almost half of the 41,000 service personnel which will take part in Operation Steadfast Defender…”


“Trump Is Already Reshaping Geopolitics. How U.S. Allies and Adversaries Are Responding to the Chance of His Return…

“In Trump’s words: “I would tell [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky, no more [aid]. You got to make a deal.” Facing a good chance that a year from now, Trump will offer terms much more advantageous for Russia than anything U.S. President Joe Biden would offer or Zelensky would agree to today, Putin will wait.”


“Trouble for the U.S. economy? Empire State gauge sinks to lowest level since pandemic.

“The New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State business-conditions index, a gauge of manufacturing activity, plunged 29.2 points to negative 43.7, the regional Fed bank said Tuesday. It’s the second-lowest reading ever. The biggest drop took place in the depths of the pandemic, in May 2020.”


“Grocery shock as Aussie staples doubling in price revealed.

“Rising grocery prices are just one of the factors pushing the cost of living up for Australians and new data has revealed which have doubled in the last three years, plus when they should ease. While factors including inflation, higher costs and supply chain issues have created a pressure cooker of financial strife for shoppers, severe weather events led to further hikes.”


“UK inflation rose unexpectedly to 4.0% in December in the first increase for 10 months, complicating the timing of interest rate cuts from the Bank of England this year…

“Core inflation, which excludes volatile items including energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, was unexpectedly unchanged at 5.1%, in a development that will be watched closely by the Bank…”


“Germany on track for two-year recession as economy shrinks in 2023…

“The German national statistics office said “multiple crises” affecting the economy had contributed to a 0.3% fall in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023, compared with the previous year, as higher interest rates and elevated living costs took their toll.”


“‘Very worrying’: Trade unions alarmed by EU’s industrial collapse.

“Europe’s major trade union organisations have expressed deep concern about the scale of the EU’s industrial decline, as structurally high energy prices continue to lay waste to a crucial pillar of the bloc’s economy.”


“Crises have split European voters into five ‘tribes’, survey suggests.

“Europe’s voters are no longer divided into left or right, pro- or anti-EU camps, a survey suggests, but into five distinct tribes whose conflicting concerns [ climate, migration, global economic turmoil, Ukraine and Covid] are likely to dominate nearly 20 elections across the continent this year.”


“China population decline accelerates as birthrate hits record low…

“The state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences has predicted the pension system in its current form will run out of money by 2035. By then the number of people in China above 60 years old – the national retirement age – will have increased from about 280 million to 400 million.”


“A rout in Chinese stocks deepened Wednesday as a slew of disappointing economic data reinforced bearish sentiment toward the market…

“Investors, already disheartened by a lack of interest-rate cut by the People’s Bank of China earlier this week, appeared to be throwing in the towel as data Wednesday showed persistent challenges from deflation pressures and the property crisis.”


“Emerging-market stocks and currencies tumbled Tuesday, adding to the worst start to a year since 2016, as global markets continue to tone down bets on early US interest rate cuts…

“In 2016, the January slump followed the first Fed rate hike in almost a decade. Higher US rates sparked a brief capital flight from riskier assets, leading to an 11% plunge in stocks by mid-January of 2016.”


“Port Moresby residents [Papua New Guinea] lose everything in riots blamed on dire economic situation and youth with poor prospects.

“What began as a police protest and strike set the stage for the dramatic unrest, which killed at least 15 people in the capital as thousands rioted. As events began unfolding, Ms Joku said she helplessly watched on from her verandah and tried to contact police, before contacting her local MP.”


“In the new Afghanistan, it’s sell your daughter or starve.

“In Shahrak-e-Sabz, a settlement of makeshift mud-brick homes and tents for the displaced in Herat province that we visited last month, our researchers counted 118 girls who had been sold as child brides, and 116 families with girls waiting for buyers. This amounts to 40 percent of families surveyed…”


“Global economic prospects are the worst in decades but investing in the future could be the answer.

“The World Bank has… outlined a potential pathway for stimulating a stronger, more broad-based exit strategy from the current cyclical downturn – investment accelerations.”


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.

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

“$88 trillion in debt and a wave of elections. World leaders are hamstrung.

“World leaders are flocking to Davos this week to pontificate on the planet’s most pressing problems. Two major wars, a shipping crisis, cyber attacks on state institutions and yet more alarming evidence of the climate emergency mean there’s no shortage of talking points.

“But turning ideas into action when governments owe an unprecedented $88.1 trillion — equivalent almost to the world’s annual economic output — will be hard.”


“Red Sea crisis could shatter hopes of global economic recovery.

“A prolonged conflict in the Red Sea and escalating tensions across the Middle East risk having devastating effects on the global economy, reigniting inflation and disrupting energy supplies, some of the world’s leading economists warn this weekend.”


“Houthi missile targeting US warship intercepted, says US, amid Red Sea tensions…

“The missile was fired towards the USS Laboon which was operating in the Southern Red Sea, US Central Command said in a statement, in what appears to be the first such attempt on a US destroyer.”


“The US isn’t the biggest power in the Middle East any more. Iran is.

“This fraught, open-ended escalation highlights another unwelcome fact. The dominant power in the Middle East is no longer the US, western-aligned Egypt, Saudi Arabia or even Israel. It is the Houthis’ main ally, Iran.”


“Ships in the Red Sea appear to be trying to avoid Houthi attacks by declaring themselves Chinese.

“They’ve started switching their AIS trackers to say their crews are “ALL CHINESE.” China has been critical of the war in Gaza, and pushed back against US and UK strikes on the Houthis.”


“Taiwan election: China says US ‘gravely wrong’ to congratulate new leader.

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent Taiwanese president-elect William Lai a message of congratulations following the result. Beijing called the message a violation of Washington’s commitment to maintain only unofficial ties with Taiwan. Mr Lai has vowed to protect Taiwan from an increasingly aggressive China.”


“Taiwan election: global leaders draw Beijing’s ire for congratulating new president…

“…the UK, the European Union and Canada also offered their congratulations to the DPP. The UK’s foreign secretary, David Cameron, said the result was “testament to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy”.”


“Nauru to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China.

“Nauru become the first ally to switch allegiances to Beijing after the weekend’s presidential elections in Taiwan… The Nauru government said that “in the best interests” of the country and its people it was seeking full resumption of diplomatic relations with China.”


“Deaths in Rio Grande Intensify Tensions Between Texas, Biden Administration.

““Texas has demonstrated that even in the most exigent circumstances, it will not allow Border Patrol agents access to the border to conduct law enforcement and emergency response activities,” wrote Jonathan E. Meyer, Homeland Security’s general counsel… Meyer threatened legal action if Texas doesn’t restore access by the end of Wednesday.”


“Dangerously low temperatures worsen migrant crisis in Chicago…

“Chicago continues to receive new arrivals sent north by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) even as the area experiences its coldest temperatures in half a decade, with wind chills bottoming out at minus-32 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.”


“Fast-food giants overwork teenagers, driving America’s child labor crisis…

“Since the widespread labor shortages of the pandemic, fast-food companies have illegally scheduled thousands of teenagers to work late and long hours and to operate dangerous kitchen equipment, The Post found.”


“UK faces a cost of dying crisis as funeral costs reach record high…

“Growing numbers of grieving families are having to sell belongings, raid their savings or borrow from friends to cover the cost of a loved one’s funeral, according to a report that says the “cost of dying” has hit a record high.”


“One by one, England’s councils are going bankrupt – and nobody in Westminster wants to talk about it.

“One in five say they will be insolvent by next year. These local crises add up to a national catastrophe that’s about to explode.. all over the country, the picture is now the same, and things are rapidly nearing the point of complete breakdown.”


“A council is poised to push back a city’s net zero carbon deadline by a decade.

“Peterborough city councillors will be asked to move the target from 2030 to 2040 at a meeting on Wednesday. The original goal was adopted in 2019… The revised date follows a feasibility study undertaken last year which found 2040 is the earliest plausible date for the city to reach net zero.”


“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for calm on Saturday as the country faces protests by farmers angry about a plan to cut their fuel subsidies…

“The German chancellor said in a video message that “we took the farmers’ arguments to heart” and insisted the government came up with “a good compromise”, though farmers continue to insist on fully reversing the subsidy cuts.”


“German insolvencies set to rise as Covid aid ends and economy stagnates…

“Restructuring experts warn that many “zombie” companies kept afloat after the coronavirus pandemic by generous government aid and a suspension of the obligation to file for bankruptcy — which caused insolvencies to drop to unusually low levels — are now collapsing.”


“Romanian Truck Drivers, Farmers Protest About Taxes, Subsidies, Ukraine.

“Farmers complained that they have been losing money for the last two years because of the cheaper grains arriving from Ukraine, according to a video put on Facebook by the protesters. Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s seaports on the Black Sea has transformed Romania into a hub for the transit of Ukrainian grain…”


“Peace in Ukraine has never seemed further away. Zelenksyy’s dream of outright victory is over…

“Over 2024 then, both sides will aim to degrade each other’s forces as much as possible: the staggering casualty rates of the past year look certain to escalate even further.”


“Missiles from Iran and North Korea boost Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine.

“The second big strike of the year came on Monday, when Russia launched 59 drones and missiles and Ukraine’s air defences shot down less than half of them, compared with their usual 80 per cent interception rates.”


“‘We are at war’: Ecuador’s president vows to crack down on gangs behind week of violence.

“Ecuador’s president, Daniel Noboa, has denied that his government is embarking on an indiscriminate campaign to hunt down and kill gang members, as the South American country continues to reel from a week of chaos and deadly violence that he has classified as a war.”


“‘We are ready for a war’: Somalia threatens conflict with Ethiopia over breakaway region…

“A memorandum of understanding signed on 1 January allowing landlocked Ethiopia to develop a naval base on Somaliland’s coast has rattled the Horn of Africa, one of the world’s most volatile regions.”


“While all the headline attention regarding the tanker and energy market is focused on the Red Sea, another source of disruption could be emerging in Libya.

“…this week has seen the North African producer back in the spotlight, with Libya’s NOC declaring force majeure at the 300kbd Sharara oil field due to a resurgence in local protests over fuel prices and a reported lack of economic opportunities.”


“Türkiye’s looming economic and financial crisis…

“Türkiye’s new economic team, appointed last summer, has been pursuing an aggressive interest rate hike policy recently in a last-ditch attempt to rectify the country’s long years of unorthodox policymaking that has left many Turks struggling to afford food and other basic goods.”


“Turkish air strikes hit 24 Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq, Syria, ministry says.

“In a statement on social messaging platform X, the ministry said the targets included caves, shelters, bunkers, depots and natural gas production facilities… Turkish forces have been carrying out a cross-border operation called “Claw-Lock” in Iraq as part of the country’s offensive against PKK militants.”


“Syrian farmers abandon the land for steadier jobs.

“After years of war, drought and economic crisis, Omar Abdel-Fattah was forced to rent out his farmland in northeast Syria, preferring a more stable job to provide for his family. “It breaks my heart to see someone else working my land,” said Abdel-Fattah…”


“Israel vows not to ‘stop’ as Gaza death toll nears 24,000 on day 100 of war.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to “continue [the war] until victory”, saying in a televised address late on Saturday that “it is possible and necessary”. “No one will stop us – not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil and no one else,” Netanyahu said.”


“Scale of vast tent city in Gaza revealed – with destruction leaving residents little to return to.

“100 days after the conflict began, satellite images show how a camp in Rafah is now a tent city the size of almost 400 football pitches. Sky News analysis reveals how most of Gaza now lies in ruins, with experts saying the scale of destruction is unlike anything they’ve seen before.”


“The clue that a banking crisis is coming.

“Redundancies in the City could prefigure a bigger problem with financial markets… By the end of 2023, the Financial Times estimated that some 60,000 people were out of a job at the world’s largest banks. More are expected to come.”


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.

12th January 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“The United States and Britain have launched military strikes in Yemen against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in response to the group’s attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, raising fears of an escalation of conflict in the region.

“US President Joe Biden warned on Thursday that he would “not hesitate” to take further action if necessary…”


“Oil’s Red Sea Pinch Point Could Get Tighter After US Airstrikes.

“A major drop in shipments of oil and fuel through the Red Sea could become even bigger due to the risk Houthi rebels will retaliate following the US-led attacks on their bases in Yemen.”


“Iran says US-British attacks on Yemen ‘a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty’.

“Saudi Arabia calls for restraint to avoid an escalation of the crisis in the Middle East, as Russia requests an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council.”


“Iran seizes oil tanker off Oman in dispute with US.

“Iran has seized a tanker with Iraqi crude destined for Turkey in retaliation for the confiscation last year of the same vessel and its oil by the United States, Iranian state media reported, a move likely to stoke regional tensions.”


“Why US airstrikes in Iraq add to fears of a regional war…

“Prior to the eruption of the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza, the government in Baghdad was striking a delicate balance between the US, on one side, and Iran and these Shia militias sponsored by Tehran, on the other. Yet, recent developments in Iraq and the region are making this balance increasingly difficult for Baghdad to maintain…”


“China and Russia push for Israel-Gaza ceasefire and two-state solution as foreign ministers vow to boost BRICS influence.

“China and Russia will work together to “enhance the international influence of BRICS”, a group of 10 developing economies, as Russia takes the chair this year, according to readouts of a phone call between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday.”


“China-Russia trade hits record high in 2023 amid decline in US commerce.

“This surge in bilateral trade surpassed the goal of $200 billion set by the two nations during their meetings last year. The figures marked a remarkable 26.3 per cent year-on-year increase, emphasising the strengthening economic ties between China and Russia…”


“China set to lose crown as top U.S. exporter after 17 years.

“China was likely knocked off the perch as the top exporter to the U.S. for the first time since 2006 last year, outpaced by Mexico as tensions between the world’s two largest economies reshape supply chains.”


“China’s annual exports drop for the first time in seven years.

“China’s annual exports fell for the first time in seven years in 2023, even as shipments in December beat expectations, customs data showed Friday… for 2023, exports fell 4.6%, the first such annual drop since a 7.7% decline in 2016, according to Wind Information. Imports dropped by 5.5% last year.”


“China’s economy faces growing deflationary pressures as prices extend fall.

“China’s consumer prices declined for a third month in December while factory-gate prices extended their prolonged slide, highlighting persistent deflationary pressures in an economy struggling to mount a solid recovery.”


“On the ballot in Taiwan: The global microchip supply chain.

“Forget Brussels, London and Washington. For the microchips industry, all eyes are on who grabs the power in Taipei this weekend… It’s all a painful reminder for some of Europe’s largest companies that deep-seated interdependency with and reliance on Taiwan is now a geopolitical risk.”


“Taiwan opposition presidential candidate rules out unification talks with China.

“The presidential candidate of Taiwan’s largest opposition party has ruled out unification talks with China if he is elected on Saturday, highlighting the unlikelihood of a resolution to the cross-Strait dispute even under a government in Taipei that is more flexible towards Beijing.”


“NATO pledges further major military, economic aid to Ukraine.

“NATO allies in a meeting with Ukraine have made it clear they will continue to provide the country with major military, economic, and humanitarian aid in the face of Russia’s almost two-year-old invasion, NATO said on Wednesday.”


“Russia’s Medvedev warns of nuclear response if Ukraine hits missile launch sites.

“A senior ally of President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday that any Ukrainian attacks on missile launch sites inside Russia with arms supplied by the United States and its allies would risk a nuclear response from Moscow.”


“Azerbaijan tells Paris not to ‘intervene’ over Frenchman’s arrest as tensions run high…

“Baku has accused France of supporting Azerbaijan’s arch-enemy Armenia, both diplomatically and militarily, and of seeking to fuel tensions in the South Caucasus. French national Martin Ryan was arrested on December 4 last year, according to Azerbaijan authorities, suspected of “espionage”.”


“Europe is the sick man of the global economy…

“The world economy, which was meant to bounce back to life after the pandemic, is showing signs of persistent illness… While almost everywhere is feeling the burn… the real sick man of the world economy at the moment is Europe. With the exception of Eastern Europe, the continent barely grew last year, and European manufacturing is now in recession.”


“Recycling market in Europe faces ‘collapse’ after EU waste export ban.

“The European Union’s decision to ban exports of plastic waste in and outside Europe is threatening to collapse the market for the collection and recycling of plastic packaging, Belgian industry association Valipac has warned.”


“Europe’s biggest economy hit by travel disruption in what ‘looks increasingly like a general strike’.

“Germany is in the grip of major travel disruption. A three-day nationwide strike called by train drivers from Wednesday to Friday evening has added to travel chaos in Europe’s biggest economy, which was already reeling from ongoing farmer protests.”


“Tesla’s Berlin plant to suspend most output over Red Sea supply gap.

“Tesla will suspend most car production at its factory near Berlin from Jan. 29 to Feb. 11, the company said, citing a lack of components due to shifts in transport routes because of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.”


“Polish opposition stages mass rally against Donald Tusk.

“Braving Poland’s harsh winter temperatures, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Warsaw in the largest anti-government demonstration since Prime Minister Donald Tusk took office a month ago. The protest was headed by Tusk’s longtime rival Jarosław Kaczyński…”


“Protest at Chile’s lithium salt flats snarls roads to SQM, Albemarle.

“A protest by several hundred people in northern Chile on Wednesday blocked access to the Atacama salt flat, the world’s largest lithium deposit… The demonstration, led by local indigenous groups after an agreement was signed last month between SQM and state-run copper firm Codelco, was affecting SQM operations, said a source…”


“Hundreds march for those killed in protests in Peru’s Andean region.

“Demonstrators march in the cities of Lima and Puno demanding justice from the authorities on the one-year anniversary of the deaths of 18 villagers who were victims of police repression in protests against President Dina Boluarte.”


“Violent cartels seek to ‘take over’ Ecuador, borrowing from ‘playbook of military staging a coup’.

“Ecuador’s president has declared war on drugs gangs holding scores of prison guards hostage in a wave of violence that saw the storming of a TV station on-air and explosions around the nation. The unrest appears to be in response to President Daniel Noboa’s efforts to tackle cocaine trafficking…”


“State repression to deepen as economic crisis worsens [Zimbabwe].

“Zimbabwean authorities have hinted that they will crackdown on dissent this year, as the long drawn-out economic crisis deepens, but leading political and social analysts say such actions will further close the democratic space. Tewnsions have been high in the southern African country since election on August 23 last year…”


“Military clashes in Sudan are responsible for the largest number of displaced persons on Earth, the UN announced on Wednesday.

“The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) office said, “Since April, more than 6 million people have been displaced inside the country, including more than 500,000 due to the clashes that erupted in Aj Jazirah State last month.””


“Gaza daily deaths exceed all other major conflicts in 21st century: Oxfam.

““Israel’s military is killing Palestinians at an average rate of 250 people a day, which massively exceeds the daily death toll of any other major conflict of recent years,” Oxfam said in a statement… Oxfam said the crisis is further compounded by Israel’s restrictions on the entry of aid into Gaza…”


“Lebanon on the Brink: Failing the State As War Sirens Blare.

“The ceasefire that concluded the last round of fighting between Israel and Lebanon back in 2006 has collapsed, with daily fighting and strikes on Lebanon’s southern border…. The Lebanese people hold their breath, knowing that the state is no longer functional in peacetime, let alone in a war.”


“UAE’s Al Habtoor Group threatens to sue Lebanon’s govt over $44mn investment dispute.

“The dispute stems from restrictions imposed by Lebanon’s embattled central bank preventing Al Habtoor Group from transferring its trapped funds out of Lebanese banks… In a major escalation of the long-running saga, the UAE-based company served an official notice to various state authorities…”


“Pakistan Cracks Down on Illicit Economy Amid Economic Crisis.

“Pakistan’s illicit economy, a subset of its broader informal economy, has posed a major economic and security challenge for the country over the last few decades. The fall of Kabul in August 2021, however, marked an inflection point…”


“A state of emergency has been declared in Papua New Guinea’s capital after at least 15 people were killed in rioting.

“More than 1,000 troops are on standby “to step in wherever necessary”, Prime Minister James Marape said on Thursday. Shops and cars were torched and supermarkets looted…”


“Central banks, geopolitical risks push gold prices 15% higher in 2023.

“Gold prices surged 15 percent year-on-year (YoY) to $2,078 per ounce in 2023, its all-time-high, supported by the increased demand by central banks and the geopolitical risks that benefit a haven like gold, according to a report by the World Gold Council (WGC).”


“Uranium prices hit highest level since 2007.

“The price of uranium hit $92.50 per pound, its highest level since 2007 as supply chain issues, nuclear expansion plans, and geopolitical tensions, have all combined to create a dramatic surge in uranium prices. The price per pound has more than doubled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022.”


“World’s two largest coal consumers won’t be weaning off the fossil fuel anytime soon…

““If India, China are still growing economically at decent rates for the next decade, we’re not going to see coal demand disappearing anytime soon, globally,” Ian Roper, commodity strategist at Astris Advisory Japan KK, told CNBC.”


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.

10th January 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“The climate costs of war and militaries can no longer be ignored…

“The best estimate we have is that militaries are responsible for 5.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. If the global military were a country, this would place it fourth in terms of its emissions, between India and Russia. Militaries are highly fossil fuel dependent…”


“Pope warns of a “genuine global conflict” brewing…

“Our world is witnessing a growing number of conflicts that are slowly turning what I have often called ‘a third world war fought piecemeal’ into a genuine global conflict,” Pope Francis warned on January 8, 2024, in his annual address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.”


“Israel-Hamas war: Danger of conflict spreading is ‘rising by the day’, warns Jordan.

“The right-wing nationalist coalition government of Prime Minister Netanyahu was seeking to implicate the West directly in a regional war that would “doom the region to more conflict and destruction”, says Jordan’s foreign minister.”


“Houthi militias launch biggest attack to date on merchant vessels in Red Sea.

“U.S. and coalition forces under Operation Prosperity Guardian responded Tuesday in the Red Sea to what American officials said was the largest attack to date on merchant vessels by Iranian-backed Houthis.”


“Red Sea security fears cut container shipments through Suez Canal.

“The number of container ships at the mouth of the Red Sea on their way to or from the Suez Canal was 90 per cent down in the first week of January compared with the start of 2023, according to research showing the disruption to world trade by attacks on ships by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.”


“China threatens fresh Taiwan sanctions as pre-election tension mounts.

“Beijing warned it could suspend tariff concessions on Taiwanese agricultural, fishery, machinery products, auto parts and textiles as it seeks to ramp up pressure on the incumbent Democratic People’s Party, which polling suggests will retain power for a historic third term but lose its parliamentary majority.”


“Chinese military officials have told their US counterparts that Beijing will “never compromise” on the issue of Taiwan…

“The United States and China wrapped up two days of military talks in Washington, DC on Tuesday, the Pentagon said, the latest round of discussions since the two countries agreed to resume military-to-military ties.”


“US Recession avoided? History says otherwise…

“Historically, there’s a long lag before elevated interest rates take their toll on the economy… Soft-landing talk is not unusual ahead of recessions, said Reid. His team found that mentions of a soft landing in Bloomberg articles spiked significantly ahead of the 2001 and 2008 recessions.”


“Salmon compete with mining companies as melting glaciers reveal new habitat [Western Canada and Southeast Alaska]…

“By the time salmon were discovered in Xsik’alaa’n, mining companies had already staked claims in the surrounding hillside. And the study finds that much of the region’s new salmon habitat overlaps with a mining hotspot where dozens of claims have already been staked on newly melted land.”


“Norway votes for deep-sea mining despite environmental concerns…

“The decision comes despite warnings from scientists that it could have a devastating impact on marine life, and opposition from the EU and the UK, which have called for a temporary ban on deep-sea mining because of environmental concerns.”


“UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he is “bitterly disappointed” after a legal ruling gave the go-ahead to a gas drilling project in his constituency.

“UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) had applied to explore a site in Dunsfold, in Mr Hunt’s South West Surrey constituency… The Court of Appeal has now refused permission to appeal the decision.”


“EDF Energy plans to extend life of four UK nuclear power plants.

“EDF is planning to extend the life of four nuclear power stations in the UK and increase investment in its British nuclear fleet… Last March, EDF extended lifetimes at Hartlepool and Heysham 1 by a further two years to March 2026. Heysham 2 and Torness power stations are now due to stay operational until March 2028.”


“France drops renewables targets, prioritises nuclear in new energy bill.

“Critics are deriding as a step backward a new French energy bill that favours the further development of nuclear power and avoids setting targets for solar and wind power and other renewables.”


“Nationwide German farmer blockades heap pressure on Scholz.

“German farmers kicked off a week of nationwide protests against subsidy cuts on Monday, blocking roads with tractors and piling misery on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition as it struggles to fix a budget mess and contain rising far-right forces.”


“German retail giant Galeria insolvent in wake of Signa collapse.

“German department store giant Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof said on Tuesday it had filed for insolvency following the collapse of its parent Signa amid a real-estate crisis in the region. Galeria, Germany’s most prominent retailer, said it was seeking a new owner…”


“Poland police arrest fugitive MPs as tensions rise between new and old governments.

“Polish police have arrested two politicians convicted of abuse of power who had taken refuge for hours in the palace of President Andrzej Duda, in a dramatic escalation of a standoff between the new and previous governments.”


“In 2024, Europe to hunt for new partners to offload asylum seekers.

“From Ghana to Georgia, Rwanda to Albania, the EU is looking for nations that will hold vulnerable people on its behalf… as 2024 begins, activists and experts told Al Jazeera that 2023 has seen Europe reach for ever more drastic solutions to curb NGO search and rescue operations and outsource its border management to other nations.”


“Tunisian group accuses authorities of mass expulsions of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

“Migration activists are sounding the alarm this week about mass expulsions and arbitrary arrests in Tunisia, where authorities are seeing more migrants arrive for attempted Mediterranean crossings from the North African nation to Europe.”


“Iraqi Kurdistan on the verge of economic collapse.

“Due to the financial situation in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which has been made worse by the government’s months-long inability to pay civil servants, many businesses have closed throughout Erbil. Iraqi Kurdistan is facing a financial crisis due to the suspension of oil exports to international markets after Iraq won an arbitration case against Turkey.”


“Police Race To ‘Control’ Unrest In Papua New Guinea’s Capital.

“A festering pay dispute involving Papua New Guinea’s security forces on Wednesday sparked angry protests in the capital, where a crowd torched a police car outside the prime minister’s office… by Wednesday afternoon pockets of unrest had spread through the capital Port Moresby, with video clips on social media showing crowds looting shops…”


“Lawless Ecuador descends into ‘civil war’ chaos.

“Ecuador’s president has ordered his army to ‘neutralise’ 20 drug gangs after the nation descended into lawless chaos with heavily armed mobsters parading hostages and threatening to execute anyone found on the streets at night.”


“Peru Declares State of Emergency on Northern Border Amid Ecuador’s Unrest…

“Military forces have been swiftly deployed to the area to maintain order and assist with operations as needed. The mobilization of the military, in this case, is considered crucial to support local police forces in their efforts to maintain peace and order.”


“Argentina monthly inflation seen at highest since 1990 in December.

“Argentina’s monthly inflation rate likely soared to 28% in December, which would be the highest since early 1990, driven by a sharp devaluation of the peso currency last month by the new government of libertarian President Javier Milei.”


“Cubans fear worsening inflation as fuel price to soar 500 percent.

“Already under the yoke of inflation and product scarcity, many Cubans don’t know how they will cope with a new 500-percent surge in the fuel price. The communist island’s cash-strapped government announced the five-fold increase Monday with effect from February 1, as part of a series of measures seeking to cut its budget deficit.”


“The Bond Market Rally Is Overlooking a Soaring $2 Trillion Debt Problem…

“Public debt across advanced economies has soared to more than 112% of GDP from about 75% two decades ago, data from the International Monetary Fund show, as governments ramped up borrowing to finance pandemic stimulus programs, health care and pensions for aging populations and the transition away from fossil fuels.”


“How an election-packed 2024 could swing world markets…

“Countries making up over 60% of the world’s economic output and more than half of its population hold elections this year. Markets face a “ballot box bombshell”, financial services group Morningstar says, adding: “prior experience of this kind of event risk shows big changes can cause sell-offs”.”


“Global economy on track for worst half-decade of growth in 30 years, says World Bank…

“The global economy is on track for its worst half-decade of growth in 30 years, the World Bank has warned in its latest projections for 2024, as higher borrowing costs and geopolitical tensions weigh on output.”


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.