Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

7th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

[Global] Economic downturn spreads as more sectors report falling output and record price rises.

“Detail sector PMI data compiled by S&P Global, derived from information provided by panels of over 30,000 companies in 45 countries, revealed a broadening of the global economic slowdown in April….

“Prices are meanwhile rising for all goods and services, though of particular concern is a record rise in food prices amid falling food production, which is likely to add to the global cost of living crisis.”


Global food prices held near a record as crop trade is disrupted by the war in Ukraine, exacerbating tight supplies and stoking inflation…

“High fertilizer prices and weather worries are adding to the threat for global crop supplies, including drought curbing the U.S. wheat crop. That risks compounding a deepening hunger crisis.”


Wheat production in Ukraine is likely to be at least a third lower than in normal years, according to analysis of satellite images of the country…

“…with more disruption from the war extremely likely, and fighting concentrated in the east where the main wheat-growing regions are found, Kayrros estimates that the wheat harvest is likely to be down by at least 35% this year compared with 2021.”


The world is ‘crying out for diesel.’…

“Retail gasoline prices in the U.S. are up 45% year on year. Diesel used by American truckers is up 75% and just hit an all-time high. But this is not just an American problem. Pain at the pump is global… Fuel flows globally to where it earns the highest return.”


U.S. distillate stocks fall critically low.

“U.S. distillate fuel oil inventories have fallen to a 14-year low as refiners prove unable to satisfy strong demand from freight hauliers and manufacturers, sending diesel prices surging and pulling crude prices higher in their wake.”


Central banks must play economic manoeuvres in the dark…

“This is a time of incredible complexity: each week has thrown up a new shock or revealed that the problems we saw coming were bigger than we thought. Markets whiplashed back and forth this week in response to the Fed’s announcements…”


The Stock Market Panic Is Here…

“Why panic? Because negative developments are everywhere, and they are the last thing standing in the dismal bond and stock markets. The rationalization, “but the economy is still doing well,” is based on past data.”


It’s the Worst [US] Bond Market Since 1842. That’s the Good News…

“So far in 2022, with inflation raging, bonds have lost 10%… Almost never has the U.S. bond market lost as much money as in the first four months of 2022, according to Edward McQuarrie, an emeritus professor of business at Santa Clara University who studies asset returns over the centuries.”


The U.S. currency vaulted to two-decade highs this week, and its strength is tightening financial conditions just as the world economy confronts the prospect of a slowdown.

“The surge threatens “to damage the broader market environment and expose the economic and financial cracks in the system,” said Samy Chaar, chief economist at Lombard Odier.”


Americans are racking up debt at record rates.

“Consumer debt levels for March 2022 climbed by $52.4 billion, an annual increase of 14%, seasonally adjusted, according to Federal Reserve data released Friday. Revolving credit, which includes credit cards, surged by 21.4%.”


Bird Flu Outbreak Nears Worst Ever in U.S. With 37 Million Dead.

“A bird flu virus that’s sweeping across the U.S. is rapidly becoming the country’s worst outbreak, having already killed over 37 million chickens and turkeys and with more deaths expected through next month as farmers perform mass culls across the Midwest.”


‘Chaos On The Horizon’: Concern Grows Over Potential Summer Power Outages In California…

“California’s power grid operator is predicting an energy shortage for the hot summer months. The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) said the state could be 1,700 megawatts short of what it needs for the grid to function properly.”


Gas prices hit record highs across the country [Canada]…

“According to Gas Wizard, a site that tracks gas prices across Canada, prices have jumped by four to six cents in many urban centres across the country. In Vancouver, the price of regular gasoline reached $2.17.”


Three graphs that show UK’s looming economic turmoil.

“Inflation will rocket… GDP will flatline… unemployment is expected to surge as the looming economic disaster rears its head. The Bank of England warns that unemployment could rise by 8 per cent by 2025 – the worst level since the banking crisis ended.”


Germany heading for recession as Putin’s war hits factory production.

“Industrial production in Europe’s biggest economy plunged by 3.9pc in March, a fall three times larger than economists had expected, leaving GDP 7.6pc below its pre-pandemic level. It shows the severe impact the war is [already] having on Germany’s vital manufacturing sector…”


Bulgaria industry on tenterhooks after Russia gas cut.

“The halt of Russian gas supplies to Bulgaria last week has left companies big and small scrambling as they fear cuts to deliveries and rising prices. “We are already on the brink. We’ll have to raise our prices further,” said Valery Krastev, who owns a bread factory in the northern town of Montana.”


Euro Crisis 2.0? …It’s been a decade since the Greek debt crisis dominated financial news…

“Relative and absolute levels have increased since 2011. Even with debt relief, Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio is lower, because its economy has shrunk. Only Germany and Ireland, where companies have relocated to take advantage of lower taxes, have seen their debt-to-GDP ratios fall.”


‘We see a big recession in the making’: Top CEOs are fearing the worst in Europe.

“The euro zone faces concurrent economic shocks from the war in Ukraine and a surge in food and energy prices exacerbated by the conflict, along with a supply shock arising from China’s zero-Covid policy.”


EU needs to make food security a priority for gas supplies.

“…farmers do not have enough mineral fertiliser or diesel fuel to maintain food production. As one fertiliser industry person I know put it, accurately in my view: “the last few drops of diesel should be used by a tractor to spread fertiliser made with the last bit of gas”. That is not the set of priorities that is set by current European law.”


‘I’m Very Anxious’: China’s Lockdowns Leave Millions Out of Work…

“Migrant workers and recent college graduates have been hit hardest by shuttered factories, closed construction sites and an anemic job market… The government’s new support measures suggest that the problem is more serious than officials have let on…”


Shipping delays are back as China’s lockdowns ripple around the world…

“…global shipping will suffer well into the summer. That could exert even more pressure on global supply chains already reeling from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and keep inflation running hot… To add to the problem, many truck drivers have struggled to reach ports in China to pick up containers because of travel restrictions and Covid testing requirements.”


Chinese yuan short bets hit record high on slowdown fears, Fed policy.

“Short positions on the Chinese yuan touched their highest on record and bearish bets on other Asian currencies surged on worries over an economic slowdown in China and aggressive policy tightening in the United States, a Reuters poll found.”


India invokes emergency law to operate idle coal import-based utilities.

“India has evoked an emergency law in a bid to start generation at some idle power plants running on imported coal which are not producing power because of financial stress or due to high international prices of coal, the government said on Friday.”


Anger over fuel shortage on major highways as people return from Raya break [Malaysia]…

“There have been reports of acute fuel shortages on the east coast and other parts of the country, which have sent tempers flaring… Many took to social media to vent their frustration after finding that many petrol stations had run out of RON95 petrol, with only the pricier RON97 available.”


Turkey’s inflation rate soars to almost 70 percent.

“Turkey’s official inflation rate has spiralled to nearly 70 percent in April, posing a huge challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose unconventional economic policies are often blamed for the economic turmoil.”


As Bread Costs Skyrocket In Iran, So Does The Risk Of Social Unrest.

“A dramatic rise in the price of flour in Iran is leading to concerns that the authorities’ recent decision to end subsidies for imported wheat could come at the cost of social unrest… the cost of flour has soared by around 500 percent and is expected to increase further.”


Over 97% Of Afghans Affected By Food Shortages, Says UN…

“Living costs and food prices have skyrocketed since Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August last year. The Afghan newspaper report cited World Bank findings saying that incomes are likely to have fallen by around a third since the capture of power by Taliban.”


Sri Lanka ‘risks running out of food and fuel’ and could descend into ‘anarchy’, former energy minister says…

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency across the country on Friday evening effective from midnight. It comes amid widespread protests calling for the resignation of Mr Rajapaksa and his brother Mahinda, who is prime minister, as Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis in recent memory.”


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.

5th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Fraying central bank consensus spurs dollar and market stress.

“The highest inflation in decades is unraveling whatever policy consensus there was between the world’s major central banks since the Great Financial Crisis and global markets could buckle under resulting waves of stress and volatility.”


Federal Reserve announces biggest interest rate hike since 2000.

More rate rises are expected. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the Fed to raise rates seven times in 2022, reaching 2.9% in early 2023. Starting in June, officials also plan to shrink their $9tn asset portfolio, a policy move that will further push up borrowing costs.”


“…The Fed Can’t Fix Our Broken Banking System… the Fed tells us it can reverse course and unwind the emergency measures it first launched back in 2008… Unfortunately, given the underlying structure of our financial system today, the Fed is not likely to get very far…

If legislators do not act soon, another 2008-level crisis (or worse) will eventually force their hand. When that happens, the economic, political, and social costs could be catastrophic.


Distressed debt levels double in US corporate bond market.

“Investors have started backing away from the riskiest corporate bonds in the US, with the amount of debt that trades at distressed levels doubling since the start of the year… Further monetary tightening by the Fed will push more debt into the distressed zone.


The Hot Housing Market Makes the Fed’s Inflation-Fighting Job Even Tougher.

“Federal Reserve officials are counting on higher mortgage rates to throw cold water on the frenzied housing market as they work to tame the highest inflation in decades. But the market may not cool fast enough.”


U.S. natural gas surged Tuesday to the highest level in nearly 14 years as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine wreaks havoc on global energy markets.

“Henry Hub prices jumped more than 9% at one point to a session high of $8.169 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) during morning trading on Wall Street, the highest level since September 2008.”


Diesel prices hit yet another new record on Wednesday at $5.43 per gallon, now some $1.2 more than a gallon of gasoline, according to AAA.

“While high prices at that pump for gasoline have somewhat leveled off, diesel continues to steadily rise, causing an increase in prices of consumer goods because it fuels the trucks that transport an estimated 70% of consumer goods freighted in the United States.”


The U.S. Shale Patch Is Facing A Plethora Of Problems.

“… the rig count is going steadily higher, but production from the eight major shale basins has leveled off and, as of Feb, 22, has actually slightly declined. If the May edition of the DPR confirms this trend then there is going to have to be a drastic reevaluation of what will be expected from shale in the future.”


U.S. Offshore Oil Boom Is No Cure For Global Supply Crunch.

“According to Bloomberg, a new wave of oil platforms is sweeping across the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as oil companies rush to capitalize on oil prices at multi-year highs. The bad news: A ramp-up in U.S. offshore output is not likely to close the global oil supply gap thanks to years of underinvestment.”


OPEC Has Missed Its Oil Output Target Once Again.

“Force majeure in Libya and under-production in Nigeria have led to a much lower increase in OPEC production for the month of April than was called for by the cartel’s supply agreement.”


The oil market could lose as much as 2 million barrels a day of Russian crude in coming weeks, when the hit from existing sanctions becomes apparent, BP’s chief executive has said…

“Looney added BP doesn’t expect any “let off” in oil prices and market volatility soon, given the drop in volumes reaching the market.”


Germany Says Ready to Halt Russian Oil After EU Agrees Embargo…

“Economy Minister Robert Habeck… said the main challenge is a refinery in Schwedt near the Polish borders, which is operated by Russia’s Rosneft PJSC and has little incentive to switch suppliers. Germany is preparing legislation that could pave the way for it taking control of the facility.”


Swiss preparing for possible ‘severe’ electricity and gas shortages.

“The Swiss government is setting up a gas sector crisis intervention group and a monitoring system for early detection of an impending electricity shortage, it said on Wednesday, as it prepares for the possibility of “severe” power shortages.”


Covid lockdowns hammer China’s services sector…

“The Caixin China services purchasing managers’ index, which asks companies whether they experienced an increase or decrease in business activity compared with the previous month, fell to 36.2 in April from 42 in March, the second-sharpest fall since the survey was launched in 2005.”


Mexico to boost output of staple foods in plan to curb inflation.

“Mexico will increase production of staple foods such as corn, rice and beans as part of a plan agreed with business leaders to control consumer price inflation which is at a two-decade high, Finance Minister Rogelio Ramirez de la O said on Wednesday.”


Ghana at Risk of Debt Default, Main Opposition Leader Warns… Debt servicing costs have risen 500% from 2017, Mahama Says

““More than half of what government collects in taxes is used to service debt, with the remainder going almost exclusively into public-sector wages,” Mahama said. “The effect of this, is that government is unable to meet its spending obligations in the most critical sectors of the economy…”


Blackouts force Syrians to return to old ways to keep lights on…

“Syrians, who are experiencing their worst bout of economic hardship since their country was ravaged with war more than a decade ago, have been increasingly relying on vintage kits and old ways to cope with fuel shortage and long hours of electricity outages.”


Turkey’s farmers battle with soaring costs and mounting debt.

“…those who work the land today are struggling, like many of the half a million farmers across Turkey. A collapse in the value of the Turkish lira over the past 12 months has combined with a surge in global commodity prices to vastly increase their input costs.”


A debt typhoon is set to engulf the world, and India won’t escape unscathed…

“Today, Indians are indignant at soaring prices of petrol and diesel. Opposition parties demand further duty cuts by the central government while the prime minister wants the states to cut their fuel taxes. Neither side dares broadcast the bad news that even today’s prices are unsustainably low and will soar much higher.”


India Mulls Wheat Export Curbs in Latest Food Supply Squeeze.

“India is considering restricting wheat exports as severe heat waves have damaged crops, exacerbating tight global supplies after the war in Ukraine sent food inflation soaring… The South Asian nation experienced its hottest March on record, shriveling the wheat crop…”


Top Fertilizer Maker Nutrien Sees Market Chaos Beyond 2022.

“Fertilizer prices have soared to all-time highs as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Belarus have thrown a massive chunk of the world’s supply into disarray. The sanctions have the potential to create more long-lasting impacts…”


World Hunger to Worsen After Spiking 25% Before Ukraine War…

“Almost 193 million people across 53 countries or territories suffered acute food insecurity in 2021, meaning their lack of meals posed an immediate threat to their lives or livelihoods, the international alliance said in a report. That’s up from 155 million in 55 countries for the prior year…”


Worldwide factory output falls for first time since June 2020 as supply conditions worsen…

“…China’s downturn, combined with disruptions caused by the Ukraine war, also led to a worsening global supply situation, which in turn pushed price pressures higher and led to a further drop in global business expectations for output in the year ahead.”


Global chemicals face negative growth on inflation, more logistics problems and a deep downturn in China…

“Inflation is also at levels that we haven’t seen since the 1970s. Even if supply is available of durable, non-essential goods made from chemicals and polymers (most finished goods are of course made in China), demand may well collapse because of rising costs. Or the collapse may have already started.”


Deloitte: Stagflation shock coming for global economy.

“Many other central banks around the world have already commenced lifting their official rates to stem inflationary pressures, and they are doing so at a tricky time because expectations around economic growth are weakening.”


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

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

3rd May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Can the World Feed Itself? Historic Fertilizer Crunch Threatens Food Security…

“For the first time ever, farmers the world over — all at the same time — are testing the limits of how little chemical fertilizer they can apply without devastating their yields come harvest time. Early predictions are bleak…

““Food security is in peril,” Philippines Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a text message to Bloomberg News. Rising food prices, without a corresponding increase in incomes, have a long history of triggering social unrest.”


The global stagflation shock of 2022: How bad could it get? [Picture from Paris at the weekend]

“The prospect of stagflation’s return strikes fear into policymakers because there are few monetary tools to address it. Raising interest rates may help reduce inflation, but increased borrowing costs would further depress growth. Keeping monetary policies loose, meanwhile, risks pushing prices higher.”


End of Easy Money Brings a $410 Billion Global Financial Shock.

“The global shift away from easy money is poised to accelerate as a pandemic bond-buying blitz by central banks swings into reverse, threatening another shock to the world’s economies and financial markets.”


US 10-year Treasury yield reaches 3% for first time since 2018…

The yield on the government bond has profound effects on the economy, feeding into home mortgage rates and borrowing costs for companies. The higher yield, which rises when bond prices fall, is tightening financial conditions after two years of the coronavirus pandemic.”


Why every American should care that diesel prices are surging across the country.

Without diesel fuel, the U.S. economy would collapse in a matter of days. Our supply chains would completely shrivel, almost overnight. Trucks use it to haul our goods across the country. Of all Class 8 trucks (the big ones), 97% use diesel. No, Elon Musk is not going to save us here.”


Trucking shortage shifts from drivers to vehicles…

On both sides of the Atlantic… a longstanding shortfall of equipment — due originally to coronavirus restrictions and chip shortages — is becoming more severe as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shuts down the supply of key components and Chinese lockdowns threaten further turmoil in global supply chains.”


Bank of England ‘duty bound’ to trigger recession to curb inflation…

“Britain’s central bank policymakers are “duty bound” when they meet this week to push the UK into recession to cap rising inflation, a former Bank of England official has said. Adam Posen… said… it should hike interest rates now to squeeze out inflationary pressures made worse by Brexit trade and immigration restrictions.”


EU Rejects Russia’s Ruble-For-Gas Scheme, Warns Of Supply Shock.

“At the conclusion of its Monday meeting, the European Union has said it will not heed Russian demands to pay for gas in rubles, with a mid-May deadline for payment looming. The bloc also warned its member states to prepare for Russia to cut off gas to all members.


Euro zone factory output growth stalled in April.

“Euro zone manufacturing output growth stalled last month as factories struggled to source raw materials while demand took a knock from steep price increases and fears about the economic outlook, a survey showed.”


Protests erupt across Europe as tens of thousands rally to honor workers on May Day…

“Tensions erupted in Paris, as some demonstrators smashed windows… French police moved in, firing rounds of tear gas… Turkish police detained 164 people for demonstrating without permits and resisting police… Rising inflation and fears of upcoming food shortages from the war in Ukraine are feeding discontent around the world.”


China’s Economy Appears to Be Stalling, Threatening to Drag Down Global Growth.

“On Saturday, purchasing manager indexes released by China’s government showed contractions in factory and service-sector activity for a second straight month in April… Cement production in mid-April was less than 40% of full capacity.”


Singapore PM warns of global recession… “Singaporeans are already feeling the impact of the war on the cost of living”, as the city-state faced an $S8 billion ($8.2 billion) hit a year from higher energy prices, he said.

Mr Lee joins a growing list of global policymakers, market participants, economists and companies warning of recession risks.


Three people were wounded by gunfire and two arrested in clashes at May Day demonstrations in Chile, police said.

“The shooting occurred during a Sunday march called by a union in the capital Santiago as some protesters erected barricades and entered commercial premises, clashing with merchants.”


Human rights violations mount with Colombia protests.

“At the end of May Day, protests continued to rage across Colombia, and a couple of months after the one-year anniversary of the initial lockdown marking the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Peru’s annual inflation rate hits 24-year high in April.

“Peru’s annual inflation rate hit 7.96% in April, its highest level in 24 years, as the copper-producing Andean nation grapples with protests over rising food and energy costs… To combat inflation, Peru’s central bank has steadily raised the country’s benchmark interest rate this year.”


Nigeria: May Day Amid Strike Fevers…. Already, Nigerian workers and their counterparts in the informal sector are struggling to cope with low purchasing power…

“This year’s May Day comes at a time when the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and other organised Labour groups are in a “war” mood.”


Tunisia announces ‘national dialogue’, excluding opposition groups…

“On Sunday, UGTT leader Noureddine Taboubi appealed to Saied to launch the national dialogue, saying it was “probably the last chance” to bring the country together and avoid “a dismantling of the state and a financial and economic collapse”.”


Pakistan: Farmers decry urea crisis after gas supply to fertilizer units worsens.

“Farmers of Pakistan fear that the urea crisis would be severe this year because of the reduction in the gas supply that has been diverted to help overcome the electricity shortage in the country.”


Eid brings little joy for millions of Afghans facing hunger.

“More than 90 percent of Afghans have been facing a shortage of food, according to the United Nations. Jamal, who did not wish to share his real name, is among those for whom Eid, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, brought little joy.”


Tanker strike worsens fuel woes in crisis-hit Sri Lanka.

“A strike by owners of fuel tankers over the weekend renewed Sri Lanka’s long queues for diesel and petrol on Monday as pumps ran dry, compounding the island nation’s economic and energy crisis.”


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

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

30th April 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

We are sailing into a perfect storm. And it may hit us worse than anything that has come before it.

“The situation will only get worse in the coming months. It will become more and more costly for countries to secure staple products in the international markets. As the risk of economic defaults increases, the financial space for governments to respond to the needs of their citizens will become more constrained – and the most vulnerable will suffer even more.”

We are not talking about a crisis that will come and go in a matter of weeks or months.”


Governments Tighten Grip on Global Food Stocks, Sending Prices Higher.

“Dozens of countries have thrown up trade barriers in the past two months to protect scarce supplies of food and commodities, but experts say the policies will only exacerbate a global food crisis… policymakers have quickly dropped the language of open markets and begun advocating a more protective approach.


Soy Oil Jumps to Another All-Time High on Global Shortage Fears.

“Russia’s invasion of its neighbor is upending trade of key agriculture crops from a major exporting region, driving up commodity prices and causing nations to go into hoarding mode to avert massive food shortages and potential civil unrest.”


Diesel In ‘Crisis’ Mode As Prices Break Records…

““I’ve started to use the term diesel ‘crisis’, Tom Kloza, head of global energy research at OPIS, told CNBC. “It clearly is a crisis that’s happening before our eyes. I wouldn’t rule out lines, shortages or $6 [price] in places beyond California. I wouldn’t say it’s a shortage yet. Europe, I think they’re headed for a shortage,” he said.”


Global Bonds Set for Worst Ever Month Before Burst of Rate Hikes…

“Fears of quickening inflation have torpedoed bonds worldwide, with a cut in Russian gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria and a red-hot Australian inflation print fueling expectations that the rout may continue.”


Stress emerges again in Treasuries market.

When the world’s biggest and most liquid market shows signs of stress, investors should take note. At the beginning of this month, major financial market participants trading in the US Treasury bond market had difficulty meeting the demands for collateral made by their counterparties.”


Nasdaq index marks worst monthly drop since 2008 financial crisis.

“The Nasdaq Composite stock index has undergone its heaviest one-month sell-off since the depths of the global financial crisis, as concerns about rising interest rates and slowing economic growth were exacerbated by softer business updates from tech giants such as Amazon, Apple and Netflix.”


US economy records surprise contraction during first quarter but big rate hike still on the cards.

“The commerce department’s first estimate for January to March gross domestic product (GDP) showed an annual rate contraction of 1.4%. Economists had predicted growth of 1.1%.”


Labor issues, idle trains leave U.S. grain and food stranded – shippers.

“Rail backlogs in the United States are delaying shipment of grains as well as processed flour and corn syrup, contributing to the national problem of inflation, food and grain companies said at a hearing this week.”


‘Doomsday’ fuel plan to push ordinary motorists to the back of the queue [Ireland]…

“Ordinary motorists will be pushed to the back of the queue if the fuel crisis escalates and rationing is introduced amid war in Ukraine. The Irish Independent has learned details of an emergency fuel allocation plan, drawn up to deal with any ‘doomsday scenario’.”


Rosneft cuts diesel exports from key Russian port to zero.

“Exports of Russian diesel from Primorsk, a key supply source for Europe, are set to drop by over 30% in May from a month earlier to 1.114 million tonnes, data from traders showed on Friday.”


An EU Embargo On Russian Oil Is Imminent.

“Members of the European Union are expected to agree on an embargo of Russian crude oil imports as early as next week, according to officials, in a move that would lay to rest a point of contention among its members.”


Road Freight Index for Europe Hits All Time High…

“The worst effects of this fuel price increase may be yet to be registered in the quarterly index, as the price spike did not occur until after the invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February…”


Half of France’s nuclear reactors taken offline, adding to electricity demand on European grid.

“On Friday 28 of France’s 56 reactors were shut down due to routine maintenance or defects, forcing EDF to buy electricity from the European grid instead, at a time of soaring demand amid the gas crisis.”


Euro Zone Barely Grows as Germany Dodges Recession.

“Output increased 0.2% from the previous quarter in the three months through March… The figure reflects a contraction in Italy, stagnation in France and weaker-than-expected growth in Spain. Germany, the region’s largest economy, narrowly avoided a recession.”


Lockdown Drives China’s Jilin Into Contraction in Sign of Covid Zero Costs.

“A Covid lockdown in Jilin forced the Chinese automotive and farming hub into a steep contraction in the first quarter, flashing a warning sign about the mounting economic costs of Covid Zero as Shanghai and other regions currently grapple with similar restrictions.”


Major Brazil Soybean Grower to Cut Fertilizer Use Amid Shortage…

“SLC’s plan offers a glimpse of how growers in the agriculture superpower are preparing to deal with a global shortage of crop nutrients in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has caused prices to skyrocket, threatening to reduce production of staple crops exported around the world.”


Colombian protesters clash with police on anniversary of unrest.

“Potesters clashed with police in several Colombian cities Thursday as hundreds of demonstrators marked the one-year anniversary of a mass uprising against outgoing conservative president Ivan Duque. In Bogota, Medellin and Popayan, hooded protesters threw stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at riot officers.”


Libya is losing $60m a day in oil shutdown: Oil minister.

“Libya is losing tens of millions of dollars a day from the shutdown of its oil facilities, while global prices are at their highest in years, the country’s oil minister told AFP. Oil is the lifeblood of the North African country…”


KE blames fuel shortage as citizens suffer longer power cuts [Pakistan]…

“The people of Karachi were left baffled on Thursday as the sole power supplier to Karachi, the KE, announced a new schedule for loadshedding ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr in specific areas of the city already affected by extended periods of power outages.”


Nepal is cutting its official workweek, hoping a longer weekend will help save the country’s economy.

“…to save on oil imports—which Nepal needs for transportation—Nepal decided to shorten its workweek… Nepal spends roughly $8.2 million a day on fuel imports, and the country’s state-owned oil company announced in January that it was effectively bankrupt.”


Sri Lanka teachers, bank workers join mass walkout over economic crisis.

“Many schools in Colombo were shut and several train stations deserted on Thursday as teachers and train drivers joined mass walkouts demanding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government quit over Sri Lanka’s worst financial crisis in decades.”


The emerging-markets debt crisis.

“Slowing global growth, surging inflation and rising interest rates are squeezing emerging economies harder than most. Are we on the brink of a major catastrophe?


The Ukraine Food Price Crisis is Just a Preview of What Could Happen as Climate Change Worsens…

“The ripple effect of the Ukraine crisis on global grocery bills, however, is just a taste of what is to come as climate change disrupts the world’s agricultural areas. As temperatures rise due to increasing greenhouse-gas emissions, so too will the price of food.”


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 is a huge help, especially as the cost of living crisis is biting here in the UK.


28th April 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Russian Gas Cutoff [to Bulgaria and Poland] Symbolizes New Era of Supply Shocks and Inflation.

“Inflation is the result of demand growing faster than supply. Central banks can deal with the demand part. The problem is that the world they confront in coming years might be one of recurrent supply shocks.”


War in Ukraine is causing a many-sided economic shock. The conflict is a multiplier of disruption in an already disrupted world…

“Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world had not recovered from the economic costs of Covid, let alone its wider social and political effects. Supply disruptions were pervasive and inflation had soared to unexpectedly high levels. Monetary policy was set to tighten sharply.”


Ukraine war ‘will mean high food and energy prices for three years’.

“The war in Ukraine will result in expensive food and energy for the next three years, the World Bank has warned, intensifying fears that the global economy is heading for a rerun of the weak growth and high inflation of the 1970s.”


One of the world’s largest fertiliser producers has warned that the impact of the war in Ukraine on global food security “will be dramatic”.

Svein Tore Holsether, chief executive of Norwegian company Yara… added: “Although Yara’s business is flexible and resilient, the impact of the war on global food security will be dramatic. We repeat our calls for government action to strengthen food supply chains and decrease dependency on Russia.””


Central banks risk crashing us into recession…

“The market has priced in rates of 2.80pc by the end of the year, almost a full percentage point higher than expected last month… This has an uncanny echo of early 2008 when the Fed was spooked by surging oil prices. It talked up the futures curve by, yes, a full percentage point, misjudging how fast the US economy was already slowing.”


Risk of recession in Europe, US and China is rising by the day.

“…the odds of recession in Europe, the US, and China are significant and increasing, and a collapse in one region will raise the odds of collapse in the others. Record-high inflation does not make things any easier. I am not sure politicians and policymakers are up to the task they may soon confront.


U.S. Diesel Futures Close at Record High as Shortage Deepens.

“Diesel futures trading in New York surged to the highest level in records going back to 1986 as global demand for the fuel remains robust in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”


Prices of fish and chips are going up and a third of friers could be forced to close within six months due to oil shortages, industry experts have warned.

“The UK sources most of its sunflower oil from Ukraine, but exports have been disrupted by supply-chain issues caused by Russia’s invasion of the country.”


The UK is on the verge of food security concerns not seen since World War Two due to a ‘perform storm’ of issues consisting of Covid, Brexit and the Ukraine war, NFU Scotland has warned…

“As part of its lobbying efforts, it has been highlighting the impact that surging costs linked to fertiliser, fuel, energy, animal feed and labour are having on the UK’s ability to produce food.”


Internet Outages In Several French Cities After Cable “Attacks”: Report… fibre optic cables were cut overnight in “attacks” on the crucial infrastructure, telecom operators said… In a message on Twitter, the company referred to “multiple malicious acts” targeting its cables.”


Gas giant Algeria threatened Wednesday to break a contract to supply gas to Spain if Madrid transferred it onwards to “a third destination”, amid tensions with regional rival Morocco.

“Algeria’s state-owned energy giant Sonatrach supplied more than 40 percent of Madrid’s natural gas imports in 2021…”


Berlin’s outdoor swimming pools will be two degrees chillier this summer than in previous years, in what the state operator says is its contribution towards reducing German reliance on Russian gas.

“Water at the German capital’s 16 gas-heated Sommerbäder, or lidos… will be kept below the weather-dependent standard temperature throughout the summer season.”


European gas prices soar after Gazprom halts supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

“In Russia’s biggest move to target the EU’s reliance on its fossil fuels since the invasion, the interruption rippled into markets, with the euro falling to a five-year low against the dollar… Prices are more than six times higher than a year ago.


Fears of Ukraine war expanding after Moldova blasts…

“The United Nations and United States warned of rising tensions in the Transnistria region of Moldova, as UN chief Antonio Guterres met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and pleaded for peace.”


President Xi Jinping has promised an “all-out” spending spree on Chinese infrastructure to help revive his country’s ailing economy.

“Beijing said it will ramp up construction on a range of projects including railways and airports in an attempt to offset an economic slowdown caused by its zero-Covid strategy.”


China policymakers clash over how to counter property slump.

“Chinese regulators led by vice-premier Liu He are concerned that the government is underestimating the economic impact of its crackdown on the property sector and Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities, according to officials and policy advisers.”


‘Everything is halted’: Shanghai shutdowns are worsening shortages…

“… there are signs things could only get worse. Continuing lockdowns in Shanghai — a major hub for America’s semiconductor and electronics supply chains — has set up automakers, electronics companies and consumer goods firms for months of delays and higher costs.”


IMF Urges Latin America to Address Inflation to Curb Unrest Risk.

“Governments in Latin America should provide targeted and temporary fiscal support to help poor families cope with higher food and energy prices and reduce the risk of social unrest from soaring inflation, according to the International Monetary Fund.”


Chilean truckers on strike over insecurity on roads…

“They blocked arterial routes early morning before dispersing with the promise of a larger blockade if the Chilean authorities do not offer better road safety, better working conditions, and a reduction in fuel and toll prices.”


Peru govt declares state of emergency near MMG’s Las Bambas mine as stand-off continues.

“The Peruvian government on Wednesday declared a state of emergency near MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas copper mine, where production has been halted for a week due to indigenous communities camped inside. A state of emergency suspends civil liberties such as the right to assembly and protest.”


Food crisis grips Jamaican homes, report finds.

““I shop for food far less. I can’t buy fruits for my kids, and that hurts. My kids are hungry most of the time … ; can’t afford gas and electricity bills. Sometimes we sleep in darkness. First in my life I have to be living like this.””


One dead, two injured as hundreds of farmworkers protest for better wages in Eastern Cape [South Africa]…

“Daily Maverick reported that farm owners in the Sundays River Valley municipality were granted an interim interdict on Monday to stop protesting workers and supporters from coming within 500m of farms.”


Russia’s war is threatening the Middle East’s food security — sparking warnings of riots, famine, and mass migration…

“Inflation surged to 14.8% in the MENA region in 2021… Already at that point, higher food prices were the main driver — making up about 60% of the increase… That was before the war in Ukraine began. Now, the U.N. says that food prices as of April are 34% higher than they were one year ago.”


‘Bread, freedom, social justice’: Egypt’s economic crisis…

“At the beginning of April, the Cabinet announced that Egypt’s stockpile of wheat designated for the bread subsidy system will most likely run out in 2.5 months. If the government does not intervene to regulate the local market, any shortages or increases in prices will lead to disastrous consequences…”


Kenya seeks UAE oil on credit to end fuel shortage…

““They [UAE] will finance the product or provide the product with an extended credit period then Nock will trade and pay them back,” said the top official who requested not to be identified before closure of the UAE deal.”


Truckers rally in Bangkok seeking to keep diesel at ฿30 per litre.

“Truckers rallied in front of Government House today (Wednesday), demanding that the government extend the measures to keep diesel prices at 30 baht per litre, which are due to expire on April 30th.”


Nepal bans imports of luxury goods as economic crisis deepens.

“…in a bid to stop the country’s foreign exchange reserves from further depleting amid a deteriorating economic situation… the import of all kinds of liquor, ready-made cigarettes and tobacco products, and snacks such as Lay’s potato chips and Kurkure have been banned.”


‘Perfect Storm’ of crises take shape.

“Against the backdrop of shifting population demographics, conflicts, post-pandemic shocks and climate change, the developing world is on the brink of a “perfect storm” of debt, food and energy crises, experts warned the Commission on Population and Development on Monday.”


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

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26th April 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The world faces a growing stagflationary storm…

“There are many reasons to worry that today’s stagflationary conditions will continue to characterise the global economy, producing higher inflation, lower growth, and possibly recessions in many economies.”


The Fed Is Losing Control Over the Inflation Narrative… either the world’s most important central bank has lost control over inflation, or it isn’t going to even try to get it back down to their 2% target.


Breakfast Gets Costlier as U.S. Ratchets Up Food-Price Forecasts.

“Overall, the agency now expects food prices to rise 5% to 6% this year — at least double the forecast of about 2.5% three months ago… A year ago, the USDA forecast little inflation, or even price drops, for many food groups.”


US trucking downturn foreshadows possible economic gloom…

“There has been an unexpectedly sharp downturn in demand to truck everything from food to furniture since the beginning of March and rates in the overheated segment that deals in on-demand trucking jobs – known as the spot market – are skidding.”


Pharmacists in England face abuse from patients due to drug shortages…

“The hostility, including swearing and spitting, comes as availability of medicines is becoming more uncertain as a result of Brexit, the Covid pandemic and ingredient supply problems.”


“‘Everyone should prep’: the Britons stocking up for hard times.

“Even before the pandemic, some people were stocking up on essential items such as food and toilet roll, in anticipation of supply chain disruptions wrought by Brexit or a fundamental civilisational collapse.”


UK factories hit by 1970s-style cost crunch in inflation surge warning.

“UK factories are having to swallow the quickest rise in input costs for five decades in a sign that the cost of living crunch gripping consumers is set to tighten, reveals fresh figures published today. The cost to manufacturers of buying components has accelerated at the steepest pace since 1975…”


Rising energy prices push almost half German companies to cut new investments…

“Around 46% of companies said they want to reduce investments due to rising energy prices and a quarter of German companies expect to see a burden from price shock in the second half of the year, a survey by the Ifo Institute published by Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper showed.”


Belgian working class protests cost of living crisis, demands rise in wages.

“On Friday, April 22, thousands of workers demonstrated in major cities across Belgium protesting the worsening cost of living crisis and calling for a rise in wages. The call for the mobilization was given by major trade unions…”


Chaos in Paris: Police shoot dead two as riots break out over Macron’s re-election.

“Unrest was reported in cities including Paris, Toulouse and Lyon. Officers in riot gear were seen having to retreat from the capital’s Place de la Republique – a half hour walk from Pont Neuf – after having run at crowds.”


Companies that build and repair bomb shelters are being ‘overwhelmed with enquiries’ for nuclear fallout bunkers in Switzerland, as Russian’s invasion of Ukraine has reawakened interest in the secure facilities.

“Residents in Switzerland, where nuclear bunkers have been mandatory for every household since the 1960s, are now contacting the companies to build or renovate their shelters…”


Europe faces critical shortage of metals needed for clean energy.

“Europe faces a critical shortage of clean-energy metals and needs to decide urgently how it will bridge the looming supply gap or risk new dependencies on unsustainable producers. That is the conclusion of a new study…”


Russia’s war is turbocharging the world’s addiction to coal…

“”When you’re trying to balance decarbonization and energy security, everyone knows which one wins: Keeping the lights on,” said Steve Hulton, senior vice president for coal markets at market-research company Rystad Energy in Sydney. “That’s what keeps people in power, and stops people from rioting in the streets.””


Could the Japanese yen’s 12% decline this year be an even bigger threat to global markets than inflation, Federal Reserve tightening and war in Ukraine?

“A month ago, this question might have elicited eye-rolling and guffawing. Now, no one is laughing at the risk of the third-most-traded currency plummeting from the grasp of Tokyo officials notorious for micromanaging exchange rates.”


Covid lockdown fears spark panic buying in Beijing as largest district begins mass testing.

“Beijingers were flooding supermarkets to stock up on food on Monday, hoping to avoid Shanghai-style shortages in the case of a city-wide lockdown as the capital records a growing number of Covid infections.”


Asia Bonds Lose $155 Billion as China Woes Add to Rates Pressure.

“Investors in Asian dollar debt have lost $155 billion over the past 9 months, pummeled by weakness in China in addition the epic global selloff in fixed income seen around the world as interest rates rise.”


Asia facing ‘stagflationary outlook’ amid Russia-Ukraine conflict [and China slowdown]…

“”The region faces a stagflationary outlook, with growth being lower than previously expected, and inflation being higher,” said Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf on Monday, acting director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department.”


Indonesia may widen palm export ban to combat shortages.

“Indonesia is prepared to widen its ban on exports of refined palm olein if it faces domestic shortages of derivatives used in the production of cooking oil, according to details presented at a meeting between government and industry officials.”


Indians turn to quick-fix meals as surging food inflation eats into income

“Many families are cooking one-pot dishes with local lentils, cutting down on expensive veggies and avoiding deep fried snacks to tide over the cost of living crisis.”


Sri Lankan businesses struggle to remain open as fuel prices surge…

“The lack of fuel has led to long queues, lengthy power cuts and stoked inflation as businesses pass on higher costs to consumers. Sri Lanka’s consumer inflation rate in March of 21.5 per cent was the highest in the Asia-Pacific region.”


Wheat growing districts of Punjab have been reportedly facing shortage of high speed diesel ahead of harvesting season due to expected hike in fuel prices

“All Pakistan Petrol Pumps Dealers Association confirmed the non-availability of diesel to petrol stations in some districts of Punjab.”


United Airlines Cancels Johannesburg Flights Over Fuel Shortage.

“United Airlines’ Newark-Johannesburg route is presently facing disruption due to a fuel shortage at the South African airport. The carrier, which has been serving this aerial corridor for just under a year, has already been forced to make several cancelations on the route.”


Nigerian manufacturers are being strangled by surging diesel prices, analysts say.

“While petrol prices in Nigeria are subsidised, diesel prices are unregulated, so the impact of higher crude is immediate and unavoidable. According to research from Chapel Hill Denham, diesel prices are up 129% so far this year, and the firm forecasts that prices will end 2022 up 123%.”


Libya Says Armed Clashes at Key Oil Port Damaged Storage Tanks.

“Libya’s state oil company said armed clashes at the western port of Zawiya have damaged several storage tanks, as a worsening political crisis engulfs the OPEC member’s energy sector.”


Lebanon banking group rejects latest draft of financial recovery plan.

“The Association of Banks in Lebanon said on Saturday it “completely rejects” the government’s latest draft of a financial recovery plan meant to pull the country out of an economic meltdown. In a statement… the ABL called the plan “disastrous” and said it would leave banks and depositors shouldering the “major portion” of losses.”


Angry residents in north Lebanon’s Tripoli protested on Sunday night following a devastating incident that saw an overloaded migrant boat sink off the city’s coast killing at least seven passengers.

“Gunshots rang out… Locals smashed military posts and threw stones at army vehicles…”


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

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