Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

23rd February 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Riyadh skyscraperWorld Bank: Emerging economies must grow ‘much faster’ to repay debt

The World Bank warned that high borrowing costs have “changed dramatically” the need for developing nations to boost sluggish economic growth.

The multilateral lender’s latest warning comes as international bond sales from emerging market governments hit an all-time record of $47 billion in January, led by less risky emerging economies such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Romania.

However, some riskier issuers have started to tap markets at higher rates. Kenya recently paid more than 10% on a new international bond – the threshold above which experts often consider borrowing unaffordable.


global debt graphicGlobal debt has surged to a record high of $313 trillion (£248 trillion), as higher interest rates drive up borrowing costs for companies and governments worldwide.

Borrowers took on an extra $15 trillion in 2023, according to the Institute for International Finance, meaning the world’s debt pile has risen by more than $100 trillion in the past decade.

Government debts alone hit $89.9 trillion, up from $71 trillion on the eve of the pandemic and less than $33 trillion before the financial crisis.

The sharp rise in interest rates across much of the world means that the cost of servicing these debts is rising painfully.


Sultan Al JaberCop28 president warns of ‘energy turmoil’ unless demand is tackled

Governments must address the costs of transitioning towards clean energy to avoid the world descending into “energy turmoil”, the president of last year’s Cop28 summit has warned…

“Let me be clear, the energy transition will lead to energy turmoil, if we only address the supply side of the energy equation,” he said. “We must tackle the demand side at the same time.”

“We cannot and should not pursue the energy transition by only looking and working on one side of the equation.”


soldier fires artilleryBy spring, Ukraine faces a potentially catastrophic shortage of ammunition and air defenses that could effectively turn the tide of the war and lend Russian President Vladimir Putin a significant advantage, according to an internal U.S. estimate.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, two U.S. officials described “late March” as being a particularly crucial time for the fate of Ukrainian troops if Congress doesn’t pass a new aid bill.


BAE helicopterArms maker BAE Systems makes record profit amid Ukraine and Israel-Gaza wars

FTSE 100 company says global instability is making government focus on defence spending



Rolls-Royce jet engineRolls-Royce profits more than double amid cost cuts and global tensions

The British aerospace and defence company Rolls-Royce has more than doubled annual profits, as it cut costs and reported record-breaking orders amid mounting military tension around the world.


Trident missileTrident missile malfunction sends wrong kind of message and is more than just an embarrassing blow for UK’s nuclear deterrent

Any suggestion of vulnerability undermines the cast-iron reliability Trident and the Royal Navy are meant to provide, Deborah Haynes explains.


house in UK highlandsBest and worst places to live in UK during an apocalypse are named – full list of top locations

Whether it’s an alien invasion or a zombie outbreak, the study on the incredibly unlikely situation was based on factors such as availability of food and fresh water



German Factory Malaise Deepens as Activity Unexpectedly Down

German February composite PMI index slips to 46.1; est. 47.5. French activity gauge improves to 47.7, signaling recovery


Spanish farmers protestSpanish farmers on Wednesday (21 February) staged their biggest rally yet since protests began two weeks ago, as the ruling Socialist party and the centre-right opposition clashed in parliament over border controls and ‘mirror clauses’ in EU trade deals.


Chinese ship docks in Maldives amid diplomatic tensions with India


Ringgit Malaysia graphicThe Ringgit Malaysia (RM) could potentially fall below its 1998 Asian financial crisis low of RM4.885 against the US dollar, entering uncharted territory, warns an economist.




attack on Iranian pipelineIran blamed Israel for an attack on its gas transmission network last week that caused supply disruptions to some villages in the Persian Gulf country.

Tehran “quickly neutralized” the issue, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said in televised remarks, calling it a “conspiracy” by Israel.


Houthi rallyUS military targets Houthi antiship cruise missiles in preemptive strikes

Military says targets presented ‘imminent threat’ as missiles were ‘prepared to launch towards the Red Sea’.



Red Sea piratesPirates targeting ships diverted from Red Sea, warns UN shipping chief





Nigerian price protestAfrica’s largest economy is battling a currency crisis and a crumbling economy

With inflation nearing 30% and its currency hitting an all-time low, Nigeria is facing one of its worst economic crises in years.

The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed that the headline consumer price index (CPI) rose to 29.9% year-on-year in January, its highest level since 1996.

The surging cost of living and economic hardship sparked protests across the country over the weekend.


Syrian gas stationFuel Price Fury: Syria’s Economic Crisis Deepens Amidst Rising Costs

Syria faces mounting challenges as fuel prices soar, compounding an already dire economic crisis…far-reaching consequences, deteriorating economy, and humanitarian efforts in response to the escalating crisis.


woman drinks orange juiceOrange juice shortage looming this summer as disease turns fruits green

Prices set to soar as crops in key producing regions have also been impacted by extreme weather events including hurricanes and flooding



You can read the previous “Economy” 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 February 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

US interest costsInterest payments on $34 trillion US national debt will exceed DEFENSE spending this year – as legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones says a ‘debt bomb’ set to go off in US

Federal debt is at a historic high, having hit a staggering $34 trillion earlier this year.




Olivier Blanchard“US Risks Fiscal Crisis After Soaring Borrowing, Blanchard Warns…

“”In the US, I’m very worried because the primary deficits are very large and there’s absolutely no attempt to decrease them in any way, shape or form,” Olivier Blanchard told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee via video link on Tuesday.”



New York Community BankBad commercial real estate loans have overtaken loss reserves at the biggest US banks after a sharp increase in late payments linked to offices, shopping centres and other properties…

“Michael Barr, who oversees bank supervision at the US Federal Reserve, said on Friday that regulators “have been closely focused on banks’ CRE lending…”


credit crunch graphicNavigating the Credit Crunch: Americans Grapple with Debt Amid Economic Anxiety

A recent LendingTree survey reveals the financial instability of Americans, with credit card debt leading the crisis and a growing concern over inflation and a potential recession.


cobalt oreUS Moves to Restore Stockpiling ‘Panic Button’ in EV Metals Fight with China

Washington’s efforts have so far had limited success, and some mining executives complain of a lack of coherent strategy at a time when metal prices are falling.




Chinese stock marketForeign Direct Investment to China Slumps to 30 Year Low

Foreign firms only added $33 billion to their FDI liabilities. Measure was lowest since 1993, indicates a lack of confidence


China and TaiwanChina coast guard boards Taiwan tourist boat in escalation of tensions

The incident comes days after a Chinese fishing boat, which was being pursued by Taiwan’s coast guard, capsized killing two



Australian navyAustralia to build biggest Navy since Second World War amid Asia-Pacific arms race

Country will grow fleet to 26 combatant ships after rivals China and Russia build-up firepower as tensions grow in the region



Deutsche BundesbankEurope’s largest economy may have already slid into a recession, according to Germany’s central bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank. This is mainly due to a number of factors such as dampened construction activity, strikes and falling foreign demand.

The news comes after the German economy saw a fall of 0.3% in the last quarter of 2023.


Strack ZimmermannGermany faces a political crisis over sending Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine

Berlin is reluctant to supply Kyiv with its powerful bridge-buster bombs.



Polish truck protestsPolish protesters intend to extend border blockade until April and threaten to not allow buses through




Iraq Kuwait mapThe fate of a bilateral agreement on maritime navigation rights in the Khor Abdullah channel, which separates southern Iraq from northern Kuwait, has been cast into doubt by a decision of the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq

The Khor Abdullah channel is a narrow, shallow estuary that serves as the gateway for most of Iraq’s trade (including its substantial oil exports). It has long been the focal point for Iraqi grievances over the country’s severely restricted access to the Persian Gulf – a geographic predicament that has been likened to a ‘big garage with a very small door.’


Iranian missileIran unveils air defence systems as Middle East tensions soar

Tehran (AFP) – Iran unveiled two new air defence systems on Saturday, state media reported, with tensions high in the Middle East amid the war in Gaza.


refugees in RafahThe US has vetoed a resolution at the UN demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after proposing its own draft urging a temporary ceasefire.

Washington said the Algerian-proposed resolution would “jeopardise” talks to end the war. But the move has been condemned, with US allies expressing regret the original ceasefire motion was blocked by the White House.


Palestinian loads flourThe World Food Programme has paused “life-saving” food deliveries to northern Gaza, saying aid convoys had endured “complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order”.

The agency says the decision has not been taken lightly and crews had faced crowds, gunfire and looting. The UN has been warning of looming famine in the north since December. The WFP says these latest reports are proof of a “precipitous slide into hunger and disease”.


hungry Nigerians‘This hunger is too much’: Nigerians protest economic hardship

Hundreds of Nigerians demonstrated against the soaring cost of living in the south of the country on Monday after huge protests in the north earlier this month. Nigeria is suffering an economic crisis and soaring prices have left many people struggling to afford food. [Video]


Niger Defaults on $22 Million Debt Payment, Exits ECOWAS Amid Financial Turmoil

Niger’s missed debt payment and subsequent ECOWAS departure, along with Mali and Burkina Faso, highlight the region’s financial and political challenges. The upcoming summit on Feb. 24 will address these issues and determine West Africa’s future path.


Ibrahim TraoreBurkina Faso leader warns Tinubu and ECOWAS that they are prepared to fight

The confrontation between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Junta states may have just escalated. There are reportedly thousands of recorded deaths as a result of the back-and-forth between the two parties, and Burkina Faso blames ECOWAS.


President of SomaliaEthiopia-Somalia tensions boil over at AU summit

Somalia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the government “strongly condemns the provocative attempt by the Ethiopian government to obstruct the delegation”.


Red Sea shippingContainer lines ‘struggling’ with port congestion and ship shortages

Carriers are turning up on the wrong days because of scheduling problems arising from Red Sea crisis, says sector chief

“Jeremy Nixon, chief executive of Japan’s Ocean Network Express, said many shipping lines were facing scheduling problems. The issue has emerged since attacks by Yemen’s Houthis in December prompted most carriers to stop using the normal Asia to Europe route through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.”


You can read the previous “Economy” 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.

19th February 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Global recessionThe world economy is in trouble. Not only are there clear indications of a substantial slowdown in a number of the world’s key economies, there are also growing signs that we could be on the cusp of a worldwide wave of commercial property loan defaults. Those defaults could put great strain on the global financial system and trigger a meaningful global economic recession.


boy in Gaza wreckageThe Economic Fallout Of The Gaza Conflict For Iran

The Gaza-Israel conflict has significant implications for Iran’s already strained economy, characterized by currency devaluation, reduced government revenues, and high inflation.

Iran’s involvement in the regional conflict hinders its economic growth efforts, further reduces the value of the Iranian rial, and decreases government income. Additionally, it has worsened economic problems such as inflation, diminishing oil exports, and weaker GDP growth.


Israel’s war-battered economy sees double-digit contraction, sharpest since coronavirus crisis

Israel’s economy recorded a double-digit contraction in the three final months of 2023, with the ongoing war with the Hamas terror group taking a heavy toll on consumer spending, trade and investment, preliminary data by the Central Bureau of Statistics shows.

The country’s economy shrank at a 19.4 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2023…


Israeli protestorsBlocked Roads, Clashes With Police: Thousands Rally Against Netanyahu’s Government Across Israel

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators called for an early election and the removal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Caesarea


Israel prepares for power grid attacks, Burkan missiles in possible war with Hezbollah
“Israel has held unpublicised emergency meetings recently to survey contingency plans that include backup generators…”



Italian farmers who were invited, along with a cow called Ercolina II, to mass at the Vatican amid Europe-wide agricultural protests have said the blessing from Pope Francis would give them the strength “to win the game”.



commercial real estateConcerns about a widespread credit crisis are intensifying among investment managers as signs of trouble emerge in real estate markets worldwide, a report said.

According to Bank of America Corp.’s latest Global Fund Manager survey, approximately one in six respondents now views this scenario as the most significant risk facing financial markets. This figure has risen from one in 11 in December. The unease is particularly pronounced in the US commercial real estate and Chinese property sectors, making it the third most significant concern among survey participants, trailing behind worries about rising inflation and geopolitical tensions.


gold bar being engraved“Gold is taking benefits from the slide in the U.S. dollar and also the new escalation of tensions in the Middle East,” said Carlo Alberto De Casa, market analyst at Kinesis Money.

Israel expects to continue full-scale military operations in Gaza for another 6-8 weeks as it prepares to mount a ground invasion of the enclave’s southernmost city, Rafah, four officials familiar with the strategy said.

A UK-registered cargo ship reported coming under attack in the Bab al-Mandab Strait off Yemen on Sunday and the UK Maritime Trade Operations agency reported crew abandoning ship off Yemen after an explosion.


Chinese people walking‘It’s legalised robbery’: anger grows at China’s struggling shadow banks

Investors in one of the country’s ailing financial trusts have realised that the state may no longer always protect them.


Liquidators for China’s Evergrande prepare to sue PwC over audits

Evergrande’s liquidators are preparing for a potential lawsuit against PwC, which audited the now-collapsed Chinese property group for over a decade, in a move that could lead to the Big Four accounting firm facing a high-profile negligence claim.


German street sceneGood Morning from #Germany, where the shadow economy is booming due to the negative incentives of the citizen’s income, a kind of unconditional basic income (UBI). Experts estimate that the shadow economy has risen to €463bn in 2023, equal to 10.7% of GDP.



crushed plastic“Over the past several years, industry lobbying groups have promoted so-called chemical recycling, which breaks plastic polymers down into tiny molecules in order to make new plastics, synthetic fuels and other products. But the process creates pollution and is even more energy intensive than traditional plastic recycling.



melting chocolateUnlike most other agricultural commodities, cocoa hasn’t developed into a plantation business. At the prevailing prices of the 1990s and 2000s, it simply didn’t make commercial sense. The money was made around trading the beans, and processing them into chocolate — not planting, growing and harvesting cocoa trees.

Today, the crop is still grown overwhelmingly by poor smallholders1. Just making enough to subsist, most lack the means to re-invest in their plots. And finally, the decades of underinvestment have caught up with growing chocolate demand. For the third consecutive crop season, global consumption in 2023-24 will meaningfully surpass production – something unseen since the early 1960s.


babyHow the world’s falling birthrate is leading to economic catastrophe

Forget climate change, population decline might just be the most pressing potential disaster facing humanity



shit hitting the fanThis one is for Martin. 😉 Let’s boil things down.







You can read the previous “Economy” 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.


16th February 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Japan loses crown as world’s third-largest economy after it slips into recession…

“Japan has been eclipsed by Germany as the world’s third-biggest economy and has slipped into recession [Germany’s economy is itself hardly robust], according to data released Thursday, as the country battles a weak yen and an ageing, shrinking population.”


“Britain is suffering the longest hit to living standards on record, according to official figures that showed the economy is in recession…

“The decline was much larger than predicted by analysts and follows a fall of 0.1pc in the previous three months. It means the UK has fallen into its first technical recession since the economy locked down four years ago.”


“British farmers plan more French-style tractor protests this weekend.

“Farmers unhappy at low supermarket prices and cheap food imports from post-Brexit trade deals have vowed to renew their French-style protests with tractors this weekend. Demonstrations modelled on those across the Channel in recent months have sprung up in the UK…”


“Italian farmers ‘invade Rome’ in the latest of EU-wide protests…

“Elsewhere in Europe – Madrid, Antwerp, Wroclaw in Poland – thousands of farmers and their heavy equipment were on the streets, or more often the motorways. The demands are varied but have a common theme: rules issued by Brussels.”


“Ukrainians Stage Border Blockade in Response to Polish Farmers.

“A counter-protest unfolded at the Yagodin-Dorogusk border crossing as Ukrainian citizens orchestrated a blockade, mirroring the actions of Polish farmers, to disrupt the return of Polish transporters to their country.”


“‘A lot higher than we expected’: Russian arms production worries Europe’s war planners…

“Total defence spending has risen to an estimated 7.5% of Russia’s GDP, supply chains have been redesigned to secure many key inputs and evade sanctions, and factories producing ammunition, vehicles and equipment are running around the clock, often on mandatory 12-hour shifts with double overtime…”


“German minister calls for British and French nuclear weapons to protect Europe…

“The escalating threat from Russia and potential US abandonment of NATO means Europe’s security posture is being radically rethought. A senior German minister has suggested that the UK and France could play a larger role in Europe’s nuclear shield if Donald Trump wins this year’s US presidential election…”


“Balkan governments mull military service amid regional and global tensions…

“Several governments in the Southeast Europe region have mooted the idea of restoring military service in recent weeks in response to heightened geopolitical tensions. Politicians in Croatia, Romania and Serbia have all discussed a potential move to a form of military service.”


“Azerbaijan planning ‘full-scale war’, Armenia warns…

“”Our analysis shows that Azerbaijan wants to launch military action in some parts of the border with the prospect of turning military escalation into a full-scale war against Armenia,” Pashinyan said at a government meeting.”


“Hezbollah vows to retaliate for civilian deaths in Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon.

“A strike on the city of Nabatiyeh late on Wednesday killed seven civilians, including two children, and three members of Hezbollah, sources in Lebanon said. It followed an earlier attack that killed a woman and her two children…”


“Nasser hospital in ‘catastrophic’ condition as Israeli troops raid [Gaza].

“Israel’s military claims it has captured “dozens” of terror suspects during a raid on southern Gaza’s main hospital, as staff and patients were forced to flee under gunfire. Israel said it launched a “precise and limited mission” at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, adding it had intelligence that Hamas had held hostages there.”


“UN envoy warns of ‘dangerous’ escalation cycle in war-wracked Yemen…

“As recently as December, painstaking negotiations were gaining ground and the UN said the warring parties had agreed to work towards “the resumption of an inclusive political process”. The recent Houthi attacks, in addition to Western retaliation, have thrown the peace process up in the air.”


“Yemen’s Houthis fire missiles at British ship in Gulf of Aden, spokesman says.

“Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis fired naval missiles at the British ship ‘LYCAVITOS’ in the Gulf of Aden, the group’s military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech on Thursday.”


“Concerns mount over shortages of Asian goods due to Red Sea conflict…

“The [UK] Institute of Export & International Trade also highlighted problems with rice coming from India, garments from Bangladesh and other countries in south east Asia, machinery from Japan, and wine, lamb and beef from Australia and New Zealand. European farmers too could struggle to get hold of major Indian exports like fertiliser, chemicals and grains…”


“Houthi bypass: Quietly, goods forge overland path to Israel via Saudi Arabia, Jordan…

“Israel-based freight forwarder Mentfield Logistics is among the companies involved in establishing a commercial trade route circumventing the Red Sea by sending goods from the ports of Dubai and Bahrain overland on trucks passing through the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and ending at Israeli ports.”


“A U.S. Coast Guard ship seized weapons intended for the Houthi militant group during an operation in the Arabian Sea in late January, U.S. Central Command announced Thursday.

On Jan. 28, personnel aboard the Coast Guard cutter Clarence Sutphin Jr. located and boarded a vessel… the shipment originated from Iran, the command said.”


“Iran will reciprocate if its ships are seized, the legal adviser to Iran’s President told state media on Thursday, in response to a statement by the United States Department of Justice.

“This month, the Department of Justice issued a statement announcing the seizure of more than 500,000 barrels of Iranian fuel to clamp down on the “Revolutionary Guards’ financing network”.”


“Beijing condemns Taiwan after two Chinese fishers die in speedboat crash…

“Taiwan’s coastguard said the speedboat had “illegally [entered] Taiwanese waters”, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported. The coastguard “immediately requested that the boat submit to an inspection, but it resisted and capsized as it sped away”, CNA said.”


“Philippines Won’t Back Down on Sea Claims, Top Envoy Says.

“The Philippines is committed to asserting its claims in the South China Sea even as it aims to manage disputes through peaceful means, its top diplomat said. “We still will maintain our position of defending our sovereign rights wherever they are applicable…””


“Paraguay’s senate has expelled one of the few opposition voices in national politics, sparking protests in the capital Asunción and prompting concerns over the fragile state of the country’s democracy.

“Senator Kattya González from the center-left National Meeting Party was dismissed from her position during an extraordinary session on Wednesday for the “misuse of influence” while in office.”


“‘More and more hunger’: Argentina’s soup kitchens on brink of collapse from high inflation.

“A week ago, 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of pasta was enough to feed the dozens of families who visit the Sal de la Tierra soup kitchen in Villa Fiorito, a poor Buenos Aires suburb beset by the economic crisis ravaging Argentina. But with monthly inflation topping 20%, the number of hungry residents has soared.”


“Guyana’s fast growing economy risks inflation, Venezuela conflict

“Guyana Is Trying to Keep Its Oil Blessing From Becoming a Curse… The tiny Caribbean nation has the fastest-growing economy in the world, but the boom is stoking challenges from inflation and a growing wealth gap to the looming threat of conflict with Venezuela.”


“Venezuelan Oil Output, Fuel Supply Threatened by Potential Renewed US Sanctions…

“Venezuela’s most crucial economic sector has been targeted by US coercive measures since mid-2017. Washington has levied financial sanctions, an oil embargo, secondary sanctions and a raft of prohibitions aimed at strangling Caracas’ main income source.”


“Tobago oil spill spreads to Grenada waters and could affect Venezuela…

“Eight days after Trinidad and Tobago’s coastguard first spotted the oil from an overturned and abandoned barge, the vessel continues to leak fuel, and portions of the stain have moved about 144km (89 miles) into the Caribbean Sea at a rate of 14km/h.”


“Desperate Nigerians have been protesting against soaring food prices as an economic crisis forces people to skip meals and eat poor-grade rice used as fish food.

“To feed their children, women in northern Nigeria have even resorted to digging up anthills in search of grain stored by the insects, according to videos shown on social media.”


“10 things to know about the neglected emergency in Chad.

“One of the world’s poorest countries has been hit by the world’s largest displacement crisis. In eastern Chad, locals are sharing what little they have with the largest surge of refugees ever to cross there… Almost 700,000 people have crossed into eastern Chad in 10 months [fleeing] devastating violence in Sudan’s West Darfur…”


“South Africa Risks Showdown With Rwanda Over Congo Deployment.

“Troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi will begin to replace a United Nations force that’s been in Congo for 25 years and a year-old East African Community deployment. Neither has been able to stabilize a region that’s rich in tin, tantalum, gold and other metals.”


“The world has turned its back on Sudan as catastrophic war rages on, says aid worker…

“Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Pierre Cuguen told CBC that Canada is “deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict in Sudan” and “continues to call on the parties to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need.””


“World leaders’ responses to conflict imperil the rules-based world order…

“The world is heading towards a dangerous place where selective government outrage and “a la carte” application of international law are becoming the norm. The result is already damning: a crisis of credibility and the erosion of trust in international institutions and governments, putting in peril the rules-based world order.”


“Asexual propagation of crop plants gets closer…

“If it were possible to bypass the reductional division and fertilization of female gametes, the seeds produced would be genetically identical to the mother plant. Plant varieties with desired characteristics could thus be propagated much more easily – as seed clones.”


“…EU Parliament endorses draft law to deregulate GMOs…

“The European Parliament (EP) has endorsed a controversial European Commission plan that exempts many new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from current safety rules, ignoring critical science, and farmer and consumer rights, warned Greenpeace.”


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.

14th February 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“World facing ‘dangerous decade’ amid increased instability, military spending: Think tank.

“Researchers also found that defense spending was up last year, rising 9 percent across the globe to $2.2 trillion. That boost was largely triggered by NATO, which increased spending by 32 percent last year…”


“UN chief warns climate chaos and food crises threaten global peace: ‘Empty bellies fuel unrest’…

““Climate and conflict are two leading drivers of (our) global food crisis,” the secretary-general said. “ Where wars rage, hunger reigns – whether due to displacement of people, destruction of agriculture, damage to infrastructure, or deliberate policies of denial.””


“Global Agriculture Unrest: Urgent Calls for Change Amid Crisis.

“The agriculture sector worldwide is grappling with a burgeoning crisis as farmers face challenges from inflation, foreign competition, and escalating environmental protection costs. As the situation reaches a boiling point, demonstrations and protests are erupting…”


“Sticky US inflation reaffirms Fed caution on rate cuts…

“…today’s miss will embolden the Fed to signal it is in no hurry to cut interest rates with the market moving back to only fully pricing three 25bp rate cuts this year, the same as suggested by the Fed’s December dot plot of individual FOMC members with June the start point for cuts.”


“‘Too big to fail’ was bad enough for the banks. Now we have ‘too many to fail.’ …The danger of forgetting the 2023 banking crisis and SVB’s collapse…

“It is convenient to think that these issues were confined to just a few rogue banks. But the problem was systemic… “Too big to fail” was bad enough, but now we have “too many to fail.” The mini-crisis of March 2023 was much more than a footnote in banking history. We cannot afford to bury it.”


“Rainer Skierka: «I Would Not Rule Out a Black Swan»… Rainer Skierka, an experienced banking analyst, tells finews.com how he assesses the risk of contagion for the financial sector…

“”What could be playing a subtle role currently are geopolitical risks… Wherever you don’t expect it, a major risk arises. Even as an optimist, you must consider the real risks. The economy is still running. But how long can it last in this state?””


“A new pensions crisis threatens to light the fuse on Britain’s debt bomb.

“One of the biggest buyers of government debt is about to become a seller – pushing up state borrowing costs as a result. Defined benefit pension schemes, often known as final salary pensions, have traditionally been big buyers of the Government’s long-term debt…”


“This week’s recession call will be about politics. To the public, the economy’s grim either way [UK]…

“Most consumers care little whether third-quarter GDP was flat or marginally down. They just know how grindingly hard it has been to make ends meet over the past few years.”


“A tractor blockade has seriously disrupted operations at the Belgian port of Antwerp, Europe’s second largest, authorities said, as angry farmers continued their protests in half a dozen European countries.

““No freight can be delivered or picked up, as trucks are halted, while employees are only being allowed in after a long wait,” said Stephan Vanfraechem, the director of the association of port operators Alfaport.”


“Polish farmer blockade puts Polish-Ukrainian relations at further risk…

“Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry confirmed to the Kyiv Independent that Kyiv and Warsaw are negotiating. However, there appears to be little end in sight over the agricultural dispute that began in April 2023.”


“Eurozone lenders must prepare for ‘unexpected’ risks, says top supervisor.

““Complacency is not an option,” Claudia Buch told an event in Brussels on Monday. Credit Suisse’s takeover by UBS last March marked the first demise of a globally systemic lender since the financial crisis. A clutch of mid-sized US banks also collapsed last year after depositors withdrew their funds with unprecedented speed.”


“The EU adopted a law to set aside windfall profits made on frozen Russian central bank assets, it said on Monday, in a first concrete step towards the bloc’s aim of using the money to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine.

“The EU and the Group of Seven nations (G7) froze some 300 billion euros ($323 billion) of Russian central bank assets following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The EU and G7 have been debating if and how these funds can be used for over a year.”


“China objects to ‘unilateral sanctions’ in Ukraine war as EU proposes new trade curbs…

“Addressing a United Nations Security Council session on the conflict on Monday, Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, took aim at Nato, saying that the alliance should “wake up from the myth of force and stop making threats and calling for war”.”


“Chinese developer China South City Holdings plunged 20 per cent to a new 52-week low after it warned last week that it would default on multiple bonds maturing this year…

“The cumulative effect of China’s crippled property market has put an increasing strain on the company’s working capital, it said.”


“Indian security forces used drones to fire tear gas at farmers who were marching on New Delhi after talks with the government broke down.

“Local broadcasters showed thick clouds of tear gas fired to disperse protesters near Ambala, about 125 miles north of the capital, with police also dropping canisters from the air by drones.”


“Iran and Russia urge calm following new Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes.

“Iran and Russia called for calm on Tuesday after a border skirmish between Armenia and Azerbaijan that left four Armenian soldiers dead, and one Armenian soldier and one Azeri soldier injured. Armenian authorities said that Azerbaijani troops fired on Armenian forces across the border…”


“‘Terrorist sabotage attack’: Blast hits major gas transmission pipelines in southern Iran.

“National Iranian Gas Company says a “terrorist sabotage” attack has targeted two main gas transmission pipelines in the country’s southwestern province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari as well as the southern province of Fars, causing a massive explosion and a subsequent fire.”


“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has simulated a strike on a major Israeli airbase, making a show of its naval capabilities.

“Footage aired by state television on Tuesday showed that the IRGC fired a range of munitions from ships and submarines. The wargame appears a clear message as Israel’s war on Gaza escalates and tensions rise across the region.”


“Yemen’s Houthis strike cargo ship bound for Iran, causing minor damage…

“The Houthis military spokesman, Yahya Saree, said in a televised statement the ship was American but maritime-shipping trackers said the Marshall Islands-flagged ship was Greek-owned. The Star Iris had been transporting a corn cargo from Brazil to Iran, according to CentCom and ship tracking analysis from data and analytics group Kpler.”


“Red Sea risks see reinsurers start to pull back key cover.

“Protection and indemnity clubs are initiating cancellation notices for fixed premium business, which extends to war risk coverage in the Red Sea danger area, effective from 20 February after reinsurers pulled their support in the region. Skuld is the first…”


“Israeli strikes deepen panic in Rafah as UN aid chief warns a ground offensive could result in ‘slaughter’.

“Panic is soaring in Rafah as desperate Palestinians decide whether to flee the last refuge in Gaza as Israel draws up plans for a ground offensive that the United Nations aid chief has warned could lead to “a slaughter.””


“Why desperately needed aid is failing to reach the people of Gaza…

“… while international pressure mounts on Israel to allow in more aid — it controls access to Gaza and imposes a strict inspections regime — UN officials and western diplomats say the flow of goods is still far below what the population of Gaza needs.”


“Amhara conflict: Ethiopians massacred in their homes by government troops.

“The Ethiopian government has not commented on the killings. Both the US and EU are calling for an independent investigation. It is one of the worst episodes of violence in the Amhara region since last August, when powerful local Fano militias began a rebellion against the government’s plans to disarm them.”


“An account from the frontline of ‘the largest displacement of children on the planet’ [Sudan]…

“”I think probably the strongest is just the eeriness of when you walk around communities, it could be a rural area or a neighborhood like a middle-class neighborhood, and it’s empty. It’s just absolutely silent. You can only hear the crunching of glass under your feet.””


“Unable to survive in Egypt, refugees from war-torn Sudan return home…

“Ten months after the civil war erupted in Sudan, sending hundreds of thousands fleeing, many of those who sought refuge in neighbouring Egypt face a grim choice between homelessness and returning home at their own peril.”


“Nigeria’s Naira Sinks to Record Low After Liquidity Shrinks…

“Nigeria’s currency weakened 4.2% to close at 1,534.39 in the so-called NAFEM window on Monday, according to data published by FMDQ, which calculates the exchange rate. It is the lowest that the currency has traded against the dollar since Bloomberg started compiling the data.”


“DR Congo protests: Police fire tear gas to disperse anti-Western demonstrations in Kinshasa…

“Angry protesters burnt the flags of the US and Belgium, DR Congo’s former colonial power, on Monday. Demonstrations have taken place outside several Western embassies in recent days. In the latest protests, anti-riot police pushed back demonstrators as they tried to advance towards embassies.”


“Senegal Cuts Mobile Internet as Crackdown on Dissent Widens.

“The step was taken because “hateful and subversive” messages have been posted online that have spurred “violent protests and deaths and significant damages,” the Communications Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.”


“Mystery shipwreck causes disastrous oil spill off Trinidad and Tobago…

“Prime Minister Keith Rowley on Sunday declared a national emergency as oil leaking from the vessel affected some 15km (nearly 10 miles) of coastline. “Cleaning and restoration can only begin as soon as we have the situation under control. Right now, the situation is not under control,” Rowley told journalists.”


“This is the year the world’s green juggernaut becomes unstoppable…

“The dogs bark, the caravan moves on. Beyond a superficial wobble in Europe, there has been no retreat from the post-fossil fuel transition across the world… The International Energy Agency and Rystad forecast that fossil fuel use in electricity generation will decline this year in absolute terms. From there it is a one-way street.”


“2024 Must Be The Year To Turn Goals Into Climate Action…

“Clear climate action plans, coupled with state and federal policy, will accelerate the clean energy economy, bringing innovation and jobs to every state in our nation… About a quarter of 13,000 of the world’s largest companies that provide data about their environmental impact say they will develop these plans in the next two years.”


“”Hundreds of migratory species – from humpback whales to wandering albatrosses – are under threat because of human activity, according to the first United Nations report on the animals.

“”The State of the World’s Migratory Species report, released today, concludes that almost half of the migratory animals on a UN list of vulnerable species are seeing population declines. About a quarter of the listed species are at risk of extinction.”


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.

12th February 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“The amount US financial institutions have loaned to shadow banks such as fintechs and private credit groups has passed $1tn, as regulators warn that growing ties between traditional and alternative lenders could present systemic risks…

“The rapid rise in loans to shadow banks concerns regulators because there is very little information or oversight regarding the risks being taken by those groups.”


“Rates rethink rekindles property stress worries.

“Stresses in sector emerge as commercial real estate loans come due in a period of increased vacancy rates… As S&P Global Ratings put it late last year: “Higher-for-longer interest rates remain the key risk for real estate assets globally.” …Separately, the real estate driven horror show at New York Community Bancorp continues to rumble on.”


“Germany’s Office Property Slump Accelerates With Record Drop…

“The downturn accelerated in the fourth quarter with a 13% drop from the previous year, according to data published Monday by German banking association VDP. For the full year, prices slumped more than 10%, the most since records began in 2003, and the outlook is for further declines at the start of 2024.”


“Germany’s Days as an Industrial Superpower Are Coming to an End…

“Manufacturing output in Europe’s biggest economy has been trending downward since 2017, and the decline is accelerating as competitiveness erodes. “There’s not a lot of hope, if I’m honest,” said Stefan Klebert, chief executive officer of GEA Group AG.”


“Labour’s green target ‘unachievable’ after ditching £28bn pledge, say experts [UK]…

“The commitment to decarbonising electricity generation by the end of the decade was already considered highly ambitious, but experts said that Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to ditch the party’s £28 billion green investment plan made it all but impossible.”


“Are the politics of climate change going out of fashion?

“…The public wants action generically, but might not like the effect of them – or as it was put to me: “Voters are allowed to be hypocrites – they can say ‘I want you to do more’ but then when you do, they say ‘oh I didn’t mean that’.”


“UK farmers vow to mount more blockades over cheap post-Brexit imports…

“Farmers say there will be further French-style blockades following a slow tractor protest at Dover against low supermarket prices and cheap food imports from post-Brexit trade deals.”


“Thousands of Trucks Stuck on Polish-Ukrainian Border as Polish Farmers Resume Blockade…

“The protest staged by Polish farmers, which would take place at over 250 locations across Poland for a month, came about in response to the EU’s decision not to limit Ukrainian agricultural imports…”


“Tucker Carlson seemed clueless about our energy crisis. Putin certainly isn’t… [please overlook the anti-Putin sentiments and focus on the resource issue; it is rare to see this discussed in the MSM]

“Did you know [Ukraine] has the second-largest gas reserves in Europe after Norway? Or that the Donbas boasts one of the largest coal deposits in the world? And that Ukraine has stocks of 117 of the 120 most widely used metals and minerals… The frantic geopolitical motion of today is calibrated to the demands of an overpopulated world of eight billion people seeking to reinvent its energy system.”


“Donald Trump has said he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO member that fails to pay its bills as part of the Western military alliance.

“At a rally on Saturday, he said he had once told a leader he would not protect a nation behind on its payments, and would “encourage” the aggressors to “do whatever the hell they want”.”


“Scores killed in strikes on Gaza’s Rafah, two Israeli hostages rescued.

“Two Israeli hostages were rescued overnight in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where overnight bombardments killed at least 48 Palestinians, the Hamas-run health ministry said early Monday. Israel is preparing for a ground incursion into the city.”


“Israel hits back at Moody’s downgrade over Gaza war impact…

“Israeli leaders have hit back at a credit rating downgrade from Moody’s, the first in the country’s history according to a finance ministry official, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arguing it was a result of the war rather than the underlying economy.”


“Houthis report 3 new US, UK airstrikes against Yemen.

“The Yemeni Houthi group announced Saturday that the US and UK targeted the province of Hodeidah in western Yemen with three airstrikes, Anadolu Agency reports. “A US-UK aggression targeted the As-Salif district in the province of Hodeidah,” said Houthi-affiliated Al-Masirah TV channel, without providing details.”


“Ships shun Red Sea and Suez Canal despite reduced Houthi menace…

“US and UK air strikes have reduced the risk to vessels from attacks by Yemen’s Houthis in the Red Sea but there is little prospect of many shipping companies making a swift return to the Suez Canal, security experts and a senior executive have said.”


“ICRC warns of worsening humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

“”The population is exhausted,” said Fatima Sator, ICRC spokesperson. “The economy is on the brink of collapse. Water and electricity are almost not available. Half of the healthcare facilities have been either destroyed, or don’t have supplies, or the staff needed to function.””


“Iraq could be pushed into conflict by tit-for-tat attacks on its territory by Iranian-backed militias and US forces, Iraqi foreign minister, Dr Fuad Hussein, has told the BBC.

“”The tension nowadays between Iran and the United States is very high,” he said. “I hope both sides will stop their attacks. They are not going to solve their problem on Iraqi soil,” he said. “We paid a very big price.””


“Iran marks Islamic Revolution’s 45th anniversary amid Mideast tensions…

“In Tehran, crowds waved Iranian flags, chanted slogans, and carried placards with the traditional “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” written on them. Some burned U.S. and Israeli flags, a common practice in pro-government rallies.”


“Riot police in Pakistan have fired tear gas to disperse supporters of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan after his party urged protests outside election offices where they allege rigging took place in last week’s national vote.

“Ugly clashes were reported in Rawalpindi city, and in the eastern city of Lahore, where police are said to have charged at and dispersed protesters…”


“Protests across Balochistan ‘paralyse’ road links.

“Political parties’ protests over alleged election rigging continued in Quetta and other cities of Balochistan for the third consecutive day on Sunday. The sit-ins on major roads and highways meant the province had been cut off from other parts of the country.”


“Delhi on Alert as Indian Farmers Gear Up for Mass Protests…

“India’s capital is on high alert as it anticipates protests from farmers to begin Tuesday to demand guaranteed minimum crop prices, three years after a major demonstration forced the government to repeal a proposed farm laws reform.”


“Kerala: State grapples with euthanasia concerns as elderly face the brunt of rising financial crisis…

“The Kerala government’s financial woes have taken a toll on its ability to fulfill essential obligations, including the timely payment of salaries and pensions. Among the worst affected are the recipients of welfare pensions…”


“The fire the world ignored… A fire wreaked havoc and left thousands of people homeless — but it barely made the news.

“In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, scores of Rohingya refugees continue to live in ever-worsening conditions. But the passage of time combined with a string of other international crises has seen the world turn its gaze from the Rohingya, with the latest fire receiving little, if any, media coverage…”


“Brazil’s ex-president Bolsonaro surrenders passport in police probe of ‘attempted coup’…

“Federal police said they were carrying out 33 search and seizure operations and executing four arrest warrants in an investigation of a “criminal organization involved in the attempted coup” — a reference to Bolsonaro supporters’ storming of the presidential palace…”


“Africa’s Biggest Oil and Gas Finds Are Doing Little for Economies at Home…

“The last thing Senegal needed in its long-drawn-out effort to capitalize on large oil and gas finds off its coast was political turmoil… The finds were touted as a game changer in a country where villages are still not connected to the power grid and more than a third of the inhabitants live in poverty.”


“Senegal unrest: Three dead amid protests over delayed presidential elections.

“The death toll amid protests in Senegal over the postponement of the presidential elections until December has climbed to three, as concerns grow that one of the remaining democracies in coup-hit West Africa is under threat.”


“‘I’m here to defend my daughters and myself’: Inside one of Sudan’s combat training camps for women and girls.

“Some are here out of loyalty for their conscripted sons, fathers, uncles, and brothers who have been deployed across the country in the Sudanese Armed Forces war against the Rapid Support Forces. Others are here out of sheer necessity.”


“Myanmar Enforces Mandatory Military Service Amid Ongoing Clashes…

“Myanmar’s military government announced a compulsory military service for all young people as clashes with ethnic armies intensified in many townships, mostly in Rakhine State.”


“The world is waging war on its children, in an obscene mockery of international law…

“From Ukraine and Gaza to Sudan and Myanmar, respect for the “laws of war” is being eroded or is non-existent. Non-combatants are deliberately targeted. Most shocking, and unforgivable, is the wanton harm – the UN term is “grave violations” – done to children.”


“I’m an AI expert – here are 5 easy ways artificial intelligence could kill off the human race and make mankind extinct…

“Ben Eisenpress, Director of Operations at the Future of Life Institute, warned MailOnline that ‘all catastrophic risks from AI are currently underestimated.'”


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.