Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

20th March 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Big trouble is brewing in America’s little banks as panic spreads. US banks are on a ‘bumpy’ path as troubles deepen at First Republic, following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature…

““This is going to be pretty bumpy going forward,” Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz said in an interview with Bloomberg. “People are doing something that probably is not rational but is totally understandable – they’re moving deposits.

“That dynamic isn’t going to stop over night, neither are the losses that are being incurred.””


Midsize U.S. banks reportedly ask the FDIC to insure all deposits for two years.

“A coalition of midsize U.S. banks, Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America (MBCA), has asked regulators to extend FDIC insurance to all deposits for the next two years, Bloomberg News reported on Saturday citing an MBCA letter to regulators.”


US banks want socialism for themselves – and capitalism for everyone else.

“…as demonstrated again this past week, American capitalism needs strict guardrails. Otherwise, it is subject to periodic crises that summon bailouts. The result is socialism for the rich while everyone else is subject to harsh penalties: bankers get bailed out and the biggest banks and bankers do even better. Yet average people who cannot pay their mortgages lose their homes.”


Before Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the Fed Spotted Big Problems.

“The bank was using an incorrect model as it assessed its own risks amid rising interest rates, and spent much of 2022 under a supervisory review… In 2021, a Fed review of the growing bank found serious weaknesses in how it was handling key risks.”


Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse will not be a one-off – a banking crisis was long overdue…

“As Dhaval Joshi of BCA Research pointed out last week there are three classic signs that a recession is coming in the US: a downturn in the housing market, bank failures, and rising unemployment… “Banks tend to fail just before recessions begin,” Joshi says.”


Credit Suisse sold in cut-price deal to avert banking crisis.

“The 167-year-old lender, which was valued at more than £65bn at its peak, has been taken over by arch-rival UBS in a £2.6bn deal just hours before financial markets opened, amid fears of panic if the bank’s value slid further when trading began.”


Credit Suisse: Bank rescue damages Switzerland’s reputation for stability.

…Credit Suisse is a “too big to fail” bank. In theory, it had the capital to prevent this week’s catastrophe. Also in theory Swiss financial regulators and the Swiss National Bank keep an eye on those systemically important banks and can intervene before disaster strikes… the very people who should have acted to prevent Credit Suisse’s meltdown were asleep at the wheel.”


Two major banks in Europe look to regulators to stem contagion risk.

At least two major banks in Europe are examining scenarios of contagion in the region’s banking sector and are looking to the Federal Reserve and the ECB for stronger signals of support, two senior executives close to the discussions told Reuters.”


Stocks slide as Credit Suisse rescue fails to stem rout.

“Banks led stock markets lower on Monday and safe havens such as bonds rallied as a weekend deal to rescue Credit Suisse and promises of liquidity from central banks could not stem fears that a bigger crisis is brewing in the financial system.”


Wait 10 Seconds, Lose $1 Million in Markets Rocked by Volatility…

“There have been many wild weeks in the history of finance but few in recent memory quite like this one. As jitters rapidly spread about the health of the banking sector from the US to Europe — a concern that had barely registered for most investors just days earlier — markets shook.”


Fed and other central banks try to head off crisis by keeping dollars flowing.

“The US Federal Reserve and several other major central banks announced a coordinated effort Sunday night to boost the flow of US dollars through the global financial system with the aim of keeping credit flowing to households and businesses.”


Americans are knee-deep in medical debt. Most owe hospitals…

“The researchers say their findings show the ineffectiveness of federal policies, which provide tax exemptions for nonprofit hospitals provided they give some amount of financial assistance to those who cannot pay for care.”


Price hikes are double whammy for pet owners who are crushed by inflation.

“As head of PAWS Atlanta, Joe Labriola can get a good sense of the region’s economic well-being from the day-to-day activity of the city’s oldest no-kill animal shelter. Through the course of the past year, it’s become increasingly clear to him that people in the area are struggling under the weight of inflation and economic uncertainty.”


Thérèse Coffey’s ‘eat turnips’ message leaves bitter taste after UK’s biggest grower gives up…

“AW Mortier, near Alderton in Suffolk, had a near monopoly on the few turnips available in supermarkets but gave up in September last year because of stores’ unwillingness to pay higher prices to make up for rising costs of energy and fertiliser.”


Paris police ban gatherings on key sites as French pension protests grow.

“Police in Paris have banned gatherings on the central Place de la Concorde as thousands of demonstrators continue to protest across France against Emmanuel Macron’s decision to force through a change to the state pension age without a parliamentary vote.”


France Will Take Steps to Avoid Fuel Shortages, Minister Says… Unions are creating risk of fuel panic, Lescure says…

““We showed in the autumn that we’re capable of acting when it’s necessary to do so. We’re not going to let 65 million French and a whole country be blocked by a few dozen individuals, because that’s what were talking about.””


Portugal protesters march in anti-poverty demonstrations.

“Thousands of people have marched in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, calling for higher wages and other measures to help tackle poverty and the rising cost of living. The march on Saturday, called by the CGTP, the country’s main trades union confederation, came a day after a national strike by civil servants in support of higher wages.”


Violence escalates as protestors take to Israel’s streets for 11th week in a row.

“An estimated 260,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and several smaller cities including Haifa, Netanya, and Herzylia last night according to estimates by Israeli broadcaster Channel 13. The protestors were joined by key opposition figures…”


Lebanese juggle dizzying rates for devalued pound amid economy crisis.

“When Caroline Sadaka buys groceries in the Lebanese capital Beirut, she keeps her phone in hand – not to check her shopping list but to calculate the spiraling costs of goods now priced at volatile exchange rates that vary by store and sector.”


What chicken feet tell us about daily life in Egypt.

For many people, items that were previously basic staples such as cooking oil and cheese have become unaffordable luxuries. Some products have doubled or tripled in price within months. “I eat meat once a month, or I don’t buy it at all. I buy chicken once a week,” says Wedad, a mother-of-three in her sixties…”


Uttar Pradesh power strike [India] casts shadow on law and order situation…

“The non-availability of electricity has disrupted health services in Rae Bareli as AIIMS and other hospitals are without power… In Varanasi, residents took to the streets due to the continuous and prolonged power cuts. Similar reports are coming in from other districts.”


India cuts internet to 27 million as Punjab police hunt Sikh separatist…

“The internet shutdown – which affects everyone in the northern Indian state – was extended Sunday by the government to midday Monday under a law that allows the connection to be cut to “prevent any incitement to violence and any disturbance of peace and public order.””


Court cancels Imran Khan’s arrest warrant after clashes in Pakistan capital.

“A court in Islamabad has cancelled Imran Khan’s arrest warrant after intense clashes between police and the former prime minister’s supporters outside the judicial complex. Khan officially appeared before the court in Pakistan’s capital on Saturday…”


South Africa braced for ‘national shutdown’ [today] called by radical opposition…

“Police have called up reserves and reinforced security around government buildings and key infrastructure hubs ahead of a planned protest by the country’s third-biggest party, in an effort to avoid a repeat of South Africa’s worst post-apartheid violence two years ago.”


North Korea’s Kim calls for nuclear attack preparedness against US, South Korea.

“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for the country to stand ready to conduct nuclear attacks at any time to deter war, accusing the US and South Korea of expanding joint military drills involving American nuclear assets, state media KCNA said on Monday.”


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 March 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Cash-short banks have borrowed about $300bn from the Federal Reserve in the past week, the central bank announced on Thursday.

“Nearly half the money – $143bn – went to holding companies for two major banks that failed over the past week, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, triggering widespread alarm in financial markets. The Fed did not identify the banks that received the other half of the funding or say how many of them did so.”


US banks launch $30bn rescue of First Republic to stem spiraling crisis.

“Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and others will deposit $30bn in First Republic, which has seen customers yank their money following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and fears that First Republic could be next.”


SVB’s collapse exposes the huge carry trade problem… This is the consequence of the Fed having left monetary policy too loose for too long…

“There are many carry trades [in the system], and they can’t all be bailed out,” JPMorgan analysts warned this week. Commercial real estate, say, “was a good investment at zero interest rates” — but not when rates rise.”


SVB collapse may be start of ‘slow-rolling crisis’, warns BlackRock boss.

“The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank could just be the start of “a “slow rolling crisis” in the US financial system with “more seizures and shutdowns coming”, the chief executive of the world’s largest asset manager has warned.”


U.S. shareholders of Credit Suisse Group AG sued the Swiss bank on Thursday, claiming that the bank defrauded them by concealing problems with its finances.

“The proposed class action accuses Credit Suisse of deceiving investors by failing to disclose that it was suffering from “significant” customer outflows, and that it had material weaknesses in its internal controls over financial reporting.”


Wild Swings Rock US Bond Market After Bank Meltdowns, Crisis at Credit Suisse.

“Pockets of the world’s deepest bond market are starting to buckle under soaring trading volumes and wild swings as bank meltdowns compel traders to slash rate hike bets. Trading was briefly halted in a key corner of the US interest-rate market Wednesday as futures contracts soared through circuit breakers.”


US mortgage market suffers fallout from bank failures.

“The market volatility triggered by the failure of three banks in the past week has spooked traders in economically vital US mortgage-backed securities, leaving other lenders, usually important buyers, on the sidelines.”


Santander Halts $942 Million Subprime Auto ABS Sale Amid Turmoil.

“Santander Consumer USA on Wednesday delayed the sale of $942 million of bonds backed by subprime auto loans as the deepening Credit Suisse Group AG crisis added to turmoil in debt markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter… Risk premiums on unsecured company bonds have jumped in recent days…”


Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing gauge remains deep in contraction territory in March…

“Big picture: The health of the manufacturing is deteriorating in March. Earlier this week, the similar Empire State survey released by the New York Fed showed manufacturing activity sank 18.8 points to negative 24.6 in March.”


Coal power stations unlikely to provide emergency energy top-up next winter [UK]…

“Companies running the UK’s three remaining coal-fired power stations have told Sky News that they will not be able to commit to new emergency power contracts next winter, despite a government request to do so.”


Hundreds of thousands of workers are on strike today in what is believed to be the biggest walkout since the current wave of industrial action began [UK].

“Teachers, university lecturers, civil servants, junior doctors, London Underground drivers and BBC journalists are among those taking to picket lines around the country to coincide with budget day.”


Farmers’ protest party win shock Dutch vote victory.

“A farmers’ party has stunned Dutch politics, and is set to be the biggest party in the upper house of parliament after provincial elections. The Farmer-citizen movement (BBB) was only set up in 2019 in the wake of widespread farmers’ protests.”


Riot police clash with protesters in Paris amid anger at Macron forcing through unpopular pension reforms.

“Water cannon and tear gas was used to disperse protesters in the central Place de La Concorde on Thursday evening. Thousands took to the streets in response to President Macron’s use of an emergency presidential decree to push through a rise in the pension age from 62 to 64.”


Clashes break out in Greece as thousands protest against train tragedy.

“Greek police fired tear gas and protesters hurled firebombs on Thursday as more than 40,000 people took to the streets to slam the government and voice outrage at last month’s train disaster that killed 57 people. The protests were accompanied by a 24-hour strike — the biggest yet…”


European Central Bank sticks to its guns on interest rates despite market turmoil.

“Bank balance sheets have suffered because of the effect of interest rate increases, which have contributed to recent crises at Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse. But the central bank – responsible for monetary policy in the 20 nations which use the euro as their currency – stuck to its original plan…”


China cuts US Treasury holdings to lowest level since global financial crisis.

“China continued to cut its holdings of US Treasuries at the beginning of the year amid rising long-term interest rates, which slashed its returns on its overseas investments after the US Federal Reserve accelerated its lending cost increases last year.”


China’s Bond Market Mayhem Pressures Regulator to Address Issue.

“China’s banking regulator is under pressure to minimize the impact of the sudden suspension of commonly used bond price feeds, which shocked investors and sent volumes plunging in the world’s second-largest debt market.”


Singapore key exports fall 15.6% in February in 5th straight month of contraction.

External demand is unlikely to pick up any time soon as bank turmoil in the United States and Europe could lead to a more cautious approach to lending. Tightening financial conditions will also weigh further on the global economy, which is already facing the spectre of recession.”


Peru Unrest Triggers First Economic Contraction in Almost Two Years…

“Peru faced its worst political unrest in decades earlier this year, when road blockades isolated large parts of the country’s copper-rich south. The central bank has paused interest rate hikes for two months in a row, warning that rising uncertainty may hurt investment and consumption.”


Unrest in Peru shows why copper should be a critical mineral…

“The essential nature of copper to the economy makes its availability an issue of national security. As a result of the ongoing unrest in Peru, 30 percent of the country’s copper supply is essentially inaccessible, approximately 3 percent of the world’s total.”


In Bolivia’s heartland, protests rattle lithium development push.

“Protesters in Bolivia’s lithium-rich region of Potosi are blockading a key processing plant, demanding legislation that guarantees better benefits for local communities and larger royalties from extraction of the electric battery metal.”


Cocaine production is at its highest level on record, with demand rebounding post-pandemic and new trafficking hubs emerging…

Coca bush cultivation remains concentrated in three countries: Colombia, at 61% of the total, Peru with 26%, and Bolivia with 13%. Cocaine seizures are highest in the South and Central America and Caribbean region, at 72% of total seizures globally.”


What Would Happen if South Africa’s Electricity Grid Collapsed?

“…it “would be catastrophic,” with a risk of looting, vandalism and public unrest, according to Eskom. It cites the experience of Venezuela, whose economy was crippled by an extended blackout in 2019, as the closest example of what South Africa could expect.”


Eskom Latest: Power Cuts Hit Banking Transactions, May Fuel CPI.

“An index measuring banking transactions in South Africa fell for the first time since November last month, signaling the country’s deteriorating economic activity… Eskom, the world’s biggest sulfur-dioxide emitter, obtained a pollution exemption at one of its two biggest coal-fired power plants to allow it to restore generation capacity to the grid quicker.


SVB run: Seven major Nigerian banks at risk…

“Bello, who is the chief executive officer/principal partner at Afrique Capital and Equity Funds Limited in New York, told The ICIR that “about seven major Nigeria’s banks already known in the global banking terrain or financial circles are running seriously below their distress parity lines.””


Zambia says it is pushing to agree debt restructuring despite delays…

“Musokotwane said delays in the debt restructuring process were putting pressure on the local currency as foreign investors were scared to invest in Zambian bonds for fear of their investment being subject to restructuring.”


Unrest in Senegal as police clash with opposition supporters [record heat can’t be helping tempers].

“Police and demonstrators clashed in Senegal’s capital Dakar on Thursday before a court case involving opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who is widely supported by many of the West African country’s youth. Law enforcement officers fired tear gas at hundreds of Sonko supporters…”


Imran Khan greets supporters outside home after Pakistan police arrest operation ends in chaos.

“Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan greeted supporters outside his Lahore residence Wednesday, after police were ordered to suspend an operation to arrest him amid a violent standoff around the compound. Khan was pictured in one video wearing a gas mask…”


Sri Lanka unions stage strike to protest against IMF bailout plan.

“Thousands of workers at hospitals, schools and railways across Sri Lanka have gone on strike to protest against high costs of living, including increased taxes imposed as a precondition for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout, amid the country’s worst financial crisis in decades.”


Fears were today raised over the boom in labs designed to handle the world’s most dangerous pathogens in the wake of Covid.

“More than 100 facilities tasked with storing and experimenting on viruses like Ebola and bird flu now exist globally. But leading scientists are alarmed about the lack of oversight of the labs, saying lax biosafety rules are particularly an issue in Asia.”


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.

15th March 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Fed Battle Plan for Inflation Shredded by Financial Turmoil. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s strategy to speed up the central bank’s inflation-fighting efforts is unraveling in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.

“A week ago, Powell surprised markets by saying the Fed may need to raise interest rates at a faster pace than the quarter-point hike it delivered in February to curb stubbornly persistent inflation. Days later, SVB and Signature Bank failed, and the Treasury and Fed launched a vast emergency lending facility saying more banks faced the risk of runs.

“Turmoil in markets on Monday suggested broader fears about financial instability — and the risk it could catapult the US economy into a recession.”


The Fed Is On The Cusp Of A Gargantuan Mistake…

The Fed historically tightens until something breaks. Well, things just broke. I am not suggesting this is not the fault of SVB management for not handling their interest rate risk more conservatively, but being behind the curve on inflation is a mistake the Fed has also made. The stock market is no longer worried about inflation but about contagion in the financial system…”


Silicon Valley Bank collapse ‘could force central banks to stop interest rate rises’.

“Economists said financial stability concerns after SVB’s collapse would probably force banks to act more cautiously when issuing loans – in effect doing some of the same job as higher borrowing costs. However, they also said SVB’s failure showed delayed impacts from the most aggressive rate-rising cycle in decades were feeding through. “The Fed is starting to break things,” said John Briggs…”


Central banks walk tightrope in juggling mandates [I would disagree with this metaphor; a tightrope at least offers a viable path forwards to safety, even if it requires great skill].

“Central banks juggling inflation and financial stability mandates are prompting the wildest swings in bedrock government bonds for over a decade and a surge in volatility that may end up causing problems of its own.”


Short-dated US Treasury bond yields posted their largest drop in nearly 15 years Monday as the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank continued to send shockwaves through financial markets.

“Yields on 2-year US Treasury notes fell 57 basis points to 4.02%, for their biggest one-day loss since the 2008 financial crisis, according to data from Refinitiv.”


Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse and tumbling stocks signal that the global economy is now entering a stressful time…

The US Treasury and Federal Reserve hope that by putting in place a backstop they can prevent a repeat of 2008 when the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers set off a global crisis which resulted in a deep recession.


Don’t Call It a Bailout: Washington Is Haunted by the 2008 Financial Crisis…

“… as he endeavors to head off a crisis of confidence after the failure of three financial institutions in recent days, Mr. Biden wants to avoid not just a run on the banks but a run on his credibility. “The term and the idea of bailouts are still highly toxic,” said Robert Gibbs, Mr. Obama’s first White House press secretary.”


Moody’s changes outlook on U.S. banking system to ‘negative’ after SVB collapse.

“Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday revised its outlook on the U.S. banking system to “negative” from “stable”, citing heightened risks for the sector after the rapid unraveling of SVB Financial Group (SIVB.O) fueled fears of contagion.”


Large US banks inundated with new depositors as smaller lenders face turmoil.

“Large US banks are being inundated with requests from customers trying to transfer funds from smaller lenders, as the failure of Silicon Valley Bank results in what executives say is the biggest movement of deposits in more than a decade.”


Credit Suisse warns of ‘material weaknesses’ in financial reporting.

“Credit Suisse has said it found “material weaknesses” in its financial reporting controls and that clients were still withdrawing cash, the latest blow to the Swiss bank as it tries to recover from a string of scandals.”



Jeremy Hunt risks triggering another financial crash.

“If the Treasury wants to make it easier for insurers to invest in private equity, property and infrastructure then it has to accept that there is a trade-off. It will mean that capital is trapped in long-term illiquid assets that are difficult to access in the event that the industry finds itself facing a flurry of big payouts – essentially what happened with SVB.”


‘It was frantic’: the scramble to save SVB UK and avert a banking crisis [UK]…

“In offices, spare bedrooms and kitchens across the UK, it was all hands to virtual battle stations as a small army worked through the weekend and well into the early hours of Monday morning to try to salvage the UK arm of the tech lender – or risk turmoil when markets opened.”


US banking crisis could sway ECB from committing to future rate rises…

Tensions have been intensifying between ECB rate-setters over how much further it should raise rates. Austrian central bank governor Robert Holzmann has called for four more half point rate rises, but Italian central bank boss Ignazio Visco criticised this approach, calling for prudence.”


Inflation in the European Union tripled in 2022 compared to the 2021 annual figures, clocking the highest growth rate ever. The harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) rose to 9.2% in 2022 for the EU, compared to 2021’s annual value of 2.9%.”


Swedish inflation soars in February, Riksbank under pressure.

“Core inflation jumped in Sweden in February, fresh data showed on Wednesday, putting pressure on the central bank to hike aggressively at its next meeting in April and to keep tightening policy in the months ahead.”


Spain’s core inflation hits new record despite government measures…

“On Tuesday, the consumers association OCU demanded “an urgent and substantial increase in the amount of a €200 allowance (recently approved by Madrid) for vulnerable households, as well as in the number of beneficiaries,” while calling the left-wing executive to approve a temporary full exception of VAT (0%) on meat and fish.”


Traffic, fuel, rubbish: France braces for yet another pension strike…

“France is set for more disruption on Wednesday (March 15) as opponents of the government’s controversial pension reforms — which include raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 — go on strike again.”


Turkey’s current account deficit hits highest level since records began.

“Turkey has posted a record high current account deficit, underscoring the challenge facing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as voters’ discontent over his stewardship of the $800bn economy grows ahead of a general election in May.”


Lebanese currency hits all-time low amid financial crisis, political deadlock.

The Lebanese currency on Tuesday collapsed to 100,000 Lebanese pounds (LBP) per dollar for the first time in history as the country’s financial crisis and political deadlock linger on. The value of the Lebanese currency lost 8,000 pounds from two weeks ago when it stood at 92,000 pounds against the dollar.”


Afghans brace for Ramadan amid deepening economic crisis…

“Many Afghan families are running short of food amid deepening inflation, unemployment, famine, and poverty. This is the second Ramadan since the Taliban took power in August last year, following the catastrophic withdrawal of the US.”


Pakistani police fire tear gas into Imran Khan’s home as defiant former leader resists arrest.

“Pakistani police fired tear gas into the grounds of Imran Khan’s Lahore home on Wednesday following a night of violent clashes between security personnel and the former prime minister’s supporters as attempts by authorities to arrest him stretched into a second day.”


Argentina Inflation Surpasses 100% as Economic Recession Looms…

“Inflation is taking center stage in this year’s presidential elections, challenging both of the top two political parties to entice voters after they failed to stabilize the crisis-prone economy. But at the same time, polls show inflation is voters’ top concern…”


Argentina: Power outages reported in Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area March 14…

“Power outages have been reported across the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area on March 14 due to an intense heat wave. Reports indicate over 50,000 people have been affected in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan area.”


South Africa Has Plans in Place to Safeguard Food Supply Amid Power Crisis.

“…measures have been taken to ensure abattoirs can continue operating and animal vaccines are protected, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg offices on Monday.”


South Africa’s Towns Owed $17 Billion, Face Revenue Squeeze…

“Debt owed to South African towns and cities jumped to more than 300 billion rand ($16.5 billion) in the final quarter of last year, adding to the financial woes of municipalities that are struggling to meet revenue targets amid persistent power cuts.”


A global public debt crisis is brewing and there are no short-term fixes available.

“The growing public debt crisis poses a significant threat to the global economy, as it doubles at an alarming rate and with no immediate solutions in sight. The geopolitical changes associated with this economic crisis are exacerbating the issue, which is not confined to less developed countries but developed ones too.”


Power cuts, war, and hybrid cars are predicted to cause a platinum price surge in 2023…

“According to the World Platinum Investment Council there will be a “deeper-than-expected” global deficit of platinum in 2023 as demand soars and supply struggles to keep up.”


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.

13th March 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

U.S. regulators on Sunday shut down New York-based Signature, a big lender in the crypto industry, in a bid to prevent the spreading banking crisis.

““We are also announcing a similar systemic risk exception for Signature Bank, New York, New York, which was closed today by its state chartering authority,” Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FDIC said in a joint statement Sunday evening.”


The Biden administration’s scramble to prevent financial contagion from the crash of Silicon Valley Bank is both an attempt to shield a resilient but still-vulnerable economy and to prevent grave political fallout.

“The Treasury Department and federal regulators insisted there was no systemic risk to the banking system as a whole that could cause a repeat of the cataclysmic 2008 meltdown… They unrolled emergency measures Sunday evening that will guarantee deposits of SVB’s customers.


SVB’s Failure Exposes Lurking Systemic Risk of Tech’s Money Machine…

It’s a startling wake-up call to regulators after largely standing by as the shadow banking system ballooned in the wake of the global financial crisis. Private equity firms invested more than $6 trillion in the US economy in the 10 years through 2021 and employ more than 11.7 million Americans. Venture capital money more than quadrupled from 2007 to 2021, to about $1 trillion…”


Fed Half-Point Hike Looks Less Likely as Financial Risks Flare.

“Less than a week after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell opened the door to a re-acceleration in the pace of interest-rate hikes, the sudden eruption of financial strains at the US regional bank level is raising the bar on such a move.”


After $1 Trillion Lost To Inflation, Consumers’ Resilience Has Reached The Breaking Point…

“Net/Net: Inflation is hurting American consumers and the retailers that depend upon their spending power far more than anyone knew. Whether inflation goes up, down or sideways, it has eaten a big hole in American consumers’ pockets with little to show for it.”


‘It’s hard to focus’: Schools say American kids are hungry.

“Congress temporarily made school meals free to all American schoolkids, but since that ended last fall, the need has only seemed to grow. Soaring food prices are adding strains on families who are seeing reductions in multiple kinds of financial assistance.”


HSBC swoops in to rescue UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank…

“The Treasury said the deal with HSBC involved no taxpayer money and the Bank of England said deposits were secure. HSBC said it paid just £1 for the SVB’s UK arm after it failed on Friday.”


A Lost Decade Worse Than Japan’s Threatens to Change UK Forever.

“As the UK buckles under the strain of anemic growth, strikes, fraying infrastructure and record hospital waiting lists, Jason James thinks back to another economic crisis that dominated an earlier part of his banking career: Japan’s infamous “lost decade.””


Cost of living crisis sees some people considering suicide.

“More people are contemplating suicide as they “cannot cope” as a result of rising costs, charities have said. Charities supporting those with chronic diseases or disabilities have called for an overhaul of the benefits system.”


Dutch farmers, climate activists stage protests in The Hague.

“Thousands of farmers protested in The Hague on Saturday against the Dutch government’s plans to cut nitrate emissions, while environmental activists demonstrated against what they label state support for fossil fuels.”


Thousands of tonnes of garbage has piled up on streets across the French capital after a week of strike action by dustbin collectors against government pension reforms, city hall said Sunday.

“Three incineration plants outside the capital have been hit by the work stoppages that have left entire pavements covered in black bags and overflowing bins.”


German union calls for strikes on Monday at Berlin, Hamburg airports…

“The strikes will affect Berlin’s international airport, as well as the smaller airports of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen, the relevant regional branches of the services sector trade union said on Saturday in separate statements.”


Russian war symbols waved at anti-government protests in Prague.

“Russian war symbols were seen among the thousands of protestors gathered in Prague to protest war and poverty on Saturday, with some attempting to tear down the Ukrainian flag that has been hanging outside the National Museum over the past year.”


Moldova says it foiled Russian-backed plot to stir unrest.

“Moldovan police said on Sunday they had thwarted an effort by Russian-backed agents who were seeking to cause mass unrest at protests organized by the political opposition. In recent weeks, the political party of fugitive pro-Russian oligarch Ilhan Shor has sought to mobilize followers against the former Soviet republic’s pro-European government.”


Fukushima disaster: Japan marks 12 years since deadly tsunami as support grows for nuclear power.

“All of Japan’s nuclear reactors were taken offline after the disaster and the majority remain out of action today. But the global energy crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine has caused electricity bills to soar in Japan, inspiring a government push to reboot reactors as polls show that public views on nuclear power are softening.”


Xi Jinping vows to oppose Taiwan ‘pro-independence’ influences as third term begins

“Xi Jinping has stressed the need to oppose “pro-independence” influences in Taiwan, as he closed the National People’s Congress (NPC) after a week in which the rubber-stamp parliament handed China’s president an unprecedented third presidential term…”


US, Allies Prepare Mega Submarine Deal Under Aukus Agreement.

“The leaders of the US, Australia and the UK will announce plans for a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines Monday as they deepen the Aukus defense partnership aimed at countering China in the Pacific.”


In Peru’s Andes, scars of protest deaths cut deep as families seek justice…

“Peru, home to some 35 million people, huge copper reserves and the ancient Incan city Machu Picchu, is grappling to restore stability after months of anti-government protests and clashes that have left 49 people dead, with roads blockaded around the country and calls for the president and Congress to step down.”


‘Farmgate’: Cyril Ramaphosa inquiry ‘clears’ South African president but police still investigating.

“South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog has reportedly cleared president Cyril Ramaphosa of any wrongdoing in a preliminary report on a cover-up scandal known as “farmgate”, involving between $580,000 and $5m of foreign currency hidden at his private game farm.”


Crippling power outages threaten businesses and jobs [Zimbabwe].

“Zimbabwe’s floundering economy could nosedive into an unfathomable gorge if President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration fails to find immediate answers to persisting power outages that are affecting both the Southern African country’s productive sectors and households, economists and energy experts have warned.”


Kenya’s forex reserves hit an all-time low last Friday amid a raging dollar crisis in the market which has seen the shilling hit a low of 129 units to the greenback.

“According to the latest Central Bank of Kenya(CBK) weekly bulletin, the country’s usable foreign exchange reserves stood at USD 6.56 billion (Sh852.2billion) as of March 9, equivalent to 3.67 months of import cover.”


Tunisia edges closer to default…

As reform and talks with IMF stall, Tunisian president seeks scapegoats sending scores of critics including Islamist and secular politicians to prison. His diatribe against Sub-Saharans sent shockwaves across the continent as African countries ask their nationals to leave the country.”


Hundreds of thousands of Israelis rallied against the government’s judicial plans on Saturday night, in what organisers said were the biggest street protests in Israel’s history.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the changes – which would curb the power of courts – will restore balance between the branches of government.”


Pakistan Economic Crisis: Hungry, poor and armed Pakistanis resort to stealing cars and bikes at gunpoint.

“The situation in some areas of Pakistan has gone from bad to worse and the average hungry and poor Pakistani has resorted to armed robberies. According to reports surfacing from Pakistan it has come to light that in the month of February 2023 alone the city of Karachi has witnessed over 7,000 street crimes.”


Global Food Crisis: 10 Countries Suffering the Most From Hunger.

Conflict, the climate crisis and rising costs are driving the global food crisis. Conflict is the number one cause – it destroys roads and buildings, forces people from their homes, drives inflation and cuts off people’s access to markets – all of which push communities into hunger.”


Our planet faces “phosphogeddon”, scientists have warned. They fear our misuse of phosphorus could lead to deadly shortages of fertilisers that would disrupt global food production.

“At the same time, phosphate fertiliser washed from fields – together with sewage inputs into rivers, lakes and seas – is giving rise to widespread algal blooms and creating aquatic dead zones that threaten fish stocks.”


Saudi Aramco’s $161bn profit is largest recorded by an oil and gas firm.

“Saudi Aramco has reported a record $161bn (£134bn) profit for 2022, the largest annual profit ever recorded by an oil and gas company, fuelled by soaring energy prices and rising global demand.”


The World Desperately Needs More Oil And Gas Investment… Despite high oil prices sending energy company profits soaring over the last year, little of those profits have been reinvested in the oil and gas business…

“Upstream spending has fallen from around $700 billion in 2014 to between $370 to $400 billion today… There is also a concern about the ongoing reliance on mature oil fields, which will eventually dry up.”


Administration to Approve Huge Alaska Oil Project on Monday, Two Officials Say.

“The Biden administration on Monday will formally approve a huge oil drilling project in Alaska known as Willow, according to two people familiar with the decision, despite widespread opposition because of its likely environmental and climate impacts.”


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 March 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

Silicon Valley Bank scrambles to reassure clients after 60% stock wipe-out.

“The funding winter is a fallout of a relentless increase in borrowing costs by the Federal Reserve over the last year as well as elevated inflation.

The SVB turmoil raised investors’ concerns about broader risks in the sector…

“Thursday’s slump evaporated over $80 billion in stock market value from the 18 banks making up the S&P 500 banks index, including a $22 billion drop in the value of JPMorgan.”


Some of Silicon Valley Bank’s customers are struggling to transfer funds out of their bank accounts, numerous sources tell TechCrunch.

“The seeming wave of attempted withdrawals comes after SVB announced yesterday that it lost $1.8 billion in the sale of U.S. treasuries and mortgage-backed securities that it had invested in, owing to rising interest rates.”


Crypto bank Silvergate announces liquidation amid sector turmoil…

“The California-based bank had warned last week it was “less than well capitalised” after depositors demanding their money back, adding that it was evaluating its ability to operate as a going concern.”


Credit Suisse shares have dropped to a new record low after US regulators questioned the beleaguered bank about its accounts.

“The stock fell more than 5pc to as little as 2.51 Swiss francs in Zurich after the lender announced that publication of its annual report would be delayed following a call late on Wednesday evening from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”


U.S. Shale Boom Shows Signs of Peaking as Big Oil Wells Disappear…

“Frackers are hitting fewer big gushers in the Permian Basin, America’s busiest oil patch, the latest sign they have drained their catalog of good wells. Shale companies’ biggest and best wells are producing less oil, according to data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.”


Pioneer CEO: The Shale Boom Is Over…

““The aggressive growth era of US shale is over,” Scott Sheffield, the chief executive of Pioneer Natural Resources, the top shale independent in the country, told the FT in January. “The shale model definitely is no longer a swing producer.””


[US] Corporate borrowers squeezed by rising rates.

“Corporate debt rose from roughly $16.3 trillion just before the pandemic hit to about $19.8 trillion near the end of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve. Economists and analysts expect some kind of recession to hit the U.S. economy in 2023 and the severity of it could weigh heavily on both large and small companies as they repay debt.”


Credit Card Nation: How we went from record savings to record debt in just two years [US]…

“Schlesinger says stimulus checks, lockdown and pay raises had people in really strong financial shape, with the highest personal savings rate on record. “But then 2022 starts and inflation doesn’t go down,” says Schlesinger. “And then we saw many people plow through those pandemic era savings, left with nothing.””


FCA urges UK banks to consider cutting mortgage payments for those struggling.

“The UK regulator has told banks to consider slashing mortgage payments for borrowers struggling with rising bills, as it revealed that 356,000 homeowners could be at risk of missing their monthly instalments by summer 2024.”


EDF extends operating life of two UK nuclear plants by two years…

“The plants, which have a combined capacity of 2.3 gigawatts and provide around 5% of Britain’s power supply, had been slated for closure in 2024, but EDF said last year it would review whether there was a case to keep them open beyond that.”


Crack in French nuclear reactor pipe highlights maintenance issues for state-run EDF’s aging plants.

“French energy group EDF has reported discovering a significant new crack in a cooling pipe at a nuclear power plant on the Channel coast, in the latest such incident to plague the energy sector.”


Europe Loses Another Smelter as Energy Crisis Leaves Deep Scars.

“Another European aluminum smelter is closing, in a fresh sign of the damage wrought by an energy crisis that’s hammered the region’s industrial economy and crimped supplies of critical raw materials.”


U.S. Steel: Taking Advantage Of EU Steel Production That Is On The Verge Of Imploding.

“While European and to a lesser extent Asian countries are grappling with high energy and other input prices for steel production, U.S. Steel enjoys the benefits of North America’s affordable energy. EU steel production is currently near 25-year lows…”


EU unveils green subsidy scheme to fend off competition from US.

“Brussels will make it easier for EU member states to match subsidies being offered by the US in an effort to keep European companies in crucial sectors from moving operations outside the bloc. Under plans that will be announced on Thursday, the subsidies will target several green industries.”


Investors Bet on Europe’s Inflation Matching US in Echo of Financial Crisis.

“The risk of persistently high inflation is starting to upend some of the basic assumptions in markets. One of those longstanding truths is that US inflation is generally higher than Europe. That’s been the case for decades… But now, market-based measures suggest that traders are starting to alter some of those beliefs.”


Russia’s energy conflict with Europe is turning attritional.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine has many fronts, not least energy. And as with the Kremlin’s plans for a swift victory in Ukraine, both sides in the energy conflict have seen their dreams of rapid triumph collapse amid grinding and attritional trench warfare.”


Workers striking in protest against proposed changes to France’s pension system continued to block fuel deliveries and reduce electricity production at several sites on Thursday.

“Power supply was reduced by 8.2 gigawatts (GW), or 13% of overall production, across some of the country’s nuclear, thermal and hydropower sites due to the strike, EDF data showed.”


Massive hospital disruptions across South Africa as health workers continue strike.

“On Wednesday, Nehawu continued its strike for a third day, with patients across South Africa struggling to access hospitals, surgeries and dispensaries. Appointments are being cancelled and staff intimidated.”


Tunisia’s president to dissolve local authorities in latest power grab.

“Tunisia’s authoritarian president said he would dissolve the country’s elected local authorities in a further dismantling of democratic institutions, just as doubts over a critical $1.9bn IMF loan deal deepened its economic crisis.”


Egypt’s Crisis Redux Stokes Debt Distress, Devaluation Fears.

“Credit-default swaps, used to insure against non-payment, have risen by the most worldwide after Ecuador in the past month and signs of distress are flashing in the bond market again. Derivatives are showing the risk of another currency devaluation ahead.”


Egypt is selling citizenship: How economic turmoil has left the Arab nation desperate.

“To address its foreign currency shortages, Egypt is offering citizenship to foreign investors on certain conditions. The Arab country has been reeling from an economic crisis that pushed its annual inflation to 26.5 per cent in January. It is expected to rise further.”


Israeli mass protests against reforms block roads and airport.

“Protesters in Israel have blocked roads and attempted to stop the prime minister flying out the country amid nationwide demonstrations against controversial judicial reforms. Vehicles obstructed access roads to Ben Gurion airport, from where Benjamin Netanyahu later took off for Rome.”


Lebanon’s commercial banks do not have the liquidity to return money to depositors who retain their savings in the country’s bank accounts, the head of the Lebanese banking association said on Wednesday.

““These numbers show beyond any doubt that there is no liquidity with the banks”, the Association of the Banks of Lebanon’s Fadi Khalaf said in a monthly report.”


Honda to Shut Production Plant in Pakistan Due to Financial Crisis.

“Honda Atlas Cars, which assembles Honda automobiles in Pakistan, on Wednesday announced that it would not be able to continue with production and will be shutting down its plant for the rest of this month, media reports said.”


India fears a torrid summer of long power cuts.

“India has just witnessed its hottest February in the last 122 years [ie since records began] —and the country’s weather department thinks it’s only going to get worse. But between drastic weather conditions and fear of brutal heat waves lies another worry: hours-long power cuts.”


Bolivia sells dollars to public as reserves dwindle.

“The Central Bank of Bolivia announced it would sell US dollars to individuals at its own offices and through state-owned Banco Unión, as a deepening crisis threatens to break the country’s exchange rate peg.


The Panama Canal Authority has forecasted a decline in cargo volume for the 2023 fiscal year…

“…the institution expects only 500 million tonnes of goods to pass through the waterway, which is 10.3 million tonnes less than the previous forecast. The decrease in volume is due in part to the war in Ukraine, concerns about a global recession, and reduced commercial activity in China.


Growing numbers of Chinese citizens set their sights on the US – via the deadly Darién Gap…

“The march through the Darién Gap of Haitians, Venezuelans and Cubans fleeing economic collapse and political persecution has been well-documented. But far less is known about the growing number of Chinese citizens trekking through the jungles between Colombia and Panama.”


Recession Risk Looms Large as Bond Markets Price in Steeper Rate Hikes Globally.

Forget about interest-rate cuts. The bond market is now pricing in a steeper path for monetary tightening by central banks around the world, raising the danger of recessions as policymakers struggle to bring inflation under control.”


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.

8th March 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

‘Houston, we have a problem’ – Energy industry grapples with climate fight… Top global energy executives and officials on Monday grappled with how to transition the global economy from fossil fuels to renewables quickly enough to prevent climate disaster without disrupting strategic oil and gas supplies.

“”Houston, we have a problem,” two top executives told some of the most powerful figures in global energy in the capital of the U.S. oil industry, using the same famous line from an astronaut in the damaged 1970 Apollo 13 spacecraft…

“U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein said the hardest part of the energy transition was coordinating the timeline for change.

“”I think if you’re going to go through the greatest transformation that the world has seen in over 100 years, of unplugging from one energy system and creating a whole other one, you can’t just do it without planning it out,” Hochstein said.”


Energy Shortages Are Set To Persist Through 2023.

“Energy shortages are likely to persist this year in various parts of the world because of project delays resulting from continued supply chain challenges – the legacy of the pandemic lockdowns – as well as lower Russian gas supplies to Europe and extreme weather.”


U.S. Official Calls For Higher Global Oil Production.

“While oil prices have fallen significantly in recent months, prices remain higher than they were before the pandemic. The biggest problem for global oil markets appears to be a lack of spare capacity, and the U.S. is also struggling with very low strategic reserves.”


The three-month London interbank offered rate for dollars, a major global lending benchmark, surpassed 5% for the first time in more than 15 years on Monday.

“Much of the recent surge in Libor, which is set to be phased out on June 30, has been driven by expectations for Federal Reserve policy tightening.”


One of the bond market’s most reliable gauges of impending U.S. recessions plunged further below zero into triple-digit negative territory on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell pointed to the need for higher interest rates and a possible reacceleration in the pace of hikes.

“The widely followed spread between 2- and 10-year Treasury yields plunged to minus 104.6 basis points… and headed for a level not seen since Sept. 22, 1981…”


Interest rates predicted to rise putting further strain on [US] borrowers…

“As rates have increased, so has the cost of borrowing. According to Bankrate’s national lender survey, personal loan rates have shot up to an average of 10.72 percent and HELOC rates are edging up to 8 percent, with the average sitting at 7.83 percent. Experts agree that the Fed is poised to raise rates again, further tightening the strain on borrowers’ wallets.”


Private mortgage risk flagged by regulators amid growth in shadow banking [Canada]…

“Private non-bank mortgage loans that often come with higher lender fees and interest-only payment options are taking a growing share of residential real estate lending in Canada, a trend that is poised to continue or even accelerate amid rising interest rates and tougher mortgage qualification rules.”


‘I can’t afford to leave’: The women trapped in unhappy marriages due to the cost of living [UK].

“Our mortgage has just increased by £350 a month’ says Stacey,* from Leicester. ‘I was secretly saving up money so I could leave my husband, but it’s a lost cause now.’ At the start of last year, Stacey, 42, was ready to call it quits on her marriage to husband, Dev*… But then, the cost of living crisis hit – and everything changed.”


Most English councils plan to use maximum tax hikes alongside cuts in ‘desperate measures’ to avoid bankruptcy.

“A report found that nine in ten local authorities will increase council tax, or hike charges on waste or parking. The majority of councils surveyed will cut spending on services…”


North Sea drilling rig firms have written to hundreds of UK and Scottish politicians, warning of an “energy supply catastrophe” if investment decline in the sector isn’t stopped.

“The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) North Sea chapter has sent a letter to all 650 MPs and 129 MSPs urging them for “more vocal support of our oil and gas industry” ahead of the Spring Budget next week.”


Brussels pushes for EU energy cuts and long-term business contracts.

“Brussels plans to require EU governments to set electricity reduction targets and provide guarantees for long-term business contracts, as part of reforms to the bloc’s power market after the energy crisis.”


Belgian firefighters storm European Commission building during demonstration.

“Police managed to block them in the security lobby and used tear gas to push them back… Firefighters from all over Belgium took to the streets of Brussels on Tuesday to protest their current working conditions and the government’s plans to reform the pension system.”


French oil refineries blockaded as 1 million protest against pension reforms.

“Oil refineries across France were blockaded Tuesday by workers taking part in a 1-million-strong protest against government plans to raise the retirement age. Mass strikes also left thousands without electricity and disrupted schools, airports and trains as the country’s biggest union CGT urged people to “bring France to a halt.””


The French government said Monday that it had made a deal with major retailers to cap many food prices, in a bid to make inflationary pressures easier to bear for consumers.

“Retail groups would cut prices for a wide range of foodstuffs, the choice being left to their discretion, “to the lowest possible level” until June, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.”


Greece faces a fresh round of mass strikes and nationwide protests on Wednesday as anger mounts over the country’s worst rail tragedy that killed 57 people last week.

“Fourteen people remain in hospital after a freight train crashed head-on with a passenger train, carrying mostly students, near the central city of Larissa on February 28.”


Police use water cannon in Georgia to disperse protests at ‘authoritarian’ law.

“Police in the former Soviet state of Georgia have used water cannon and teargas in an attempt to disperse thousands of people who rallied on Tuesday night after parliament gave its initial backing to a draft law on “foreign agents” which critics say represents an authoritarian shift.”


China Jan-Feb trade slumps again as global demand falters.

“China’s exports for the January-February period fell, pointing to continued weakness in foreign demand and backing government concerns that a global slowdown will hamper the country’s recovery from pandemic-era damage.”


Taiwan exports drop for sixth straight month, led again by slow buying in China and Hong Kong…

“The global manufacturing hub for consumer electronics shipped US$31.05 billion worth of goods worldwide last month, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance. That figure was down 17.1 per cent compared with February last year…”


India Isn’t Immune to the Stagflation That Felled Its Neighbors…

“With investments also starting to slow from the high growth witnessed earlier during this fiscal year, the outlook for domestic demand has turned weak. Not much help is expected from the global economy. Financial conditions are tight almost everywhere, and demand tepid.”


Pakistan’s Dystopian Warning to the World…

“[It] presents a dystopian vision of the future, bankrupt, unstable and threatened by climate catastrophe. Its fate offers a warning to other heavily indebted nations on the precipice, from Sri Lanka to Zambia… Pakistan is due to hold elections no later than October, and political jostling is narrowing the nuclear-armed nation’s options.”


Afghan women protest outside Kabul University as male students return to class.

“Young Afghan women gathered outside Kabul University on Monday to protest the ruling Taliban’s ban on female education as their male peers returned to school for a new academic year and the United Nations heard the restriction may amount to a crime against humanity.”


Protests in Iran over wave of suspected poison attacks on schoolgirls – video report…

“Hundreds of girls in schools across Iran have fallen ill in suspected poisoning attacks, sparking further protests in a country that has been convulsed by unrest since the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September. Regime critics have blamed the apparent attacks on an extremist response to the Amini protests…”


‘Financial regime is over’: Acute economic crisis forces people to commit suicide in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Economy Minister earlier this month admitted that his office can do little to curb the country’s falling financial situation. The prevailing economic crisis in Lebanon has forced more than 80 per cent of its population to slip into poverty…”


Tunisian Banks Face Liquidity Risks from Delayed IMF Deal.

“Banks in Tunisia face heightened liquidity risks due to the country’s delay in reaching an agreement with the IMF Executive Board on a 48-month programme worth USD1.9 billion, Fitch Ratings says. The delay also brings banks’ insolvency risk closer to sovereign risk in a potential sovereign default scenario.”


Morocco requests $5 billion loan from the IMF.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to a credit line for a total amount of $5 billion for Morocco for a period of two years. The agreement was signed by the Moroccan Ministry of Finance and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.”


Chad: Fuel shortages likely in areas across country through at least mid-March.

“The Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy previously asserted that fuel supplies would return to normal levels by late March 6; however, many petrol stations in N’Djamena and elsewhere in the country have since remained closed, and long lines have been reported at those still in operation.”


Nigeria: Year-Long Fuel Scarcity Worsens as Motorists Sleep in Abuja Queues.

“There was chaos in most of the service stations in the heart of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as many frustrated customers eager to buy the product struggled to join the long queues stretching several kilometres, causing serious gridlock in the usual light-traffic Abuja roads at the weekend.”


Kenya Faces Fuel Shortage Amid a Dollar Crisis.

“The scarcity of the commodity is attributed to a cashflow problem blamed on declining dollar supply… Already, there are reports of long lines at pump stations, with consumers rushing to get the commodity before pumps run dry.”


Malawi: Fuel shortages nationwide in early March.

“The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has reportedly indicated that there is adequate supply. Despite this, long lines have been reported near petrol stations… The reason for the recent shortage is unclear, though it could be related to a shortage of foreign currency preventing the government from importing fuel.”


Zimbabwe: Electricity Outages Cut Off Bulawayo Water Supply.

Some residential areas have gone for more than two weeks without water after council disconnected supply citing current power outages. Only the city centre, mines and industrial areas have not been affected by the gruelling situation.”


Power ships in South Africa hit another roadblock.

“Karpowership, the Turkish company seeking to supply 1,220 megawatts of electricity to South Africa, had one of three appeals against adverse environmental rulings rejected, a person with knowledge of the matter said, potentially delaying a solution to the country’s power crisis.”


South Africa’s economy shrank more than expected at the end of 2022 after being battered by rolling blackouts imposed by the Eskom electricity monopoly.

“Fourth-quarter activity in Africa’s most industrialised nation fell 1.3 per cent, from the previous three months, a period when breakdowns at Eskom coal plants forced power cuts almost every day…”


Peru: 6 soldiers drown in river while responding to protests.

“Six soldiers drowned while trying to swim across a river in the Andes to reach a town where protests demanding the resignation of Peru’s president have turned violent, military officials said Monday.”


23 protesters charged with domestic terrorism after fiery clashes at Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’ training [US].

“Felony state domestic terrorism charges have been filed against 23 protesters arrested in Atlanta on Sunday after allegedly hurling bricks, rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at police officers near the site of a planned public safety training facility, police said.”


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.