16th July 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Global Hunger Is Back With a Vengeance… The surge in prices of major agricultural commodities is hitting the world’s poor especially hard

“Lives are quite literally at stake, and those who endure chronic food shortages often suffer awful long-term damage to their bodies and minds. Even worse, food shortages can lead to to violence and political instability.”


Eggs and pancakes for dinner: How one family of seven is coping with America’s food inflation.

“Melissa Roberts used to whip up “breakfast for dinner” for her family once in a while when she was pressed for time. Now, she’s serving pancakes, eggs and biscuits at least once a week out of financial necessity.”


Americans’ Debt Soars to [record] $14.64 Trillion in Borrowing Binge

“Americans have reverted to using debit cards more often to travel or dine out. They’re chipping away at checking-account balances buoyed by stimulus money sent out to get the U.S. economy through the pandemic.”


The Bank of England risks becoming addicted to creating money and needs to come clean about how it plans to unwind its £895bn bond-buying programme, the House of Lords has warned.

A report from a Lords committee… said there was a threat of quantitative easing (QE) leading to higher inflation and causing damage to the government’s finances.”


Britain’s ticking debt bomb is now the Government’s greatest threatThe UK is more exposed than any other country to rising interest rates. No wonder Sunak is worried

“…the interest paid on our £2.2 trillion national debt is tiny. This is what might change – in a fairly dramatic way.”


France protests: clashes with police on Bastille Day amid anger at tighter Covid rules.

“Police have fired teargas to disperse demonstrators in Paris, as thousands of people protested throughout France… The demonstrators are unhappy at the decision announced on Monday to oblige health workers to get vaccinated and bring in a vaccine health pass for most public places.”


Plan to vaccinate teens triggers large protests in Greece.

“Thousands of anti-vaccine demonstrators gathered in Greece’s two largest cities Wednesday to protest plans to make coronavirus vaccines available to children 15 and older. The protests took place outside parliament in central Athens and in the northern city of Thessaloniki.”


Inflation? Not in Japan. And That Could Hold a Warning for the U.S…

“…as Japan has learned the hard way, low inflation can be an economic quagmire. And that experience carries a warning for the United States if its current bout of inflation eases, as many economists expect, and its economy falls back into the cycle of weak inflation that preceded the pandemic.”


China warns of economic uncertainty despite moderate recovery in Q2.

“The NBS data release comes at a tense juncture for China’s economic planners as they try to balance financial stability with growth. Liu Aihua, a spokesperson for the NBS… warned that the rebound was “unbalanced”.


China to order developers to disclose commercial paper debt every month – sources…

“Chinese regulators want property developers to disclose details of rapidly growing commercial paper issuance in their monthly reports, said three sources, as part of Beijing’s move to rein in ballooning debt in the property sector as the economy slows.”


Sichuan Languang’s crisis deepens with MTN default.

China’s Sichuan Languang Development Co has become the latest property developer to default on a domestic public bond, failing to repay a Rmb900m ($139m) medium term note this week. More defaults from the company are likely…”


North Korea facing ‘worst food shortage in a decade’

“The admission came after Mr Kim issued a warning in June stating that the food situation is “getting tense” in the country. Reports from North Korea said the prices of food items have been skyrocketing since the beginning of 2021.”


Iran water crisis spurs protests.

“Street protests broke out overnight over severe water shortages in Iran’s oil-rich southwest, according to Iranian news outlets and videos posted on social media on Friday, as the country faces its worst drought in 50 years.”


‘There is no future here’: Lebanese struggle through economic collapse.

“”I was shocked. I’m Lebanese, I have a job, I have health insurance,” one person with breast cancer said about struggling to afford a $5 chemotherapy co-pay.”


Algerian police have arrested dozens of unemployed young people in a crackdown after clashes broke out in several towns, a rights group in the north African country said on Thursday.

“”The situation is worrying, with dozens of arrests, clashes and scenes of violence,” Said Salhi, deputy head of the LADDH group, told AFP.”


Pandemic disruptions push millions of Nigerians into hunger…

“Millions of Nigerians like Gbadebo, who were once on solid financial footing, can no longer reliably feed themselves or their families. Roughly 18% of households in Nigeria have at least one adult who does not eat for an entire day at a time…”


South Africa calls up army reserves to halt unrest.

South Africa mustered its army reserves in a bid to quell several days of looting that has ravaged supplies of food and other essentials and dealt a crippling blow to its economy… The disruption has severed supply chains and choked transport links, savaging deliveries of food, fuel, medicine and other essentials.”


Africa Hit By Covid-19 Death Surge And Shortages Of Oxygen, Hospital Beds

“Deaths are rising because variants are spreading and people are not following public health guidelines as much as before. There aren’t enough workers, hospital beds or oxygen to treat the growing number of patients…”


Argentina breaches 100,000 COVID deaths amid deepening crisis

“Argentina has become the fifth country in Latin America to surpass 100,000 deaths linked to COVID-19, as the country suffers a surge in coronavirus cases that have strained its healthcare network and worsened an already dire economic crisis.”


Thousands of demonstrators marched in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday, demanding President Jair Bolsonaro resign over corruption charges and what they say is the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In Rio, small clashes broke out between police and some demonstrators, leading to tear-gas being fired to disperse the crowd.”


Narco-blockades, clashes in Michoacán as cartel battles extend beyond Aguililla [Mexico]… ‘There is no human power that can contain these monsters:’ Catholic priest in Apatzingán

“The Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán is coveted by criminal groups due to its proximity to Pacific coast ports, through which illegal drugs are smuggled into the country, as well as its iron mines and forests.”


Protests flare up in Haiti, still reeling from president’s killing

“…gasoline shortages added to concerns over insecurity and access to basic goods a week after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise pitched the Caribbean nation into uncertainty.”


Cuba Protests Fanned by Worst Economic Crisis Since Fall of USSR

The pandemic devastated the island’s economy. As tourism dried up, the economy shrank 11% in 2020, according to Economy Minister Alejandro Gil, its deepest slump since the early 1990s when the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe had deprived the nation of allies and trade partners.”


Biden targets high shipping costs as pandemic ravages global supply chains

“Freight may seem a prosaic topic for presidential attention. But the smooth movement of goods has perhaps never been more essential, amid the explosion of e-commerce that accompanied the pandemic.”


Bubble warning: The S&P 500 has only been this expensive for 4% of the past 140 years

“A highly respected valuation gauge developed by Yale economist and Nobel laureate Robert Shiller hit a mark showing that the S&P 500 is now pricier than in 96% of all quarters over the past 141 years.”


Fund managers losing faith in the global economic recovery

“Belief in the so-called reflation trade is now over among many fund managers, according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey. Expectations for global growth have peaked among fund managers…”


The great exit: central banks line up to dial back emergency stimulus…

“The Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday said it would halt its pandemic-induced quantitative easing programme, becoming the latest major central bank to start exiting emergency stimulus.”


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

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via patreon.com.

10th July 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Eleven people dying from hunger a minute as pandemic fuels starvation crisis, warns Oxfam

“The economic fallout of the public health emergency, conflict and climate change has deepened the plight in existing hotspots and established “new epicentres of hunger”, a report finds.”


“The Bond Market Is Telling Us to Worry About Growth, Not Inflation [US economy]

““The overriding concern being reflected in the bond market is that peak growth has been reached, and the benefits from fiscal policy are starting to fade,” said Sophie Griffiths, a market analyst…”


U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly rise, overall trend points lower.

“The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week but continuing claims dropped, another indication that the labor market recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be choppy.”


Fast-food workers are leveraging the labor shortage to demand higher pay on the anniversary of the last federal minimum wage increase 12 years ago

“Fast-food workers will strike in nine cities to demand a higher wage, according to Fight for $15, the worker advocacy group which organized the strikes.”


Black cabs slump to lowest level since 1983 as a quarter of drivers quit [UK]

“Just under 14,000 traditional taxis are left on the capital’s roads following the disruption to normal life caused by the pandemic… drivers blamed ministers for failing to step in.”


Post-pandemic public debt cannot be cancelled, says ECB’s Villeroy.

“The governor of France’s central bank on Friday told President Emmanuel Macron that the country’s heavy public debt, bloated by spending to safeguard jobs and growth during the pandemic, posed a challenge to the economy but could not be cancelled.”


Europe is becoming a right-wing continent.

“…the overall political climate in Europe has been trending rightward for some time. After the financial crisis, and the austerity that followed, the traditional left-wing parties began to collapse, and more nationalist and extreme-right alternatives to the mainstream…”


Central European leaders worry over Afghan migration ‘wave’

“They also complained that a small group of powerful countries within the European Union continue to call the shots without input from smaller or less wealthy member states.”


In Spain’s strawberry fields, migrant women face sexual abuse.

“Farm bosses routinely sexually harass and exploit seasonal workers who pick the red fruit that lines shelves in European supermarkets, investigation reveals.”


China Tech’s Trillion-Dollar Stock Slump Signals Buyer Beware.

“For weeks now, optimists have said China’s tech crackdown has been priced in by the stock market. A fresh round of regulatory angst has shaken that thesis to its core.”


Corporate debt defaults in China have soared to record levels as Beijing allows companies choking on excessive debt to go belly up.

“Chinese corporate bond issuers defaulted on about 116 billion yuan ($18 billion) in the first six months of 2021, the highest figure for any January-June period. The missed payments are alarming foreign investors…”


Rural India sinks deeper into debt as COVID wipes out work.

“The coronavirus and a lockdown aimed at stopping it last year saw millions of people thrown out of jobs in cities and towns and forced back to their villages, and ever higher levels of debt.”


Pharmacies go on strike, power cuts in crisis-hit Lebanon.

“Pharmacies went on strike over medicine shortages and two major power stations ground to a halt for lack of fuel Friday in crisis-hit Lebanon, in the latest sign of economic collapse.”


Tunisia: healthcare sector on verge of collapse.

“A spokeswoman for the Tunisian Ministry of Health said on Thursday that the country’s healthcare sector is on the verge of collapse, with intensive care units full and medical staff exhausted as the coronavirus continues to spread.”


Zimbabwe’s new high-denomination banknote can’t buy a loaf of bread

“The ZW$50 note, worth $0.60 on the prevailing bank rate, is expected to do little to stop rising inflation, stabilize prices, or improve Zimbabwe’s economic prospects. Previous injections of ZW$10 note and ZW$20 notes have failed to ensure economic stability…”


The economic cost of a regional power outage in Central America on Wednesday was estimated at around $18.2 million

The Wednesday afternoon outage took power completely offline in Honduras and Nicaragua, with additional impacts felt in Guatemala and El Salvador.”


Political Crisis in Haiti Deepens Over Rival Claims to Power.

“Despite the interim prime minister’s claim that he is in charge after the president’s assassination, a volatile political situation poses yet another challenge to democracies in the Western Hemisphere.”


Cost to Ship a Boxload of Goods to U.S. From China Nears $10,000

“The spot rate for a 40-foot container from Shanghai to Los Angeles increased to $9,631, up 5% from the previous week and 229% higher than a year ago, according to the Drewry World Container Index published Thursday.”


‘There is no end in sight’: everything to know about the great microchip shortage.

“How bad is the shortage? “Never seen anything like it,” Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted last month. Since late 2020, the world has been facing an unexpected dearth of microchip… found in practically every manufactured device with a battery or a plug…”


Global energy demand fell the most since World War-II during 2020… According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, world energy demand is estimated to have fallen by 4.5 per cent in 2020.”

[This may seem like a small percentage but the global economy is a growth-dependent entity that requires an ever-rising throughput of energy and is highly sensitive to perturbations in that flow.]


How a bubble in bitcoin could lead to hyperinflation

“To avoid serious social and political discontent, leading to unrest and ultimately sociopolitical breakdown, the authorities will have to burst the bitcoin bubble before its macroeconomic importance becomes much greater. The similarity with bank runs is rather clear.”


The Big Binge: Since the start of the pandemic, central banks in the U.S., Europe and Japan have been on a $9 trillion spending spree that’s turned them into the ultimate market whales with combined assets of $24 trillion

Printed in $1 notes, that would make more than six stacks reaching from the Earth to the Moon.”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I have to be away from my office Monday through Wednesday next week but I’ll have a quick look at the climate tomorrow for you. I’ll probably pick up again with the climate on Thursday as that’s where the really big stories are right now.

Let me also just take this opportunity to thank all my Patreons and anyone who has donated. It is enormously appreciated and helps incentivise me to keep grinding these out, even on days when I’m swamped or knackered.

8th July 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Here are four reasons the West is headed for a ‘very drastic crisis,’ according to a veteran economist… Patrick Artus, a senior economics adviser at French bank Natixis and a professor at the Paris School of Economics… says a crisis is “inevitable.”

“[Sovereign] “Borrower solvency cannot be ensured if debt-to-income ratios increase continuously,” he says…

“The money supply also is at records. “The money supply cannot be increased continuously relative to income, as soon or later demand for money, which is linked to savings and income, can no longer increase,” said Artus…

““Rising relative asset prices cannot be extrapolated: If they become too high, the savings of asset buyers will no longer suffice to buy then, leading inevitably to a downward correction in prices,” he says…”


America stockpiles: Supermarkets buy up to 25% more supplies as they predict inflation will soar and cost of essentials like bacon and milk rising by up to 14%

“At SpartanNash in Michigan, the retailer has bought up around 20 to 25 percent more than normal including frozen meat.”


The UK’s leading banks are bolstering their debt collection teams as the first repayments of emergency Covid loans fall due.

“Britain’s four largest banks have hired over 750 workers in their debt collection units in an effort to manage a wave of potential defaults.”


Japanese shares fall as Tokyo declares state of emergency ahead of Olympics

“Japanese shares fell on Thursday, as the country’s plan to reintroduce a state of emergency to contain a resurgence of COVID-19 infections stoked worries about an economic slowdown.”


China Hints at Reserve Ratio Cut to Help Bolster Economy.

“China’s State Council signaled the central bank could make more liquidity available to banks in order to boost lending to businesses, including by cutting the amount of money they have to keep in reserve. Bond yields fell.”


China’s central bank is ‘quite worried’ about global risks from some digital currencies.

“China’s central bank is “quite worried” about risks to the global financial system from privately developed digital currencies, particularly so-called global stablecoins.”


A serious crisis may be looming as an increasing number of Nigerian youths take to the wide-swing digital currency investment, notwithstanding a financial regulatory restriction the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) imposed in February…

“Nigeria sits on the top sub-Saharan African market in terms of growth and volume of investment. Its investment in LocalBitcoins and Paxful in the past year alone stands toweringly at $398.5 million.”


Ghana opposition supporters march against killings, lawlessness.

“Hundreds of opposition supporters marched through the streets of Ghana’s capital Accra demonstrating against what they described as rising insecurity and lawlessness since President Nana Akufo-Addo came to power in 2017.”


The Army in Swaziland (eSwatini) has taken full charge after mass prodemocracy protests left many people dead, according to a Human Rights Watch official.

“Dewa Mavhinga, director for Southern Africa, added reports received by the organisation were that the Army were on a ‘killing spree’.”


Suspects killed and arrested after Haitian president assassinated.

“Police in Haiti said they shot dead four people they suspected of assassinating president Jovenel Moïse and arrested two others after a day of firefights and heightened tension in Port-au-Prince.”


‘I just need my son’: the people who disappeared amid Colombia’s protests.

“Since protesters first took to the streets of Colombia’s cities in late April, hundreds of people have been reported missing… The disappearances have evoked memories of some of the darkest days of the country’s civil war…”


World Food Programme starts distributing food in crisis-hit Venezuela.

“The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said on Wednesday it had begun distributing school meals to children in Venezuela, where some 7 million people require humanitarian assistance after years of economic collapse in the once-prosperous OPEC nation.”


Myanmar turmoil deepens as clashes spread

“Five months after the military ousted elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Depayin’s descent into bloodshed echoed that in other towns where conflicts have flared anew in a country that already had some two dozen ethnic armed groups.”


Lebanon caretaker premier pleads for aid as crisis worsens.

“Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister is appealing to the international community to save his country from “death and demise” as multiple crises push it dangerously close to total collapse.”


Iranians chant ‘Death to Khamenei’ during mass protests over power blackouts blamed on heatwave and cryptocurrency mining farms

“Outgoing president Hassan Rouhani apologised to Iranians on Tuesday over the massive power outages which have come amid a heatwave, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees celsius.”


Basra protests erupt as power cuts hit scorching Iraq.

“Fears of violent demonstrations across Iraq’s southern cities rise as cuts deprive thousands of power to run hospitals, businesses and homes.”


What will life be like after Covid-19? History does not paint a pretty post-pandemic picture… History shows that social unrest follows pandemics… [unfortunately a lot of social unrest also *preceded* this one.]

“This is according to Schroders Asset Management, which on Wednesday hosted a webinar on the long-term impact of Covid-19.”


‘It’s like Whack-a-Mole’: tractors and trucks chief bemoans supply shortages

“Manufacturers had to spend more money to source materials last month, with the Institute for Supply Management’s prices paid index, which tracks what manufacturers pay for inputs, jumping to 92.1 in June compared with 88.0 in May, its highest level since the 1970s.”


Chip crisis deepens with Daimler, Jaguar warning of lost sales.

“Daimler AG and Jaguar Land Rover became the latest carmakers to warn of crimped sales as a result of the global semiconductor shortage, with the latter flagging deliveries in the second quarter will be 50 per cent worse than initially thought.”


Covid-19 has destroyed 22 million jobs in advanced countries, says OECDJob retention schemes have saved some 21 million jobs, but rich countries face the threat of rising long-term unemployment rates.” [Can’t imagine that will help the unrest situation.]


Credit Markets May Not Be So Forgiving Post-Pandemic

“Rock-bottom interest rates, a reopening economy and yield-starved investors mean all but the most-troubled businesses have managed to borrow their way out of trouble. Credit markets may not be so friendly if the projections underlying that borrowing prove too rosy once post-Covid results come out…”


Is the IMF repeating its mistakes from the global financial crisis?

“…as the Federal Reserve continues to inflate a global “everything” asset and credit market bubble, the IMF risks repeating its 2008 error. By so doing, it is failing to fulfil its mandate of promoting global economic prosperity.”


Central banks must change course to avoid possible financial crisis… [good luck with that – do you prefer a rock or a hard place?]

Monetary policy was already at an impasse before Covid-19 struck. The system had been swamped with liquidity through the highly accommodative monetary stance of the past decade. This has pushed global debt to 355% of world gross domestic product, a record for peace time.

Huge leverage has weakened the financial system and endangered stability.”


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.com.

6th July 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

This is as good as it gets for the US economy: America has already been through a renaissance — it is unlikely to be reborn again

“…easy money flowing out of the Fed is threatening to weaken the dollar and feeding the rise of zombies — companies which earn too little to make even interest payments on their debt. They barely existed in the US 20 years ago, but accounted for 6 per cent of listed companies by 2010, and almost 20 per cent by last year.

The federal government and corporations are now so deep in debt, it is hard to imagine how they can further boost the economy.”


The great federal-debt Ponzi scheme. It’s like the pump part of a pump-and-dump scheme in the stock market – without the benefit of an exit strategy

This has real-world consequences… orders for oil- and gas-mining equipment languish at about a third of the mid-2010s level. US oil production, as I’ve noted in the past, continues to fall, and oil prices continue to rise.”


New York’s patchwork recovery masks vast inequities laid bare by Covid

A patchwork of indicators suggest the recovery from a pandemic that hit hard and early, caused close to 30,000 deaths out of a 8.4-million population and placed the metropolis in an economic deep-freeze will be similarly uneven.”


Businesses face financial cliff edge as UK Covid support winds down.

Debt repayment demands and tapering of furlough support combine to create doubts about survival… Bankers have also been raising the alarm. At a recent meeting with the prime minister, they warned about a potential “debt time bomb”, according to people familiar with what was said.”


France struggles with worker shortages, supply chains as economy rebounds.

A shortage of qualified workers and supply-chain havoc are proving problematic for some companies as they try to ride France’s recovery from the pandemic but struggle to fill vacancies, business leaders said.”


German factory orders unexpectedly slumped in May amid weakness in the auto sector, according to figures released on Tuesday by Destatis…

“Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “This is a terrible number, even factoring-in the significant upward revision to the April data.””


A trillion-dollar wave of non-performing loans could emerge in Europe next year as a result of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

As government support schemes and moratoriums on debts come to an end throughout this year, sales of bad loans by banks trying to clean up their balance sheets will climb in 2022, according to a report from advisory firm JLL.”


China’s Local Governments Roll Over More Debt to Ease Risks. Local governments in China have more than doubled bond sales to roll over maturing debt this year, helping to ease their repayment risk.”


China’s central bank on Monday urged the nation’s banks to further step up lending to small businesses, while lowering their loan rates

The central bank asked banks to increase tolerance of bad debt accumulated from lending to small businesses, which are normally seen as risky borrowers in the state-dominated banking system.”


Pandemic Pushes Millions of Small Thai Companies Into Crisis.

“Many small and medium-sized enterprises, the backbone of Thailand’s economy, are struggling with crushing debt loads that could force them out of business as the latest wave of Covid infections dims the prospects for an economic recovery.”


Sri Lanka’s risk premium for a default jumped, reflecting concern that the pandemic is damaging the nation’s ability to fill its foreign-exchange coffers ahead of at least $2.5 billion in dollar debt due in the next 12 months

“The central bank sought to calm investors late Monday, saying arrangements are already in place to settle the bonds due later this month.”


The Nigerian federal government spent a total of N1.8 trillion on debt servicing in the first five months of the year, representing about 98% of the total revenue generated in the same period.”


Algeria’s new prime minister, Aymen Benabderrahmane, faces an uphill struggle

Irrespective of concerns over his government’s legitimacy, Mr Benabderrahmane… must deal with looming economic collapse, continued social unrest and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which continues to spread through the country.”


At least 43 people have drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, while another 84 were rescued…

The boat had set off from Zuwara, on Libya’s north-west coast, carrying migrants from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Bangladesh, the humanitarian organisation said.”


Turkey’s economic slide sends support for Erdogan to all-time low… President’s construction spree sparks dissent, even in his ancestral stronghold…

“… Inflation has been stuck in double digits for most of the past four years and unemployment is about 14 per cent.”


As Lebanon’s Crisis Deepens, Lines for Fuel Grow, and Food and Medicine Are Scarce

[There is a] distinct sense that the country is coming undone, as all but the wealthiest Lebanese now spend their days sweating through frequent blackouts, waiting in fuel lines that wrap around city blocks, and running from pharmacy to pharmacy to search for medicines that have disappeared from shelves.”


Afghans queue in their thousands for passports as mass exodus begins before Taliban return

With the Taliban making sweeping gains, poverty deepening and the prospect of a return to the anarchy and lawlessness of the 1990s, aid agencies warn that Afghanistan could be about to generate a new surge of refugees.”


World’s poor suffer as rich work from home

““The wholesale abandonment of the global poor by policymakers, opinion formers in the liberal press and the global rich in general is one of the most repugnant features of the international response to the pandemic,” says Toby Green, a prize-winning author and professor of African history at King’s College London.”


Vessel recycling rates hit 13-year high

“Rising steel plate prices lifts rates to levels last seen in September 2008, just before the global financial crash… Prices are nearly double the same period a year ago and already up 40% for tankers and 24% for bulk carriers, according to Baltic Exchange data.”


Plastic Makers Reel on Soaring Oil Costs, Rising Competition

“…the rising costs of crude and other raw materials — namely oil-based naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas — are coinciding with more petrochemical output and the inability of producers to pass on higher expenses to consumers.”


Oil hits three-year high after OPEC+ abandons meeting

“Oil prices jumped to the highest level in three years…

…after OPEC and its allies abandoned a decision on increasing oil production as Saudi Arabia, Russia and the UAE struggled to reach a compromise.”


Fastest rise in inflation since 2008 sets alarm bells ringing.

Fuel, food and transport costs soar in the 38 OECD nations as central banks debate when to scale back Covid stimulus schemes.”


Post-Covid supply chain bottlenecks will take up to two years to resolve.

European companies are pushing up prices as supply disruptions lift costs and hamper their ability to match surging demand, according to executives gathered for a conference this weekend in southern France.”


The Rise and Fall of the Ultimate Doomsday Prepper:

Barrett Moore had ordered 2 million N95 masks, held enough freeze-dried food to feed families hiding from global Armageddon for decades, owned a small arsenal of guns, and fortified a pole barn in which to wait out the collapse of civilization.”


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.com.

3rd July 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Rising food prices deepen the woes of world’s poorest

“Global food prices are rising at their fastest rate in a decade, exacerbating the troubles of the world’s most vulnerable nations as they struggle with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is worried that soaring prices could foment further social unrest in countries already mired in political turmoil.”


In Lagos, Nigeria, families struggle to survive as food prices soar… Africa’s most populous nation with 210 million inhabitants, Nigeria competes with India for the largest number of poor in the world.

“…battered by the double economic impact of low global oil prices and the pandemic, the World Bank estimates Nigeria’s soaring inflation and food prices pushed another seven million people into poverty in 2020.”


Food prices South Africa much higher than last year

Regionally, food baskets in all areas except the Johannesburg came down very marginally in June, bringing no real relief to struggling households.”


Africa Reeling From Spike In Hunger, Malnutrition And NCDs Due To Covid-19.

Many African countries are reeling from a spike in hunger, malnutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to the Covid-19 pandemic-linked disruptions on the continent’s food production systems, scientists have said.”


Haunted by misery.

Since the beginning of 2019, the well-being of the average Zimbabwean has deteriorated. A potent combination of poor job prospects, high inflation, inconsistent power supply, and volatile policies among other socio-economic issues have drawn Zimbabweans to voice their grievances time and again.”


Accusations Ethiopia is using starvation as weapon of war sparks calls for emergency air bridge

“A bridge leading into Tigray, one of four access routes into the region, was destroyed in the fighting, aid groups said on Thursday, leaving only one viable, slower route. Aid groups fear that food parcels will not reach the estimated 350,000 people who need them on time.”


Tortilla Price Spike Leads Mexico to Consider Corn Imports.

“Mexico is considering boosting corn imports and capping cooking gas prices as an inflationary spike hits tortilla prices, a staple for the country’s families.”


Venezuela to Cut Six Zeroes Off Bolivar to Simplify Transactions

The central bank is planning to slash six zeroes from the bolivar as early as August after previous attempts to issue larger-denomination bills failed to resolve problems created by endemic inflation…”


Food Markets in Caracas Empty Out as Inflation Hits the Poorest.

“In a country suffering what’s considered the Western Hemisphere’s worst humanitarian crisis, Venezuela’s pain is hitting a new order of magnitude as the food markets of Caracas turn into ghost towns.”


Cuba is facing its worst shortage of food since the 1990s…

The government blames the shortage of food mostly on sanctions imposed by the United States—sanctions which, on June 24th, the un General Assembly voted to condemn, as it has done nearly every year since 1992. But since 2001 the sanctions have exempted food…”


Lebanon’s army chief Joseph Aoun has warned the armed forces might collapse if not financially supported

The international community fears if the armed forces were to disintegrate, local sectarian militias would rise in a country ripe to catapult into complete chaos… The survival of the Lebanese army is essential to avoid another wave of migration to Europe and a bulwark in any future confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel.”


West to stop Syria funding if Russia blocks cross-border aid: France.

If humanitarian aid deliveries are only allowed across conflict lines within Syria, Western nations will stop the funding, France warned Russia Thursday as Moscow is expected to block the reauthorization of United Nations-mandated cross-border aid operations into northwestern Syria.”


‘Poverty and inequality’ paving way for IS resurgence in Syria and Iraq, US warns.

“The deteriorating economic conditions in Iraq and Syria are allowing the Islamic State (IS) group to reconstitute, the State Department’s envoy to the US-led coalition battling the group has warned.”


Dual crises grip Iraq as temperatures soar and Iran cuts off energy lifeline.

A political and social crisis in Iraq has escalated in recent days, as soaring temperatures, widespread protests and rolling blackouts take hold of the oil-rich south of the country.”


Iran’s new leader faces an existential economic crisis

Raisi will inherit an economy that has contracted in each of the past three years, even as the Iranian rial has lost 80% of its value and inflation is around a crippling 40%. The strikes and protests suggest workers are not inclined to give him much time to set things right.”


Massive protests rock Punjab [India] amid power crisis.

“A day after the Punjab government curtailed the timings of government offices as the electricity demand in the state rose to more than 14,000 MW a day, Shiromani Akali Dal workers on Friday took to the streets to protest against the administration.”


With eye on China, India shifts 50,000 additional troops to border in historic move: Report.

“The reorientation means that India will have more troops acclimatized to fight in the high-altitude Himalayan areas, while the number of troops destined exclusively for the western border with Pakistan will see a gradual decline.”


China has begun construction on more than 100 missile silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles in a desert near the northwestern city of Yumen, experts have said.

“Researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California have obtained commercial satellite images that they say show the construction of the silos underway.”


Wild Tales From the Property Frenzy in Australia and Beyond

As prices mount, so do the risks for both individuals and society. Even without an outright crash, big mortgages mean borrowers are vulnerable if interest rates rise, have less disposable income to spend in the wider economy and are more likely to retire in debt.”


The housing challenge facing central banks: Monetary policy is ill-placed to fix a property crisis.

House prices are rising across the world at a hair-raising pace: in the US at their fastest rate for three decades while the UK has experienced the quickest growth rate for 17 years. Prices in Germany, which missed much of the past four decades of rising house prices, have surged.”


Is the UK housing bubble about to burst?

“…A more pessimistic scenario is that the end of the stamp duty holiday will puncture a huge mortgage credit-driven housing bubble that will ripple through the financial system and damage the nascent Covid recovery.”


UK Supermarkets have been warned of a growing risk of modern slavery in supply chains as businesses desperately strive to tackle the ongoing labour crisis.

Labour shortages continue to take hold across the UK food supply chain with 78% not expecting to have a sufficient workforce this year, according to a recent survey by the Association of Labour Providers.”


Slough goes bankrupt after discovery of £100m ‘black hole’ in budget.

A third English local authority has declared itself effectively bankrupt after the discovery of a “catastrophic” £100m black hole in its budget – the result of what it admitted had been years of poor financial management and mishandling of commercial investments.”


ECB to crack down on dangerous risks in banks’ leveraged lending.

“Banks are too complacent about the excessive risks building up in leveraged loan and equity derivative markets and can expect higher capital requirements as a result, the European Central Bank’s head of supervision has warned.”


The Federal Reserve of New York’s overnight reverse repo facility has set a new record deposit level. The facility took in $991.9 billion in short-term deposits from 90 counterparties on June 30.

That figure was nearly 18% larger than the previous record, set only the day before, when the reverse repo window took in $841.2 billion.”


Wall Street Rebels Warn of ‘Disastrous’ $11 Trillion Index Boom.

Fifty years since the first fund was created to mimic the moves of an entire market, naysayers fear the industry is now so big it threatens the capitalist social order.”


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.com.

1st July 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The Looming Stagflationary Debt Crisis

“We are thus left with the worst of both the stagflationary 1970s and the 2007-10 period. Debt ratios are much higher than in the 1970s, and a mix of loose economic policies and negative supply shocks threatens to fuel inflation rather than deflation, setting the stage for the mother of stagflationary debt crises over the next few years…

“…this slow-motion train wreck looks unavoidable… The stagflation of the 1970s will soon meet the debt crises of the post-2008 period. The question is not if but when.”


National debt per American piles up after coronavirus, Great Recession and tax cuts… Since the turn of the century, the amount of debt per person has more than tripled.

“The U.S. national debt will soon surpass the levels not seen since World War II and remain elevated for years to come…”


‘Great Resignation’ gains steam as return-to-work plans take effect

“Instead of heading back to the office in the wake of the Covid pandemic, employees may quit instead. In what’s being called the “Great Resignation,” 95% of workers are considering changing jobs, according to a report by Monster. com.”


Few unemployed people are actively looking for jobs.

“There are around 10 million unemployed Americans and over 9 million open positions. But most people aren’t urgently seeking out those jobs… For the first time in decades, workers have the power to be choosy.”


U.K. Staff Shortages Worsen as Lockdown Loosening Spurs Hiring.

“British companies are finding it more difficult to fill jobs as they expand hiring following a loosening of lockdown rules, a friction that may weigh on the strength of the recovery.”


Belgium: Hundreds of migrants go on hunger strike – with some stitching their mouths shut

“This week, some participants stitched their mouths shut and are only accepting small amounts of liquids through straws, others are unable to stand up because they have become too weak.”


Why is there a growing far-right threat in Italy?

“Earlier this month, Italian police foiled an extremist right-wing plot to bomb a NATO military base in the country and Italian authorities have expressed growing concern that right-wing extremism is becoming increasingly common.”


Worst yet to come for developing economies, BIS warns.

“Developing countries have yet to feel the full economic impact of the coronavirus crisis but will not be able to rely on the world’s leading central banks for support as they scale back their pandemic-era stimulus, the head of the Bank for International Settlements has warned.”


Brazil’s unemployment rate stuck at historic high 14.7%.

“Brazil’s unemployment rate held steady at a historic high of 14.7% in the three months through April, figures showed on Wednesday, with the rate of deterioration in the labor market continuing to slow gradually…”


Violent protests erupt in Colombia anew over ‘egregious abuses’.

“Anti-government protesters and police traded blows in demonstrations across Colombia that marked two months of unrest in which more than 60 people have died. Colombia has been rocked by protests since April, following opposition to a proposed tax hike…”


Anti-monarchy protests in African kingdom eSwatini turn violent.

“Government forces in the southern African kingdom of eSwatini fired gunshots and tear gas on Tuesday to break up protests calling for reforms to its system of absolute monarchy, witnesses said.”


South Africa: Young, unemployed, disempowered and looking for opportunities.

“Employment statistics released this month have shown that more young people than ever are out of work in South Africa… 74.7% of school-leavers under the age of 24 are either looking for a job or have given up looking for a job…”


Angola’s oilfield debts to energy majors hit $1 billion – sources.

“Angola has accumulated around $1 billion in debt to Western oil companies operating its oilfields, with the bill prompting the African country’s recently launched sale of stakes in its flagship offshore blocks, three industry sources told Reuters.”


Financial crisis hits [Nigerian] petrol marketers as subsidy gulps N1tr.

“The Federal Government may have spent about N1 trillion subsiding 102 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the couple of months, as prevailing challenges push operators in the downstream sector of the nation’s petroleum industry towards liquidity crisis.”


Sudan protesters demand gov’t step down over economic reforms

“Public discontent has mounted over the reforms, backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that slashed subsidies on petrol and diesel, more than doubling their price.”


Kuwait to deport residents who take part in protests.

“Kuwait City: A security source in Kuwait said the Minister of Interior, Thamer Al Ali Al Sabah, has issued a decision to deport residents who participate in demonstrations, local media reported.”


Pandemic Plunges Turkey Refugees into Debt Crisis.

“The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of Syrian refugees living in Turkey deeper into poverty, with many having to take on large debts to survive… Turkey is host to almost 4 million refugees, the vast majority of them Syrians escaping the decadelong conflict back home.”


Gunmen take to streets in Lebanese city over economic crisis.

“Gunmen have taken to the streets in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, firing in the air and at times throwing stones at soldiers amid rising anger at power cuts, fuel shortages and soaring prices.”


The Lebanese army will start offering tourists helicopter joyrides this week in a bid to boost the coffers of one of the crisis-hit country’s key institutions.

“An economic crisis that the World Bank describes as likely one of the world’s worst since the 1850s has hit the Lebanese military hard, leaving it struggling to pay troops enough to live on.”


Diapers and rags: Lebanon crisis plunges women into period poverty.

“With prices soaring in crisis-hit Lebanon, Sherine can no longer afford sanitary pads. So instead each month, she is forced to make her own using baby nappies or even rags.”


Animals starve in Lebanon’s zoos as economy crumbles

“A lion eats around 50 kilograms (110lb) of food a week, costing 100,000 Lebanese pounds – or around $6 at the informal market rate – per kilo. The minimum monthly wage is just 675,000 pounds.”


Chip shortages hit Japan and China industrial production hard.

“Japan and China’s manufacturing activities are taking the hit from the worldwide shortage of semiconductors, with both countries reporting declines that might compromise their nascent recoveries.”


Negative rates: Margin pressure could incite more risk-taking among banks

“Lenders have struggled with low profitability since the global financial crisis, and the introduction of negative rates by the ECB in 2014 has added more pressure to the sector’s performance. Negative interest rates have eradicated the key competitive advantage of banks, namely the benefit of cheap, stable funding in the form of retail deposits.”


Our Financial-Crisis Early Warning System Is Broken

“…the U.S. was much less prepared for the shock of the pandemic than it could have been.

“A rush to cash triggered runs on certain money-market mutual funds, threatened the flow of credit to everyone from homebuyers to municipalities, and …caused the prices of Treasury securities to fall sharply. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve had to go to extreme lengths and pledge trillions of dollars to restore stability.”


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.com.