Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

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

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

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


The Economic Fallout From Extreme Heat Will Rise Over Time.

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Popping Real Estate Bubbles Will Prove Painful.

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


Lebanese officials urge wildfire preparedness against heatwave, financial crisis…

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


Peru boosts security ahead of fresh anti-government protests.

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Malawi Faces Another Nationwide Fuel Shortage.

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


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

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


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

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


Could AI Cause a Global Financial Meltdown?

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

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


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

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

17th July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

A Buoyant Global Economy Is Starting to Sag… The global economy’s brief run of good luck may be ending.

“Manufacturing activity is weakening across the world. Europe slid into a mild recession earlier this year. China’s much-anticipated rebound from Covid-19 lockdowns is sputtering. Many emerging markets continue to struggle with heavy debt burdens and high interest rates…

“While prospects are mixed in the near term, the medium-term outlook for the global economy remains bleak,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.”


China’s economy grew slower than expected in the second quarter as youth unemployment hit a record high.

“Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.8 percent during April-June compared with the previous quarter, official data showed on Monday, amid lacklustre demand at home and overseas.”


The $9 trillion of Chinese local government bonds that helped drag the rest of the world out of the 2008 financial crisis are a growing risk this time around…

“The latest developments add to hurdles for strained local governments in China. A nationwide property slump slashed their income from land sales while public spending jumped during the pandemic.”


John Kerry steps into searing China heat as world’s two biggest polluters try to fix fractured ties.

““If anything, this is the situation that should most bring China and the US back on the same page,” said Li Shuo, senior global policy adviser at Greenpeace China. “Regardless of their political differences, the impacts of climate change have now become a common experience for both countries — it’s no longer a hypothetical crisis…“”


‘We are not prepared’: Disasters spread as climate change strikes…

“From a nearly depleted federal disaster fund to state insurance markets that are faltering under the weight of multiple catastrophes, extreme weather is testing the ability of even a rich nation like the United States to withstand the warming that has arrived faster than many scientists expected.”


We must stop climate solutions from killing biodiversity…

“There is a real risk that badly planned renewable infrastructure will have an even greater impact on biodiversity than existing fossil fuel infrastructure. A Brookings Institution report says(opens a new window) that wind and solar generation require at least 10 times as much land per unit of power produced as fossil fuel powered plants.”


Hydrogen Is the Future—or a Complete Mirage…

“…as the case of hydrogen demonstrates, we must beware the efforts of powerful vested interests to use radical technological visions to channel us towards what are in fact conservative and ruinously expensive options.”


Countries Wage War Over Clean Energy Subsidies…

“Journalists are calling it a subsidy war. Those involved in it are keen to preserve an image of cooperation and agreement. Whatever you call it, it’s hard to deny the obvious: the United States and Europe are locked in a race—a subsidy race for the energy transition.”


Transatlantic inflation gap set to hit highest level in decades… The gulf between price pressures in the US and the UK is likely to widen to levels not seen since the late 1970s this week, as Britain increasingly becomes a global inflationary outlier.”


Household favourites have almost tripled in price in the past two years as millions struggle to feed their families, a new report has revealed [UK].

“Analysing over 21,000 food and drink products at eight major supermarkets, consumer group Which? found some products were up to 175 per cent more expensive in the three months to the end of June 2023 than for the same period two years earlier.”


The Bank of England has engineered the largest contraction in UK household wealth on record by jacking up interest rates in response to scorching inflation, a new report out today has claimed.

“Asset values have collapsed by £2.1 trillion since early 2021, mainly driven by a sharp fall in bond prices in response to UK borrowing costs rising quickly, according to the economic think tank the Resolution Foundation (the Foundation).”


Record migration sparks backlash in wealthy nations…

“Waves of migrants taking dangerous, unauthorized passages to Europe and the U.S. are fueling a new rush of anti-immigrant policies and deepening political divisions in several wealthy countries.”


Extraordinary map reveals how millions across Europe are shifting towards populist Right-wing parties and abandoning the EU’s traditional social democrats and green ideologues…

“The rebellion has been growing — and the dominos continue to fall. Right-wingers have gained power in Sweden, then in Italy, Finland and Greece. The Spanish could be next…”


Greece wants the EU to stop migrant boats before they even get to Europe.

“In an interview with POLITICO, newly appointed Greek Migration Minister Dimitris Kairidis called on the EU to resume an operation that aims to halt migrants before leaving Libya, a common departure point for asylum seekers coming to Europe.”


German food banks in crisis.

“Germany’s over 900 food banks, overseen by charitable organization Tafel e.V., support anyone who can prove they’re facing financial hardship. But fewer and fewer companies are donating to these food banks, although demand is growing amid high inflation and the influx of Ukrainian refugees.”


Credit Suisse inquiry will keep files secret for 50 years…

“”After the completion of the investigation, the files shall be handed over to the Federal Archives and shall be subject to an extended protection period of 50 years,” the committee said in a strategy paper outlining its communication policy.”


Hungary nuclear plant cuts output because of warm Danube waters.

“…the plant’s operator said …the temperature of the Danube, whose water is used to cool the plant, reached 29.72 degrees Celsius on Thursday, forcing the cut in output from 1430 GMT. The operator did not specify when power could be restored to nominal levels.”


Ukraine war: Last grain ship leaves Odesa as deal deadline looms.

“Russia has not agreed to extend the UN-brokered deal unless its demands on its own grain and fertilisers are met. The 2022 deal was struck amid fears of global food shortages after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Both Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s top grain exporters.”


Cocaine growers in Colombia give up as crop price plunges 75pc.

“A near 75 per cent crash in the price of coca, the chief ingredient in cocaine, is contributing to food insecurity in Colombia and causing displacement, as people leave areas that depend on the illicit crop, according to an internal United Nations presentation seen by Reuters.”


Six Signs That Argentina’s Economy Is Entering a Recession.

“While the peso’s depreciation — it’s declined more than 50% against the dollar in the last 12 months — fuels some consumption, Argentina’s economy is expected to enter recession in the third quarter, and contract by more than 3% for all of 2023. Here are six warning signs of recession in Argentina.”


Turkey triples petrol taxes as Erdoğan tries to repair public finances.

“Turkey has tripled petrol taxes as the government tries to raise money to recoup the cost of huge giveaways in the run-up to May’s election and to fund a reconstruction effort costing up to $100bn after February’s devastating earthquake.”


Sudan refugees face soaring rent prices in Cairo…

“Mohannad, 35, signed a six-month lease for a furnished apartment for 6,000 Egyptian pounds ($195) per month… But “my landlady told me that the rent had gone up to 18,000 pounds,” said Mohanna… Many others reported similar ordeals in Egypt, where its worst-ever economic crisis has pushed property owners to squeeze a profit wherever they can — including from war refugees.”


Insight: Fighting in Sudan leaves farmers struggling to get crops planted.

“A war between military factions in Sudan is putting at risk the production of staple crops this year, farmers in several states say, threatening to drive the African nation deeper into hunger and poverty.”


Kenya’s looming hyperinflation: CBK’s headache to manage domestic, external borrowing.

“Borrowing plans, crowding out, high debt stock: Economic policy is unforgiving and continues to chalk merciless lessons for Kenya’s new regime on both sides of the policy isle – fiscal and monetary.”


South Africa deployed the army in four of its provinces after at least 21 trucks carrying goods were set on fire in various parts of the country in the span of five days.

“In numerous instances, armed men forced drivers out of their vehicles before setting the trucks alight in the middle of major roads.”


Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has declared a state of emergency to tackle rising food prices and shortages.

“Some of the initiatives include using money saved by the recent removal of a fuel subsidy to provide fertiliser and grain to farmers.”


Global hunger enters a grim ‘new normal’…

““Recovery from the global pandemic has been uneven, and the war in Ukraine has affected the nutritious food and healthy diets,” Qu Dongyu, director general of the FAO, said in a statement. “ This is the ‘new normal’ where climate change, conflict, and economic instability are pushing those on the margins even further from safety.””


With our food systems on the verge of collapse, it’s the plutocrats v life on Earth…

We face an epochal, unthinkable prospect: of perhaps the two greatest existential threats – environmental breakdown and food system failure – converging, as one triggers the other.


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 July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Global public debt surged to a record $92 trillion in 2022 as governments borrowed to counter crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, with the burden being felt acutely by developing countries, a United Nations report said.

“Domestic and external debt worldwide has increased more than five times in the last two decades, outstripping the rate of economic growth, with gross domestic product only tripling since 2002…

“”In Africa, the amount spent on interest payments is higher than spending on either education or health,” the report found with 3.3 billion people living in countries that spend more on debt interest payments than on health or education.

“Countries are facing the impossible choice of servicing their debt or serving their people.”


Has the global trade recession already started?

“As economists fret about whether we face a big or a small global recession, and whether we’ll face it sooner or later, it is worth bearing in mind that trade is already showing signs of deep stress. Risk appetite towards emerging economies might be shaken as a result.”


There were fresh warning signs for the global economy on Thursday.

New data for June showed China’s exports fell at their fastest pace since the onset of the global health crisis three years ago. Overseas shipments slumped by 12.4% on the year – a much bigger drop than economists had forecast. Imports also fell much more than expected. A customs service spokesman said faltering global demand was to blame.


China invites global investors for rare meeting as economy sputters.

“China’s financial regulators have invited some of the world’s biggest investors to a rare symposium next week, three sources said, seeking to encourage foreigners to keep investing in the world’s second-largest economy despite its recent weakness and rising geopolitical tensions.”


Industrial Hub Facing Power Crunch That May Ripple Across China.

Extreme heat and rising energy demand risk overwhelming China’s attempts to prevent a repeat of last year’s curbs on power supply in the major industrial province of Sichuan. China’s sixth-biggest provincial economy, with a higher GDP than Poland, is heavily reliant on hydropower…”


Relics of the Last Property Crash Are Starting to Wobble Again…

““The low cost of debt due to quantitative easing has led to the same property value expansion as observed during the previous cycle,” said Nicole Lux, a senior fellow at Bayes Business School whose research areas include real estate finance. “Lenders and investors now have to admit that they are facing the same refinancing issues for their properties.””


Troubling developments are happening in the credit markets.

“The federal funds rate is above 5%, close to where it was in 2007, the last time the economy started to tip into a major recession and financial crisis. We are already starting to hear creaks and groans from within the markets. Commercial property loan delinquencies are at five-year highs.”


The economy is in the throes of a slow-moving financial crisis thanks to ballooning amounts of debt being racked up in the US private sector, according to GMO.

“”We seem to live in an era of rolling financial crisis. I suspect this is the result of a massive build-up of private sector debt,” GMO partner James Montier said…”


Fossil fuel workers are dying inhaling gases – despite US warnings to big oil.

“After multiple worker fatalities, the US government warned manual gauging was dangerous. The oil industry seems to have not taken note, activists say… The oil and gas industry is dangerous for its workers, with a fatality rate seven times higher than the national average, according to a 2013 study.”


In Canada, deserted oil wells are environmental time bombs…

“Each one of these wells also emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas that, over a 20-year period, is “86 times more impactful compared to a molecule of carbon dioxide,” stresses McGill University professor Mary Kang, who has written a study on the issue.”


UK lenders passed stress tests – but no one should feel relaxed by the news.

“… if you prefer your risks to be more big-picture, go to the section of the financial stability report that reminds readers that non-bank financial institutions – think pension funds, insurers, investment funds – have grown since 2007-08 to represent about half of UK financial sector assets.”


Andrew Bailey’s assurances can no longer be trusted… Identifying potential shocks is of little use if central bankers are unable to defuse them…

“…it’s a measure of how low the Bank of England’s reputation has sunk that even Andrew Bailey’s assurances on banks will probably be taken with a pinch of salt these days.”


A new Eurozone doom loop?

“Over the last four years, Eurozone sovereign exposures to the corporate sector have exceeded 20% of GDP… there has been considerable economic scarring – and the risk of higher corporate defaults continues to rise (especially as governments start tightening their belts). Higher public-sector exposures raise the risk of a doom loop as weak growth puts increasing pressure on corporate margins.”


Real Estate Is Most Distressed Sector in Europe, Study Finds.

“Higher interest rates, increased debt servicing costs and a fall in demand for office space “is putting intense pressure on the market,” according to the Weil European Distress Index report. The study, by law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, aggregates data from more than 3,750 listed European firms.”


Prescription for Disaster: Europe faces alarming medicine shortages crisis…

“A recent study by investigative journalist networks the MIIR and the EDJNet on selected EU countries found that shortage duration could amount to between 72-130 days for certain pharmaceutical products.”


Riot fears cast a shadow over France’s Bastille Day celebrations.

Fireworks sales have been banned over their use against security forces in riots which erupted at the end of June after police shot dead a teenager during a traffic stop, reviving anger over racism and police brutality.”


Brawl erupts in Kosovo parliament after water thrown at PM.

“A brawl erupted in the Kosovo parliament after an opposition lawmaker threw water on the prime minister, Albin Kurti, while he was speaking about government measures to defuse tensions with ethnic Serbs in the country’s north.”


Italy’s Meloni faces reality check as migrant flows rise relentlessly…

“Despite pledges before last year’s national election that she would cut immigration, the number of people crossing the Mediterranean in a flotilla of often decrepit old boats has doubled over the past nine months.”


Tunisia coastguard pulls 13 bodies, 25 surviving migrants from sea off Sfax.

“”Last night, units affiliated with the Sfax maritime region thwarted an attempted illegal crossing and rescued 25 sub-Saharan migrants, but 13 bodies were also recovered,” the coastguard statement said. Sfax is the North African country’s second largest city and a departure point for migrants seeking to reach European shores across the Mediterranean.”


War in Sudan has displaced over three million people, says UN.

“The United Nations on Wednesday said nearly three months of war in Sudan have uprooted more than three million people, and called for the warring sides to face “accountability”.”


Egypt announces ‘record’ inflation.

“Egypt’s headline inflation for urban areas was 35.7% in June, according to official statistics, a rise of three percentage points from May. The Egyptian statistics agency, Capmas, recorded a June headline inflation rate of 36.8% for the country as a whole.”


Police say officers kill at least 6 as Kenyans protest rising costs, and 50 children are tear-gassed.

” A police official said officers killed six people Wednesday during new protests in Kenya against the rising cost of living, while a health worker said more than 50 schoolchildren in the capital, Nairobi, were tear-gassed. The opposition leader behind the demonstrations vowed they would continue until a new law imposing more taxes is repealed.”


Lebanon daycare abuse prompts alarm as economic despair deepens.

“The alleged abuse of toddlers at a daycare in crisis-stricken Lebanon has sparked alarm over the physical and emotional wellbeing of children in the country, where a nearly four-year economic meltdown is seeping into all aspects of life.”


Water everywhere in Delhi, but supply crisis looms as 3 plants closed.

“With the water level of the Yamuna rising and submerging pumphouses and water treatment equipment on Thursday morning, three major water treatment plants in Delhi were shut — a move that could impact a quarter of the Capital’s water supply.”


Hong Kong poised to ban Japanese seafood over treated nuclear wastewater.

“Hong Kong, one of the world’s biggest buyers of Japanese fish, says it will ban seafood imports from 10 prefectures in the country if Tokyo presses ahead with its plan to release treated radioactive water from Fukushima into the sea.”


Almost half of North Korea’s population undernourished due to food shortages: UN.

“Almost 12 million North Koreans are undernourished, a new U.N. report shows, a massive surge of more than 1 million people compared to data from the same assessment last year… the WFP projected that it will need over three times more funding for projects in North Korea over the next six months.”


Argentines tighten wallets to fight spiraling inflation.

“Argentines are tightening their wallets to make end meets as the South American country battles inflation which could surpass 140% on an annual basis this year, hunting for the cheapest prices on basic goods to shield their income.”


Argentina’s economic woes spark ‘supermarket tourism’ from neighbors.

“Uruguayans are crossing into Argentina to shop for cheap food and fuel in their economic crisis-hit neighbor, but the trend is plunging businesses near the border into a crisis of their own. Uruguayan supermarket manager Noelia Romero said that sales were falling fast as her customers increasingly make day trips to Argentina to look for bargains.”


Coal-Addicted South Africa Unlikely To Hit Renewables Targets…

“South Africa had targeted lifting the share of renewable energy in its power generation mix from 11% currently to 41% by 2030 by increasing onshore wind and solar capacity… However, rising demand and new additions to its aging coal power infrastructure mean that hitting the renewables target looks increasingly unlikely.”


Environmental activists in Nigeria are raising alarms after the military this week burned a ship with more than 800,000 liters of stolen crude oil.

“Nigerian officials said the ship was caught smuggling the oil to Cameroon and was destroyed to set an example for would-be criminals. But critics pointed out the damage to the environment…”


Shell considers selling green energy stake in shift back to oil and gas…

“The FTSE 100 company is said to have approached third parties about offloading part of its global renewable power operations just days after its chief executive warned cutting oil and gas production risked driving up the cost of living.”


No ‘magic’ wand to banish fossil fuels: COP28 president and oil boss.

“Sultan Al Jaber, Emirates oil executive and president of the most important climate summit since the Paris Agreement in 2015, has a quick answer when asked when the world will stop burning fossil fuels: when there’s enough clean energy to replace them.”


Collapse is not a dirty word…

To assume our continued destruction of the planet’s life-supporting systems could lead to any other outcome than collapse is irrational. But, as writes Catherine Knight, the prospect of a ‘great unravelling’ does present an opportunity… If we know where to look, the signs that all is not well are everywhere… collapse has probably already begun…”


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 July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

What if soaring rates don’t kill inflation? Central banks may be about to blow up the economy.

“The problem is that those primal global forces that helped undercut consumer prices during the past few decades are not only no longer in place, they’re moving in the opposite direction.

“The peaceful era of economic co-operation is no more. Globalisation has been replaced by a retreat to regional confrontation and a rise of nationalism. Protectionism is on the rise.. That will come at a cost — elevating prices that will pump up inflation.

And while China may remain a major exporter to the West, its rapid transformation is reaching an end point. Its exports no longer will undercut the West and replace industries.

“Even if diplomatic relations were stronger, longer-term it will not be a major force in lowering costs across the developed world.

“Then there are the yet to be tallied costs of global warming and the urgency required to shift to a low emissions world… Let’s hope central bankers wake up to the fact other forces are at work…”


Central banks fear inflation and geopolitical risks.

“An increasing number of central banks and sovereign wealth funds are repatriating gold reserves as a precautionary measure against potential sanctions, citing the example of the West’s sanctions on Russia… money managers are “fundamentally” rethinking their strategies in the belief that higher inflation and geopolitical tensions are here to stay.


Cost-of-living crisis fuels political turmoil: WTW…

“Evan Freely, Global Head of Financial Solutions, WTW, said, “The international community continues to grapple with the cost-of-living crises and its wide consequences. “This report indicates that rising prices, particularly in food and energy, often result in a political cost including more frequent examples of disruptive civil unrest.”


The global energy crisis isn’t over…

““There was clear consensus that we’re still in the energy crisis,” Mel Ydreos, LNG2023’s executive director, said at a press conference this morning attended by Ian McKay, Canadian ambassador to Japan, and David MacNaughton, former Canadian ambassador to the U.S.”


The use of collateral has deepened and broadened financial markets, notably by expanding hedging possibilities. But as this column argues, it comes with side effects that raise financial stability risks of their own

“…by shifting the loss absorption function to markets, it heightens liquidity risk, which can trigger or amplify system-wide disruptions.


How The Fed’s Interest Rate Hikes Are Eating Into The Government’s Budget…

“As interest costs rise, the cost of servicing the debt is starting to compete with some of the larger functions of the U.S. government. Interest payments already cost about the same in 2023 so far as spending on veterans’ services, employment and training and transportation combined.”


The American banking landscape is on the cusp of a seismic shift. Expect more pain to come…

“…even as the dust settles from a string of government seizures of failed midsized banks, the forces that sparked the regional banking crisis in March are still at play.


Fatal blow for Scotland’s Norwegian green energy dream…

“It was supposed to be the dream of cheap, green Norwegian energy for Scotland. The long-running NorthConnect interconnector had been in development since 2013 by a consortium of Scandinavian energy companies… The justification for cancelling NorthConnect revolved around concerns about energy security and the impact on energy prices.”


Proposed new UK oil and gas fields would provide at most three weeks of energy a year.

“New oil and gas fields in the North Sea would produce only enough gas to satisfy the UK’s needs for a few weeks a year, with a minimal impact on energy security, analysis has found.”


UK hydrogen heating trial ditched over residents’ concerns… Cancellation is blow to government’s goal of cutting carbon emissions…

“UK ministers have scrapped plans to use the town of Whitby near Liverpool as a testing ground for hydrogen in domestic heating following objections from residents, in a sign of the difficulties involved in decarbonising homes.”


Almost half of NHS hospitals in England have been forced to close wards and vital services due to flooding, power cuts and structural problems, an investigation reveals.

“Entire A&E departments, maternity wards and paediatric units have been temporarily shut in the last three years due to maintenance problems.”


London could face water rationing “imminently” because of over-abstraction, over-use and wastage through leaking pipes, a leading environmentalist has warned.

“James Wallace, chief executive of River Action, said the chalk streams that provided the capital with drinking water were at risk of drying up and that the situation needed to be treated as an emergency.”


‘Record high’: Payment defaults stoke fears of mass insolvencies as household spending falls and more rate hikes loom [Australia].

“CreditorWatch’s monthly Business Risk Index showed defaults on payments between businesses reached a record high of 1,586 in June, increasing the risk of insolvencies across the economy as household spending slows and further interest rate rises loom.”


China’s Hidden-Debt Problem Laid Bare in Zunyi City’s Half-Finished Roads, Empty Flats.

“A city in one of China’s poorest provinces is awash in half-built roads and apartment blocks, symbolic of the mounting debt crisis facing municipalities around the country after years of stimulus-fueled growth.”


Goldman Is Calling Out China at the Worst Time…

“Goldman argued that lenders’ exposure to a prolonged property downturn and local government debt will lead to non-performing loan losses and shrinking profit margins, and thus threaten their ability to pay dividends. The country’s biggest banks, whose shares have held up well this year, sank after the July 4 publication.”


Peru’s Police Are on Edge as New Anti-Government Protests Loom.

“Peruvian police are mobilizing thousands of officers nationwide in an effort to identify protesters traveling to the country’s capital, as a new wave of anti-government protests looks likely to restart next week. Peru was gripped earlier this year by its worst social unrest in decades…”


‘It’s pillage’: thirsty Uruguayans decry Google’s plan to exploit water supply.

“A plan to build a Google data centre that will use millions of litres of water a day has sparked anger in Uruguay, which is suffering its worst drought in 74 years. Water shortages are so severe in the country that a state of emergency has been declared in Montevideo…”


Power and water cuts hit Joburg hard in cold spell.

“Johannesburg residents have had to put up with power and water outages as freezing weather buffets SA’s richest and largest metro. Bulk supplier Rand Water is embarking on a 58-hour water cut to carry out maintenance work to improve delivery to its customers.”


Uganda oil pipeline has ‘devastated’ livelihoods, says HRW.

“A planned oil pipeline to help Uganda export its crude to international markets has “devastated” the lives of thousands of people who have experienced delayed or inadequate compensation for their land, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday.”


Kenyans brace for 3 looming nationwide protests on Wednesday across different sectors.

“As Kenyans prepare for Wednesday, July 12, a sense of caution is being urged throughout the nation. The day is expected to witness three protests across different sectors, with the potential for major disruptions and a greater impact compared to previous demonstrations.”


Egypt has hit a financial deadlock. Sisi’s only hope now is a miracle.

“At a finance summit in Paris last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called on lenders to show more “understanding” of his country’s deteriorating debt crisis. The previous week, Sisi appeared to have ruled out a future devaluation of the pound, which has lost half of its value since February 2022.”


Iran’s electricity usage has broken a record to hit 72,500 megawatts – increasing strain on power grids that were already struggling to meet demand.

The constant rise in temperatures and decrease in rainfall across Iran in the last decade have made electricity supply a challenge during peak consumption periods.”


Capitalism Alone Won’t Save the Planet [no small amount of confusion embodied in this statement].

“With every record-smashing day, week, month and year of global warming that goes by, finding solutions to climate change becomes more urgent… humanity doesn’t have the luxury of waiting. Capitalism will need guidance and assistance from government.”


[Fascinating to see this DC-based think tank stumbling across the work of Joseph Tainter and ultimately concluding it doesn’t properly apply to us – such hubris.]

Joseph Tainter’s notion of “declining marginal returns to investments in complexity” is so abstract as to defy rigorous quantification, but in qualitative terms my impression is that it well captures the broad outlines of our current predicament. Our social order feels bloated and stagnant, its institutions extended beyond their prime use cases and flagging accordingly…

“But now let’s turn Tainter’s model around. Instead of using it to look for signs of incipient collapse, let’s use it to investigate possible strategies for civilizational renewal… With our immense wealth and technological sophistication… we need not face such dreadful prospects.”


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.

10th July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The planet heats, the world economy cools – the real global recession is ecological.

“First it was the pandemic. Then it was the war in Ukraine. Next it could be the climate crisis… The combination of weak activity and the increasing number of extreme weather events is worrying…

“If, as seems likely, there will be no letup in global heating despite slower growth, that’s a real concern.”


The global fight against inflation is far from over.

“Since May 2022, the central banks of advanced economies have raised interest rates sharply, quickly, and in coordination, but their fight against high and sticky inflation isn’t over yet. Inflation… isn’t responding sufficiently to interest-rate hikes and is instead behaving in a way that seems to defy conventional thinking. Is this a reason to doubt the power of monetary policy?”


Bonds back in a tailspin as ‘higher for longer’ narrative hits.

“Government bond markets from Europe to the United States and Australia are in a tailspin as the prospect of higher interest rates sparks a rout in longer-dated bonds, hurting investors seeking higher returns after a lacklustre first half.”


Don’t confuse late with not coming.

The saying, better late than never, is typically a positive one. However, in the case of the likely impending recession, it might not be so for markets. Rather, the further this late cycle phase extends and the higher central banks need to raise interest rates, the deeper any market fallout might become.


The collapse in US office tower values is creating a doom loop for banks.

“For months, the most pressing topic of conversation for bankers – whether in Manhattan, London, Stockholm or Sydney – has been how the collapse in commercial real estate values will spill over into the financial sphere. Bankers’ preoccupation with the deeply troubled state of the office market has only intensified as they’ve watched some New York office towers being offloaded at hefty discounts.”


In the aftermath of the Bering Sea snow crab collapse, a ‘cultural, social, and economic emergency’ [Alaska].

“In a normal year, taxes on crab and local investments in crab fishing could bring St. Paul more than $2 million. Then came the massive, unexpected drop in the crab population.”


As Cook Inlet gas shortage looms, Alaska’s biggest utilities assess their options — and none are cheap.

“A looming shortage of Cook Inlet natural gas means a majority of Alaska residents are likely to see a jump in costs in the coming years to heat and power their homes… Industry watchers and some utility representatives say importing liquefied natural gas to Southcentral Alaska is one of the most viable options to help fill the supply gap.”


Australian government must tackle forecast gas supply shortages: APPEA.

“Australia’s oil and gas industry has called on the Federal Government to prioritise addressing forecast gas supply shortfalls to avoid blackouts and further cost-of-living pain after taking control of the gas market with its new Mandatory Code of Conduct.”


Over 1200 more Scots treated for hypothermia in energy bills crisis.

“Some 1200 more Scots were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia last year as the nation suffered the brunt of the cost of living crisis, the Herald on Sunday can reveal. Calls are now being made by anti-poverty campaigners for government action…”


Privatized Britain’s Debt Load Is Now a Major Government Problem.

“For decades since they were privatized, the UK’s public service providers have favored inflation-linked bonds as a cheap and easily-accessible means of financing. That’s now coming back to bite as borrowing costs surge to a 16-year high, potentially putting the government back on the hook to clean up the mess.”


Britain is returning to the gloom of the 1970s as customer satisfaction collapses at the fastest pace on record, new data shows.

“Energy and water companies were the worst performers in the country as high inflation and staff shortages triggered the sharpest year-on-year drop in customer satisfaction since the Institute of Customer Service began tracking the data in 2008.”


Thousands defy bans in France to rally against police violence.

“Thousands of French protesters have defied a ban to march in central Paris against police violence, a week after riots sparked by the killing of a teenager in a Parisian suburb broke out. Police dispersed the 2,000 protesters…”


Mark Rutte hands in resignation as Dutch government collapses over asylum row…

The coalition of radically different outlooks was brought down over the issue of immigration. Amid concerns about a housing crisis, high gas prices and inflation, some sought to blame foreign migrants – international students, wealthier “expats” and particularly asylum seekers.”


German police said at least 22 officers were injured and dozens of people were detained Saturday during unrest at an Eritrean cultural event in the western city of Giessen.

“Police said bottles were thrown and smoke bombs were ignited as groups of Eritreans opposed to the African nation’s autocratic ruler tried to force their way to the venue.”


As Greece rolls back migrant support, thousands go hungry…

“Greece has been steadily slashing benefits offered to asylum seekers and refugees amid a toughening attitude towards migrants across Europe. Finance assistance of a few hundred euros (dollars) per month ends once an asylum seeker is granted refugee status.”


At least 300 migrants missing at sea near Spanish Canary Islands.

“At least 300 people who were travelling on three migrant boats from Senegal to Spain’s Canary Islands have disappeared, migrant aid group Walking Borders said on Sunday… All three boats left Kafountine in the south of Senegal, which is about 1,057 miles from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands.”


Migrants trapped in Libya: ‘I’m determined to try again’.

“Majdi is just one of hundreds of thousands of foreigners in Libya… According to United Nations numbers, there are around 680,000 migrants in Libya at the moment, making up just over 10% of the country’s total population.”


Human Rights Watch has urged Tunisia to put an end to what it called the “collective expulsions” of black African migrants to a desert area near the Libyan border.

“Hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have been left stranded in dire conditions in the south of Tunisia since being driven out of the port city of Sfax in the past week.”


Hunger Grows as Sahel Crisis Spills into Coastal West Africa.

“Years of violence tearing apart Africa’s central Sahel region are fueling a broader West African crisis, as unrest and refugees move southward into coastal countries, crossing the borders not just of Togo, but also of neighbouring Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. In less than six months, the number of asylum seekers and internally displaced people fleeing unrest has nearly quadrupled…”


Sudan is on the brink of a “full-scale civil war” that could destabilise the entire region, the United Nations has warned, after an airstrike on a residential area killed about two dozen civilians.

“The health ministry reported “22 dead and a large number of wounded among the civilians” from the strike on Khartoum’s sister city Omdurman, in the district of Dar al-Salam.”


Falling forex putting East Africa economies at risk of default.

“East African economies are facing the risk of default on their foreign loan obligations over rising debt repayment spending, falling forex exchange reserves and weakening currencies.”


Three killed in Kenya protests over tax increase.

“The number of people killed in protests in Kenya rose to three on Saturday, a hospital official and two police officers told AFP, after opposition leader Raila Odinga urged Kenyans to take to the streets against tax hikes.”


Syria pound reaches unprecedented collapse against dollar.

“The Syrian pound has recorded a historic collapse against the US dollar, as its exchange rate reached 10,000 Syrian pounds for $1. This is the lowest level ever reached by the value of the Syrian pound. Economic website Syrian Pound Today reported that the exchange rate in Damascus reached 9,750 pounds per dollar.”


Israeli protests reignite as PM pushes on with justice system overhaul.

“Tens of thousands demonstrated across the country, with the rally in Tel Aviv drawing crowds far larger than recent protests, N12 News and Channel 13 reported. Nationwide demonstrations began in January when the government announced a plan to overhaul the judiciary…”


Saudi Arabia and Kuwait gas dispute with Iran tests recent detente.

“Kuwait and Saudi Arabia consider the Durra gas field to be theirs, but Iran claims a part of it. The issue shows disagreements remain between Riyadh and Tehran following the resumption of diplomatic relations.”


Iraq Must Settle Gas Import Dues for Tehran, Pro-Iran Parties Say…

“Iraq, ravaged by decades of conflict and international sanctions, relies on gas imported from its eastern neighbor for a third of its energy needs. But U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil and gas impose restrictions on how Baghdad can pay for the imports.”


China’s youth left behind as jobs crisis mounts…

“As the world’s second-largest economy emerges from three years of Covid-19 restrictions, young jobless graduates such as Wang are bearing the brunt of a tepid recovery. In May, 20.8 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds were unemployed…”


China’s Inflation Rate Slows to Zero as Economic Woes Mount.

“China’s consumer inflation rate eased to zero in June while factory-gate prices fell further, underlining continued weakness in demand and adding to concerns about the threat of deflation in the economy.”


Taiwan June exports slump the most in 14 years on weak China, US demand.

“Taiwan’s exports fell more than expected in June, slumping the most in almost 14 years, as the island struggled with persistent weakness in demand from the U.S. and China for its hi-tech products. As Taiwan is often considered a bellwether of global electronics demand, the sharp slump adds to worries about a much weaker second half of the year.”


No quick fix for northern Vietnam’s power shortage.

“Despite being one of the primary beneficiaries of global supply chain relocation, Vietnam’s electricity shortage has become acute amid the rising demand and supply crunch. DIGITIMES Research analyst Yen Chou said there would be no quick fix for the intense heat waves and imbalance between electricity supply and demand…”


Pakistan suffers nationwide power outage.

“Amid the heavy monsoon rains splashing over the different regions of Pakistan, nationwide power out-ages have averaged around 10 to 12 hours a day on Friday, according to The Express Tribune. Sources have confirmed that the electricity shortfall had hit 6,705 MW.”


Soaring tomato price is a source of unrest in India… A combination of unusually warm temperatures in May followed by heavy rains in late June have hit the crop…

“The way prices are going, trucks carrying tomatoes from the fields to the shops in India might be ambushed by gangs hoping to make a killing… The price of the fruit, an essential item in most Indian dishes, has soared in the past fortnight by more than 400 per cent…”


Maracaibo [Venezuela] uninhabitable – no water, no electricity, no gasoline and 40C [104F].

“With daily electricity rationing of up to six hours and with sectors that have been without water for months due to a permanent drought, long queues to buy “drops” of gasoline and having to endure temperatures over 40C, have made Maracaibo an uninhabitable city.”


Mexican Pemex estimates platform fire shut in 700,000 barrels of oil.

“Mexican oil company Pemex estimates that a deadly fire on a major offshore platform off the southern edge of the Gulf of Mexico has led to the loss of 700,000 barrels of crude oil production so far, while one person remains missing, the CEO of the state company, Octavio Romero, said on Saturday.”


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.

7th July 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

$200 Trillion Is Needed to Stop Global Warming. That’s a Bargain.

“Bloomberg NEF, Bloomberg’s green-energy research team, estimates in a new report this week it could cost $196 trillion in investments to zero out the world’s carbon emissions by 2050, as many countries have pledged to do, to avoid society-destroying global warming.

It probably won’t shock you to learn the world’s net-zero pledges haven’t yet been followed by the hard cash, or even promises of hard cash, necessary to make them a reality.


Why it’s time to prepare for the worst on climate change [picture from Zaragoza, Spain, yesterday]…

We must be realistic. First, it seems unlikely that we can prevent warming of 2C or even 3C… emissions reduction by itself is not sufficient. Even a substantial reduction is unlikely to be enough to prevent a significant rise in temperature. Therefore, we must begin now to invest in adaptation…”


Cutting oil and gas production would be “dangerous and irresponsible”, the boss of energy giant Shell has told the BBC.

“Wael Sawan insisted that the world still “desperately needs oil and gas” as moves to renewable energy were not happening fast enough to replace it. He warned increased demand from China and a cold winter in Europe could push energy prices and bills higher again.”


TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne defended the firm’s greenhouse gas emissions strategy, saying the company would remain committed to oil and gas for a long time…

“Today, our society requires oil and gas … Why we are together, it is 80% of fossil fuels. There is no way to think that overnight we can just eliminate all that and rely only on 10% of low-carbon energy. It will take decades to build a new system,” he added.”


A Middle Eastern oil company led by the man chairing this year’s UN climate summit considered dropping “oil” from its name in green rebranding attempt.

“Leaked documents reveal that executives at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company made the suggestion in a brief to advertising agencies. Adnoc’s chief executive is Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, president of this year’s Cop28 climate conference.”


Outspoken climate activist Steven Spielberg has taken delivery of his $250 million superyacht.

“Even longer than a football field, the diesel-powered 4,444 ton vessel has two swimming pools and, in all possibility, a plush movie theater and a helipad.”


No way out | Critical minerals supply crunch is going to hurt green transition, warns McKinsey…

Even with low transition 2.4 ̊ C scenario, minerals and metals needed for lower-carbon technologies face shortages by 2030, consultancy calculates… Without decisive mitigation actions, such shortages could raise supply-chain costs for lower-carbon products, slowing the affordable transition…”


Europe adds aluminium to its critical raw materials list…

“The initial omission of aluminium from the CRMA was greeted with outrage… The last-minute inclusion of the metal, together with its upstream feeds of bauxite and alumina, attests both to the criticality of aluminium to the green revolution and Europe’s increasingly precarious security of supply.


Bolivia’s Economic Upheaval Threatens Renewable Energy Development [Bolivia has world’s largest lithium reserves]…

“With no trust in the local currency, Bolivia’s economy could go into free fall at any moment. Should that happen, social instability is likely to occur. Following that through, the question for the world as a whole becomes whether or not the planned development of Bolivia’s lithium resources will be disrupted by the lack of… stability in the country.”


A global commodities rout is fueling fears of a bleak economic future.

“Prices of commodities like crude oil and iron ore have been sliding this year, underlining a continuing economic rout across the globe and possible recession risks, market watchers told CNBC… the overall slide for the index is likely pointing to a global economic slowdown and a recession…”


There’s more than inflation: It’s time for central bankers to face the music…

“While international institutions like the IMF and the World Bank do talk about financial fragility and the strains in developing countries’ finances, where a wave of debt restructuring has begun, there’s not been as much discussion about the general fragility and vulnerability of the financial system as a whole as rates rise and liquidity is sucked out.


Central Banks Should Stop Hammering the Economy Into Recession…

A global recession looks unavoidable if interest rates keep being hiked. We’ve had warnings from the gilt crisis, the collapse of Credit Suisse Group AG and several US bank failures. Plenty of other rate-sensitive sectors are wobbling, including over-leveraged commercial property and utilities. But the real damage is being done in other pockets of the economy such as small- and medium-sized enterprises and home renters.”


Federal Reserve signals determination to raise interest rates after June pause.

“Federal Reserve officials signalled they intend to resume interest rate increases amid a growing consensus that more tightening is needed to stamp out high inflation in the world’s largest economy.”


Yield on two-year Treasury note hits highest level since 2007.

“Investors pushed the yield on the two-year Treasury note to its highest level since 2007 and dumped stocks after unexpectedly strong US employment data raised fears the Federal Reserve will be forced to keep raising interest rates.”


Wall Street’s New Zombies May Well Be Regional Banks…

Think the regional bank turmoil is over? Think again. The upheaval in commercial real estate threatens to put the industry under renewed pressure, hurting the financial backbone for small businesses across America… One of the dangers now is that smaller banks could decide to pursue high-risk loans that yield more than their current portfolio as they try to avoid becoming zombie lenders…”


Growing concerns US consumers could be heading for a credit crunch.

“There are growing concerns US consumers are heading for a credit crunch after it was revealed debt delinquencies ticked up in May and banks are tightening lending standards. Delinquencies rose across all “days past due” categories year on year…”


JP Morgan Chase has said there is a risk that the Bank of England will have to push interest rates as high as 7pc and trigger a “hard landing” in the economy to quell inflation.

“Economist Allan Monks said some metrics suggest that interest rates will have to rise a further two percentage points from the current 5pc to bring inflation under control as recession risks mount.”


The UK has paid the highest borrowing cost on two-year debt this century at an auction of £4bn of gilts, as the recent surge in bond yields feeds through to the government’s finances.

“Gilt prices have slumped in the past few weeks, pushing yields sharply higher, as stubbornly high inflation increases expectations that the Bank of England will have to raise interest rates much further to curb rising prices.”


We were forced to have abortions because we couldn’t afford a child during the cost of living crisis [UK].

“The most recent government statistics released last week show that the number of abortions in England and Wales increased by 17% between January and June 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. It’s likely that this figure is even higher this year.”


Drax Group’s publicly funded subsidies could be at risk amid an investigation into the biomass power generator’s sustainability practices, Parliament heard on Tuesday.

Questions were raised over renewable-classed Canadian-sourced wood pellets used to produce power at Drax’s North Yorkshire power station in a House of Lords debate.”


UK Paid to Boost Coal Provision While Ordering Wind Output Cut.

“The UK ordered one of the country’s biggest wind farms to cut output over the weekend even as the grid paid a coal plant to help maintain supply security… It’s a situation that underscores the importance not just of building more renewable capacity, but also having it in the right place or with sufficient infrastructure to move the electricity.”


Germany’s Green Slowdown.

While voters may still broadly support net zero goals, they’re not necessarily on board with the escalating costs of the transition… Polls show Europe’s electorates still broadly support net zero goals, but faced with the pressure of higher inflation, that doesn’t mean they’re on board with the climbing costs of making the switch to a greener economy.”


German 2-year bond yield hits 15-year high as traders eye more hikes.

“Germany’s two-year bond yield jumped to its highest level in 15 years on Thursday, rising back above the peak it hit in March before jitters in the banking system rocked global markets. The new milestone was reached during a sharp sell-off in bonds in the euro zone, the United States and Britain, as investors bet central banks would hike interest rates even further than previously expected.”


Germany hits back at French nuclear double standard accusation.

“German officials defended the country’s renewable energy record after Paris criticised Berlin for importing nuclear energy from France following alleged shortages despite rejecting EU legislation on nuclear energy.”


Macron accused of authoritarianism after threat to cut off social media…

“Élysée officials and government ministers responded on Wednesday by insisting the president was not threatening a “general blackout” but instead the “occasional and temporary” suspension of platforms.”


Riots in France have already cost businesses more than $1 billion.

“Protesters have attacked nearly 400 bank branches and 500 corner shops, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told CNN affiliate BFMTV Wednesday. Speaking to CNN’s Isa Soares Tuesday, Le Maire put the total number of looted stores at 1,000, adding that the businesses were being supported by the government.”


Economic activity in the eurozone fell into contraction for the first time in 2023 in June, according to the latest data from the Hamburg Commercial Bank (HCOB) and S&P Global.

“Although the composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell just below the 50.0 no change indicator, this follows months of declining growth and confidence continued to drop at the end of the second quarter.”


LNG ‘inequality’ bites as Europe takes supply from Asia.

“Surging European demand for liquefied natural gas to offset the loss of piped Russian gas has pushed prices for the commodity beyond the reach of many buyers in lower income regions such as south and south-east Asia, driving some of them back towards a heavy dependence on coal…”


Is China really leading the clean energy revolution? Not exactly.

“The country generates more solar energy than all other countries combined, but burns half the planet’s coal… Just in the first quarter of 2023, provincial governments in China have already approved at least 20.45GW of new coal projects.”


Venezuela Hikes Diesel Prices After Cutting Fuel Subsidy.

“Venezuela will start charging large businesses for a type of fuel it previously delivered for free in its quest to phase out fuel subsidies, helping the government halt millions of dollars in losses and raise urgently needed cash.”


Nigeria’s petrol use falls after end of subsidy, regulator says…

“A subsidy had kept prices cheap for decades in Africa’s biggest economy, but it became increasingly expensive for the country… Since the subsidy was ended… Petrol prices have nearly tripled in Nigeria, angering unions and causing a spike in transport costs…”


“”Amid reports of imminent gasoline price rises and rationing in Iran, the regime has put an unknown number of fuel stations on security alert.

“According to Iran International sources, regime security organizations including the Supreme National Security Council, have identified sensitive and strategic gas stations vulnerable to riots and conducted security drills in the middle of the night.”


South African food producers warn of higher prices as infrastructure crumbles.

“South African food producers, among the biggest on the continent, are spending hundreds of millions of rand mitigating prolonged rolling power blackouts, water supply issues and crumbling infrastructure… It comes at a time when South Africa is already struggling with acute unemployment…”


Catastrophe bond market reaches new heights in Q2 2023.

“A huge $7.1 billion of catastrophe bond and related insurance-linked securities (ILS) issuance featured in the second-quarter of 2023, taking first-half issuance to a record of more than $10.3 billion, according to the latest quarterly report from our ILS-focused sister publication, Artemis.”


You can read the previous “Economist” 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.