Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

15th March 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Bumper election year to increase geopolitical insecurity… The 2024 major-election year is making the world more volatile and riskier for businesses due to potential systemic macroeconomic and geopolitical changes, according to Marsh’s latest Political Risk Report…

“It said issues with macroeconomic competition and geopolitical tensions are expected to bring long-term uncertainty to businesses…

“It also underscored the risks associated with the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) by various actors, including non-state entities, adversarial states, politicians, and individuals, to propagate false information, thereby aggravating policy uncertainty and political violence risks.”


“Trade disruption and distortion intensifying as geopolitical risks rise…

“State-led economic policies and geopolitical insecurity are giving rise to more frequent disruptions to global trade, making operational planning “unusually volatile”…”


“How doomsday preppers made gold and silver precious end-of-the-world assets…

“People’s interest in gold — and silver, too — reflect deep anxieties about our society and its future. “People are looking for permanence in a crumbling world,” said Timothy Morton, a philosopher and ecologist.”


“Activists Sound Alarm On Rise Of Global Authoritarianism…

“In a Tuesday press conference with the World Liberty Congress, the dissident [Masih Alinejad] now living in exile, said the group, made up of dissidents from 56 autocratic regimes, are calling “to sound the alarm on what we see as a rising tide of authoritarianism across the globe.”


“New extremism definition unveiled because ‘democracy at risk from far-right and Islamist extremists’ [UK]…

“Michael Gove updates the description to include conduct that falls short of criminality, but the government still deems “unacceptable”… The government has unveiled its new definition of extremism despite warnings it could have a “chilling effect” on free speech.”


“New report reveals millions on low incomes face poverty ‘tipping point’ as they struggle to pay for essentials [UK]…

“New research commissioned by national debt help charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is sounding the alarm about the growing number of low-income households being pulled into debt, simply to pay for essential living costs.”


“Grant Shapps has called for defence spending to rise to 3% of GDP – as he confirmed a £2bn Chinook helicopters deal with Boeing.

“It marks a step up from the government’s previous target of 2.5% of GDP, which Mr Shapps had said would be possible “when conditions allow”.”


“Russia jammed the Global Positioning System (GPS) signal of the Defence Secretary’s official jet on a round trip to Poland.

“Grant Shapps was travelling on the RAF’s Envoy, a Dassault 900LX, to visit troops in Mazury, a military base near the Belarus border, when the aircraft’s pilots lost access to the GPS. The aircraft was passing by Kaliningrad…”


“Hawkish Macron refuses to back down on possibility of Western troops in Ukraine.

“French President Emmanuel Macron doubled down on refusing to rule out sending troops to Ukraine during a 30-minute, prime-time television interview on Thursday in which he once again presented the war in Ukraine as an existential threat.”


“Denmark to Add $6 Billion to Defense, Start Drafting Women.

“Denmark’s government presented a plan to increase defense spending by more than 40 billion kroner ($6 billion) through 2028 and said it will start drafting women into its military to help counter an increased threat from Russia.”


“Rheinmetall sees record sales in ‘new decade’ of defence spending.

“German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall expects record sales and increased profitability this year, as the war in Ukraine drives up defence spending in the NATO bloc in a trend set to buoy the company for years to come, it said on Thursday.”


“Europe’s refineries in demand as Ukraine war boosts oil margins…

“Europe’s refineries have been in long-term decline, as major oil companies shut plants to try to meet net zero emissions targets and face the threat of electric vehicles. But, with war in Ukraine and tensions in the Red Sea, energy analysts now believe they may have a profitable future after all…”


“The outrageous anti-American rhetoric of the Hungarian government creates a risk that Budapest’s relations with Washington will change, states the US Ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman.

“According to him, the close relationship between Hungary and Russia is causing concern in Western countries. He notes that Hungary is an ally that behaves differently from others.”


“U.S., Japan conduct joint military exercises amid high tensions with China.

“Japan and the U.S. are expanding the scale of their joint military drills. NBC News’ Janis Mackey Frayer reports from Okinawa, where the most recent exercises were held.”


“China Responds to India Tensions With New Military Drills Near Border…

“China has carried out a live-fire test at the contested border with India in a show of force as tensions between the two Asian giants fester… The live fire exercise by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showcased an advanced surface-to-air missile system. Video footage of the test was viewed over 514,000 times on Weibo.”


“Thousands of farmers protested on Thursday in India’s capital, demanding a new law for minimum crop prices.

“Due to barricaded highways, they traveled to New Delhi by crowded buses and trains instead of tractors. Authorities imposed conditions like banning farm vehicles and weapons to ensure peaceful protests.”


“US Senate leader Chuck Schumer calls for Israelis to replace Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the US Senate, has called for new elections in Israel to replace Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the Israeli prime minister had “weakened Israel’s political and moral fabric” and had been “too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza . . . pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows”.”


“Report claims Yemen’s Houthis have hypersonic missile, potentially raising stakes in Red Sea crisis…

“Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim to have a new, hypersonic missile in their arsenal, Russia’s state media reported Thursday, potentially raising the stakes in their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and surrounding waterways against the backdrop of Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza.”


“How African countries became casualties of Sudan war and Red Sea maritime mayhem.

“Already plagued by complex internal problems, the economies of East Africa have perhaps been the most affected among regional states by the unfolding crisis in Sudan and the attacks on trade passing through the Red Sea.”


“As the Africa debt crisis roils, over half of the countries have found themselves spending more money in servicing their loan obligations than even the amount they have budgeted for health services to their citizens…

“This unfolding scenario is further burdening millions of their citizens who have little choice but to shoulder heavy tax burdens to settle mountains of debt.”


“Zoonotic disease vulnerability escalates amid Sudan’s armed conflict…

“With 140 million livestock, Sudan has been facing a dual challenge of endemic and transboundary animal diseases as well as zoonotic diseases, such as yellow fever and Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever [with the war] increasing the risk of zoonotic disease transmission to humans.”


“War comes to Sudan’s capital — at vast human cost…

“Millions of people have been forced to flee Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Bahri, once home to a combined 10mn people. Even the government, led by President Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has decamped to Port Sudan, 670 kilometres north-east on the Red Sea coast.”


“DRC: 7 million displaced and “unprecedented” crisis, according to the UN.

“Escalating violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has led to the displacement of at least 250,000 people over the past month, a senior United Nations official said on Wednesday, describing the situation as a humanitarian crisis.”


“Forgotten droughts: These five regions of the world could soon face conflict over water…

“According to the Water Peace and Security partnership (WPS) – a group of organisations dedicated to tracking resource scarcity – several countries are at high risk of conflict over resources in the next 12 months. The world isn’t listening, warns WPS coordinator Susanne Schmeier.”


“Pandemic left much of the world on lower human development trajectory…

“Dozens of poor nations have yet to regain their pre-pandemic levels of overall well-being, amid signs that the pandemic may have permanently depressed the world’s development trajectory, according to a U.N. report… The gap between the richest and the poorest in our world has widened…”


“The world is at risk of energy shortages unless more money is invested in drilling for oil and gas, Shell has warned.

“The energy giant said global investment in low carbon energy was only half what is needed, meaning the world will face the risk of blackouts and power shortages in future unless alternative energy sources are secured. The warning came as Shell watered down a key climate pledge…”


“Wood energy giant Enviva files for bankruptcy…

“One of the world’s biggest producers of wood pellets sold to power utilities has filed for US bankruptcy, a downfall for a business seen by investors as a promising source of green energy.”


“Corporate defaults at highest rate since global financial crisis, says S&P…

“More companies have defaulted on their debt in 2024 than in any start to the year since the global financial crisis as inflationary pressures and high interest rates continue to weigh on the world’s riskiest borrowers, according to S&P Global Ratings.”


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

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you!

13th March 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“United States intelligence agencies have warned that the country faces an “increasingly fragile world order”.

“The alarm was sent through the 2024 Annual Threat Assessment report issued on Monday. The document on worldwide threats to US national security cautions that China, Iran and Russia are challenging the current international rules-based order.”


“The navies of China, Iran and Russia have begun joint drills in the Gulf of Oman, their fifth common military exercise in recent years.

“The war games starting on Tuesday coincide with heightened tensions in the region as Israel’s war on Gaza rages for a sixth month and Yemen’s Houthi rebels have launched attacks on ships in the Red Sea in response.”


“Sweden and Finland join Nato’s biggest military exercise in decades.

“There was a time when Nato would do its best to avoid direct mention of Russia when conducting its military manoeuvres. Not least for fear of provocation. But Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine has changed all that.”


“Swedish PM says ready to fortify crucial Baltic island.

“Sweden is open to reinforcing defences on the Baltic Sea’s most crucial island, according to its prime minister, as the new Nato member explores with allies how best to repel a rapidly militarising Russia.”


“Moldova delivers protest to Russia over voting stations in Transdniestria…

“The Russian ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov was summoned on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said on social media. The ministry previously agreed on one polling station in Moldova’s capital of Chisinau for elections slated to be held from Friday to Sunday, but Moscow instead was set to open six in breakaway Transdniestria.”


“The Impact of Russia-Ukraine geopolitical conflict on the air quality and toxicological properties of ambient PM2.5 in Milan, Italy [study]…

“DTT assay levels during the intra-RHD were 2.1 times higher… Our findings highlight the necessity for policies to mitigate the indirect health effects of increased biomass burning emissions due to the energy crisis triggered by the geopolitical conflict.”


“Russia’s response to asset seizure could trigger global financial collapse…

“While Brussels is searching for legal loopholes to send frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, it must keep some of the cash as a “safety buffer,” should its clearing house Euroclear get in trouble, potentially jeopardizing the entire global financial system, a senior EU official told Reuters.”


“The Global North And South’s Fight For LNG Energy Security Is Set To Intensify…

“Following the huge reduction in Russian pipelined gas to Europe following 24 February 2022’s invasion of Ukraine, liquefied natural gas (LNG) has become the swing emergency energy supply for many of the developed countries that comprise the Global North…”


“Global South Stagnating under Heavier Debt Burden.

“Much higher interest rates – due to Western central banks – are suffocating developing nations, especially the poorest, causing prolonged debt distress and economic stagnation. US Fed-induced stagnation After the greatest US Fed-led surge in international interest rates in more than four decades…”


“The inflation rate in the US picked up in February, as prices for petrol and housing pushed higher…

“The monthly report comes during a critical presidential election year and as the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, is debating the next step in its fight to rein in prices.”


“The slowdown in productivity growth since the financial crisis has been “catastrophically bad” for the UK economy, according to a leading economist at the Office for Budget Responsibility…

“David Miles, a member of the Budget Responsibility Committee at the OBR, said: “15 years ago, people thought the level of GDP would be 30 per cent higher than it is today”.”


“UK faces ‘blackouts’ without new gas-fired power stations, ministers claim…

“The government has said that while it will continue to move forward with its net zero targets and a focus on renewables, gas was needed as a “back-up” – with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying climate goals must be reached “in a sustainable way that doesn’t leave people without energy on a cloudy, windless day”.”


“Three people arrested as red paint sprayed on Scottish Parliament in food insecurity protest.

“Red paint has been sprayed across the front of the Scottish Parliament as part of a protest against rising food insecurity… Climate campaign group This Is Rigged is calling on the Scottish government to implement a community food hub for every 500 households in Scotland.”


“The Domino Effect of the Global Real Estate Crisis – How China, the US, and Sweden are Topping the List…

“…in the wake of the global inflation crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, central banks have significantly raised the extremely low interest rates that have been in place for a decade. This increases the cost of all credit-financed projects, particularly affecting real estate construction and purchases…”


“China Vanke debt downgraded to ‘junk’ status by Moody’s as liquidity concerns mount amid tumbling property sales.

“The company’s continuing exposure to funding volatility, on top of its high refinancing needs, does not support an investment-grade rating, according to the ratings agency.”


“Shipbuilding: the new battleground in the US-China trade war… Labour unions are urging the Biden administration to investigate China’s dominance of naval engineering…

“Not only does it have the potential to reignite the US-China trade conflict, but it will also increase the focus on China’s growing military might and the massive commercial shipping industry that underpins it.”


“China Cracks Down on Tibetan Protest Against a Hydropower Project in Dege.

“…protesters wanted authorities to withdraw the order for thousands of Tibetans to relocate from Upper Wonto and Shipa villages and six important monasteries – including the Wonto monastery, which was built in the 13th century and has priceless murals dating from that period. The villages and monasteries are expected to be flooded…”


“Why are people in India’s Ladakh protesting against central government?

“…The government’s decision to run the territory directly from New Delhi has raised concerns about the region’s democratic marginalisation, lack of say in developmental projects and militarisation of the ecologically sensitive Himalayan region.”


“Protests in India as Modi enforces migration laws that exclude Muslims.

“Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s government has moved to implement a contentious citizenship law that has been criticised for being discriminatory against Muslims, four years after it was passed in parliament.”


“US delegation leaves Saudi Arabia early over kippah row… A US delegation on religious freedom said on Monday it cut short its visit to Saudi Arabia after one of its members was asked to remove his Jewish head covering, or kippah.”


“Lebanese shrink Ramadan menu amid continuous rise in prices…

“”Shopping for Ramadan this year is very challenging as prices have gone up remarkably, and our family income shrank following the financial crisis and collapse of the Lebanese pound,” Ismail, an employee at a factory, told Xinhua while comparing prices of similar products.”


“Nigeria hit by wave of food looting as economic crisis deepens…

“Nigeria has been hit by a wave of violent unrest over food as its economic and security crisis deepens, raising fears of widespread hunger and a breakdown in law and order in Africa’s most populous nation. Assaults on grain warehouses have been reported across the country…”


“Two Children Killed In Guinea Anti-power Cut Protests…

“Young people carrying stones took to the streets to demand the return of electricity, according to witnesses contacted by AFP, who described a tense situation in the town, where shops were closed. The army was on patrol in several neighbourhoods.”


“South Africa’s economic peril: Water crisis woes and looming gas cutoffs threaten stability.

“As South Africa grapples with a multifaceted economic crisis, Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso highlights urgent concerns, including water scarcity affecting major cities and industrial operations.”


“Zambia’s Chambishi copper smelter cuts output as drought hits power supply…

“The power shortage comes amid a gradual decline in Zambia’s copper production due to lack of new investment at some operations, including Konkola Copper Mines and Mopani Copper Mines.”


“Water rationing begins in Venezuela amid drought… In deeply polarized Venezuela even the rain can set off political fighting…

“As the country’s dry season extends longer than normal, the water level at one of the three reservoirs ringing Caracas has fallen to near record lows. That prompted authorities on Wednesday to begin implementing a rationing plan…”


“Haiti’s prime minister Ariel Henry resigns as law and order collapses…

“Mr Henry is currently stranded in Puerto Rico after being prevented by armed gangs from returning home… “I’m asking all Haitians to remain calm and do everything they can for peace and stability to come back as fast as possible,” Mr Henry said in a video address announcing his resignation.”


“Sail-powered cargo ship ‘shows potential of wind’…

“”We believe technologies that harness the wind could be an important, cost-effective way to achieve our decarbonisation goals in the short, medium and long-term,” said Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s Ocean Transportation business.”


“As Cop29 president, I will build bridges between the diverging north and south to keep 1.5C in reach [Mukhtar Babayev]…

“…meeting 1.5C obligations requires clean energy consumption and production to shift together, and that we must find mechanisms to guard against further interruption of both by future geopolitical events.”


“The next 30 years will see artificial intelligence spark a huge change in the way we live, akin to the shift between hunter-gatherers and today’s digital economy, a top AI expert has claimed…

“Broussard is optimistic about the future, believing that AI could bring about an age of leisure where people work three days a week or even less…”


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!

11th March 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“US ‘prepper’ culture diversifies amid fear of disaster and political unrest…

“Researchers say the number of preppers has doubled in size to about 20 million since 2017. Much of that growth is from minorities and people considered left-of-center politically, whose sense of insecurity was heightened by Donald Trump’s 2016 election, the COVID-19 pandemic, more frequent extreme weather and the 2020 racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd.”


“Doomsday preppers have shared the most important materials for people to stockpile in the event of World War Three.

“”Doomsday preppers have shared the most important materials for people to stockpile in the event of World War Three. While they have been dismissed by many as needless hoarders by some, doomsday preppers insist that doing so is essential should a nuclear conflict erupt.”


“Banks are still fighting safeguards even as risks pile up…

“The trouble at NYCB — which has sent its already battered shares on a wild ride this week — is putting a spotlight on how America’s banks manage (or fail to manage) risks to their balance sheets.”


“The US could be facing a 2008-style financial crisis. Why does Sunak want to copy it?

“…A great admirer of the US, Rishi Sunak appears to believe the UK would be well placed sitting in Washington’s slipstream. That means loosening the constraints on financial companies and banks, letting them join the dash for profit, while running down the capacity of public services, including health.”


“Capacity crunch on National Grid is delaying new homes in UK by years…

“Those hoping to build new wind turbines, solar farms or micro-hydroelectric schemes face even longer waits [than four years] after a deluge of new connection requests, many of them from speculative schemes.”


“Decision over first mini-nuke sites delayed amid legal action fears [UK].

“Great British Nuclear (GBN) has delayed a decision on where the first mini-nuclear reactors will be built until after the next election, following concerns that losers of a design contest may otherwise threaten to sue. ”


“Germany Begins Felling 120,000 Trees From ‘Fairy Tale’ Forest to Make Way for Wind Turbines…

“Work has started on the clearing of up to 120,000 trees in the forest, the setting for many of the Brothers Grimm mythical stories, to provide access for an initial 18 giant wind turbines around the Sababurg ‘Sleeping Beauty’ castle.”


“Gaza war agitates a divided Europe…

“Five months on, the Gaza war continues to complicate European diplomacy, unsettle public opinion and inflame the domestic politics of individual countries. The bitter truth is that there’s not much the EU can do to determine the conflict’s outcome, yet the longer the fighting goes on, the more Europe is exposed to its consequences.”


“Ukraine war is changing the global arms trade.

“France has overtaken Russia on the list of the biggest weapons exporters, a study from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has found. The United States has reinforced its global dominance in arms sales.”


“Tension and unease for Russians in Finland amid border shutdown…

“In mid-December, Finland closed all eight of its border crossings with its eastern neighbor, including the one in Imatra, over the arrival of around 1,300 asylum seekers and undocumented migrants since August. Finnish authorities accuse the Kremlin of encouraging the asylum seekers to cross their shared frontier in a destabilization ploy…”


“Armenia considering applying for EU membership amid growing tensions with Russia.

“Armenia is considering applying for membership in the European Union, aiming to strengthen ties with Western countries amid growing tensions with Russia, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan revealed in an interview.”


“Philippines strikes security deals as tensions rise with China at sea…

“While the deepening Philippine alliance with the United States — which includes granting the U.S. military expanded access to Philippine military bases — has drawn much attention, Manila’s security campaign goes beyond Washington.”


“China believes that India’s move to add more troops at their disputed border is “not conducive to easing tensions”, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

“India has freed up a contingent of 10,000 soldiers, previously deployed at its western border, to strengthen its disputed border with China, according to several media reports.”


“Diplomats fear growing power of Iranian factions that want nuclear weapons.

“There are growing fears among diplomats in the US and Europe that Iran’s largely unmonitored nuclear programme and the destabilisation caused by the Gaza conflict are strengthening the hand of Iranian factions that back the development of nuclear weapons.”


“U.S. and UK, French military shoot down Houthi drones after attack on bulk carrier, destroyers.

“U.S., French and British forces downed dozens of drones in the Red Sea area overnight and on Saturday after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis targeted bulk carrier Propel Fortune and U.S. destroyers in the region, the U.S. military said in a statement.”


“Lebanon, not Gaza, could trigger regional war as Israel-Hezbollah tension soars.

“As clashes between Hezbollah and Israel intensify despite US mediation efforts, an all-out war between the two sides is no longer a remote possibility. Striking a deal to avert one, however, appears to hinge on reaching a cease-fire in Gaza.”


“Israeli police fire water cannon at anti-Netanyahu protesters.

“Thousands of Israelis took to the streets on Saturday evening as the anti-Netanyahu protest movement that faded following the Hamas attacks on Oct 7 regained traction. About 10,000 came out in protest in Tel Aviv. Police responded with water cannon…”


“US President Joe Biden has said reaching a six-week ceasefire deal in Gaza before the start of Ramadan is “looking tough”.

“His comments come after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said it was up to Hamas to make further progress on the truce. “The ball is in their court,” he said.”


“Meet the Gazans rescuing animals despite siege and war…

“As Israel’s war on Gaza continues for its 5th month, Sulala Animal Rescue stands resilient, offering sanctuary to struggling and frightened animals in the besieged territory. Established in 2006, the organisation, now solely upheld by its founder Saeed Al Err and family, champions the cause of the animals affected by the ongoing onslaught.”


“Lions traumatised by war [Sudan] find sanctuary – but for some there is no bite or fight left…

“Lying on the hard desert ground, a lion is reduced to a pile of fur and bones – drained of all the strength and power we associate with the ferocious predator. So emaciated, he is barely even recognisable.”


“Young Senegalese forced abroad by dual economic and political crises…

“As young people quit Senegal amid mounting economic and political hardship that has seen universities close and jobs dry up, local charities have moved in to stem the exodus by offering practical training aimed at helping vulnerable youth forge a path into the workplace.”


“Truckers’ woes worsen as diesel price doubles [Nigeria].

“Nigeria’s rising energy cost and prices of spare parts are threatening haulage business, with operators incurring more losses and struggling to break even. The removal of petrol subsidies and naira devaluation have caused a further surge in prices of vehicle spare parts and diesel, thereby worsening truckers’ woes.”


“Brazilian Farmers File for Bankruptcy at a ‘Concerning’ Pace…

“The findings shine a light on a widening problem in Brazil. Bumper crops have been met with falling international prices, hurting profits for growers just as the cost of capital increased due to high interest rates.”


“Ecuador extends its state of emergency by 30 days.

“Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa has extended a state of emergency in the South American country by 30 days, as his administration grapples with rising violence blamed on drug trafficking gangs.”


“Haiti spirals to collapse as gangs tighten grip.

“Haiti is fast descending into anarchy. Over the weekend, the violence in the capital Port-au-Prince ramped up once again. Heavily armed gangs attacked the National Palace and set part of the Interior Ministry on fire with petrol bombs.”


“Dealmaking slowdown leaves private equity with record unsold assets…

“Private equity groups globally are sitting on a record 28,000 unsold companies worth more than $3tn, as a sharp slowdown in dealmaking creates a crunch for investors looking to sell assets… Private equity’s need for liquidity — to pay out investors that want to exit — is difficult to meet when assets are hard to sell.”


“World’s Negative Interest Rate Experiment Nears Its End in Japan…

“The Bank of Japan is widely expected to scrap the world’s last negative interest rate in the coming weeks, marking the closing act of global central banks’ grand experiment with unorthodox policies.”


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!

8th March 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Rich countries set for record $15.8tn of debt sales, says OECD… Governments’ need to refinance this year at higher borrowing costs set to drive up interest expenses…

“Mathias Cormann, OECD secretary-general, said “a new macroeconomic landscape of higher inflation and more restrictive monetary policies is transforming bond markets globally . . . this has profound implications for government spending and financial stability at a time of renewed financing needs”.”


“Financial Crises Are a Feature, Not a Bug, of the US System…

“The Silicon Valley Bank autopsies are over, but the problems still remain… Don’t forget how quickly the Treasury pledged to look after uninsured deposits, or that the Fed immediately opened a program for cash-strapped banks to swap government bonds for funding at face value.”


“Amid explosive demand, America is running out of power…

“Vast swaths of the United States are at risk of running short of power as electricity-hungry data centers and clean-technology factories proliferate around the country, leaving utilities and regulators grasping for credible plans to expand the nation’s creaking power grid.”


“UK has no ‘credible’ plan to fund military equipment as multibillion-pound deficit revealed, report…

“Inflation and a weak pound also contributed to the hole of at least £16.9bn in a rolling, 10-year plan to procure equipment for the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, the Public Accounts Committee said in a scathing report.”


“The next five years will be the hardest period for a UK parliament and chancellor since the Second World War, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned…

“IFS director Paul Johnson expressed doubt over whether the Government would be able to stick to its spending plans for the upcoming year due to the country’s “fiscal realities”.”


“France overshoots deficit target and plans more spending cuts…

“France’s already substantial budget deficit is much higher than planned, finance minister Bruno Le Maire has warned, a disclosure that calls into question the Macron government’s ability to meet EU targets.”


“Germany to be worst performing rich economy for second year in a row…

“Europe’s largest economy is forecast to grow by just 0.2pc this year, according to the Ifo Institute. This represents a major downgrade from previous predictions of a 0.7pc expansion.”


“Millions affected by German air and rail strikes.

“The strikes are the latest in a wave of industrial action to hit Germany. The walkouts are to do with separate disputes over pay and working conditions with national carrier, Lufthansa and state-owned rail operator, Deutsche Bahn.”


“Europe Is Wargaming a Food Crisis…

“The combined forces of El Niño and La Niña have crippled Latin American soy output. Ukrainian and Russian grain farmers have gone to war. Indonesia has banned shipments of palm oil to Europe, while China is hungry for crops. The Mediterranean region is getting more like a desert.”


“Czech farmers dump manure on Prague streets in renewed protests…

“Czech farmers dumped manure in front of the government’s office, blocked Prague streets with tractors and taunted the country’s farm minister on Thursday as they renewed protests demanding more help and a halt to cheap imports to the European Union.”


“Angry Polish farmers protest against EU rules, Ukraine farm imports…

“Throwing smoke bombs and lighting fires, thousands of angry farmers demonstrated in Warsaw against European Union regulations and cheap Ukraine imports, with police reporting that two officers had been injured and a dozen protesters arrested.”


“Cameron [UK Foreign Secretary]: ‘Giving Ukraine weapons will help bring peace, not escalate war’…

“The UK foreign secretary was speaking on a trip to Berlin, less than a week after a leaked top-secret military call exposed internal tensions about Germany’s support for Kyiv. Germany is under growing international pressure to provide Taurus missiles to Ukraine…”


“Senior Russian officer warns Ukraine conflict could escalate into full-scale war in Europe…

“Colonel-General Vladimir Zarudnitsky, head of the Russian army’s Military Academy of the General Staff, made the comments in an article for “Military Thought”, a defence ministry publication, the state RIA news agency reported on Thursday.”


“China pledges to deepen Russia ties and criticises US ‘obsession’ with suppressing Beijing…

“China’s top foreign affairs official… praised the “strategic guidance” of China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin for strengthening the relationship to the point that bilateral trade hit a record $240bn last year.”


“China raises defense budget by 7.2% as it pushes for global heft and regional tensions continue…

“Tensions with the U.S., Taiwan, Japan and neighbors with competing claims to the crucial South China Sea are seen as furthering growth in high-tech military technologies from stealth fighters to aircraft carriers and a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons.”


“North Korea’s Kim calls for stronger war fighting capabilities against the US and South Korea…

“During a visit to a western operational training base on Wednesday, Kim said the military must “steadily intensify the actual war drills aimed at rapidly improving its combat capabilities for perfect war preparedness,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.”


“Kyrgyzstan’s Toktogul Reservoir May Hit “Dead” Level; Blackouts Possible…

“Kyrgyzstan’s Energy Ministry has said it will limit electricity consumption “by force” as water in the country’s main reservoir becomes increasingly scarce. In addition, major overhauls of the country’s main energy facilities are planned for this year, which will also affect power output and consumption.”


“Zimbabwe faces crippling power outages… as Kariba water level drops…

“Lake Kariba, one of the world’s largest man-made reservoirs, straddles the Zambezi River dividing Zimbabwe and Zambia, which share the water resource for power generation, water, fishing and tourism related activities.”


“Haiti’s main port closes as gang violence spirals…

“Local media report that armed men broke into the port in capital Port-au-Prince, looting containers. It follows attacks by gangs on the airport, police stations and prisons this week. They are pushing for Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s removal.”


“Afghanistan’s economy has ‘basically collapsed’: UNDP…

“Since the takeover by the Taliban in 2021, the Afghan economy has contracted by 27 per cent, leading to economic stagnation, according to UNDP. Unemployment has doubled and only 40 per cent of the population has access to electricity.”


“Israel completes construction of road which cuts across Gaza Strip…

“Reports about the construction of the road have been circulating since mid-February. Known as Highway 749, it is reportedly intended to provide Israeli forces with a protected route through the interior of the Gaza Strip.”


“Inside America’s Shadow War With Iran…

“…if one of these Iranian proxies gets “lucky” and creates a mass casualty event by striking a U.S. warship or the barracks of one of the U.S. bases in Jordan or Syria — something akin to the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983 — the U.S.-Iran conflict would surely come out of the shadows and become a direct shooting war…”


“Fatal Houthi rebel attack may be a ‘red line’ in Red Sea shipping crisis…

“The first fatal attack on a commercial vessel in the Red Sea since Iran-backed Houthi rebels began targeting ships late last year has laid bare the enormous challenge of restoring safe passage along one of the world’s most important trade routes. At least three crew members were killed…”


“Red Sea Cable Damage Reveals Soft Underbelly of Global Economy…

“This is the latest of several recent incidents involving high-profile damage and disruption to undersea infrastructure. Internet cables near Svalbard and the Shetland Islands were cut in 2022, the same year the Nord Stream gas pipelines were sabotaged. Last year the Balticconnector pipeline between Finland and Estonia was damaged…”


“Geopolitical tensions dragging out inflation fight…

“The escalation of armed conflicts and geopolitical tension in the post pandemic era has had negative implications for the fight against inflation and is likely to keep interest rates higher for longer than previously expected, said Martin Castellanos, chief Latin America economist at the Institute of International Finance (IIF).”


“UK space chief flags moon mining as next conflict ‘gray zone’…

“A scenario of nations jumping on lunar mining to refill their dried-up, terrestrial stocks has the potential for gray zone conflict, the kind of amorphous contest that transcends traditional notions of two warring parties shooting at each other, Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey said at the Space Comm Expo trade show here.”


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!

6th March 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Price of gold hits record high amid geopolitical tensions and investor jitters…

“Investors piled into the “safe haven” asset on Tuesday, with the spot price reaching a record $2,141.59 (about £1,685) for an ounce, beating the previous record of $2,135 in December, before easing back again to about $2,128.”


“Bitcoin Hits Record High, Completing a Stunning Comeback…

“Bitcoin hit a record high of more than $69,000 on Tuesday, capping a remarkable comeback for the volatile cryptocurrency after its value plunged in 2022 amid a market meltdown.”


“People are worried (again) about bond market liquidity… But what they should be thinking about are the consequences…

“Historically, the focal point of most financial crises has always been banks. Given how disastrous their mass failure can be, central banks therefore almost always (if reluctantly) backstop the industry. But now that markets do more of the heavy lifting, central banks will increasingly have to wade in there to keep the financial system from imploding…”


“The world is at risk of another financial crisis caused by US lenders’ reckless exposure to stricken commercial property markets, the IMF has warned.

“In a research paper on financial stability, the IMF said that a “weak tail of banks” had gorged on US commercial real estate and could create a repeat of the chaos last year triggered by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.”


“A hidden crisis in US housing… In places most prone to wildfires and hurricanes, state “insurers of last resort” are absorbing trillions of dollars in risk.

“… even as states have assumed more and more risk, they’ve largely dodged a fundamental question: How will they cover claims in the wake of a truly major catastrophe?”


“US banks abandon ‘bare minimum’ environmental standards project, alarming climate groups.

“Four of the world’s biggest banks have left the Equator Principles, a set of minimum industry standards and safeguards for financial institutions to address environmental and social risks in countries where they finance fossil fuel and mining projects.”


“Canadian Banks’ Fossil-Fuel Exposure Outpaces US, European Peers…

“The five Canadian banks committed most of the financing to domestic oil and gas companies, the report found, with pipeline operators Enbridge Inc. and TC Energy Corp. and oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc. receiving a combined $61.9 billion in financing via the Big Five banks between 2020 and 2022.”


“Why Britain is ‘literally crumbling’ before our eyes… More tax cuts could cripple UK’s parlous public services, economists warn…

“Many believe there is no more fat left to trim and further cuts risk enraging voters as the fabric of the state unravels further. Public services are already a mess.”


“Over 170 councils call for urgent extension of Household Support Fund.

“Ahead of the Spring Budget, more than 170 council leaders have called on the Chancellor to extend an essential scheme to help protect vulnerable households across the country before it expires at the end of this month.”


“Uzbekistan is the only nation more miserable than Britain as the Dominican Republic tops the world wellbeing charts, a ‘worrying’ global report has found.

“The UK only ranked 70th out of 71 countries in terms of mood, outlook on life and self-esteem in 2023, scoring only 49 on the mental wellbeing score when the global average was 65.”


“The European Union could block exports of weapons to Britain if war breaks out with Russia, it was announced on Tuesday.

“A top official said plans had been drawn up to prevent overseas shipments of arms and civilian technologies to make up for the bloc’s own shortfalls in a “security crisis”.”


“Ukraine war briefing: Macron says don’t be ‘cowards’ as he digs in over ground troops remark…

“Emmanuel Macron has urged Ukraine’s allies not to be “cowards” in supporting its fight against the Russian invasion. He “fully stood behind” remarks made last week not ruling out the deployment of western troops.”


“NATO is growing reckless over Ukraine – and Russia’s German military leak proves it…

“NATO’s strategy has lost all coherence. This is the moment when such wars run out of control. For two years now, western leaders have polished their macho images at home by visiting and goading Kyiv’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to seek total victory with their help.”


“Russia’s Chinese Yuan Funding Lifeline Is Getting Too Expensive.

“Yuan financing is becoming costly and sparse in Russia, choking off a pathway to foreign capital for companies that are already facing much higher domestic interest rates and a wave of debt due this year.”


“Russia says it is considering putting a nuclear power plant on the moon with China.

“Russia and China are considering putting a nuclear power plant on the moon from 2033-35, Yuri Borisov, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday, something he said could one day allow lunar settlements to be built.”


“China’s deflationary trap could snare the global economy…

“This time, a Chinese deflationary shock threatens to unleash dangerous political currents in western economies. China’s tried-and-tested method to slash export prices to help to bolster its struggling manufacturing industry is a way of exporting deflation to the rest of the world.”


“Chinese and Philippine coast guards clash amid regional dispute with water cannons fired.

“Philippine and Chinese coast guards have clashed once more over the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, ahead of a regional summit where leaders were going to raise Beijing’s aggression at sea.”


“Blackouts in Tajikistan Highlight Energy Woes.

“Tajikistan confronts many of the same issues as neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where water levels at critical reservoirs are approaching dangerous lows. Tajik authorities, however, are less transparent about the situation, as illustrated by the lack of comments on the blackout last week or available information regarding water levels at Nurek.”


“Yoav Gallant, the Israeli defence minister, has said that Hezbollah’s continued attacks on Israel are pushing the country to a “critical point” in deciding to pursue military action in Lebanon…

“During the meeting at Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, Mr Gallant also warned Hochstein that the Lebanese militant group is “dragging the parties to a dangerous escalation,” according to his office.”


“Can Israel afford to wage war? As the battle continues, costs are spiralling…

“In the next few weeks, Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, hopes to gain final parliamentary approval for an emergency war budget.. it… contains a startling break with the past. Everyday welfare spending (long generous in Israel, owing to its socialist foundations) will be slashed to fund the country’s armed forces.”


“Houthi attacks reveal murky world of ship nationality…

“The missile that struck the Rubymar near its engine room on February 19 forced the 20 crew and four security guards to abandon the vessel. It had been chartered by a Saudi commodities company, had picked up its cargo in the United Arab Emirates and was heading to Bulgaria.”


“Crucial Red Sea data cables cut, telecoms firm says…

“Several undersea communications cables in the Red Sea have been cut, affecting 25% of data traffic flowing between Asia and Europe… Hong Kong-based HGC Global Communications said it had taken measures to reroute traffic after four of the 15 cables were recently severed. The cause is not yet clear.”


“War in Sudan Risks Sparking Hunger Crisis for 25 Million People.

“Sudan’s war has put food security at risk for 25 million people across Sudan, South Sudan, and Chad, making it the biggest hunger crisis worldwide, World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain said, calling for unimpeded access and more funding to help communities.”


“Egyptians Are Buying and Selling Gold Just to Stay Afloat.

“Clamor for the precious metal is growing as the buying power of the country’s currency plunges in value against the dollar, and inflation eats away at savings… The turbulence has turned many people into reluctant speculators, their lives ruled by uncertainty and rumors.”


“Nigeria battles to halt spiraling currency crisis and rising food insecurity…

“Inflation hit an annual 29.9% in January, driven by soaring food prices that have triggered a cost-of-living crisis in Africa’s largest economy. The naira currency, meanwhile, plunged to an all-time low of around 1,600 against the U.S. dollar in late February.”


“Cuba turns off some public lighting as energy crisis worsens…

“Minister of Energy and Mines Vicente de la O Levy told a council of ministers meeting the measure was one of many that included shuttering thousands of state services and shifting production to lessen the blackouts roiling the country, according to state media.”


“Top Haitian gang leader warns of civil war, ‘genocide’ unless PM resigns…

“The stark comments from Jimmy Cherizier, known as “Barbecue,” came as Henry appeared to be struggling to fly home, with the main airport under attack and neighboring Dominican Republic refusing permission for him to land.”


“The environmental cost of AI.. Data centres are becoming some of the biggest consumers of power and water…

“The International Energy Agency says data centres, cryptocurrencies and AI accounted for almost 2 per cent of global power demand in 2022 — and this could double by 2026 to nearly match the electricity consumption of Japan. Ireland, a favoured location for server farms, is now limiting new data centre connections to the power grid; others are exploring whether to do the same.”


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!

4th March 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Fractures in global trade deepen as WTO musters only a small win…

“Meetings in the capital of the United Arab Emirates – positioned both geographically and geo-economically between US-European Union and China-Russia alliances – were dominated by disorder and confusion, according to several participants, who asked not to be named speaking about the private talks.”


“Global Labor Shortages Intensify Supply Chain Challenges Amid Climate Change.

“As the world grapples with evolving economic landscapes, global supply chains face unprecedented pressures, notably from labor shortages exacerbated by demographic shifts and climate change.”


“OAPEC Secretary General: World Economy Will Fall in Deep Slump without Oil, Gas.

“Jamal Issa Al-Loughani, Secretary General of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), predicted that the world would become primitive if oil-producing countries listened to climate activist demands and stopped producing gas and oil. He said the world will witness major power outages, companies would be forced to close and global trade would come to a halt.”


“OPEC+ members extend production cuts in bid to boost oil price…

“Opec+ members led by Saudi Arabia and Russia have extended the latest round of voluntary cuts to oil production for another three months, as they attempt to boost prices that have remained subdued despite ongoing geopolitical tensions.”


“Will the immigration crisis bankrupt U.S. cities as federal funds fall short?

“The recent surge of migrants has put major cities across the U.S. under significant financial pressure. Watch the video above to see just how much financial pressure cities across the U.S. are facing due to the ongoing migrant crisis.”


“The U.S. national debt is rising by $1 trillion about every 100 days.

“The debt load of the U.S. is growing at a quicker clip in recent months, increasing about $1 trillion nearly every 100 days. The nation’s debt permanently crossed over to $34 trillion on Jan. 4, after briefly crossing the mark on Dec. 29, according to data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”


“UK Chancellor faces struggle to defuse Britain’s ticking debt time bomb…

“Last financial year, the Government received just over £1,023bn in tax and other receipts. On the other side of the ledger, outgoings were £1,151bn, leaving a shortfall of £128bn. The national debt meanwhile stood at £2,251bn and rising.”


“Ministers are being urged to lay out their contingency plans for Thames Water, as fears mount that the supplier’s potential collapse will cost taxpayers billions of pounds.

“A group of MPs are pushing for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to reveal details of “Project Timber”, the contingency plan drawn up by the Government in case of the utility giant’s failure.”


“‘It’ll be a shortlist of one!’ Villagers in England fear nuclear dump proposal…

“When Ian Harrison returned to the Lincolnshire coast to care for his parents a decade ago, he didn’t expect to spend his own retirement fighting plans to dig a £50bn nuclear waste dump near the beaches of his childhood.”


“Left-for-dead uranium mines are being revived as prices soar, countries eye nuclear power to address climate change…

“As countries increasingly consider nuclear power to address climate change, demand for uranium is expected to skyrocket. The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates the world will need more than 100,000 metric tons of uranium per year by 2040 — an amount that requires nearly doubling mining and processing from current levels.”


“Leaked Audio Alleges German Bundeswehr Plotted Crimean Bridge Strikes Amid NATO’s Denial.

“In a revelation that could escalate tensions, Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of Russia North and Russia Today, claims to possess an audio recording of German Bundeswehr officers discussing plans to bomb the Crimean bridge.”


“Swedish home with cold war bunker attracts buyers as Russia fears grow.

“…n the last two years, since the invasion of Ukraine and Sweden’s subsequent Nato membership – expected to be completed within days – growing fears of a Russian attack on Swedish soil have prompted a surge of interest in such shelters.”


“Newly enlarged NATO starts drill in Finland, Norway and Sweden in defense of its Nordic turf.

“NATO will kick off Monday an exercise to defend its newly expanded Nordic territory when more than 20,000 soldiers from 13 nations take part in drills lasting for nearly two weeks in the northern regions of Finland, Norway and Sweden.”


“Seoul, Washington begin military drills amid peninsula tensions.

“The armies of South Korea and the United States began their large-scale Freedom Shield spring military drills on Monday, the first since Pyongyang announced it was scrapping a bilateral military agreement with Seoul. The exercises, the start of which was confirmed to reporters on Monday…”


“Global Impact: China’s ‘two sessions’ rolls around at decisive moment for the world’s second-largest economy…

“With the world clouded with uncertainty as conflicts rage in the Middle East and Ukraine, nearly 3,000 Chinese lawmakers and other members of the political elite are set to converge on Beijing. There, they will deliberate on plans to maintain stability in the world’s second-largest economy.”


“Newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif highlighted the country’s alarming debt crisis on Sunday.

“While addressing the financial crisis in the country, Sharif said that even the expenditures of the National Assembly were being paid by borrowed money… He further said that the perpetrators of the May 9 riots will not be forgiven, vowing action against all those who were involved in the violence.”


“Iran Hard-Liners Tighten Parliament Grip as Turnout Hits New Low.

“Only 41% of eligible voters participated in Friday’s poll, down from 42% in 2020, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. That reflects growing political apathy among Iranians after a crackdown on anti-regime protests in 2022 and worsening living conditions under Western sanctions…”


“‘Every girl in Iran is born into a cage’: exiled Kurdish women fighting for freedom in Iraq.

“Kurdish women living in Iran face discrimination for their ethnicity as well as their gender. The photographer Keiwan Fatehi spoke to those who were forced to leave their homeland due to oppression, lack of rights or fear for their safety and joined the peshmerga military.”


“Azerbaijan starts bombing Nagorno Karabakh and at least 25 people die.

“The Azerbajain Ministry of Defence has stated that this is a military operation “against terrorism”, and according to the Armenian People’s Advocate, Azerbaijani army bombs have already killed 25 people. The Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh have been in lockdown for at least nine months…”


“Kamala Harris issues sharp rebuke of Israel over ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza.

“US vice-president Kamala Harris has bluntly called out Israel for not doing enough to ease a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza as the Biden administration faces increasing pressure to rein in its close ally while it wages war with Hamas militants.”


“Italian warship forced to shoot down Houthi missile in Red Sea.

“An Italian warship participating in the EU naval protection force in the Red Sea was forced to shoot down a Houthi missile on Saturday in a rare engagement by the country’s navy, which has largely avoided direct action since the second world war.”


“Rubymar’s sinking poses ‘major environmental crisis’ in the Red Sea.

“The ship creates a triple threat to the Red Sea – with its bunker fuel already creating a 30 km slick, its cargo of fertiliser posing a potential ecological disaster, and the wreck itself becoming a hazard to other ships passing by. The ship was carrying 21,000 metric tons of ammonium phosphate sulphate fertiliser when it was struck last month.”


“Mountains of plastic are choking the Himalayan States…

“Rapid and unplanned urbanisation and changing production and consumption patterns are responsible for the plastic waste crisis in the Indian Himalayan Region. A quantum jump in tourist footfalls is another reason for exacerbation of the problem.”


“Gauteng’s Water Crisis Worsens: Municipalities Owe Rand Water R3 Billion [South Africa]…

“Rand Water, the primary water utility serving Gauteng and other regions, is grappling with a significant financial crisis due to unpaid debts by multiple municipalities, highlighting a growing water supply concern that could affect thousands.”


“Thousands protest Tunisia’s falling living standards.

“Thousands protested deteriorating living standards outside the prime minister’s office in Tunis on Saturday following a call from Tunisia’s main trade union confederation. “The economic and social situation continues to worsen,” the confederation’s head, Noureddine Taboubi, said in a speech to protesters.”


“Armed gangs storm Haiti’s main prison in latest escalation of violent conflict with police…

“The jailbreak marked a new low in Haiti’s downward spiral of violence and came as gangs step up coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince, while embattled Prime Minister Ariel Henry is abroad trying to salvage support for a United Nations-backed security force to stabilize the country.”


“A $1.5 Trillion ‘ESG’ Debt Market Has Started Bleeding Clients [environmental, social and governance]…

“Extra regulatory requirements, fewer financial incentives and the risk of being accused of greenwashing are putting off clients who just a few years ago were champing at the bit to attach an environmental, social or governance label to their financing, according to bankers and lawyers close to the market.”


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!