Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

20th Jan 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The world’s food systems are in crisis, and big agribusiness is at its heart

Escalated by the pandemic and the subsequent global economic crisis, water and food shortages have reached unprecedented levels in dozens of countries, with small-scale producers – especially women – disproportionately affected.”


High natural gas prices could lead to spike in food costs through fertilizer link…

“”High natural gas prices, if sustained through early 2022, will translate into higher food costs and reinforce an inflationary trend that is already being driven by supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and increased demand from the biofuels sector,” an IHS Markit update said…”


If the Fed wanted to stop inflation, it would need to hike rates to nearly 6%: expert.

“Interactive Brokers founder Thomas Peterffy says he is worried about the higher interest rates coming soon from a Federal Reserve behind the curve on inflation. “I am worried about high interest rates because the Fed is talking about raising rates to 1% or even 2%. Inflation is 7% — 1% or 2% doesn’t mean anything.””


Inflation inequality: Poorest Americans are hit hardest by soaring prices on necessities…

“I calculate that inflation is running at 7.2% for the lowest income households—higher than for any other group. For the highest income families, the rate of change was 6.6%.”


Canadian border agents began refusing entry to unvaccinated American truckers just days ago, and it’s already causing chaos — particularly in fruit and vegetable markets.

“A mandate starting Jan. 15 requires truck drivers crossing into Canada to be vaccinated. However, only about half of American truck drivers have gotten their shots. Meanwhile, as much as 90% of Canada’s fruits and vegetables comes from the U.S. during winter…”


UK cost of living crisis intensifies; Consumer inflation jumps to highest rate in 30 years…

“Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, speaking to MPs in Westminster this afternoon, acknowledged that higher inflation would last longer than originally forecast. Investors now expect four UK rate rises from the BoE by November.”


Households in Britain could soon be spending more of their money on energy than any previous generation, including during the oil shocks of the 1970s and ’80s, according to Sky News analysis.

“If the energy price cap rises in line with current wholesale prices, by the end of the year the share of family expenditure on heat and power will exceed the peaks of the 1980s, taking them towards unprecedented highs.”


Rising costs seep into every sector of UK economy.

“Every sector of the British economy is suffering from swelling costs in a sign that inflation will trend much higher in the coming months… The fresh figures reinforce official data published by the Office for National Statistics yesterday showing British businesses’ input costs have soared 13.5 per cent over the last year.”


Together Energy becomes latest supplier to collapse amid surging energy prices.

“Together Energy has become the 27th supplier to go bust in twelve months amid surging gas prices which are set to hit households with a 50 per cent increase in bills this year.”


UK army will build camps to house 30,000 migrants… as it emerges MoD could stop releasing figures on how many are crossing the Channel each day

“Government sources insist the scheme will be cheaper than the current accommodation provided for migrants… Ministers hope the move towards temporary hostel-style housing on military bases will also act as a deterrent to migrants planning to cross the Channel.”


Eastern Europe Has A Bitcoin Problem… The energy footprint of Bitcoin alone is now hovering at 137.4 Terawatt hours per year, ranking between the annual consumption rates of Ukraine and Egypt…

“…some European countries are starting to clamp down on and even ban the practice altogether.”


Politicians sweat as Europe’s inflation time bomb ticks.

“While the unruffled European Central Bank argues the record price surge is temporary, the Continent’s politicians can’t afford to be so sanguine as angry voters struggle with their gas and grocery bills, and watch their hard-earned savings burn.”


Italian industry seeking “whatever it takes” gas release to curb prices.

“Italian industry lobbies will ask Rome for a gas release from strategic reserves at a meeting on Wednesday to help cope with rising energy prices threatening the post-pandemic recovery, two sources close to the matter told Reuters.”


Spain’s rising energy poverty: A cautionary tale for Europe…

“The current crisis comes at a time when the EU is negotiating new legislation – its ’Fit for 55’ package – that should deliver at least 55% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions by 2030. Many observers warn that, unless the social implications of the energy transition are addressed, social unrest will grow.”


Fears for more housing industry collapses in 2022 as big builders go bust [Australia]…

“Sunshine Coast regional manager for Master Builders Queensland, Nicola Scott described the collapse of BA Murphy as “absolutely devastating”. She said the prices of supplies, from timber and steel to plumbing and tapware, had risen substantially over the past 12 months amid increased home building demand globally.”


China keeps slashing lending rates as authorities ramp up their efforts to stave off a sharp economic slowdown.

“The People’s Bank of China on Thursday cut its one-year loan prime rate by 10 basis points to 3.7%, the second cut to the rate in a month. December’s cut was the first time the central bank touched the benchmark lending rate since April 2020…”


Mexico slips into recession, economy shrunk by 0.2% in December.

“Mexico may have slipped into a bit of a recession, the economy of the Latin American nation has shrunk by almost about two percentage points in the month of December in comparison with the same period back in the year 2020.”


Brazil: slowdown in economic activity expected…

“According to a survey conducted by the Central Bank, the country’s GDP will stagnate this year. The main cause of the abrupt slowdown in activity will be the sharp rise in the interest rate, which currently stands at 9.25% and will reach 11.75% in the coming months.”


World Economic Forum warns of dark future ahead for Argentina…

The WEF’s annual report which has been released recently in a virtual event also insisted on the concrete possibility of a “collapse of the State,” while Argentina was among the countries in the world with the most serious “problems of erosion of social cohesion.””


IMF says Chad debt plan needed by end-March as conditions worsen.

“The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that public and private creditors need to finalize a debt restructuring plan with Chad by the end of March to restore durable growth amid worsening conditions in the African country.”


The rise in global food prices will have repercussions on the Middle East where high prices and deteriorating living conditions sparked the Arab Spring revolutions, reports The New Arab’s Arabic language service.

“Earlier this month world food prices jumped 28 per cent, their highest level since 2011, with no prediction for more stable prices this year according to the UN’s food agency.”


Tunisian police killed man in first death of protests, opposition says.

“A Tunisian man died in hospital on Wednesday from injuries inflicted by police, activists and the main opposition Ennahda party said, in what would be the first death related to protests against President Kais Saied’s assumption of extra powers.”


Lebanon’s Spiral Sets Europe’s Next Migrant Crisis in Motion.

“As Lebanon’s economic or political crises continue to spiral, more people living in the country — including Palestinian and Syrian refugees — will seek to flee to Europe, potentially creating a new migrant crisis.”


Are we heading for $300 for a barrel of oil?

“…in Europe and parts of Asia at least, we have already seen natural gas prices spike up to the oil price equivalent of $350 a barrel, so it is not altogether impossible that the black stuff might follow suit. If it does, it’s going to shake the global economy to its core, in much the same way as the oil price shocks of the 1970s.”


Biden Working With Oil-Producing Nations as Prices Surge to 2014 High.

“The Biden administration is working with oil-producing countries to ensure supply rises to meet demand, according to the White House, as prices surge to the highest level in seven years. The White House plans to continue to monitor prices in the context of global growth…”


“Chip Famine Shows No Signs of Abatement, Automakers in a Fix.

“In a telling sign that the global chip deficit continues to cause disruptions, Ford and Stellantis suspend operations at their plants, while Toyota downwardly revises fiscal 2022… The chip crisis is expected to have cost automakers $210 billion in revenues in 2021. It seems like 2022 will be no different, if not worse.


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 really means a lot.

Jan 18th 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

White House Helpless As Oil Prices Climb Higher… Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to reach $90 per barrel later this year… JP Morgan recently said that crude could reach and exceed $100…

“What this means for the Biden administration and its efforts to keep gasoline affordable for voters ahead of the midterms is nothing good… The reason for this is structural. The supply problem is not a temporary issue that can be fixed quickly or easily.”


Oil climbs to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions, tight supply

“”Analyst forecasts expect demand to outstrip supply this year as the world opens up from 2 years of lockdowns and resumes a more normal trajectory for demand,” said Ash Glover at CMC Markets. The tight supply-demand balance is unlikely to ease, analysts said.”


Hundreds of UK construction businesses are going bust every month as materials prices have risen and the pool of skilled workers has shrunk after Brexit.

“An average of 266 businesses per month collapsed in the three months to October, the largest number since before the pandemic and a 29 per cent rise on the previous period, according to the latest Insolvency Service data.”


Millions [UK] face second record energy price hike this year, analysts warn…

“Millions of households could face a second record energy price hike this year which would lift the average gas and electricity bill to £2,255 from October, intensifying the UK’s cost of living crisis.”


Russia-Ukraine crisis: UK sending weapons to defend Ukraine, says defence secretary.

“Britain is supplying Ukraine with short-range anti-tank missiles for self-defence after Russia amassed about 100,000 troops on its border, the defence secretary said. Ben Wallace told MPs a small team of British troops would also be sent to Ukraine to provide training.”


If the Russia-Ukraine crisis escalates, gas prices in Europe – which soared to highs last year – could surge further, research firm Capital Economics said

“William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics pointed out that in addition to Europe’s reliance on Russia for gas, stock supplies are also low right now.”


Gazprom’s daily gas exports to its main markets shrank in the first 15 days of the new year to the lowest since 2015 while criticism is growing that it’s withholding supplies to Europe

“Russian gas shipments to Europe have been closely watched as a shortage of the fuel — and soaring prices — hurt economies across the continent.”


Russia’s Gazprom has no Europe gas exports planned in February via Yamal pipeline.

“Russian state energy giant Gazprom said on Monday it has not booked any capacity to pump gas to Europe through the Yamal pipeline next month, underscoring a sharp drop-off in Russian exports to the region so far this year.”


Eurogroup nations seek path between high inflation, slower growth.

“Eurogroup finance chiefs are engaged in a high-wire political balancing act prompted by conflicting economic forces: a weaker growth outlook and stronger inflation.”


Fewer beans for your buck: Food price spike forces rethink in Eastern Europe.

“Central and Eastern European governments are scrambling to stave off anger from voters over skyrocketing food prices, with some politicians advocating measures that critics liken to communist-era policies.

“Inflation has sent the costs of pantry staples soaring…”


A Balkan Crisis Looms As Ethnic Clashes In Bosnia Worsen.

“Ethnic divisions in Bosnia-Herzegovina have continued to widen this week as Bosnian Serbs, encouraged by their leaders, reportedly harassed Bosniak Muslim neighborhoods, sang songs in the streets celebrating war criminals, and even fired shots near mosques.”


Albania’s state-owned electricity-producing company is planning to lease a thermal power plant from a third party in the hopes of combatting the energy emergency declared back in October.

“Currently, Albania produces almost exclusively hydropower, however, this is only the case during the spring and summer. During the winter, it is forced to import power from neighbouring countries.”


The number of newborns in China fell for a fifth straight year to the lowest in modern Chinese history, despite Beijing’s increasing emphasis on encouraging births.

“Births of 10.62 million, down from 12.02 million in 2020, barely outnumbered deaths, which came in at 10.14 million, bringing the date ever closer when China’s population starts to shrink.”


China’s economic growth slowed last quarter as consumer spending took a dive, giving the central bank cause to cut its key interest rate for the first time in almost two years

“The outlook for 2022 is still unclear, with global demand forecast to slow, the omicron variant still spreading inside and outside the country, and no end to the housing market crisis…”


China’s Property Sector Contraction Worsens in Blow to Economy…

“Output in the real-estate sector shrank 2.9% in the fourth quarter after a 1.6% contraction in the previous three months, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday in a supplemental report on gross domestic product. That was the first consecutive quarterly decline since 2008.”


Financial contagion is roaring back in China’s property industry, putting renewed pressure on Xi Jinping’s government to do more to insulate the nation’s stronger developers.

“Monday was the worst day on record for dollar bonds of Country Garden Holdings Co., China’s largest developer by sales.”


Evergrande – has the bubble already burst?

“… It may seem a somewhat fanciful notion, but few identified the systemic fault lines in the US property market which undermined the global financial system in 2008… the real estate industry accounts for around 30 per cent of China’s economic output, so its health is entwined with prospects for the global economy.”


China’s Xi calls on nations to secure global supply chains… Leader of world’s No. 2 economy makes remarks amid preparations to secure unprecedented third term in power…

““The global industrial and supply chains have been disrupted,” Xi said. “Commodity prices continue to rise. Energy supply remains tight. These risks compound one another and heighten the uncertainty about the economic recovery.””


Toyota [world’s largest automaker] cuts February output, expects to miss annual production target on chips crunch…

“In a statement on Tuesday, Toyota said the semiconductor shortage would force it to reduce worldwide output by 150,000 units in February to about 700,000 vehicles. Toyota put the blame for the February downturn on the ongoing microchip crisis.”


Stagflation looms large [for Nepal]…

“Decreasing remittances, dwindling forex reserves and widening balance of payment deficit are impossible to be reversed overnight… inflation has spiralled upwards, with the entire banking industry suffocating with a severe crunch of loanable funds in the market, commonly termed as a ‘liquidity crisis.”


Pakistan resists Covid lockdown as economic anxiety mounts…

“Imran Khan’s government is resisting Covid-19 restrictions despite the rapid spread of infections in Pakistan, as his government tries to avoid exacerbating an economic crisis that is challenging his popularity.”


Sri Lanka on the edge as debt burden mounts…

“Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka is facing its most serious financial crisis in years, raising doubts about its ability to pay its creditors… The country also needs around $20 billion for essential imports such as fuel, food and intermediate goods for exports.”


Sudan’s inflation accelerates to 359.09% in 2021.

“Sudan’s headline inflation rate averaged 359.09% in 2021, up from 163.26% in 2020, the Central Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday… Core inflation, which strips out volatile items such as food, increased to 443.48% in December.”


State collapse is the most likely threat for the next two years for Tunisia, showed the results of a perception survey on the various global risks

Only five other countries (Lebanon, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Peru and Honduras), put state collapse as the first risk, “said the Arab Institute of Business Managers (IACE), official partner of the World Economic Forum…”


Beirut internet blackout adds to turmoil in Lebanon.

“The state-run internet company in Lebanon has warned of rolling blackouts as its generators run out of fuel, in the latest sign of the country’s political and economic collapse. Ogero said that generators in west Beirut were out of diesel…”


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 really means a lot.

15th Jan Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Food Prices Are Back to Where They Were in the 2011 Crop Crisis [which helped trigger the Arab Spring; see Tunisia below].

“Food is getting more expensive around the world due to increases in demand and scarcity because of transportation and supply chain issues. And the timing couldn’t be worse, coming just as government stimulus fades and consumer savings start to run dry.”


U.S. Retail Sales Slid Last Month Amid Inflation, Omicron Hits.

“U.S. retail sales slumped in December by the most in 10 months, suggesting the fastest inflation in decades is taking a greater toll on consumers just as the nation confronts more coronavirus infections.”


A second big energy supplier has been forced to apologise to thousands of British households after offering unwelcome advice on how to keep warm during the national energy crisis – with a pair of socks.

“E.ON Next said it was “incredibly sorry” after sending pairs of polyester socks branded with advice to turn down heating…”


European gas prices jump after collapse of Russia’s talks with US and Nato…

“Russia said on Thursday that this week’s talks with the US and Nato had failed to address its security grievances, casting doubt over the prospect of a western diplomatic push to defuse Moscow’s threat of military action against Ukraine.”


Energy Crunch Hammers French Nuclear Giant EDF.

“A decision by the French government to force electricity giant Électricité de France to eat higher energy prices slammed the company’s shares… The move reflects the fraught decisions facing governments in Europe over how to spread the pain from a surge in natural-gas and electricity prices.”


Spain Raises Pressure on EU for Action on Surging Energy Costs. Spain’s economy minister warned that soaring energy costs could hit company competitiveness and hurt households as she reiterated calls for bolder European Union action to curb a price surge that shows no signs of abating.”


German Economy Heads for Recession After Shrinking Last Quarter.

“Germany is headed for its second recession of the pandemic after the emergence of the coronavirus’s omicron strain compounded drags on output from supply snarls and the fastest inflation in three decades.”


North Korean roads begin to empty as nation runs out of tyres…

“While the shortages appear to have primarily affected the lives of ordinary citizens, Radio Free Asia reported on Friday, they may soon start to impact the military and vehicles used by senior members of the regime.”


Sri Lanka economists tell government to default on bond, buy food.

“Sri Lanka’s top economists and business leaders are urging President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government to default on a debt repayment next week and to use the nation’s foreign currency reserves to buy fuel, food, medicine and other essentials.”


Famine: new battleground for displaced Afghans – a photo essay…

“Like tens of thousands of other internally displaced people (IDPs) now back home in former battleground districts in Helmand and elsewhere in Afghanistan, [Sayed Muhammad] is faced with a challenge bigger even than rebuilding: keeping his family fed.”


An economic collapse [for Pakistan]?

“…What if our dollar creditors refuse to play along anymore? Briefly put, a simple headline in an international paper will set the ball rolling and become a juggernaut of fear and uncertainty (abroad and at home), evolving into a chain reaction. For those who want to brush this away as fearmongering, read Venezuela or Zimbabwe.”


Iran Teachers Protest New Pay Scales as Inflation Bites…

“Protesters chanted slogans such as “if embezzlement is reduced, our problems will be solved,” and “we only heard promises, we didn’t see justice”, it said… The government wants to introduce a new grading system for teachers based on experience and performance.”


Power cuts heat up interest in Syria’s traditional bathhouses.

“Syria’s traditional bathhouses once drew in customers seeking to relax in their leisure time. Now some families head there out of necessity, fed up with taking a cold shower at home because frequent power cuts after a decade of conflict mean their electric heaters don’t work.”


Labor Strike Paralyzes Lebanon Amid Economic Crisis.

“Traffic delays mounted throughout Lebanon on Thursday as striking members of the country’s public transportation union blocked roads with their vehicles to protest the government’s ineffective response to the country’s deepening economic crisis.”


Clashes Erupt as Protesters in Tunisia Demand End to Power Grab…

“Tunisian police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters in the capital marching to mark the country’s Arab Spring uprising and demand President Kais Saied reverse his power grab.”


First Sudan security death as coup opponents keep up protests.

“A senior Sudanese police officer was killed Thursday during protests in the Sudanese capital, an official statement said, as security forces fired tear gas at thousands who kept up rallies against an October military coup.”


Kenya got hit by a third countrywide power outage in four years…

“Blackouts are a common occurrence in Kenya and other African countries, crippling economies and leaving many people frustrated while disproportionately affecting the poor more than the rich… Elsewhere, in South Africa, people experience frequent power cuts that are conducted by the public utility Eskom to prevent a collapse of the national electricity grid.”


Energy Crisis: Nigeria LNG suspends cooking gas export, channels 100% to domestic market…

““Gas is essential for life and living at the moment, because it can support everything we will need to develop our economy and create better living standards for Nigerians. We need to change the narrative, and NLNG is being pragmatic about it.””


Kazakhstan unrest highlights tricky terrain of fuel subsidy cuts.

From France to Ecuador, Pakistan to Iran, and Zimbabwe to Lebanon, mass agitations over the past three years have revealed the tricky terrain that governments tread as they try to let the market determine energy prices without triggering mass uprisings.”


Central banks start turning off the cash taps.

“As speculation grows about when the Federal Reserve will begin reducing the size of its balance sheet, some analysts say the era of “quantitative tightening” has already started… Below are a series of graphics…”


The cure for spiralling inflation threatens a market crash.

“…once again, investors must hope that the Fed is more concerned about stability in the financial markets than in preserving its own credibility. Ever since the US central bank stepped in to support the economy and markets in the wake of the financial crisis, it has consistently stepped back from the brink when push came to shove.


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

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

Jan 13th 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

World Bank sees sharp world growth slowdown, ‘hard landing’ risk for poorer nations.

“The World Bank on Tuesday cut its forecasts for economic growth in the United States, the Euro area and China and warned that high debt levels, rising income inequality and new coronavirus variants threatened the recovery in developing economies.”


This won’t help: “Oil prices could hit $100 as demand outstrips supply, analysts say.

“Oil prices that rallied 50% in 2021 will power further ahead this year, analysts predict, saying a lack of production capacity and limited investment in the sector could lift crude above $100 a barrel.”


Highest US inflation in 40 years signals end of ultra-cheap money.

“Not since Ronald Reagan was president and Paul Volcker was the hardline chairman of the Federal Reserve has US inflation been as high as 7%, so inevitably the latest jump in the country’s cost of living index will have consequences.”


If prices keep rising, a nightmare scenario for the US economy is a real possibility.

“There’s no denying it: Inflation is here… But the question on the minds of many economists and Wall Street strategists is whether something even worse could be in the cards: prices rising as the economy slows. That’s the textbook definition of stagflation, and it would be the worst nightmare for consumers, investors and the Federal Reserve.”


Amid rising prices, American families fall deeper in debt.

Higher prices are already taking a toll. As consumers pay more for everything from groceries to gasoline, household income is failing to keep pace with a higher overall cost of living, according to recent reports.”


Energy bill crisis forces [UK] elderly to sacrifice hot food and showers.

“Thousands of pensioners are going without hot meals and baths, as they ration their energy usage in the face of spiralling bills, Britain’s biggest charity for the elderly has warned.”


‘Generation precariat’: Less than half of young people [in the UK] think they will ever be homeowners…

“The UK’s cost of living crisis will hit young people hard because they are more likely to be in precarious work and to be in debt, the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) said.”


Germany Fights Soaring Home Prices With Curbs on Mortgage Lending.

As in the U.S. and other economies, pandemic financial support has sparked a surge in property investment and borrowing in the country… Germany’s financial regulator said it would clamp down on mortgage lending, signaling mounting concerns about the risks posed by the nation’s rapidly rising house prices.”


Sweden to help households as electricity prices soar over 266%.

“Sweden announced on Wednesday it had earmarked some 6 billion kronor (€590 million) for a temporary scheme to help the most affected households across the Scandinavian country to cope with high electricity bills this winter.”


Energy crisis: Poland to introduce new financial aid for public institutions.

“Poland’s government has announced it will introduce new financial aid for public institutions affected by the rising gas prices as the country struggles with its highest inflation in years — currently at 8.6 per cent.”


Power fuels aluminium’s price surge to record in Europe.

“Costs of aluminium for European consumers are scaling record highs due to soaring energy costs and production cuts, which have exacerbated deficits of the metal used in the power, construction and packaging industries.”


Europe Faces $1 Trillion Energy Bill This Year, Citigroup Says…

““It is gas and electricity that is becoming prohibitively expensive in Europe,” Citigroup analysts including Alastair Syme wrote. “Consumers and industry across the region are likely going to have to make some tough choices about their energy consumption.””


IEA chief accuses Russia of worsening Europe’s gas crisis…

“The head of the International Energy Agency has accused Russia of throttling gas supplies to Europe at a time of “heightened geopolitical tensions”, implying that Moscow has manufactured an energy crisis for political ends.”


Russia’s Putin orders $2.3 bln pension hike as inflation bites.

“Ahead of parliamentary elections last year Putin ordered one-off social payments and public sector salary hikes worth at least 500 billion roubles ($7 billion), which analysts said may further fuel inflation.”


World’s Worst-Performing Bank Lent Billions to China Evergrande…

“It was once hailed as the future of Chinese banking, a privately run lender that would mint money by outmaneuvering its state-owned rivals [but] an ill-fated push into property lending has instead turned China Minsheng Banking Corp. into one of the biggest casualties of the real estate debt crisis that’s roiling Asia’s largest economy.”


North Korean women pay a heavy price as Kim turns on ‘black market breadwinners’…

“…despite their market power and newfound social influence, North Korean women remain vulnerable to antediluvian social attitudes and the predations of the state, say experts who have conducted extensive interviews with escapees from the country.”


Taliban increase payment in wheat as economic crisis deepens.

The Taliban administration said on Tuesday it was expanding its ‘food for work’ program, in which it uses donated wheat to pay thousands of public sector employees instead of cash as a financial crisis intensifies.”


S&P downgrades Sri Lanka to CCC, outlook negative.

“Standard and Poor’s has downgraded Sri Lanka to ‘CCC’ from an earlier ‘CCC+’ with the outlook negative at the lower level as the currency continued to be under pressure from liquidity injections though reserves were boosted in December with a swap from China.”


Yemen facing growing hunger, economic collapse amid escalating war: UN.

“Escalating military action in Yemen displaced more than 15,000 people over the past month, killed or injured more than 350 civilians in December and left the Arab world’s poorest nation facing growing hunger and economic collapse with no political solution in sight…”


Lebanon’s currency plummets again amid financial crisis and political deadlock.

“Lebanon’s currency has lost more than 15% of its value since the start of the year, piling further pressure on the population more than two years into a crisis that has plunged many into poverty and fuelled demonstrations.”


Turmoil in Turkey: Erdogan targets people’s jewellery to deal with financial crisis.

“Erzurum Mayor Mehmet Sekmen… said, “Every citizen should bring their earrings, bracelets, every piece of jewellery to the state, to be weighed, to be given a bond and all this to be put in a safe under the control of the state.””


Ghana Debt Moves Deeper Into Distress as Investors Lose Patience.

As the era of cheap money draws to an end, bondholders are no longer prepared to cut Ghana any slack. The West African nation’s dollar bonds have slumped 10% in 10 days, moving deeper into distressed territory…”


State win for Venezuela’s opposition masks deeper problems…

“Venezuela’s economy shrank by more than 75 percent between 2014 and 2020, according to the US government’s congressional research service, “the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years”. More than 5.9 million people have fled…”


Climate crisis is greatest global risk in 2022: World Economic Forum.

“The WEF’s Global Risks Report 2022, released on Monday, found that in addition to the climate crisis, top long-term global risks include growing social divides, heightened cybersecurity risks and uneven recovery as the pandemic persists around the world…”


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 really means a lot.

11th Jan 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Emerging economies should gird for possible rough times as the US Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates and world economic growth slows because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the IMF warned Monday

“Higher interest rates mean financing costs for some emerging economies with dollar-denominated debt will rise… some weaker banks and nonbank lenders may face solvency concerns if financing becomes difficult. Resolution regimes should be readied.”


The Federal Reserve has begun sketching out plans to shrink the size of its balance sheet, which ballooned during the pandemic as it hoovered up government bonds in an attempt to stave off an economic collapse.

“The US central bank now holds just under $9tn of assets, more than double the amount compared to early 2020 when it embarked on an unlimited bond-buying programme to prop up markets…”


Fed Unites Left and Right in Warning It’s Behind Inflation Curve… “As the reality of the need for balancing supply and demand becomes clear, interest rates will rise substantially over the next year and a half…””


Ovo Energy apologises after telling [UK] customers to ‘cuddle pets’ to keep warm…

“As well as cuddling pets for warmth, other tips included “challenging the kids to a hula hoop competition”, “doing star jumps”, and “cleaning the house”.”


The [UK] public won’t forgive food shortages…

“As the report makes clear, without subsidies farms in England make an average net profit of just £22,800 a year. There is a real fear among small and tenant farms that many will go out of business… many farmers are going to need to generate greater returns if they are to survive…”


ECB executive warns green energy push will drive inflation higher.

“Policies to tackle climate change are likely to keep energy prices higher for longer and may force the European Central Bank to withdraw its stimulus more quickly than planned, one of its senior executives has warned.”


Poland, a country that is heavily reliant on coal power, has been mired in an energy crisis driven by skyrocketing fuel prices, which Warsaw blames Moscow for while turning to Brussels for a potential solution.

“Inflation, which increased for the sixth month in a row to 8.6% in December, is at its highest levels in 20 years, forcing authorities to lower VAT to zero on food starting February 1.”


Bulgaria: Prices of Vegetables are Rising, Greenhouses are facing Bankruptcy…

“Bulgaria may be left without Bulgarian vegetable production in 2022 due to the energy crisis… “We do not observe shock price movements, but on the other hand they are smooth and constant [upwards], which is not a good trend,” said Vladimir Ivanov of the State Commission on Commodity Exchanges and Markets.”


Pristina: Kosovo police on Saturday seized hundreds of cryptocurrency mining machines and arrested one person in the tense ethnic-Serb majority north as the country suffered an energy crisis

“Tensions between the Serb-majority area and the ethnic Albanian majority government are running high…”


Opposition party supporters in Albania clash over leadership.

“Police have fired water cannon and tear gas as stone-throwing protesters stormed the headquarters of the opposition group – the Democratic Party – in the Albanian capital, Tirana, amid a deepening power struggle.”


Rising anger with Turkey drives calls for reunification in crisis-hit northern Cyprus.

“The economy is in freefall, thanks to the self-declared republic’s financial and political dependence on Turkey. Thousands have taken to the streets, spurred by inflation rates that have left many struggling to make ends meet…”


‘No path ahead but the sea’: Lebanese join migrant flow to EU.

“Lebanon, in the throes of a brutal economic crisis, is no longer just a launchpad for Syrian refugees and other foreign migrants. Its own desperate citizens now also risk drowning in the Mediterranean in their quest for a better life.”


Libyan security forces have raided and violently broke up a protest sit-in by migrants outside a shuttered UN community centre in the capital of Tripoli, activists and migrants said.

“The troops came overnight, smashed up the protest site and arrested hundreds, said activist Tarik Lamloum on Monday.”


Middle East, North Africa Risk Unrest on High Food Prices…

“Countries in the Middle East and North Africa such as Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt are the most exposed given their imports of wheat and sugar, according to Bloomberg Economics. Some of these are experiencing coups, regime changes, civil war and economic collapse.”


Nearly 8,000 Arrested, Dozens Dead In Kazakhstan As Officials Blame Terrorists For Violent Unrest.

“Nearly 8,000 people were arrested and dozens died throughout Kazakhstan last week, government officials announced Monday, following a security crackdown amid anti-government protests and waves of violent unrest authorities have linked to terrorism.”


“Sri Lanka seeks Chinese debt restructuring amid crisis.

“The president of debt-ridden Sri Lanka on Sunday asked China for the restructuring of its loans and access to preferential credit for imports of essential goods, as the island nation struggles in the throes of its worst economic crisis, partly due to Beijing-financed projects that don’t generate revenue.”


China’s next debt crisis will be municipal…

“While coastal provinces with strong export sectors have weathered the Covid-19 outbreak relatively well, local governments in the interior have been under heavy economic stress.

“That was only aggravated by Beijing’s decision to rein in the real estate market.”


Philippines urges Indonesia to lift coal export ban.

“The Philippines’s energy secretary Alfonso Cusi has appealed to Indonesia to lift its coal export ban, saying the policy will be detrimental to economies heavily reliant on the fuel for power generation, Manila’s Department of Energy said on Monday.”


Guatemalan migrants face soaring costs amid crises at home…

“When Sica migrated north in 1996, he said, “coyotes” charged him about 25,000 quetzales ($3,200). Today, they are charging up to 140,000 quetzales ($18,100) – a fortune in a country where approximately half of the population lives under the poverty line.”


In Cuba, queueing for hours ‘just to be able to eat’…

“The shortages affect everyone; even the well-heeled have to contend with long lines, though they often pay other people to hold their place. Those who can come armed with snacks, water, coffee or a wooden bench to sit on.”


In 1973, ‘Soylent Green’ envisioned the world in 2022. It got a lot right…

“The year is 2022. Our overpopulated planet is experiencing catastrophic climate change, megacorporations have excessive power over the government, and clean living is a luxury only the 1 percent can afford.”


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 really means a lot.

8th Jan 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Warning from Kazakhstan — energy and food inflation could ignite global political unrest this year…

“High global prices for energy and food often serve as a leading indicator for outbreaks of civil unrest,” Hugo Brennan, head of EMEA Research, at global risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft, told the Post in an emailed statement.”


Global food prices rose ‘sharply’ during 2021…

“The UN’s Food Price Index [saw] a 28.1 per cent increase over 2020… the consistently high cost of inputs, the ongoing global pandemic and ever more volatile climatic conditions “leave little room for optimism about a return to more stable market conditions even in 2022.””


Highest Ever Vegetable Oil Prices Risk Even Faster Inflation.

“More bad weather for the world’s oilseed growers is pushing rapeseed and canola prices to fresh records and adding to food-inflation worries… Paris rapeseed futures and North American canola notched new all-time highs on Friday.”


Kazakhstan Unrest Pushes Up Uranium and Oil Prices.

“Instability in Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest uranium producer, threatens to curb output and boost prices at the same time supplies of the nuclear fuel are becoming tighter.”


[US] Everyone Has a Job and Nobody’s Happy Why full employment doesn’t mean what it used to…

“The majority of Americans blame President Biden for his handling of the economy, according to a recent poll, and consumer sentiment is at its lowest point in a decade… Biden is now the third straight U.S. president to learn the hard way that low unemployment doesn’t mean that people feel that they’re any better off.”


U.K. Waves Goodbye to Nuclear Plant in Midst of Energy Crunch.

“Electricite de France SA will switch off the last unit at its Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Scotland on Friday, further crimping supplies in the middle of an energy crunch… expensive gas plants will need to step in to supply power when there’s not enough wind to generate renewable electricity.”


UK household income was beginning to flatline before the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis struck, according to damning new figures that show an enormous wealth gap between young and old.

“Data from the ONS released today showed that the median wealth of British families has risen by 20 per cent since the pre-Financial Crisis period to £302,500.”


Boris Johnson has been warned [by the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies] that the growing cost of living crisis could leave Brits worse off than the financial crash of 2008.

“The 2008/09 recession was one of the worst on record, with hundreds of thousands of businesses closing and an estimated 3.7m people being made redundant as a result.”


Extra gas extraction angers Dutch region hit by earthquakes.

“The government of the Netherlands has sparked anger by announcing it may have to double the amount of gas it pumps this year from a northern province that experienced a string of small earthquakes in recent years.”


Germany’s soaring energy prices force government to promise aid.

“German inflation remained close to multi-decade highs at the end of last year, forcing the government to promise aid for poorer households as energy prices continued to surge at double-digit rates.”


Gas flows eastward via Russian Yamal pipeline for 18th day…

“The Yamal-Europe pipeline, which usually sends Russian gas west into Europe, was flowing east from Germany to Poland on Friday for an 18th successive day, albeit at marginally lower levels than on Thursday, data from German network operator Gascade showed.”


Eurozone inflation hits new record as energy and food prices soar.

“Eurozone inflation rose to 5 per cent in December, setting a fresh record high since the single currency was created more than two decades ago and raising doubts over how quickly price pressures will ease this year.”


Near-empty flights crisscross Europe to secure landing slots…

“The highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19 has put many off flying, and because of it, getting people and goods from point A to point B has become an afterthought for thousands of flights.”


China Urges Banks to Boost Property Loans as Default Fears Grow.

“China called on banks to boost real estate lending in the first quarter and eased a key debt restriction for developers, a sign that authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about the industry’s liquidity crisis.”


Shimao’s debt woes deepen concerns over cash crunch in Chinese property.

“The Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended trading in several bonds of Chinese property developer Shimao, a day after the company’s failure to make a loan payment increased fears that a cash crunch will spread more widely across the country’s embattled real estate industry.”


China property debt crisis: R&F warns its asset sales may not meet bond repurchase deadline in a slumping real estate market.

“Guangzhou R&F Properties said it may not be able to sell assets in time to buy back some of its offshore bonds, as one of China’s largest and most indebted developers struggles to meet its debt obligations amid a sinking real estate market.”


China’s First City-Level Restructuring Shows Effect of Slowdown. A city in China’s northeast rustbelt became the latest casualty of the economy’s slowing growth, with local media and analysts reporting it recently began a fiscal restructuring.”


Drowning in debt, South Korean businesses revolt over COVID rules…

“In mid-December, the South Korean government reimposed a business curfew as COVID-19 cases surged to record highs across the country. Restaurants and bars must close after 9pm. Violators face fines or the suspension of their business.”


India’s jobs crisis is more serious than it seems…

“…jobs are diminishing… India’s unemployment rate crept up to nearly 8% in December… “This is way higher than anything seen in India, at least over the last three decades, including the big [economic] crisis of 1991 [when the country did not have enough dollars to pay for imports],” Kaushik Basu, former chief economist of the World Bank, said.”


Uzbekistan has halted exports of natural gas in order to meet domestic energy needs, the Interfax agency reported on Thursday.

“The announcement comes as protests rage in neighbouring Kazakhstan, spurred initially by gas price hikes.”


Turkey’s State Gas Importer Races for Funding as Prices Surge.

“Turkey’s national gas company is trying to raise billions of dollars to pay an import bill due early this year, following a surge in energy prices and a collapse of the lira.”


Brazil extends coal use to 2040 under new ‘just transition’ law…

“Broadly, “just transition” is a process aimed at ensuring the benefits of a green economy shift are shared widely, while supporting those who may lose out economically, whether nations, regions, industries, communities, workers or consumers.”


Brazil’s Industrial Production Unexpectedly Drops Amid Recession.

“Brazil’s industrial production fell in November for the sixth consecutive month, raising concerns about the extent of the recession in Latin America’s largest economy.”


Brazilian Army fears social unrest if Bolsonaro not reelected…

“According to press reports, senior military officials fear political polarization might unleash on a “Capitol Hill scene,” in reference to actions undertaken Jan. 6, 2021 by supporters of former US President Donald Trump, who stormed the building to prevent Joseph Biden’s win from being certified.”


Argentina raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in over a year as it faces calls from the International Monetary Fund to tighten its monetary policy.

“The Central Bank lifted the key Leliq rate to 40 percent from 38 percent, the level it had stood for over a year even with annual inflation running at around 50 percent.


Cubans turn to natural remedies in midst of prescription drugs shortage…

“Today, with many prescription drugs in short supply—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic—plant-based medications and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, cupping, and therapeutic massages have become increasingly important.”


New Studies Find Unprecedented Impact from Supply-Chain Turmoil.

“International shipping costs have swung far more sharply during the pandemic and amid recent supply-chain disruptions than in the wake of the financial crisis over a decade ago, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.”


Covid-19 Hit Supply Chains Hard. Climate Shocks May Hurt More…

“Consider that last year alone saw Hurricane Ida, a typhoon near Chinese ports, the Texas freeze, British Columbia flooding, and freak December tornadoes across the U.S., and it’s clear that global trade is struggling to cope with much more than a health crisis.”


You can read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here. I’ll be back on Monday with (probably) 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 really means a lot.