Unfortunately, the problems look set to get worse rather than better. And the oil price rise caused by the Israel/Gaza crisis adds to the problems caused by the Ukraine invasion. A difficult winter, and 2024, lie ahead.
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The Ukraine war highlights how the real world can often be a very messy place. Issues such as geopolitics and demographics aren’t easy to understand. It can be hard to understand the detail of how key industries and markets are operating.
So it’s no surprise that most policymakers have preferred to stay in the world of theory.
Central banks and investors believed stimulus programs had created a “New Paradigm” where asset prices would always increase. Now they are starting to realise that stimulus is irrelevant against the 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – China’s continuing battle with the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and potential famine as rising gas/fertilizer prices mean farmers can’t afford to grow their crops or feed their animals.
Energy and financial markets are exacerbating the risks ahead. Oil prices at current levels – as the chart confirms, they now account for more than 3% of global GDP – have historically led to recession as the chart shows. The reason is that consumers have to cut back on their discretionary spending, which drives economic growth, in order to heat their homes and travel to work and school. Today’s high levels of natural gas prices add to this risk.
Flooding in China and Europe, record temperatures in the USA, wild fires – all these are signs that climate change is accelerating. After all, the world has gone from 2.5bn people in 1950 to 7.9bn today. That must have an …
The blog has now been running for 14 years since the first post was written from Thailand at the end of June 2007. And quite a lot has happened since then: There was the 2008 financial crisis, one of the …
My Dutch colleague, Daniël de Blocq van Scheltinga, is a graduate of Leiden University in the Netherlands, with a Master of Law degree and a specialty in International law. Here he gives his expert view on the Dutch court’s decision to order Shell to reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 45% , relative to