24th August 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

In parts of Kenya, the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic has been so catastrophic that people have started to kill endangered wildlife for food.

“Last week, The Telegraph trekked with rangers through the Tsavo conservation area… and found a Masai giraffe which had been stripped bare by poachers for bushmeat.

““They have really done a hell of a job on this one,” muttered a ranger when we came across the mass of bloodied bones, organs and skinned hide. “They’ve even cut the meat out from in-between his ribs.””

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/giraffe-covid-threat-kenya-hunger/


Now that the $600 federal unemployment supplement has expired, Eliajah Carroll is trying to survive on only $200 a week in Rhode Island state benefits.

“The Providence bartender, who hasn’t worked since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered his restaurant in March, logs onto Indeed every morning to hunt for work. He’s applied for jobs at banks, at retailers in malls and at cell phone stores. Only one employer responded, and it was to turn him down.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/22/politics/unemployment-benefits-states-congress-covid/index.html


“Lower-paid workers are losing their jobs at about three times the rate of higher-wage employees.

“But the drop in overall employment that white-collar industries like real estate, information and professional and technology services have seen in five months is already on par with or worse than the hits they took during the Great Recession — underscoring how even highly paid workers with the ability to telework are vulnerable now.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/23/white-collar-unemployment-coronavirus-400130


Coronavirus, disappointing investment returns and declining interest rates, pose a triple threat to the health of the US public pension system, which is haemorrhaging cash and heading for a record funding shortfall.

“The total funding gap for the 143 largest US public pensions plans is on track to reach $1.62tn this year…”

https://www.ft.com/content/87d385d2-318a-4ddc-8947-9867f03faae1


“…the number of US homeowners who were at least 90 days behind on their payments grew by 376,000 last month, a 20 percent increase from June.

“Serious delinquencies are now 1.8 million higher than pre-pandemic levels and are at their highest level since early 2010.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/21/serious-mortgage-delinquencies-soared-10-year-high-last-month/


It’s long been clear that Covid-19, like any major disaster, is causing an increase in mental-health disorders and their accompanying evils. Those range from alcoholism and drug addiction to wife beating and child abuse.

“In the Americas, the world’s most afflicted region with hotspots from the the U.S. to Brazil, this psycho-social crisis has become its own epidemic, the World Health Organization’s regional branch said this week.”

https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/08/618776/covid-19-youth-suffering-epidemic-depression-anxiety


Britain’s worst wheat harvest in 40 years is likely to cause a price hike in flour and bread, the industry has warned.

“Only about 40% of the usual amount of wheat crop was planted last October due to heavy rain, while crops being harvested now are very poor quality due to droughts earlier in the season followed by lots of August rain, the National Farmers’ Union said.”

https://news.sky.com/story/worst-uk-wheat-harvest-in-40-years-prompts-flour-price-hike-fears-12054033


The UK Government is preparing for power outages, economic chaos and public unrest if a second wave of coronavirus coincides with a disorderly no-deal Brexit, according to leaked emergency plans.

“…It comes after Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Barnier said trade talks with London were actually ‘going backwards’, claiming yesterday that there had been ‘no progress whatsoever on the issues that matter’.”

https://metro.co.uk/2020/08/23/water-rationing-food-shortages-second-wave-clashes-no-deal-brexit-13166025/


European manufacturing’s bounceback from its pandemic-induced crash this spring is slowing — and in Germany, the region’s industrial heartland, executives worry that the recovery could soon run out of steam, leaving them with years of painful rebuilding ahead…

One of the hardest hit sectors has been the carmaking industry… IHS Markit forecasts that global car sales will fall from 88m last year to 69m this year.”

https://www.ft.com/content/7a739543-a39e-4301-830d-dddc8a0f503b


“…banks in Europe were among the most vulnerable institutions as the coronavirus pandemic sent already challenged economies into a tailspin and pushed loan-loss provisions to their highest level in a decade…

““European banks face a profitability crisis,” said Citigroup Inc. banking analyst Ronit Ghose.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/facing-a-profitability-crisis-europes-banks-rush-to-restructure-11598184000


“…former Reserve Bank Governor D Subbarao says India’s short and medium term growth prospects continue to remain grim and the government should not read too much into the economic activity coming back from the depressed base of lockdown.”

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/don-t-read-too-much-into-green-shoots-it-s-a-mechanical-rebound-subbarao-11598161908461.html


China’s fragile economic recovery is ushering in a dangerous new phase for the nation’s $4.1 trillion corporate bond market.

With the economy now strong enough for policy makers to dial back financial support but still too weak to save the most distressed borrowers, some fund managers are bracing for defaults on domestic Chinese debt to hit record highs this year.”

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/china-investors-brace-for-record-defaults-in-risky-end-to-2020/articleshow/77699971.cms


The coronavirus epidemic dealt an additional blow to Abenomics, causing Japan’s annualized real gross domestic product in April-June this year to decrease by a whopping ¥41 trillion from the preceding quarter to ¥485 trillion, less than the ¥498 trillion in October-December 2012.

“In nominal terms, the nation’s GDP in April-June stood at ¥506 trillion on an annualized basis, a far cry from the government’s target set at ¥600 trillion.

“Meanwhile, the balance of government debts ballooned.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/08/24/business/economy-business/coronavirus-abenomics-japan-structural-reform/


Despite Thailand’s public debt approaching its limit of sustainability, the Finance Ministry denies the country is on the brink of bankruptcy and will take a further Bt48 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank late this month.

“Local media are speculating that the government is facing financial collapse…”

https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30393287?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral


Indonesia’s QE hitting headwinds: “Indonesia’s bond and currency markets, risk benchmarks that tend to move in tandem, are diverging in signs that the nation’s pandemic response is deterring global funds…

“That dynamic started changing as massive borrowings by the government to fund pandemic-recovery stimulus spurred Bank Indonesia to take the unusual step of monetizing debt.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-24/massive-borrowing-sparks-rare-divergence-in-indonesia-bonds-fx


The amount paid out by big companies to their investors plummeted between April and June as firms cancelled or cut their dividends to conserve cash during the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

“Total shareholder payouts made globally slumped by $108.1bn (£82.6bn) to $382.2bn, a fall of 22%.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/aug/24/global-dividends-plunge-by-108bn-during-covid-19-crisis


US equity markets might be breaching record highs, but the state of corporate distress in the country has never been worse.

Large US corporate bankruptcy filings are now running at a record pace and are set to surpass levels reached during the financial crisis in 2009

https://www.ft.com/content/277dc354-a870-4160-9117-b5b0dece5360


“The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson famously quipped that the stock market has predicted nine of the past five recessions. What he meant is that the stock market is a poor guide to the state of an economy.

“Today, we can say there is a complete divorce between markets and the state of the global economy.”

https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3098456/stock-markets-are-divorced-state-global-economy


As we enter a global recession, business risk has never been so high:

“Dun & Bradstreet’s Global Business Impact score for Q3 2020 shows that the risks confronting businesses remain at the record-high first experienced in Q2. The elevated level of risk has been driven mainly by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus: the outbreak illustrates how unexpected events can suddenly worsen the risk environment for businesses operating cross-border.”

https://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/as-we-enter-a-global-recession-business-risk-has-never-been-so-high/


“Even before Covid, global markets were drenched with systemic risk. US-China trade wars and/or overpriced corporate junk bonds have long since threatened to spark another 2008-style collapse.

Now, though, as valuations spiral upward, against all economic logic, it’s the banking sector that may once again tip us over the edge.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/08/22/a-list-bigwigs-ignoring-impending-disaster/


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20th August 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

My dear Patreons and visitors, I will be alternating climate and economic threads on a daily basis from now on, rather than doing both every day. Today is an “economic” day and so tomorrow will be a “climate” day etc.

We won’t miss any important articles as I will search back 48 hours for each thread. The idea is that this will free me up to provide more analysis and even some video content for subscribers. Thank you for bearing with me and, if you do, bless you for subscribing! JP


Why Apple hit $2 trillion in the middle of an economic catastrophe:

“In the time it has taken Apple to go from one to two trillion dollars, the company has released no major new products… Profits have actually fallen, from $13.3bn (£10.2bn) to $13.1bn. This year, the global economy is due to contract heavily, and millions have become unemployed.

“These do not seem like conditions in which a company would double in value, but an unprecedented combination of events – many of them outside Apple’s own control – has made it the world’s most valuable company.

“Central banks around the world have stepped in with trillions of dollars of emergency stimulus measures to keep businesses running: cheap loans and bond buying programmes have pushed yields to record lows. As a result, investors seeking financial returns have turned towards the stock market, pushing shares to record highs.

“Apple’s price to earnings ratio – a measure of how highly valued a company is relative to its financial performance – now sits at its highest level since 2007, before the financial crisis.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/08/20/apple-hit-2-trillion-middle-economic-catastrophe/


America’s stock market has swiftly recovered from the pandemic. Sophisticated investors don’t think the real economy will do the same.

“Just 17% of fund managers expect a rapid V-shaped economic recovery, according to a Bank of America survey released Tuesday.”

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/19/business/double-dip-recession-economy/index.html


‘A growing sense of panic’ with no fresh federal relief in sight:

“It’s been four months since most of the federal government’s $1,200 stimulus checks went out. The $600 a week federal boost to unemployment benefits expired three weeks ago, along with a moratorium on evictions. Many small businesses have already spent the money from their federal emergency loans.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/19/politics/federal-stimulus-stalled-covid/index.html


In a desperate plea for help, the US hotel industry said it faces a default disaster, in which 25% of hotels are at risk of foreclosure.

“The report, sent to Congress this week and compiled by Trepp, shows that the percentage of hotel loans 30 or more days delinquent is 23.4% as of last month — the highest percentage on record.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/19/business/hotel-industry-default-coronavirus/index.html


HSBC shoots down Bank of England’s optimism over the economy predicting it will shrink by 10.3% in 2020.

“Britain’s biggest lender has taken issue with predictions from the Bank of England that the economy may recover to pre-coronavirus levels by the end of 2021.”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-8644169/HSBC-shoots-Bank-Englands-optimism-economy.html


Concern is growing in Germany that a rule introduced as a part of the country’s emergency response to coronavirus is fuelling the creation of thousands of so-called zombie firms that could end up sapping the economy for years to come.

“Under a government waiver introduced in March, German companies adversely affected by the pandemic do not have to file for insolvency.”

https://www.ft.com/content/5d5d1bc1-61a3-46a9-915c-1a1e6f2e5fd2


The collapse of a Mexican lender is spurring concern about risks for the banking system just as the country sinks into its deepest recession in almost a century under the watch of a financial regulator that’s been hobbled by austerity…

“Banco Famsa will need a bailout of almost $1 billion… The threat to banks has grown amid Mexico’s pandemic-driven recession…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-19/mexico-bank-collapse-shows-huge-risk-after-amlo-guts-regulator


In its decades-long effort to prod financiers to loosen up and lend more to defeat deflation, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is trying a new tack: incentivizing them with bonuses.”

https://asiatimes.com/2020/08/covid-hit-japan-now-paying-banks-to-lend/


As the first signs emerge of enforcement action linked to disgraced Singapore oil trader Hin Leong, court documents have revealed the extent to which the company had become dependent on fake trades, forged documents and dubious financing to help cover up vast accumulated losses.”

https://www.gtreview.com/news/asia/analysis-hin-leongs-vicious-cycle-of-trade-finance-fraud/


Offshore oil servicers are going bust at the fastest pace in three years as explorers spurn high-cost drilling to deal with a worldwide slump in commodity prices

“Noble Corp. and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. have filed for Chapter 11 since the start of the pandemic-driven oil downturn…”

https://gcaptain.com/offshore-crisis-recent-failures-have-created-a-massive-30-billion-financial-risk/


Valaris Plc became the latest casualty of the global slump in oil prices, filing for bankruptcy Wednesday as the world’s largest offshore rig owner by fleet size seeks to restructure a roughly $7 billion debt load.”

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2020/8/19/valaris-world-s-largest-offshore-rig-owner-declares-bankruptcy


A push by President Donald Trump and the world’s biggest oil producers to shore up crude prices has failed to stop an avalanche of bankruptcies in the industry, and more are still to come.

“The Covid-19 pandemic’s devastating effect on the oil market is rippling throughout the supply chain, from explorers to the companies that provide them with workers and equipment.”

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/world-largest-offshore-rig-owner-163612025.html


Chaparral Energy Inc.’s filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years, paving the way for bondholders to take control of the Oklahoma driller in the aftermath of sluggish oil prices.”

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2020/8/17/shale-driller-chapparal-energy-files-bankruptcy


“…a new study …concludes that systemic risk is not just a problem for financial institutions.

“In “Systemic Risk in the Broad Economy,” released earlier this summer, a team of Rand Corp. economists argued that systemic risk — the ability of small, seemingly isolated risks to grow and spread across heavily interconnected systems — extends beyond the financial sector.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/08/19/commentary/japan-commentary/japan-china-supply-chain-coronavirus/


If 2005 is the year we can see the old world on its way out, then 2008 is the year it was executed [interestingly and not unconnectedly this was around the time we were hitting some conventional crude oil supply limits].

“2008 is the year of the great crash, the first crisis of the global economy.

“The crash exposed not only structural flaws in individual economies, but also the structure of the global economy itself: financially interdependent, underpinned by the dollar and by the Federal Reserve as the lender of last resort, and with truly international supply chains.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/08/brexit-trump-china-90s-golden-era/615406/


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

19th August 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The head of the World Bank has called for a more ambitious debt relief plan for poor countries after warning that the Covid-19 recession is turning into a depression in the most challenged parts of the globe.

In an interview with the Guardian, David Malpass raised the prospect of the first systematic write-off of debts since the 2005 Gleneagles agreement as he said fresh Bank figures due out next month would show an extra 100 million people had been pushed into poverty by the crisis.

Poor countries had been worse hit by the economic fallout from Covid-19, Malpass added, and a growing debt crisis meant it was necessary to go beyond the repayment holidays offered by rich countries earlier this year.

““This is worse than the financial crisis of 2008 and for Latin America worse than the debt crisis of the 1980s,” the World Bank president said.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/aug/19/world-bank-calls-for-greater-debt-relief-for-poorer-countries-in-wake-of-covid-19


The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Tuesday, rebounding from huge losses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and crowning one of the most dramatic recoveries in the index’s history.

“Trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary stimulus have made Wall Street flush with cash, pushing yield-seeking investors into equities.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/markets/us-stocks-close-at-record-high-rebounding-from-covid-crash-1.4333443


Millions of Americans are hurtling into a period of unemployment that often carries more financial risk. Economists generally consider long-term unemployment as a period of joblessness that lasts longer than 26 weeks, or six months.

“From a financial perspective, this benchmark is important for a few reasons.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/18/millions-of-americans-are-facing-longer-periods-of-unemployment.html


“Congress should authorise another round of stimulus cheques, similar to the funds deployed in the spring, make them recurring until the end of this crisis and, most importantly, put them on autopilot so they are triggered during the next recession…

Congress should… set direct cash payments in stone as a permanent policy triggered whenever unemployment rises quickly.”

https://www.ft.com/content/b5814bf8-ee55-447e-b25b-4475e88a69c2


US Consumer sentiment has held up better through the coronavirus crisis than in previous downturns, but it may take much longer for sentiment to recover than many analysts may realize, not least because the economy has lost a crucial tailwind…

“Sentiment remained near a pandemic-era low in early August, the University of Michigan said last Friday. Its closely watched index was at 72.8, barely any higher than the low of 72.5 touched in July.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/there-will-be-no-v-shaped-recovery-for-consumer-sentiment-datatrek-says-2020-08-18


““Every time I deliver a parcel, I wonder why I went to university, worked for three blue-chip companies then ran my own successful business only to be crushed by Covid,” said Ade Smith, who is now working as a delivery driver in his 50s…

Mr Smith is one of thousands from comfortable, white-collar managerial backgrounds facing an uncertain future as the UK enters its worst recession on record.”

https://www.ft.com/content/596e49d9-1283-47b3-a771-1c0beebd7df5


Spanish public debt rose to a record high of 1.29 trillion euros (1.53 trillion U.S. dollars) in June, mainly lifted by spending linked to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, data from the Bank of Spain showed on Tuesday.

“The total debt rose by 32 billion euros from the preceding month, pushing the debt-to-GDP ratio to 110% according to Reuters calculations…”

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-08-19/Spanish-public-debt-record-high-in-June-on-COVID-spending-T4GVOeVCHC/index.html


Former European Central Bank chief, Mario Draghi, called on European governments on Tuesday (18 August) to ensure the colossal amounts of debt countries are running up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic are invested in upgrading their economies so that future generations can benefit.

““The debt created by the pandemic is unprecedented and will have to be repaid mainly by those who are young today,” Draghi warned…”

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/draghi-only-good-debt-can-save-europes-economy/


More than 360 billion euros ($425 billion) of loans at Europe’s biggest banks have been subject to payment breaks or other coronavirus relief measures but the big question is whether borrowers will be able to resume payments when support ends.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-banks-europe/the-425-billion-payment-holiday-question-hanging-over-europes-banks-idUKKCN25E1HB


Thailand plans more stimulus measures for economy in deep slump

“Thailand will introduce more stimulus measures to support tourism, jobs and domestic consumption hit by the coronavirus pandemic, a deputy prime minister said on Wednesday.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/thailand-economy-stimulus/thailand-plans-more-stimulus-measures-for-economy-in-deep-slump-idUKL4N2FK2Y4


China’s real estate sector may have peaked and will likely become a drag on growth during economic shocks such as the current pandemic…

“The decades-long housing boom has causes both prices and supply to be misaligned and the market may have hit “a potentially precarious peak”, according to the working paper by Harvard University’s Kenneth Rogoff and Yang Yuanchen of Tsinghua University in Beijing.”

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/china-housing-may-have-hit-potentially-precarious-peak


Japan’s exports extended their double-digit slump into a fifth month in July as the coronavirus pandemic took a heavy toll on auto shipments to the United States, dashing hopes for a trade-led recovery from the deep recession.

“Meanwhile, core machinery orders, a leading indicator of business spending, unexpectedly fell to a seven-year low in June, dashing hopes domestic demand would make up for some of the slack from sluggish global growth.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-japan-economy-trade/japans-exports-tumble-as-u-s-demand-collapses-order-books-shrink-idUKKCN25F060


South Africa Struggles to Contain Coronavirus While the Economy Crumbles

“South Africa’s Covid-19 crisis collided with its ailing economy and dysfunctional politics. The country didn’t have the financial resources to extend many elements of its lockdown any longer than the initial five weeks, as the number of unemployed and hungry surged.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-19/south-africa-covid-pandemic-crisis-collides-with-economic-political-strife


Equatorial Guinea, like most countries in the world, is facing an unprecedented economic crisis, the extent of which is still unknown given the uncertainty about the evolution and duration of the pandemic.

“In fact, since March of this year, our economy has been severely hit by the double crisis, on the one hand, the appearance of Covid-19, and, on the other hand, the sharp fall in international oil prices…”

https://www.africanews.com/2020/08/18/equatorial-guinea-s-ministry-of-finance-economy-and-planning-replies-to-comments-over-government-resignation/


Mutinying soldiers in Mali have arrested embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, a dramatic escalation in the country’s months-long political crisis

“The developments follow a weeks-long political crisis that has seen opposition protesters taking to the streets to demand the departure of Keita, accusing him of allowing the country’s economy to collapse…

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/gunfire-heard-mali-army-base-warnings-mutiny-200818111723901.html


“Remember the ridiculous and quaint charade around the “Debt Ceiling” in Congress and the White House? Me neither. But those were the Good Times.

“So what we now have is the Pandemic Economy with the Incredibly Spiking US Gross National Debt, which spiked incredibly by $4.45 trillion over the past 12 months, to $26.5 trillion.

“WHOOSH go the trillions, flying by.”

https://wolfstreet.com/2020/08/18/who-bought-the-gigantic-4-5-trillion-in-us-government-debt-added-in-the-past-12-months-everyone-but-china/


“The rapid bounce in stock markets helps to give the impression that everything is under control and the economic crisis is drawing to a close… This might be true for the high net-wealth individuals invested in hedge funds. For almost everybody else, it is nonsense on stilts…

“The risk is that a still unfolding economic crisis will be made worse by a financial crash… ““The global economy has essentially become a giant tinderbox, susceptible to any spark that may come its way.” The world is not exactly short of potential sparks.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/18/recovery-stock-markets-central-bank


The coming surprise may be a counter-attack by the forces of deflation

We are at a crunch point where fiscal fatigue is setting in across the West but the virus is still with us, and will remain with us through the next winter.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/08/18/coming-surprise-may-counter-attack-forces-deflation/


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

18th August 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

There are millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck in this country, as many surveys have shown. According to Nielsen data, the American Payroll Association, CareerBuilder and the National Endowment for Financial Education, somewhere between 50 percent and 78 percent of employees earn just enough money to pay their bills each month…

“In addition, almost 3 in 10 adults have no emergency savings at all… All of these studies, by the way, were done before the coronavirus pandemic…

“New surveys have determined that the level of hunger, which is typically known as food insecurity, is rising dramatically. According to the Brookings Institution: “By the end of April, more than one in five households in the United States, and two in five households with mothers with children 12 and under, were food insecure. In almost one in five households of mothers with children age 12 and under, the children were experiencing food insecurity.”

How many people will lose their home once the financial support from the government stops? …Economists talk about a cash cliff. Well, here we are, and the abyss looks pretty scary.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/17/breakdown-what-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-looks-like/


[Trump’s] new jobless benefit only provides the extra weekly boost to Americans who receive at least $100 a week in state unemployment benefit, which disqualifies at least 1 million Americans.

“Those who need unemployment assistance the most—such as low-earners, part-time workers and gig workers—could be left out from any additional jobless aid.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/reneemorad/2020/08/17/more-than-1-million-people-left-out-of-trumps-400-weekly-jobless-boostdepending-on-what-you-earn-and-where-you-live/#2bf91844e317


“U.S. home builder confidence rose for a third straight month in August to match its highest level ever as record-low interest rates spur buyer traffic…

“At the same time, however, a growing number of home owners are falling behind on their mortgages with tens of millions still out of work and growing signs that the labor market recovery is softening.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-economy/as-us-homebuilder-confidence-matches-record-high-mortgage-delinquencies-rise-idUKKCN25D1SQ


A born and bred New Yorker has laid bare why the city will never recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a dark week of looting in June and its ongoing struggle against escalating crime, homelessness and violence.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8635857/Why-NYC-WONT-survive-coronavirus-Entrepreneur-outlines-city-forever-changed.html


“Joe Biden wants to be the greenest president in US history. He also owns a gas-guzzling 1967 Corvette Stingray and is quite happy for everyone to know about it.

“The two facts might seem incongruous. But for oil traders hoping to understand what a Biden presidency might mean for the market, the subtle signalling of the Corvette campaign video is worth understanding…

“…the aim of featuring the Goodwood green convertible is to frame Biden’s environmental plan not as some hair-shirted anti-car screed, but as a chance to remake the US automobile industry for the coming decades.

““This is an iconic industry . . . I believe we can own the 21st-century market again by moving to electric vehicles,” Mr Biden says in the clip. It is his version of “Make America Great Again”, wrapping his green message in the nostalgia of a car-obsessed culture.”

https://www.ft.com/content/a69ad16e-5385-48a2-9a7e-09afffaf196e


While the [US shale industry’s] financial trouble is increasingly well-known, particularly with oil prices stuck below $50 per barrel, drillers face numerous obstacles in the field as well.

“A recent report from investment bank Raymond James looks at the increasing likelihood that drillers have largely maxed out their productivity gains.

“In fact, the bank warned a year ago that drillers were approaching their productivity limits; recent data suggest that this trend is bearing out.”

http://energyfuse.org/shale-faces-both-financial-and-operational-problems/


“Not only has Spain been among COVID-19’s biggest victims in Western Europe. Its tourist-dependent economy has proved to be particularly vulnerable to the pandemic’s ravages.

“Stuck in a euro straitjacket, this all too likely puts Spain well on its way to another round of its sovereign debt and banking sector crises.”

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/512343-spain-risks-becoming-europes-other-sick-man


Japan’s low unemployment rate on paper suggests an economy weathering the coronavirus reasonably well, but official figures belie worsening prospects for the country’s army of temporary workers, who make up about 40% of the jobs market.

“Japan’s economy plunged by a record pace in the second quarter as the pandemic hit consumption and exports.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-japan-economy-abenomics-jobs/japans-low-jobless-rate-masks-deepening-worker-despair-idUKKCN25E0HR


Joblessness among Filipino adults rose to a 12-year high in July, as 27.3 million found themselves without a job during a pandemic, according to the latest Social Weather Stations survey…

“In all areas, joblessness figures were ….record-high.”

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1323138/46-of-pinoys-jobless-more-layoffs-feared


Millions of Indians have been left jobless as Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

“Many Indians who had been working in bigger cities are being forced to return to their villages after losing jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

https://www.scmp.com/video/asia/3097795/millions-indians-have-been-left-jobless-coronavirus-pandemic-continues-spread


The number of unemployed people in Nigeria has spiked to 21.8 million following the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the private sector.

“The National Bureau of Statistics put the figure of unemployed Nigerians at 21,764,617 as at the end of June as the country’s covid-19 cases almost hit 50,000.”

https://allafrica.com/stories/202008170303.html


The Brazilian real has been one of the world’s worst-performing currencies against the dollar this year, losing 27% of its value on a mix of record low interest rates, a weak economy, and fractured domestic politics.

“On Monday, it traded as low as 5.5150 per dollar BRBY, as concern about Brazil’s fiscal outlook [grew]…”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-forex-cenbank/brazil-cenbank-fx-action-is-to-ensure-market-functions-normally-says-campos-neto-idUKKCN25D2HH


Venezuela’s gold reserves fell by seven tonnes in the first half of the year to reach just 98 tonnes, their lowest level in 50 years, according to data published on Monday by the South American country’s central bank.

“The drop comes as Venezuela, whose key oil industry is under U.S. sanctions, sells its gold abroad to obtain foreign currency amid an economic crisis.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-gold/venezuela-central-bank-gold-reserves-fall-to-lowest-level-in-50-years-idUSL1N2FJ193


““Like the poorest of Lebanese society, the Syrian refugees are often invisible,” says Elena Dikomitis from NRC. The charity has been offering psychological support, shelter and hygiene kits to families…

“After the blast [Lebanon], these refugees go back to being refugees with all the vulnerabilities that come with that.

“”They will be the first one to find themselves in the street. The same goes for migrant workers as well.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/beirut-explosion-migrant-workers-syrian-refugees-homeless-lebanon-blast-a9674921.html


“In a financialized economy, lower interest rates encourage speculative, not productive, use of credit that fuels asset price bubbles.

If aggregate demand declines sharply in Fall 2020, there may be a need for the Fed-Treasury to jointly launch helicopter money.”

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4369380-financialized-covidminus-19-economy-helicopter-money-anyone-part-2


“A negative interest rate–growth differential since the 2008 financial crisis could tempt governments to spend more. But such a step could be risky for countries with higher debts as the differential could very well turn positive again, new research warns.

“In a working paper published by the International Monetary Fund, Lian and others examine trends of interest rates, growth and public debt of 17 advanced economies since 1950. Using the data, the paper says fiscal expansion is risky because even before the covid-19 pandemic, public debts were at historic highs.” [No shit!]

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/low-interest-rates-don-t-make-spending-risk-free-11597724104572.html


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

17th August 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The World Bank’s new chief economist has warned the recovery will last even longer than the financial crisis aftermath as China struggles to rescue global growth again.

“Carmen Reinhart dashed hopes of a rapid V-shaped rebound by predicting that recoveries in advanced economies will take more than five years on a per capita income basis.

“She told The Sunday Telegraph: “I think it will be longer [than the financial crisis recovery]… We are talking upwards of five years. Look, the damage being done is being done really to every sector.”

“A forthcoming report by the Washington-based development bank will reveal that the “extremely regressive” Covid-19 shock will mean global poverty rates rise for the first year since 2000.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/08/15/world-bank-dashes-hopes-swift-recovery/


Violent clashes erupted across the US this weekend between protesters from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

“Confrontations reached boiling point in both Kalamazoo, MIchigan, and Stone Mountain, Georgia, after far-right groups were met with counter protesters.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/far-right-alt-right-protests-us-georgia-michigan-three-percenters-black-lives-matter-proud-boys-a9673216.html


“‘When I first arrived in LA 40 years ago, the town smelled of orange blossoms. Now the streets stink of urine. There is a beautiful park in Westwood but you can’t go there because there are people slumped on the ground and you step on a carpet of needles.

White flight is real. The elites and middle classes are leaving LA. People are taking losses on the sales of their homes to get out.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8631063/Hollywood-Apocalypse-rich-famous-fleeing-droves.html


The number of empty apartments for rent in Manhattan soared to their highest level in recent history, topping 13,000, as residents fled the city and landlords struggled to find new tenants.

“The number of apartments for rent, or listing inventory, more than doubled over last year…”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/13/empty-apartments-in-manhattan-reach-record-high-topping-13000.html


Mid-August should be boom time for central London. The streets would usually bustle with shoppers, workers and tourists, looking to spend their cash in the West End’s shops, restaurants and leisure attractions.

But not this year. Vast swathes of the capital’s streets that once hummed with traffic and pedestrians lie quiet.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/aug/15/its-the-worst-ive-ever-seen-londons-west-end-struggles-to-bounce-back-covid-19


The Hague: Dozens arrested after several nights of riots.

“The mayor of the Dutch city had issued an emergency order after scores of young people took to the streets, pelting police officers with stones and fireworks. Social workers cited “coronavirus boredom” as the motive.”

https://www.dw.com/en/the-hague-dozens-arrested-after-several-nights-of-riots/a-54581224


Through an initiative on Facebook, Bulgarian expatriates in 20 cities in foreign countries were joining protests on August 16 demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government and Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev.

“This was the 39th consecutive day of the protests.”

https://sofiaglobe.com/2020/08/16/bulgarian-expatriates-in-20-cities-abroad-join-anti-government-protests/


Authorities in Belarus have freed at least 2,000 of about 7,000 people who had been pulled off the streets by riot police in the days following a disputed election that kept the country’s iron-fisted leader, Alexander Lukashenko, in power.

“As they reunited with loved ones early on Friday, they told of being struck repeatedly with truncheons, being threatened with gang rape and held amid harsh conditions and overcrowded cells.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/belarus-election-protest-police-brutality-alexander-lukashenko-a9672206.html


There is no escaping from the trauma in Beirut. Hospitals inundated with victims of the explosion are now filling with protesters injured by the security forces.

“Firas Hamdan told me he was out on the streets protesting last Saturday, and while filming a live broadcast on Facebook he was almost killed.”

https://news.sky.com/story/beirut-hospitals-inundated-with-explosion-victims-are-now-filling-with-injured-protesters-12050193


Surpassing the most dire economic forecasts on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s gross domestic product plunged by 28.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020, as compared to the first quarter, in the worst economic downturn in over 40 years, according to an official estimate Sunday.”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-virus-battered-economy-sees-sharpest-contraction-in-45-years/


Thailand’s economy saw its biggest annual contraction in 22 years and a record quarterly fall in the April-June period, as the coronavirus pandemic and restriction measures hit tourism, exports and domestic activity, prompting an outlook downgrade.

“South-east Asia’s second-largest economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism and exports, shrank 12.2 per cent in the second quarter…”

https://www.malaymail.com/news/money/2020/08/17/thai-economy-sees-biggest-contraction-since-asian-financial-crisis-in-q2/1894612


Thailand protests: Hunger Games salute a sign of defiance as thousands rally in Bangkok in historic demand for change.

“Thousands of protesters gathered in Bangkok to demand political reform, with many demonstrators calling for “a real democracy”.”

https://news.sky.com/story/thailand-protests-hunger-games-salute-a-sign-of-defiance-as-thousands-rally-in-bangkok-in-historic-demand-for-change-12050610


A spike in new coronavirus cases in South Korea prompted authorities to reimpose tighter social distancing curbs in Seoul but that did not stop thousands of demonstrators from protesting against President Moon Jae-in’s policies on Saturday.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/anti-gov-protests-seoul-increasing-coronavirus-risk-200815092801571.html


China’s top banking regulatory official said on Thursday that the country’s banks have to deal with 3.4 trillion yuan (US$489.5 billion) worth of non-performing loans in 2020 – flagging a big risk for the banking system in the world’s second-largest economy.

“The total marks a hefty increase from 2.3 trillion yuan in 2019, and the value of bad loans could be even higher in 2021.”

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3097229/chinas-top-bank-regulator-sees-surge-bad-loans-straining


Japan was hit by its biggest economic contraction on record in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic crushed consumption and exports…

“The third straight quarter of declines knocked the size of real gross domestic product (GDP) to decade-low levels… [ie, Japan’s economy was in contraction *before* the pandemic].”

https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/japan-economy-shrinks-record-pace-coronavirus-pandemic-200817030327821.html


Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Friday that… in total, three out of four Chileans – 14 million people – were at present beneficiaries of some form of social support.”

https://en.mercopress.com/2020/08/15/chile-some-14-million-have-received-some-form-of-social-support


Peru’s economy contracted 18.06% in June versus the same period a year earlier, the South American country’s government said on Saturday…

“…the fourth straight month of contraction due to the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-peru-economy-growth/perus-economy-contracts-18-06-in-june-on-coronavirus-impact-idUKKCN25B0R4


Venezuelans brave open sea on tubes, fishing for survival:

A small but growing number of people in the coastal town of La Guaira, just a few minutes from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, have turned to the sea for sustenance since the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the Caribbean nation’s already miserable economy.”

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuelans-brave-open-sea-tubes-fishing-survival-72395440


Nigeria on verge of collapse, Bode George warns. People are hungry and therefore, they are angry. The bandits we are seeing are pushed into it by something.

“In a situation whereby no job, no guarantee on feeding, no housing, they are just existing and when they are invited to any cultism or anything to survive, they will participate. What is paramount now is food security and job creation.”

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/08/nigeria-on-verge-of-collapse-bode-george-warns/


Developing nation debt has more than doubled in the past decade and left more than 50 countries facing a repayment crisis, according to a campaign group.

“Data from the Jubilee Debt Campaign shows that even without taking full account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a sharp jump in the number of poor countries in debt distress since 2018.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/16/debt-in-developing-countries-has-doubled-in-less-than-a-decade


The emerging-market rally that has all but wiped out the losses since the start of the coronavirus pandemic looks headed for a late-August reappraisal amid a resurgence of trade tensions and delays to U.S. stimulus…

“...the most significant policy meeting may be in Turkey, where the central bank has resorted to backdoor monetary tightening to anchor the lira. The currency has depreciated 5.4% versus the dollar this month.”

https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/resilience-test-awaits-emerging-markets-basking-in-recovery-mode


Oil Companies Wonder If It’s Worth Looking for Oil Anymore

“As the coronavirus ravages economies and cripples demand, European oil majors have made some uncomfortable admissions in recent months: oil and gas worth billions of dollars might never be pumped out of the ground.”

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2020/8/14/stranded-assets-force-oil-companies-to-ask-is-new-exploration-worth-it


Why are people worrying about inflation with another Great Depression looming?

The real threat, bigger threat than ever as the world’s three biggest economies stumble in epic fashion, is deflation.”

https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/It-is-time-to-talk-about-the-real-danger-facing-the-world-economy


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.