Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

22nd June 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

World currently seeing the ‘worst cascade of human rights setbacks of our lifetimes’, UN chief says.

“The United Nations rights chief called Monday for “concerted action” to help recover from the worst global deterioration of rights seen in decades, highlighting situations in China, Russia and Ethiopia among others…

“”Extreme poverty, inequalities and injustice are rising. Democratic and civic space is being eroded,” she warned.”


Chances are that the timing on rate hikes will be much sooner than we have been led to believe… there is one thing becoming clearer by the day. Interest rates, currently at the lowest level in history, have bottomed.

“The argument about rate rises now merely is a debate about when.”


Fed’s Bullard: Last “taper” debate no guide what’s needed in current period

““I don’t think we are in the quiescent, low volatility period we were in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Instead we are in a high volatility ‘many things happening at once’ situation and because of that we have to be able to react.””


China’s Progress on U.S. Trade Deal Slowed Again in May

“China bought almost $10 billion worth of manufactured, agricultural and energy goods from the U.S. in May, the lowest monthly total since October 2020. That took total imports to almost $157 billion since January 2020, 41.4% of the targets the two nations agreed at that time.”


Bitcoin falls 10% as China intensifies crypto crackdown

“China announced on Monday that it summoned officials from its biggest banks to a meeting to reiterate a ban on providing cryptocurrency services. It’s the latest sign that China plan to do whatever it takes to close any loopholes left in crypto trading.”


China cracks down on iron ore market… Price tumbles after top economic planning agency says it will probe ‘malicious speculation’

“Beijing has launched a review into record prices for key steelmaking ingredient iron ore, opening another front in its campaign to suppress high commodities prices.”


Chinese Junk Bonds Flash Warning Signs.

“Yields on Chinese junk bonds have jumped to levels last hit during the tail end of last year’s market turbulence, signaling growing investor concern about defaults… Property companies make up a large portion of the Chinese junk bond market.”


Bank of Korea raises alarm about financial risk buildup as asset value nears pre-crisis levels.

“South Korea’s asset value has neared the levels running up to the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998 and global financial crisis of 2008-2009, raising alarm about financial risk building up, a study by the central bank showed.”


Emerging markets are right to worry about capital flows

“…with extraordinarily loose money supply and low returns in the rich world, emerging markets inevitably become a destination of choice for investors looking for high yields. And when the cycle turns, capital flows revert abruptly, leaving emerging country asset and currency markets in turmoil.”


Raisi sets out hardline stance in first remarks since winning Iran election.

“Iran’s president-elect staked out a hardline position in his first remarks since his landslide election victory, rejecting the possibility of meeting Joe Biden or discussing Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and support of regional militias.”


Greece struggles to find tourism workers due to risk of more lockdowns

“The problem threatens to exert a serious drag on the country’s recovery…  “It’s the first time we are facing such a shortage in the industry,” said George Kavathas, president of Greece’s federation of restaurants and related professions.”


Food shortages ‘inevitable’ in UK as Brexit and Covid leave farms under-staffed.

“Staff taking built-up leave over the summer is likely to compound the problem in the coming weeks, while people remaining in the UK for their holidays means there won’t be the usual drop in demand.”


American Airlines cancels hundreds of flights, cites labor shortages.

“Labor shortages are among the reasons American Airlines is being forced to cancel hundreds of flights through at least mid-July. The airline had 120 cancellations on Saturday alone and is projecting at least 50 to 80 flight cancellations a day going forward.”


Cargo Is Piling Up Everywhere, And It’s Making Inflation Worse.

The Port of Los Angeles just logged its busiest month in history, handling more than 1 million shipping containers in May, more than half loaded with imports from Asia. “We feel the importer and exporter pain,” says Gene Seroka, executive director of the country’s busiest cargo port.”


Chip Shortages Are Starting to Hit Consumers. Higher Prices Are Likely

“Price increases are snowballing their way through suppliers and key materials in chip making as the industry rushes to meet rising demand and plug supply holes. As a result, many of the world’s large chip makers are raising prices…”


Poorer nations bear brunt of global development fund dry up: UN.

“The COVID-19 crisis has caused a severe fall in global foreign direct investment (FDI), with investment flows dropping by a third – from $1.5 trillion in 2019 to $1 trillion – in 2020, a new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has warned.”


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

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19th June 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The number of forcibly displaced people reaches another record high… covid-19 did not stop people in desperate circumstances from fleeing their homes in ever growing numbers.

“A new report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shows that 11.2m people fled in 2020; overall, there were 82.4m forcibly displaced people by the end of the year (see chart). It is the highest total to date—and the ninth year in a row that the figure has increased.

“It is almost inevitable that the number will soon exceed 100m.”


Refugee food rations slashed by up to half as government donations slip.

“Government cuts are forcing food rations for the world’s most vulnerable people to be slashed all over the world, according to the World Food Programme.”


Famine Stalks Millions as Acute Hunger Rises Globally.

“The U.N. food agency estimates more than 270 million people, most of them in Africa and the Middle East, around the world are acutely food insecure, with millions at risk of starving to death. “


The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global rise in civil unrest and political insecurity, according to the 15th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) released on Thursday…

“In 2020, the world witnessed almost 15,000 violent protests and riots. The damage it caused came with a hefty price of about $15 trillion or 11.6 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).”


Could a growth setback be the surprise scenario for US markets? [Yes, it could!]

“…what if the outcome turns out to be a less discussed and very undesirable scenario — a less impressive recovery once pandemic stimulus fades that leaves a burden of debt hanging like a deadweight on the economy?”


Mortgage Debt Is Surging in Canada Amid a Pandemic Housing Boom.

“Canadians are piling on debt to purchase property at the fastest pace in more than a decade amid a pandemic-driven housing boom.”


Sweden’s government is teetering on the brink of collapse after a majority of MPs in parliament on Thursday said they would back a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. The vote, to be held on Monday, could lead to snap elections or a caretaker government if it goes against Lofven and his minority centre-left coalition.”


The European Central Bank extended capital relief measures for the major eurozone banks it supervises for nine months today (June 18).

“The ECB is allowing banks to continue excluding exposures from holdings of central bank assets from the leverage ratio it imposes on the eurozone’s biggest lenders.”


Germany aims to borrow about 100 billion euros ($120 billion) in additional funds next year — roughly a quarter more than its previous target

“Heavy government spending is set to continue as Europe’s largest economy grapples with the fallout from the crisis…”


EU endorses massive pandemic relief for recession-hit Greece.

“The European Union Thursday endorsed a pandemic recovery plan for Greece worth 30.5 billion euros ($36.4 billion), providing vital relief for the eurozone member’s shaken economy.”


Italy at crisis point as Mediterranean migrant numbers surge nine-fold.

“Italy’s government is under huge pressure to staunch the arrivals of migrants from the coast of North Africa as the country recorded a nine-fold increase in the number of asylum seekers reaching its shores since 2019.”


The Bank of Japan surprised markets on Friday by unveiling a plan to boost funding for fighting climate change, joining a growing number of central banks stepping up efforts to address its economic and financial fallout.

“The central bank also maintained its massive stimulus to support the economy and extended a September deadline for its pandemic-relief programme.”


Debt, not demographics, will determine the future of China’s economy.

“How well China responds to its worsening demographics will have more to do with how China’s economy adjusts from its investment-led growth model—and, primarily, how it adjusts its reliance on debt.”


Ex-Central Banker Warns of Financial Instability Risks in India.

“Former Indian central banker Rakesh Mohan warned of looming financial instability in India’s already struggling banking sector, citing the growing divergence between the pain in the real economy and the exuberance in the capital markets.”


World Bank’s worst-case scenario for Indonesia just got worse

“The World Bank’s June outlook states that “risks to the outlook are severely skewed to the downside,” given the uncertainty in the future path of the pandemic, global financial conditions, the scarring effect of the crisis and the banking and financial sector’s performance.”


Iran’s shattered economy tops voters’ concerns ahead of presidential election.

“Iranians head to the polls on Friday to elect a successor to outgoing President Hassan Rouhani. But many voters will be abstaining, to focus instead on making ends meet in the midst of a devastating economic crisis.”


Official data lays bare deepening poverty in Turkey.

“At least 700,000 more people plunged into poverty and the income gap widened in Turkey last year as the coronavirus pandemic aggravated the economic turmoil plaguing the country since 2018, official data show.”


‘Starvation on the way’: Border crossing decision weighs on northwest Syria.

“Idlib province, Syria’s last rebel stronghold, is home to around 3 million people, more than half of whom depend on food aid. All of that filters through the Bab al-Hawa crossing where currently around 1,000 U.N. trucks enter a month through Turkey.”


Lebanon workers stage ​general strike over escalating crises.

“Shops government offices, businesses and banks shuttered their doors in Lebanon on Thursday, as part of a general strike to protest deteriorating economic conditions and press for a government to deal with the worsening political and economic crises.”


How the collapse of small towns across South Africa affects farming and agriculture

“[Small towns are devastated] when municipalities fail to provide basic services to their communities and businesses. These services include water and sanitation, electricity, roads and technological infrastructure… A growing number [of municipalities] are also failing to collect revenue from residents and businesses for electricity, water and property taxes.”

[This is slow or “catabolic” collapse in motion – currently the fate of many nations. When the totality ultimately fails, it is likely to happen quickly.]


Too much liquidity: On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee released its June statement which only served to remind us that its members are powerless in the face of inflationary conditions.

“The Fed’s money-printing has continued apace, so much so that severe market distortions are reflecting it… The signal being received by the policy planners from the apparent lack of demand for money is that deflation has the upper hand.”


Global bike shortage set to continue, Halfords chief executive warns.

“Graham Stapleton, the chief executive, said the company had tens of thousands of bikes arriving in stores every week but could still not promise full availability because some branded manufacturers could not keep up with demand.”


Airlines, Banks And Other Companies Across The World Hit In The Latest Web Outage.

“Several major companies, financial institutions and airlines from the U.S. to Australia and Hong Kong suffered brief online outages Thursday due to a third-party IT provider.”


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.com.

17th June 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

America’s central bank jolted markets after signalling it may start hiking interest rates from their present ultra-low level earlier than previously planned.

“Wall Street shares slid after policymakers at the US Federal Reserve forecast that they would raise their benchmark rate twice by late 2023…”


Fed Surprise May Herald New Era of Asian Currency Weakness.

“A hawkish surprise from the Federal Reserve is exacerbating declines in emerging Asia currencies, potentially heralding a longer bout of weakness.”


Bank of England must be ready to hose down a housing market ‘on fire’

“…regardless of continued Covid restrictions, the market plainly doesn’t need any more stimulating. Rather the reverse. The Bank of England will soon have to address the thorny issue of how to cool things down again.”


Eurozone countries on Tuesday hit pause on reform plans designed to protect savers against a future banking crisis, amid deep resistance in Berlin.

“For months, deputy finance ministers have been meeting behind closed doors to agree a timebound plan to introducing a shared deposit insurance system, which would help protect savers and public money from a financial collapse.


France is in the midst of a poverty crisis.

“…the pandemic has been both a ‘revealer’ and an accelerator of inequalities in France. The report provides many insights on the situation in the country and carries some more general lessons that have relevance for the rest of Europe and beyond.”


‘A million more unemployed’: Fears as Italy’s Covid freeze on layoffs set to end

“Italy is the only European country to ban companies from laying off staff amid the pandemic. But mass job losses are expected across the country as the freeze comes to an end in June.”


ECB Should Be Ready for Helicopter Money, French Adviser Says.

“The European Central Bank should consider using so-called helicopter money — direct cash transfers to the population — to boost inflation if price growth is persistently weak after the pandemic, according to a French thinktank which reports to the nation’s prime minister.”


Protests over police violence spread through Tunisian capital.

“Tunisia’s capital has been rocked by a week of protests against police violence that began after the death of a man in police custody and footage that went viral of officers stripping and beating another man.”


High inflation driven by soaring food prices has pushed seven million Nigerians into poverty, the World Bank said.

“In a new report, it commended Nigeria for buttressing its economy from fallout from the coronavirus pandemic but called for urgent measures to brake inflation and protect livelihoods.”


Kenya in serious financial crisis, Treasury CS Yatani now admits.

“Treasury CS Ukur Yatani has promised to release Sh39 billion to counties by Friday to avert shutdown as he lifted the lid on the financial crisis hitting the government.”


Sudan’s prime minister warns of risk of chaos, civil war.

” Sudan’s prime minister warned on Tuesday of the risk of chaos and civil war fomented by loyalists of the previous regime as he sought to defend reforms meant to pull the country out of a deep economic crisis and stabilise a political transition.”


Brazil moves to tame inflation with third interest rate increase of 2021.

“Brazil’s central bank on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year as authorities in Latin America’s largest economy move aggressively to tamp down on rising inflation.”


Gasping for oxygen amid shortages in Bolivian city battling Covid.

“Cochabamba department, in central Bolivia, is struggling with a surge in Covid-19 cases that has triggered the collapse of a fragile healthcare system and has prompted a dire shortage of medical oxygen.”


As Lebanon’s economy collapses, even the wealthy are no longer immune

“With foreign reserves running low, the few remaining subsidised goods are in short supply. When the pumps have not run completely dry, hour-long waits at petrol stations are inescapable, even for those returning from relaxing weekends away.”


Syria’s perfect economic storm should not be ignored.

“… how are the people remaining in Syria doing? Not good, and over the past year it’s got much worse. According to the World Food Programme, more than 12m Syrians — 60 per cent of the population — are suffering from food insecurity.”


Kazakhstan is caught in a vicious cycle of debt. The pandemic has only made it worse.

“A culture of credit was nurtured for years in the Central Asian state, but now many left jobless by the pandemic rely on loans to pay other debts.”


China Steps Up Crackdown on $1 Trillion Bank Wealth Products.

“China’s crackdown on shadow banking is taking aim at more than $1 trillion of opaque investments sold by banks as low risk and high yield, even while funds were channeled to riskier borrowers such as developers.”


Shares in China’s Suning frozen as fears grow about debt pile

“Suning is one of a clutch of Chinese conglomerates including property group Evergrande and distressed debt investor Huarong that are being closely watched by investors. Some are concerned over risks potentially spreading through the financial sector.”


Covid outbreaks in Chinese ports could cause global goods shortages.

“An outbreak of Covid-19 in southern China has combined with the rapid reopening of the world economy and a shortage of shipping containers to cause a surge in transport costs that could fuel inflation and cause shortages of goods across the globe.”


How ‘Chaos’ In The Shipping Industry Is Choking The US Economy… Whidbey Islanders are getting a front row seat to the growing U.S. trade deficit, which is hitting record highs. It’s fueled by a surge in demand for imports, mostly from East Asia…

“Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, has spent 20 years studying the industry and he says what’s going on is unprecedented. “The container shipping industry is in a state of chaos that I don’t think it has ever been since it was invented,” he says.”


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.com.

15th June 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Real estate prices around the world are flashing the kind of bubble warnings that haven’t been seen since the run up to the 2008 financial crisis, according to Bloomberg Economics.

“New Zealand, Canada and Sweden rank as the world’s frothiest housing markets, based on the key indicators used in the Bloomberg Economics dashboard. The U.K. and the U.S. are also near the top of the risk rankings.”


Extremely cruel move:’ US Jobless workers brace for early end to unemployment benefits in 25 states

On Saturday, the $380 in weekly jobless benefits Robyn Gregorieff and her husband had depended on for basic needs is getting slashed by 79%, leaving the couple with just $80 a week to live on.”


US food banks brace for demand as Republicans end unemployment benefits

Food insecurity among Americans surged during the coronavirus pandemic and has remained significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.”


Americans Hoarded ‘Mattress Money’ to Survive During Pandemic… People prefer keeping cash ready at hand when perceived risks are high…

This is hoarding. Mattress money. This is our defense and survival mechanism that tells us that we need to hoard food and wood and stay in the cave,” Geller says in an interview.”


Secretive ‘prepping’ community growing amid pandemic, racial unrest

Cyber attacks, nuclear warfare, civil unrest, hurricanes and snowstorms. These are just a few of the catastrophes survivalists across North Carolina are preparing for.”


The Pandemic Supercharged the [US] Corporate Debt Boom… Stressed companies piled on debt as interest rates plummeted, but could face a reckoning in the next economic downturn…

Nonfinancial companies issued $1.7 trillion of bonds in the U.S. last year, nearly $600 billion more than the previous high, according to Dealogic.”


Mall owner Washington Prime Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday, aiming to slash $950 million in debt, hand ownership to creditors and weather the lingering financial challenges facing commercial property landlords.”


UK Army ‘must help get food to shops’: Lorry driver shortage after Brexit and Covid sparks calls for military to be put on standby to deliver groceries

“Pub and restaurant chains are also not getting the fresh produce deliveries they expect… there are fears the situation might affect tanker deliveries of fuel to petrol stations.”


No lights, no camera: UK TV producers face equipment shortage.

Britain’s high-end film and television producers are facing a shortage of cameras and other key equipment as the industry struggles to keep up with unprecedented demand for new shows caused by lockdown-induced drama binges.”


European Central Bank tensions over how and when to discuss ending its emergency bond-buying program are starting to bubble over into the public domain

“ECB officials pledged last week to continue bond-buying at a faster pace through the third quarter, even as staff raised their forecasts for the region’s economy.”


Debt burden increases as Europe extends corporate life support

When the tsunami hits, regulators are afraid that banks aren’t ready. Andrea Enria, head of banking oversight at the European Central Bank, warned that about 40% of eurozone banks are not properly aware of loans that are unlikely to be repaid.

“Despite the obvious risks, many are actually lowering the probability of defaulting on new loans.”


Spanish Public Debt At An All-Time High: Eur 1.39 Trillion

“According to data from the Bank of Spain, the debt of Spanish public administrations as a whole rose in Q1 2021 to 1.392,733 trillion euros, a record high [and] 125.3% of GDP…”


Emerging market economies face higher interest rates as inflation jumps

Emerging market economies may find it more difficult to refinance debt as countries look to raise interest rates to tackle higher inflation, the Institute of International Finance said.”


‘Debt is Africa’s biggest problem’

“Africa must devise sustainable strategies to avert contracting new and odious debts, so as to free up more resources for investment in critical areas such as healthcare, the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) has said.”


Hyperinflation has hit the prices of food items and household products across Nigeria, countrywide findings by Nigerian Tribune have shown.

The development has effectively pushed many Nigerians into poverty as they find it extremely difficult to feed and meet their other daily obligations.”


Decade-high food prices hit Asian consumers and businesses

The impact of the soaring prices of agricultural staples from wheat to vegetable oils to sugar over the past few months is now hitting consumers and businesses in Asia.”


Medical bills and debt are bankrupting Indians already ravaged by Covid.

Roughly two-thirds of Indians don’t have any health insurance. Overcrowded govt hospitals & poor facilities prompt them to spend out of pocket for better treatment in private hospitals.”


Lebanon is bleeding, its children left to die… Hospitals warn that chronic medical shortages will force them to halt elementary lifesaving procedures such as kidney dialysis: “We have to call a million pharmacies just to find one or two needles,” said one dialysis physician.

Hospitals are canceling operations. Laboratories are running out of testing kits.”


How bad are global shipping snafus? Home Depot contracted its own container ship as a safeguard

Home Depot has reserved its own ship, bought merchandise on the spot market and flown in power tools as it copes with supply chain headaches.”


The National Retail Federation is calling on the White House to address the logjam at US ports that is snarling commerce as the economy swiftly recovers from the pandemic.

“”The supply chain disruption issues, especially the congestion affecting our key maritime ports, are causing significant challenges for America’s retailers,” Matthew Shay, the NRF’s president and CEO, wrote…”


Disruption to shipping could delay Christmas orders

Disruption in the global container shipping industry shows no sign of being resolved quickly and could lead to shortages in the run-up to Christmas, say industry experts.”


Zombies Are on the March in Post-Covid Markets… Bankruptcies have tumbled as central banks’ crisis response keeps weak companies alive. It’s a debased form of capitalism that saps vitality

“…investors in relatively risky bonds are making a bet on a potent and enduring dose of financial repression, in which central banks keep propping up markets, and effectively force everyone to lend to the government, and to companies, at otherwise uneconomic rates.”


Why the internet is just one domino away from collapse… After large swathes of the internet went down last week, experts warn that even larger outages could be on the horizon…

We tend to forget that the fact that the internet works on a day-to-day basis is close to a miracle,” says Corinne Cath-Speth, an anthropologist at the Oxford Internet Institute…”


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.com.

12th June 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Fresh Covid-19 Outbreaks in Asia Disrupt Global Shipping, Chip Supply Chain: An outbreak at one of the world’s busiest ports in southern China has led to global shipping delays, while infections at key points in the semiconductor supply chain in Taiwan and Malaysia are worsening a global chip shortage that has hindered production in the auto and technology industries.

The new headaches add to inflation concerns, after China and the U.S. this week recorded their biggest annual jumps in factory-gate prices and consumer prices, respectively, in more than a decade.”


The world must stand by Southeast Asia in its fight against COVID… Today, a surge in infections in Southeast Asia that is costing lives and threatening to derail recovery from last year’s painful recession also demands global attention.

“As the highly contagious Indian and U.K. variants of COVID take root, the developed world needs to do more than hold its breath and hope.”


Inflation burst begins to tear market in two.

A jump in US consumer prices has underscored the threat to financial markets as a growing chorus of doubters warns that inflation could skip away from central bankers’ control.”


The Longer The Fed Pins Down Rates, The Uglier The Inflation Damage Will Be… The inflation data this morning came in hot, as expected.

Still, the Treasury market moved in the opposite direction of what would be considered intuitive, in a world where the Fed looks to be almost certainly behind the curve on inflation (already).”


Harvest of horrors: It was always a gruelling job. But today our demand for £4 chickens and milk at 40p a pint is driving [the UK’s] small farmers to despair and ruin

Our remaining 180,000 farmers still provide over half the food we eat, and yet because we demand it so cheap, farming has to be intensive.”


Unemployment among recent graduates has risen to levels last seen during the austerity era, with [the UK’s] young people worst affected by job shortages due to the pandemic

“The figures showed an unemployment crisis facing young people who had not gone to university, with nearly one in four unemployed and not looking for work…”


A rapid and chaotic energy transition would leave Europe’s biggest banks in financial peril comparable to the subprime crisis that United States lenders faced in 2008.”

[Almost seems moot as a “rapid and chaotic energy transition” likely means systemic failure IMO.]


China’s boast of eradicating poverty challenged by new study

Report [published on Tuesday by Bill Bikales, former senior economist for the UN in China] says Beijing failed to take into account impact of Covid on vulnerable urban families.”


China credit slowdown ‘happening faster than expected’ even as bank loans rose unexpectedly in May…

Growth of outstanding total social financing (TSF), a broad measure of credit and liquidity in the economy, slowed to 11 per cent in May, the weakest pace since February 2020.”


Russia raises key interest rate to 5.5% as it struggles to control inflation.

Russia’s central bank has raised its key interest rate by 50 basis points as Moscow struggles to tame inflation, which is running at its highest level for almost five years.”


Cong protests across Rajasthan [India] against fuel price hike, inflation

Congress leaders and workers held symbolic protests outside petrol pumps and demanded the centre curb inflation.”


Oman’s youth unemployment problem is a harbinger for wider Gulf.

Unrest in Oman is a harbinger for other Gulf petrostates that need to diversify their economies to create jobs for legions of young people.”


Sudan: Protests in Khartoum over price-spiking petrol subsidy removal.

Tyres burned in blockades along the streets of Khartoum Thursday in protest of the Sudanese government’s decision — in line with reforms to make the country eligible for an IMF debt relief initiative, to remove subsidies on petrol and diesel resulting in their respective prices more than doubling.”


Concerns grow that Lebanon fuel crisis is leading to ‘industrial and agricultural disaster’

Gasoline stocks running out and factories closing next week… ” “the political class in Lebanon is in denial, and people are rapidly heading toward the crisis while the state does not have any response plan.””


Rise in Turkish food prices sparks fears of shortages.

“With its food inflation already above 17%, crisis-hit Turkey is bracing for further increases in food prices amid looming declines in key crops due to drought, coming atop already serious problems in the agricultural sector and the country’s unremitting currency woes.”


Algerians to elect parliament amid ‘repression’ of protest movement.

“Algerians vote in parliamentary elections on Saturday as authorities seek to bolster their legitimacy and snuff out a long-running protest movement, under what activists say is a “climate of repression”.”


Sierra Leone faces serious food crisis.

“A recent study by the World Food Programme (WFP) says that over 4.7 million people out of a population of just over 7 million in Sierra Leone are food insecure. This means that 66 percent of the population cannot meet their basic food needs.”


Covid-19 Plunges 50 % Zimbabweans Into Extreme Poverty

“Extreme poverty in Zimbabwe rose to 49 % in 2020 due to the disruption caused on the national economy by Covid-19, coupled with inadequacies in terms of social protection, the latest World Bank report has established.”


The cost of Colombia’s social unrest to oil and gas producers.

The financial cost of Colombia’s social unrest to hydrocarbon producers has exceeded US$120mn, as blockades and violence have crippled oilfield operations, according to energy minister Diego Mesa.”


Venezuela’s public sector surviving on ‘starvation salary’

Johany Perez, a stretcher-bearer at a hospital in Caracas, earns a “starvation wage” of the minimum $2.20 a month in a Venezuela wracked by a severe economic crisis.”


Steel’s massive rally is hitting all parts of the global economy.

“Demand is so frenzied that US mills have stopped taking orders from customers… In a global economy already shaken by supply shortages and inflation worries, the mills’ moves may signal more delivery snags and even higher prices for a commodity key to a wide swath of industries.”


Tin prices rose to their highest in more than a decade on Friday as expectations of severe shortages due to supply and shipping disruptions created by COVID-19 restrictions fuelled another speculative buying frenzy.


Corn stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper, keep on shrinking [and have a hit a 25-year low] at a time when agricultural markets are steeped in worries over strained supplies and food inflation.

The weather’s too dry for crops to thrive. Americans are embarking on summer travels, which burns up corn-based fuel that’s mixed into gasoline. China is scouring the world market for grains…”


From Beans to Burgers, Food Is Getting More Expensive… Chipotle, Shake Shack and Piggly Wiggly are all raising prices to cover higher costs

Food prices are rising because of the higher costs for labor and transport but also ingredients including corn, soybean oil and wheat.”


António Guterres on the climate crisis: ‘We are coming to a point of no return’

“Before meeting the leaders of the world’s major economic powers at the G7 summit in the UK, the UN Secretary General said he was concerned that the richest nations have pumped billions of dollars more into fossil fuels than clean energy since the pandemic, despite their promises of a green recovery.”


Edge of Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf is ripping apart, causing key Antarctic glacier to gain speed… The ice shelf on Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier lost about one-fifth of its area from 2017 to 2020, mostly in three dramatic breaks…

“The loss of Pine Island’s ice shelf now looks like it possibly could occur in the next decade or two, as opposed to the melt-driven subsurface change playing out over 100 or more years,” said co-author Pierre Dutrieux, an ocean physicist at British Antarctic Survey. “So it’s a potentially much more rapid and abrupt change.”” 


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.com.

10th June 2021 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, 2021 is shaping up to be the year of stressed supply chains and the shortages economy.

In scale and scope, unprecedented supply shortages have had a cascading impact on global supply chains and prices of key inputs.”


The Biden administration has set up a new “Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force” as part of its response to ongoing shortages of semiconductors and other critical goods.

“The task force, led by the secretaries of commerce, transportation and agriculture, is aiming to tackle bottlenecks in the chip industry, as well as in the transportation sector, home building and construction, and agriculture and food, senior administration officials told reporters.”


The jobs are coming back [US] — but the workers are not. Roughly half of workers recently surveyed said they would turn down a job offer that mandated full-time in-office work.

“Restaurants, hotels and stores are scrambling to find workers to fill lower-paying positions as demand surges along with reopenings. Unlike at their white-collar counterparts, much of the work can’t be conducted remotely, which presents unique challenges.”


Stagflation is U.S. economists’ biggest fear, SIFMA says

“Amid the focus on inflation, SIFMA said that 87% of respondents “view stagflation, as opposed to hyperinflation or deflation, as the bigger risk to the economy.” Stagflation is when slow economic growth is accompanied by high inflation and high unemployment.”


‘Scared Of Civil Unrest’… Walk into any [Florida] gun store and owners are singing the same tune – firearm sales are up

““Yeah, I’ve seen a big uptick in AR-15s. Anybody who doesn’t have one wants to get one now. And the people who already have them just for target [shooting] are buying three or four more just to have them,” said Roy Gosley.”


Mortgage Surge Pushes Canada Consumer Debt to $1.7 Trillion.

“A surge in mortgage borrowing is pushing consumer debt loads higher in Canada despite falling credit card use, as households plow more money into their homes while spending less on everything else.”


UK housing market is on fire, warns Bank of England chief economist

“Andy Haldane warned that the property market was likely to continue running hot while all these factors, in combination with the central bank’s ultra-low interest rates, remained in place. He said the recent rise in house prices – which topped 10% over the 12 months to March 2021, according to official data – was very likely to worsen inequality.”


Fresh food is being left to rot undelivered as UK supermarket shelves and restaurant plates sit empty due to nationwide Heavy Goods Vehicle driver shortage, fruit and veg boss says…

“Mr O’Malley wrote: ‘…this is now a crisis of national importance.'”


Shortages are crippling Germany’s post-Covid recovery in the wake of a shock slump for manufacturers, experts have warned…

Ministers blamed the upset – which leaves industrial output lagging more than 5pc below its pre-Covid level – on “a shortage of producer goods, especially semiconductors and lumber”.”


Italy’s Tomato Harvest Threatened by Can Shortages

“Tomato sauce on your spaghetti may be harder to come by this year as a global shortage of steel sheets to make cans for food production risks leaving Italian tomatoes rotting in the fields.”


The price of goods leaving China’s factories, or ‘China’s factory gate prices’, has risen at the quickest rate in over 12 years, as a result of surging global commodity prices.

It is drawing attention to inflationary pressures while policymakers are trying to stimulate their economies in the aftermath of a coronavirus-induced downturn.”


Covid outbreak in China sparks fears of trade disruption.

A Covid-19 outbreak in southern China is curbing activity at some of the country’s biggest ports, stoking fears that further disruption to international trade risks pushing up the price of its exports.”


Huarong, Evergrande Bond Slump Tests Too-Big-to-Fail Belief.

“A bond selloff in two of China’s most prolific debt issuers is widening concern over contagion risks in the country’s $862 billion dollar bond market.”


China investigates senior bad debt official for corruption… Probe of Great Wall executive comes as global investor concerns grow over defaults…

“The probe is the latest indication of possible financial misconduct in the top ranks of China’s “bad debt” asset management companies, as concerns rise over their high debt levels and falling profits.”


China gets tough on financial sector risk management, extends contingency planning to more institutions

““Recovery and contingency planning is conducive to shoring up financial institutions’ risk awareness and crisis management capacity,” the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said on Wednesday.”


Iran mired in economic pain as presidential vote nears.

“When Iranians vote for a new president next week, they will do so in the depths of an economic crisis brought on by crippling sanctions and worsened by the pandemic.”


Iraq Aims to Go Nuclear to Resolve Crippling Power Shortages.

“Iraq is working on a plan to build nuclear reactors as the electricity-starved petrostate seeks to end the widespread blackouts that have sparked social unrest.”


‘This is a revolution’: the faces of Colombia’s protests.

“Fifty-eight people have died in six weeks of unrest – at least 45 of them killed by police – and dozens of people have gone missing… But demonstrators say they are more determined than ever to fight for change.”


UN special rapporteur to Myanmar warns of ‘mass deaths’ from starvation, disease

“Myanmar has been in chaos and its economy paralysed since the February putsch and a brutal military crackdown on dissent that has killed over 800, according to a local monitoring group.”


World Bank Sees Strongest Rebound in 80 Years Despite Divergence

“It’s the tale of two recoveries,” Ayhan Kose, director of the World Bank group, said in an interview. “On the one hand, advanced economies, big countries, are delivering fast growth, record growth [but accruing totally unsustainable quantities of debt in so doing]. On the other hand, you have these low-income countries struggling to generate growth.””


Child labour worldwide increases for first time in 20 years

“Child labour has risen for the first time in two decades and the coronavirus crisis threatens to push millions more youngsters towards the same fate, Unicef has said. The pandemic risks worsening the situation, the agencies say.”


Sovereign Defaults Hit Record in 2020; More Are Possible.

“Fitch Ratings-London-08 June 2021: The sovereign issuer-based default rate rose to a record high in 2020 against a backdrop of weakened sovereign credit profiles due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Fitch Ratings says. Downgrade pressures have eased this year, but our ratings indicate that more defaults are possible.”


Haunted by memories of past U.S. interest rate hikes, the world’s central banks are laying the groundwork for a transition to life with less global stimulus, with many countries already signalling moves to the exit

“…more vulnerable central banks are fortifying their financial systems to ward off the type of capital flight that hit emerging markets during the 2013 “taper tantrum,” which was triggered by mere hints of Fed tightening…”


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

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