Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

2nd August 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The economics of systems collapse… Economists in the mainstream have not even begun to understand the implications of ecological systems collapse…

“Rapid climate change is the best-known element in this new geological period, but massive biodiversity loss in what is likely to be the world’s sixth known mass extinction event is a major element. Worsening chaos and instability are not some passing crisis, but a fundamental reality for all of us from this point onwards.”


Factory activity around the world took a further turn for the worse in July, private surveys showed on Tuesday, a sign that slowing growth, inflationary pressures and weakness in China were taking a toll on the global economy.

The downturn highlights the dilemma for policy-makers who embarked on aggressive tightening cycles in a battle to keep inflation at bay and yet also need to try and forestall potential recessions.


Oil Exploration Grows But Discovered Volumes Fall To New Lows.

“Spending on conventional oil and gas exploration is rebounding and expected to top $50 billion this year, the highest since 2019, but operators are still waiting for the results they had hoped for. Rystad Energy research shows that despite the rising investments, discovered volumes are falling to new lows.”


The fuel that’s the engine of the global economy is surging again, as hot weather hampers diesel supplies in a market that’s still reeling from the loss of Russian exports.

“Diesel futures in Europe and the US are trading at highs not seen since January, accompanied by a jump in Asia.”


A second wave of inflation could dash US rate cut hopes.

“The US could experience a second wave of inflation, perhaps starting as soon as the next Consumer Price Index (CPI) data to be reported, according to StoneX market strategist Vincent Deluard. Inflation could pick up to a 3.5% annual rate in July due to base effects and a rally in the oil price, now over $80 per barrel from under $70 earlier this year.”


Fitch downgrades US debt on debt ceiling drama and Jan. 6 insurrection.

“Fitch Ratings downgraded its US debt rating on Tuesday from the highest AAA rating to AA+, citing “a steady deterioration in standards of governance.” The downgrade comes after lawmakers negotiated up until the last minute on a debt ceiling deal earlier this year…”


Heat Is Costing the U.S. Economy Billions in Lost Productivity.

“As much of the United States swelters under record heat, Amazon drivers and warehouse workers have gone on strike in part to protest working conditions that can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. On triple-digit days in Orlando, utility crews are postponing checks for gas leaks…”


Extreme Heat and Aging Power Grids Are a Deadly Combination…

“Last week the largest US grid — serving 65 million customers from Washington, DC to Illinois — issued an emergency alert raising concern about its ability to maintain enough power reserves as people crank up their air conditioners. Fragility is commonplace across US energy infrastructure…”


New York struggles to shelter, process asylum-seekers amid heat.

“Knees to their chests, dozens of men from countries such as Venezuela, Mali, and Senegal sat on a dirty New York City sidewalk outside a Manhattan hotel Tuesday, awaiting asylum processing. Some had been there for days, in a line that wrapped around the block and that underlined the challenge facing thousands of migrants in New York.”


Despite net zero emissions being a “global priority” in the fight against climate change, “not a single person in the [energy] supply chain believes the UK net zero targets will be achieved”, a report has found…

““Funding problems and project viability will only worsen with the current higher interest rates.””


UK House Prices Fall Most Since 2009 as Borrowing Costs Rise…

“The first hard data about prices for the latest month indicate the 13 interest-rate increases from the Bank of England since the end of 2021 have strained the ability of consumers to pay more for properties. The market is now in its deepest slump since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.”


The appointment of US Federal Reserve ex-chairman, Ben Bernanke, to oversee a review of the Bank of England’s economic forecasting is “frankly humiliating”, R3 Mortgages founder and director, Riz Malik, has said.

“Malik suggested that this appears to be an admission by the BoE that they may have made mistakes and that they require assistance.”


Protests erupt in Italy over cuts to poverty relief scheme.

“In Naples, trade unionists and far-left activists organised a rally outside the headquarters of welfare agency INPS, while in a small town in Sicily an unemployed man threatened to set the office of the mayor on fire. They are all set to lose the so-called “citizen wage”, a subsidy introduced in 2019…”


Investment flows poised for historic shift after ‘giant leap’ by Bank of Japan.

“Analysts hail ‘de facto abolishment’ of Japanese government bonds cap… The shock decision, which the BoJ denied represented a policy change, was tantamount to calling time on a controversial, seven-year monetary experiment known as yield curve control that set Japan’s central bank far apart from global peers, analysts said.”


China’s currency regulators are asking some commercial banks to reduce or postpone their purchases of U.S. dollars in order to slow the yuan’s depreciation, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

“The informal instruction, or the so-called window guidance, is the latest in a series of steps taken by authorities this year to bolster a currency that has been hit by China’s faltering post-pandemic economic recovery and rising yields for the U.S. dollar and other major currencies.”


Plunging sales of new homes and the reported cancellation of a share placement by China’s biggest property developer on Tuesday underscored the depth of the country’s real estate crisis.

“Reports that Country Garden had abruptly pulled an attempt to raise $300 million by issuing new shares in Hong Kong coincided with the release of data late Monday showing new home sales by China’s 100 biggest developers dropped by 33% in July from a year ago.”


Authorities in Papua New Guinea have declared a 30-day state of emergency nationwide as of July 31 due to ongoing fuel shortages.

“Puma Energy earlier implemented fuel rationing measures July 19-22, restricting the distribution of fuel amid delayed payments for fuel by the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) due to foreign exchange shortages.”


Sri Lanka struggles to irrigate rice paddies in South, avoid power cuts.

“Sri Lanka is struggling to provide water to rice paddies in Southern Sri Lanka at the tail end of the Yala minor cultivation season amid low water levels in a key reservoirs, officials said. The Samanalawewa reservoir is a key source of power for the Southern provincial grid…”


Pakistan Faces Gas Crunch After Deciding Not to Buy Pricey LNG.

“Pakistan will not purchase costly liquefied natural gas shipments for early next year, a move that threatens further fuel shortages in the cash-strapped nation… While Pakistan last month won final approval for a $3 billion aid program to help ease the nation’s dire need for cash and rescue its economy, LNG suppliers are still wary of the country’s credit risk.”


Iran announces nationwide shutdown due to soaring heat.

“A two-day national holiday is due to start tomorrow as the health ministry put hospitals on high alert and warned the vulnerable to stay indoors. This year has already seen heat records broken across the world, with devastating consequences.”


Saudi Arabia’s borrowing costs hit record high.

“Enormous growth in Saudi banks’ borrowing costs, triggered by successive interest rate rises in the US, will put the Crown Prince’s projects under new pressure as the kingdom grapples with a dramatic economic slowdown. MBS is channelling hundreds of billions of dollars into projects such as the $500bn Neom region, which will feature a ski resort and a 170-kilometer linear city, consisting of two vast, parallel mirrored buildings.”


Disabled survivors of Beirut port blast long for support, justice.

“People hurt or disabled by the catastrophic explosion told AFP that Lebanon, bankrupt and politically paralysed, has failed to deliver adequate medical care, financial support or justice. “The state forgot about us,” said the soft-spoken Salameh…”


Lebanon clashes: Thousands flee violence at Palestinian refugee camp.

“The UN says more than 2,000 people have been forced to flee violence between rival factions at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. The clashes between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement and Islamist groups left 11 people dead, the UN says.”


Migrants between life and death in Tunisia-Libya desert.

“…hundreds of migrants [are] arriving daily in Libya after being abandoned in the desert borderland by Tunisian security forces, according to Libyan border guards and the migrants themselves. By the time they reach Libya, the migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are ready to drop from exhaustion…”


Four Nigerians, rescued in Brazil, survived 14 days on a ship’s rudder.

“On their tenth day at sea, the four Nigerian stowaways crossing the Atlantic in a tiny space above the rudder of a cargo ship ran out of food and drink… Their remarkable, death-defying journey across some 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles) of ocean underlines the risks some migrants are prepared to take for a shot at a better life.”


South America is bracing itself for the impact of El Niño, with flooding and droughts intensified by climate change forecast to deliver a $300bn hit to growth for the region’s economies…

“South America, which is dependent on agricultural exports and already vulnerable to rising temperatures, is particularly exposed to the extreme weather that El Niño cycles can bring.”


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

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

31st July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Have Central Banks Overheated The Climate? [Picture from record-rainfall in Beijing today]

“…It is correct, I think, to say that both the existence of QE (as a sign that economies and financial systems were too fragile and required monetary morphine) and manifest climate damage, are warning signs that the world economy is reaching the limits of modus operandi, and possibly its very existence.


We bailed out the banks but we’re not prepared to bail out the planet….

“In their different ways, recent events in the US and the UK show just how difficult it will be to put the global economy on a saner and more sustainable course. Problem number one is that politicians struggle to think beyond the next election.”


The world is burning – stop pretending everything is fine…

“The main parties are ever-more short-termist, committing to net zero but dropping these policies as soon as they cost anything, or become unpopular… We are all potential climate refugees. Just pray you don’t live on a flood plain.”


The shift from owning to renting goods is ushering in a new era of consumerism… [The author is trying to spin this as a consumer preference and a positive shift.]

“At a time filled with economic instability driven by a wealth of factors, including the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, consumers continue to shift their consumption habits to align with these economic shocks.”


Shipping giant CMA CGM paints gloomy outlook as profit plummets.

“CMA CGM SA sketched out a sombre outlook for the shipping industry, with the world’s third-largest container line saying freight rates remain weak and a steep slump in US demand for goods out of China isn’t over.”


A Record $90 Billion in Ship Orders Loom Over Boom-Bust Industry.

“The world’s biggest shipping companies are plowing their pandemic windfalls into orders for new vessels on an unprecedented scale, making an industry known for hair-raising cycles of boom and bust more vulnerable in the latest downturn.”


Unicorns see their green pastures dry up around the world.

The number of freshly minted unicorns — unlisted companies valued at $1 billion or more — is plummeting worldwide as investors have become more risk-averse amid concerns about a potential economic slowdown caused by monetary tightening in the U.S. and elsewhere.”


Wall Street Braces for the Great Loan Tightening…

The great credit tightening is finally approaching on both sides of the Atlantic, if the latest surveys of bankers are anything to go by… Thank restrictive monetary policy and bank turmoil for creating headaches for borrowers across the globe, from mom-and-pops to blue-chip companies.”


‘Vicious cycle’: Heat waves ramp up global burning of fossil fuels.

The United States is setting records for natural gas consumption this week at the power plants that keep the nation’s air conditioners humming, according to estimates from S&P Global Commodity Insights.”


First new US nuclear reactor in 3 decades may well also be its last.

“The US nuclear energy industry is on the brink of a watershed moment. When Plant Vogtle unit 3 finally delivers commercial electricity to the Georgia power grid, it will be the first nuclear reactor the country has built from scratch in more than three decades… there are no other traditional large-scale light water reactors under way in the US.”


How the ghost of 1990s property crash returned to haunt Sweden.

“The banks are closely watching the country’s mid-sized property firms, several of whom are lumbered with a debt mountain built during a decade of rock-bottom interest rates and virtually free money.”


Denmark and Sweden are seeking to limit the burnings of the Koran and other holy books as the two Scandinavian countries face a growing diplomatic crisis.

“The Danish and Swedish prime ministers spoke on Sunday to try to find ways of countering strong freedom of speech laws that have permitted repeated burnings of holy books.”


Why We Should Pity the Bank of England…

Among the major global central banks, they both face the most intricate monetary policy challenges. However, unlike the Bank of Japan that acted last week and is able to contain the immediate damage from policy hesitancies and possible missteps, the BOE doesn’t have the luxury of time to experiment with policy responses.”


Britain tests ‘the kindness of strangers’ as gilts lose their lustre.

“…Buying British still has a premium. That’s bad news for the Government. With the national debt mountain now equivalent to the size of the economy, higher borrowing costs are dragging on the public finances… the implications for taxes, spending and the upcoming election are huge.”


Millions of families are borrowing to cover basic bills and expenses, according to analysis that warns Britain is entering a dangerous new phase of the cost of living crisis.

“Interest rates are expected to rise again this week and there are warnings about a “timebomb of debt” among poorer households.”


Germany grapples with economic turmoil amid energy crisis & industrial decline.

“Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is facing serious challenges as its economy grapples with ongoing struggles. As concerns rise about the potential impact on Europe’s overall prosperity, the nation’s growth engine seems to have sputtered.”


Hot rocks: German cities dig deep for green [geothermal] energy.

“Ever since Olaf Scholz’s government unveiled a law earlier this year banning gas-fired boilers in new houses, the question of how Germans should heat their homes has risen to the top of the political agenda… Cities across Germany are now frantically trying to figure out how to comply with the new law…”


While Everyone Else Fights Inflation, China’s Deflation Fears Deepen.

“While the rest of the world tussles with inflation, China is at risk of experiencing a prolonged spell of falling prices that—if it takes root—could eat into corporate profits, sap consumer spending and push more people out of work. Its effects would ripple across the globe…


China factory activity shrinks in July, adding to pressure to reverse economic slump…

“A purchasing managers’ index issued by the national statistics agency and an industry group improved to 49.3 from June’s 49 on a 100-point scale but was below the 50-point level that shows activity contracting.”


How China’s hidden debt risk ‘comes from its system’, and why local governments are beholden to Beijing.

“…deteriorating finances across the country, particularly in its poorest provinces such as Guizhou, have raised the spectre of a looming local government debt crisis. Beijing sees the potential for a meltdown in China’s predominantly state-owned banking system as a “grey rhino” risk – big, obvious and neglected.


Bangladesh police clash with protesters calling for PM to resign.

“Bangladesh police have fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse stone-throwing crowds blockading main roads in the capital, Dhaka, in a protest demanding the prime minister’s resignation… clashes between police and protesters took place in at least four locations in the city.”


Sri Lanka’s fishermen face double whammy of climate and economy…

“Inflation is the most pressing challenge to small-scale fishers right now, said Santhalingam Thanusanth, a fisheries and fish biology scientist at the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).”


In a climate-ravaged Indian village, marginalised farmers sing about ‘floating in tears’ after years of erratic weather…

“To convey their desperation at the lack of rain and the changing weather pattern, Mandal and two other local farmers have written some 50 songs in Bengali, encapsulating the challenges of economically and socially marginalised farmers in the Sundarbans…”


Pakistan Struggles With Economic Collapse And Extremism.

“Pakistan’s current turmoil is a result of economic collapse, legal challenges against its former Prime Minister, strained relations with major powers and an inability to ensure security against extremist groups. All this has raised concerns for the stability of the country and the region.”


Pakistan police suspect Islamic State in bomb blast that killed at least 44…

“Police said the explosion at a rally on Sunday afternoon for the conservative Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (JUI-F), a government coalition partner, was carried out by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives vest close to the stage where several senior leaders of the party were sitting.”


Desertification: An Existential Crisis For Iran.

“Temperatures in Iran are hitting record highs, rivers and lakes are drying up, and prolonged droughts are becoming the norm… The desertification of Iran is occurring at a staggering pace… there are fears that a huge segment of the population might eventually have no option but to flee the country entirely…


A fire at an electricity substation in southern Iraq triggered a nationwide power outage Saturday, authorities said, just as demand peaks amid the searing summer heat.

“Electricity is a sensitive political issue in Iraq as despite the country’s huge oil reserves, its dilapidated power grid is incapable of meeting peak demand and Iraqis endure hours-long outages every summer.”


Thousands take to streets in Gaza in rare public display of discontent with Hamas.

“Several thousand people briefly took to the streets across the Gaza Strip on Sunday to protest chronic power outages and difficult living conditions, providing a rare public show of discontent with the territory’s Hamas government. Hamas security forces quickly dispersed the gatherings.”


Powerless and dejected: Egypt’s small-business owners hit by electricity crisis…

“Weam Al-Sayed, who works in a small women’s accessories shop, said: “We lose customers during power cuts as they cannot bear being in an unair-conditioned place. “I estimate the losses in the past two weeks to be around 20,000 pounds per week — a significant amount compared to the shop’s income. I pray the power outages don’t persist.””


‘We can’t endure this’: Migrants suffer in extreme Tunisian heat…

“Amid the relentless heat, life in the Tunisian capital has slowed to a crawl. Cold tap water runs hot and unprotected food spoils. Stray dogs and the city’s ubiquitous cat population compete for every patch of shade. And when the evening comes, there is little respite.”


UN Says 19,000 Sudanese Refugees Face ‘Critical Challenges’ Arriving in South Sudan.

“The United Nations says 19,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have fled to South Sudan since Sudan’s military and paramilitary started fighting on April 15, and that those numbers are expected to more than double by the end of the year.”


West African migrants buried in unmarked graves on coast of Senegal…

“Bodies wash ashore or are found by fishermen at sea, then are buried by authorities with no clarity as to whether the deaths are documented or investigated as required by Senegalese and international law, according to lawyers and human rights experts. Most of the families of those buried will never know what happened to their relatives.


Soldiers Fire On Hungry Grain Store Looters In Nigeria’s Adamawa.

“Soldiers have opened fire on crowds of young people as they raided food stores in North East Nigeria. The raids on government owned grain stores in the cities of Yola and Jimeta in Adamawa State were reportedly triggered by fuel-price-induced economic hardship and hunger.”


Peru police clash with protesters as President Boluarte seeks expanded powers.

“During an Independence Day speech in Lima, Boluarte said she would request legislative powers from Congress for 120 days to fight crime. She said she was open to reverting Congress to a two-chamber legislature from a single-chamber format.”


Chocolate inflation won’t quit as the wholesale cocoa cost soars to the highest level in over a decade…

“…production in West Africa, a region that accounts for two-thirds of the world’s bean harvest, is faltering. Heavy rains and a rot-causing disease have ravaged crops there, sparking concerns about supply. Bean processing has also slumped around the world.”


Funding crisis cuts off food aid to millions as acute hunger surges worldwide, UN says.

“he United Nations has been forced to cut food, cash payments and assistance to millions of people in many countries because of “a crippling funding crisis” that has seen its donations plummet by about half as acute hunger is hitting record levels, a top official said Friday.”


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

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

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

Soaring temperatures and food prices threaten violent unrest. As the world warms, the link between heat and social disturbance is an increasingly important one and, this summer, an especially concerning one.

“Each upheaval has its own causes, but certain factors make disturbances more likely everywhere. Surging temperatures, rising food prices and cuts to public spending—three of the strongest predictors of turmoil—have driven estimates of the potential for unrest to unprecedented highs in recent months.”


Why India’s export ban and the looming El Niño spell big trouble for global rice stocks…

“If India, the world’s largest exporter, sticks by its ban, millions of people are likely to be plunged into hunger by skyrocketing rice prices, which are already at an 11-year high… It comes at a time of acute food insecurity… And only last week, the cost of wheat jumped by 13 per cent and corn nine per cent after Russia pulled out of the deal allowing Ukraine to export grains via the Black Sea.”


Global Food Insecurity? Time for Rationing…

Faced with climate-driven food shortages around the world, we might do something very similar [to WW2]… That would mean wartime-level control of agriculture and distribution. The big grocery chains couldn’t jack up prices; farmers and ranchers would raise the crops and livestock that government required of them, at a guaranteed price and with subsidies for everything from water supply to transportation.”


‘We can avoid the worst of it’ – new [IPCC] climate chairman.

“A scientist who chairs one of the world’s most influential climate change bodies has said “we can avoid the worst” of rising global temperatures. Prof Jim Skea told BBC Scotland that measures could include changing work practices and how we heat homes.”


Global coal demand set to remain at record levels in 2023.

“Global coal consumption climbed to a new all-time high in 2022 and will stay near that record level this year as strong growth in Asia for both power generation and industrial applications outpaces declines in the United States and Europe, according to the IEA’s latest market update.”


The Harsh Truth: We’re Using More Oil Than Ever.

“In this age of climate crisis, the world is consuming more crude than ever. Peak oil demand? Not yet… It will take a while before governments certify it, but every piece of data points in the very same direction: In the past few weeks, global oil demand has surpassed the monthly peak set in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.”


Global electric vehicle supply chains struggle to keep up as demand surges…

“Squeezed supply chains and looming shortages of critical metals which are key for battery manufacturing present a major risk for the energy transition as we head towards 2030. Lagging investments in mining may also add another challenge to the mix as we begin to see the supply-demand balance grow increasingly fragile.”


Gasoline Is Surging All Over the World in Fresh Inflation Blow… The resurgence in gasoline potentially poses a headache for central banks…

““Higher energy costs may push up consumer prices and lead to renewed goods inflation — a sector where price increases have slowed,” said Andrew Hollenhorst, chief US economist at Citigroup Inc.”


Fed Raises Interest Rates To 22-Year High, Credit Crunch Continues For Small Businesses…

“With today’s action, the Federal Reserve has now raised its policy rate by 5 1/4 percentage points since early last year. The Fed chair acknowledged that we have seen the effects of policy tightening on demand. Powell admitted that “the economy is facing headwinds from tighter credit conditions for households and businesses.””


Big Consumer Companies Keep Raising Prices, Complicating Fed’s Job.

“Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Unilever have each reported raising prices significantly in the second quarter, complicating the Federal Reserve’s efforts to tame inflation… Escalating Russian attacks in Ukraine and the recent breakdown of a deal to export grain from Black Sea ports have put pressure on prices for key commodities like corn and wheat.”


Credit Markets Are Creaking, Creating Economic Uncertainty…

“The financial system is this machine, and it’s shaking terribly because of all the stress put on it,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, referring to pressures from higher interest rates, among other strains. “The Fed is desperately trying to keep it from blowing a gasket.”


The end may be close for Yellow Corp, a nearly century-old trucking company with 30,000 employees.

“The company narrowly avoided a fatal strike by the Teamsters earlier this week after Yellow missed payments to pensions and healthcare funds, as the union agreed to give it extra time to make the payments. But the company has stopped picking up new freight from customers…”


US Officials Weigh Deeming a Syphilis Emergency as Drugs Run Low.

“A shortage of penicillin to treat a skyrocketing number of syphilis cases is so dire that US health officials are debating the need to declare a public health emergency, according to people familiar with the matter. Major US medical centers are rationing the recommended treatment for the deadly sexually transmitted disease because of a supply crunch.”


Soaring rates of depression fuel long-term sickness crisis [UK].

“Britain’s long-term sickness crisis has been fuelled by a surge in depression after lockdowns, official data shows. Mental health problems were the single largest cause for being off work amongst those who have dropped out of the labour force due to long-term sickness, according to the Office for National Statistics.”


Rishi Sunak is sticking with a 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales for fear of an industry backlash that would threaten green investment in Britain.

“Instead ministers are considering relaxing interim targets for electric vehicle sales and allowing “more flexibility” on hybrid cars beyond 2030 as they look for ways to ease the burden of net-zero policies.”


One killed as ship carrying 3,000 cars catches fire off Dutch coast.

“A blaze on a cargo ship carrying nearly 3,000 vehicles off the Dutch coast has killed one person and injured several others, with coastguards warning that the fire could last for several days… The ship’s owner said an electric car in the cargo was suspected as a possible cause for the blaze.”


Europe’s banks are bracing for a wave of defaults.

“Consumer price inflation in Europe, while falling, remains high, weighing on households’ finances. Meanwhile, interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are hampering economic activity, with the 20 countries that use the euro already in a recession.”


From debt to death on the streets: Just how big is Africa’s loans crisis?

As anti-austerity protests hit Kenya, other debt-laden countries may face a similar fate… There could yet be more angry public protests as governments confront hard choices about where they spend their next Naira, Shilling or Kwacha. The crisis might well see governments facing imminent elections, being voted out in favour of parties that promise less austerity.”


Food crisis in Africa: The high cost of imported fertilizers is adding to the problem.

“Global fertilizer suppliers have made incredibly high profits in 2022/23 on the back of price spikes attributed to the Russia-Ukraine war. The profits of the world’s top nine producers trebled in 2022 from two years previously. The margins and impacts have been even greater on fertilizer supplies to African farmers.”


Niger: Soldiers announce coup and president’s removal on national TV [Niger supplies about 5% of the world’s uranium].

“Soldiers in the West African country of Niger announced a coup on national television and said they had removed President Mohamed Bazoum from power. Supporters of the president and those in favour of the rebellion rallied in the capital city, Niamey.”


Nigerian public doctors strike over pay after fuel subsidy axed.

“Frontline doctors in Nigerian public hospitals began an indefinite strike on Wednesday over grievances including demands for a pay rise after the removal of a subsidy on petrol, the doctors’ union said. The doctors are the first public sector workers to strike after fuel prices more than tripled…


Dinar devaluation, one of key factors behind drug shortages in Tunisia.

“The devaluation of the dinar is one of the main factors responsible for the shortage of medicines and the financial imbalance of the Central Pharmacy of Tunisia (PCT), in addition to the deficit of the social security funds (CNAM and CNSS) which prevents the reimbursements on which the PCT depends, according to the Tunisian Observatory of the Economy.”


Egypt announces emergency actions to tackle power shortages.

“Egypt’s government will implement emergency moves, including rationing electricity and increasing fuel oil imports, as it bids to tackle a summer power shortage, the country’s prime minister said on Thursday.”


Ittai Ben-Zeev, chief executive officer of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, warned of a looming Israeli financial crisis amid the ongoing judicial overhaul crisis.

“He urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to intervene and change direction while there was still time to avert the crisis.”


Lebanese officials were in a last-minute scramble on Wednesday to avoid leaving the crisis-hit country’s central bank without a leader when governor Riad Salameh’s 30-year tenure ends next week.

“The prospect of a vacuum at the top of the central bank has added to concerns about the further fragmentation of the state as it barrels toward a fifth year of financial turmoil.”


Protesters, banks demand action after Iraqi dinar plunges post-US sanctions…

“The latest US sanctions are in addition to previous ones on eight banks, leaving almost a third of Iraq’s 72 banks blacklisted, two Iraqi central bank officials said. The ban has pushed the market rate of the dollar from 1,470 dinars per dollar to 1,570 dinars per dollar in the last two days.”


Power outages in Yemen’s southern city of Aden worsened on Thursday as private electricity generators turned off supplies in protest over unpaid bills.

“Amid sweltering summer temperatures, the city’s state-run electricity company reported that many of the private firms that supplied the city with electricity had progressively withdrawn their services in a bid to put pressure on the government to meet outstanding payments.”


Southeast Asia suffers power shortages due to record-smashing heat waves.

“Southeast Asia usually experiences its hottest months of the year in April and May. This year, however, most countries in the region have been hit by unprecedented heat waves. Thailand experienced its hottest day on record on April 15…”


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

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

26th July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

A quick addendum to my note yesterday: I should have mentioned that new commenters or existing commenters using altered info for the first time, like a slightly tweaked username or a different email address, will get stuck in moderation. I’ll liberate those comments as soon as I spot them.

Also, the provider for my personal email address to which this website links, is allergic to gmail. I have no idea why. Emails from gmail accounts reach me but when I try to reply to them, I get a “mailer daemon” note back informing that delivery has failed. So, if you have emailed me from a gmail address and I have appeared to rudely ignore you then this is why. My apologies for that. I don’t know how to solve it.

Climate change is the next shock coming for the global economy, and markets are in for a sharp adjustment, according to the Chatham House [picture from floods in Nova Scotia].

“The London-based think tank warned of a series of disasters that could occur as the climate crisis worsens. Food inflation, for one, could rise as crops fail in higher temperatures. Diseases that thrive in hot environments, such as Ebola and monkeypox, could also spread as climate change worsens.”


Cracks in the system.

“The sudden and simultaneous failures of Silicon Valley Bank in America and Swiss giant Credit Suisse in March 2023 raised the spectre that has haunted regulators ever since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008: Just how safe are the world’s banking giants and the global financial system? …not as safe as we all thought.”


Why entire societies can suffer panic attacks…

“…as anyone who has experienced a panic attack knows, fear of another panic can be self-reinforcing. We need to appreciate that if a societal panic is triggered, the pace at which confidence may collapse could be blistering given today’s technology tools paired with our extreme social interconnectedness.”


India’s decision to ban the export of non-basmati rice has led to consumers panic-buying and stockpiling Indian rice around the world, driving up prices in the process.

“In Canada, the U.S. and abroad, reports of panic-buying are flourishing on social media, with stores that cater to South Asian communities implementing caps on the amount that any customer can buy, and adjusting prices.”


India’s Food Security Is Being Choked by Climate Change.

“The world’s most populous nation is more poorly endowed with farmland, per capita, than Greece or Algeria. That’s going to make life harder as a warming planet destabilizes the cycles of rain and sun that have kept it fed for millennia.”


What new norm of slower Chinese growth could mean for the global economy…

“The most immediate spillover of a Chinese slowdown will likely come in commodities and the industrial cycle, said Rory Green, chief China economist at TS Lombard. Beyond the immediate loss of demand for commodities, Green said China’s recalibration of its key sectors drivers will also have “second order impacts” for the global economy.”


Peak Shipping Season Is Fizzling Out for Freight Companies.

“Freight operators are bracing for a weak peak shipping season this fall… “There’s no peak season to be expected in 2023,” said Stefan Paul, chief executive of Switzerland-based Kuehne + Nagel International, the world’s largest freight forwarder by revenue.”


US box shipments remain historically weak in Q2…

“Why does this matter? Box demand is a reliable leading economic indicator, specifically for the goods economy; both the goods economy (as reflected in truck and rail volumes) and box demand have been profoundly weak for over a year, with no indication of improvement ahead.


Gas prices just saw their biggest one-day increase in a year… The monthslong calm in gas prices is over…

“Cooling inflation, driven in part by easing gas prices, has raised hopes that the United States can avoid a recession… A return of higher food and fuel prices could unravel those positive trends.”


How Phoenix’s Heatwave Is Challenging Energy Systems.

“…a recent study predicted that rolling blackouts in Phoenix could lead to 12,000 deaths and nearly 800,000 people being treated for heat-related illnesses. Thus, it is also really important for those who live here to know what to do if that rare blackout does impact us during a heatwave.”


Why the Texas Power Grid Is Facing Another Crisis.

“The electric power grid in Texas, which collapsed dramatically in a 2021 winter storm, is being tested again as the state suffers unusually hot summer weather. Demand for electricity has reached new records at a time of rapid change in the mix of power sources as wind and solar ramp up.”


UK interest rates need to stay higher for longer to beat inflation, says IMF.

“The IMF’s regular update on the state of the global economy singled out the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England as two central banks that will need to raise official borrowing costs more aggressively than it assumed only three months ago.”


Effects of interest rate hikes pushing UK economy towards ‘recession’.

“The authors of a closely-watched report on economic activity have warned of a growing threat of recession, citing twin pressures from inflation and interest rate hikes designed to choke the pace of price rises.”


Bank of England set to incur £150bn loss from bond sales after interest rate rises.

“Higher interest rates will force the Bank of England to make a loss of £150bn from the sale of bonds bought to shore up the UK’s financial system over the last 14 years – an increase from a £100bn deficit projected in April.”


ECB under pressure to signal end of interest rate rises after fall in loan demand.

“Eurozone banks have reported a sharp fall in demand for business loans to its lowest level on record, bolstering calls for the European Central Bank to abandon hints of further interest rate rises after its meeting this week.”


Macron says France needs return to authority ‘at every level’ after unrest.

“The French president used his first TV interview since the unrest to condemn what he called the “indescribable violence” of the clashes on the streets, including “the burning of schools, city halls, gyms and libraries” and “the violence of looting”… He said: “The lesson I draw from this is: order, order, order.””


Germany’s plan for credit guarantees violates climate commitments – environmentalists.

“Environmental groups on Tuesday criticized Germany’s draft policy on export credit guarantees as too vague and soft on financing for natural gas projects, as Berlin attempts a balancing act between climate protection and energy security.”


General election results in Spain leave future of next government up in the air.

“The right-wing bloc which was expected to win, only secured 169 seats. The left-wing bloc won 153 seats – both falling far from an absolute majority. Sunday’s general election results in Spain have created uncertainty around the future of the next government – raising the spectre of political deadlock.”


Italy harms itself by blocking changes to crisis-fighting in eurozone.

“Flexibility to mobilise the European Stability Mechanism’s resources is essential to maintain confidence, in case larger banks are in trouble. But one big obstacle stands in the way of the ESM’s role of supporting the euro area’s banks in times of crisis. This obstacle is called Italy.”


Italian officials held crisis talks today on how to manage blackouts in Sicily as hundreds of thousands are without electricity or water during a scorching heatwave.

“A temperatures soared to 47.6C, civil protection minister Nello Musumeci was forced to admit that the city of Catania had been ‘brought to its knees’ by power cuts.”


Power cuts in Malta put the government in hot water…

“State-owned power company Enemalta said near record temperatures of between 40 and 42.7 Celsius (104-109°F) had caused electricity demand to spike and …underground distribution cables were overheating and failing… Business organisations said hours-long outages had caused supermarkets and restaurants to throw away food stock worth thousands of euros as fridges defrosted.”


Egypt: Citizens struggle with soaring temperatures amid ongoing energy crisis.

“With power cuts lasting around six hours in some areas, many are finding it difficult to stay cool and go to work, with concerns also being raised about the wider impact this could have on the country’s economy if the situation continues. The severe power outages started last month, with the government cutting electricity from street lamps as well as other services.”


As West fears Tunisia collapse, hopes of IMF bailout fade.

“Western nations fear an economic collapse in Tunisia could trigger even greater migrant flows to Europe and have offered financial assistance. Yet prospects of Tunisia’s sealing the biggest deal of all — a $1.9-billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund — seem increasingly remote.”


Sudan is heading towards complete state collapse…

“No government service, from rubbish collection to medical aid, is available in the city [Khartoum] and surrounding areas. There are no traffic controls or functioning courts. Essential documents, like birth or death certificates and passports, cannot be obtained. Most civil servants, educators, doctors and other essential workers have left…”


Burundi Economy About to Collapse.

“According to an independent media outlet Iwacu, Burundi people are constantly facing unprecedented rise in costs and shortages of; fuel, sugar, cement, medicines. Some city dwellers, especially those living in areas not far from the city center such as Musaga, Bwiza, Nyakabiga, Buyenzi, no longer even think of taking the bus.”


Ecuador declares state of emergency amid violent clashes.

“Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso on Monday declared a state of emergency and night curfews in three coastal provinces, amid a wave of violence over the weekend in the Andean country that left at least eight people dead.”


Offshore oil plans in Brazil threaten South America’s largest coral reef…

“Business leaders and local government officials in Brazil are relishing the opportunity to extract up to 30 billion barrels of oil from offshore deposits off the northeastern state of Maranhão. But the location is also home to the largest coral reef formation in South America, the Parcel de Manuel Luís.”


IMF sees drought causing Argentina contraction of 2.5% in 2023.

“The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday it is now projecting Argentina’s economy will contract 2.5% in 2023, with a year-end inflation rate of about 120%, largely due to a crippling drought that has curtailed agricultural production.”


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

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

24th July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

World’s Biggest Wind Power Projects Are in Crisis Just When World Needs Them Most.

“A unit of Spain’s Iberdrola SA agreed to cancel a contract to sell power from a planned wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts. Danish developer Orsted A/S lost a bid to provide offshore wind power to Rhode Island, whose main utility said rising costs made the proposal too expensive. Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall AB scuttled plans for a wind farm off the coast of Britain, citing inflation…

Soaring costs are derailing offshore wind projects even as demand for renewable energy soars. Extreme heat driven by climate change is straining electric grids all over the world, underscoring the need for more power generation — and adding urgency to calls for a faster transition away from fossil fuels.”


The G20 bloc of wealthy economies meeting in India failed to reach a consensus on phasing down fossil fuels on Saturday after objections by some producer nations.

“Scientists and campaigners are exasperated by international bodies’ foot-dragging on action to curb global heating even as extreme weather across the northern hemisphere underlined the climate crisis facing the world.”


As Temperatures Soar, So Does Demand For Coal…

“Coal consumption is still high and growing in many developing countries, particularly in Asia. This is due to the relative cheapness and abundance of coal, as well as the rapid industrialization of these countries.”


The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Friday that millions of people are at risk of hunger and death as a consequence of Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal.

“”Some will go hungry, some will starve. Many may die as a result of these decisions,” Martin Griffiths told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council convened to discuss the humanitarian impacts…”


China urges resumption of grain, fertiliser exports from Ukraine and Russia.

“China is calling for the resumption of grain and fertiliser exports from Ukraine and Russia as soon as possible following the collapse of a trade deal that ensured the safety of ships passing through the Black Sea.”


China’s race for growth is fading. So too is its dream of middle-class security…

“China’s economic recovery seems to have stalled, and the CCP’s standing at home still depends on Xi Jinping’s government creating a “Chinese dream” of a middle-class lifestyle. The end of Covid restrictions, just eight months ago, seemed to mark the start of a powerful bounceback… but in the past few months there have been more worrying signs.”


Rising Consumer Pain Triggers Wall Street Concern: Credit Weekly.

“US consumers, particularly those with lower incomes, are running into financial trouble as pandemic savings disappear, a headwind for lenders ranging from banks to asset-backed securities investors. The credit outlook is expected to deteriorate later this year…”


[US] Freight markets giving off recession vibes.

“Dave Jackson CEO of Knight-Swift on their conference call stated: “I don’t know that we’ve ever seen freight demand fall this far so fast and for so long without an accompanying economic recession.”


Oilfield services groups are feeling the squeeze from a slowdown in activity in the US shale patch as companies scale back on oil and gas drilling.

“The world’s biggest oilfield services providers, responsible for the industry’s grunt work from drilling wells to building roads, reported a hit to North American revenues this week amid dwindling demand.”


Don’t be fooled by inflation – Britain is hurtling towards recession.

“Higher interest rates are now biting hard; splashing the cash is fast giving way to a mentality of job insecurity and belt-tightening… What’s increasingly clear is that some kind of all embracing economic contraction is coming. Quite how bad is in the lap of the gods.”


Top Euro-Area Economies Flash Recession Warning Signals.

“Germany and France kicked off the third quarter with contractions in their private-sector economies, with sustained weakness in manufacturing seeing increased spillover to services… The dire PMI readings for the euro area’s two biggest economies are a warning for the region as a whole.”


European banks forced to hand over more liquidity data to the ECB after SVB collapse.

“In an interview published on the European Centra Bank’s (ECB) website, Andrea Enria, chair of the ECB supervisory board, warned that European banks were still in a “delicate phase” due to the impact of rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine.”


Crisis-hit Sri Lanka may allow Indian rupee to be used in local transactions.

“Sri Lanka is considering the possibility of allowing the use of the Indian rupee to be used in local transactions, as the island nation struggles to build its depleted foreign reserves and to emerge from last year’s unprecedented economic crisis.”


Surviving Hell: India’s burning coal fields.

“Deadly fires have raged for a century in mines in India’s Jharkhand state, where more than 100,000 people are risking their lives shovelling coal to supply insatiable demands. Underground fires created sinkholes that swallowed people and homes.”


Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the country’s main airline, has reached a point where it needs money from the national fund to operate for even one day.

“The government is thinking of bringing in specialists to draw a time-bound restructuring plan through shadow management in light of the total accumulated losses, which have exceeded PKR 600 billion…”


Yemen’s Economic Crisis Fuels Mass Protests in Aden.

“Mass protests overtook Yemen’s provisional capital of Aden City last week in response to the rapid deterioration in the country’s economic conditions. Protesters took to the streets demanding that the government quickly fix the raging economic crisis…”


Tahsin Becan, Yalova MP for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has drawn attention to the alarming increase in child suicides in Turkey amidst the ongoing economic crisis…

“Highlighting the severity of the issue, Becan pointed out that a recent incident involving a child jumping in front of a train at the Marmaray Yenikapı Station in Istanbul was a distressing example of the escalating trend in child suicides.”


Lebanese Forces chief smuggled $16 MM prior to banking crisis.

“An anti-corruption activist says a large number of politicians, judges, and journalists have benefited from subsidies before smuggling them to offshore bank accounts prior to the collapse of the banking Ponzi scheme.”


Massive crowds rally in Israel as vote on judicial overhaul looms.

“Tens of thousands of Israelis have marched into Jerusalem and more protesters took to the streets in Tel Aviv in a last-ditch show of force aimed at blocking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contentious judicial overhaul plan.”


Egypt Warns Citizens to Avoid Elevators During Power Cuts, Sparks Outrage…

“First, Egyptians were told to eat chicken feet as a cheap substitute amid soaring food prices. Now, they’re cautioned against using elevators 10 mins before and after the hour to brace for power cuts. An epic stream of failures to address critical crises,” Nancy Okail, president and CEO of Centre for International Policy, expressed on Twitter.”


Sudan’s banking system ‘teeters on collapse’ amid ongoing war and looting.

“Sudanese economists have issued a stark warning about the nation’s banking system, which they say is facing a “severe decline and may collapse entirely”. The ongoing war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has led to numerous instances of looting, vandalism, and destruction at Sudan’s banks…”


A man lies in a Kenya morgue. His family says he’s one of at least 35 shot dead by police this month.

“At the morgue, the bullet was still lodged in Douglas Kalasinga’s head. His family said they couldn’t afford an autopsy. At least 35 civilians have been shot dead by police in Kenya this month during protests over new taxes and the rising cost of living…”


Nigeria’s Lagos plans mass burials for 2020 protest victims.

“Authorities in Nigeria’s Lagos state were planning a mass burial for 103 people linked to anti-police protests more than two years ago, where demonstrators accused soldiers of killing protesters… The number of victims of the October 2020 protests has been a source of dispute. The latest figure is much higher than previously reported.


Ghana’s Debt Rises 20% in Four Months as Central Bank Loans Added…

“Public debt, which excludes state-owned enterprises obligations, rose to 569.3 billion cedis ($49.7 billion) at the end of April, the Bank of Ghana said on its website. The figure was adjusted to include the central bank’s overdraft to the government, which was securitized in December 2022.”


Personal Finance | Financial Stress is pushing South Africans to the brink…

“DebtBusters’ second annual Money-Stress Tracker, which surveyed 35 000 individuals who were not undergoing debt counselling, found that 78% of respondents were experiencing financial stress. This was impacting their home life, work life and even their health.”


Cuban economy minister says no quick fix to devastating crisis.

“Cuba’s economic growth is less than 2% this year and remains 8 percentage points below pre-pandemic levels, while production in sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing was further behind, Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said on Saturday.”


Protests Erupt In Guatemala Over Alleged Meddling In Vote.

“Protesters demanded the ouster of Attorney General Consuelo Porras, whose office seeks to disqualify the Semilla (Seed) Party of Bernardo Arevalo, a social democrat who surged into one of two runoff spots, shocking many in the nation.”


El Niño Threat Looks Underpriced as Emerging-Market Bonds Rally…

“The periodic weather pattern that is currently forming in the Pacific Ocean typically results in hotter, drier conditions and therefore higher food prices in affected nations, giving policymakers more reason to keep pushing up borrowing costs. Among the developing-nation bond markets most at risk are India, the Philippines and Peru.


As temperatures rise, what’s the cost to the global economy?

“As millions in the Northern Hemisphere grapple with extreme heat, we look at the cost of the latest climate threats. Record-breaking temperatures this season are the result of heat-trapped gases caused by burning fossil fuels, as well as by the El Nino weather phenomenon.”


Phoenix residents ration air conditioning, fearing future electric bills, as record-breaking heat turns homes into “air fryers”…

“When a cloudless sky combines with outdoor temperatures over 100, your house turns into an “air fryer” or “broiler,” as the roof absorbs powerful heat and radiates it downward, said Jonathan Bean, co-director of the Institute for Energy Solutions at the University of Arizona.”


Funding crisis threatens early warning system that alerted world to Covid-19.

“An influential early warning system for identifying emerging infectious diseases is in danger of financial collapse, raising concerns over experts’ capacity to track future pandemics despite pledges by policymakers to learn lessons from Covid-19.”


This alarm clock will wake you up with your worst fears.

“An AI takeover, a deadly volcano eruption, or global warming — the Doomsday Alarm Clock lets you wake up to your innermost fears. Just in case doom scrolling wasn’t enough to remind you of all the bad news, you can now wake up to a reminder.”


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

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

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

Our Civilization Was Built for a Climate That’s Vanishing…

“Every storm-water channel and every building heating or cooling system has been built for a climate that is rapidly disappearing. Patterns of trade and global supply chains are easily disrupted by ecological disasters. Politics is built on geographic coalitions that may dissolve as climate change alters the trajectories of different regions, or sends refugees to seek homes elsewhere.”


The Economic Fallout From Extreme Heat Will Rise Over Time.

“Among the costs of very high temperatures: reduced labor productivity, damaged crops, higher mortality rates, trade disruption and dampened investment… We built an economy and a set of practices coded to a past climate,” he said, “not the one that is unfolding.”


Why efforts to insure the world against climate change are falling flat.

“Proposals to insure communities against economic losses caused by climate impacts — like harvests lost to worsening droughts — have gained traction over the past year. But many countries on the front lines of climate change are wary of such schemes, often pushed by rich nations as a solution to the mounting costs of global warming.”


Financial Regulators Must Act to Prevent a Climate-Related Crash…

“Citing climate-related disasters, in the past few weeks alone State Farm and Allstate abandoned the California homeowners insurance market, and Farmers departed from Florida. These are just the latest in a long line of climate-linked disruptions of the insurance market.”


Grain prices rise after Russian pullout of Black Sea deal sparks food crisis fears.

“Wheat prices have been climbing on global markets, just days after Russia pulled out of an agreement that guaranteed safe passage for ships carrying cereals through the Black Sea, reigniting fears of the impact on poorer, grain-importing countries, as well as on western nations dealing with stubbornly high inflation.”


India’s rice export ban could send decade-high prices spiking even further.

“India banned the exports of non-basmati white rice with immediate effect late Thursday, the latest in the government’s effort to rein in high food prices… India is the world’s leading rice exporter, accounting for more than 40% of the global rice trade, as well as the second-largest producer after China.”


Popping Real Estate Bubbles Will Prove Painful.

“Faith that interest rates would stay low forever fostered a “fool’s paradise,” according to former Bank of England boss Mervyn King. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the unraveling of the global real estate boom, which is now turning into bust as prices start to fall around the world.”


China mulls easing mortgages to spur homebuying in big cities as existing policies fail to sustain property market rebound.

“Regulators are weighing scrapping rules that disqualify people who have had a mortgage from being considered a first-time homebuyer in major cities, sources say. Plans are under discussion after state banks submitted mortgage data and feedback to the regulators over the past few months.”


China’s sagging economy looms over quarterly results around the world.

“China’s frail growth could weigh on companies with exposure to the world’s second-largest economy, including Apple (AAPL.O), big chipmakers and luxury retailers as they report quarterly results in the next few weeks. Wall Street is bracing for a steep drop in second-quarter U.S. earnings…”


South Korean exports in the first part of July fell at the fastest pace since March, dampening hopes that a slowdown in global trade might be turning a corner.

“Daily shipments dropped 15.2% on average in the first 20 days of July from a year earlier, the customs office said Friday.”


‘People need to be riled up’: meteorologist names US heatwaves after oil and gas giants…

“The rebadging of heatwaves as being directly the fault of companies like Chevron is “a naming and shaming thing”, according to Walton, who wants weather forecasters and the media to be more explicit between the links between extreme heat and the burning of fossil fuels that has caused the climate crisis.”


Tornado damages Pfizer plant in North Carolina, will “likely lead to long-term shortages” of medicine.

“An important Pfizer pharmaceutical plant in North Carolina was severely damaged on Wednesday after a powerful tornado ripped through the area, threatening production lines that normally provide huge amounts of medicine to U.S. hospitals. Meanwhile, torrential rain flooded parts of Kentucky and communities from California to South Florida endured scorching heat that at times reached record-high temperatures.”


Almost 16 million trees have been chopped down on publicly owned land in Scotland to make way for wind farms, an SNP minister had admitted amid a major drive to erect more turbines.

“Mairi Gougeon, the Rural Affairs Secretary, estimated that 15.7 million trees had been felled since 2000 in land that is currently managed by agency Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) – the equivalent of more than 1,700 per day.”


Vattenfall halts project, warns UK offshore wind targets in doubt.

“Swedish utility Vattenfall said on Thursday it would stop development of its British Norfolk Boreas offshore wind project due to rising costs, and warned that Britain could struggle to meet its wind targets without improved incentives.”


UK Profit warnings climb to financial crisis levels… The accountancy’s strategy consultancy EY-Parthenon said more than one in six UK-listed companies have issued a profit warning in the past 12 months, as rising borrowing costs and tightened consumer belts hit margins.”


Several Italian cities, including Rome, were left in the dark on Wednesday as power usage in the country soared to a record high amid sizzling temperatures.

“…a massive increase in energy usage for cooling purposes has reportedly pushed the electricity grids of several cities beyond their limits resulting in widespread blackouts.”


Gaza’s power cuts leave Palestinians sweltering amid rising temperatures.

“Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have been left struggling to cope with rising temperatures, due to widespread electricity cuts. The Middle East and North Africa have been experiencing scorching temperatures, with some countries registering record figures, prompting the World Meteorological Organization to issue a warning.”


Lebanese officials urge wildfire preparedness against heatwave, financial crisis…

“The Lebanese Environment Ministry warned that firefighting teams in 24 to 30 districts were short of necessary equipment, and it needs to invest 5 million U.S. dollars to prepare them with essential fire response capacities. In addition, these services faced funding shortages in administrative operation, training and paying wages due to the country’s dire financial situation…”


Peru boosts security ahead of fresh anti-government protests.

“Police in Peru’s capital guarded key government buildings and highways in and out of the city on Wednesday as the government prepares for protests being organized by left-wing groups and unions calling for President Dina Boluarte’s resignation.”


Venezuela Is Down to One Working Refinery as Lines Waiting for Gas Grow.

“Venezuela has just one gasoline refinery operating as it struggles to repair two key plants, creating a shortage so severe drivers and truckers are queuing up for hours — even days — for fuel.”


Europe’s climate action policies threatening Ghana’s fuel supply…

Despite being a producer of crude, Ghana is only able to refine 20% of its daily fuel needs, compelling it to rely on Europe and the Arabian Gulf for the rest of its daily fuel needs.”


Climate and violence hobble Nigeria’s push to rely on its own wheat after the hit from Russia’s war…

“Wheat normally requires heat, but in the last three years, farmers in Nigeria’s far north, part of Africa’s Sahel region that largely produces the country’s homegrown food, have seen an “alarming” increase in heat — much more than required, said Salisu, a local leader of wheat farmers in Kaita, Katsina State. Plus, rain is irregular.”


Malawi Faces Another Nationwide Fuel Shortage.

“Long lines of motorists are waiting for hours, sometimes overnight, in hopes of fueling their vehicles, while public transport fares have doubled. Malawi’s energy regulator says the country has depleted its fuel reserves, largely due to a lack of foreign currency.”


Anger boils over as Kenya’s cost of living protests shake the nation.

“A wave of deadly protests has hit Kenya as anger over tax hikes and the cost of living spilled into the streets. At least three people were reportedly killed in the latest round of demonstrations this week, with hundreds arrested, businesses attacked and schools closed.”


‘All that we had is gone’: my lament for war-torn Khartoum.

“Since Sudan’s capital was engulfed by violence in April, life there has been all but destroyed. As we tried to get family members to safety, the ruination of my former home became hard to fathom.”


Could AI Cause a Global Financial Meltdown?

“…While one might think the financial system is based on facts and hard data, the latest economic challenges, which include the Federal Reserve’s efforts to prevent a credit crunch and fight high inflation, are one illustration of the complexity involved.

“”The inputs and outputs of our financial system include an incredible number of situational scenarios and previously unencountered circumstances, which results in a very difficult training scenario for AI systems…””


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

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