Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

9th August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Global manufacturing indicators point to a slump in demand for goods at levels comparable to the 2008 financial crisis, as China’s economy sputters and consumer spending shifts toward services…

“Some observers see monetary tightening by central banks mainly in advanced economies playing a role. Large-scale easing during the pandemic sent asset prices soaring and drove overconsumption, while the accelerating rate hikes that followed created a credit crunch that dragged down demand.

“Meanwhile, demand in the massive Chinese market has been weaker than anticipated. Official data for June showed dollar-denominated imports down from the previous month and falling on the year for a fourth consecutive month.”


China slides into deflation sparking fears for global economy…

“The figures come amid mounting fears China is entering an era of much slower economic growth akin to the period of Japan’s “lost decades” since the 1990s, which saw consumer prices and wages stagnate for a generation. On Tuesday, China revealed poor import and export data.”


China’s Country Garden misses bond payments as turmoil grips property sector.

“An official default would be a blow for an industry that typically drives more than a quarter of China’s total economic activity, but which has been paralysed by construction delays, declining home sales and a lack of funding.”


Rare protests against Chinese authorities erupted in several cities as people demanded compensation for losing their homes in a government release of flood water.

“Nearly one million people in the northern Hebei province were relocated after record rains forced authorities to channel water from swollen rivers to some populated areas for storage.”


Moody’s downgrades 10 regional banks as crisis pressures persist [US]…

“Credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded 10 regional banks and put six other lenders on notice that they are under review, the latest blow to an industry still reverberating from the March banking crisis that led three firms to collapse.”


Consumer debt climbs as American credit card balances surpass $1 trillion.

“Consumer debt grew $17.9 billion from May to June as a credit crunch brought on by Federal Reserve rate hikes drove a sharp gain in the amount of outstanding credit for payments like mortgages and car loans. The numbers, which are not adjusted for inflation, come in well ahead of expectations at $13 billion…”


New Lending by Mortgage REITs Has Dried Up… Blackstone Mortgage Trust and KKR Real Estate Finance Trust halt loan origination to shore up balance sheets…

“Default rates are rising for all lenders because higher interest rates are making it tougher for many borrowers to refinance and many properties, especially office buildings, are suffering higher vacancy rates.”


Oil hedge funds place their bets on heat-fueled hurricane season…

“Bullish gasoline positions have hit their highest since the day Russia invaded Ukraine and will almost certainly rise further if record Atlantic Ocean heat draws a hurricane into the Gulf of Mexico and disrupts refineries, investors and analysts said.”


OPEC+ crude production at lowest since August 2021 on Saudi cut…

“The latest Saudi cut as well as disruptions in Kazakhstan and Nigeria more than offset gains in Iran and Iraq, contributing to an almost 1 million b/d fall in OPEC+ output month on month.”


Oil cuts see Saudi Arabia enter ‘technical recession’…

“Capital Economics wrote: “With the Kingdom’s voluntary 1m barrels per day oil output cut set to be extended at this week’s OPEC+ meeting, there is a growing possibility that the economy contracts this year as a whole.””


Why OPEC+ Will Do Whatever It Can To Send Oil Prices Higher.

“…the U.S. and its core allies see rising oil and gas prices (historically the price of gas is 70 percent derived from the price of oil) as serious economic and political threats to them, given that they are generally major net importers of energy.”


Wind Industry Hits Rough Seas as Problems Mount…

“In recent weeks, at least 10 offshore projects totaling around $33 billion in planned spending have been delayed or otherwise hit the doldrums across the U.S. and Europe… “If the soundest projects in the most mature markets start to sink, that is a major red flag,” said Peter Lloyd-Williams, a senior analyst at Westwood Global Energy Group.”


Europe’s renewable energy push is destined for ruin…

“To say that the world is on the brink of a transition away from fossil fuels is simply not true. A glance at the data shows that, at best, renewables can slow down the growth of energy produced from traditional sources. Elimination is another matter entirely.”


Italian banks hit with surprise windfall tax.

“Italy has passed a one-off 40% tax on the profits banks earn from higher interest rates, in a shock move that has seen shares plummet. A hike in official interest rates has resulted in record profits for Italian banks, prompting the government’s move.”


Return of ‘stagflation’ haunts the UK.

“The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said the economy had suffered from five years of “lost economic growth”, with stubbornly high inflation and semi-permanent government deficits expected in the foreseeable future.”


Higher food prices may be here to stay, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said.

“Huw Pill said that the rate at which food prices are rising was expected to slow to “about 10% by the end of the year”. But he warned a return to cheaper food was “something we may not be seeing for a while yet, if in the future at all”.”


Economic turmoil and spiraling prices: Just how bad is poverty in Turkey?

…”“I have been working on poverty for 22 years, but I have never seen such a bad situation,” says Hacer Foggo, a Poverty Solidarity Office Coordinator for the Republican People’s Party… “People cannot meet their basic needs,” Foggo told Euronews. “This in turn is causing anxiety, depression and isolating families.””


Tunisian bakers stage protest against ban on subsidised flour…

“Demonstrators who rallied around him held up signs that read: “bread, freedom, national dignity,” and “thousands of employees will be laid off”. “The people you see here today have not been able to carry out their regular activity, which is the production of bread,” Jamali said.”


Sudan at risk of disease as corpses litter streets…

“War-torn Sudan is at risk of major disease outbreaks, with thousands of unburied corpses remaining out in the open and the country’s health and sanitation infrastructure destroyed, Save the Children warned Tuesday. Residents say Khartoum is littered with dead bodies from fighting…”


The police could trigger another unrest in Nigeria [picture from 2020 unrest].

“Given the current economic troubles in the country, it is not out of place to say that we could face social unrest in the near future. But what would be the spark? …I would say that the police ranks very high on the list of possible causative factors.”


2 people are fatally shot on a fifth day of protests in the South African city of Cape Town…

“The unrest on the outskirts of South Africa’s second-largest city followed an announcement last Thursday of a weeklong strike by minibus taxi drivers, who are angered at what they call heavy-handed tactics by police and city authorities in impounding some of their vehicles.”


South Africa’s mining output has fallen further below pre-pandemic levels due to persistent electricity outages and rail disruptions, industry data shows, threatening dividend payouts to investors.

“South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of platinum and chrome and a leading producer of gold and diamonds. But the industry has been shrinking for years as ore grades decline…”


Cuba’s economic crisis is worse than after fall of the Soviet Union, economists warn…

“Cuba, which for decades was one of the largest exporters of sugar in the world, now has to import sugar to meet its domestic demand. Six decades after the Cuban Revolution, the country is again undergoing a severe economic crisis, this time worse than the infamous “Special Period” in the 1990s…”


Haiti Rocked By Violent Protests Over Rising Gang Violence.

“Haiti has witnessed violent protest against the rising gang violence in the country. Thousands of people demonstrated in the streets, burnt tyres, attacked vehicles, and clashed with the police. Daily lives of people have been disrupted by incessant gang violence that has worsened poverty across the country.”


Climate change hurts global economy: 59 countries will face massive debt burden in next 10 years.

“Researchers warn of potential credit score downgrades for major players like China, India, the United States, and Canada. The implications are dire, with higher borrowing costs for nations translating into increased corporate debt. The economic damage caused by climate change is already evident…”


Looming insurance crisis could make the GFC ‘look like a picnic’…

“For all those who deny climate change is real, who argue its financial costs are minor, or who actually believe it could benefit the world, the expensive reality is being played out in all those envelopes being mailed out to insurance customers right now.”


The climate wrecking ball striking food supply.

“Extreme weather events and our warming planet are primed to strike commodities and the food supply like never before… The latest UN climate change report suggests that human actions may have rendered the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target, and possibly even its 2°C benchmark, infeasible…


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.

7th August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Two measures of corporate and economic health were flashing red on Friday as shipping group Maersk reported a fall in global demand for sea containers and advertising giant WPP said clients in the U.S. tech sector were slashing their marketing spend.

A.P. Moller-Maersk lowered its estimate for global container trade this year as companies reduce inventories and higher interest rates and recession risks in Europe and the United States drag on global economic growth.

“The company, one of the world’s biggest container shippers, said it expects container volumes to fall by as much as 4%. It had previously forecast a decline of no more than 2.5%.”


Is A Debt Crisis The Next Economic Shock?

“…one prediction for the second half of this year is that we will hear more about debt sustainability – which I define as the ability of companies, households or governments to meet their debt payment obligations… Another deepening of an existing theme to watch for the remainder of 2023 is the tension between democracy and populism.”


The fact that the Bank of Japan must intervene to mitigate the rising cost of debt caused by a marginal shift in interest rates starkly underscores the enormity of the current debt problem.

Let there be no doubt: this situation is not exclusive to Japan. The Fed, ECB, BOE, PBOC, and others are on the brink of confronting the very same predicament.”


US Debt Rating Downgrade May Drive Up Interest Rates.

“…the change could have potentially serious consequences for the United States and the broader global economy. This is because debt issued by the U.S. Treasury is a global benchmark for interest rates and has long been considered one of the safest — if not the safest — interest-bearing investment in the world.”


The Fed may have saved the economy by hiking rates for 18 months—and may have guaranteed crisis for emerging markets.

“Many emerging economies rely on the dollar for trade, and most borrow in the U.S. dollar – all at rates influenced by the Federal Reserve. And when U.S. interest rates go up, many countries – and especially developing ones – tend to follow suit. This is largely out of concern for currency depreciation.”


America’s Truckers, Cargo Pilots and Package Carriers Are Fed Up.

“Surging demands on transportation workers are fueling labor standoffs at companies critical to U.S. supply chains… The renewed activism comes on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, when demands on train operators, package carriers, and truckers surged to handle a deluge of business.”


Trucking Firm That Got $700 Million U.S. Bailout Declares Bankruptcy.

“A pandemic-era lifeline that the Trump administration predicted would turn a profit for the federal government failed to keep Yellow afloat. The trucking industry has been under pressure over the last year from rising interest rates and higher fuel costs, which it has struggled to pass on to shippers.”


Echoes of Australia’s Gas Ban Will Ring Across Four Continents…

A region that still supplies about 40% of the country’s east-coast gas market is running dry, and reforms to encourage more production (introduced in 2021 by the same premier now presenting himself as a climate campaigner) have failed to inspire viable projects. Victoria’s gas ban is best understood as an incremental way to start addressing that looming shortage.


UK offshore wind at ‘tipping point’ as funding crisis threatens industry.

“Britain faces being left with no hope of meeting its crucial climate crisis goals and losing its status as a world leader in offshore wind energy without an urgent overhaul of government support, ministers are being warned.”


Siemens Energy CEO on $2.4 billion wind turbine hit: We were ‘going too fast’ with new products…

“In June, Siemens Energy scrapped its profit forecast and warned that costly failures at wind turbine subsidiary Siemens Gamesa could drag on for years… The Siemens Gamesa board is currently undergoing a review of the quality issues, which some analysts have suggested could turn out to be pervasive across the industry.


Is Germany’s great economy sinking into ‘slowcession’?

“…Carsten Brzeski, global head of macroeconomics at the Dutch bank ING, describes the German economy as being “stuck in the twilight zone between stagnation and recession”. It was May when the country’s economy was confirmed as being in recession. Revised official figures showed its performance was worse than originally thought…”


Germany’s industrial output fell for a second consecutive month in June, figures published on Monday show, with a drop of 1.5% far wider than the previous month’s slip of 0.1%.

“The German Economy Ministry warned that high energy prices and interest rates had taken their toll, despite rising demand.”


The eurozone’s custodians have set a course for the biggest policy-inflicted blow since the currency was created.

“The combination of higher interest rates and renewed restraint in government spending is threatening to strangle expansion and raise the risk of a nasty recession. The delayed pain from hikes in borrowing costs that began last year will crescendo in 2024…”


China’s exports likely contracted further in July, imports downturn seen slowing.

“China’s exports likely contracted further in July, as manufacturers in the world’s second-largest economy struggled for buyers in markets grappling with high inflation and rising interest rates, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.”


China can no longer ‘extend and pretend’ on municipal debt…

“Local governments are fundamental to China’s economy, with Beijing tasking provincial and city officials with meeting ambitious growth targets. But after years of over-investment in infrastructure, plummeting returns from land sales and soaring COVID costs, economists say debt-laden municipalities now represent a major risk to China’s economy.”


China’s economic losses from natural disasters surge to billions, adding more pressure to struggling economy.

“A magnitude-5.5 earthquake has struck eastern China as rain continued to pelt the north-eastern regions in the wake of Typhoon Doksuri, adding more pressure to the country’s struggle to recover its economy from the COVID pandemic.”


India: Tensions escalate between Hindu and Christian communities after surge in deadly violence.

“The remote northeastern state of Manipur has been engulfed by ethnic clashes since May. The conflict between the majority Meitei community that live in the valley and the tribal Kuki population that inhabit the hills has claimed more than 140 lives and left 60,000 homeless.”


As many as 141 people have been arrested and 55 FIRs registered in connection with the violence and rioting at Haryana’s Nuh district on Monday, the police informed on Friday…

“Earlier, on Monday, violence erupted between two groups during a religious procession. Two homeguards were shot dead and about a dozen policemen were injured during the violence.”


Pakistan’s Imran Khan sentenced to three years in prison, arrested…

“The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his premiership from 2018 to 2022 to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than 140 million Pakistani rupees ($497,500).”


Pakistan’s Textile Crisis: Economic Woes Leave Industry in Tatters…

“Pakistan’s industrial manufacturing sector — like elsewhere in the world — has suffered from the slowdown in global consumption and the rise in energy costs following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. But the difficulties of the textile sector, which accounts for 60 percent of Pakistan’s exports, are compounded by the critical state of the economy and months of political chaos.”


Saudi City of Future Enlists Dutch Help to Grow Crops in Desert…

“Food security is a priority for the planners of Neom, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s $500 billion showpiece project to turn an expanse of desert the size of Belgium into a high-tech region that may eventually host millions of people. The urgency has only grown since the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposed the fragility of supply chains and highlighted risks to food security in the Middle East.


Saboteurs bomb Iraqi power grid as temperatures surpass 50 degrees Celsius.

“An explosive device targeted an energy transmission tower in Iraq’s Diyala Province on 4 August, Shafaq News reported. According to a security source, the explosion occurred in the Mouradia area, approximately 15 kilometers southwest of Baquba.”


Despite Hamas’ crackdown, Gaza protests continue in rare defiance…

“Years of successive crises in the besieged Gaza Strip have seemingly reached a boiling point, with Gazans erupting in anger against the Hamas movement in the last two weeks. Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets last Sunday and again this Friday.”


Ethiopia’s government Friday declared a state of emergency in Amhara, resulting from ongoing clashes between military and local Fano militiamen. This came in the form of a press release issued by the office of the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

“The press release outlined a recent Council of Ministers resolution. It noted that the Amhara region is unable to quell what was described as illegal action being taken by armed forces.”


Sudan Raises Fuel Prices Amidst Unrest.

“The Sudanese Ministry of Energy and Oil announced raising the prices of benzene and gasoline in the country, according to international fuel prices, amid a continued fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces.”


Tunisia: New shortage of subsidized bread…

“At the root of this complex, multi-factorial shortage are low cereal production against a backdrop of severe drought, and malfunctions in flour supply circuits, as pointed out by connoisseurs of the Tunisian economy. As a result, the disruption in durum wheat supplies has led to a shortage of semolina…”


Heat derails some grain cars on Moldova train headed to Ukraine river port.

“Six grain wagons in a 61-car train headed for a Ukrainian river port derailed in Moldova on Saturday as extreme heat weakened the rails, the country’s railway system said. “The preliminary cause of the accident is the extremely high temperature, which caused the rails to lose their strength,” the Moldovan railway said in a statement.”


Global food commodity prices rose for the first time in months [led by wheat and oil], as trade disruptions of grain and extreme weather fuel supply concerns worldwide…

“Against a global backdrop of rising food prices, several countries recently announced restrictions or a ban on rice exports to ensure the supply in the domestic market, such as India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Russia.”


30 Countries with Lowest Life Expectancy in the World [poor Chad, pictured, ranks lowest of all]…

“To determine the countries with the lowest life expectancy in the world, we headed over to a United Nations report on life expectancy at birth for 2021 and 2020 by country, the latest years on file. We then calculated the rank of each country for each year, and apportioned 70% to its 2021 rank and 30% to 2020, as the latest year is more relevant.”


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 August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Extreme heat has cost the global economy $16 trillion (best estimate for the period from 1992 to 2013), research shows… the costs of scorching temperatures is far higher than previously understood…

“Between 1992 and 2013, the world lost an estimated $16 trillion, on average, because of extreme heat fueled by the climate crisis …The losses were much higher in poor tropical countries, accounting for up to 6.7% of GDP per capita in the regions. Wealthier regions saw a 1.5% hit to GDP per capita.”


In a warming world, is an air-conditioned future inevitable?

“For better or for worse, these power-hungry appliances are among the most common adaptations to a warming world. They have become a necessary tool for the survival of millions… But while they bring immediate, life-saving relief, air conditioners come at a cost to the climate crisis because of their enormous energy requirements.”


Businesses see geopolitical tensions as the biggest threat to the global economy right now, according to the latest survey by Oxford Economics…

“In contrast, a similar survey in April found that nearly half the respondents viewed either a marked tightening in credit supply or a full-blown financial crisis as the top risk in the near term.”


How bonds ate the entire financial system. A very short, very wild history of the market that will shape the next financial crisis…

“… in finance, risk is like energy. It cannot be destroyed, only shifted from one place to another. As it gets shunted around, its consequences can morph in little understood, even dangerous ways.”


Kill debt-fuelled spending, before it destroys the West… The US’s debt woes are proof – we cannot borrow and spend our way out of every crisis…

“…the West can’t keep on borrowing forever with no consequence. It was only a few months ago that France also had its debt downgraded, while the Bank of Japan, presiding over the second biggest debt load, is struggling to control interest rates. The last fifteen years have seen an extraordinary explosion of debt…”


The Risk Of Another Financial Crisis Is High And Rising [US]…

“Current economic dynamics are similar to those preceding the Global Financial Crisis, with national savings contracting and leading economic indicators suggesting a real GDP contraction. With US equity and housing valuations at extreme levels and total debt to GDP near all-time highs, the risk of another financial crisis is increasing.”


Column: US manufacturing slowdown fails to rebuild diesel stocks [Worth reading Gail Tverberg’s latest article with this in mind]…

[This implies that] the energy system is operating close to its maximum capacity. In the event of a soft landing followed by a re-acceleration of the business cycle, capacity constraints will re-emerge quickly and could lead to an early resurgence of inflation.”


There Is A Financial Crisis Brewing In Offshore Wind Energy.

“The costs associated with U.S. offshore wind projects have risen by 57% since 2021 due to inflation in components and labor costs, as well as rising interest rates, leading to a large number of canceled or renegotiated deals. The recent cancellations of major offshore wind projects have erased billions of dollars in planned spending…”


The bosses behind Britain’s multibillion-pound clean energy rollout have warned the government that the UK’s difficult economic circumstances and political uncertainty have taken a toll on investor confidence.

“About 20 industry bosses representing companies from across the sector attended a summit at No 10 to discuss their plans to invest more than £100bn in the UK economy.”


EU must address wasted green energy and negative prices, says solar industry.

“The European Union needs to address curtailment wasting solar power potential and negative prices hitting the revenues of projects, a group of solar and renewable energy associations told the European Commission on Tuesday (1 August).”


European IPOs fall to lowest level since 2009.

“The number of companies listing in Europe has slumped to the lowest level since the global financial crisis, underlining the dire state of the region’s market for initial public offerings amid an economic slowdown…”


EU banks face liquidity checks next year after 2023 crises.

“European Union banks’ plans for surviving a major crisis without having to tap central bank money will undergo intense scrutiny next year, the bloc’s banking watchdog said. The need for credible options was reinforced after the Swiss central bank stepped in with a liquidity backstop for Credit Suisse in March…”


Soaring prices are forcing Germans to cut back on food, report reveals.

“Tuesday’s figures show that many people in Europe’s economic powerhouse are struggling to buy meat, fish or vegetables. The statistics, requested by the opposition Die Linke party, show …nearly 10 million people in the EU’s most populous nation are often going without proper meals.”


Germany sees spike in attacks on refugee shelters…

“The number of politically motivated attacks on refugee shelters in Germany has steadily increased since the beginning of last year, with 80 crimes reported in the first half of this year, mostly involving far-right activists.”


China pumps out coal plants at increasing pace to allay power-security fears, risking climate transition: Greenpeace.

“Coal-plant approvals in the first half of 2023 outpace 2022’s rate and exceed 2021’s total, according to Greenpeace research. Deepened reliance on coal risks sidelining development of key climate solutions, especially energy storage, that China needs to meet its carbon goals.”


World battles to loosen China’s grip on vital rare earths for clean energy transition…

“Recent struggles by MP, Lynas and other companies to refine their own rare earths highlight the difficult task the rest of the world faces to break China’s stranglehold on the key group of 17 metals needed for the clean energy transition, interviews with more than a dozen consultants, executives, investors and industry analysts showed.”


Hindu-Muslim riots expose risk at major Indian business hub.

“GURUGRAM, India – Hindu-Muslim clashes just outside the Indian capital this week have worsened religious fault lines in the region and exposed a booming business hub to threats of violence and disruption, authorities and analysts said. Seven people were killed and over 70 injured…”


Turkey’s annual inflation hits nearly 50% in July…

“The Turkish Statistical Institute reported that annual inflation jumped by nearly 55% compared to the same period last year. The increase came after consecutive price and tax hikes as the country grapples with one of its worst-ever cost-of-living crises.”


Lebanon caretaker PM warns of total collapse if reforms not implemented…

“”Lebanon will not be able to secure medicine or pay salaries in foreign currency, in the event that the monetary and economic plan presented by the Acting Governor of the Banque du Liban, Wassim Mansouri, is not approved,” the caretaker prime minister said.”


Number of hungry in Sudan rises above 20 million…

“The estimated number of people facing acute food insecurity in Sudan has risen faster than expected to 20.3 million, or 42% of the population, as a conflict between rival military factions deepens a humanitarian crisis, a food security body said.”


Major cities in Niger are facing rolling blackouts following last week’s coup in the West African country.

The power shortages are a result of Nigeria cutting supplies to its northern neighbour, Niger’s electricity company Nigelec says. West African trade bloc Ecowas has put sanctions on Niger, but has not said if these include electricity supplies.”


Tinubu meets labour unions as strike under way across Nigeria.

“Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu met union leaders on the first day of a nationwide strike called by unions to protest against a fuel subsidy removal that has led to higher pump price of petrol, the head of the main labour federation has said.”


Colombia’s Economic Woes Worsen As Cocaine Prices Plunge.

“Cocaine, a significant part of Colombia’s economy, is seeing falling prices, leading to economic instability and increased violence as illicit groups clash for control. The falling prices are causing economic hardship in rural areas where communities rely heavily on coca cultivation…”


UN bodies call for urgent action over Panama’s Darién Gap migration route…

“The calls come after the Panamanian government revealed on Monday that 250,000 people took the perilous journey in the first seven months of 2023 – more than the entire total for last year… TThis year 55% came from Venezuela.”


Cuba bans company access to ATMs, limits cash transactions.

“The Cuban Central Bank issued rules this week banning state and private businesses from using ATMs and limiting cash transactions between them, as it seeks to tame runaway inflation and off-the-books business amid a grave economic crisis.”


Wall Street ‘Vultures’ Want Puerto Rico To Pay Even More For Electricity That Doesn’t Work…

“Now it’s up to a federal court to decide whether Puerto Ricans should fork over even more money to pay down the debt and interest the state-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority owes to the Wall Street equivalent of loan sharks.”


‘Limitless’ energy: how floating solar panels near the equator could power future population hotspots [Hmmm].

“Vast arrays of solar panels floating on calm seas near the Equator could provide effectively unlimited solar energy to densely populated countries in Southeast Asia and West Africa.”


Is this the week that Net Zero died?

“… public support for goals like Net Zero are a bit like world peace or ending poverty: almost everyone likes the idea, but no one wants to pay for it. Politics, of course, is waking up to this — and given the fact that most politicians are opportunists and not ideologues, there is a growing probability that we are witnessing the end of Net Zero as a goal.”


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.

2nd August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The economics of systems collapse… Economists in the mainstream have not even begun to understand the implications of ecological systems collapse…

“Rapid climate change is the best-known element in this new geological period, but massive biodiversity loss in what is likely to be the world’s sixth known mass extinction event is a major element. Worsening chaos and instability are not some passing crisis, but a fundamental reality for all of us from this point onwards.”


Factory activity around the world took a further turn for the worse in July, private surveys showed on Tuesday, a sign that slowing growth, inflationary pressures and weakness in China were taking a toll on the global economy.

The downturn highlights the dilemma for policy-makers who embarked on aggressive tightening cycles in a battle to keep inflation at bay and yet also need to try and forestall potential recessions.


Oil Exploration Grows But Discovered Volumes Fall To New Lows.

“Spending on conventional oil and gas exploration is rebounding and expected to top $50 billion this year, the highest since 2019, but operators are still waiting for the results they had hoped for. Rystad Energy research shows that despite the rising investments, discovered volumes are falling to new lows.”


The fuel that’s the engine of the global economy is surging again, as hot weather hampers diesel supplies in a market that’s still reeling from the loss of Russian exports.

“Diesel futures in Europe and the US are trading at highs not seen since January, accompanied by a jump in Asia.”


A second wave of inflation could dash US rate cut hopes.

“The US could experience a second wave of inflation, perhaps starting as soon as the next Consumer Price Index (CPI) data to be reported, according to StoneX market strategist Vincent Deluard. Inflation could pick up to a 3.5% annual rate in July due to base effects and a rally in the oil price, now over $80 per barrel from under $70 earlier this year.”


Fitch downgrades US debt on debt ceiling drama and Jan. 6 insurrection.

“Fitch Ratings downgraded its US debt rating on Tuesday from the highest AAA rating to AA+, citing “a steady deterioration in standards of governance.” The downgrade comes after lawmakers negotiated up until the last minute on a debt ceiling deal earlier this year…”


Heat Is Costing the U.S. Economy Billions in Lost Productivity.

“As much of the United States swelters under record heat, Amazon drivers and warehouse workers have gone on strike in part to protest working conditions that can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. On triple-digit days in Orlando, utility crews are postponing checks for gas leaks…”


Extreme Heat and Aging Power Grids Are a Deadly Combination…

“Last week the largest US grid — serving 65 million customers from Washington, DC to Illinois — issued an emergency alert raising concern about its ability to maintain enough power reserves as people crank up their air conditioners. Fragility is commonplace across US energy infrastructure…”


New York struggles to shelter, process asylum-seekers amid heat.

“Knees to their chests, dozens of men from countries such as Venezuela, Mali, and Senegal sat on a dirty New York City sidewalk outside a Manhattan hotel Tuesday, awaiting asylum processing. Some had been there for days, in a line that wrapped around the block and that underlined the challenge facing thousands of migrants in New York.”


Despite net zero emissions being a “global priority” in the fight against climate change, “not a single person in the [energy] supply chain believes the UK net zero targets will be achieved”, a report has found…

““Funding problems and project viability will only worsen with the current higher interest rates.””


UK House Prices Fall Most Since 2009 as Borrowing Costs Rise…

“The first hard data about prices for the latest month indicate the 13 interest-rate increases from the Bank of England since the end of 2021 have strained the ability of consumers to pay more for properties. The market is now in its deepest slump since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.”


The appointment of US Federal Reserve ex-chairman, Ben Bernanke, to oversee a review of the Bank of England’s economic forecasting is “frankly humiliating”, R3 Mortgages founder and director, Riz Malik, has said.

“Malik suggested that this appears to be an admission by the BoE that they may have made mistakes and that they require assistance.”


Protests erupt in Italy over cuts to poverty relief scheme.

“In Naples, trade unionists and far-left activists organised a rally outside the headquarters of welfare agency INPS, while in a small town in Sicily an unemployed man threatened to set the office of the mayor on fire. They are all set to lose the so-called “citizen wage”, a subsidy introduced in 2019…”


Investment flows poised for historic shift after ‘giant leap’ by Bank of Japan.

“Analysts hail ‘de facto abolishment’ of Japanese government bonds cap… The shock decision, which the BoJ denied represented a policy change, was tantamount to calling time on a controversial, seven-year monetary experiment known as yield curve control that set Japan’s central bank far apart from global peers, analysts said.”


China’s currency regulators are asking some commercial banks to reduce or postpone their purchases of U.S. dollars in order to slow the yuan’s depreciation, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

“The informal instruction, or the so-called window guidance, is the latest in a series of steps taken by authorities this year to bolster a currency that has been hit by China’s faltering post-pandemic economic recovery and rising yields for the U.S. dollar and other major currencies.”


Plunging sales of new homes and the reported cancellation of a share placement by China’s biggest property developer on Tuesday underscored the depth of the country’s real estate crisis.

“Reports that Country Garden had abruptly pulled an attempt to raise $300 million by issuing new shares in Hong Kong coincided with the release of data late Monday showing new home sales by China’s 100 biggest developers dropped by 33% in July from a year ago.”


Authorities in Papua New Guinea have declared a 30-day state of emergency nationwide as of July 31 due to ongoing fuel shortages.

“Puma Energy earlier implemented fuel rationing measures July 19-22, restricting the distribution of fuel amid delayed payments for fuel by the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) due to foreign exchange shortages.”


Sri Lanka struggles to irrigate rice paddies in South, avoid power cuts.

“Sri Lanka is struggling to provide water to rice paddies in Southern Sri Lanka at the tail end of the Yala minor cultivation season amid low water levels in a key reservoirs, officials said. The Samanalawewa reservoir is a key source of power for the Southern provincial grid…”


Pakistan Faces Gas Crunch After Deciding Not to Buy Pricey LNG.

“Pakistan will not purchase costly liquefied natural gas shipments for early next year, a move that threatens further fuel shortages in the cash-strapped nation… While Pakistan last month won final approval for a $3 billion aid program to help ease the nation’s dire need for cash and rescue its economy, LNG suppliers are still wary of the country’s credit risk.”


Iran announces nationwide shutdown due to soaring heat.

“A two-day national holiday is due to start tomorrow as the health ministry put hospitals on high alert and warned the vulnerable to stay indoors. This year has already seen heat records broken across the world, with devastating consequences.”


Saudi Arabia’s borrowing costs hit record high.

“Enormous growth in Saudi banks’ borrowing costs, triggered by successive interest rate rises in the US, will put the Crown Prince’s projects under new pressure as the kingdom grapples with a dramatic economic slowdown. MBS is channelling hundreds of billions of dollars into projects such as the $500bn Neom region, which will feature a ski resort and a 170-kilometer linear city, consisting of two vast, parallel mirrored buildings.”


Disabled survivors of Beirut port blast long for support, justice.

“People hurt or disabled by the catastrophic explosion told AFP that Lebanon, bankrupt and politically paralysed, has failed to deliver adequate medical care, financial support or justice. “The state forgot about us,” said the soft-spoken Salameh…”


Lebanon clashes: Thousands flee violence at Palestinian refugee camp.

“The UN says more than 2,000 people have been forced to flee violence between rival factions at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. The clashes between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement and Islamist groups left 11 people dead, the UN says.”


Migrants between life and death in Tunisia-Libya desert.

“…hundreds of migrants [are] arriving daily in Libya after being abandoned in the desert borderland by Tunisian security forces, according to Libyan border guards and the migrants themselves. By the time they reach Libya, the migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are ready to drop from exhaustion…”


Four Nigerians, rescued in Brazil, survived 14 days on a ship’s rudder.

“On their tenth day at sea, the four Nigerian stowaways crossing the Atlantic in a tiny space above the rudder of a cargo ship ran out of food and drink… Their remarkable, death-defying journey across some 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles) of ocean underlines the risks some migrants are prepared to take for a shot at a better life.”


South America is bracing itself for the impact of El Niño, with flooding and droughts intensified by climate change forecast to deliver a $300bn hit to growth for the region’s economies…

“South America, which is dependent on agricultural exports and already vulnerable to rising temperatures, is particularly exposed to the extreme weather that El Niño cycles can bring.”


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.

31st July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Have Central Banks Overheated The Climate? [Picture from record-rainfall in Beijing today]

“…It is correct, I think, to say that both the existence of QE (as a sign that economies and financial systems were too fragile and required monetary morphine) and manifest climate damage, are warning signs that the world economy is reaching the limits of modus operandi, and possibly its very existence.


We bailed out the banks but we’re not prepared to bail out the planet….

“In their different ways, recent events in the US and the UK show just how difficult it will be to put the global economy on a saner and more sustainable course. Problem number one is that politicians struggle to think beyond the next election.”


The world is burning – stop pretending everything is fine…

“The main parties are ever-more short-termist, committing to net zero but dropping these policies as soon as they cost anything, or become unpopular… We are all potential climate refugees. Just pray you don’t live on a flood plain.”


The shift from owning to renting goods is ushering in a new era of consumerism… [The author is trying to spin this as a consumer preference and a positive shift.]

“At a time filled with economic instability driven by a wealth of factors, including the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, consumers continue to shift their consumption habits to align with these economic shocks.”


Shipping giant CMA CGM paints gloomy outlook as profit plummets.

“CMA CGM SA sketched out a sombre outlook for the shipping industry, with the world’s third-largest container line saying freight rates remain weak and a steep slump in US demand for goods out of China isn’t over.”


A Record $90 Billion in Ship Orders Loom Over Boom-Bust Industry.

“The world’s biggest shipping companies are plowing their pandemic windfalls into orders for new vessels on an unprecedented scale, making an industry known for hair-raising cycles of boom and bust more vulnerable in the latest downturn.”


Unicorns see their green pastures dry up around the world.

The number of freshly minted unicorns — unlisted companies valued at $1 billion or more — is plummeting worldwide as investors have become more risk-averse amid concerns about a potential economic slowdown caused by monetary tightening in the U.S. and elsewhere.”


Wall Street Braces for the Great Loan Tightening…

The great credit tightening is finally approaching on both sides of the Atlantic, if the latest surveys of bankers are anything to go by… Thank restrictive monetary policy and bank turmoil for creating headaches for borrowers across the globe, from mom-and-pops to blue-chip companies.”


‘Vicious cycle’: Heat waves ramp up global burning of fossil fuels.

The United States is setting records for natural gas consumption this week at the power plants that keep the nation’s air conditioners humming, according to estimates from S&P Global Commodity Insights.”


First new US nuclear reactor in 3 decades may well also be its last.

“The US nuclear energy industry is on the brink of a watershed moment. When Plant Vogtle unit 3 finally delivers commercial electricity to the Georgia power grid, it will be the first nuclear reactor the country has built from scratch in more than three decades… there are no other traditional large-scale light water reactors under way in the US.”


How the ghost of 1990s property crash returned to haunt Sweden.

“The banks are closely watching the country’s mid-sized property firms, several of whom are lumbered with a debt mountain built during a decade of rock-bottom interest rates and virtually free money.”


Denmark and Sweden are seeking to limit the burnings of the Koran and other holy books as the two Scandinavian countries face a growing diplomatic crisis.

“The Danish and Swedish prime ministers spoke on Sunday to try to find ways of countering strong freedom of speech laws that have permitted repeated burnings of holy books.”


Why We Should Pity the Bank of England…

Among the major global central banks, they both face the most intricate monetary policy challenges. However, unlike the Bank of Japan that acted last week and is able to contain the immediate damage from policy hesitancies and possible missteps, the BOE doesn’t have the luxury of time to experiment with policy responses.”


Britain tests ‘the kindness of strangers’ as gilts lose their lustre.

“…Buying British still has a premium. That’s bad news for the Government. With the national debt mountain now equivalent to the size of the economy, higher borrowing costs are dragging on the public finances… the implications for taxes, spending and the upcoming election are huge.”


Millions of families are borrowing to cover basic bills and expenses, according to analysis that warns Britain is entering a dangerous new phase of the cost of living crisis.

“Interest rates are expected to rise again this week and there are warnings about a “timebomb of debt” among poorer households.”


Germany grapples with economic turmoil amid energy crisis & industrial decline.

“Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is facing serious challenges as its economy grapples with ongoing struggles. As concerns rise about the potential impact on Europe’s overall prosperity, the nation’s growth engine seems to have sputtered.”


Hot rocks: German cities dig deep for green [geothermal] energy.

“Ever since Olaf Scholz’s government unveiled a law earlier this year banning gas-fired boilers in new houses, the question of how Germans should heat their homes has risen to the top of the political agenda… Cities across Germany are now frantically trying to figure out how to comply with the new law…”


While Everyone Else Fights Inflation, China’s Deflation Fears Deepen.

“While the rest of the world tussles with inflation, China is at risk of experiencing a prolonged spell of falling prices that—if it takes root—could eat into corporate profits, sap consumer spending and push more people out of work. Its effects would ripple across the globe…


China factory activity shrinks in July, adding to pressure to reverse economic slump…

“A purchasing managers’ index issued by the national statistics agency and an industry group improved to 49.3 from June’s 49 on a 100-point scale but was below the 50-point level that shows activity contracting.”


How China’s hidden debt risk ‘comes from its system’, and why local governments are beholden to Beijing.

“…deteriorating finances across the country, particularly in its poorest provinces such as Guizhou, have raised the spectre of a looming local government debt crisis. Beijing sees the potential for a meltdown in China’s predominantly state-owned banking system as a “grey rhino” risk – big, obvious and neglected.


Bangladesh police clash with protesters calling for PM to resign.

“Bangladesh police have fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse stone-throwing crowds blockading main roads in the capital, Dhaka, in a protest demanding the prime minister’s resignation… clashes between police and protesters took place in at least four locations in the city.”


Sri Lanka’s fishermen face double whammy of climate and economy…

“Inflation is the most pressing challenge to small-scale fishers right now, said Santhalingam Thanusanth, a fisheries and fish biology scientist at the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).”


In a climate-ravaged Indian village, marginalised farmers sing about ‘floating in tears’ after years of erratic weather…

“To convey their desperation at the lack of rain and the changing weather pattern, Mandal and two other local farmers have written some 50 songs in Bengali, encapsulating the challenges of economically and socially marginalised farmers in the Sundarbans…”


Pakistan Struggles With Economic Collapse And Extremism.

“Pakistan’s current turmoil is a result of economic collapse, legal challenges against its former Prime Minister, strained relations with major powers and an inability to ensure security against extremist groups. All this has raised concerns for the stability of the country and the region.”


Pakistan police suspect Islamic State in bomb blast that killed at least 44…

“Police said the explosion at a rally on Sunday afternoon for the conservative Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (JUI-F), a government coalition partner, was carried out by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives vest close to the stage where several senior leaders of the party were sitting.”


Desertification: An Existential Crisis For Iran.

“Temperatures in Iran are hitting record highs, rivers and lakes are drying up, and prolonged droughts are becoming the norm… The desertification of Iran is occurring at a staggering pace… there are fears that a huge segment of the population might eventually have no option but to flee the country entirely…


A fire at an electricity substation in southern Iraq triggered a nationwide power outage Saturday, authorities said, just as demand peaks amid the searing summer heat.

“Electricity is a sensitive political issue in Iraq as despite the country’s huge oil reserves, its dilapidated power grid is incapable of meeting peak demand and Iraqis endure hours-long outages every summer.”


Thousands take to streets in Gaza in rare public display of discontent with Hamas.

“Several thousand people briefly took to the streets across the Gaza Strip on Sunday to protest chronic power outages and difficult living conditions, providing a rare public show of discontent with the territory’s Hamas government. Hamas security forces quickly dispersed the gatherings.”


Powerless and dejected: Egypt’s small-business owners hit by electricity crisis…

“Weam Al-Sayed, who works in a small women’s accessories shop, said: “We lose customers during power cuts as they cannot bear being in an unair-conditioned place. “I estimate the losses in the past two weeks to be around 20,000 pounds per week — a significant amount compared to the shop’s income. I pray the power outages don’t persist.””


‘We can’t endure this’: Migrants suffer in extreme Tunisian heat…

“Amid the relentless heat, life in the Tunisian capital has slowed to a crawl. Cold tap water runs hot and unprotected food spoils. Stray dogs and the city’s ubiquitous cat population compete for every patch of shade. And when the evening comes, there is little respite.”


UN Says 19,000 Sudanese Refugees Face ‘Critical Challenges’ Arriving in South Sudan.

“The United Nations says 19,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have fled to South Sudan since Sudan’s military and paramilitary started fighting on April 15, and that those numbers are expected to more than double by the end of the year.”


West African migrants buried in unmarked graves on coast of Senegal…

“Bodies wash ashore or are found by fishermen at sea, then are buried by authorities with no clarity as to whether the deaths are documented or investigated as required by Senegalese and international law, according to lawyers and human rights experts. Most of the families of those buried will never know what happened to their relatives.


Soldiers Fire On Hungry Grain Store Looters In Nigeria’s Adamawa.

“Soldiers have opened fire on crowds of young people as they raided food stores in North East Nigeria. The raids on government owned grain stores in the cities of Yola and Jimeta in Adamawa State were reportedly triggered by fuel-price-induced economic hardship and hunger.”


Peru police clash with protesters as President Boluarte seeks expanded powers.

“During an Independence Day speech in Lima, Boluarte said she would request legislative powers from Congress for 120 days to fight crime. She said she was open to reverting Congress to a two-chamber legislature from a single-chamber format.”


Chocolate inflation won’t quit as the wholesale cocoa cost soars to the highest level in over a decade…

“…production in West Africa, a region that accounts for two-thirds of the world’s bean harvest, is faltering. Heavy rains and a rot-causing disease have ravaged crops there, sparking concerns about supply. Bean processing has also slumped around the world.”


Funding crisis cuts off food aid to millions as acute hunger surges worldwide, UN says.

“he United Nations has been forced to cut food, cash payments and assistance to millions of people in many countries because of “a crippling funding crisis” that has seen its donations plummet by about half as acute hunger is hitting record levels, a top official said 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.

28th July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Soaring temperatures and food prices threaten violent unrest. As the world warms, the link between heat and social disturbance is an increasingly important one and, this summer, an especially concerning one.

“Each upheaval has its own causes, but certain factors make disturbances more likely everywhere. Surging temperatures, rising food prices and cuts to public spending—three of the strongest predictors of turmoil—have driven estimates of the potential for unrest to unprecedented highs in recent months.”


Why India’s export ban and the looming El Niño spell big trouble for global rice stocks…

“If India, the world’s largest exporter, sticks by its ban, millions of people are likely to be plunged into hunger by skyrocketing rice prices, which are already at an 11-year high… It comes at a time of acute food insecurity… And only last week, the cost of wheat jumped by 13 per cent and corn nine per cent after Russia pulled out of the deal allowing Ukraine to export grains via the Black Sea.”


Global Food Insecurity? Time for Rationing…

Faced with climate-driven food shortages around the world, we might do something very similar [to WW2]… That would mean wartime-level control of agriculture and distribution. The big grocery chains couldn’t jack up prices; farmers and ranchers would raise the crops and livestock that government required of them, at a guaranteed price and with subsidies for everything from water supply to transportation.”


‘We can avoid the worst of it’ – new [IPCC] climate chairman.

“A scientist who chairs one of the world’s most influential climate change bodies has said “we can avoid the worst” of rising global temperatures. Prof Jim Skea told BBC Scotland that measures could include changing work practices and how we heat homes.”


Global coal demand set to remain at record levels in 2023.

“Global coal consumption climbed to a new all-time high in 2022 and will stay near that record level this year as strong growth in Asia for both power generation and industrial applications outpaces declines in the United States and Europe, according to the IEA’s latest market update.”


The Harsh Truth: We’re Using More Oil Than Ever.

“In this age of climate crisis, the world is consuming more crude than ever. Peak oil demand? Not yet… It will take a while before governments certify it, but every piece of data points in the very same direction: In the past few weeks, global oil demand has surpassed the monthly peak set in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.”


Global electric vehicle supply chains struggle to keep up as demand surges…

“Squeezed supply chains and looming shortages of critical metals which are key for battery manufacturing present a major risk for the energy transition as we head towards 2030. Lagging investments in mining may also add another challenge to the mix as we begin to see the supply-demand balance grow increasingly fragile.”


Gasoline Is Surging All Over the World in Fresh Inflation Blow… The resurgence in gasoline potentially poses a headache for central banks…

““Higher energy costs may push up consumer prices and lead to renewed goods inflation — a sector where price increases have slowed,” said Andrew Hollenhorst, chief US economist at Citigroup Inc.”


Fed Raises Interest Rates To 22-Year High, Credit Crunch Continues For Small Businesses…

“With today’s action, the Federal Reserve has now raised its policy rate by 5 1/4 percentage points since early last year. The Fed chair acknowledged that we have seen the effects of policy tightening on demand. Powell admitted that “the economy is facing headwinds from tighter credit conditions for households and businesses.””


Big Consumer Companies Keep Raising Prices, Complicating Fed’s Job.

“Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Unilever have each reported raising prices significantly in the second quarter, complicating the Federal Reserve’s efforts to tame inflation… Escalating Russian attacks in Ukraine and the recent breakdown of a deal to export grain from Black Sea ports have put pressure on prices for key commodities like corn and wheat.”


Credit Markets Are Creaking, Creating Economic Uncertainty…

“The financial system is this machine, and it’s shaking terribly because of all the stress put on it,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, referring to pressures from higher interest rates, among other strains. “The Fed is desperately trying to keep it from blowing a gasket.”


The end may be close for Yellow Corp, a nearly century-old trucking company with 30,000 employees.

“The company narrowly avoided a fatal strike by the Teamsters earlier this week after Yellow missed payments to pensions and healthcare funds, as the union agreed to give it extra time to make the payments. But the company has stopped picking up new freight from customers…”


US Officials Weigh Deeming a Syphilis Emergency as Drugs Run Low.

“A shortage of penicillin to treat a skyrocketing number of syphilis cases is so dire that US health officials are debating the need to declare a public health emergency, according to people familiar with the matter. Major US medical centers are rationing the recommended treatment for the deadly sexually transmitted disease because of a supply crunch.”


Soaring rates of depression fuel long-term sickness crisis [UK].

“Britain’s long-term sickness crisis has been fuelled by a surge in depression after lockdowns, official data shows. Mental health problems were the single largest cause for being off work amongst those who have dropped out of the labour force due to long-term sickness, according to the Office for National Statistics.”


Rishi Sunak is sticking with a 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales for fear of an industry backlash that would threaten green investment in Britain.

“Instead ministers are considering relaxing interim targets for electric vehicle sales and allowing “more flexibility” on hybrid cars beyond 2030 as they look for ways to ease the burden of net-zero policies.”


One killed as ship carrying 3,000 cars catches fire off Dutch coast.

“A blaze on a cargo ship carrying nearly 3,000 vehicles off the Dutch coast has killed one person and injured several others, with coastguards warning that the fire could last for several days… The ship’s owner said an electric car in the cargo was suspected as a possible cause for the blaze.”


Europe’s banks are bracing for a wave of defaults.

“Consumer price inflation in Europe, while falling, remains high, weighing on households’ finances. Meanwhile, interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are hampering economic activity, with the 20 countries that use the euro already in a recession.”


From debt to death on the streets: Just how big is Africa’s loans crisis?

As anti-austerity protests hit Kenya, other debt-laden countries may face a similar fate… There could yet be more angry public protests as governments confront hard choices about where they spend their next Naira, Shilling or Kwacha. The crisis might well see governments facing imminent elections, being voted out in favour of parties that promise less austerity.”


Food crisis in Africa: The high cost of imported fertilizers is adding to the problem.

“Global fertilizer suppliers have made incredibly high profits in 2022/23 on the back of price spikes attributed to the Russia-Ukraine war. The profits of the world’s top nine producers trebled in 2022 from two years previously. The margins and impacts have been even greater on fertilizer supplies to African farmers.”


Niger: Soldiers announce coup and president’s removal on national TV [Niger supplies about 5% of the world’s uranium].

“Soldiers in the West African country of Niger announced a coup on national television and said they had removed President Mohamed Bazoum from power. Supporters of the president and those in favour of the rebellion rallied in the capital city, Niamey.”


Nigerian public doctors strike over pay after fuel subsidy axed.

“Frontline doctors in Nigerian public hospitals began an indefinite strike on Wednesday over grievances including demands for a pay rise after the removal of a subsidy on petrol, the doctors’ union said. The doctors are the first public sector workers to strike after fuel prices more than tripled…


Dinar devaluation, one of key factors behind drug shortages in Tunisia.

“The devaluation of the dinar is one of the main factors responsible for the shortage of medicines and the financial imbalance of the Central Pharmacy of Tunisia (PCT), in addition to the deficit of the social security funds (CNAM and CNSS) which prevents the reimbursements on which the PCT depends, according to the Tunisian Observatory of the Economy.”


Egypt announces emergency actions to tackle power shortages.

“Egypt’s government will implement emergency moves, including rationing electricity and increasing fuel oil imports, as it bids to tackle a summer power shortage, the country’s prime minister said on Thursday.”


Ittai Ben-Zeev, chief executive officer of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, warned of a looming Israeli financial crisis amid the ongoing judicial overhaul crisis.

“He urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to intervene and change direction while there was still time to avert the crisis.”


Lebanese officials were in a last-minute scramble on Wednesday to avoid leaving the crisis-hit country’s central bank without a leader when governor Riad Salameh’s 30-year tenure ends next week.

“The prospect of a vacuum at the top of the central bank has added to concerns about the further fragmentation of the state as it barrels toward a fifth year of financial turmoil.”


Protesters, banks demand action after Iraqi dinar plunges post-US sanctions…

“The latest US sanctions are in addition to previous ones on eight banks, leaving almost a third of Iraq’s 72 banks blacklisted, two Iraqi central bank officials said. The ban has pushed the market rate of the dollar from 1,470 dinars per dollar to 1,570 dinars per dollar in the last two days.”


Power outages in Yemen’s southern city of Aden worsened on Thursday as private electricity generators turned off supplies in protest over unpaid bills.

“Amid sweltering summer temperatures, the city’s state-run electricity company reported that many of the private firms that supplied the city with electricity had progressively withdrawn their services in a bid to put pressure on the government to meet outstanding payments.”


Southeast Asia suffers power shortages due to record-smashing heat waves.

“Southeast Asia usually experiences its hottest months of the year in April and May. This year, however, most countries in the region have been hit by unprecedented heat waves. Thailand experienced its hottest day on record on April 15…”


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

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It is an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.