Tuesday, October 26News That Matters

Tag: International Trade and World Market

Coal Stocks Rise, Even as the Planet Warms

Business
These phenomenal stock returns are awkward, to say the least. The long-term needs of the planet are clear, if the world is to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change: Burn much less coal, and cut back on it as rapidly as possible.Consider that the International Energy Agency has warned that all coal-fired power plants need to be shut down or retrofitted with carbon-capture technology within the next 20 years. Of all the stranded assets — those owned but unlikely ever to be used — held by fossil-fuel companies, coal is usually deemed most likely to be abandoned in the years ahead. That dim outlook had weighed on coal company share prices in recent years. In Peabody’s case, the share price peaked above $42 in 2018, and then headed on a long trend downward. It scraped near $1 pe...
Supply Chain Shortages: Your Questions Answered

Supply Chain Shortages: Your Questions Answered

Business
The dramatic surge in demand clogged the system for transporting goods to the factories that needed them. At the same time, finished products — many of them made in China — piled up in warehouses and at ports throughout Asia because of a profound shortage of shipping containers, the standard-size steel boxes that carry goods on enormous vessels.Updated Oct. 21, 2021, 8:59 p.m. ETWhat happened to all the giant container ships?In simplest terms, they got stuck in the wrong places. In the first phase of the pandemic, as China shipped huge volumes of protective gear like face masks and hospital gowns all over the world, containers were unloaded in places that generally do not send much product back to China — regions like West Africa and South Asia. In those places, empty containers piled...
A Stock Market Malaise With the Shadow of ’70s-Style Stagflation

A Stock Market Malaise With the Shadow of ’70s-Style Stagflation

Business
Vaccine mandates seem to be working, younger children may be approved for shots by Halloween, and the coronavirus appears to be in retreat. But those hopeful signs herald a messy new phase for the country’s economic recovery — and that’s putting Wall Street more on edge than it’s been in months.The Federal Reserve has signaled it could begin dialing back programs that have helped prop up the markets for the past 18 months as soon as next month, while the breakneck pace of economic growth seems to be slowing, a fact underscored by a disappointing September jobs report.And price increases that grew out of pandemic-related shutdowns and supply chain disruptions have been stubbornly persistent. A key measure of inflation released Wednesday, the Consumer Price Index, climbed 5.4 percent in Sept...
World’s Growth Cools and the Rich-Poor Divide Widens

World’s Growth Cools and the Rich-Poor Divide Widens

Business
As the world economy struggles to find its footing, the resurgence of the coronavirus and supply chain chokeholds threaten to hold back the global recovery’s momentum, a closely watched report warned on Tuesday.The overall growth rate will remain near 6 percent this year, a historically high level after a recession, but the expansion reflects a vast divergence in the fortunes of rich and poor countries, the International Monetary Fund said in its latest World Economic Outlook report.Worldwide poverty, hunger and unmanageable debt are all on the upswing. Employment has fallen, especially for women, reversing many of the gains they made in recent years.Uneven access to vaccines and health care is at the heart of the economic disparities. While booster shots are becoming available in some wea...
Clear Differences Remain Between France and U.S., French Minister Says

Clear Differences Remain Between France and U.S., French Minister Says

Business
PARIS — As global finance leaders gather this week in Washington for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund, Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister of France, made clear that effective French-American cooperation on an overhaul of the international tax system could not mask stark differences on China and other issues.“The United States wants to confront China. The European Union wants to engage China,” Mr. Le Maire, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron of France, said in a wide-ranging interview ahead of the meetings. This was natural, he added, because the United States is the world’s leading power and does not “want China to become in a few years or in a few decades the first superpower in the world.”Europe’s strategic priority, by contrast, is independence, “which mea...
What America’s Port Crisis Looks Like Up Close

What America’s Port Crisis Looks Like Up Close

Business
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Like toy blocks hurled from the heavens, nearly 80,000 shipping containers are stacked in various configurations at the Port of Savannah — 50 percent more than usual.The steel boxes are waiting for ships to carry them to their final destination, or for trucks to haul them to warehouses that are themselves stuffed to the rafters. Some 700 containers have been left at the port, on the banks of the Savannah River, by their owners for a month or more.“They’re not coming to get their freight,” complained Griff Lynch the executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “We’ve never had the yard as full as this.”As he speaks, another vessel glides silently toward an open berth — the 1,207-foot-long Yang Ming Witness, its decks jammed with containers full of clothing, shoes, elec...

Debate Looms Over I.M.F.: Should It Do More Than Put Out Fires?

Business
Lopsided access to vaccinations, extreme economic inequality, rising food prices and staggering debt are on the agenda when the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank gather for their annual meetings in Washington next week.A pressing issue not in the official program is the controversy that has been swirling for weeks around the chief of the I.M.F., Kristalina Georgieva, threatening her leadership.An investigation last month accused Ms. Georgieva of rigging data to paint China as more business friendly in a 2018 report when she was chief executive at the World Bank. Ms. Georgieva has denied any wrongdoing.The scandal has focused on the bank’s credibility — billion-dollar decisions can be made on the basis of its information — as well as Ms. Georgieva’s culpability.But lurking behi...

Dollar Stores Hit a Pandemic Downturn

Business
Sandra Beadling was fed up with the 70-hour workweeks, the delivery trucks running days behind schedule, and the wear and tear on her knees from all the stooping to restock the bottom shelves.The manager of the Dollar General store in Wells, Maine, Ms. Beadling, 54, had tried to hire more help. But that was a tough sell when Walmart was offering $16 an hour and her store was paying $12.Ms. Beadling had spent long stretches this summer as one of only a few workers in the store, tending to the register and trying to help shoppers. She had pleaded with her managers to allow the store’s part-time workers to have more hours, but to no avail.One night last month, Ms. Beadling closed up the Dollar General at 10, got home at 11:30 and then left her house at 4 a.m. to be back at the store for an in...
Lithuania vs. China: A Baltic Minnow Defies a Rising Superpower

Lithuania vs. China: A Baltic Minnow Defies a Rising Superpower

Technology
VILNIUS, Lithuania — It was never a secret that China tightly controls what its people can read and write on their cellphones. But it came as a shock to officials in Lithuania when they discovered that a popular Chinese-made handset sold in the Baltic nation had a hidden though dormant feature: a censorship registry of 449 terms banned by the Chinese Communist Party.Lithuania’s government swiftly advised officials using the phones to dump them, enraging China — and not for the first time. Lithuania has also embraced Taiwan, a vibrant democracy that Beijing regards as a renegade province, and pulled out of a Chinese-led regional forum that it scorned as divisive for the European Union.Furious, Beijing has recalled its ambassador, halted trips by a Chinese cargo train into the country and ma...

China Power Outages Close Factories and Threaten Growth

Business
DONGGUAN, China — Power cuts and even blackouts have slowed or closed factories across China in recent days, adding a new threat to the country’s slowing economy and potentially further snarling global supply chains ahead of the busy Christmas shopping season in the West.The outages have rippled across most of eastern China, where the bulk of the population lives and works. Some building managers have turned off elevators. Some municipal pumping stations have shut down, prompting one town to urge residents to store extra water for the next several months, though it later withdrew the advice.There are several reasons electricity is suddenly in short supply in much of China. More regions of the world are reopening after pandemic-induced lockdowns, greatly increasing demand for China’s electr...