Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

1st September 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Copper Extends Worst Losing Streak Since 2008 on Growth Fears… Copper fell further after capping its fifth consecutive monthly loss, the longest downward streak since the 2008 financial crisis, as global recession fears mounted

“A wave of risk aversion hit markets on Thursday, as the hawkish drumbeat from central banks spurred gains in the dollar… Concerns over demand are outweighing continued challenges on the supply side.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-01/copper-extends-worst-losing-streak-since-2008-on-growth-fears


Oil Posts Longest Monthly Slump Since 2020 Amid Growth Concerns.

“Oil registered its third straight monthly decline, its longest losing run in more than two years, on concern that tighter monetary policy and China’s economic slowdown will impact crude demand.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-31/oil-heads-for-worst-losing-run-since-2020-on-slowdown-concerns#xj4y7vzkg


Why recession looms for the developed world…

“The new interest rate regime means that we now expect the US, UK and eurozone economies to go into recession (defined as two successive quarters of declining economic output) over the course of the next year. All three of these markets will experience significant declines in output over the course of the next year, and the outlook for the global economy is grim.”

https://www.schroders.com/en/us/professional-investor/insights/economic-views/why-recession-looms-for-the-developed-world/


US utilities are extending the lives of their coal-fired power plants, as delays in obtaining cleaner replacements and strong electricity demand drive fears of shortfalls on the grid.

“Three coal generators this month joined a growing list of plants whose planned retirement date has been postponed, bringing to at least eight the number of deferrals this year.”

https://www.ft.com/content/0be5163f-5ac4-4d0d-979a-ba97477f9cea


California officials declared a statewide grid emergency to cope with surging demand for power amid a blistering heat wave, raising the prospect of rolling blackouts.

“The California Independent System Operator issued a level-1 energy emergency alert around 3:10 p.m. local time Wednesday after tapping all of its available power supplies.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-31/california-declares-grid-emergency-raising-specter-of-blackout#xj4y7vzkg


UK inflation ‘could hit 22% next year’ as recession looms [for reference, this is worse than Myanmar or Nigeria. In fact, there are only around 20 nations worldwide with worse inflation. Even Haiti’s inflation is “only” 29%…] The bank’s predictions come after economists from Citi last week said consumer price inflation was set to peak at 18.6 per cent in January.

“Last week, British Gas announced it would donate 10 per cent of its profits for the duration of the energy crisis to fund support for households struggling with the rise in energy bills.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/uk-inflation-22-gas-prices-recession-b2155802.html


Borrowing costs on UK’s debts hit by biggest monthly rise since 1986.

“Fears of a long recession and the likelihood of higher public spending to cope with the cost of living crisis have sent the interest rate on Britain’s debts soaring towards its biggest monthly rise in almost 40 years… About a third of the UK’s total borrowings have an interest rate linked to inflation…”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/10-year-borrowing-costs-for-uk-set-for-biggest-monthly-rise-since-1986


The pound is on course to plunge to a record low against the US dollar driven by the UK tumbling into a tough recession, City economists warned today.

“Sterling will drop to $1.05 by the middle of next year, but could fall close to parity with the greenback, according to consultancy Capital Economics. The downbeat projection underscores the fragility of the UK economy.”

https://www.cityam.com/pound-on-crash-course-to-record-low-against-us-dollar/


Local highway authorities are facing a shortage of bitumen needed for resurfacing crumbling roads [UK].

Scarce bitumen is among the many construction materials going up in price and blowing holes in council budgets across the country. The Local Government Association (LGA) has today sounded the alarm over the massive increases in costs they are facing…”

https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/highway-authorities-hit-by-bitumen-rationing


‎”UK faces ‘humanitarian crisis’ with children’s lives at risk… ‎

‎”Public health expert Professor Sir Michael Marmot warned of a looming “humanitarian crisis” and said many children would be affected by the respiratory impact of living in cold, damp housing, adding that more than half of households would be in fuel poverty in January.” ‎

‎https://www.ft.com/content/16ee416f-34e3-41a6-b414-d3b4fcbafe2d‎


Shetlanders ‘will need to earn more than £100,000 to avoid fuel poverty’ as energy bills soar.

“Around 96% of households in the Shetland Islands are expected to be plunged into fuel poverty – and local leaders say the UK government must step in to help… By April, it is estimated that the average energy cost per year for a household in Shetland will be £10,300 – around double that of the UK.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/shetland-islands-fuel-poverty-energy-prices-b2155638.html


Finland’s ‘very pricy’ nuclear reactor in trouble again.

“Finland’s fifth and largest nuclear power reactor, Olkiluoto 3, saw its output drop to zero due to a turbine failure on Monday, yet another setback for the reactor still in the trial phase but already supplying the country’s grid. Built by the French-led Areva-Siemens AG consortium, the 1.6 Gigawatt reactor was supposed to be operational in 2009.”

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/finlands-very-pricy-nuclear-reactor-in-trouble-again/


Swedish Power Crunch Worsens With Nuclear Reactor Setback…

“Vattenfall AB said that a key reactor in the south would be offline until the end of November, more than two months longer than planned. The delay to the Ringhals reactor couldn’t come at a worse time with demand starting to increase again during autumn as it gets gradually colder and many homes still use electricity for heating.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-31/vattenfall-delays-ringhals-4-reactor-start-by-almost-3-months


France braces for uncertain winter as nuclear power shortage looms.

France, once Europe’s top power exporter, may not produce enough nuclear energy this winter to help European neighbours seeking alternatives to Russian gas, and may even have to ration electricity to meet its own needs… this year, for the first time since French records began in 2012, France has become a net power importer as its own production of nuclear energy hit a 30-year low…”

https://www.reuters.com/world/france-braces-uncertain-winter-nuclear-power-shortage-looms-2022-08-30/


Almost the entire Dutch railway network was shut down Tuesday as workers affected by soaring inflation and staff shortages went on strike to demand better pay and working conditions.

“Staff at the railway company NS stopped work for the day in the central Netherlands region that acts as a hub for almost all train lines, halting trains across the country.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/dutch-ap-schiphol-airport-labor-unions-commuters-b2155533.html


Eurozone inflation rises to record 9.1%.

“Eurozone inflation rose to a record 9.1 per cent in the year to August, intensifying fears that soaring prices are becoming embedded in the economy and bolstering calls for the European Central Bank to raise interest rates more aggressively next week.”

https://www.ft.com/content/63e3e26b-2c59-400b-8556-564cb21a706e


Russia deepens Europe’s energy squeeze with new gas halt.

“Russia halted gas supplies via Europe’s key supply route on Wednesday, intensifying an economic battle between Moscow and Brussels and raising the prospects of recession and energy rationing in some of the region’s richest countries.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/new-russia-gas-halt-tighten-energy-screws-europe-2022-08-30/


Full gas storage no fix for Europe’s winter energy crunch.

“The European Union is on track to beat targets for filling gas storage, but analysts warn the bigger factor for energy security this winter will be whether countries can slash consumption enough to ensure stored fuel lasts through the coldest months.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/full-gas-storage-no-fix-europes-winter-energy-crunch-2022-08-31/


Swiss manufacturers suggest working at night due to electricity shortages.

“Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering firms suggested on Tuesday shifting work to nights and weekends to avoid energy shortages at peak times, as part of measures to ensure the Alpine country’s economy makes it through the winter.”

https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/swiss-manufacturers-suggest-working-at-night-due-to-electricity-shortages-20220831


Kosovo’s energy crisis continues to deepen as the Kosovo Energy Corporation is now only operating with one thermal power plant unit due to a technical failure.

“KEK announced that only one block of the Kosova A Thermal Power Plant is operating with a daily production of 120 MegaWatts per hour, which is insufficient to supply even the capital of Pristina.”

https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/kosovos-energy-crisis-takes-another-hit-as-power-plant-suffers-technical-problems/


China’s Power Worries Shift to Winter as Reservoirs Are Depleted.

“The historic drought that led to power outages in parts of China last month has left reservoirs depleted, raising fears that regions dependent on hydropower will be at risk of another electricity crunch this winter… The energy crunch in the summer has heaped more pressure on China’s economy…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-01/china-s-power-worries-shift-to-winter-as-reservoirs-are-depleted


China’s carbon emissions fell almost 8 per cent in the April to June quarter compared with the same period last year, their sharpest decline in the past decade, according to climate research service Carbon Brief.

The fall in emissions reflects a dramatic slowing in Chinese economic growth caused by large-scale coronavirus lockdowns and a crisis in the heavily indebted property sector.”

https://www.ft.com/content/3eb8aee7-6cd7-4811-97de-f16390b75c17


Satellite Data Suggest More Bad News From China’s Consumers…

Activity at distribution centers used by Chinese e-commerce companies was even lower than during 2020, according to data up to Aug. 17 tracking the movement of trucks around such areas. The data was shared with Bloomberg News by SpaceKnow, a New York-based company that analyzes satellite imagery.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-31/satellite-data-suggest-more-bad-news-from-china-s-consumers#xj4y7vzkg


Taiwan Warns of Severe Military Challenge as China Edges Closer…

“Chinese warplanes have breached the median line on a near-daily basis since the California democrat’s trip, shrinking the tacit buffer zone that’s kept the peace for decades. Breaching the line was previously a rare occurrence.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-31/taiwan-warns-of-severe-military-challenge-as-china-edges-closer#xj4y7vzkg


Potential disruptions to undersea internet cables in the Taiwan Strait amid rising tensions with China could pose “immediate risks” to the global economy, experts have warned…

“Researchers from George Mason University’s Mercatus Centre found that disruptions to submarine internet cables – crucial for Taipei’s semiconductor industry – could severely affect the US and global economy.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/undersea-internet-cables-taiwan-china-b2157223.html


Lebanon: Internet shutdowns hit swathes of crisis-hit country due to strike…

“It was the latest reflection of one of the world’s worst economic disasters, which has pulled three quarters of Lebanon’s 6 million people into poverty. The Lebanese pound in three years has lost over 90 percent of its value against the US dollar.”

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/internet-shutdowns-hit-cash-strapped-lebanon-due-strike


Petrol pumps run dry across Malawi as fuel import problems deepen…

“Malawi has had fuel shortages since April as global fuel price rises and a shortage of foreign exchange currency leave the government struggling to pay for petrol imports. Problems have escalated over the past week as petrol stations across the country report running out of petrol.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/aug/31/petrol-pumps-run-dry-across-malawi-as-fuel-import-problems-deepen


Zimbabwe Banks on Cows as Inflation Soars. Investing money into cattle is a growing business in Zimbabwe, where inflation is skyrocketing. Many people now consider it safer than putting money in the bank

“Hyperinflation in the southern African nation has led to a loss of public confidence in banks and conventional pension systems.”

https://www.newsclick.in/Zimbabwe-Banks-Cows-Inflation-Soars


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.

30th August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Global economy faces greatest challenge in decades, policymakers warn…

“The world’s leading economic authorities this weekend sounded the alarm about the forces working against the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and other central banks as they combat the worst inflation in decades…

The enormity of the economic challenge confronting central bankers was summed up by Changyong Rhee, head of the Bank of Korea, when he said that whether the world would revert to a low-inflation environment was the “billion-dollar question”

““We have the energy crisis, we have the food crisis, we have the supply chain crisis and we have the war, all of which has profound implications for the economic performance of the world, for the nature in which the world is interconnected and most importantly, for the relative prices of many, many things,” said Jacob Frenkel, the former governor of the Bank of Israel who chairs the board of the Group of 30, an independent consortium of ex-policymakers.”

https://www.ft.com/content/b71e259f-f2f0-4e25-bd22-0dbd0f344643


Pain of breaking inflation will reverberate around the globe…

“”Regaining and preserving trust requires us to bring inflation back to target quickly,” European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel said… “Even if we enter a recession, we have basically little choice but to continue our policy path… If there were a deanchoring of inflation expectations, the effect on the economy would be even worse.””

https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/pain-breaking-inflation-will-reverberate-around-globe-2022-08-29/


A pub has been quoted a whopping £61,667 for its annual electricity bill by British Gas.

In the latest sign of the cost-of-living crisis, owners of the Rose and Crown pub in Bebington, Merseyside, took to Twitter to share the ‘best available deal’ on offer… Sacha Lord, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester… said: ‘There is no energy price cap for hospitality. An untenable situation.’

https://metro.co.uk/2022/08/28/merseyside-pub-hits-out-at-criminal-62000-energy-bill-17256666/


Co-ordinated strikes threatened as unions warn of ‘low pay crisis’ [UK]…

“Pressure is mounting on the next prime minister to deliver a substantial package of support to help with rising bills, but industrial action threatens to make the business of day-to-day governing – getting things done – very difficult.”

https://news.sky.com/story/co-ordinated-strikes-threatened-as-unions-warn-of-low-pay-crisis-12683652


Farmers are running out of gas: Government must act now to safeguard UK food security.

“Hot on the heels of the decision by CF Fertilisers to halt production at its ammonia plant in County Durham last week came more devastating news… Yara, the world’s biggest fertiliser producer, has decided to cut its output of ammonia-based urea and nitrogen fertiliser in Europe by around half.”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/comment/article-10439711/MAGGIE-PAGANO-Government-act-safeguard-UK-food-security.html


UK ‘Glossing Over’ Prospect of Blackouts in Winter, Expert Claims…

“The analyst said that 40% of UK electricity came from gas-fired generation, adding: “If we don’t get that gas the lights will go out and we will have power cuts.” He went on to warn “if we have a cold winter, colder than average, we are in serious, serious problems”.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-28/government-glossing-over-prospect-of-blackouts-this-winter-expert-claims


European gas shortages likely to last several winters, says Shell chief…

“Van Beurden said solutions to the energy crisis would have to found through “efficiency savings, through rationing and a very, very quick buildout of alternatives”. “That this is going to be somehow easy, or over, I think is a fantasy that we should put aside,” he added.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/29/european-gas-shortages-likely-to-last-several-winters-shell-chief-rationing-europe-russia


Volkswagen is stockpiling windshields and brewers are bulk-buying beer bottles amid a looming European glass shortage, report says…

“Making glass involves melting sand, soda ash and limestone and requires large amounts of natural gas. Energy prices in Europe have soared since Russia invaded Ukraine.”

https://www.businessinsider.com/volkswagen-is-stockpiling-windshields-amid-looming-glass-shortage-wsj-2022-8?r=US&IR=T


The EU is planning an “emergency intervention” in the bloc’s power market to curb soaring prices, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday…

“”The skyrocketing electricity prices are now exposing the limitations of our current market design,” she said in Slovenia.”

https://www.politico.eu/article/pressure-for-eu-level-intervention-in-energy-market-mounts-amid-soaring-prices/


French PM says companies may face energy ‘rationing’ this winter…

“”Every company needs to mobilise and act. I call on everyone to establish their own energy-saving plans in September,” she said, while stressing that the crisis caused by record-high energy prices would help the transition away from fossil fuels.

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220829-french-pm-says-companies-may-face-energy-rationing-this-winter


Austria’s largest energy supplier becomes insolvent.

“Austria’s largest energy supplier, Wien Energie faces financial turmoil due to massive inflation in the country. The company is due to repay between EUR 1.7 and 1.8 billion and needs collateral. Austrian media outlet ‘Heute’ reported that it came as somewhat of a surprise to the Austrian public…”

https://tvpworld.com/62082900/austrias-largest-energy-supplier-becomes-insolvent


In Poland, where coal is king, homeowners queue for days to buy fuel.

“In Poland’s late summer heat, dozens of cars and trucks line up at the Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka coal mine, as householders fearful of winter shortages wait for days and nights to stock up on heating fuel in queues reminiscent of communist times.”

https://www.euronews.com/2022/08/28/poland-energy-coal-queues


Point of no return: crunch time as China tries to fend off property crash.

“China has reached a point of no return in its battle to contain what could be the biggest property crash the world has ever seen, experts believe, creating a perilous moment for the country’s Communist leadership and the global economy.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/28/crunch-time-china-tries-to-fend-off-property-crash-global-economy


China’s biggest property developer Country Garden Holdings has reported a 96% drop in profits, blaming a “severe depression” in the country’s crisis-hit property market in which “only the fittest can survive”

“It had warned earlier that profits could fall up to 70% and the even bigger than expected drop came with a grim warning in a statement to the Hong Kong stock market.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/30/chinas-biggest-property-developer-country-garden-sees-profits-plunge-96


China shuts world’s largest electronics market as Shenzhen imposes more lockdowns…

“China is one of the last places in the world still enforcing stringent zero-Covid measures, which rely on sweeping digital surveillance, mass testing, extensive quarantines and snap lockdowns. On Tuesday, Shenzhen, an international technology hub of 18 million people, reported just 35 infections…”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/30/business/china-covid-shenzhen-huaqiangbei-lockdown-intl-hnk/index.html


Chinese tech giants had their worst quarterly growth on record, thanks to Beijing’s zero-Covid policy…

“In the second quarter of the year, e-commerce firm Alibaba posted its first ever flat year-on-year quarterly revenue growth and social media and gaming company Tencent reported its first sales decline on record. JD. com, China’s second-largest e-commerce player, posted its slowest revenue growth in history, while electric vehicle maker Xpeng posted a wider-than-expected loss…”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/29/chinese-tech-giants-post-worst-growth-on-record-due-to-zero-covid.html


Last handful of fish: Crisis pushes more Sri Lankans into poverty.

“In her outstretched palms, 49-year-old Nilanthi Gunasekera holds her family’s last remaining handful of dried fish – a reminder of Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis in decades. She is just one of the millions of Sri Lankans battling a calamitous decline in living standards…”

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/last-handful-of-fish–crisis-pushes-more-sri-lankans-into-poverty/47861616


Catastrophic monsoon floods in Pakistan have sent food prices skyrocketing, putting many staples out of the reach of the poor as the cash-strapped nation battles shortages.

“The floods have submerged a third of the country, killing more than 1,100 people and affecting over 33 million. Recovery could cost more than $10 billion, according to the planning minister.”

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220830-pakistan-floods-fuel-back-breaking-food-inflation


Iran closes border to Iraq, flights stop amid violent unrest.

“Iran closed its land borders to Iraq as flights to the country halted Tuesday amid violence in Baghdad following an influential Shiite cleric’s announcement he would resign from politics. At least 15 protesters have been killed since the unrest erupted Monday.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/iraq-ap-shiite-iran-kuwait-b2155425.html


Turks struggle to buy food as prices soar.

“According to a recent survey by Istanbul-based Yoneylem Social Research Center, over 53 percent of Turkish respondents said their daily expenses are unable to cover their demands, with 69.3 percent struggling to pay for food… sustained price hikes have further eroded the purchasing power of households.”

https://english.news.cn/20220828/199f87d71bd94d328a8828e5aba21329/c.html


Lebanon’s economic crisis is pushing families to the brink.

“…media reports show that politically connected people have sent millions of dollars abroad. Meanwhile, the government has stalled on reform initiatives that could unlock international aid money, while endemic corruption and a lack of public infrastructure mean punishing bills for exhausted citizens.”

https://www.ft.com/content/a710fa12-e7fe-4aab-8e4f-962f01addeea


Default Jitters Stalk Egypt, Sending Traders on Wild Ride…

The north African nation has become the latest symbol of the distress gripping poorer nations on the back of surging inflation, rising yields and a grinding down of global growth. Investors, still smarting from recent defaults by Russia and Sri Lanka, are watching Egypt…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-28/default-jitters-stalk-egypt-sending-traders-on-a-wild-ride


Libya: Precarious calm in Tripoli after clashes leave 32 dead.

“Flights resumed and shops reopened in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday after clashes between supporters of rival governments left at least 32 people dead and raised fears of another major conflict. The fighting came after months of rising tensions between supporters of Abdulhamid Dbeibah and Fathi Bashagha, whose rival administrations are vying for control of the country.”

https://www.africanews.com/2022/08/28/libya-precarious-calm-in-tripoli-after-clashes-leave-32-dead/


Haitian authorities are postponing the start of the school year by one month, as the Caribbean nation grapples with an economic crisis that has caused a fuel shortage and soaring prices.

“The Ministry of National Education released a statement announcing that “the start of the school year for the 2022-2023 academic year is now set for Monday, Oct. 3, 2022” instead of Sept. 5.”

https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/haiti-pushes-back-school-year-start-176467


Next year’s food crisis will be different from this year’s. Here’s how it could change — for the worse — in 2023.

The food crisis could worsen in 2023, with a supply squeeze overtaking logistical constraints as the key challenge. The Ukraine war has disrupted sowing and other farm activities, which has affected yields. Elsewhere, farmers are using less fertilizers due to high prices, which could depress harvests.”

https://news.yahoo.com/next-years-food-crisis-different-010000413.html


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

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

27th August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Urgent operations cancelled as life-saving drug shortages hit hospitals.

Global shortages of essential medicines are causing alarm across the world, forcing HIV patients to forgo treatment in India, leading to heart surgery cancellations in Vietnam, and causing British patients to endure longer postoperative recovery times.

“Critical therapeutics have not been immune to the disruption hitting energy and food supplies. Experts warned that a difficulty in predicting drug spikes and unforeseen logistical challenges – including delays at ports, stockpiling and Covid lockdowns – are causing patients to suffer dire consequences.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/urgent-operations-cancelled-life-saving-drug-shortages-hit-hospitals/


Diesel Pinch Looms as World Seeks Relief From Pricey Gas.

“The global diesel market looks set to get even tighter as power generators and industrial users seek relief from surging natural gas prices… global diesel stockpiles remain unusually low at a time inventories are typically expanding in preparation for a boost in consumption over winter.”

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/diesel-pinch-looms-world-seeks-210000986.html


Biden Administration Urges Fuel-Export Cuts to Restock Northeast…

The Biden administration is warning refiners that it may take “emergency measures” to address fuel exports as stockpiles of gasoline and diesel fuel remain near historically low levels in the Northeast… The Biden administration is effectively asking refiners to prioritize American consumers over maximizing profits by supplying fuel-starved Europe…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-26/biden-administration-urges-fuel-export-cuts-to-restock-northeast#xj4y7vzkg


Heat or eat? Winter protests loom as energy price crisis sweeps across Europe…

“Whichever route governments choose, the coming winter is set to be plagued by social unrest, warned Naomi Hossain, a professor of development politics at the American University in Washington, DC… When people start complaining en masse about their inability to pay for their basic needs — and must choose between heating or eating — it can overturn governments, she said.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-26/heat-eat-winter-protests-loom-energy-crisis-sweeps-europe/101378752


United Kingdom energy executives have warned the country faces the prospect of mass civil unrest as a result of people being unable to afford their heating and electricity bills this coming winter

“One senior industry figure said that when people “realize how bad this is going to get,” they could take their anger to the streets in the form of violent demonstrations.”

https://en.mercopress.com/2022/08/26/fears-of-civil-unrest-in-uk-as-people-are-unable-to-afford-heating-and-power-bills-this-winter


A crisis too far? [UK] Central bank safety net compromised.

“Yet another shock in a seemingly relentless series of economic crises exposes long-held fears over government reliance on central banks for cheap funding, with Britain’s looming winter fuel shock now a critical test case… “We got used to debt rising but debt interest costs falling. This time both will be heading up together.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/crisis-too-far-central-bank-safety-net-compromised-mike-dolan-2022-08-26/


Energy Crisis May Have Bigger Impact on UK Households Than 2008 Crash.

“The crisis could have a bigger impact on households than the 2008 financial crisis, according to consultancy Baringa Partners. The bleak warning comes as bills are set to surge roughly 80% [and potentially nearly doubling again by spring] from October, just as the arrival of colder weather boosts energy demand.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-25/uk-energy-crisis-risks-squeezing-households-more-than-2008-crash


Soaring UK rents leave tenants facing eviction and homelessness.

“Eye-watering rent increases across the UK are piling pressure on tenants already grappling with spiralling living costs, driving some from their homes and stoking fears that the market is overheating. Rents are rising at their fastest pace since the financial crisis…”

https://www.ft.com/content/28823d7c-800e-43eb-ac40-01ad9052eb70


‘Unprecedented levels’ of women report domestic abuse as impact of cost of living crisis emerges [UK].

“The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is seeing record numbers, with one support worker telling us there is regularly a five-hour wait to get through to a call handler. New research by Women’s Aid reveals that 96% of victims say that the cost of living crisis is making their abuse worse…”

https://news.sky.com/story/96-of-domestic-abuse-victims-say-the-cost-of-living-crisis-has-made-things-worse-12681810


‘People are going to die’: verdict from frontline of Britain’s energy crisis.

““People are going to die,” Brian Thomas, chief executive of Hospitality and Hope warned, as households ration their heating and eating over the winter. “We’re going to see lots of increased health issues and increased sudden deaths, I would suggest, in the elderly. It’s just tragic.” January’s forecast would take average bills to half the average state pension…”

https://www.ft.com/content/8e17a6e2-07e9-4fba-b8c7-ec1cbab6c21c


Church may have to restrict funerals to when heating is on for other events as energy costs rocket…

“One idea being talked about as Britain moves towards the cold and dark of autumn and winter is so-called ‘heat banks’… Naomi said: “The Church of England would naturally want to be on the frontline of offering this. But the reality facing many churches in old buildings is we just can’t afford to do this.”

https://news.sky.com/story/church-may-have-to-restrict-funerals-to-when-heating-is-on-for-other-events-as-energy-costs-rocket-12681378


European electricity prices soared to new records on Friday, presaging a bitter winter as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine inflicts economic pain across the continent.

“The year-ahead contract for German electricity reached 995 euros ($995) per megawatt hours while the French equivalent surged past 1,100 euros — a more than tenfold increase in both countries from last year.”

https://www.france24.com/en/economy/20220826-europe-s-electricity-prices-hit-record-high-as-supply-cuts-begin-to-bite


Listening to European Electricity Traders Is Very, Very Scary. Keeping the lights on in Europe this winter may prove more difficult than governments are currently admitting

“Here’s a question from last week’s session: “Are you war-gaming possible options for if/when cross-border trading collapses under security of supply pressures this winter?” And another: “Can we have a session where we talk through the emergency arrangements?” Another participant said that the forecast for demand-and-supply electricity balance showed “how bad the winter could be for anyone who can do the maths.””

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-08-26/european-energy-crisis-listening-to-electricity-traders-is-very-very-scary


Data centres ready back-up generators in case of blackouts. Sites across Europe stockpile diesel to safeguard against winter energy shortages…

“The world’s two biggest data centre operators are stockpiling generator fuel… Equinix, the global market leader with a market capitalisation of $64bn, and its $38bn rival Digital Realty Trust said they were buying extra shipments of diesel to provide back-up power to ensure continuous operation at their European sites.”

https://www.ft.com/content/90f94abe-0bfa-48e8-878d-8d5dd7117188


Finns urged to take fewer saunas amid energy crunch.

“Finns are being urged to turn down their thermostats this winter, take shorter showers and spend less time in their beloved saunas, as Europe faces an energy crunch following Russia’s war in Ukraine. The nationwide power saving campaign was announced this week…”

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220826-finns-urged-to-take-fewer-saunas-amid-energy-crunch


Only major Estonian hospitals prepared for prolonged power outages.

“In the event of a power outage, Estonia’s larger hospitals have the capacity to remain operational for several days. However, some of the country’s smaller hospitals would only be able to continue functioning for a period of less than 24 hours.”

https://news.err.ee/1608694933/only-major-estonian-hospitals-prepared-for-prolonged-power-outages


The energy crisis and high inflation have pushed German consumer sentiment to a record low, research firm GfK said Friday.

“Gfk’s consumer barometer saw a surprising drop of 5.6 points in July to -36.5 [below 50 denotes negative]. The barometer, from a survey of 2,000 German consumers, has not registered such a low figure since it was created in 1991.”

https://www.dw.com/en/german-consumer-confidence-hits-record-low-as-energy-bill-fears-soar/a-62935358


Olaf Scholz told to prepare for autumn of rage…

“Intelligence officials are now warning the prime minister to prepare for a “fall of rage.” …intelligence officials are concerned that extremists on both the left and the right, particularly in East Germany, will band together to launch a widespread uprising against the system.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/extremists-plan-autumn-of-rage-to-exploit-cost-of-living-crisis-in-germany-ht6sm5hbc


Russian gas-reliant Swiss brace for power shortages in winter…

“While other European countries are also feeling the sting, the situation is particularly precarious in Switzerland, which lacks its own gas storage installations… Compounding the problem, neighboring France has been forced to halt production at half of its reactors, mainly due to corrosion problems.”

https://www.dailysabah.com/business/energy/russian-gas-reliant-swiss-brace-for-power-shortages-in-winter


The government of North Macedonia on Thursday declared a nationwide state of crisis in electricity supply, set to come into force on Sept. 1.

“The government said in a press release that the state of emergency will last for 30 days, due to the lack of electricity and the situation of the electricity markets. The government also announced a state of crisis for the supply of heating energy in the capital city Skopje…”

https://english.news.cn/20220826/0ddb0f7304f64cd193d581bbe9e23fce/c.html


A Corner of Europe Starts Living With Blackouts Again.

Every six hours the power goes off in Kosovo. It’s the first country on the continent to suffer rolling outages as the energy crisis escalates… the start of the continent’s first rolling blackouts this month could turn out to be a prelude for richer parts of Europe.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-26/europe-energy-crisis-kosovo-learns-to-live-with-rolling-power-blackouts-again


Russia halted a natural gas shipment to Asia over payment issues, threatening blackouts in some countries.

“…Sakhalin Energy withheld a cargo of LNG to an Asian buyer on the grounds of payment and a delay in signing a revised contract, according to Bloomberg. The revisions ask LNG buyers to pay with currencies other than the US dollar if western sanctions result in payment issues.”

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/russia-halted-natural-gas-shipment-142609019.html


Strong Dollar Bringing Emerging Nations To Edge.

“The possibility of defaults occurring among emerging market nations is very real and only grows with the continued strength of the U.S. dollar… “Emerging markets are burning through stockpiles of U.S. dollars and other foreign currency at the fastest rate since 2008, raising the risk of a wave of defaults across the world’s most fragile economies.”

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4537122-strong-dollar-bringing-emerging-nations-to-edge


Huawei founder warns of painful global slowdown and tells company to brace for ‘survival’…

“In a leaked email intended only for company staff, CEO Ren Zhengfei warned that there will be “no bright spot in the world” for three to five years—a “very painful historical period” as the global economy declines.”

https://fortune.com/2022/08/25/huawei-ceo-economy-warning-china-no-bright-spot/


Food, fuel shortages hit Tunisian shops.

“Some Tunisian shops are rationing goods including cooking oil, sugar and butter, while big queues have hit petrol stations amid a fuel shortage as the government navigates a looming crisis in public finances…

“”The situation gets more difficult day by day and we don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Khadija.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/food-fuel-shortages-hit-tunisian-shops-2022-08-26/


Many Tunisians Are Dying in Attempt to Illegally Reach Italy, Authorities Reveal…

“In the upcoming months, the attempts to illegally enter the European zone will increase, as the small Italian island of Lampedusa, which is the destination for many migrants, is just 140 kilometres away from the east coast of Tunisia.”

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/many-tunisians-are-dying-in-attempt-to-illegally-reach-italy-authorities-reveal/


South Africa Seeks to Curb Immigration, Plans Policy Revamp.

“South Africa plans to end most special permits for foreigners as it revamps its immigration policies to manage an influx of economic migrants… South Africa is grappling with a 33.9% unemployment rate — the highest on a list of 82 nations monitored by Bloomberg — and its economy is stuck in its longest downward cycle since World War II.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-25/south-africa-seeks-to-curb-immigration-plans-policy-revamp


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

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

25th August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The global economy is increasingly at risk of sliding into recession, surveys showed on Tuesday, as consumers faced with generation-high inflation rein in spending while central banks are tightening policy aggressively just when support is needed.

“And supply chains yet to recover from the coronavirus pandemic have been further damaged by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns, hurting the manufacturing industry.

A myriad of purchasing managers’ surveys published on Tuesday from Asia to Europe to the United States showed business activity contracting and pointed to little hope of a turnaround anytime soon.”

[Photo by Cas Oorthuys from the Dutch Hunger Winter, 1944 – the past the developed world allowed itself to believe it had left behind forever…]

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/global-economy-world-rising-risk-recession-inflation-hits-consumers-2022-08-23/


The world’s most powerful central bankers are jetting in for crisis talks as inflation spirals out of control.

“US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey are among those due to attend the three-day event in Jackson Hole in the US. Top of the agenda will be how far to raise interest rates…”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-11142563/Central-bankers-set-crisis-talks-inflation-spirals.html


Record profits for grain firms amid food crisis prompt calls for windfall tax.

“Companies at the centre of the global grain trade have enjoyed a record bonanza amid soaring food prices around the world, raising concerns of profiteering and speculation in global food markets that could put staples beyond the reach of the poorest, and prompting calls for a windfall tax.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/23/record-profits-grain-firms-food-crisis-calls-windfall-tax


OPEC Nations Line Up Behind Saudi Call to Act [ie cut output] If Necessary…

“Within 48 hours of comments from Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman that OPEC might have to curtail production, fellow members Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Equatorial Guinea and Venezuela released statements expressing their support.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-24/opec-nations-line-up-behind-saudi-call-to-act-if-necessary


OPEC’s production cuts could push oil prices to $150 a barrel, energy analyst says… The cuts would worsen the energy supply shortage, which threatens many western nations as winter nears.

“The global supply picture is a mess. The Saudis themselves are telling you: there’s nothing left,” Sankey told CNBC, referring to the cartel’s warning it may lower oil production soon.”

[Picture of Ghawar, world’s largest oil field, being discovered in 1948.]

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/commodities/oil-prices-opec-production-cut-saudi-arabia-energy-crisis-iran-2022-8


Soaring electricity prices amid the global energy crunch have led to 20 million American households falling behind on their utility bills.

“According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, 20 million US households have fallen behind on their utility bills, creating the worst crisis the group has ever seen. And those past due payments have led some to getting their electricity shut off amid summer heat waves.”

https://www.businessinsider.in/stock-market/news/soaring-electricity-prices-amid-the-global-energy-crunch-have-led-to-20-million-american-households-falling-behind-on-their-utility-bills/articleshow/93762269.cms


Texas Consumers On Hook For [at least] $10 Billion In Debt Incurred During Winter Storm Uri.

“During the storm, wide swaths of Texas were hit by blackouts. Prices for both electricity and natural gas soared during the crisis. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against gas and electricity providers and against ERCOT, the state’s electric grid operator.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbryce/2022/08/24/texas-consumers-on-hook-for-10-billion-in-debt-incurred-during-winter-storm-uri


Fuel shortages may threaten [Irish] State’s capacity to ‘maintain societal function and civil order’.

“Officials fear that a long-lasting major disruption to fuel supplies would place the State’s capacity “to maintain societal function and civil order” at risk and would require the “curtailment of normal societal functions”.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/2022/08/24/fuel-shortages-may-threaten-states-capacity-to-maintain-societal-function-and-civil-order/


Fears new CO2 crisis will lead to food shortages [UK] after closure of major production plant…

“CF Industries… which was offered a £30million state bailout last year, supplies roughly 40 per cent of the country’s CO2. The gas is used for everything from the humane slaughter of chickens and pigs, to putting the fizz in soft drinks and creating packaging that keeps foods fresh.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11143579/Fears-new-CO2-crisis-lead-food-shortages-closure-major-production-plant.html


Finland Braces For Rolling Blackouts This Winter.

“In Finland’s case, Gazprom stopped in May all gas deliveries to Russia’s neighbor to the West, making Finland the third EU member state with Russian pipeline supply cut off after Poland and Bulgaria… Finland gets up to 70 percent of the gas it uses from Russia…”

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Finland-Braces-For-Rolling-Blackouts-This-Winter.html


Germany approves energy-saving measures for winter.

“Starting from September, public buildings apart from institutions like hospitals, are to be heated to a maximum of 19C and the heating may be turned off completely in entrances, corridors and foyers. Public monuments and buildings will also not be lit up for aesthetic reasons and businesses could be banned from keeping their shops illuminated at night.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-62659247


Macron warns France of ‘the end of abundance’ and tough times ahead… [A curious thing for a leader to say. Is he talking about the short-term or is there a creeping acknowledgement in the halls of power that we are on a permanent downswing?]

“”I believe that we are in the process of living through a tipping point or great upheaval. Firstly because we are living through… what could seem like the end of abundance,” said Macron, 44. The speech appeared designed to prepare the country for… a difficult winter ahead…”

https://www.france24.com/en/france/20220824-macron-warns-french-of-tough-times-ahead-end-to-energy-price-cap


Hedge funds build biggest bet against Italian debt since 2008…

“The rush by investors to wager against Italy comes as the country faces rising economic headwinds from the surge in European natural gas prices prompted by Russia’s supply cuts and a fraught political climate with elections looming in September.”

https://www.ft.com/content/5cef309f-9daf-4337-bdc6-f6b2ef8ffe02


Analysis: ‘New shock’ for European markets as gas price spike fuels inflation fears.

Another dramatic spike in natural gas prices appears to have ended any hopes that Europe’s inflation battle is set to ease, with financial markets now bracing for higher prices, a faster pace of interest rate hikes and a deeper economic downturn.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/new-shock-european-markets-gas-price-spike-fuels-inflation-fears-2022-08-24/


European Union energy ministers may hold an emergency meeting to discuss the spike in power markets as leaders strike a more urgent tone on the unfolding crisis

“Europe is grappling with the worst energy crisis in decades, with spiking costs of gas and electricity driving inflation and threatening to drag economies into recession.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-24/eu-eyes-emergency-talks-on-energy-crisis-with-prices-spiking


Next winter’s energy crisis will be even worse, warns forecaster…

“Chris Wheaton, managing director, suggested that European Union (EU) gas cuts are insufficient to balance the market, and that the troubled continent will have to compete with Asian economies for an increasingly limited supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) next year.”

https://www.cityam.com/exclusive-next-winters-energy-crisis-will-be-even-worse-warns-forecaster/


South Korea warns of action over won’s plunge.

“A senior South Korean official warned of action on Thursday if the won moved on speculative bets, local media reported… The won fell as low as 1,346.6 per dollar on Tuesday, hitting its weakest since late April 2009 and posting a 12% loss so far this year.”

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/south-korea-warns-of-action-over-wons-plunge


South Korea risks a major population crash as the country marks its second consecutive year with the world’s lowest fertility rate…

“Last year, South Korean Netflix series Squid Game took the world by storm… Its themes resonated worldwide, but particularly for young South Koreans, whose chances at moving up the country’s socioeconomic ladder have plummeted in recent years. Job competition has intensified, home prices have skyrocketed…”

https://fortune.com/2022/08/24/south-korea-risks-a-major-population-crash-as-the-country-marks-its-second-consecutive-year-with-the-worlds-lowest-fertility-rate/


China tears down tower blocks in effort to boost stalling economy…

“Analysts have warned Beijing has adopted a “build, pause, demolish, repeat” strategy as Chinese officials seek to restrict supply to avoid a plunge in house prices and boost economic activity through more construction.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/23/china-tears-tower-blocks-effort-boost-stalling-economy/


Yangtze part-closed to cargo while power outage hits Shanghai…

“The situation on the Yangtze, which is used for more than 3 billion tonnes of shipping annually, is very similar to what’s been happening on the Rhine in Germany. The river has, effectively, dried up without water flowing down to it from mountain areas and with extreme temperatures seen across China.”

https://www.automotivelogistics.media/news/yangtze-part-closed-to-cargo-while-power-outage-hits-shanghai/43376.article


China’s Power Crisis Could Reach a Himalayan Scale. The drought triggering power cuts along the Yangtze heralds a far bigger problem that may doom hydro projects across much of Asia.

“Hydro power, however, has a unique ability to underperform for a whole season… The scale of backup needed to close that shortfall is immense. China has mined about half a billion tons more coal so far this year than it did at the same point in 2019.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-08-23/china-s-hydro-power-cuts-could-herald-a-himalayan-scale-crisis-for-rivers-dams#xj4y7vzkg


Bangladesh: global economic crisis hammers south Asia’s export powerhouse.

“… now, along with most of its south Asian neighbours, the country of 160mn people is being rocked by soaring prices of energy and food following the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These have led to energy shortages and rising import bills…”

https://www.ft.com/content/a9b8d051-a126-469c-b1ad-b0d29a8d53eb


Sri Lanka bans import of chocolate, shampoo & 300 other items to cut losses [Nepal has done something similar]…

“Items such as chocolate, condensed milk, coconuts, perfumes, deodorants, shampoos, trunks, suitcases, and make-up products amongst myriad other things have been banned. Meanwhile, the import of electrical goods, ships and aircraft has been put on halt as well.”

https://www.wionews.com/south-east-asia/sri-lanka-bans-imports-of-chocolate-shampoo-300-other-items-to-cut-losses-509750


Soaring Gas Prices In Latin America Herald Widespread Food Crisis.

“Soaring gas prices have led to economic upheaval in Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Ecuador, and Panama, which are already suffering from high poverty rates and rocketing inflation. Protests are storming across these countries over the rising pump prices and the multiplying effect they have on the economy.”

https://theowp.org/soaring-gas-prices-in-latin-america-herald-widespread-food-crisis


Covid and the Ukraine war are squeezing Africa’s power companies to death.

“…the pandemic and the war in Ukraine are making the situation worse, pushing many utilities in Africa—which have long been strapped for cash regardless—close to financial collapse, according to an Aug. 23 research paper by Energy for Growth Hub, a Washington think tank.”

https://qz.com/covid-and-the-ukraine-war-are-squeezing-africas-power-c-1849445100


Hundreds of South Africans protested in the executive and legislative capitals of Pretoria and Cape Town on Wednesday, against inflation that has soared to a 13-year high.

“The protests were led by the trade union group Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a longtime ally of the governing African National Congress.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/24/south-african-unions-go-on-protests-over-high-cost-of-living


Ebola re-emerges in DR Congo as deadly anti-UN protests threaten efforts to curb outbreak…

The news comes at a critical time for humanitarian responders in the war-torn east of the vast mineral-rich nation. Eastern DR Congo was wracked by deadly anti-UN protests earlier this month, which killed at least a dozen protestors and three blue helmets.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/ebola-re-emerges-congo-deadly-anti-un-protests-threaten-efforts/


Regulators worry that hedge funds could spark the next financial crisis. “The riskiest loans are currently outside the banking system,” Christina Padgett, head of leveraged finance research at Moody’s Investors Service, told MarketWatch.”

…”“Our concern is that you find pockets of risk buildup that is outside the view of regulators and isn’t even observable by many market participants until it is too late,” said Mark Wasden, Padgett’s colleague at Moody’s.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/regulators-worry-that-hedge-funds-could-spark-the-next-financial-crisis-11661282398


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.

23rd August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Oil climbs as Saudi Arabia warns of OPEC output cuts. Oil rose on Tuesday as renewed concerns over tight supply dominated market sentiment after Saudi Arabia warned that the major oil producer could cut output to correct a recent oil price decline…

“Meanwhile, Europe faces fresh disruption to energy supplies due to damage to a pipeline system bringing oil from Kazakhstan through Russia, adding to concerns over a plunge in gas supplies.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/oil-prices-rise-after-saudi-says-opec-could-cut-output-2022-08-23/


U.S. crude in Strategic Petroleum Reserve hits lowest level since January 1985.

“U.S. crude inventory in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) fell by 8.1 million barrels in the latest week to the lowest level in more than 35 years, according to data from the Department of Energy… The large draw comes after a few weeks of smaller releases.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-crude-spr-hits-lowest-level-since-january-1985-2022-08-22/


97% of US executives believe US is now in a recession or close to one, despite Biden’s consistent denials…

“In July, the US consumer price index jumped 8.5 percent from a year ago, according to the Labor Department. That was down from the eye-watering 9.1 percent annual increase seen in June, but still far above the Federal Reserve’s two percent target rate.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11131889/97-executives-believe-recession-close-one-despite-Bidens-denials.html


[US] Consumer watchdog signals ‘a closer look’ at record-high credit card rates as balances jump…

With inflation surging, consumers have increasingly turned to credit cards to make ends meet, prompting the federal agency, created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, to investigate.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/22/consumer-watchdog-to-investigate-record-high-credit-card-rates.html


Strikes at the UK’s largest container port will see the supply chain “severely disrupted”, the head of Unite has said, as he warns “there will be more strikes”.

“Almost 2,000 workers have walked out of their jobs on the second of an eight-day workers’ strike – the latest in a summer of industrial action.”

https://news.sky.com/story/felixstowe-strikes-at-the-uks-largest-container-port-will-see-supply-chain-severely-disrupted-union-warns-12679011


A “toxic cocktail” of soaring energy bills, rising inflation and high interest rates will lead to people [in Scotland] “freezing or starving” this winter, a charity has warned.

“Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said the cost of living crisis had driven “frightening” levels of demand for guidance on food insecurity and help with fuel charges.”

https://news.stv.tv/scotland/charity-warns-toxic-cocktail-of-cost-of-living-will-lead-to-people-freezing-or-starving


UK inflation forecast to double to 18.6% as Europe’s energy crisis escalates…

“A report from Citi forecast UK Consumer Price Index inflation would reach 18.6 per cent in January, which would represent the highest rate for almost 50 years. Last month, CPI inflation struck a 40-year high of 10.1 per cent…”

https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/energy/2022/08/22/uk-inflation-forecast-to-double-to-186-as-europes-energy-crisis-spirals/


Fears of new quakes in Dutch gas field as energy crisis bites.

“Bastiaan Jeroen’s farm in ’t Zandt has columns made of reinforced concrete. “During one earthquake, I saw them twisting,” he said. “If a chip comes off, it will cut you in half. That’s the fear we’re living in.” Jeroen lives in the province of Groningen, home to a vast gas field.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/22/fears-earthquakes-dutch-gas-field-energy-crisis


European gas prices surge as Russian pipeline maintenance fuels fears of a total shutdown.

“European natural gas prices surged on Monday after Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom said it would shut down Europe’s single biggest piece of gas infrastructure for three days from the end of the month.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/22/european-gas-prices-surge-as-russia-announces-nord-stream-1-shutdown.html


Analysis: As Ukraine war drags on, Europe’s economy succumbs to crisis…

“Crisis is the new normal,” says the Alexandre Bompard, the Chief Executive of retailer Carrefour. “What we have been used to in the last decades – low inflation, international trade – it’s over,” he told investors… Close to half of Europe’s aluminium and zinc smelting capacity is already offline while much of fertilizer production, which relies on natural gas, has been shut.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-war-drags-europes-economy-succumbs-crisis-2022-08-23/


Azoty of Poland Halts Fertilizer Production on Record Gas Prices.

“Poland’s biggest chemicals company, Grupa Azoty SA, has stopped making some of its key products such as nitrogen fertilizers and caprolactam, and trimmed output of ammonia because of record gas prices… Grupa Azoty describes itself as the second-biggest producer of mineral fertilizers in the European Union.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-23/azoty-of-poland-halts-fertilizer-production-on-record-gas-prices


Germany to Prioritize Coal Trains Over Passenger Services…

“The draft plan is seen likely to be passed promptly as there’s growing pressure to accelerate fuel transport via rail, Welt am Sonntag reported. Germany also needs to improve coal transport to move forward with its plans to reopen power plants to boost energy security.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-21/germany-to-prioritize-coal-trains-over-passenger-services-welt


Italian manufacturers cut output to save energy, govt official says…

““There are entire industrial sectors, the glass and canning industry, where rationing, in the form of self-rationing, has already begun, albeit silently,” said Massimiliano Atelli, who heads the ministry’s committee that evaluates the environmental impact of new renewable energy plants.”

https://www.euronews.com/next/2022/08/21/italy-gas-rationing


Korea’s Exports Close to Stalling as Global Economy Cools… exports to China drop as well; Pressure is building on a key barometer of the global economy

Korean exports serve as a key indicator of international economic activity with the nation’s companies embedded widely across global supply chains, including semiconductor and automobile makers.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-22/korea-s-early-exports-close-to-stalling-as-global-economy-slows


Lights out for Shanghai’s Bund as China heatwave sparks power cuts.

“Multiple provinces have announced power cuts to cope with a surge in demand, driven partly by people cranking up the air conditioning to cope with temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). China has been hit by extreme weather this summer…”

https://www.france24.com/en/asia-pacific/20220822-lights-out-for-shanghai-s-bund-as-china-heatwave-sparks-power-cuts


China slashes 5-year mortgage rate as property crisis deepens; Central bank equals record rate cut in May…

Strategists warned that the rate cut was unlikely to address a crisis of confidence faced by Chinese developers, many of which are struggling to finish incomplete “pre-sold” homes for which down payments have already been received.”

https://www.ft.com/content/cdd7192d-e61e-4bc7-9df6-6ca51335b88e


Soaring fertiliser prices threaten to spark Africa food crisis.

Evans Luvanga, a maize farmer in Bungoma, western Kenya, has been hit hard by rapidly rising fertiliser prices. “Previously, we used to get inputs at affordable prices, especially fertiliser, but since the Ukraine war fertiliser has doubled in price,” he said.”

https://www.ft.com/content/4d746aa5-29e3-4796-b9e6-0b64c6865389


Poverty-fueled deforestation threatens Kenya’s largest water catchment…

“Mau Forest is shrinking as its trees fall to human pressures. Even Mau’s protected areas are not immune. One of these is Olpusimoru Forest Reserve, which has been facing high rates of deforestation as people cut down trees for timber and fuelwood collection.”

https://news.mongabay.com/2022/08/poverty-fueled-deforestation-threatens-kenyas-largest-water-catchment/


‘Explosion of violence’: Sierra Leone picks up the pieces after protests.

“As workers cleared broken glass from the shattered windows of Mohamed Sillah’s restaurant in Freetown, he described the events of last week, when rare protests against soaring inflation and the rising cost of living shook the capital of Sierra Leone.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/aug/21/sierra-leone-protests-inflation-cost-of-living


Egypt’s Central Bank governor resigns amid economic crisis…

“Ambassador Magda Shahin, former assistant minister of foreign affairs for international economic relations, told Al-Monitor that the failed negotiations to obtain the IMF loan are behind Amer’s overthrow… In March, Egypt submitted a request for a new loan from the IMF, but the latter set conditions that the government is still negotiating to avoid raising the ire of Egyptians.”

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/08/egypts-central-bank-governor-resigns-amid-economic-crisis#ixzz7cm81iE83


The Lebanese pound on Monday sank to a new historic low on the parallel market amid the country’s protracted financial crisis, local media reported.

“The exchange rate of the Lebanese pound declined to 34,250 against the U.S. dollar, down from the previous record low of 30,000 against the dollar earlier this month, reported the Elnashra news website.” [Picture shows further collapse of grain silos, which occurred yesterday.]

https://english.news.cn/20220822/06b3b99e475e4e2aaded4667ecce09e0/c.html


Protests erupt in towns, cities against surcharge in electricity bills [Pakistan]…

“The protesters were holding the electricity bills in their hands, saying they were small consumers who used less units but Mepco had sent them bills of huge amounts. They said they were poor farmers and daily wagers and how would they pay?”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1706296/protests-erupt-in-towns-cities-against-surcharge-in-electricity-bills


Thousands of Indian farmers return to New Delhi in fresh protests…

Farmers are demanding that the government guarantee a minimum support price for all produce and clear all farmer debts, among other things, according to a statement from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the farmer organization that organized the protest on Monday.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/22/india/india-farmers-protests-return-delhi-intl-hnk/index.html


Bangladesh tea workers have been holding a strike for nearly two weeks to demand raise in daily wages amid rising inflation.

“They say the current daily wage – 120 taka (about $1.25) – was barely enough to buy food, let alone other necessities such as health and education.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/21/why-are-bangladesh-tea-workers-protesting


No fuel, no hope: Sri Lankans flee crisis in mass brain drain. Tens of thousands flee worst economic crisis in decades as government and companies launch schemes to retain talent…

“From Tunisia to Haiti to Pakistan, spiralling inflation is driving millions into poverty worldwide, sparking protests and mass unrest, with even rich countries feeling the squeeze.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/world/asia-pacific/2022/08/21/no-fuel-no-hope-sri-lankans-flee-crisis-in-mass-brain-drain/


Power blackouts interfering with Cubans’ daily lives.

“The daily waves of power blackouts in Cuba are forcing residents to change – and creating instability in – their day to day lives, from cooking to washing to watching television and using the air conditioning, and are causing private businesses to suffer economic losses.”

https://www.laprensalatina.com/power-blackouts-interfering-with-cubans-daily-lives/


Thousands protest in Haiti over insecurity, rising costs.

“Protesters set up burning barricades on Monday in some areas including the capital of Port-au-Prince, with some saying they were angry over the growing scarcity of gasoline and diesel. “Families don’t know what to do,” demonstrator Lionel Jean-Pierre said as the crowd around him chanted: “If Ariel doesn’t leave, we’re going to die!”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/22/thousands-protest-in-haiti-over-insecurity-rising-costs


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.

20th August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Extreme heat is slamming the world’s three biggest economies all at once.

“Estimating just how catastrophic climate change will be for the global economy has historically proven challenging. But this summer, it’s increasingly evident how quickly costs can pile up.

Extreme heat and drought conditions are battering the United States, Europe and China, compounding problems for workers and businesses at a time when economic growth is already slowing sharply and adding to upward pressure on prices.

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/18/business/heatwave-global-economy/index.html


US drought: Cities like Las Vegas could go dark and crops turn to dust as states fail to agree on water cuts.

“…despite its crucial status, seven states have allowed more to be taken from the Colorado river than it can naturally replenish in recent years. This week, officials missed a deadline to propose water cuts the government has said are necessary.”

https://inews.co.uk/news/world/us-america-drought-cities-dark-crops-dust-states-water-cuts-1804083


[US] Home Sales Are Crashing Faster Than The Bursting Of The 2005 Housing Bubble…

“Existing home sales continued their historic plunge in July to reach the lowest level in 7 years outside of COVID, down roughly 1.7 million home sales in just the last six months… The current pace of decline is unprecedented.”

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4535703-home-sales-are-crashing-faster-than-the-bursting-of-the-2005-housing-bubble


US Mortgage Lenders Are Starting to Go Broke…

“The US mortgage industry is seeing its first lenders go out of business after a sudden spike in lending rates, and the wave of failures that’s coming could be the worst since the housing bubble burst about 15 years ago… “The nonbanks are poorly capitalized,” said Nancy Wallace, chair of the real estate group at Berkeley Haas…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-19/mortgage-lenders-are-starting-to-go-broke-as-loan-volumes-plunge#xj4y7vzkg


The United Kingdom is enduring a summer of misery as its beloved health service descends into crisis, inflation soars, taps run dry and strikes halt trains. Meanwhile, the government is nowhere to be seen.

“The sense of collapse is only mounting; health leaders on Friday issued the grim warning of a “humanitarian crisis” without action to stop energy prices increasing over the winter.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/20/uk/british-government-crisis-intl-cmd/index.html


UK Consumer confidence has hit a record low amid “acute concerns” over the soaring cost of living and a bleak economic outlook.

“The latest figures come as households face soaring energy bills, inflation hits its highest level in 40 years, and the Bank of England predicts a recession lasting more than a year will begin from autumn. Consumer confidence is now lower than in three recent major recessions…”

https://www.itv.com/news/2022-08-19/consumer-confidence-sinks-to-record-low-as-britain-braces-for-darkening-days


The financial system will be sorely tested by our economic meltdown…

“When prices start to gallop ahead at the rate they are right now that will inevitably impact the financial system. Like how? Lots of small business will close, jeopardising the loans banks have made to them; the private equity industry’s mountains of debt will be unaffordable; a slice of the one in five mortgages still on variable rates will default; and bank balance sheets… will be stretched to breaking point.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/19/financial-system-will-sorely-tested-economic-meltdown/


France faces a high chance of electricity shortages and is not ruling out controlled blackouts this winter, according to Joannes Laveyne, a researcher at the electrical energy laboratory at Ghent University.

“As the gas price in Belgium breaks record after record, France is also dealing with exceptional rates for electricity – something that is unprecedented in high summer.”

https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium-news/274261/controlled-blackouts-france-braces-for-winter-electricity-shortage


European natural gas prices continue to inch higher amid the continent’s worsening energy crisis and are now 10 times higher than usual for this time of the year, according to Bloomberg.

“Dutch TTF natural gas futures, the benchmark European price, hovered near 234 euros per megawatt hour Thursday, up about 3.5% intraday — and 381% higher from a year ago.”

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/commodities/european-natural-gas-prices-10-times-energy-crisis-russia-exports-2022-8


Germany’s producer prices rose strongly in July, driven by higher energy prices, posting the biggest increase ever recorded, the German statistics office Destatis said.

Producer prices rose 37.2% on year in July, the German statistics office Destatis said Friday [echoes of Weimar; hyperinflation in developed nations no longer a far-fetched notion]. This follows a 32.7% increase in June and a 33.6% rise in May.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-producer-prices-post-highest-increase-on-record-271660891940


Germany to miss gas storage target amid warnings of winter shortages.

“Moscow has drastically cut flows to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline since mid-June and is currently supplying only 20% of agreed volumes, blaming technical issues, but the move is widely seen as politically motivated in retaliation for sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.”

https://news.sky.com/story/germany-to-miss-gas-storage-target-amid-warnings-of-winter-shortages-12675880


Nord Stream 1 pipeline to shut for three days in latest fuel blow to Europe.

“Russia will halt natural gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month… The unscheduled maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, deepens an energy standoff between Moscow and Brussels which has already helped send inflation surging in the region and raised the risk of rationing and recession…”

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/nord-stream-1-pipeline-to-shut-for-three-days-in-latest-fuel-blow-to-europe/


Energy Prices Trigger Deindustrialization In Germany. German factories are struggling to cope with soaring energy costs, which may prompt many to leave the country for a cheaper location, Bloomberg has reported, citing industry sources.

“Energy inflation is way more dramatic here than elsewhere,” Ralf Stoffels, chief executive of BIW Isolierstoffe, a silicon parts supplier to a range of industries. “I fear a gradual deindustrialization of the German economy.””

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Energy-Prices-Trigger-Deindustrialization-In-Germany.html


More smelters face threat of closure as Europe enters a power-starved winter.

“More European smelters are expected to shut as the region enters a power-starved winter that could force the continent’s big industrial companies to turn to imports just as they are trying to become more self-sufficient following war in Ukraine.”

https://www.ft.com/content/0906df5d-1b92-4de1-95d6-3ae7b1055897


Japan urges its young people to drink more to boost economy…

“The “Sake Viva!” campaign hopes to come up with a plan to make drinking more attractive – and boost the industry.

“The contest asks 20 to 39-year-olds to share their business ideas to kick-start demand among their peers – whether it’s for Japanese sake, shochu, whisky, beer or wine.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-62585809


Poorer Nations Face Unrest as Wealthy Countries Snap Up Fuel…

“…citizens in many nations have run out of patience… “The longer the energy crisis goes on, the more likely there is to be civil unrest around the world,” said Susan Sakmar, a visiting assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-18/poorer-nations-face-unrest-as-wealthy-countries-snap-up-fuel#xj4y7vzkg


Sri Lanka fuel shortage takes massive toll on efforts to save wildlife.

“The shortages and limited rations are affecting conservation efforts, including the timely treatment of wild animals, regular patrolling to thwart poaching, and mitigation actions to limit human-elephant conflict.”

https://news.mongabay.com/2022/08/sri-lanka-fuel-shortage-takes-massive-toll-on-efforts-to-save-wildlife/


Protests by Sri Lankan fishermen demanding a solution to the fuel crisis continued for the third day, and many fishermen have taken to the streets citing that they were unable to engage in their trade for almost three months…

“Sri Lankan fishermen are protesting citing one demand, which is the provision of sufficient Kerosene to power their boats so that they can set out to sea.”

https://www.newsfirst.lk/2022/08/18/lankan-fishermen-continue-protests-for-fuel/


Power outage threat looms large as defaulting states [India] barred from power exchange.

“Power outages threaten to loom large in nearly 13 states including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana which have been barred from buying and selling on power exchanges till they clear dues to power plants.”

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/power-outage-threat-looms-large-as-defaulting-states-barred-from-power-exchange/articleshow/93639798.cms?from=mdr


Oil marketers in Kenya have warned of fuel shortages because of government delays in paying them the subsidies meant to keep prices of gasoline low.

“The companies are owed 65 billion shillings ($542 million) for supplying fuel for the three months since June, they said in a letter to Kenya’s petroleum ministry seen by Bloomberg News.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-19/oil-marketers-warn-of-fuel-shortage-in-kenya-on-payment-delays


Ghana raises interest rates to 22% in biggest move for 20 years.

“Ghana’s central bank has raised interest rates by 300 basis points to 22 per cent, its largest increase since 2002, as it seeks to tame soaring inflation and a fast-depreciating local currency. The rise was announced late on Wednesday after an emergency meeting of the bank’s monetary policy committee.”

https://www.ft.com/content/1ccade17-5704-4321-9987-b372b0b43396


As Iraqi protesters rally, political deadlock leaves families without cash.

[Khalil’s] family is one of about 370,000 families who qualify for the pension but are not receiving it because of the political deadlock, the official said. Iraq’s 10-month standoff since the election is the longest stretch without a fully functioning government in the nearly two decades since Saddam Hussein was overthrown…”

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iraqi-protesters-rally-political-deadlock-leaves-families-without-cash-2022-08-19/


‘I’ll Do it Again,’ Says Man Who Held Up Bank to Withdraw His Own Money [Lebanon]…

“His desperate actions are indicative of the mind-bending extent of Lebanon’s descent into a near-total economic collapse. After decades of financial management following a devastating civil war, the country truly stands on the brink: a near-failed state going through one of the world’s worst-ever financial crises.”

https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxnxez/beirut-bank-siege-bassam-al-sheikh-hussein-lebanon


Geopolitical and climatic events are impacting the food system’s resilience.

“The COVID-19 pandemic. Supply chain strains. Climatic events. These disruptions were already pushing food prices up when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Today, war in one of the world’s six breadbasket regions1 and in the Black Sea, a critical supply and transit hub for wheat and fertilizers, is tilting global food security into a state of high risk.”

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/a-reflection-on-global-food-security-challenges-amid-the-war-in-ukraine-and-the-early-impact-of-climate-change


The global crises laying waste to a divided world.

“A brutal pandemic; frightening climate change; a devastating war that drives widespread rearmament; severe trade disruptions; gigantic multinationals that take advantage of loopholes to avoid paying much-needed taxes. The world faces colossal global challenges and addressing them requires close international cooperation… However, signs of growing polarization and rift abound…”

https://english.elpais.com/international/2022-08-17/global-plagues-bring-to-its-knees-a-world-unable-to-face-them-together.html


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back on Monday with a ‘Climate’ thread.

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