Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

18th August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Clouds gather over the world economy… Troubles are coming to the world economy not as single spies but in battalions…

“Adding to the global economic gloom is strong capital repatriation from the emerging market economies in response to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes. This is now likely to trigger a wave of debt defaults in the emerging market economies, which now carry record debt levels.”


Over half of money managers bet on global recession this year…

“Some 58 per cent of money managers think global output will shift into reverse, up from a minority of 47 per cent, according to Bank of America’s latest global fund managers’ survey… Inflation across the world has surged to levels not seen in generations, squeezing consumers and businesses.”


Chipmakers Are Flashing More Warnings on the Global Economy.

“Mounting concern over semiconductor demand is sending shudders through North Asia’s high-tech exporters, which historically serve as a bellwether for the international economy… Fading tech demand highlights a darkening picture…”


The global energy crisis deepened on Tuesday as a further surge in natural gas prices in Europe and the US threatened to push some of the world’s largest economies into recession. [If they are not there already!]

“Gas markets in Europe jumped by as much as 10 per cent to as high as €251 a megawatt hour, equivalent in energy terms to more than $400 a barrel of oil, as traders raced to secure supplies ahead of the winter…”


[US] Housing market recession? It’s here, homebuilders say.

“Homebuilder confidence has been taking a nosedive for eight straight months as the pandemic housing frenzy dies down yet supply chain issues continue, prompting some experts to warn the housing market correction is only beginning… August marked the eighth consecutive month that homebuilder confidence fell…”


UK inflation has risen above 10% for the first time in 40 years, driven by soaring prices for food and fuel as households come under mounting pressure from the cost of living crisis. [Our inflation is now equal to Brazil’s btw – along with currency volatility the UK economy behaving more like that of an emerging market].

“The Office for National Statistics said the consumer prices index rose by 10.1% in the year to July, up from a reading of 9.4% in June and entering double figures at an earlier stage than anticipated.”


Britain’s economic outlook fears grow as yield curve inverts. New data published today has heightened fears around Britain’s economic outlook, with Britain’s yield curve “inverting” as two-year yields trade more than 0.15 percentage points above their 10-year counterparts, increasing fears to highest levels since the 2008 global financial crisis.”


The UK Will Struggle to Keep the Lights on This Winter… Is the UK’s next prime minister ready for the worsening energy crisis?

“This is not just an economic crisis,” Javier Blas [Bloomberg commodities editor] says. “It will cause social unrest. To me, the government either decides to bail out consumers directly, or it has to bail out industry later.”


Drought Is Driving European Energy Markets Toward Disaster.

“Energy markets and nature seem to have it in for Europe. Record-breaking gas prices, rising coal prices, and droughts that interfere with electricity generation in some key markets have combined to push electricity contracts in the EU to record highs as uncertainty about the coming winter deepens.”


The energy crunch throttling Europe’s fertilizer output is threatening to force the world’s farmers to use even less of the nutrients crucial for growing food.

“Soaring prices of gas, a key feedstock, have already curtailed a quarter of Europe’s nitrogen fertilizer capacity, CRU Group estimates. Now, worries are mounting that the crisis will worsen.”


Zinc surged after one of Europe’s largest smelters announced it would halt production next month as the continent’s energy crisis threatens to hobble heavy industries.

“The Budel smelter in the Netherlands — controlled by Trafigura Group’s Nyrstar — will be placed on care and maintenance from Sept. 1 “until further notice,” according to a company statement.”


Gas crisis: Germans rush to stock up on coal for winter warmth.

“Fearing a total cut-off of Russian gas over the winter in retaliation for European Union sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, some German individuals are now stocking up on coal. In capital Berlin, the fossil fuel has now become a rare commodity.”


Germany’s Uniper on the ‘brink of insolvency’ after €12bn loss.

“German utility Uniper reported a €12.3bn first-half loss, saying it had become a “pawn” in the Ukraine conflict pushed to the “brink of insolvency” by a dramatic drop in Russian gas deliveries. The loss by Europe’s biggest importer of Russian gas is one of the largest by a German company…”


Hungarians renew protest at ‘forest destruction’ as government rolls back some changes.

“Around a thousand Hungarians protested for the second time in less than a week against a loosening of logging regulations by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government amid increased demand for firewood due to surging gas and electricity prices.


Bulgaria to ban export of wood to non-EU countries.

““There are many problems in agriculture – now we have a shortage of timber,” Agriculture Minister, Yavor Gechev told bTV. According to the report, while a year ago the price of a cubic metre of firewood was 90 to 100 leva, in Sofia it had reached a current 180 leva a cubic metre.”


Poland’s economy contracts as threat of recession across eastern Europe mounts.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine looks set to trigger a recession in eastern Europe later this year, as energy price increases, disruptions in supply chains, low consumer confidence and austerity measures weigh on output. The region’s largest economy, Poland, surprised analysts by contracting 2.3% in the second quarter…”


China’s bursting housing bubble summed up in a viral video, as official tells citizens to ‘Buy one property, then a second. Bought a second? Buy a third, and fourth’…

“As China’s property crisis deepens and Chinese homeowners across 100 cities refuse to pay their mortgages, some local government officials are taking matters into their own hands. Deng Bibo, a county party secretary of China’s Hunan province, encouraged everyone to buy multiple homes…”


China’s largest property group warns of 70% plunge in profit.

“Earnings at Chinese property developer Country Garden fell as much as 70 per cent in the first half of the year, as the country’s largest real estate group by sales was drawn into a crisis that has raged through the heavily indebted sector.”


In Argentina, mass protests demand higher wages, lower inflation.

“Thousands of frustrated Argentines clogged downtown Buenos Aires on Wednesday in raucous street protests, demanding government action to boost salaries and unemployment benefits battered by surging consumer prices and a weakening peso currency.”


Cuba’s energy crisis and crippling tourism industry is causing the biggest exodus to the U.S. in decades…

““The current wave of Cuban migrants has officially surpassed the previous two largest waves of Cuban migration to the U.S.—the Mariel boatlift in 1980 and the Balsero crisis of 1994—combined,” according to a newsletter by the Center for Democracy in the Americas, an advocacy group in Washington that calls for lifting sanctions.”


Electricity workers in Nigeria, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees have shut down the national grid, thereby throwing the nation into darkness.

“This is coming after appeals by the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, and the managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Sule Abdulaziz, to the union to suspend their proposed strike fell on deaf ears.”


Uganda faces power cuts after major hydropower plant suspends operations.

“Uganda said on Tuesday a hydropower plant representing some 15% of its electricity generating capacity had been put under an emergency shutdown due to “operational challenges”, cutting the supply of power to the country’s grid.”


Lebanon is very close to its own ‘Bouazizi’ moment [which occurred in Tunisia’s Arab Spring].

“The situation in Lebanon contains the main ingredients for another popular uprising: the dire economic and financial crisis; worsening food and fuel shortages; rampant corruption; and growing public disdain of the political elites. Put together, these grievances can be a potent mix leading to social unrest…”


Pakistan Finds Itself In An Economic Crisis: PM Shehbaz Sharif…

“”This one [latest economic crisis] is born out of the most challenging global policy environment of our lifetime, characterised by a commodity supercycle, historic monetary tightening at America’s Federal Reserve and a conflict in Europe that is tearing apart the post-war global order,” Sharif wrote.”


Bhutan — the South Asian nation that is perhaps best-known for its philosophy of promoting gross national happiness over gross domestic product (GDP) — is facing economic headwinds.

“With a population of fewer than 800,000 people, a global economic slowdown and nationwide COVID lockdowns. Supply chains in the landlocked country wedged between China and India have been severly impacted.”


Myanmar’s Supply Chains Break Down Amid Fuel Shortages.

“Amid serious fuel shortages and price hikes across Myanmar, businesses say they will soon halt operations unless availability improves. Thanks to the regime’s foreign currency controls and the restricted supply of fuel, it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy gasoline and diesel…”


Bangladesh anger over fuel prices echoes Sri Lanka, Pakistan…

“Pressure is building on Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government, as fuel price rises send shock waves through the population… While officials in Dhaka insist the economy is not in dire straits, there are eerie echoes of the problems seen in Bangladesh’s South Asian neighbors, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.”


Sri Lanka faces looming food crisis with stunted rice crop due to fuel, fertiliser shortages.

Across rice farms in this Indian Ocean island, the bleak picture is emerging that the summer harvest could be as low as half that of previous years, according to experts. With rice being Sri Lanka’s staple food, it points to further pressure on a country already struggling with its worst economic crisis in modern times…”


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.

16th August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Inflation drives global economy to first contraction since COVID… Countries walk tightrope between curbing prices and pulling plug on growth…

“The worldwide economy contracted in April-June, according to the International Monetary Fund, with Yoshimasa Maruyama at SMBC Nikko Securities estimating that global GDP fell by 2.7%.

“The U.S., Germany, the U.K. and China saw negative growth. The U.S. is now in a recession according to a narrow technical definition after its GDP fell for a second quarter in a row. The U.K. will enter into a recession in October-December and experience a contraction through 2023…”


Oil prices hit lowest level since Ukraine invasion on China growth fears.

“A barrel of Brent crude fell by about 5% to below $94 (£78) on Monday, hitting the joint lowest levels since the Russian invasion of Ukraine as traders reacted to weaker figures from the world’s second-largest economy.”


China’s economy slows unexpectedly as Covid outbreaks and property crisis bite.

“China’s economy unexpectedly slowed in July, with factory and retail activity squeezed by Beijing’s zero-Covid policy and a property crisis, while the central bank surprised markets by cutting key lending rates to revive demand.”


The Chinese dream of homeownership is crumbling. The economy could go with it…

“What was once a virtuous cycle has turned vicious. Home prices fell for the 11th straight month in July, and dozens of developers, including real estate behemoth Evergrande Group, have defaulted on their debts. The impact has rippled through land sales, labor, construction materials and home appliances.”


Desperate IKEA shoppers fight their way out of Shanghai store as security guards try to lock them inside after ONE customer came into contact with a Covid patient

“Video shows guards struggling to hold people behind double-doors leading to the Xuhui district of Shanghai before the crowd breaks past them and rushes through the opening.”


China rations electricity to factories as heatwave sees power demand surge.

“Chinese lithium hub Sichuan province will ration electricity supply to factories until Saturday… as a heatwave sends power demands soaring and dries up reservoirs. Temperatures in the province – home to nearly 84 million people – have hovered above 40-42 degrees Celsius (104-108 degrees fahrenheit) since last week.”


New York Empire State factory gauge plunges in August deep into contraction territory.

“The New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index, a gauge of manufacturing activity in the state, plummeted 42.4 points to negative 31.3 in August, the regional Fed bank said Monday. This is the second largest monthly decline on record and among the lowest levels in the survey’s history…”


It Sure Feels Like a Car Loan Crisis Is Coming [US]…

“…from the looks of it, more and more people are falling a month or two behind on their auto loans, but they are not letting the delinquencies lead to defaults. That’s a good thing. As for if this behavior is sustainable? That’s sort of anyone’s guess. Remember 2008, when everyone was unable to pay their mortgage? Feels familiar to me.


[UK] Workers have suffered a record real-term pay slump in the face of soaring prices, official data reveals.

“Regular wages, excluding bonuses, plunged an average of 4.1% on the year in the three months to June when inflation is taken into account, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).”


Protests Against Soaring Energy Bills Spread Through UK, and CEOs Are Taking Notice.

“…A grassroots initiative, “Don’t Pay,” urges consumers to just stop paying energy bills… Nearly 170,000 people have so far pledged to stop paying their energy bills in October… “It shows just quite how fed up people are.”


Energy crisis deepens as UK schools consider three-day week…

“A chief executive of one of the leading academy trusts in the country said: “Shorter school days, fewer after-school clubs and enrichment opportunities and draconian restrictions on energy usage will become a reality for all trusts and the situation is particularly challenging for smaller trusts and standalone schools,” the Mail confirmed on Sunday, August 14.”


Winter diesel shock looms as tanks dry up ahead of sanctions [Europe].

“Europe is heading into winter with seasonally low levels of diesel in storage tanks, with major implications for the continent’s industries and drivers in the run-up to EU sanctions on Russian crude oil and refined product supplies.”


Heatwave Sends European Gas Prices Higher.

“European benchmark gas prices rose by 2% early on Monday as demand is high in a heatwave and supplies of other fuels for power generation is constrained by low water levels on Europe’s main petroleum transport corridor [ie the Rhine].”


Key European Power Price Doubles in Two Months as Crisis Deepens…

“Next-year electricity rates in Germany advanced as much as 3.7% to 477.50 euros ($487) a megawatt-hour on the European Energy Exchange AG. That’s almost six times as much as this time last year, with the price doubling in the past two months alone.”


Hungary expects even more serious fuel shortage in the coming days…

“At the moment we cannot guarantee the quality of fuel supply at petrol stations that consumers were used to before,” Ottó Grád, secretary general of the Hungarian Mineral Oil Association, told ATV. In recent months, we have had to live with the fact that there are shortages of certain types of product at the wells or that fuel is not available at all at the given petrol station.”


Serbia doesn’t have enough coal for winter, trade unionist from EPS warns…

““There is no hope: Whoever is optimistic that there would be electricity in the winter will be sobered by this video. There is no coal,” Dragoslav Ljubičić wrote on Twitter. To support his claim, he added a video of the coal stockpile at TENT A, Serbia’s biggest thermal power plant, where he works since the early 1990s.”


Kosovo Walks Back Power Cutoffs To Consumers Amid Energy ‘Emergency’.

“Kosovar authorities say electricity supplies have resumed as normal after its main power distributor announced periodic brownouts starting on August 15 that it blamed on high import costs and production woes. Nonetheless, officials in the Balkan state signaled that there would be challenges ahead as a result of the current “energy crisis and state of emergency.””


A South Australian family forced to ration food and fuel amid Australia’s spiraling rental crisis and soaring cost of living, says they no longer recognise the country.

“David Fairhead and Wynona Reilly, from Kangarilla south-east of Adelaide, have been rejected from almost 100 rentals following the death of their previous landlord.”


Fuel price hike inflates further essentials cost in Bangladesh; protests break out across the country.

“Prices of essentials rose by up to 14 per cent in a week in Bangladesh after the country witnessed a record hike fuel price recently, immediately affecting the transport sector, sparking street protests.”


Karachiites facing electricity loadshedding of up to 14 hours.

“The duration of electricity outages in Karachi has exceeded from four hours to 14 hours, making lives miserable for the citizens. Citizens living in the exempted areas are also suffering prolonged power outages. After every three hours, loadshedding duration continues for about three to three-and-a-half hours.”


One year on from the Taliban takeover, Afghans face starvation – and winter is coming…

“In the last 12 months, there has been very little relief from the severe financial sanctions put in place by the international community in response to the Taliban takeover. Central bank reserves remain frozen and long-term development assistance largely suspended.”


Security unrest sparks protests in southern Libya, threatens oil output.

“A fresh wave of protests has recently erupted in southern Libya, organized by the so-called Fezzan Anger Movement, which consists of a group of youth and tribesmen who claim an uprising is necessary to enable the residents of southern Libya near the troubled countries of Chad and Niger, to obtain their rights.”


The former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould, has warned that Ghana will soon face a fuel crisis if urgent steps are not taken.

“Alex Mould said that the country will soon be experiencing fuel shortages because companies that import oil products are running out of the needed foreign exchange that will enable them to import these products.”


Nigeria Inflation at 17-Year High as Bread, Gas Costs Soar…

“Annual inflation quickened to 19.6% in Africa’s biggest economy, compared with 18.6% in June, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on its website on Monday. That’s the highest level since September 2005 and more than double the 9% ceiling of the central bank’s target band.”


At Least 21 Protesters Killed during Anti-Gov’t Protests in Sierra Leone.

“Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital Freetown on Wednesday, protesting inflation and the rising cost of living in the West African country. The protests grew violent at times. Graphic images and video of battered and seriously injured protesters and some members of security forces could be seen on social media.”


Sudan: Security Forces Arrest 35 People Following March of Millions Protest.

“In a statement, the group condemned the arrests stating that Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at protesters and at their lawyer’s office, and also beat and dragged those they arrested. Some 16 protesters were arrested in Omdurman and a further 19 in Khartoum.”


Kenya on edge as election outcome sparks protests…

” Kenyans on Tuesday braced for a potentially turbulent time ahead after the disputed outcome of the country’s presidential election triggered violent protests in some areas… The country of about 50 million people is already struggling with soaring prices, a crippling drought, endemic corruption and growing disenchantment with the political elite.”


South Africa’s army can’t afford parts or petrol for vehicles: report.

“Leaked service availability figures for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) show that the country’s army is in no position to deploy troops to tackle civil unrest. Data and information uncovered by Rapport point to several SANDF bases being in dire straits…”


Nuclear war would cause global famine with more than five billion people killed, new study finds…

“The results of such a conflict would be catastrophic for food production, climate scientists at Rutgers University have found in a peer-reviewed study published in the context of the war in Ukraine. “The data tell us one thing: We must prevent a nuclear war from ever happening,” said one of the authors, Professor Alan Roebuck.”


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

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

6th August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices Are Spiking as Natural Gas Soars… Just when the fertilizer market started to see some relief, nitrogen prices are rising again — and major companies are sounding the alarm that they won’t let up anytime soon…

““The world is going to be incredibly tight availability of product as we get into both winter and then into the spring next year,” CF Chief Executive Officer Tony Will said. “Particularly, if the situation in Europe is not resolved in the coming months because that just further pressures the whole system with winter coming.””


Cooling Semiconductor Sales Heighten Fears of a Global Recession.

“World chip sales growth has decelerated for six straight months — yet another sign the global economy is straining under the weight of rising interest rates and mounting geopolitical risks… A Bloomberg Economics global tracker shows the prospects for the world economy have deteriorated rapidly this year, coinciding with chip sales beginning to slow.”


Summer Gasoline Demand in US Drops Below Pandemic Levels.

Americans are officially driving less than they did in the summer of 2020, when pandemic travel restrictions all but halted movement… Though pump prices have fallen for 50 straight days, it’s not enough to lure drivers back to the road with historic inflation constraining consumer budgets.”


UK adults cut back on oil products, gas, electricity use as costs rise: data.

More evidence of demand destruction in advanced economies emerged Aug. 5 when a closely watched survey of consumer habits by the Office of National Statistics showed that 42% of adults in the UK had cut back on non-essential travel in vehicles in response to higher costs.”


UK faces long recession and deepest plunge in living standards on record, Bank of England warns…

“The cost-of-living crisis will continue throughout next year and only begin to ease in 2024, with the UK economy contracting for five consecutive quarters, according to the Bank’s latest forecasts. Inflation is set to surge to 13.3 per cent this winter…”


The number of UK companies at risk of collapse rose by more than a third in the second quarter as surging inflation continued to erode margins.

“Almost 2,000 companies were in critical financial distressed as of the end of June, 37% more than the same period last year, according to a report from insolvency practitioners Begbies Traynor.”


Eight-day strike by Felixstowe dockers expected to disrupt UK supply chain.

“Dockers at Felixstowe are planning eight days of strike action over pay that could cause serious disruption to the UK’s largest container port… Prolonged strikes would almost certainly disrupt traffic through the port, adding to the problems facing the UK economy as it braces for a deep, year-long recession.


Norway Mulls Curbing Electricity Exports to Avoid Shortages.

“Norway, one of Europe’s biggest electricity exporters, is considering measures to limit power shipments to prevent domestic shortages amid surging prices, according to local media reports.”


Hungary Eases Logging in Protected Forests to Tackle Gas Crunch.

“Hungary waived environmental regulations protecting native forests from logging, showing the increasingly extreme steps the government is willing to take to prepare for next winter’s energy shortages… The latest relaxation of environmental rules will make Hungary more vulnerable to the effects of climate change…”


Uniper Warns on German Power Output as Rhine River Dries Up.

Uniper SE warned it may have to cut output at two key coal-fired power plants in Germany as the company struggles to get fuel supplies along the Rhine River, exacerbating an energy crunch that has threatened to push the continent’s largest economies into recession.”


There is a run on fuels such as diesel and heating oil in the southern parts of Germany as supplies are constrained due to critically low water levels on the River Rhine, the German unit of refiner OMV told Bloomberg on Thursday…

“Low water levels on the Rhine has recently prompted Switzerland to release oil from its emergency reserves as it lowered the obligatory levels of petroleum stocks by 6.5%.”


Germany fears millions of houses will be left without heating this winter as low pressure in gas pipelines… causes breakdowns in the country’s energy infrastructure.

“Should heating systems fail, there will also be a delay in restarting them because work would have to be carried out to reconnect them to the gas supply. This means homes could be left without energy for days until they can find an engineer.”


European gas stockpiles are set to cost countries 10 times the usual amount for winter storage amid Russia’s energy cutoff…

“But even as gas reserves are built up, uncertainty remains as to whether Russia will impose further supply cuts to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline… the EU has called for lower energy consumption, as well as increasing the use of sources like coal and oil.”


Global energy crisis drives rethink of nuclear power projects.

“Governments across Europe and Asia are extending their aging fleet of nuclear plants, restarting reactors and dusting off plans to resume projects shelved after the 2011 nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan… In Europe, Britain gave consent in July for what will be its second new nuclear project in two decades.”


Ukrainian nuclear plant power lines shelled.

“The Russian-installed administration of the occupied Ukrainian city of Enerhodar said on Friday that power lines at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s biggest, had been cut by a Ukrainian artillery strike… Ukraine’s state nuclear power company, Energoatom, said Russia had shelled the plant… It said a decision had been taken to disconnect one of the reactors from the network.”


Russia calls for restraint after deadly Nagorno-Karabakh clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russia is “concerned,” reported Reuters. “We are watching very closely, we are naturally concerned about the situation worsening,” he said Thursday. “We ask the parties for restraint and most importantly to implement all provisions of the trilateral documents.””


Latest twist in Taiwan spat sees top China envoy and White House clash over Pelosi visit aftermath.

The two superpowers sharply disagree over just about every detail of the events of this week – not only blaming each other for triggering the hostility felt across the region, but even asserting contradictory claims about whether China’s neighbours side with Beijing or Washington.”


China’s decision to halt cooperation with the US over the climate crisis has provoked alarm, with seasoned climate diplomats urging a swift resumption of talks to help stave off worsening global heating.

“On Friday, Beijing announced a series of measures aimed at retaliating against the US for the “egregious provocation” of Nancy Pelosi…”


Investors dump Chinese stocks, bonds amid global recession fears.

“Foreign investors continued to cut holdings in Chinese bonds in July and dumped equities for the first time in four months, according to a report by the Institute of International Finance (IIF)… the sixth consecutive month of foreign outflows from China’s $20 trillion bond market.”


India police detain opposition leaders protesting price rise.

“Indian police have detained dozens of parliamentarians from the opposition Congress party, including key leader Rahul Gandhi, as they attempted to march to the president’s house and the prime minister’s residence to protest soaring food and fuel prices…”


Sri Lankan government accused of draconian treatment of protesters…

“Dozens of protesters have been detained by the police in recent days as the government, led by the newly appointed president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, tried to crush the mass protest movement that forced Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign in early July.”


Long power shutdowns, stagnant rain water and overflowing sewage forced people in different parts of the city to take to the streets [Karachi, Pakistan].

“People staged protests against long power outages, bad sanitary conditions and stagnant rainwater in various localities of the metropolis.”


Iraq’s Electricity Sector Enters State Of Emergency.

“Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity has announced a state of emergency for ten days from 2 August as temperatures in the south of the country rise to 50°C and beyond. The political crisis is heating up alongside rising temperatures, as Iraqis blame mismanagement and corruption for poor public services.”


Hyperinflation has arrived in Turkey for foreign businesses with operations in the country — at least for the purposes of financial reporting.

“Companies ranging from some of the world’s biggest banks to Vodafone Group Plc and a Dutch coffee seller have started using what’s known as hyperinflationary accounting, which also factors in effects of the local currency’s depreciation.”


Latin America territories record up to 358% surge in civil unrest.

“The number of protests and riots across Latin America rose in the last year from 3,405 to 3,617, amid hyper-inflation in some territories and wider economic stress, according to research from Chaucer.”


You can read the previous ‘Climate’ thread here. I’ll be back with a thread on Monday 15th August, as I’m off visiting my parents next week. My apologies for any inconvenience and a huge thank you to my donors and subscribers for helping to keep the ever inflating wolf from my door.

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 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Pelosi’s Taiwan trip could have significant consequences for global economy.

Relations between the US and China were poor even before the visit of the House of Representatives speaker to Taiwan. Now they have the potential to turn very nasty indeed – with significant consequences for the global economy.”


The Opec cartel and its allies have agreed to increase the production of crude by just 100,000 barrels a day, in what analysts have described as an insult directed at the US president, Joe Biden.

“Ministers from the 13-member group and its allies, led by Russia and known as Opec+, met on Thursday at a closed-door video meeting and rubber-stamped an increase in output that is the equivalent of 86 seconds, or 0.1%, of global oil demand.”


Americans are piling up credit card debt as they struggle to keep up with the high cost of living.

US household debt surpassed $16 trillion for the first time ever during the second quarter, the New York Federal Reserve said Tuesday. Even as borrowing costs surge, the NY Fed said credit card balances increased by $46 billion last quarter.”


The UK’s annual inflation could go as high as 15% by the start of 2023, experts have forecast, as further sharp increases in energy prices push up the cost of living.

“On the eve of the latest decision on interest rates by the Bank of England, the Resolution Foundation thinktank said price pressures were likely to be stronger and last longer than the Bank had previously forecast.”


UK Energy crisis could become a poll tax moment… new Tory leadership candidates seem blissfully unaware of the unrest that may await them in the autumn as bills soar

“Amid the Tory leadership contest, the British government appears to have all but stopped functioning… with Boris Johnson disengaged, a skeleton Whitehall operation of ministers and officials is keeping the show on the road.”


Emergency Plans Being Considered In Case Of Fuel Shortages [Ireland].

“Petrol stations may have to ration fuel at the pumps for only essential workers if there are oil shortages this winter. The government’s emergency energy group is discussing contingency plans in the event of fuel shortages caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine.”


Fuel supply problems in Hungary’s capital, Budapest have forced some filling stations to shut down.

“To prevent widespread closures, the government has tried to reduce demand by modifying the price cap measure introduced last year that has kept prices low.”


Europe’s energy crisis: Controversy as Spain bans air conditioning from dropping below 27°C.

“A debate has been sparked after Spain’s government moved to prevent offices, shops and other venues from setting air conditioning below 27°C in the summer. It is part of plans to cut the country’s energy consumption and limit dependency on Russian gas.”


Russia Gas Stop Would Trigger 2009-Style Slump, Commerzbank Says.

“A bellwether for Europe’s largest economy because it caters to Germany’s small and medium-sized companies, Commerzbank said it would expect to set aside another 500 million euros ($509 million) to 600 million euros for bad loans as a result.”


German chemicals firm [Covestro] warns of production chain collapse as Putin squeezes gas flows…

““Due to the close links between the chemical industry and downstream sectors, a further deterioration of the situation is likely to result in the collapse of entire supply and production chains,” it said.


France to Curb Nuclear Output as Europe’s Energy Crisis Worsens…

“The French utility said late Tuesday that power stations on the Rhone and Garonne rivers will likely produce less electricity in the coming days, but there will be a minimum level of output to keep the grid stable. A heat wave is pushing up river temperatures, restricting the utility’s ability to cool the plants.


Driest July on record sparks fears of European crop shortages.

“As much of Europe bakes in a third heatwave since June, fears are growing that extreme drought driven by climate change in the continent’s breadbasket nations will dent stable crop yields and deepen the cost-of-living crisis.”


World’s Food Supply Faces New Threat From Lack of Rain in India…

“The threat to India’s rice production comes at a time when countries are grappling with soaring food costs and rampant inflation. Total rice planted area has declined 13% so far this season due to a lack of rainfall in some areas, including West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh…”


Blood & Fire Threatens The Streets Of Argentina As Social Unrest Rears Its Ugly Head.

“Social tensions in Argentina have experienced and in crescendo in tandem with the value of the alternative peso-dollar exchange rates which have been reaching record highs as of late—which means the value of the peso has never been lower—to the point where massive protests and looting are no longer out of the question.”


Clashes erupt in Bolivia capital between police and coca farmers…

“Last October, thousands of coca leaf growers stormed the country’s main coca market in La Paz following violent clashes with security forces. The Adepcoca market has become the center of a dispute between two groups of coca growers — one loyal to the government, the other opponents — since last year.”


Nigeria nears economic collapse; external reserves down to $15 billion contrary to CBN’s $36 billion claim.

“As Nigeria prepares for general elections next year that promise to be one of the most keenly contested in its history, evidence is emerging that the economy faces a double whammy: an empty treasury and rapid decline… the reported balance on the gross external reserves has long concealed problems.”


Power station burns; plunges Tembisa [South Africa] into darkness as unrest continues… [seems like a bit of an own goal!]

““While the city is aware of the situation regarding the power in the area, technicians are unable to attend to the problem in the area as it remains volatile, thus putting their lives in danger,” the municipality said.”


Turkey’s inflation jumped to 24-year high of 79.6 percent in July…

“Opposition lawmakers and economists have questioned the reliability of the TUIK figures, claims TUIK has dismissed. Polls show Turks believe inflation is far higher than official data.”


Two years after Beirut mega-blast, Lebanon hits new lows…

Several heavily damaged grain silos that became a grim symbol of the disaster collapsed last week, and more are dangerously close to coming down, experts warn… The mega-blast was a nightmarish moment in the chaotic history of Lebanon, which is mired in its worst-ever economic crisis marked by blackouts, runaway inflation and widespread despair.”


Gaza residents hit by heatwave and lengthy power cuts.

“Palestinians living in the overcrowded Gaza Strip are reeling in a heatwave made worse by power cuts that leave them without electricity for as long as ten hours a day, Reuters has reported. Residents complain of not being able to sleep because there is no electricity to power fans.”


‘We Have Nothing’: Iraqi Protesters Voice Anger, Hope.

Thousands of Iraqi protesters have occupied the parliament in Baghdad’s Green Zone for the past five days, the latest political turmoil to strike the war-scarred country… Nearly two decades after a US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, and 10 months on from the latest elections, the impasse has left Iraq without a new prime minister or president.”


Agonising outages hit Karachiites [Pakistan] as KE power plant develops fault.

“As the city struggles with rain and crumbling infrastructure, frequent power outages and loadshedding — at times for 12-16 hours a day — are making life impossible for Karachiites.”


The Taliban’s black gold: militants seize on coal to reboot economy…

“Thanks to the global surge in commodity prices amid the Ukraine war and Covid-related disruption, business is booming at Afghanistan’s coal mines. This gives the Taliban a crucial revenue stream as the militant group — after seizing control a year ago — seeks to revive an economy shattered by international isolation and sanctions.”


‘Debt bomb’ risks: More than 40 nations are at risk of default — and that’s a problem for us all.

“The world faces the possibility of a series of economic collapses that could destabilize the lives of millions of people… In the worst-case scenario, “we could head into a complete dystopia,” an “apocalypse” for some of the world’s poorest countries…”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a ‘Climate’ thread. NB: I am away from the computer next week visiting my parents but back on Monday 15th, so my final thread before then will be on Saturday. My apologies for any inconvenience and a huge thank you to my donors and subscribers for helping to keep the ever inflating wolf from my door.

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

2nd August 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

A catastrophic energy crisis will fuel a revolt against our failed elites.

“The gathering crisis could prove even more catastrophic than the oil shock of the 1970s, which wrecked the administrations of three British prime ministers, presaged 40 years of American entanglement in the Middle East, and (due to the oil glut that followed) ultimately triggered the Soviet Union’s collapse.

“Carnage has already arrived in the developing world, with power outages from Cuba to South Africa. Sri Lanka is just one of a cascade of low-income countries where leaders face being driven out of power in an ignominious blaze of petrol droughts and loan defaults.

“But the West is not going to escape this Armageddon… it does feel as if we just may have entered the final act of an economic system that has patently failed. It is clearer than ever that the emperor has no clothes and has no more stories to distract us with.”


Global diesel shortage may get worse heading into winter…

“A worldwide diesel supply crunch is making more of the world dependent on US fuel exports, a situation that could worsen heading into the winter… “The short-term diesel outlook is one of tight fundamentals through the coming winter,” ESAI Energy analysts including Linda Giesecke said.”


Global manufacturing struggles with shrinking demand.

“Today’s flurry of purchasing manager indices from S&P Global and others highlight the struggle of manufacturers as they face slowing demand and a looming economic downturn. In the eurozone, activity shrank in all the big economies in July…”


Global Firms Halt Over $250 Billion in Financing Plans This Year.

“The number of companies that have delayed or canceled financing plans has soared to at least 358 as the global economy continues to battle inflation and energy shortages. The deals, including initial public offerings, bonds, loans and acquisitions, amount to more than $254 billion.”


More than one in eight UK households fear they have no way of making more cuts.

“More than a quarter of households earning less than £20,000 worry they will be unable to cope with higher bills, with families in Yorkshire, the south-west and Northern Ireland the least confident about covering their costs.”


Britain’s most productive nuclear power station was switched off yesterday, despite warnings that its closure could trigger yet another increase in energy bills.

“Releasing a huge plume of steam to mark the occasion, Somerset’s Hinkley Point B split its last atom after nearly five decades of power generation.”


In France, families turn to charity food boxes as inflation bites.

“The rising cost of living in recent months has caused anger and protests in France, which was shaken by the “yellow vest” movement that emerged in late 2018 in protest at fuel taxes and living costs. The government has poured billions of euros into measures such as energy price caps… But many are still struggling to cope…”


Germany Has Three Months to Save Itself From a Winter Gas Crisis.

“Germany’s presidential palace in Berlin is no longer lit at night, the city of Hanover is turning off warm water in the showers of its pools and gyms, and municipalities across the country are preparing heating havens to keep people safe from the cold. And that’s just the beginning…”


‘You can’t switch off death,’ German crematorium boss warns as energy crisis looms…

“Svend-Joerk Sobolewski, Germany’s cremation consortium chairman, said in the event of any rationing, the sector should be prioritised because, without gas, most crematoriums cannot function. “You cannot switch off death,” he said.”


‘Drill, baby, drill’ is back in Europe as gas crisis looms…

“Europe’s scramble to secure gas supplies comes as Russia signals its willingness to punish the bloc for its support of Ukraine. State-owned Gazprom recently slashed flows through the crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of daily capacity. The situation in Europe is “perilous” and the region must prepare for a “long, hard winter…””


Australian house prices fall at ‘fastest rate’ since 2008 financial crisis.

“House prices in Australia are dropping at their fastest pace since the global financial crisis — and market conditions are “likely to worsen” as interest rates continue to rise, according to property analytics firm CoreLogic.”


China Home Sales Plunge in July, as Mortgage Revolt Deters Buyers.

“Sales at the country’s top 100 property developers fell 39.7% in July from the same period last year to the equivalent of $77.6 billion, or 523.14 billion yuan, according to data released Sunday by CRIC, a Chinese real-estate data provider. July sales were down 28.6% from June…”


Why a China slowdown is bad news for commodities and the global economy…

“Despite government stimulus and a policy shift to a more supportive, pro-growth setting, the Chinese model is facing challenges after years of rapid growth. This could spell trouble for the rest of the world, which relies on China’s economic engine to power demand for their energy, food and materials.”


Taiwan and China step up military rhetoric as expected Pelosi visit looms…

“Overnight, Chinese authorities announced a sudden ban on imports from more than 100 Taiwanese food companies, local media reported, which was interpreted as an act of retribution over the expected visit, a trade tool China has often used in bilateral disputes.”


Hong Kong slips into second recession since 2019 mass protests…

“The downturn is reversing last year’s recovery when the economy enjoyed a 6.3 percent annual growth after the slowdown in 2019 and 2020 when the city was first upended by months of huge, sometimes violent pro-democracy protests, and then the pandemic.”


Emerging markets hit by record streak of withdrawals by foreign investors.

“Foreign investors have pulled funds out of emerging markets for five straight months in the longest streak of withdrawals on record, highlighting how recession fears and rising interest rates are shaking developing economies.”


African nations expected to make case for big rise in fossil fuel output…

Leaders of African countries are likely to use the next UN climate summit in November to push for massive new investment in fossil fuels in Africa, according to documents seen by the Guardian… Member states of the African Union will meet again, in Addis Ababa, this week to confirm the stance to be taken.”


Nigeria’s energy crisis is getting worse.

From Nigeria’s energy sector, the bad news is coming in torrents: Banks and regulators have moved in on five electricity distribution companies, diesel and aviation fuel prices have risen four-fold, threatening businesses, and the cost of subsidising petrol is climbing even higher despite an official increase in pump head price.”


South Africa: two dead in anti-cost-of-living protest…

“The protest took place in the township of Tembisa, in the east of the South African economic capital Johannesburg, where angry residents, particularly over electricity prices, blocked roads with burning tyres and set fire to a public building.”


Threat of protests, violent escalation stirs panic in Iraq…

“If the protests escalate, it would be the closest followers of al-Sadr and al-Maliki will come to a confrontation since 2008, when the former prime minister lead Iraq’s army to drive the cleric’s previous militia, the Mahdi Army, out of the southern city of Basra.”


Several people have been arrested during the latest round of nationwide demonstrations by Iranian retirees who are protesting against the government’s meager pension increase.

“Videos and photos shared on social media on Sunday showed pensioners protesting in numerous cities including Tehran, Rasht, Tabriz, Orumiyeh (Urmia), Kermanshah, Sanandaj and Bojnourd.”


India’s GAIL rationing gas as former Gazprom unit cuts supplies.

India’s largest gas distributor GAIL (India) Ltd (GAIL.NS) has started gas rationing, cutting supplies to fertiliser and industrial clients after imports were hit under its deal with a former unit of Russian energy giant Gazprom…”


Havana [Cuba] announces blackouts, cancels carnival as crisis deepens.

“The Cuban capital of Havana will begin electricity blackouts in August, has canceled carnival and is taking other measures as the country’s energy crisis worsens, state media reported on Saturday. Cubans have withstood more than two years of food and medicine shortages, long lines to purchase scarce goods, high prices and transportation woes.”


We’re in a global food crisis that will wreak havoc on local economies and trigger civil unrest…

“In India, the cost of lemons has skyrocketed. Jollof rice has become so expensive in Nigeria that people are skipping meals. In Mexico, avocado prices have jumped, making them a luxury few can afford. Orange groves in Florida are yielding the lowest amount of fruit in years. And in Japan, a shortage of salmon is hitting the sushi trade.”


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

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

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

The global recession drum beat is getting louder.

“Sharply higher interest rates, red-hot inflation and a prolonged energy crisis are leading to conviction that the world economy is headed inexorably towards recession.

“It’s a risk U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde have acknowledged even if neither considers it a baseline scenario.”


Here’s How Badly Central Banks Failed to Spot Inflation Shock… Global central banks made one of their biggest forecasting failures on record when they woefully underestimated the magnitude and duration of the worst inflation surge in decades…

“The Federal Reserve and most counterparts are now racing to make up for lost time by raising interest rates the most in decades. That means borrowing costs may end up higher than if the hiking started sooner.


US plunges into recession as inflation hammers world’s biggest economy.

“Joe Biden has insisted that the US is not in a recession despite after official figures showed the world’s biggest economy had shrunk in two consecutive quarters. The US President said the downturn was “no surprise”, pinning it on waning momentum and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to curb inflation.”


Wikipedia has frozen edits to its page for “recession,” halting a frenzy of changes to the entry after the Biden administration insisted that the U.S. economy has not entered a economic downturn.

“The website’s definition of recession was altered dozens of times over the course of 24 hours, in an apparent reaction to the White House’s resistance to calling the current economy a recession.”


President Joe Biden continues to see his dismal polling numbers get even worse, with his average through the first six quarters of his presidency the lowest in history.

“Biden, 79, had a poll approval of just 40 per cent at the end of his sixth quarter in office earlier this month.”


Strong dollar is a major headache for other countriesthis strength is bad news, and a side-effect of the US having both a serious central bank and a very serious inflation problem.

“…one of the peculiarities of the world economy is the extent to which the greenback is used when pricing goods and services among people who have no link to the USA… other central banks may need to act on the dollar’s strength — because a strong dollar sluices price rises directly into their economies.”


UK consumer borrowing doubles amid rise in cost of living.

“The amount of extra debt taken on by UK consumers doubled last month, according to data from the Bank of England on Friday, raising fears that people are resorting to credit cards and other forms of borrowing to fund increases in the cost of living.”


[UK] Strikes spreading amid discontent over pay and conditions.

“Strikes by workers at BT, Openreach and exam board AQA on Friday are the latest in a wave of industrial action sweeping across the country. The railways have been particularly affected by strikes in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions.”


Eurozone inflation hits record high of 8.9% as energy prices soar.

Dearer energy was blamed for the lion’s share of the increase from 8.6% in June, as the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to hammer European economies.”


Europe Power Prices Set to Climb Even Higher After Record Month.

“European short-term power prices surged to the highest levels on record in July and are set to rise even more, heaping more pressure on consumers already struggling with runaway energy bills.”


Europe’s energy panic begins:

“Spain tells workers to take off their ties to save electricity, Hanover switches off hot water while German and Austrian cities turn off lights and Oktoberfest faces axe… Half [France’s nuclear] reactors are currently offline because of an unexpected problem with their cooling systems…”


Paris Faces an Even Colder, Darker Winter Than Berlin…

“As winter approaches, the outlook in France is increasingly dire. Electricite de France SA, the state-owned utility, is running only 26 of its 57 reactors, with more than half of its chain undergoing emergency maintenance after the discovery of cracked pipes… France faces an electricity ‘Waterloo.’”


Poland battles ‘forgotten’ refugee crisis with Belarus border fence…

“Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has encouraged migrants to attempt entry into his EU neighbours — Poland, Lithuania and Latvia — in an attempt to destabilise the region by facilitating visas and travel from the Middle East.”


Ukraine Downgraded by S&P as Default Becomes ‘Virtual Certainty’…

“Ukraine was downgraded by Fitch Ratings to C from CCC last week, with the company saying the government’s request constitutes a “default-like process.” Ukraine is rated Caa3 by Moody’s Investors Service.”


Bank of Japan members Warn of Global Slowdown, Urge Stimulus Stay in Place…

“The summary was released hours after the US recorded a second consecutive quarterly economic contraction. With Japan heavily reliant on global demand, a slowdown could jeopardize the BOJ’s push for a stronger recovery to spur wage growth and make current cost-push inflation sustainable.”


South Korea’s sudden property slump tests world’s most indebted consumers.

“South Korea’s property market has abruptly gone from sizzling hot to floundering, piling pressure on some of the world’s most debt-saddled consumers as the sector experiences the fastest interest rate hikes on record.”


China’s Property Loans, Mortgages Grow at Weakest Pace on Record.

“China’s overall property loans rose at the slowest rate on record as of the end of June, as banks were cautious about lending to cash-strapped developers while household demand for mortgages was weak amid a continued market downturn.”


China’s top leaders have gone silent on the country’s economic goals… At a key meeting of top leaders on Thursday, no mention of GDP targets was made

“Over the last few months, the Chinese economy has been hammered by rigid Covid lockdowns, a crackdown on the private sector and an intensifying property crisis. Growth slowed to only 0.4% in the second quarter, while youth unemployment soared to an all-time high.”


The World Bank said Friday it would not offer new funding to Sri Lanka unless the bankrupt island nation carried out “deep structural reforms” to stabilise its crashing economy.

“Sri Lanka has suffered an unprecedented downturn with its 22 million people enduring months of food and fuel shortages, rolling blackouts and rampant inflation.”


Pakistan’s rupee had its worst month since 1989 amid a dollar shortage and concern over a delay in an International Monetary Fund bailout program.

“The currency fell more than 14% against the dollar in July, ending Friday’s trading at 239 per greenback, the biggest monthly slide since Bloomberg started compiling data in 1989.”


Iraq paralysed by government stand-off as Moqtada al-Sadr unleashes protest…

““There is no state anymore,” one senior government official and political veteran said, a sentiment echoed by others. “This is a country purely run on greed and corruption where no one is thinking about the future.””


The Lebanese military had to intervene to remove angry citizens across Lebanon from the bakeries and pastry shops they have stormed amid a deepening food crisis.

“Impatient residents stood in long lines in the summer heat to get symbolically small amounts of government-subsidized bread. However, many desperate Lebanese have been prepared to acquire 10 thin loaves of non-subsidized bread for 40,000 Lebanese pounds ($1.50).”


At least four shot dead in Guinea protest, opposition group says…

“This week’s demonstrations were the second major protest against the junta in recent months. One person was killed in a protest over fuel price hikes in June, and Guinea charged a police officer with his murder.”


Terrorists Know Nigeria Is At Its Weakest Level…

““The fact is Nigeria is in a complex and complicated situation now. The complicated situation is worsened by economic problem. “This is the root of the problem in Nigeria. They [Federal Government] can not raise the funding to continue to carry out operations in the Northwest and Northeast.”


Constant powercuts in some parts of Matabeleland South province [Zimbabwe] are threatening winter wheat production as farmers are unable to pump water for irrigation…

“Of late, Zimbabwe’s power supply situation has worsened on the back of constant breakdowns, mainly at the country’s biggest thermal plant, Hwange power station.”


In blackout-hit South Africa, whites-only Orania town basks in solar power…

“Built on privately acquired land along the Orange River during the dying days of apartheid, Orania manages its affairs autonomously from the central government. It was set up to preserve the “culture” of the Afrikaners….”


‘White people will be the first target’: South Africa’s Julius Malema warns of impending ‘violence’ because ‘the poor are getting poorer’…

“A South African opposition figure has warned of impending civil unrest in the continent’s richest country and likened it to ‘an Arab Spring.’ The controversial opposition leader Julius Malema spoke of the country waking up one day with ‘very angry people that are not going to be reasonable.'”


Farmer Protests in the Netherlands Show Just How Messy the Climate Transition Will Be…

“…the [nitrous oxide] target is expected to require a 30% reduction in overall livestock numbers, and experts say many farms will have to shut down. Farmers are demanding that the government rethink the plan before it becomes law later this year.”


Back to black: coal demand to return to its peak this year.

“As countries are juggling between skyrocketing energy prices and reduced gas flows, it seems that many of them could turn to coal to secure power to keep the lights on in winter… The IEA’s Coal Market Update report forecasts that global coal demand will return to its record highs this year.


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

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