Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

30th August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Staggeringly high government debt levels around the globe may stick — a huge shift from previous years that could come despite the warnings of economic damage this dynamic may cause…

“”Debt reduction, while desirable in principle, is unlikely in practice,” International Monetary Fund economist Serkan Arslanalp and University of California, Berkeley, professor Barry Eichengreen write in a new paper.

“Ballooning government debt worldwide won’t decline significantly in the coming years as in decades past, they argue. “Countries are going to have to live with this new reality as a semipermanent state.”


Central banks will push western economies into recession in order to be sure of winning the battle against inflation, one of [UK Chancellor] Jeremy Hunt’s advisers has warned.

“Rejecting the idea of a “soft landing”, Karen Ward, a member of the chancellor’s economic advisory council, said there would need to be signs of weakness before policymakers felt able to ease their tough approach.”


“Dallas Fed August manufacturing index -17.2 vs -20.0 prior.

High interest rates are affecting industrial production like never before. In addition to reshoring heavy activity, supply-chain issues, lack of qualified labor and interest rates have placed an inverted incentive to grow due to a major slowdown in capital equipment expenditures.”


“Chevron Evacuates Gulf Of Mexico Oil Platforms As Hurricane Idalia Approaches…

“The U.S. supermajor said on Tuesday that it had evacuated non-essential personnel from its Blind Faith and Petronius platforms, and all staff had been removed from its Genesis platform in the Gulf of Mexico.”


“With fire risk high, Northern California braces for power shutoffs amid smoky skies.

“Officials are warning that thousands across Northern California could lose power Wednesday in planned outages as the region faces a critical fire threat — while already dealing with poor air quality amid smoky skies and growing devastation from multiple ongoing wildfires.”


“Electric utilities face billions in wildfire liability with aging power lines risking another catastrophe.

“Electric companies in the western U.S. are facing mounting lawsuits alleging that their failure to prepare for extreme weather has resulted in repeated, catastrophic wildfires that have taken scores of lives and caused billions of dollars in damages.”


“Climate Change is Quickly Making Home Insurance a Luxury Item.

“As climate change accelerates, home insurance doesn’t just cost more. It’s getting harder to find at all. The national average rate for home insurance has risen 20% from last year to $1,428 annually, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. And even those skyrocketing fees don’t always guarantee a full reimbursement…”


“Climate crisis to create ‘acute’ challenges for Australia’s economy, incoming RBA governor says.

“Global heating will present the Reserve Bank with “acute” challenges, including heightened uncertainty around how the climate will change and the resulting impacts on the economy and financial system, the incoming governor, Michele Bullock, has said.”


“New Zealand is at risk of falling into a deeper recession, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“In its annual report card, the IMF said the Government needs to rein in spending or else the country faces prolonged high inflation lasting until 2025.”


“Canada Has Seen Subprime Become The Fastest Growing Borrower Segment…

“Transunion Canada data reveals an explosion of subprime borrowers in Q2 2023. Higher living costs and rising rates have combined to produce higher risk borrowers. At the same time, lenders are embracing it—with new loans to risky borrowers significantly outpacing the growth rate of high quality originations.”


“HSBC has become the latest [UK] mortgage lender to begin offering borrowers up to a 40-year mortgage term.

“The bank says its longest-ever mortgage term was launched with the intention of helping more people onto the property ladder.”


“Hundreds more flights were cancelled on Tuesday as the fallout from Monday’s UK air traffic control failure continued to disrupt travel, with the government telling airlines to take every step to help stranded passengers.

“Many holidaymakers remain unable to return home for several days, and Downing Street said airlines should fulfil their responsibilities to passengers whose flights have been scrapped or delayed.”


“Finland will dip into recession in the coming year, according to OP group economists.

“Their forecast suggests that Finland’s GDP will shrink by 0.3 percent this year, and will not grow at all in 2024. The group’s last prediction had been for growth of 0.3 percent this year.”


“Sweden’s GDP Contraction Driven by Sputtering Export Engine…

“Calendar-adjusted gross domestic product shrank by 0.8% in the three months through June, compared with the first quarter, according to figures published by Statistics Sweden on Tuesday. The drop is explained by lower goods exports and smaller inventories, authorities said.”


“Hungary Cuts Key Interest Rate to 14% as Record Recession Bites…

“The central bank decreased its overnight interest rate to 14% on Tuesday, matching all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. The move brought the instrument, which was made the key rate in October to stem a plunge in the forint, one step away from the benchmark rate..”


“As Rates Near Their Peak, the Pain Begins for Europe’s Borrowers.

“Interest rates may be peaking in Europe, but for the consumers, companies and governments that borrowed trillions of euros during the era of ultra-low borrowing costs, there’s still plenty of pain in store… it’s a particular shock in Europe, where interest rates were below zero for eight years.”


“Eurozone bank lending continues to weaken as money growth turns negative.

“Higher interest rates and a stagnant economy keep bank lending on a weakening trend. Annual growth in broad money growth is now negative. This adds to expectations of a weak eurozone economy in the quarters ahead.”


“The EU is set to import record volumes of liquefied natural gas from Russia this year, despite aiming for the bloc to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels by 2027.

“In the first seven months of this year, Belgium and Spain were the second and third-biggest buyers of Russian LNG behind China…”


“High Energy Bills Force German Industry to Eye Production Abroad…

“Over half of surveyed companies say the energy transition is having negative or very negative effects on their competitiveness, according to a report by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Among manufacturers, almost a third are considering or already executing a production shift abroad — twice as much as during last year’s energy crisis.”


“Germany begins dismantling wind farm for coal.

“German energy giant RWE has begun dismantling a wind farm to make way for a further expansion of an open-pit lignite coal mine in the western region of North Rhine Westphalia. One wind turbine has already been dismantled, with a further seven scheduled for removal to excavate an additional 15m to 20m tonnes of so-called ‘brown’ coal…”


“Locals of Austrian village of Hallstatt protest against mass tourism.

“The village, on the western shore of Lake Hallstatt in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region, was rumoured to be the inspiration for Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen. Up to 10,000 tourists flock there every day – and locals have had enough.”


“Italy Determined to Combat Mass Tourism by Introducing Fees for Unruly Visitors.

“The popular country for tourism is expected to welcome a record number of tourists in 2023, and the authorities are determined to establish an environment that visitors but also residents can enjoy.”


“The Yen’s exchange rate against the dollar is back at levels that have prompted fx intervention in the past.

“The recent depreciation also puts additional pressure on the Bank of Japan to accelerate what has been a very gradual exit from its YCC (Yield Curve Control) policy regime.”


“Japan gasoline price hits record 185.60 yen per liter.

“The average retail gasoline price in Japan has climbed for the 15th straight week to its highest-ever level, industry ministry data showed Wednesday, as subsidies given to oil wholesalers taper off toward the end of September.”


“China is approving new coal power projects at the equivalent of two plants every week, a rate energy watchdogs say is unsustainable if the country hopes to achieve its energy targets…

“But after regional power crunches in 2022, China started a domestic spree of approving new projects and restarting suspended ones. In 2022 the government approved a record-breaking 106 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power capacity.”


“Evergrande shares plunge further amid China economy fears.

“Shares in Evergrande fell a further 14% on Tuesday after more than $2bn was wiped off the Chinese property developer’s market value when it resumed trading for the first time in almost 18 months on Monday. Evergrande, the world’s most indebted property firm with liabilities of $328bn (£260bn), has lost more than 99% of its share market value over the past three years.”


“China Distress Mounts as Country Garden Tries to Dodge Default.

“China is flashing new signs of financial stress almost on a daily basis, with a property giant making fresh efforts to avoid default and a state-run bad debt manager suffering a bond slump on worries about its own health.”


“Chinese banks to cut existing mortgage rates as property crisis deepens.

“Some Chinese state-owned banks will soon lower interest rates on existing mortgages, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as Beijing ramps up efforts to revive the debt crisis-hit property sector and bolster a sputtering economy.”


“Drought dents Sri Lanka’s economic hopes, farmers’ livelihood…

“The island’s economy was crushed last year by its worst financial crisis in over seven decades… But even before the country’s agriculture sector could recover from sky-rocketing prices of inputs from fertiliser to power, the rains failed.”


“Pakistan: Political unrest compounds economic misery.

“Pakistan’s caretaker government needs to drum up foreign investment to help stabilize the economy, but ongoing political uncertainty is keeping many investors away.”


“Syrian protests enter second week with calls for Assad to go…

“A spate of protests and strikes across government-held areas in southern Syria have continued into their second week, with demonstrators increasingly unafraid to call for the removal of the president, Bashar al-Assad.”


“Leaked ‘secret’ meeting between Israel and Libya sparks riots in Tripoli [Libya].

“The White House is reportedly “furious” with the Israeli government after they publicised a meeting between Israeli and Libyan foreign ministers… Libya has traditionally been a strong supporter of Palestinians and has no formal ties with Israel.”


“Argentina’s Milei will need time to scrap peso if he wins.

“Javier Milei, Argentina’s radical presidential front-runner, will need time to carry out his campaign pledges of scrapping the peso currency and cutting taxes on grains should he win the election, advisers told Reuters, adding that he could avoid congressional hurdles by using executive decrees.”


“Colombia: mass protests over gas prices.

“Thousands of protesters on cars and motorbikes took to the streets of Colombia’s main cities on Monday to reject recent hikes in gasoline prices that have drastically increased the price of fuel in the South American country.”


“Turkish ‘Patanas’ Are a Pollution Bomb in Cuba.

“The formidable column of smoke that extends from the bay of Havana to the east is the most visible example of the environmental damage caused by the Turkish patanas, the floating power plants present on the Island since 2019… [they] release dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into the island’s atmosphere.”


The race to mine the moon: How India, Russia, Europe, the US and China are battling it out to mine precious water, helium and metals beneath the lunar surface – estimated to be worth QUADRILLIONS…

“Other resources include basalt, iron, quartz and silicon, which could all be used for windows, stoneware and solar panels on Earth, while precious metals for electronics include platinum, palladium and rhodium.”


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

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

28th August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“‘No playbook’: policymakers face up to changing global economy at Jackson Hole.

“Gathering for their annual meeting in the foothills of the Teton Range in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, leading officials and economists traded last year’s angst about inflation and central banks’ credibility for fears that the upheaval caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have ushered in a new era for the global economy.”


“Global inflation pressures could become harder to manage in coming years, research suggests.

“Rising trade barriers. Aging populations. A broad transition from carbon-spewing fossil fuels to renewable energy. The prevalence of such trends across the world could intensify global inflation pressures in the coming years and make it harder for the Federal Reserve and other central banks to meet their inflation targets.”


No real fix to the sharp rise in public debt loads, economists say.

“The steep jump in public debt loads over the past decade and a half, as governments borrowed large amounts of money to battle the Global Financial Crisis and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, is probably irreversible.”


The rise of the walking dead: Zombie firms around the world.

“The rise in the number of unproductive and unviable (‘zombie’) firms worldwide does not bode well for future productivity growth. This column documents global trends in zombification over the last two decades by creating a new dataset of nonfinancial zombie firms, listed and private, for a large set of countries.”


“Across the US, the legalized marijuana industry is buckling under the strain of plunging prices, patchwork state regulation, and burdensome taxes…

“‘All of these issues are chipping away at the health of the industry to the point where I would describe the industry as in crisis in the United States,’ Beau Whitney, senior economist for the National Cannabis Industry Association, told DailyMail.com this week. ‘This is unsustainable from an economic perspective.'”


“Personal loans are masking Americans’ credit card problems…

“”Though it may be tempting to see that available credit limit, it’s really important to keep that balance low in order to not get yourself further into debt,” Liz Pagel, senior vice president and consumer lending business leader at TransUnion, told Yahoo Finance.”


“A record 1.5 million people – almost one third of all mortgage holders – are now considered at risk of mortgage stress across Australia as interest rate hikes continue to bite.

“The figure surpasses the previous highest number of people experiencing mortgage stress: 1.46 million in the three months to May 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.”


“Tax cut hopes fade as UK’s debt interest bill rockets.

“Britain’s soaring debt interest bill looks set to extinguish any flickering prospect of significant pre-Election tax cuts, economists have warned. Hopes that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt may have some room for big giveaways rose last week when public borrowing figures came in at less than expected.”


“At least 26 English councils ‘at risk of bankruptcy in next two years’.

“At least 26 councils in some of Britain’s most deprived areas are at risk of effective bankruptcy within the next two years, according to a leading local government group, which says many authorities simply have “nothing left”.”


“Swedish government removes nuclear power promise from website.

“The Swedish government has quietly walked back an announcement that it would build at least 10 nuclear reactors by 2040 as part of its plan to ditch fossil fuels… Daniel Liljeberg, state secretary to the minister for energy, business and industry, said there is no official target matching Ms Pourmokhtari’s statement.”


“France to pay farmers €200mn for destroying wine surplus.

“Drinkers’ fading appetite for French wine has left farmers with a glut that the government is planning to spend €200mn destroying. The French agriculture ministry has obtained approval and financial support from the EU to pay so-called crisis distillation aid…”


“Weak yen puts pressure on Bank of Japan to tighten policy…

“The Japanese currency slid to ¥146.6 per dollar after Jay Powell, chair of the US Federal Reserve, raised the prospect of further domestic interest rate rises, potentially widening the vast gap between US and Japanese borrowing costs. Japan has been the only major developed market not to raise interest rates over the past 18 months…


“China’s Worsening Economic Slowdown Is Rippling Across the Globe…

“Asian economies are taking the biggest hit to their trade so far, along with countries in Africa. Japan reported its first drop in exports in more than two years in July after China cut back on purchases of cars and chips. Central bankers from South Korea and Thailand last week cited China’s weak recovery for downgrades to their growth forecasts.”


“China’s summer of climate destruction…

“This month, 40% of the area’s famous Wuchang rice crop has been wiped out, visibly flattened by the volume and speed of the water. Places which should appear lush and green are today brown and dead… In a little over a decade, the number of floods being recorded in the country has increased tenfold.


“India Further Tightens Rice Shipments in Threat to Global Supply.

“India, the world’s biggest exporter of rice, imposed more curbs on shipments of the grain in a move that’s likely to further squeeze global supplies of the food staple. The government will set a floor price of $1,200 per ton for basmati rice exports, according to a commerce ministry statement.”


“Record-breaking temperatures, reduced rainfall and changes in the natural climate are set to damage Thailand’s economy and increase poverty…

“As [the World Meteorological Organization] said that July was the hottest July in history. But the hottest month of the year [for Thailand] is April,” said Chaowat Siwapornchai, a meteorologist in Bangkok.”


“Myanmar: Rapper Byuhar receives 20-year prison sentence for criticising blackouts.

“Following a long blackout in Yangon, on 23 May, the rapper posted a video to social media criticising the junta’s management of the power supply, comparing it unfavourably to the way power was supplied under the NLD government. Byuhar was then arrested…”


“Protests Over Power Bill Increases Spread in Pakistan.

“Protests against soaring power prices continued in Pakistan for a third consecutive day on Sunday, with television footage showing enraged consumers at rallies burning their electricity bills… The protests erupted on Friday and spread to many cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.”


“Iran Opens Criminal Case Against Pop Star Over Anti-Hijab Song.

“Iran’s judiciary has opened an unspecified criminal case against prominent pop singer Mehdi Yarrahi. The judiciary said on August 27 that “a legal case was filed…following the release of an illegal song which defies the morals and customs of Islamic society.””


“Lebanon: Popular comedian detained after sketch on economic conditions…

“According to local media platform Megaphone News, the comedian spoke about Lebanese army personnel being forced to take on multiple side jobs such as delivery services in order to make enough money. Hajjar was summoned for interrogation at the military police barracks in Rihaniye…”


“Protesters demanding an end to authoritarian rule shut the ruling Baath party headquarters in the southwestern Syrian Druze city of Sweida as protests which entered their second week showed no signs of abating, civic activists and witnesses said.

“Youths with welding machines sealed the gates of the building of the party led by President Bashar al Assad, which has been in power since a 1963 coup.”


“Kurds Back Protests in Syria’s Sweida, Daraa…

The city of Raqqa in the northern part of the country, along with several towns in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor and the city of Qamishli in Hasakah province in the far northeast of Syria, have witnessed supportive gatherings and condemning demonstrations against the government’s decision to lift subsidies on fuel and oil derivatives.”


“The longest nationwide power outage in Kenyans’ memory remained a mystery Sunday as the government-owned power company blamed a failure at Africa’s largest wind farm, which laid the responsibility on the power grid instead.

“Some of Kenya’s more than 50 million people, including in the capital, Nairobi, saw power return almost 24 hours after the massive outage occurred late Friday.”


Coincidence? Tanzania announces three day power rationing…

“As Kenyans continued to hold on to hope as normalcy is restored by Kenya Power in part hit by the blackout, their Tanzanian counterparts were also facing the same.”


“Power cuts plague Ethiopia’s capital as electricity woes worsen.

“Residents of Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa have expressed growing frustration over persistent and prolonged electricity interruptions in recent weeks. Several neighborhoods across the city have experienced prolonged rolling blackouts…”


“Gabon blocks internet access, imposes curfew amid election voting delays.

“Gabon cut internet access and announced a nightly curfew as voting drew to a close Saturday, and opposition leader Albert Ondo Ossa denounced “fraud” in his battle for the presidency against incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba.”


“‘Suffering is continuing’: Mnangagwa declared winner in Zimbabwe election.

“Voters fear economic disaster as incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa is returned for a second term… Zimbabwe’s economy has tanked after years of economic mismanagement by Zanu PF, which has been in power since the end of white minority rule in 1980.”


“Argentina offers financial aid to crisis-hit workers and pensioners.

“Argentina’s economy ministry on Sunday announced a series of benefits for workers and pensioners intended to soften the blow of a severe economic crisis which has seen inflation spiral and the government devalue the country’s currency.”


“Chilean economy in recession: declines in consumption and investments.

“Chile’s economy has contracted for three consecutive quarters, with significant weakness in household consumption and decline in investments. The last negative figure was reported last week by the Central Bank, showing GDP contracted by -1.1% over the same period between April and June 2023. previous year.”


“Haiti gang opens fire on protesters in capital, killing seven…

“Hundreds of parishioners, some armed with machetes, marched through a suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince, in a bid to rid the area of gang members. The gang is said to have opened fire on them with machine guns.”


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

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

25th August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

A global recession is looming as rising interest rates and the cost of living crisis eat away at the remaining strength of the post-Covid rebound, economists have warned.

Britain’s economy is suffering its biggest slump in more than two and a half years amid an “increasingly severe” downturn in manufacturing and people having less money to spend on services, leading economists to warn the nation is at risk of recession…

At the same time the eurozone economy is in even worse shape, according to the survey, while top economists warned the US also faces recession. Combined with China’s slowdown it means there is a growing risk of a global recession, as the recovery from Covid has petered out.”


With central banks’ job half done, global inflation talk is shifting…

“…as global central bankers gather in a mountain lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for their annual economic brainstorm, talk is shifting to keeping rates around where they are now – but for longer than perhaps previously estimated – rather than raising them further.


BRICS expansion: The Saudi surprise adds momentum to the de-dollarisation debate.

The big surprise from the BRICS summit in South Africa is that Saudi Arabia has been invited to join the group of major emerging countries. And that’s adding fresh impetus to the de-dollarisation debate, which is a potential challenge to the dominance of the US dollar in global trade.”


What is a BRICS currency, and could one be adopted?

“…Building a BRICS currency would be a “political project”, South African central bank governor Lesetja Kganyago told a radio station in July… “If you want it, you’ll have to get a banking union, you’ll have to get a fiscal union, you’ve got to get macroeconomic convergence,” Kganyago said.”


China capitalises on US sanctions in fight to dethrone dollar…

“…with the expansion of US economic sanctions and the explosion of new technologies for international payments, cracks are starting to appear in the dollar’s once-impregnable position… The aim is not to depose the dollar but to chip away at its dominance — and, crucially, to create enough space for China’s economic survival if the US one day targets it with the type of sanctions it has imposed on Russia.”


US 30-year mortgage rate soars to highest since 2000.

“The interest rate on the most popular U.S. home loan last week shot to the highest since December 2000, helping drive mortgage applications to a 28-year low, a survey showed on Wednesday… the housing market has stood out as the sector most afflicted by the Fed’s aggressive actions to cool demand and undercut inflation.”


Landlords With $1.2 Trillion of Debt Face Rising Default Risks

“About $1.2 trillion of debt on US commercial real estate is “potentially troubled” because it’s highly leveraged and property values are falling, according to Newmark Group Inc… Overleveraged owners are often more motivated to stop payments than sink money into buildings with diminished prospects for returns.”


US power system gets gasier, but not much cleaner, in 2023.

“U.S. power producers increased output of electricity from natural gas by more than from clean power sources in the opening eight months of 2023, as electricity firms grappled with low wind speeds and heavy demand from power-hungry air conditioners.”


Vogtle’s troubles bring US nuclear challenge into focus…

“The start up of the reactors has been hailed as a major milestone in U.S. nuclear power construction, but the units arrived more than seven years later than originally planned and at a budget of more than double the preliminary projected cost at over $30 billion.”


Biden’s crazy electric car plan means grid collapse, probably this decade… The numbers just don’t add up…

“Perhaps even more pressing than the daunting permitting challenges is the fact that the US power sector is currently experiencing a severe shortage of power transformers, integral to any new transmission project… Few of these transformers are made domestically, with most having to be sourced overseas via supply chains often controlled by China.”


Solar and windfarm investment is drying up – and Australia needs a wake-up call…

“…investment in large-scale solar and windfarms has dried up to next-to-nothing just as it is supposed to be moving into overdrive… The first three months of the year were even worse. It’s the slowest start to a year since the council started recording this data in 2017.”


Fukushima: China accused of hypocrisy over its own release of wastewater from nuclear plants.

“As China bans all seafood from Japan after the discharge of 1m tonnes of radioactive water from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, Beijing has been accused of hypocrisy and of using the incident to whip up anti-Japanese sentiment.”


France heatwave curbs cooling water supply to St Alban nuclear plant.

“A heatwave curbing the availability of cooling water has prompted a production warning from operator EDF for the Saint Alban nuclear power plant on the Rhone river in eastern France for Aug. 26-27. Similar warnings have been issued this summer at plants including those at Bugey and Tricastin, which are also on the Rhone.”


Waitrose [supermarket, UK] hit by shortage of middle-class vegetables… Unpredictable weather is yet again disrupting Britain’s fragile supply chains.

“Shoppers seeking out globe artichokes for their summer dishes have been met with disappointment in recent weeks after unpredictable weather disrupted supplies.”


German economy stagnates in Q2 after winter recession.

“The German economy stagnated in the second quarter compared to the previous three months, following a winter recession, data from the statistics office showed on Friday… Year on year, adjusted GDP contracted by 0.2% in the second quarter.”


Sweden’s Recession Seen Lasting Longer With Households Pressured.

“Sweden’s economy is facing two years of contraction — more than previously thought — as rising costs force consumers to continue paring back spending into next year, according to economists at the country’s second-largest bank by market value.”


Food and aid pile up at Niger’s border as sanctions bite.

“The Malanville border crossing in northern Benin… is at a standstill… The blockade is meant to pressure the junta to restore President Mohamed Bazoum to office. In the process, it has driven up the price of food inside Niger during the lean season, hampered industry and threatened a shortage of medical supplies, aid agencies, officials and residents said.”


Niger junta authorises Burkina Faso, Mali to intervene militarily ‘in the event of aggression’…

“Niger’s new ruler General Abdourahamane Tiani warned in a televised address on Saturday: “If an attack were to be undertaken against us, it will not be the walk in the park some people seem to think.””


Civilians targeted in war-torn Khartoum as poor and elderly remain trapped…

“A woman who had been helping wounded soldiers was killed along with her three children and six neighbours when her home was shelled by Sudanese army forces earlier this week. More than two-thirds of Khartoum’s hospitals have been closed or destroyed since the conflict broke out in April…”


Tunisia’s Response to Bread Shortages Bode Ill for Its Economic Stability.

“Tunisia’s struggle to mitigate widespread bread shortages risks eroding its authoritarian president’s popularity, triggering social unrest, and delaying the disbursement of needed funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”


Turkey shocks with big rate hike to 25% to cool raging inflation…

“Analysts said the move was the clearest step yet toward more mainstream economic policies after years of unorthodoxy under President Tayyip Erdogan, and should help rein in inflation expectations. The lira had touched new all-time lows almost daily in recent weeks…”


Lebanon pins hopes on offshore oil exploration amid economic collapse…

“Last Wednesday, a drilling rig reached Lebanon, intending to initiate offshore oil-and-gas exploration later this month, as the French energy group TotalEnergies stated. The commencement of offshore drilling activities in Lebanon comes after a significant agreement facilitated by the United States last year.”


Protests hit Druze city in Syria for fifth day.

“Hundreds of Syrians in the mainly Druze city of Sweida took to the streets for a fifth consecutive day on Thursday, protesting at worsening economic conditions and demanding the departure of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.”


Three wounded in Yemen power outage protests.

“Three people in Yemen were wounded during raging protests over chronic power outages in the southern port city of Aden on Tuesday evening, residents and local media said, with the event threatening to shatter months of tranquility in the key city.”


Iran’s economy may be on the brink of a Soviet-style collapse…

“In leaks from IRGC commanders it is clear that the financial largesse that literally oiled the political system is waning, and that junior officers and guardsmen are seeking alternative means of income, including the selling of state secrets.”


Pakistani Rupee Hits Record Low.

For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the country’s currency plummeted in value to more than 300 rupees against the dollar, raising fears that everyday items could get more expensive as consumers continue to face back-breaking inflation.”


Murder and other violent crimes are on the rise in North Korea amid spreading hunger…

““Judicial authorities are strengthening controls by mobilizing special riot police, inspection teams, and police officers to crack down on residents’ passage at night, but criminal acts are not decreasing,” said a resident of North Hamgyong province…”


In Argentina, scattered looting portends ugly election race as inflation bites…

“The looting, from southern Patagonian city Bariloche to wine region Mendoza and around capital Buenos Aires, has seen small groups of people break into stores, stealing food and other items, according to a Reuters witnesses, state TV and officials.”


Panama eyes new measures as flow of migrants through Darien Gap hits 300,000 so far this year…

“The plan, named “Darien is a jungle, not a road,” will be launched next week, officials said, but they could barely hide their frustration with neighboring Colombia’s inability to stop migrants from coming to the two countries’ roadless border.”


Carbon credit speculators could lose billions as offsets deemed ‘worthless’…

“Amid growing evidence that huge numbers of carbon credits do nothing to mitigate global heating and can sometimes be linked to alleged human rights concerns, there is a growing pile of carbon credits equivalent to the annual emissions of Japan, the world’s fifth largest polluter, that are unused in the unregulated voluntary market, according to market analysis.”


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

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

23rd August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

US Treasury yields hit 16-year high on fears over interest rate outlook.

“The sell-off in US government debt continued to hit the world’s largest bond market on Monday, with yields on benchmark Treasuries hitting new 16-year highs as investors come to grips with an economy that refuses to slow…

“Investors are increasingly looking towards a high-profile gathering of the world’s central bank chiefs in Wyoming later this week, where policymakers may signal interest rates must stay higher for an extended period to keep inflation moving lower.


S&P downgrades multiple US banks citing ‘tough’ operating conditions.

“S&P Global on Monday cut credit ratings and revised its outlook for multiple U.S. banks, following a similar move by Moody’s, warning that funding risks and weaker profitability will likely test the sector’s credit strength.”


Average Americans Are Struggling To Pay For Their Cars Following Delinquencies, Price Increases [it’s been called to my attention that the Daily Caller is strongly to the right. I try not to use very political sources but the article is reasonable, so I am leaving it in]…

“Heightened rates of auto loan delinquency and increased costs reveal that Americans are struggling to afford their cars, according to The Wall Street Journal… Gas prices have also been on the rise. The current average for regular gas is currently $3.865 per gallon…”


The US Leading Economic Indicators fell for the sixteenth consecutive month in July, signaling an uncertain outlook [this is its longest stretch of negative readings since the GFC].

“The Conference Board forecasts a short and shallow recession in the Q4 2023 to Q1 2024 timespan. We believe it will be driven by a financial crisis in China.”


The Electric-Vehicle Bubble Starts to Deflate… Biden is imitating China just as its industrial policy starts to crack [picture is of an unsold EV graveyard in Hangzhou, China].

“As with real estate, Chinese government support inflated EV investment and misallocated capital that could have been put to more productive uses. Now comes the destruction that invariably follows the government creation…”


As China’s property crisis plagues its economy and financial system, is a ‘Lehman Moment’ looming?

“Two years after the bond default by one of China’s biggest real estate developers created the first shock waves, Beijing’s promise that everything is under control is becoming increasingly harder to sell to investors.”


Canada likely sitting on the largest housing bubble of all time: Strategist…

“Colmar argued that the inflated home prices in Canada are a result of two decades’ worth of easy money supplied by the Bank of Canada’s monetary policy for numerous reasons. At present the moment, he sees risk in mortgage rates climbing as Canadian bond yields are dragged up, particularly at a time when debt-to-income ratios are sky high.”


[UK] Government makes biggest payment to Bank of England in history to fund bond losses.

“The Government transferred a record £14.3bn to the Bank of England last month as increases in interest rates lumbered the Treasury with heavy losses from quantitative easing (QE). The Treasury delivered the single largest state transfer to the Bank on record in July…”


PwC has experienced more ‘political and economic turbulence’ over the past year than ever before, its UK boss revealed yesterday.

“Kevin Ellis was speaking as the UK arm of the accounting and auditing giant published results for a period which has seen three prime ministers and a bond market meltdown, as well as inflation at the highest level for four decades.”


Energy bills: 13m British homes ‘did not turn on heating when cold last winter’…

“The increase in gas prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced the UK government to intervene to subsidise the cost of household energy bills, which remained well above pre-energy crisis levels, and belatedly launch an advertising campaign encouraging consumers to reduce their usage.”


The UK’s oil and gas sector faces the growing prospect of a cash crunch, with the Treasury’s latest attempts to lure lenders back to the North Sea this week likely to fall on deaf ears…

…only a handful [of banks] are expected to attend the meeting, with dozens of banks already pulling out of investing in domestic fossil fuels due to concerns over the UK’s poor investment climate and growing pressure to fulfil ESG obligations.”


Europe’s atomic reactors are getting old…

“Taken together, the UK and EU have 109 nuclear reactors running, most of which were built in the 1970s and 1980s and were commissioned to last about 30 years. That means 95 of those reactors — nearly 90% of the fleet — have passed or are nearing the end of their original lifespan…


The risk of an augmented doom loop for Europe…

The signs are there, with sovereign exposure to the corporate sector crossing 20 per cent of gross domestic product. This comes from both the European Central Bank’s asset purchases and the generous policy support to shield companies from the effects of back-to-back crises.”


Cancer treatment uncertainty: European nations struggle with drug shortages.

“Europe is running out of some key chemotherapy agents that are off-patent and available as generics. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reports 20 products in ongoing shortage, of which several are used in oncological care.”


Japan’s 10-year government bond yield hit a more than nine-year high on Tuesday, crossing a level that had prompted the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to intervene in the market earlier this month.

“The 10-year JGB yield rose 1.5 basis points (bps) to 0.665%, its highest level since January 2014.”


High food prices put populism on India’s table…

“Pressure is building in Indian kitchens. Prices of tomatoes, onions, potatoes, pulses and spices – all the basic ingredients – are soaring as the world’s most populous country heads towards key state polls later this year and national ones soon after.”


‘I will go hungry if I have to’ [Pakistan].

“A Pakistani domestic worker is determined to give her children an education and ensure they are fed, even if means she must sometimes skip meals… “The life we have right now is no way to live,” she says. Aisha is therefore determined for her children to have opportunities that she and her husband did not have…”


Afghanistan’s central bank Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) sold 14 million U.S. dollars by auction on Monday to stabilize the exchange rate of the national currency afghani, the bank said in a statement…

“Afghanistan has received more than 2 billion dollars in cash over the past 21 months as part of the international community’s humanitarian aid to prevent the economic collapse of the cash-strapped country.”


Iran’s Khuzestan: Thirst and Turmoil…

“Nestled on the Gulf’s northern shores, abutting Iraq, Khuzestan is a microcosm of the many intersecting challenges facing the Islamic Republic. Rich in natural resources but poverty-stricken, historically verdant but increasingly parched…”


Turkey: Police step up shadow campaign to deport immigrants and refugees.

“Turkey has launched a silent campaign to reduce the number of refugees and migrants within its borders, including Syrians. The uptick comes on the heels of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s successful re-election campaign in May but precedes important municipal elections due to be held next year.”


Jordan Foreign Minister says Syrian refugees must eventually return home.

“There are 670,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan. The kingdom has made their return an objective of a rapprochement effort with President Bashar Al Assad, along with curbing booming narcotics smuggling from areas under Mr Al Assad’s control.”


Protests spread Monday in two government-held provinces in southern Syria amid widespread anger over the crash of the Syrian pound and the dwindling purchasing power of many people in the war-torn country, opposition activists said…

“The U.S. dollar has strengthened from 7,000 Syrian pounds at the beginning of 2023 to 15,000 now. At the onset of Syria’s uprising turned-civil war in 2011, the dollar was trading at 47 pounds.”


Rolling blackouts, sudden shutdowns: Extreme heat boils — and roils — the Middle East.

“In recent years, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria have all seen protests ignite over issues of power provision… In this summer’s extraordinary heat, many Middle Eastern countries have… resorted to mandatory work furloughs or power cuts, cannibalizing parts of their economies to save power — and money.”


Sisi says Egypt’s economic crisis will improve ‘because God exists’…

“”We always say God exists. God is watching us and seeing that in our country, despite these difficult circumstances, we are intent on working seriously in all sectors and fields,” the autocratic president said. Sisi previously described himself as a “doctor” sent by God to cure Egypt’s “ailments”.”


Zimbabwe to go to polls amid deepening economic crisis.

“An ever-worsening economic situation will hang over Zimbabwean voters when they go to the polls on Wednesday in a repeat of the 2018 election pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against his charismatic and relatively youthful challenger, Nelson Chamisa.”


Argentina’s government has reportedly reached an agreement with supermarkets to limit monthly food price increases to a maximum of 5% for 90 days in an attempt to tame inflation…

“Government officials settled on a deal with 31 representatives of local supermarket chains to “stabilise” prices until Argentina’s national elections in October, Reuters quoted economy minister Sergio Massa as saying last week.”


As Cuba takes leap towards ‘cashless’ economy, entrepreneurs brace for impact…

“Even before the new restrictions, Cuban entrepreneurs faced what might seem insurmountable hurtles anywhere else: spotty electricity and internet, widespread fuel shortages, and no practical way to legally exchange large amounts of local currency into the dollars needed to import merchandise from abroad.”


Crypto has ‘amplified financial risks’ in emerging markets, central banks warn…

“Cryptocurrency assets have amplified rather than reduced financial risks in less developed economies, and regulators will need to treat them in the same way they oversee other assets, some of the world’s most powerful central banks have warned.”


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

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

21st August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Fasten your seatbelts – the global economy is heading for turbulence… Nerves about recent poor economic news from China have come to the fore…

“…the focus is shifting from inflation to growth. Next, I expect the focus of financial markets to shift to debt. Public and private debt levels globally are high, limiting the room for policy manoeuvre and leaving many people and firms exposed to a sustained period of high interest rates. Keep the seatbelts tightened.”


Summer of angst as bond yields surge and global stocks wobble.

“Cracks are forming in a global stocks rally, with surging bond yields, rising energy prices and intensified worries over China’s economy among the factors sapping investors’ risk appetite following months of gains in equity markets.”


Diesel supplies may become scarce as winter looms…

All over the world, prices for the fuel are sky-high relative to the crude oil from which it is made, pointing to a scarcity that should alarm inflation-obsessed governments everywhere. And within just a few months, the Northern Hemisphere will enter winter, pushing up demand for heating.”


Net-Zero Goals Won’t Slow Down Oil Exploration…

“If spending oil new oil and gas exploration is taking place in [the context of pressure for a green transition], then there must be a very good reason for it, and that reason is not the record profits oil and gas companies made last year. They are part of the reason but not the whole of it. The whole of it is energy security.


Voters will not accept “economic destruction” to achieve net zero, one of Britain’s biggest unions has warned Sir Keir Starmer.

“Gary Smith, the general secretary of the GMB union, said a rush to abandon oil and gas would be “a disaster” and urged the Labour leader to rethink his green objectives.”


Turbulent times: UK faces strikes, shortages, and soaring inflation…

“Today, a great city like London is a shadow of it’s former self, plagued by crime, transport strikes, a healthcare system that is so broken that you are unlikely to get an ambulance in time when you call for one, and a services industry that has been crippled after Brexit.”


The amount Britain owes exceeds its GDP for the first time since 1961—and credit-rating agencies are watching…

“The UK’s public debt load has soared by more than 40% to almost £2.6 trillion ($3.3 trillion) since the pandemic struck… A heavy reliance on index-linked bonds at a time of high inflation also means Britain will pay more to service liabilities than any other advanced economy.”


EU deforestation rules risk ‘catastrophic’ impact on global trade, says ITC chief…

“Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive director of the ITC, a joint agency of the UN and World Trade Organization, told the Financial Times that a ban on goods linked to deforestation from entering the EU favoured big companies that can trace where their produce had been grown and risked “cutting off” smaller suppliers.”


“Can Germany fix its economy?

“…The IMF and OECD both expect Germany to be the worst-performing leading economy in the world this year. The country’s top-selling tabloid newspaper Bild Zeitung recently raised the alarm, declaring: “Help, our economy is crashing” as it appealed for chancellor Olaf Scholz to take action.”


Violent protests and clashes between demonstrators and police erupted in the eastern suburbs of Liège over the weekend after a 31-year-old driver was shot and killed by police on Friday…

“The incident led to protests, particularly given the similar police shooting that killed a teenager in France before the summer break and led to demonstrations all over France which then spread to Belgium.”


Europe shows it still can’t handle an influx of migrants…

“For nearly a decade, almost 50 migrants have died or disappeared on average each week trying to reach European shores aboard rickety boats in the Mediterranean. This year, the weekly toll has spiked to about 70…”


Authorities ‘left people to die’ despite warnings about Cape Verde migrant boat weeks before tragedy, rights group alleges…

“Four national authorities and the European Union’s border patrol agency Frontex failed to make “sufficient” efforts to prevent the deaths of dozens of migrants off West Africa, despite being warned about the boat weeks before, a Spanish human rights NGO alleged Friday.”


‘It’s Europe or death’: Why no amount of EU money has stopped migrants fleeing Tunisia…

“Hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants of all ages have been sleeping rough in Sfax’s parks and alleyways for nearly two months. Many were forced from their homes in racist pogroms that swept the city earlier this summer. The violent crackdown has added urgency to migrants’ plans to set sail for Italy, and the EU…”


China urges banks to offer more loans to support recovery.

“China’s central bank and financial regulators have met with bank executives and again told lenders to boost loans to support a recovery, adding to signs of heightened concern among politicians about the deteriorating economic outlook.”


Why LGFV debt is a growing risk for China’s economy.

“Cracks are showing in a pillar of China’s debt market: local-government financing vehicles (LGFVs). Created to fund such things as roads, airports and power infrastructure, they rarely generate enough returns to cover their obligations. That means most rely on injections of municipal funds to stay solvent.”


Taiwan’s Biggest Financial Firm Braces for Deeper China Turmoil.

“Taiwan’s biggest financial conglomerate has cut back on its exposure to China… Fubon Financial Holding, which operates banks and insurance companies, has been capping its risks in China over the past few years during Covid, and is now prepared for even deeper turmoil.”


The South Korean economy faces fresh risks from China, with no immediate breakthrough in sight to recover its faltering exports…

““Amid the prolonged slump in the chip industry, China’s imports from Korea and Taiwan — key hubs of the semiconductor industry — have dropped largely in recent months. If this does not recover, Korea’s exports will not be picking up anytime soon,” he said.”


The Bank of Japan is purchasing government bonds at a record pace this year, a factor that likely prompted its recent move to allow larger yield movements to reduce the strain on its control of longer-term interest rates…

The central bank has had to intervene in the market twice with unscheduled purchase operations since July 28…”


Argentina has fixed the price of oil received by drillers at $56, far below international levels, as it scrambles to stop inflation getting further out of control after this week’s currency devaluation…

“Crude drillers in burgeoning shale patch Vaca Muerta will get $56 a barrel until Oct. 31. Argentine oil prices were already decoupled from global markets, but Thursday night’s decision means shale companies will receive 11% less than the $63 at which local light crude was trading in the second quarter.”


Venezuelans struggle to find power, water amid shortage.

“Yusmary spends as much as half her weekly wage on water. Isora must go to the black market to get gas cylinders so she can cook. Rodrigo, weary of blackouts, bought portable generators for his home and business. Public utilities offer erratic service in Venezuela, and citizens pay steeply to make up for the shortcomings.”


South Africa’s delivery of crucial services under threat after Treasury desperately calls for public ‘fiscal consolidation’…

To prevent a total collapse in the country’s finances, National Treasury has told all government departments in provinces that no new spending will be allocated to them. The Treasury is even prepared to implement budget cuts in 2024…”


Nigeria’s debt profile up 410% in 8 years…

“In the MAN CEOs’ Confidence Index (MCCI) first quarter 2923 (Q1’23) report made available to Vanguard on Sunday, the association warned that the N77 trillion inherited by the administration of President Bola Tinubu is bound to limit the achievements of the government if urgent critical steps are not taken.”


Sudanese suffering continues as Sudan’s war enters 5th month… There is not a cease-fire or the opening of the humanitarian corridors…

“Food, other commodity prices rise sharply in Sudanese Armed Forces-controlled areas outside Khartoum, owing to lack of supply and shortages of fuel, power, water, other necessities.”


UN says forced to cut Yemen rations, compounding food crisis.

“More than four million Yemenis will receive less food assistance as a result of funding shortages, compounding one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, the UN’s food agency warned Friday… With major cuts announced across different programmes, the actual number of people affected could be higher.”


Saudi border guards are accused of the mass killing of migrants along the Yemeni border in a new report by Human Rights Watch.

“The report says hundreds of people, many of them Ethiopians who cross war-torn Yemen to reach Saudi Arabia, have been shot dead. Migrants have told the BBC they had limbs severed by gunfire and saw bodies left on the trails.”


Syrians in the regime-held south of the country staged a general strike on Sunday against deteriorating living conditions and price rises, local media reported, amid sporadic demonstrations.

“The government this week lifted fuel subsidies, dealing a blow to people already struggling with the heavy toll that 12 years of war have exacted on Syria’s economy.”


Illegal logging turns Syria’s forests into ‘barren land’…

“Before, “the forest would attract tourists, birds, purify the air and protect the area from dust storms”, he said. But fuel shortages and rampant poverty during the war have pushed many Syrians to chop the trees to sell or use for heating, dealing a blow to the nature surrounding Jaabar.”


Global food security is at crossroads as rice shortages and surging prices hit the most vulnerable…

“Global food security is already under threat since Russia halted an agreement allowing Ukraine to export wheat and the El Nino weather phenomenon hampers rice production. Now, rice prices are soaring — Vietnam’s rice export prices, for instance, have reached a 15-year high — putting the most vulnerable people in some of the poorest nations at risk.”


Food prices have been rising rapidly and there are reasons to fear they will push even higher. Economists warn some prices might never come down…

“In the longer term, concerns are growing over the enduring effects of a warming climate on production and the danger of high food and energy prices getting embedded into an economy, leaving prices higher for ever.”


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

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

18th August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

China calls for more secrecy on sensitive energy issues… Strategic rivalry between China and the United States is intensifying and both governments now perceive a system-wide conflict embracing all elements of the economy and society…

“…it is clear both governments increasingly view each other as an existential threat to national security and are marshalling their respective countries for a whole-of-economy and whole-of-society conflict.

“Both governments are trying to indigenise supply chains, control exports of sensitive technologies and information, and limit investment in sensitive sectors – all of which are being increasingly broadly defined.”


China is considering mounting a response to the latest wave of US sanctions that restrict investments by US venture capital in advanced Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) companies.

“Shu Jueting, a spokesman for Beijing’s ministry of commerce said it was working to understand the impact of President Joe Biden’s latest executive order and considering a response, CNBC reported.”


China warns US stopovers will push Taiwan into abyss of disaster.

“Pan Xianzhang, deputy head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, condemned the decision by the US to arrange stopovers for Taiwanese officials, the latest for Vice President William Lai during his trip to Paraguay.”


China building airstrip on disputed island in South China Sea, satellite images suggest…

“The work on Triton in the Paracel group resembles construction in the Spratly cluster of islands to the east which features airstrips, docks and military systems – but appears not as substantial at the moment.”


China Shadow Bank Crisis Sparks Protest by Angry Investors… Beijing police have unusually strong presence around offices…

“Videos of the incident appear to show around two dozen protesters at Zhongrong, at least one representative of the company, and around 10 police and security officers. It’s the latest sign of turmoil at the trust company, whose liquidity crisis has fueled alarm within financial markets and among Chinese regulators.”


China’s Housing Slump Is Much Worse Than Official Data Show… There seems to be a discrepancy when it comes to data regarding China’s housing market.

“Official statistics show new-home prices have slipped just 2.4% from a high in August 2021, while those for existing homes have dropped 6%. But the picture emerging from property agents and private data providers is far more dire.”


China’s Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted property developer, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States as it attempts to restructure and reach an agreement with creditors.

“Evergrande, once China’s top developer, defaulted on its more than $300bn in debt in 2021, becoming a poster child for China’s property crisis.”


China’s state banks seen selling dollars for yuan in London and New York…

“China’s major state-owned banks were seen busy selling U.S. dollars to buy yuan in both onshore and offshore spot foreign exchange markets this week, people with direct knowledge of the matter said, in an attempt to slow the yuan’s depreciation.”


“US Fed’s hawkish tone on tightening sparks global concerns as country becomes ‘bomb’ for global economy… [an official Chinese perspective]:

“Further US interest rate hikes will not only pose risks to its embattled banking sector and its economy as a whole, but also represent a grave threat to the global economy, with many emerging and developing markets potentially facing capital outflows, higher energy costs and greater debt burden, Chinese experts said.”


“US escalates trade dispute with Mexico over genetically modified corn.

“The United States has escalated its objections to Mexico’s curbs on genetically modified corn imports, requesting a dispute settlement panel under the North American trade pact, the US Trade Representative (USTR) office has said.”


“Hawaii’s main energy firm in crisis after Maui wildfire fury…

“The class-action lawsuit is seeking to hold Hawaiian Electric responsible for the fires which, besides the human toll, caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage. The company’s credit rating was downgraded to junk by S&P and its stock plunged by almost 64 per cent.”


Americans will run out of pandemic savings next month, Fed warns. Experts say continued withdrawals could soon push the US to a tipping point…

“Tim Drayson, head of economics at Legal and General Investment Management, said the “unsustainable drawdown of savings” had put the world’s biggest economy “at a potential turning point”.”


“US real yields surge to 2009 highs, recalling post-Lehman carnage.

“Real yields represent the interest-rate returns on a government bond minus the prevailing inflation rate. They are a big-picture indicator of how expensive borrowings are in an economy. Also, rising real yields tend to add to the appeal of bonds as an investment option, which can be negative for stocks on a relative basis.”


“An horrible 20-year Japanese Government Bonds auction today tailed the most since 1987, showing that investors require a higher yield to buy JGBs.

“Rising JGB yields threaten bonds worldwide, so we see EU and US sovereign yields accelerating their rise this morning.”


[UK] Government borrowing costs have soared to the highest levels since 2008 in a blow to Jeremy Hunt’s hopes of cutting taxes before the election.

“Yields on 10-year government bonds hit a 15-year high of 4.7pc on Thursday as investors bet that interest rates will need to rise even higher to tame inflation.”


If you’re under 50, it’s time to jump ship – get out of Britain while you can.

“…he UK is not so much stagnating as it is fossilising. Fifteen years of anaemic growth mean that real wages are still below their 2008 peak – there are 30 year olds who have seen their entire working career go by without seeing meaningful growth in wages.”


The number of babies born in England and Wales in a year dropped in 2022 to the lowest level in two decades, according to official figures.

“It follows the recent trend of decreasing live births, which had been the case before the pandemic, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.”


“The Netherlands falls into a technical recession.

“Dutch GDP contracted in the second quarter of 2023, declining by -0.3% compared to the first quarter. This follows a contraction in the first three months of the year, meaning the Netherlands is in a ‘technical recession’. The contraction was mostly driven by declining international trade and household consumption.”


“The German economy: from European leader to laggard…

“The 2020s are shaping up to be very different, and not just because the national football team is faltering. Alternative für Deutschland, a far-right populist party, is polling at 20%. Germans are unhappy with their government. Most worrying, Germany’s vaunted economic model and state look unable to provide the growth and public services people have come to expect.”


“Longest technical recession on record in Hungary.

“Contrary to expectations, Hungary posted a quarterly drop in GDP in the second quarter of 2023. The latest data extends the longest technical recession streak on record. We now see a rising chance of a full-year contraction in GDP growth.”


“Thai baht instability rises due to political unrest.

“Political unrest is heightening baht oscillations against the US dollar, as Thailand finds itself without a stable government, the head of the Bank Thailand asserts. This turbulence introduces a greater risk factor amongst investors…”


“Burger King says tomatoes on ‘vacation’ as India battles food inflation…

“Burger King has scrapped tomatoes from its wraps and burgers in many Indian outlets after prices more than quadrupled, the latest symptom of surging food inflation that is hitting consumers hard across the world’s most populous nation.”


“Petrol queues choke Iranian cities.

“Long lines of motorists leading to petrol stations have become a ubiquitous scene in Tehran and several other cities across the oil-producing country in recent weeks. Waiting in slow-moving queues for up to an hour has become common, even late at night or early in the morning.”


“Fuel price protests erupt in Syrian Druze city.

“Protests erupted on Thursday in the ethnic Druze city of Sweida in southwest Syria against economic collapse and a controversial increase in fuel prices. Hundreds of demonstrators burned tyres, blocked roads and chanted anti-government slogans…”


“Lebanon without electricity after power plants run out of money.

“The Electricity Corporation of Lebanon (EDL) announced yesterday that two power stations have stopped operating for financial reasons, resulting in power cuts throughout the country. The corporation said that the operator, Primesouth, had informed it of the suspension of operations at the Deir Aamar and Zahrani power stations due to the failure to pay the operating company in foreign currency.”


“Egypt blackouts become symbol of malaise a decade after Sisi’s rise…

“Along with record inflation and a sharp weakening of the currency, the outages have become a potent symptom of the worst economic crisis to hit Egypt since Sisi took power in 2014 on promises of stability and development.”


“‘We need power’: Zimbabweans hope for end to blackouts as election nears.

“At the fuel station that Emmanuel Bhuru supervises in Zimbabwe’s second industrial city of Bulawayo, electricity outages are the norm. As the station has no functional generator, his staff now work shorter hours. For most of their 12-hour shifts, they sit around waiting for electricity to work…”


“Nuclear ‘fiasco’ threatens to worsen South Africa’s load-shedding…

“The latest delay to the Unit 1 upgrade is particularly problematic because the plant’s other unit is set to begin a shutdown to complete the same programme of renovation just days later… But if both units of the plant are taken offline simultaneously, blackouts are certain to worsen even further.”


“Nigeria gives $235 million to states to buy rice, maize to ease food shortages.

“Nigeria has approved a total of 180 billion naira ($235 mln) for its 36 states to procure rice and maize to cushion the effects of food shortages across the country and hardship caused by reforms, Borno state governor Babagana Zulum said on Thursday.”


“Ice cream prices double in a month as Argentina battles inflation.

“When Ernesto Acuna, a convenience store owner in Buenos Aires, received the new price list this week from his supplier of the snacks, condiments, sodas and ice creams he sells, he was shocked to find costs on some had risen 60% since late July.”


“Chile’s Codelco at risk of insolvency as debt grows, CESCO report says.

“Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, is at risk of insolvency due to rising costs and a growing debt pile stemming from projects that missed output targets, Chile’s Centre for Copper and Mining Studies (CESCO) said in a report seen by Reuters.”


“Inflation Reduction Act May Lead To Major Metals Supply Crunch…

“The S&P Global report specifically mentioned nickel and cobalt as threatened by supply shortages in the near future. The hundreds of billions in subsidies for clean energy may ultimately lead to a supply shortage in a number of crucial metals.


“The man hired to turn around the flagging fortunes of Suncor Energy Inc. said Tuesday he believes the company has been too focused in recent years on the energy transition and must get back to an oil-centred business strategy.

“CEO Rich Kruger… said he believes Suncor must not neglect “the business drivers of today” in favour of future-focused, clean and low-carbon energy pursuits.”


My apologies for the weird colour formatting today btw. WordPress went renegade and kept using all the colours of the rainbow on my bold text, so I’ve had to throw my hands up and go dark grey across the board

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

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