Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

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.

28th July 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Global economy: Outlook worsens as global recession looms.

“Still reeling from the COVID pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the global economy is facing an increasingly murky and uncertain outlook, according to the latest report released on Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”


There is a global debt crisis coming – and it won’t stop at Sri Lanka…

“Many countries with lower per-capita income and significant absolute poverty are facing stagflation. Billions of people are increasingly unable to afford a basic nutritious diet, and cannot meet basic health expenses. Material insecurity and social tensions are inevitable.”


Energy crisis intensifies as gas prices surge.

“The energy crisis sparked [exacerbated] by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensified today as gas prices rocketed and the US warned of a fresh surge in oil prices unless big importers agreed to cap the amount they pay for Russian crude.”


The squeeze on family finances looks set to intensify as the world’s biggest consumer goods companies raise prices.

“In a string of updates, the owners of products from Heinz baked beans and Cadbury chocolate to Evian water and Dettol floor cleaner outlined the scale of price hikes facing customers. And worse will come as they pass on the soaring cost of doing business.


Fed set to implement second consecutive 0.75 point rate rise.

“The Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates by 0.75 percentage points for the second time in a row on Wednesday, as it doubles down on its aggressive approach to taming heightened inflation despite early signs the economy is beginning to cool.”


[US] Housing Market Collapse ‘Deepening, Fast’…

““The housing slump is deepening, fast,” says Shepherdson, noting new home sales fell at a 61% annualized rate in the second quarter and adding the sustained plunge in mortgage applications over the past few months means the latest reading “will not be the bottom.””


UK Energy Bills Set to Peak Above £500 [triple last year’s level] as Russia Cuts Gas [this is a very conservative figure; mine will come in at well over £1,000 p/m for a three-bedroom cottage].

“Huge swathes of the British public aren’t going to be able to afford their bills this winter,” said BFY senior consultant Gemma Berwick. “Average families with two working parents will be in fuel poverty.””


European gas prices soar after Russia deepens supply cuts…

““Everyone in the market was expecting Russian volumes to drop,” said James Huckstepp, manager of EMEA gas analytics at S&P Global Commodity Insights, a consultancy. “But the market wasn’t expecting flows to fall this quickly.””


EU agrees watered down plan to reduce gas use over Russian supply fears…

“Energy ministers from the 27 member states, except Hungary, backed a voluntary 15% reduction in gas usage over the winter, a target that could become mandatory if the Kremlin ordered a complete shutdown of gas to Europe.”


Europe’s Energy Crunch Spells Bad News For Global Economy…

“These elevated gas prices (today and in the future) crush European manufacturers’ profit margins and discourage investment… Combined with a strengthening dollar and rising interest rates globally, an energy crunch in Europe would do no good for the global economy’s growth prospects.”


German consumer confidence falls to record low…

“”In addition to concerns about disrupted supply chains, the war in Ukraine and soaring energy and food prices, there are now worries about sufficient gas supplies for businesses and households next winter,” Rolf Burkl, GfK consumer expert, said.”


France could make it legal to use cooking oil as fuel in bid to battle cost of living crisis.

“Last week France’s parliament voted on a €20 billion package in response to rising inflation and potential energy shortages this winter. Although the bills still need to pass through the Senate, one of them will allow and endorse the possible usage of frying oil as fuel for vehicles.”


Italian drinks companies are facing a shortage of the carbon dioxide (CO2) they need to put the fizz into their cans and bottles this summer as some gas producers cut output in response to rising energy costs

“CO2 is a byproduct of the ammonia produced by chemicals groups for use in the manufacturing of fertiliser, engineering plastics and diesel exhaust fluid. read more. Major chemicals companies have scaled back their operations in the face of soaring energy costs.”


A lively corner on one of Sydney’s busiest streets has again been packed with customers waiting to get inside a Chinese state-owned bank…

“Officially the Bank of China says the crowds outside its Sydney office were simply ‘students’ looking to make accounts after arriving in Australia – but many believe it is the trickle-down effect of the nation’s financial crisis… ‘I just want my money,’ another man said, who confirmed he wasn’t a ‘student’.”


China Banks Rush to Raise Record Debt as Credit Losses Mount.

“Chinese banks are rushing to boost capital as they prepare for a potential spike in bad loans due to the economic slowdown and spreading housing crisis. A record amount of fresh money has come from financial markets…”


China property sales could plunge by one-third, analysts say, as crisis deepens.

“Property sales in China could fall by one-third this year, spelling more trouble for the country’s giant housing sector as people lose faith in the market and pressure increases on struggling developers to complete presold apartments.”


Japan Signs Its Most Expensive Coal Supply Deal Ever.

“Japan’s Nippon Steel Corporation has signed an agreement with mining and trading giant Glencore for thermal coal supply at $375 per ton in what is likely one of the highest prices a Japanese firm has paid for the commodity ever, sources familiar with the deal told Bloomberg on Wednesday.”


Global Competition for LNG Intensifies on New Russia Supply Cut…

Utilities in South Korea and Japan are accelerating plans to purchase more liquefied natural gas cargoes for winter out of fear that Europe will also hoard supply, according to traders with knowledge of the matter. Even some price-sensitive buyers in countries such as India and Thailand are looking to procure cargoes…”


Crippling Energy Crisis Set to Worsen for Debt-Ridden South Asia…

“Fewer companies are offering to sell fuel to state-owned Pakistan State Oil Co, while some banks have stopped financing and facilitating payments for energy imports. Sri Lanka is also struggling to secure fuel from its regular supplier India. Meanwhile, Bangladesh is having to schedule power cuts to preserve its fuel reserves.”


Bangladesh seeks IMF support to head off financial crisis.

“Economists say the Bangladeshi taka has effectively slid against the U.S. dollar by around 20% in the past three months… The South Asian nation has experienced lengthy blackouts in recent weeks, sometimes for up to 13 hours a day, as utilities struggle to source enough diesel and gas to meet demand.”


‘How can we cope?’ ask Sri Lankans as gov’t limits fuel imports…

Under the new rationing system announced by the government, small cars will be given 16 litres of petrol per week [around 3.5 gallons]. Kumara says it is not enough for even one day’s consumption. “I can’t continue with this job with just 16 litres of petrol a week. This is why people jump queues and try other improper means to get fuel. This is why some people even become thieves,” he said.”


Nepal: Leftist parties plan nationwide protests July 31.

“Multiple left-wing political parties, including the Communist Party of Nepal, plan nationwide protests across Nepal July 31. Participants intend to denounce rising inflation as well as the newly passed Citizenship Bill. The largest protests are likely in major cities and towns, especially Kathmandu.”


With bread prices skyrocketing, Lebanon waits for crucial wheat imports and international aide.

“With Lebanon already facing its biggest economic crisis ever, the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine has exacerbated dire living conditions for the Mediterranean nation of nearly 7 million. Lebanon imports most of its food and all of its fuel, and over 80% of the country’s wheat comes from Ukraine and Russia.”


Bread makers in some states in Nigeria have yet again increased the price of bread and flour on Monday, forcing people to pay more amid a crippling economic crisis.

“…operating a bakery in Nigeria has become near impossible as the incessant increase in the prices of baking materials and diesel rendered the industry comatose.”


Inflation: fears of unrest in South Africa, Uganda looming large as food prices soar.

“The rising price of basic foods is worsening South Africa’s food security crisis which could increase social instability and spark a repeat of the devastating July 2021 unrest that spiraled out of control. Meanwhile, in Uganda, people in the eastern city of Jinja have taken to the streets…”


Chilean cabbies protest fuel prices, competition from apps…

“Many cabbies who went into debt to buy their taxis find themselves struggling to make a living amid unfair competition from the likes of Uber, he said. Chile has seen fuel prices rise for 48 consecutive weeks and the cost of a fill-up has increased by around 20 percent since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.”


Chilean fruit growers “on brink of financial collapse”…

Nine out of ten Chilean fruit producers fear they won’t be able to afford to prepare for the 2022/23 season due to rising costs and the fallout from the global logistics crisis according to a survey undertaken by Chilean fruit producer union Fedefruta.”


How extreme heat is disrupting the global economy…

“Rising global temperatures and heatwaves have an effect on everything from transportation infrastructure to supply chains to power generations.”


World entering ‘dangerous new age’ of threats, says UK’s top security adviser…

“Sir Stephen Lovegrove raised the spectre of a “collapse into uncontrolled conflict” unless methods are devised to deter hostilities and impose controls over the spread of ever-more deadly weapons that have become increasingly easy to acquire.”


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.

26th July 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

World’s Key Workers Threaten to Hit Economy Where It Will Hurt…

A surge in strikes and other labor protests is threatening industries all over the world, and especially the ones that involve moving goods, people and energy around. From railway and port workers in the US to natural-gas fields in Australia and truck drivers in Peru, employees are demanding a better deal as inflation eats into their wages.

“Precisely because their work is so crucial to the world economy right now –- with supply chains still fragile and job markets tight –- those workers have leverage at the bargaining table. Any disruptions caused by labor disputes could add to the shortages and soaring prices that threaten to trigger recessions.”


U.S. housing cooldown is recession red flag for markets.

“With the Federal Reserve set to jack up interest rates again this week, Wall Street is on alert for signs of recession, and recent housing data suggests the sector may be a harbinger of a cooling economy. Homebuilder stocks, sales and mortgage data show that previously booming housing market is falling back to earth amid a broader economic cooldown.”


Recession Worries Grow Among Credit Investors, Survey Shows.

“Credit investors, on average, now see a 53% probability of a U.S. recession, up from 39% in May, according to Bank of America. Over a third of investors surveyed now see a greater than 60% chance of a recession. While inflation still remains investors’ top concern, worries about recession have risen rapidly.”


Nouriel Roubini says predictions for a mild recession are ‘delusional’ as severe financial crisis looms…

“Nouriel Roubini dismissed hopes that an incoming recession will be shallow. The famed economist, who called the 2008 financial crash, told Bloomberg that the economy is headed for a severe recession as well as a severe debt and financial crisis.”


The 150% Energy-Price Shock Waiting for the Next UK Leader.

“Every UK prime minister expects to face challenges. Few would imagine that they might have to spend billions of pounds to make sure people don’t freeze in their homes during winter. That’s the dramatic situation Boris Johnson’s successor, either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, will face…”


Britain forced to beg Belgium for power to keep the lights on.

“National Grid was forced to issue an emergency appeal to Belgium to keep Britain’s lights on as the market was roiled by surging prices ahead of a looming winter crisis… Experts said it cast doubt on the Grid’s ability to cope during the “looming iceberg” of winter, when gas supplies are expected to be under far more severe pressure…”


France to fine shopkeepers running heating or air conditioning with doors open.

“Shopkeepers in France who use air conditioning with their doors left open or who leave illuminated signs on at night could be fined hundreds of euros under major new plans to slash energy consumption in the country.”


Germany on cusp of recession, says Ifo, as business sentiment sinks.

“German business morale fell more than expected in July, the Ifo business sentiment survey showed on Monday, as the institute that compiles it said high energy prices and looming gas shortages had left Europe’s largest economy on the cusp of recession.”


German industry cuts production due to high energy prices: DIHK survey.

“A number of industrial companies in Germany are cutting production in reaction to soaring energy prices, a survey by the country’s Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) showed on Sunday… Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February has had major implications for governments and businesses across Europe…”


Russia’s Gazprom to make drastic cut to Europe’s gas supply from Wednesday…

“The Russian gas export monopoly said it was halting the operation of one of the last two operating turbines due to the “technical condition of the engine”, cutting daily gas deliveries via the Nord Stream pipeline to 33m cubic metres a day – about 20% of the pipeline’s capacity [ie insufficient to fill winter storage].”


Ukraine war, energy crisis and Italy’s political turmoil call euro’s survival into question.

“Who would blame anyone for thinking that Europe is finished? Russian President Vladimir Putin might have achieved his aim to crack European unity, with the economy suffering on a number of fronts. The war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and political turmoil in Italy are throwing the European Union into chaos and it’s no surprise that the euro is in deep trouble.”


Italy preparing stimulus package worth up to $13.3 billion, Treasury official says.

“Italy is preparing a new stimulus decree worth up to 13 billion euros ($13.3 billion) to help families and firms deal with a surge in electricity, gas and petrol costs, deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said on Monday. The new scheme, which comes on top of some 33 billion euros already budgeted since January…”


More than 1,000 migrants arrive in Italy within hours, authorities say.

“On the island of Lampedusa, some 522 people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, among others, arrived from the late hours of Saturday in 15 different boats from Tunisia and Libya… the island’s reception centre has been overwhelmed… The latest inflow of migrants comes at a politically sensitive time in Italy.


A new wave of migration is coming – and Europe is not ready for it.

“In a week when Russia threatened to annex more territory in Ukraine, gas shortages loomed, and inflation and Covid surged across Europe, it seems almost unkind to remind EU and UK leaders of another crisis that is unfolding, largely unremarked, right under their noses… Europe now also faces rapidly rising new “waves” of undocumented asylum seekers.”


China’s Property Crisis Burns Middle Class Stuck With Huge Loans…

“Now, as property developments stall across the country and house prices fall, many Chinese homeowners are slashing spending, postponing marriage and other life decisions, and, in a growing number of cases, withholding mortgage payments on unfinished homes.”


China’s Slowdown Spills Over to Major Economies Through Imports…

“Elevated global commodity prices meant that China’s official import growth of 1% in June from a year earlier hid a worse result for manufactured goods. Imports of hi-tech products and mechanical and electrical goods fell about 8% last month, according to recently released Chinese customs data. There doesn’t seem to have been an improvement this month…”


Argentines turn to black market dollars as crisis worsens.

“Confidence in the Argentine economy is evaporating as the government struggles with political infighting, an ever-increasing pile of domestic debt and inflation hurtling towards 90 per cent. The US dollar has shot to new highs on the black market…”


Inflation-hit Zimbabweans forced to find side hustles to survive…

“Surging food and fuel prices have revived memories of the hyperinflation that plagued the southern African nation in the late 2000s, sparking labour unrest and prompting the central bank to start selling gold coins this month.”


Uganda police fire teargas to quell protest over fuel prices.

“Police arrested more than 40 people in Uganda on Monday as security forces used teargas and “other tactics” to quell a large protest against sky-high fuel prices, a police spokesman said.”


Arrests as Madagascar Opposition Protest Living Costs…

“Several hundred anti-government demonstrators gathered in the center of Antananarivo in the morning, watched by a heavy military and police presence. Police said they arrested Rina Randriamasinoro, the secretary general of the opposition Tiako I Madagasikara (TIM) party, and its national coordinator Jean-Claude Rakotonirina…”


Tunisia’s Saied holds referendum, critics fear for democracy.

Economic decline since 2011 has left many people angry at the parties that have governed since the revolution and disillusioned with the political system they ran. A turnout on Monday far below that rate [of 41% in 2019] would further call into question the legitimacy of the new constitution.”


Hamas-run government in Gaza to reduce salaries amid growing financial crisis…

“Speaking to The New Arab, Awni al-Basha, undersecretary of the Gaza Finance Ministry, said that reducing employees’ salaries was a decision born out of an emergency and seeks to temporary alleviate the government as financial crises worsens.”


Shortages leave bankrupt Sri Lanka’s hospitals empty.

“Entire wards are dark and nearly empty in Sri Lanka’s largest hospital, its few remaining patients leaving untreated and still in pain, and doctors prevented from even arriving for their shifts. An unprecedented economic crisis has dealt a body blow to a free and universal healthcare system that just months earlier was the envy of the country’s South Asian neighbours.”


The madness of the oil market. In the past two years, oil has been traded as cheaply as $19 a barrel (or below zero if you were buying a US blend called West Texas Intermediate) and as high as $139 a barrel

We have not seen such huge swings in the oil price since the 2008 financial crisis, when oil crashed from $150 a barrel to below $40 as fears of a global recession saw demand collapse. [Highly stressed global economic superorganism is suffering labile hypertension, we could say.]”


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.