Economy

Generational conflict comes to a polling place near you

The most memorable news photo I’ve seen in ages is one from the first School Strike 4 Climate late last year. It shows a young woman holding a sign: MESS WITH OUR CLIMATE & WE’LL MESS WITH YOUR PENSION. Ross Gittins The Canberra Times One minute we oldies are berating the younger generation for their seeming lack of interest in politics (although, having arrived on the scene at a time when our politicians are behaving so badly, who could blame ... Read More »

Energy and security in the Eastern Mediterranean

The discovery of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean’s Levant Basin has created new regional security dynamics. Petros Petrikkos Global Risk Insights The quest for power and influence hinders energy and economic cooperation. The growing ‘battle’ for the creation of a pipeline is not easily sustained due to the region’s unstable landscape. Research on the Levant Basin dates back to 2010 when the Leviathan block was first discovered by Ratio Oil. Following this, companies like US-owned Noble Energy and French giant ... Read More »

Global carbon emissions hit record high in 2018, International Energy Agency says

Greater demand for energy and more extreme temperatures saw global carbon emissions reach a record high in 2018 partly because of higher coal use, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Sue Lannin ABC Carbon emissions rose by 1.7 per cent in 2018 to a record 33.1 billion tonnes, with coal making up one third of the total increase, according to the IEA’s Global Energy and C02 Status Report. That is despite energy generation from wind and solar farms growing ... Read More »

‘Flashing amber’: stocks tumble as bond markets sound US recession warning

Investors around the region ditched shares on Monday and fled to the safety of bonds while the Japanese yen hovered near a six-week high as risk assets fell out of favour on growing fears about a US recession, sending global yields plunging. Swati Pandey The Canberra Times Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.1 per cent on Monday to the lowest level in five weeks and wiped $20.2 billion off the value of the stock market. The financial and mining sectors ... Read More »

David McWilliams: Europe is glued to energy-rich Russia

As Putin marks 20 years in power, he knows how much the world needs his country David McWilliams The Irish Times As the train screeches to a halt, the young man, in his slim-fit Tom Ford suit, alights energetically. This is Revolution Square station, deep beneath Moscow’s congested boulevards. Built in 1938, the station is one of the gems of the Moscow metro system, itself one of the finest pieces of public transport infrastructure in the world. Stalin understood symbols. ... Read More »

House prices keep dropping – and there’s no end in sight

Prices will continue to fall, unless the Reserve Bank gets involved and cuts rates soon Greg Jericho The Guardian Τhe latest residential housing prices figures confirm what buyers and sellers have known for some time: the drop in housing prices is continuing without any real sign of a bottom being reached. This fall, as with the housing boom, is most pronounced in Sydney and Melbourne. This has seen an improvement in housing affordability but it remains above the pre-boom levels. In the ... Read More »

Fog of War Clouds India’s Stocks Rally

Military posturing has revived animal spirits. Cooler heads will suggest the gains are unlikely to last. Anjani Trivedi Bloomberg It’s amazing what a bit of chest-beating and military posturing can do. India’s war of words with and air strikes on Pakistan have reinvigorated the re-election campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Opinion polls (if you believe them) are predicting a bigger margin of victory for Modi’s National Democratic Alliance than they were two months ago. A creeping skepticism that had ... Read More »

The sudden shift that should have all of us worried about the global economy

The markets’ responses to the latest US Federal Reserve Board’s interest rate and balance sheet decisions were telling. Stephen Bartholomeusz Brisbane Times The immediate reaction of the share market was to mark stocks up, before a more considered assessment sent them back down. Bond rates eased and the US dollar slid against its major trading partners’ currencies. The nature of the Fed’s announcements – a majority of the members of its Open Market Committee expect no rate increases this year and the Fed ... Read More »

Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute

Ethiopia is building a mighty dam on the Blue Nile, promising economic benefits for both itself and Sudan. ICG But Egypt fears for its freshwater supply. The parties should agree on how fast to fill the dam’s reservoir and how to share river waters going forward. What’s new?  Ethiopia is moving ahead with construction of Africa’s largest dam, despite Egypt’s worry that it will reduce the downstream flow of the Nile, the source of around 90 per cent of its ... Read More »

Italy’s Risky Silk Road

The Italian government is keen to join China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” and plans to sign an agreement to this effect during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to Italy. Paola Subacchi Project Syndicate But although deeper trade and investment ties with China could boost its sluggish economy, Italy should pursue them through the EU, not bilaterally. VENICE – Is China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) “a train that Italy cannot afford to miss,” as Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria ... Read More »

Stagnant Capitalism

A decade after the 2008 financial crisis, faith in markets’ self-regulating abilities once again lies in tatters. Yanis Varoufakis Project Syndicate There simply is no single real interest rate that would spur investors to funnel all existing savings into productive investments, and employers to hire all who wish to work at the prevailing wage. ATHENS – When the Great Depression followed the 1929 stock-market crash, almost everyone acknowledged that capitalism was unstable, unreliable, and prone to stagnation. In the decades ... Read More »

After Danske, Next Dirty Money Route Gets Scrutinized in Denmark

As one avenue for money launderers is shut, another one may be opening. Frances Schwartzkopff Bloomberg In Denmark, home to Danske Bank A/S, the authorities are now taking a closer look at companies that provide payment services. The worry is that the process is becoming so complex that criminals might be able to hide their illicit transactions. Danish Business Minister Rasmus Jarlov says the goal is “to all the time be ahead of the criminals.” Because they’re “trying to exploit any ... Read More »

Housing Affordability Poll Finds Canadians Have Little Faith Government Can Solve The Problem

Only one in 10 respondents want to see 30-year mortgages. Daniel Tencer HuffPost The real estate industry is waiting with bated breath to see whether the federal budget landing Tuesday will offer any good news for first-time homebuyers struggling with historically bad housing affordability in Canada. It seems a good bet the pre-election budget will include something to address Canadians’ growing concerns about housing costs — but few actually believe it will make much difference. A new poll carried out for real ... Read More »

Total Debt Worldwide Hits US$240 Trillion, And The Bank Of Canada Is Worried

“Whether you’re a homeowner or a business person … high leverage can leave you in a vulnerable financial position.” Andy Blatchford Canadian Press HuffPost OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor says an explosion of global debt over the last decade is a top concern that she argues is holding back economic growth and creating vulnerabilities in the world’s financial system. The global financial system is in better shape than it was in 2007 before the financial crisis, ... Read More »

The Fed Should Buy Recession Insurance

If the United States falls into recession in the next year or two, the US Federal Reserve may have very little room to loosen policy, yet it is not taking any steps to cover that risk. J. Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate Unless the Fed rectifies this soon, the US – and the world – may well face much bigger problems later. BERKELEY – The next global downturn may still be a little way off. The chances that the North Atlantic ... Read More »

The ‘R’ word: Are Australians really getting poorer?

Is it the recession you have when you’re not having a recession? Tory Maguire The Age With an election looming, treasurer Josh Frydenberg is just weeks away from delivering his first, and possibly last, federal budget. Last week, OECD data revealed that the Australian economy has fallen into a ”per-capita recession” for the first time since 2006, with global and Australian growth predicted to slow even further. The announcement prompted scepticism from critics. Ross Gittins called it a scare tactic – that any ... Read More »