Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

2nd June 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Ukraine war sparks rush for potash as global food fears grow.

“For the best part of a decade the potash market struggled with overcapacity and low prices. But as sanctions throttle supplies of the fertiliser from Russia and Belarus, which account for almost 40 per cent of global supply, buyers are scrambling for cargoes and warnings are growing of a global food crisis…

“Mined from underground deposits formed during the evaporation of ancient seabeds, potash is a mineral rich in water-soluble potassium, one of the three essential nutrients required for crop growth. Crucial to the production of food staples such as corn, soy, rice and wheat, a sudden plunge in supply threatens to devastate global crop yields.”

https://www.ft.com/content/ed442384-8ede-4e47-98f6-9788d27fc6d3


A “catastrophic” global food crisis brought on by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could last for years and lead to civil unrest and famine, a report warns.

“Rising food prices and dwindling supplies may last to 2024 and “possibly beyond” according to S&P…. S&P predicted competition for agricultural commodities would build through this year and the next, as countries vye to secure domestic supply…”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/06/01/world-risks-civil-unrest-amid-catastrophic-food-crisis/


The world faces a “much bigger” energy crisis than the one of the 1970s, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, told German daily Der Spiegel…

“Back then it was just about oil,” Birol told the news outlet. “Now we have an oil crisis, a gas crisis and an electricity crisis simultaneously,” said the head of the international agency… The world, especially Europe, could face a summer of shortages of gasoline, fuel, and jet fuel, the IEA’s Birol said.”

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/IEA-Current-Energy-Crisis-Is-Much-Bigger-Than-1970s-Oil-Crunch.html


Global refiners struggle to meet global demand amid high prices, shortage.

“Refiners worldwide are struggling to meet global demand for diesel and gasoline, exacerbating high prices and aggravating shortages from big consumers like the US and Brazil.”

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/global-refiners-struggle-to-meet-global-demand-amid-high-prices-shortage-122053100385_1.html


Record Gas Prices Hit Americans’ Start to Summer Travel Season…

“The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit $4.67 as of Wednesday, according to AAA, $1.63 higher than a year earlier and about 14% above the pre-2022 high of $4.11 set in 2008.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americans-start-summer-travel-season-beset-by-record-gas-prices-11654037695


Eat grass to solve Britain’s food crisis, scientists say.

“People could soon be eating grass instead of steaks and cheese as British scientists develop ways to turn pasture into food. Researchers say grass could be a ‘silver bullet’ for UK food supplies…”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/06/01/eat-grass-solve-britains-food-crisis-scientists-say/


The owner of one of the UK’s six nuclear power plants [Hinkley B] has said it will not extend its life beyond a planned shutdown in summer, despite officials raising concerns over the danger of blackouts in the months that follow

“The closure of the plant will remove nearly a gigawatt of power generation capacity from the UK’s system – enough to supply 1.5m homes – before a winter in which the war in Ukraine is expected to weigh heavily on electricity supplies.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/30/extend-life-hinkley-point-b-reactor-avert-blackout-risk


Europe lurches closer to energy crisis as Kremlin cuts off gas supply to Shell... Europe lurched closer to an energy crisis on Tuesday after the Kremlin cut off gas supplies to major buyers including Shell.

Russia’s state-owned gas supplier, Gazprom, said supplies to Shell in Germany as well as to Ørsted in Denmark will be cut off on Wednesday after they refused to bow to Putin’s demands to pay in roubles.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/31/europe-lurches-closer-energy-crisis-kremlin-cuts-gas-supply/


France’s economy shrinks as Eurozone braces for rates hike amid fears of fuel, food shortages.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has derailed growth across Europe, sparking inflationary pressures that are prompting consumers to hold back on purchases of all kinds, which is a crucial motor for the France’s economic well-being.”

https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20220531-france-s-economy-shrinks-as-eurozone-braces-for-rates-hike-amid-fears-of-fuel-food-shortages


Eurozone inflation hits its highest level since the creation of the euro…

“Annual inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro currency jumped to a record 8.1 percent in May, from 7.4 percent in April. Prices have been rising for 10 consecutive months and show few signs of letting up, deepening a cost of living crisis for consumers and forcing European policymakers to pledge a variety of measures to blunt the pain.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/31/business/eurozone-inflation.html


‘World of pain’: warnings of gas shortages amid soaring power prices add to Australia’s energy woes.

“Australia’s energy woes are mounting with the market operator warning of potential gas supply shortages on Thursday, one of the largest generators issuing a profit warning and more retailers turning away customers as wholesale power prices soar.”

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/02/world-of-pain-warnings-of-gas-shortages-amid-soaring-power-prices-add-to-australias-energy-woes


China’s Home Sales Slump Persisted in May During Lockdowns.

“The 100 biggest real estate developers saw new-home sales plummet 59% in May from a year earlier, according to preliminary data from China Real Estate Information Corp. The drop matched April’s decline as the biggest this year.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-31/china-s-home-sales-slump-persisted-in-may-during-lockdowns


‘Like McDonald’s with no burgers’: Singapore faces chicken shortage as Malaysia bans export…

“Supplies of Singapore’s beloved de-facto national dish, chicken and rice, are under threat after neighbouring Malaysia banned exports of the meat in an attempt to ease domestic price increases.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/01/like-mcdonalds-with-no-burgers-singapore-faces-chicken-shortage-as-malaysia-bans-export


Sri Lanka is appealing for food assistance from its neighbours as the country’s debt crisis spirals into a humanitarian emergency.

“The government is applying for aid from a food bank operated by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, which has supplied rice and other staples to member states during food crises.”

https://www.ft.com/content/c89a972c-df31-449c-a824-ba3ccd54a4da


Pakistan on verge of becoming Sri Lanka? Oil, ghee rates soar to all-time high…

“The Pakistan government increased the rates of ghee and cooking oil by an unprecedented ₹208 and ₹213 to an all-time high of ₹555 and ₹605 per litre from today, June 1. According to Dawn News report, the rates of ghee hovers between ₹540- ₹560 per litre in the country.”

https://www.livemint.com/news/world/pakistan-on-verge-of-becoming-sri-lanka-oil-ghee-rates-soar-to-all-time-high-11654066227147.html


Iraq’s Electricity Ministry said Wednesday the country will face power shortages after crucial energy supplies from Iran were cut over non-payment.

“In a statement, the ministry said the total electricity supply was drastically reduced after Iran stopped exporting 5 million cubic meters of gas daily to Iraq. The gas imports are crucial for Iraq…

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/iraq-iran-gas-cuts-due-nonpayment-shortages-85107663


Turkish police cracked down hard on demonstrators trying to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Gezi Park protests, arresting 170, including journalists covering the event

“The crowd chanted slogans including: “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance”, “Don’t obey, lay claim to your country”, and “No to sharia, fascism and darkness”.”

https://balkaninsight.com/2022/06/01/turkish-police-detain-170-in-gezi-park-protests-anniversary/


Libya is losing another 22,000 barrels per day due to a pipeline leak at the Sarir Tobruk oilfield blamed on delayed budgets that have left the operating company unable to maintain its oil transmission infrastructure, according to local media reports.

Some 22,000 barrels per day are now leaking into the desert from damages to the pipeline…”

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Libyas-Oil-Losses-Mount-On-Pipeline-Leak.html


Nigerian Manufacturers Struggle With Wheat, Energy Shortages…

“… the Nigerian Manufacturers Association (MAN) said grain shortages are not the only problem. Before the Russian invasion, businesses were already struggling with electricity and fuel shortages, inflation, poor infrastructure and growing insecurity.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/nigerian-manufacturers-struggle-with-wheat-energy-shortages/6597640.html


Niger has banned refined fuel exports with immediate effect, the government said in a statement on Wednesday, in a further step to secure local supplies after it earlier limited exports…

“The West African country reduced refined fuel exports by 75% in early May to protect and boost national stocks amid a global rise in fuel prices caused by the war in Ukraine.”

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/world/africa/2022-06-01-niger-bans-exports-of-refined-fuel-amid-growing-shortages/


Sudan staggers under weight of Africa’s biggest fuel spike.

“This time a year ago, even amid widespread fuel shortages, one litre of petrol cost 290 Sudanese pounds (R9.85) . Today, that same litre costs motorists 672 Sudanese pounds, (R22.82 ), an increase of 132%.”

https://mg.co.za/africa/2022-05-31-sudan-staggers-under-weight-of-africas-biggest-fuel-spike/


Kenyan finance minister seeks to raise debt ceiling…

“The Business Daily and the Daily Nation said National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani had asked parliament to change the public finance management law to allow more borrowing to fund the budget in the year through June 2023.”

https://www.cnbcafrica.com/2022/kenyan-finance-minister-seeks-to-raise-debt-ceiling-media/


South Africa’s hunger problem is turning into a major health crisis.

“One in ten South Africans go hungry every day. As a result malnutrition levels are high. Malnutrition has three simultaneous dimensions: undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and over-nutrition.
These can manifest in stunting… Another consequence of malnutrition is overweight and obesity.”

https://theconversation.com/south-africas-hunger-problem-is-turning-into-a-major-health-crisis-183736


Global health worker shortage could deny millions of people healthcare.

“Over 43 million additional health workers are needed to cover the health worker shortage globally, due to political unrest, violence, and lack of training… According to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), large gaps in healthcare and health worker shortages have been observed across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.”

https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/global-health-worker-shortage-could-deny-millions-of-people-healthcare/136878/


Covid, burnout and low pay: the global crisis in nursing…

“In 2020 the World Health Organization estimated there was a global shortage of 5.9mn nurses — almost one-quarter of the current global workforce of almost 28mn… The pandemic has made things worse… around one-third of nurses said they were likely to quit within the next year.”

https://www.ft.com/content/402df6ca-5098-40ca-9cc8-bae331c39398


Global factory growth stunted by war, China’s COVID curbs.

“Manufacturing growth slowed last month in economies as diverse as France, Japan to Malaysia, business surveys showed on Wednesday, illustrating the challenge policymakers face in trying to combat inflation while not stifling anaemic economic activity.”

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/global-economy-global-factory-growth-stunted-by-war-chinas-covid-curbs


Tipping point crossed at IMF meetings.

The recent spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund, which lasted from 18-24 April , were some of the gloomiest I have attended… We are at an epochal turning point against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

https://www.omfif.org/2022/06/tipping-point-crossed-at-imf-meetings/


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

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31st May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

European Union leaders have agreed on a plan to block more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports.

“The ban will only affect oil that arrives by sea but not pipeline oil, following opposition from Hungary. European Council chief Charles Michel said the deal cut off a huge source of financing for the Russian war machine.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-61638860


“…the EU’s plan to ban Russian oil just as demand is set to climb could cause an economic shock that would cause an economic situation not seen since the 1980s

Energy prices are already sky-high and commodity markets have seen unprecedented price hikes. Most significantly, global oil inventories are falling…”

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/How-The-EU-Plan-To-Ban-Russian-Oil-Could-Cause-Stagflation.html


Oil prices extend gains [Brent now at $124 p/b] after EU bans most Russia oil imports

“Oil prices extended gains on Tuesday after the EU agreed to slash oil imports from Russia, fuelling worries of a tighter market already strained for supply amid rising demand ahead of peak U.S. and European summer driving season.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/oil-prices-rise-after-eu-bans-most-russian-oil-imports-2022-05-31/


Germany, the heart of the European economy, just registered consumer price inflation at 7.9%, the highest level since 1952, the year Britain’s Queen took the throne…

“The worst part of the inflation news is that things likely won’t right themselves anytime soon… Germany isn’t the only major European economy suffering from surging inflation. Spain’s inflation rate stands at 8.5%, according to the Capital report.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonconstable/2022/05/30/highest-german-inflation-in-70-years–to-prompt-hike-in-euro-borrowing-costs/


French Inflation Hits Another Record, Feeding Rate Debate.

“French inflation accelerated to another all-time high, heaping pressure on the European Central Bank to lift interest rates more aggressively after strong readings in Germany and Spain.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-31/french-inflation-hits-another-record-feeding-rate-hike-debate


Russian firm Gazprom stops supplying gas to the Netherlands in ruble dispute

“The Russian state gas company Gazprom will stop supplying gas to Dutch organization GasTerra with immediate effect, the Dutch firm said on Tuesday… The result is that Gazprom will not make good on its agreement to deliver two billion cubic meters of gas between now and October 1.”

https://nltimes.nl/2022/05/30/russian-firm-gazprom-stops-supplying-gas-netherlands-ruble-dispute


Europe Faces an Old Methane Hotspot in Rush to Exit Russian Gas.

“A giant gas field in North Africa that Europe is banking on to make up for its shortfall in Russian imports risks complicating the bloc’s climate goals. The Algerian facility has been leaking methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, for nearly four decades…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-30/europe-faces-a-new-methane-problem-in-rush-to-exit-russian-gas


Europe’s scramble to find alternatives to Russia’s natural gas is pushing the world to the brink of a winter energy shortage, with the worst effects likely to be felt in poorer economies in Asia

“”By shunning Russian gas, Europe has destabilized the entire global LNG market that began the year with a precarious balance after a tumultuous 2021,” the report said.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/30/energy/lng-global-winter-shortage-europe/index.html


UK Ministers have been warned of potential power cuts to as many as six million households this winter, according to reports.

“Government modelling of a “reasonable” worst-case scenario predicts major gas shortages in winter if Russia cuts off more supplies to the EU, The Times says.”

https://news.sky.com/story/six-million-homes-could-face-winter-power-cuts-due-to-energy-shortages-report-12624000


The number of formal reports documenting security issues at the UK’s civil nuclear facilities has hit its highest level in at least 12 years amid a decline in inspections, the Guardian can reveal.

Experts said the news raised concerns about the regulator’s capacity to cope with planned expansion in the sector.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/26/security-warnings-at-uk-nuclear-energy-facilities-hit-12-year-high


U.S. wheat crop hit by dry winter then soggy spring, adding to global tightness…

“The United States is the world’s fourth-largest wheat exporter and problems are hitting output at a time when the world can ill afford to lose any more supplies of the staple grain amid a global food crisis.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/us-wheat-crop-hit-by-dry-winter-then-soggy-spring-adding-global-tightness-2022-05-31/


Homeless at the gates of Disney: Thousands are living in motels, encampments and even their cars – in the shadow of the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’ amid soaring rent prices and post-pandemic unemployment…

“”During the pandemic, when there was the rent freeze, people just stopped paying their rents and it ruined their credit.””

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10858659/Disney-homelessness.html


Great worker shortage threatens summer as [US] restaurants and pools close because they can’t hire enough staff – and soaring wages is making inflation even worse.

“Data shows Americans are quitting and jobs are going unfilled at higher rates than before the pandemic, particularly in low-wage and seasonal industries.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10868761/Worker-shortage-threatens-summer-restaurants-pools-shutter-staff.html


At least three hospitals serving smaller B.C. communities [Canada] shuttered their emergency departments this weekend due to staffing shortages.

“Interior Health announced the closure of the emergency department at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital in Clearwater from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Anyone requiring emergency care was directed to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, about 125 kilometres away…”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-rural-emergency-room-closures-1.6470405


[Australian] Truckies are warning of an ‘imminent collapse’ to the nation’s supply chain, claiming the fuel excise cut, that was supposed to ease the cost of living for Aussies, will force them off the road.

“Former prime minister Scott Morrison made the decision to halve Australia’s fuel excise tax back in March after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced petrol prices through the roof.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10866683/Truck-companies-warn-national-supply-chain-collapse-fuel-tax-cut-forces-bankruptcy.html


Japan’s factory output slumps in worrying sign for economy.

“Japan’s factory output fell sharply last month as China’s draconian “zero COVID” policies and supply chain blockages hampered manufacturing and dampened prospects for growth in the world’s third-largest economy.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/5/31/japans-factory-output-slumps-in-worrying-sign-for-economy


These China Developer Bonds Are Flashing Big Warning Signals…

Risks are now spreading to even higher-rated borrowers [suggesting] that suggested most private Chinese developers face the risk of a missed payment if they can’t access fresh financing, according to some analysts. Refinancing in global debt markets is out of the question for many firms after average yields on their junk dollar notes jumped above 20%.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-31/these-china-developer-bonds-are-flashing-big-warning-signals


China faces a nearly $1 trillion funding gap. It will need more debt to fill it…

““The latest wave of Omicron and the widespread lockdowns in place since mid-March have resulted in a sharp contraction in government revenue, including land sales revenue,” Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura, and a team said in a report last week.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/31/china-faces-a-nearly-1-trillion-funding-gap-it-will-need-more-debt-to-fill-it.html


‘People are going to die’: crisis-hit Sri Lanka runs out of medicine…

“Sri Lanka imports more than 80% of its medical supplies. Now almost 200 medical items are in shortage, including 76 essential, life-saving drugs, from blood-thinners for heart attack and stroke patients to antibiotics, rabies vaccines and cancer chemotherapy drugs.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/31/people-are-going-to-die-crisis-hit-sri-lanka-runs-out-of-medicine


Sri Lanka Urges Airlines to Fly Full Tank or Fill Elsewhere.

“Sri Lanka is recommending airlines carry enough jet fuel to last return trips or fill up elsewhere, as the island grapples with a shortage of everything from oil to food due to a foreign-exchange crisis.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-30/sri-lanka-urges-airlines-to-fly-full-tank-or-fill-up-elsewhere


Iranian anger at corruption boils over after fatal building collapse…

“The province of Khuzestan, sitting on Iran’s biggest oil and gas reserves, was the centre of anti-regime protests in 2019. Demonstrations against the rising cost of fuel ended in violence, with more than 300 people dead…”

https://www.ft.com/content/4f2909b0-1194-4c7b-b41f-26d4d06b970d


Greece accuses Iran of ‘piracy’ following seizure of two oil tankers in Gulf.

“Greece accused Iran of “piracy” after Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards said they seized two Greek-flagged oil tankers in the Gulf Friday. “These actions are tantamount to acts of piracy,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, warning Greek citizens to avoid travelling to Iran.”

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/greece-accuses-iran-of-piracy-following-seizure-of-two-oil-tankers-in-gulf/


Deglobalisation is boosting foreign exchange volatility.

“The Global Supply Chain Pressure index produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York measures global transportation costs and other supply chain pressures. It has moved to the highest levels that we have seen. This is just one component of what is broadly being labelled “supply constraints”.”

https://www.ft.com/content/3cdd02e5-45c5-4820-a631-0d43f6663870


Central banks launch most widespread rate rises for over two decades. Central banks are raising rates rapidly in the most widespread tightening of monetary policy for more than two decades, according to a Financial Times analysis that lays bare the reversal of their previous historically loose stance.”

https://www.ft.com/content/addbf3ca-9859-47cb-bb8f-56a34aa13930


Global markets scramble for wheat alternatives as shortages escalate…

“…food protectionism measures are escalating as Ghana and Uganda have banned grain food exports. This closely follows Malaysia banning chicken exports… Most countries that rely heavily on Ukraine and Russia’s wheat imports are found in Africa. Eritrea, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo source between 80% to 100% of their wheat from Africa.”

https://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/global-markets-scramble-for-wheat-alternatives-as-shortages-escalate.html


Food, energy price shocks rock MENA economies.

“Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia will be among the hardest hit by economic spillovers from the Russia-Ukraine conflict because their economies depend significantly on imports of food or energy (or both), and they source a large part of their cereal supply from Russia and Ukraine.”

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/food-energy-price-shocks-rock-mena-economies


More than one-fifth of major global cities face high risks from terrorism, conflict, crime or civil unrest in the second quarter of 2022, according to a new report from risk analytics company Verisk Maplecroft.

That includes 23 cities that faced no such risks in the first quarter of the year. Eight of those newly at-risk cities are in Africa, amounting to 14% of the continent’s largest cities, while five are in Europe and Central Asia (7%).”

https://www.investmentmonitor.ai/analysis/global-cities-risks-violence-unrest-q2-2022


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

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

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

The world is totally unprepared for the looming risk of recession

“We can say that the Covid crisis created a once-in-a-generation economic crisis which has justified constant use of the magic money tree (read: vast money printing and borrowing) to get through it, but in truth we’ve had three major economic upsets in the space of 13 years…

One might argue the real problem is that the sun has never shone brightly enough since the financial crash [2008] for the roof to get fixed.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/27/world-totally-unprepared-looming-risk-recession/


G7 urges Opec to raise output to cool oil market…

“Despite the G7’s common position on oil, it is unclear whether oil producing countries will heed their call for more action [I’m not convinced they can, as they have been struggling to meet their quotas for months!]. Saudi Arabia has been resisting western pressure to accelerate production increases to help bring down prices, insisting there is no lack of supply.”

https://www.ft.com/content/4addbaca-f511-4d83-8a6b-1f768ff49f21


U.S. oil & gas rig count falls for first time in 31 weeks…

“The weekly rig count decline comes as some U.S. publicly traded firms continue to focus more on returning money to shareholders and paying down debt rather than boosting output… Since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the U.S. government has urged drillers to produce more oil and gas…”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-oil-gas-rig-count-falls-first-time-31-weeks-baker-hughes-2022-05-27/


Hurricane season menaces already stretched U.S. diesel supply.

“Forecasts of an above-average number of hurricanes in the North Atlantic Basin this year are heightening concerns over already depleted distillate inventories in the United States and Europe… In the past, hurricane landfalls have sometimes caused severe damage and often resulted in significant loss of production…”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/hurricane-season-menaces-already-stretched-us-diesel-supply-2022-05-26/


Fears of blackouts are fuelled as union boss warns [UK] rail strikes could last four days at a time.

“Industry insiders point to Drax power station in North Yorkshire, which can only stockpile supplies sufficient for two or three days and services millions of homes. Tesco and Puma Energy, which supplies garage forecourts, have also raised concerns about supply lines.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10858939/Fears-blackouts-fuelled-union-boss-warns-rail-strikes-FOUR-DAYS-time.html


Swimming, the most popular physical activity in Britain, is at risk as soaring energy prices threaten the closure of hundreds of pools across the country.

“It has led to desperate measures with gym and leisure centres lowering pool temperatures, turning down lights and urging swimmers to reduce showering times to save on energy costs to keep pools open.”

https://www.ft.com/content/7760087e-d4fd-43e5-a07d-c4afbc42e16f


Electricite de France SA’s nuclear failures are sending ripples through European energy markets, threatening to undermine the continent’s plan to turn its back on Russian gas.

“Europe’s biggest producer of atomic energy, which usually exports cheap power during the winter, may be forced to import this year after cutting its output forecast a third time. A fleet hobbled by faults is not just a problem for France but for countries such as neighboring Germany…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-27/edf-nuclear-failures-undermine-europe-s-push-to-exit-russian-gas


Australian prices portend ’70s-style energy shock.

“On Thursday the Australian Energy Regulator increased the “default market offers” that apply to electricity retailers in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland by 8% to 18%… These increases point to very serious issues within Australia’s electricity market. We may be in the early stages of an energy price shock comparable to the 1973 oil price crisis.”

https://asiatimes.com/2022/05/australian-prices-portend-70s-style-energy-shock/


Families Told to Huddle Around One TV in Japan Bid to Save Power.

“Japan will assemble related cabinet ministers next week to discuss power crunches… The government is expected to draw up steps including restarting idled thermal power plants, NHK said.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-27/families-told-to-huddle-around-one-tv-in-japan-bid-to-save-power


China is driving a slump in hours worked globally…

“…the global labor market’s recovery has just gone into reverse… A new report by the International Labor Organization finds that the total global hours worked in the first quarter of 2022 is still 3.8% below the pre-pandemic benchmark, erasing gains made in 2021’s fourth quarter.”

https://qz.com/2169994/chinas-covid-lockdowns-drive-slump-in-global-hours-worked/


Xi-Li Discord Paralyzes Officials Responsible for China Economy…

“…many government officials charged with implementing policy at the ground level aren’t sure who to listen to: Xi [Jinping] continues to emphasize the need for officials to push for zero Covid-19 cases, even as Li [Keqiang] continuously urges them to bolster the economy and hit preordained growth targets. That dilemma is leading to paralysis…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-26/xi-li-discord-paralyzes-officials-responsible-for-china-economy


China State-Backed Builder Rocks Bond Market With Extension Plan.

“A Chinese property company long considered among the nation’s most resilient shocked investors with a proposed dollar-bond payment delay, raising fresh doubts about the financial strength of the industry’s higher-rated borrowers.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-27/greenland-seeks-possible-repayment-delay-as-bond-prices-tumble


India seen facing wider coal shortages, worsening power outage risks.

“The energy-hungry nation expects local coal supply to fall 42.5 million tonnes short of demand in the September quarter, 15% higher than previously projected, due to higher growth in power demand and lower output from some mines. The grim forecast shows the extent of the fuel shortage in India…”

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/india-seen-facing-wider-coal-shortages-worsening-power-outage-risks/articleshow/91842445.cms


Why a dozen countries could follow Sri Lanka into chaosThe IMF estimates that 60 per cent of low income countries across the globe are in or near debt distress – up from 30 per cent in 2015

“Economists are keeping a keen eye on Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa… Already, the IMF is in talks with Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan about dispensing urgent loans…”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/dozen-countries-could-follow-sri-lanka-chaos/


Pakistani rupee drops to all-time low as IMF tranche talks fail.

“Pakistan’s rupee hit a historic low on Thursday of 202.01 against the US dollar in the interbank market, below the previous close of 201.92, after the failure of talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Pakistan and the IMF have failed to reach a staff-level agreement…”

https://www.geo.tv/latest/419047-pakistani-rupee-drops-to-all-time-low-as-imf-tranche-talks-failed


Pakistan’s banking sector is facing liquidity issues for the opening of international letters of credit (LCs) for Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Oil Refineries for the import of refined and crude oil

“Sources privy to the situation told ProPakistani that Pakistan is facing double jeopardy because the LCs issued by its banks are being returned by international lenders, as the credit lines have choked.”

https://propakistani.pk/2022/05/26/pakistans-oil-sectors-credit-crisis-could-affect-supplies/


Bhutan faces grain shortages, spike in prices.

“Rising fuel import costs and global grain shortages have led to a spike in domestic prices, posing a risk of food scarcity for people in Bhutan, especially in the rural areas, economic affairs minister Loknath Sharma told Reuters on Thursday.”

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/bhutan-faces-grain-shortages–spike-in-prices—minister/47626082


As Kyrgyzstan officials convey mixed messages on food security, farmers struggle on…

“…farmers [in Osh] are complaining that their fields have been waterlogged by especially intense rainfall. Gonijon Mirmakhmudov, a 58-year-old farmer in the rural community of Shark, leases 1 hectare of land on which he grows potatoes and other vegetables. “The endless rain in May flowed down in a stormy stream. It destroyed my entire future harvest,” he said.”

https://eurasianet.org/as-kyrgyzstan-officials-convey-mixed-messages-on-food-security-farmers-struggle-on


Economic protests challenge Iran’s leaders as hopes for nuclear deal fade…

“The government had hoped that negotiations to revive the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers would lead to the removal of one source of economic hardship: Western sanctions…”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/27/iran-nuclear-deal-subsidies-protests/


Nigeria finance minister: low oil output barely enough to cover petrol imports.

“”We are not seeing the revenues that we had planned for,” Zainab Ahmed said. “When the production is low it means we’re … barely able to cover the volumes that are required for the (petrol) that we need to import.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/nigeria-finance-minister-low-oil-output-barely-enough-cover-petrol-imports-2022-05-26/


‘We don’t have food’: African leaders meet as crises grow.

“African leaders have gathered for a summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to address growing humanitarian needs on the continent, which is also facing increased violent extremism, climate change challenges and a run of military coups.”

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/food-african-leaders-meet-crises-grow-85021185


Value of Lebanese pound drops to all-time low.

“The black market value of the Lebanese pound has fallen to an all-time low of 35,600 against the US dollar, a drop from 26,800 in the space of just two weeks, and a sign that Lebanon’s economic crisis is set to continue to cripple the country.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/26/lebanese-pound-value-drops-to-lowest-level


Gangs, inflation and political crisis bring Haiti economy to brink.

“With gas sales already subsidized by the government at a loss, the Haitian economy — fragile from incessant crime and political instability — appears close to collapse as the war in Ukraine sends fuel prices soaring.”

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220528-gangs-inflation-and-political-crisis-bring-haiti-economy-to-brink


Buried in the United Nations’ 2022 ‘Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction’ published in May is the finding that escalating synergies between disasters, economic vulnerabilities and ecosystem failures are escalating the risk of a “global collapse” scenario.

This stark conclusion appears to be the first time that the UN has issued a flagship global report finding that existing global policies are accelerating toward the collapse of human civilisation.” [This is where we are headed, unfortunately.]

https://bylinetimes.com/2022/05/26/un-warns-of-total-societal-collapse-due-to-breaching-of-planetary-boundaries/


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

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

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

The head of the World Bank has warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could cause a global recession as the price of food, energy and fertiliser jump.

David Malpass told a US business event on Wednesday that it is difficult to “see how we avoid a recession”. He also said a series of coronavirus lockdowns in China are adding to concerns about a slowdown.

“His comments are the latest warning over the rising risk that the world economy may be set to contract.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-61575387


Another Month Closer To Global Recession…

“The whole range of global data indicates exactly what markets have been pricing the entire year, since the beginning of Euro$ #5. The more time passes, the more most everything continues in this – not the inflationary – direction. That direction is firmly toward recession…”

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4514299-another-month-closer-global-recession


Global Price Shock ‘Magnitudes’ Worse Than ’70s, Says Stiglitz.

“Two leading US economists have sounded warnings over the size of the current inflation shock as they attended the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. The runup in prices is “an order of magnitude worse” than the 1970s, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz told Bloomberg in the Swiss ski resort.”

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/global-price-shock-magnitudes-worse-than-70s-says-stiglitz


[Bellwether] Copper drops for the third consecutive day as recession fears escalate…

“Copper remains on the back foot around weekly low, prints three-day downtrend. China’s covid conditions, geopolitical headlines raise concerns over global economic downturn.”

https://www.fxstreet.com/news/copper-drops-for-the-third-consecutive-day-as-recession-fears-escalate-202205260530


The Next Crisis to Hit Markets May Be About Liquidity.

“…liquidity has been slowly draining from various markets to the point where the Federal Reserve this month warned that it threatens financial stability. Investors who ignore this warning do so at their own peril.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-05-24/the-next-crisis-to-hit-markets-may-be-about-liquidity


Central banks hiking everywhere…

“Being late as a central bank means raising rates more aggressively and higher than would otherwise have needed to be the case. Often just as as the nation is entering a slow-down created by the runaway inflation the bank allowed in the first place.”

https://www.fxstreet.com/analysis/central-banks-hiking-everywhere-202205260456


Davos elites fear ‘Volcker Moment’ as central banks draw their swords… Experts warn the Fed is ready to raise rates as high as 5pc – even if it results in a recession…

“There are mounting worries that the Fed will ultimately be forced to dish out the ‘Volcker’ medicine of the late 1970s. It has already begun to engineer a deliberate and (hopefully) controlled crash in equity and asset prices.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/25/davos-elites-fear-volcker-moment-central-banks-draw-swords/


Rising Rates Are Battering Mortgage Lenders [US].

“Mortgage lenders are scrambling to survive a sharp drop-off in the number of homeowners refinancing their loans, with demand drying up as interest rates rise… the drop-off in refinancing activity is a giant blow because refinancings made up the bulk of U.S. mortgage originations throughout the pandemic.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-rates-are-battering-mortgage-lenders-11653471002


Natural Gas Tops $9 in US as Supply Crunch Concerns Mount.

“Natural gas briefly surged above $9 per million British thermal units in the US for the first time since 2008, extending a breakneck rally as fears of a supply crunch intensified, before paring gains into close.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-25/natural-gas-tops-9-in-the-us-as-supply-crunch-concerns-mount


UK homeowners are spending more to live in their house than at any point in the last 15 years, with mortgage repayments equalling almost 33 per cent of monthly income.

“The cost of living crisis and increase in interest rates has put renewed pressure on property-owners, with house prices soaring and the cost of repayments nearing the 2008 financial crash levels.”

https://www.cityam.com/average-mortgage-repayments-approaching-33-per-cent-of-monthly-income-akin-to-2008-financial-crash-levels/


The UK economy is “grinding to a halt” as a tightening cost of living squeeze sends a chill through private sector activity, reveals a closely watched survey.

“Households are cutting spending in response to rampant inflation eroding their budgets, weighing heavily on the UK’s services sector, the country’s economic engine.”

https://www.cityam.com/uk-economy-is-grinding-to-a-halt-amid-cost-of-living-crisis/


Britain Faces Another Energy Shock as Bills Set to Surge 42%…

“British consumers will face another sharp jump in their power and gas bills in October, just as the price of about everything else is surging too… The sharp jump will pile even more pressure on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to help consumers…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-24/uk-regulator-expects-energy-price-cap-to-jump-42-in-october


ECB warns a house price correction is looming as interest rates rise…

“A reversal in the region’s housing markets was one of the main risks identified by the ECB’s twice-yearly financial stability review(opens a new window), which also warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine meant more companies were likely to default due to lower growth, higher inflation and rising borrowing costs.”

https://www.ft.com/content/4ca7ff91-35bc-428e-8690-e3617afab47c


Harsh winter may compel Europe to ration gas, warns International Energy Agency…

“”I’m afraid that I cannot exclude the risk this winter that we are facing a rationing of gas,” Mr Birol said during an interview at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland. “I’m advising several European governments to prepare a contingency plan.””

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/energy-and-resources/harsh-winter-may-compel-europe-to-ration-gas-warns-international-energy-agency-1.4887331


Europe’s primary aluminium smelters are continuing to curtail production in the face of soaring energy costs.

“The region’s output of the light metal has fallen by an annualised 550,000 tonnes over the last year with the slide still accelerating. Aluminium smelting is an energy-intensive business and Europe’s smelters were struggling with elevated power pricing even before Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/europes-aluminium-output-slides-energy-crunch-bites-2022-05-24/


China’s Economic Slump Shows No Signs of Bottoming Out in May…

“China’s economy remained deep in a slump in May as lockdowns continued to weigh on activity, and as the threat of omicron and expanded restrictions dampened sentiment… Bloomberg’s aggregate index of eight early indicators for this month… stayed below the mark that separates improving from deteriorating conditions for a second straight month.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-26/china-s-economic-slump-shows-no-signs-of-bottoming-out-in-may


100,000 Chinese officials attend emergency meeting to revive Covid-hit economy.

“China’s cabinet held an emergency meeting with more than 100,000 participants on Wednesday, according to state media, as top leaders urged new measures to stabilize an economy battered by the country’s stringent Covid-19 restrictions.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/26/business/china-state-council-economic-meeting-intl-hnk/index.html


China Protesters Demand Back Billions Invested in Suspected Scam…

“Hundreds of people took to the streets of the largest city in China’s Henan province this week, calling on authorities to ensure the return of tens of billions of yuan invested in what could be one of the nation’s largest financial scams.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-25/china-protesters-demand-back-billions-invested-in-suspected-scam


Food protectionism is on the rise in the developing world as governments try to safeguard local supplies, and the effects are threatening to spill over into richer economies.

“Countries are restricting exports to cope with high prices that have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Malaysia just announced a ban on chicken exports, causing consternation in Singapore, which gets a third of its supplies from there. India has moved to curb wheat and sugar shipments…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-24/rising-global-food-protectionism-risks-worsening-inflation-woes


Fuel Shortage in Laos Sees People Asked Not to Travel.

“The Laos government has called on residents to avoid unnecessary travel amid fuel shortages, citing the need to prioritize agriculture and other essential industries, according to local reports. Local farmers have complained that they are unable to plow their fields or irrigate their crops…”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/fuel-shortage-in-laos-sees-people-asked-not-to-travel_4485747.html


They could not save their baby’: the human cost of Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis…

““The depressing memory for the parents that they could not save their baby just because they could not find a litre of petrol will haunt them for ever,” Pathirana said in a social media post, which accused the government of failing to protect the lives of vulnerable people.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/24/they-could-not-save-their-baby-the-human-cost-of-sri-lanka-fuel-crisis


Several major cities in Pakistan have become battlegrounds as supporters of ousted prime minister Imran Khan march toward Islamabad.

“Police resorted to firing tear gas and baton charges on Wednesday in the northern state of Punjab, the country’s largest province and a stronghold of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), after protesters tried to forcefully remove barricades to stop them from moving towards the capital.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/south-asia/pakistan-imran-khan-march-islamabad-b2086855.html


Investors start to worry as Pakistan’s IMF bailout not final yet.

“Investors are getting nervous. Without a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan may default for the second time in its history. As talks with the IMF conclude Wednesday in Doha, officials acknowledge that winning a loan from the multilateral lender might involve trade-offs, including the politically tough decision of raising fuel prices.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/5/25/investors-start-to-worry-as-imf-bailout-not-firmed-up-yet


Iraq’s political stalemate raising chances of Shia on Shia clashes.

“After months of frustration and impasse, relations between Muqtada al-Sadr and his Iran-backed Shia rivals have deteriorated so badly that Iraqi Shia leaders are predicting armed clashes could even be on the cards.”

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iraq-political-stalemate-raising-chances-shia-clashes


Turkey’s default insurance costs jump to highest since global financial crisis.

“The cost of insuring Turkey’s debt against default shot to its highest since the 2008 global financial crisis on Tuesday as the country veered towards what looked like another serious bout of financial trouble.”

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/turkeys-default-insurance-costs-jump-to-highest-since-global-financial-crisis


Africa: Fuel Shortage Crisis – Who is Responsible?

“…Governments must be held accountable when a woman dies because she could not get to the health facility in good time due to a lack of transport caused by fuel shortages. Farmers must hold governments accountable if they are not able to cultivate their lands in readiness for rains due to fuel shortage.”

https://allafrica.com/stories/202205250222.html


Currency Slump, 132% Inflation No Cause for ‘Panic’ in Zimbabwe.

““We are instituting measures that every other country in the world is instituting,” Ncube said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Manus Cranny and Yousef Gamal El-Din from Davos on Thursday. “We are not in panic mode.””

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-26/currency-slump-132-inflation-no-cause-for-panic-in-zimbabwe


Ugandan security forces re-arrested a veteran opposition politician on Tuesday and broke up a protest in the capital that he was leading against soaring consumer prices…

“”We are holding him on charges of inciting violence,” police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said…”

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/uganda-arrests-oppositions-besigye-again-breaks-up-price-protests-2022-05-24/


The South Africa Reserve Bank on Wednesday said that the rising cost of living could lead to episodes of social unrest as food and fuel prices, as well as the level of household debt remain high.

“In its latest Financial Stability Review, the Reserve Bank said rising interest rates would lead to higher debt servicing costs and add pressure to household balance sheets…”

https://www.news24.com/citypress/business/reserve-bank-warns-of-social-unrest-as-costs-go-through-the-roof-20220525


Bolsonaro fires Petrobras CEO who warned of diesel crisis.

“Brazil’s right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro fired the chief executive of oil producer Petrobras — the second in two months — after the company refused to sell fuels at a discount to consumers warning it would lead to diesel shortages.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/24/energy/bolsonaro-petrobras/index.html


Economic Collapse Has Venezuela’s Cars Looking a Lot Like Cuba’s…

“Visiting the Venezuelan capital of Caracas this month, The Associated Press spoke to car owners and mechanics to understand the plights of locals who struggle to maintain their cars—never mind replacing them.”

https://www.thedrive.com/news/economic-collapse-has-venezuelas-cars-looking-a-lot-like-cubas


Crisis, migration and unrest: is Cuba going through a new special period?

“The serious economic crisis that Cuba is experiencing, the strong increase in migration and social unrest have led many in recent times to draw comparisons between the current moment and the so-called Special Period that the country went through in the 1990s.”

https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/crisis-migration-and-unrest-is-cuba-going-through-a-new-special-period/


Global energy and funding shocks test climate commitments.

“Six months after the world agreed in Glasgow to a U.N. climate pact with bold, new targets, political and business leaders facing an energy crisis, volatile markets and an economic downturn are grappling with how to cut carbon emissions.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/global-energy-funding-shocks-test-climate-commitments-2022-05-24/


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

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

24th May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The global economy is being brought to the edge of a precipice by crisis upon crisis.

“As the first World Economic Forum to be held in person since 2020 opened in Davos, Switzerland on Monday, the International Monetary Fund said the economy faces “perhaps its biggest test since the Second World War… “We face a potential confluence of calamities,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/23/business/davos-global-economy-imf/index.html


World faces ‘unprecedented’ wave of hunger as Ukraine harvests worse than feared.

“The world faces an unprecedented wave of famine and hunger triggered by a further “explosive” increase in food prices, experts have warned, after new figures revealed the extent to which the war in Ukraine will decimate global supplies of wheat.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/ukraine-food-security-wheat-famine-b2083877.html


Global food crisis looms as fertilizer supplies dwindle…

““I’m not sure it’s possible any more to avoid a food crisis,” says World Farmers’ Organization President Theo de Jager. “The question is how wide and deep it will be. Most importantly, farmers need peace. And peace needs farmers.””

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/global-food-crisis-looms-as-fertilizer-supplies-dwindle


Global Power Grids Face Biggest Test in Decades With Summer Blackouts Expected…

“War. Drought. Production shortages. Historically low inventories. And pandemic backlash. Energy markets across the planet have been put through the wringer over the past year, and consumers have suffered the consequences of soaring prices. But, somehow, things are on track to get even worse.”

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2022/05/23/668755.htm


Natural Gas Market Is Hurtling Toward Historic Winter Shortages.

“The liquefied natural gas market is hurtling toward a potentially historic shortage this winter as the world rushes to secure the super-chilled fuel… “This coming winter has everyone on edge,” said James Whistler, the global head of energy derivatives at Simpson Spence Young.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-23/natural-gas-market-is-hurtling-toward-historic-winter-shortages


Aramco CEO warns of global oil crunch due to lack of investment…

“”What happened in Russia-Ukraine masked what would have happened. We were going through an energy crisis because of a lack of investment. And it started to bite following the pandemic,” Amin Nasser, head of the world’s largest oil producer, said on Monday…”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/aramco-ceo-warns-global-oil-crunch-due-lack-investment-2022-05-23/


Why Shale Drillers Are Pumping Out Dividends Instead of More Oil and Gas…

“After years of losses, investors demanded changes to how bonuses are formulated, pushing for more emphasis on profitability. Now, executives who were paid to pump are rewarded more for keeping costs down and returning cash to shareholders, securities filings show.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-shale-drillers-are-pumping-out-dividends-instead-of-more-oil-and-gas-11653274423


White House considers burning “home heating oil” reserve to reduce diesel prices…

“The White House has become increasingly aware of the “worrisome decline” in diesel inventories in the Northeast… Given the reduction in East-coast diesel inventories of ~45mb, and given the size of the strategic “home heating oil reserve” of ~1mb, it is unlikely the measure will fix existing imbalances.

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3841709-white-house-considers-burning-home-heating-oil-reserve-to-reduce-diesel-prices


Inflation Will Lead Inexorably To Recession [US]…

“Eventually unchecked inflation… will make business planning so fraught with uncertainty that businesses will forgo investment projects that would otherwise enhance the economy’s productive potential and encourage job growth. Also as is already evident, workers, even if able to secure wage hikes, will still struggle to keep up with the rapidly rising cost of living and cut back their spending accordingly.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/miltonezrati/2022/05/22/inflation-will-lead-inexecrable-to-recession/


The UK is unprepared for huge food price hikes and shortages of essential goods that will be triggered by the Ukraine war, the head of a government advisory body fears.

“Ian Wright has told The Independent of growing concerns that there is no proper plan for a “scary” future of disrupted food supplies, warning: “This is a bigger crisis than energy.””

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/food-prices-shortages-ukraine-energy-b2083815.html


Police prepare for summer of chaos amid fears of civil unrest as ‘frustration grows’ over cost-of-living crisis [UK]…

“Though there is no ‘specific intelligence’ about disorder, policing officials and chief constables are expecting a rise in crime and aggressive behaviour due to the growing frustration over spiraling prices, according to a police source cited by The Times.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10847537/Police-prepare-summer-chaos-amid-fears-civil-unrest-cost-living-crisis.html


Italy’s economic prospects sour as inflation bites.

“… Italy relies heavily on Russia for its energy, leaving it vulnerable to the conflict in Ukraine. “Some countries are more exposed than others,” said Lorenzo Codogno, former director-general of the Italian treasury.”

https://www.ft.com/content/8dd69dbb-b476-4192-9db2-944f7e937f8f


Bigger Shocks Are Coming With Your Electricity Bills [UK and Europe]…

“An oil crisis hits the economy like a big wave breaking on the beach: The impact is immediate and dramatic as the crest plunges onto the shore. An electricity crisis is another kind of shock: Akin to a rising tide, it is slow but relentless and then, surprise, you are overwhelmed.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-05-23/electricity-prices-are-going-to-be-overwhelming-for-late-2022-and-all-of-2023


Global gas crunch claims first Australian trading casualty.

“A gas seller that supplied 7% of the eastern Australian market has collapsed due to soaring global gas prices, the first significant casualty in the country from the global gas supply crisis due to sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.”

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/global-gas-crunch-claims-first-040508176.html


Cost of living crisis shows it’s time for a Universal Basic Income [NZ]…

“Like the two-month extension of half-price fares for public transport, the Government is being too timid. In this current cost of living crisis, there is one policy that other political parties lack the courage to discuss – a Universal Basic Income (UBI).”

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/300594852/cost-of-living-crisis-shows-its-time-for-a-universal-basic-income


Chinese real estate defaults have increased so much that Goldman Sachs analysts have shifted to their worst-case scenario for the riskiest part of the market.

“Twenty-two China high-yield bond issuers, all related to the property sector, have either defaulted on their U.S. dollar-denominated bonds or deferred repayment with bond exchanges since the start of this year…”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/24/goldman-sachs-expects-more-china-real-estate-defaults-switches-to-bear-case.html


China Coal Expansions Threaten Higher Methane Levels Worldwide…

“China’s plans for 169 new and expanded coal projects could boost global methane emissions from mines that produce the dirtiest fossil fuel by 10%… President Xi Jinping is deepening China’s dependence on coal as a way to mitigate the impact of soaring energy prices and geopolitical instability created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-23/china-coal-could-boost-methane-from-world-s-mines-10


Oil prices at $110 per barrel pose ‘bigger threats’ than inflation, India’s oil minister says [hard to separate the two, surely?]…

“”If oil prices remain at $110 (per barrel) you are not just talking about inflation, then you’re talking about bigger threats. You know, that’s where the R (recession) word comes in,” Puri told CNBC TV18 in an interview at Davos.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/oil-prices-110bbl-pose-bigger-threats-than-inflation-india-oil-min-2022-05-23/


Nepal raises retail fuel price, stoking inflation fears.

“Nepal’s state-owned oil company has hiked the retail prices for fuels, including petrol and cooking gas, by up to 12.5% because of rising global oil prices, an official said on Monday, stoking concerns consumer inflation will be further pushed up.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/nepal-raises-retail-fuel-price-stoking-inflation-fears-2022-05-23/


Sri Lanka raises fuel price to record high…

“Crisis-hit Sri Lanka on Tuesday raised the petrol price by 24.3 per cent and diesel by 38.4 per cent, a record hike in fuel prices amidst the country’s worst economic crisis due to the shortage of foreign exchange reserves.”

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/sri-lanka-raises-fuel-price-to-record-high-petrol-at-rs-420-diesel-rs-400-per-litre/cid/1866619


[Pakistan] wheat shortages threaten to turn into full blown crisis.

“With Islamabad already struggling to arrange financing for its rapidly expanding current account deficit, there is more bad news to come. Not only will the government likely be forced to withdraw the massive fuel and electricity subsidies that have hemorrhaged tens of billions from the treasury, it may find it has no option but to raise wheat prices.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1691226/situationer-wheat-shortages-threaten-to-turn-into-full-blown-crisis


Afghanistan’s new poor line up for aid to survive as food crisis bites…

“Many of the people waiting for support in Khwaja Rawash, a middle-class neighborhood near the Kabul International Airport airport, are Afghanistan’s new poor. They used to have decent jobs; now they lean on international aid to survive.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/22/asia/afghanistan-hunger-new-poor-intl-cmd/index.html


Thousands of people took to the streets in Istanbul on Saturday to protest against a prison sentence imposed on one of Turkey’s leading opposition politicians.

“The demonstrations follow a decision by the country’s Supreme Court of Appeal to uphold a nearly five-year jail sentence on Canan Kaftancioglu for insulting the president and the state, based on her posts on Twitter from 2012 to 2017.”

https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-thousands-protest-opposition-politicians-conviction/a-61891768


Wheat mill owners in the Palestinian Gaza Strip are struggling.

“Prices have jumped by around 20%, largely following the fighting in Ukraine – which has closed off access to lower-priced Black Sea wheat. It means the territory’s five mills are finding it hard to compete with cheaper imported stock.”

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/video/gaza-flour-mills-ground-down-151148782.html


Egypt’s Bread Crisis Awakens Old Fears of Political Unrest…

“In a country where political discontent often follows spikes in food prices, the potential for bread shortages is among the most urgent security challenges the Egyptian state has faced since the 2013 coup that installed President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in power.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/egypts-bread-crisis-wheat-supplies-russia-ukrain-warawakens-old-fears-of-political-unrest-11653318765


Tunisia: Islamic Liberation Party protests at ‘political conflict’…

“”All politicians today are dependent on Western plans for them,” Karbaka added. “We do not want to establish an Islamic state, but rather a state for the entire Islamic nation.” Tunisia has been experiencing a severe political crisis since last July, when President Kais Saied froze (and then dissolved) parliament…”

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220523-tunisia-islamic-liberation-party-protests-at-political-conflict/


Malawi is facing acute shortages of foreign exchange currency, forcing two international airlines to suspend some of their services in the country. The situation has negatively affected the operations of many more local and international cross-border businesses.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/malawi-faces-shortages-of-foreign-exchange-currency/6584639.html


How shadow banks threaten the global economy… This realm beyond regulators is where the next crisis will arise…

“Shadow banks include creditors of many kinds, from pension funds to private equity firms and other asset managers. Together they manage $63tn in financial assets — up from $30tn a decade ago. What started in the US has spread worldwide…”

https://www.ft.com/content/d22ec352-a4a4-4f4c-832a-cb05af5110f1


The world’s financial system is entering dangerous waters again, warns guru of the Lehman crisis…

“There is a frighteningly-long list of shoes to drop as inflation finally forces central banks to do what they desperately wish not to do, which is to yank away the debt shield that lulled both investors and the political class into a false sense of security.

“We don’t know what is going to break until it does, but there are a lot of reasons to worry, and there is going to be severe stress,” Columbia professor Adam Tooze said on the eve of the World Economic Forum, the conclave of the great and the good in Davos.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/23/worlds-financial-system-entering-dangerous-waters-warns-guru/


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

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21st May 2022 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The “first global energy shock” is currently underway as sharp rises in prices have resulted in a “consumer-driven crisis,” says Angela Wilkinson of the World Energy Council

““If you look at the price of … refined products in many parts of the world, they’re now unaffordable for many of the bottom half of societies,” Wilkinson warned. “We’re going to have to see some form of massive reallocation of … money coming out of … this crisis. Consumers are really, really hurting.””

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/20/global-oil-crisis-and-inflation-hurt-consumers-world-energy-council.html


Global diesel shortages herald imminent economic slowdown…

“In recent decades, distillate shortages have always been resolved by either a mid-cycle slowdown or an end-of-cycle recession and there is no reason to think this instance will be different. Rising interest rates around the world, tightening credit conditions and the impact of inflation on household and business budgets are all likely triggers for a slowdown.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/global-diesel-shortages-herald-imminent-economic-slowdown-2022-05-19/


Diesel’s 100% Surge and Scarcity Deny Farmers Their ‘Lifeblood’…

“Farmers from Iowa to Ukraine are grappling with surging diesel prices and an unsteady supply, forcing them to spend unprecedented sums on fuel in a chaotic market and raising concerns about the autumn harvest.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-19/diesel-s-100-surge-and-scarcity-deny-farmers-their-lifeblood


World has just ten weeks’ worth of wheat left…

“Gro Intelligence chief executive Sara Menker warned global food supplies are being hit by a number of “extraordinary” challenges, including fertiliser shortages, climate disruptions and record low inventories of cooking oils and grains.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/20/world-has-just-ten-weeks-worth-wheat-left-ukraine-war/


Dow Jones industrial average on longest losing streak since 1932.

“The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its eighth straight week of declines, ensuring its longest losing streak since 1932, despite adding 8.77 points to 31,261.90 yesterday… The sell-off started weeks ago with a flight from technology stocks, but analysts said investors had been spooked this week by signs of collapsing consumer confidence.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dow-jones-industrial-average-on-longest-losing-streak-since-1932-hzcp3qp3c


More Subprime Borrowers Are Missing Loan Payments.

“Consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on payments for car loans, personal loans and credit cards, a sign that the healthiest consumer lending environment on record in the U.S. is coming to an end.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-subprime-borrowers-are-missing-loan-payments-11652952602


A 900% Jump in Hedging Costs Looms Over Commercial Mortgages…

“Now that the Fed really is hiking, the cost of that protection has multiplied by 10 this year. For a $25 million mortgage, the cost was $535,000 in early May, compared with just $52,000 in January, for a two-year 2% rate cap, according to Chatham Financial Corp…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-20/a-900-jump-in-hedging-costs-looms-over-commercial-mortgages


Contrast Dye Is the Biggest Medical Supply Shortage Since Masks…

“American doctors haven’t sounded this worried about a hospital supply issue since the early pandemic. This time, instead of masks, it’s “contrast media” made by General Electric — medical dye critical in diagnosing strokes, heart attacks and dangerous lung clots.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022-05-19/contrast-dye-is-the-biggest-medical-supply-shortage-since-masks


Britain faces summer of shortages on supermarket shelves after just one in four seasonal crop pickers turn up to work in some areas.

“Worried industry figures are said to be particularly concerned about the coming fortnight, when Tenderstem broccoli and courgettes both come into season. Julian Marks, MD of food and farming company Barfoots, told industry magazine The Grocer that the situation was getting ‘pretty desperate’.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10836933/Britain-faces-summer-shortages-supermarket-shelves-lack-season-crop-pickers.html


Emergency plans to stop food crisis as biggest rail strike in modern British history looms…

“The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union is midway through a ballot for strike action of workers at train operators and Network Rail, with voting due to close on Tuesday.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/05/20/emergency-plans-stop-biggest-rail-strike-modern-british-history/


UK consumer confidence falls to lowest on record.

“The UK consumer confidence index fell 2 percentage points to minus 40 in May, its lowest since records began in 1974, said research company GfK in a report published on Friday… Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, said that “as prices and rates rise, the ability of consumers to spend is falling”.”

https://www.ft.com/content/de798aac-2162-42cd-baaf-2accf546762c


Trains cancelled due to staff shortages: ‘Unprecedented situation’ [Belgium]…

“Belgium’s national rail service, SNCB is cancelling trains due to a huge staff shortage, reports De Standaard. The cancellations have led to chaotic scenes in some stations… passengers are angry. “Travellers are getting desperate. This is no longer a quality service,” stressed Kees.”

https://www.brusselstimes.com/226030/trains-cancelled-due-to-staff-shortages-unprecedented-situation


Germany eases cost of living crisis with €9 a month public transport ticket…

“A €9 a month ticket scheme is to be introduced from 1 June allowing travel on all modes of city and regional transport. A different ticket will apply for each region and it will be available for three months until the end of August.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/20/germany-public-transport-boost-9-euro-month-ticket


German producer prices soar 33% annually in April, highest increase on record.

“Producer prices rose 33.5% on year, Destatis said. Energy prices rose 87.3% from a year earlier, it said. Strong gains in the price of natural gas, up 154.8% on year, were a major factor behind the increase, it said.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-producer-prices-in-april-posted-highest-increase-on-record-271653032416


Fearing Russian cutoff, German industry braces for gas rations race.

German big business is drafting a plan to use an auction system to help ration available supplies in the event Russia cuts off its gas, although some fear it could punish smaller firms… Germany… is approaching a deadline this month to pay for the fuel under a rouble scheme demanded by Moscow.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/fearing-russian-cutoff-german-industry-braces-gas-rations-race-2022-05-20/


Russia halts gas supplies to Finland as payments row with the west escalates…

““Gas imports through Imatra entry point have been stopped,” Gasgrid Finland said in a statement. Imatra is the entry point for Russian gas into Finland… Finland, along with neighbouring Sweden, this week broke its historical military non-alignment and applied for Nato membership…”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/21/russia-halts-gas-supplies-to-finland-as-payments-row-with-the-west-escalates


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday (May 21) that he was disappointed in China’s efforts to develop areas in the East China Sea, saying that it was “unacceptable”.

“Speaking to reporters in the western city of Kyoto, he said that the government had lodged a complaint against China via diplomatic channels.”

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/japan-pm-kishida-calls-chinas-development-east-china-sea-unacceptable-2697521


Beijing has criticised Japan’s recent comments on Taiwan and warned it not to join forces with the United States to confront China.

“Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments in a call with his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi on Wednesday – two days before US President Joe Biden starts his visit to East Asia to push forward his Indo-Pacific strategy.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3178259/china-warns-japan-against-joining-forces-us


‘Do whatever it takes’: Beijing urged to act as China’s economy falters.

“At a recent online gathering of top Chinese economists, a palpable sense of urgency filled the virtual meeting room. In recent weeks, a slew of reports by Chinese and foreign economists pointed to a deteriorating economy. Outside the country, talk of China being the engine of global economic growth no longer convinces.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/20/do-whatever-it-takes-beijing-urged-to-act-as-china-economy-falters


China slashes key interest rate as housing sales collapse…

“The People’s Bank of China cut its five-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 15 basis points to 4.45%, the second reduction this year and the largest on record. Most analysts had expected a cut of five basis points.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/20/economy/china-record-lpr-cut-property-market-intl-hnk/index.html


India won’t collapse like Sri Lanka or Pakistan but we are certainly in trouble: Swaminathan Aiyar…

“We are in a situation where on the one hand there is a recessionary trend, recession is coming because demand is falling, at the same time prices are going up. Some people call this stagflation. In the case of India we have been hit both ways.”

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/india-wont-collapse-like-sri-lanka-or-pakistan-but-we-are-certainly-in-trouble-swaminathan-aiyar/articleshow/91685298.cms


‘We are going to die’: Food shortages worsen Sri Lanka crisis.

““There is no point in talking about how hard life is,” said APD Sumanavathi, a 60-year-old woman selling fruit and vegetables in the Pettah market in Colombo, the commercial capital. “I can’t predict how things will be in two months, at this rate we might not even be here.””

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/20/we-are-going-to-die-food-crisis-worsens-misery-of-sri-lankans


Rising inequality now an urgent matter, BIS central bank group warns.

“A new study by the central bank to the world’s central banks, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), has called for urgent action to tackle rising wealth inequality, warning the problem was feeding a dangerous loop of recessions and poverty.”

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/rising-inequality-now-an-urgent-matter-bis-central-bank-group-warns-2022-05-19/


Social Unrest Is Rising, Adding To Risks For Global Economy – Analysis.

“Prior to the pandemic, unrest rose around the world… Unrest declined sharply at the start of the pandemic amid an increase in social distancing, both voluntary and mandatory. IMF research shows that this is consistent with experience during past pandemics… [Unrest is now] close to its highest levels since the onset of the pandemic.”

https://www.eurasiareview.com/21052022-social-unrest-is-rising-adding-to-risks-for-global-economy-analysis/


‘Breaking Point’: Soaring Inflation Drives Cuts to Hunger-Relief Programs.

“A dearth of funding coupled with a surge in inflation is forcing hunger-relief programs across the globe to cut back on services just as the world’s poorest need it most, creating a situation that will erode human welfare and possibly plant the seeds of political instability.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-20/soaring-food-inflation-brings-cuts-to-global-hunger-relief-programs


Age of Scarcity Begins With $1.6 Trillion Hit to World Economy.

The ties that bind the global economy together, and delivered goods in abundance across the world, are unravelling at a frightening pace… “Fragmentation is going to stay,” says Robert Koopman, the WTO’s chief economist.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-19/global-economy-loses-1-6-trillion-as-world-struggles-to-avoid-a-new-cold-war


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

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