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Recap December 26: Blackouts starting Europe, IMF simulates global financial collapse, signal for next financial crisis? (Recap Ep155)

In this week’s recap, US markets ended higher as strong economic data was released, helping ease investors’ concerns about the risks posed by Covid-19 & inflation. Consumer confidence jumped more than expected in December. Global stocks lost $1.8T in market capitalization last week, but world stocks are still worth $118T, which is 140% of global GDP.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a more conservative Democrat who is key to President Biden’s hopes of passing an additional $1.75T domestic bill, due to the 50 Republican & 50 Democratic divided Senate, stated on Sunday, he will not support the package, drawing a sharp rebuke from the executive branch. The bill, which is Biden’s signature domestic policy bill, known as Build Back Better, aims to expand the social safety net & spend money on controversial climate change projects.

Taiwan’s export orders grew faster than expected in November rising +13.4% to a historic high from a year earlier to $65.5B, due to sustained technology demand, ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season. It was the 21st month of expansion, with a much faster pace than the median forecast for a rise of just +5.8%, but the government is warning of many uncertainties next year that could well affect the outlook.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that the number of Omicron Covid-19 variant cases is doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community spread. In Europe, the Netherlands went into lockdown from Sunday till at least Jan. 14, amid fears that its healthcare system will become overburdened in January. Meanwhile, the U.K. is witnessing a dramatic surge in Covid infections & Austria imposes stricter travel rules, even as it ends its general lockdown.

Europe is bracing for energy shortages as colder weather sets in, boosting demand & sending prices surging, at a time when supplies are tight. Temperatures are forecast to fall below zero degrees Celsius in a number of European countries this week, straining electricity grids already coping with low wind speeds & severe nuclear outages in France. In a further development, Russia intends to keep natural gas flows through a major transit route to Germany limited on Monday, after already capping supplies over the weekend.

Russia intends to keep gas flows through major transit route to Germany; Serbia was forced to cut electricity to cust this week, as Britain’s network operator issued a power supply warning; China has formed a rare-earths giant by merging some key producers; IMF, World Bank, & 10 countries simulate alarming global financial system collapse lead by Israel; Chile selected a new president; China placed tight restrictions on borders/ports to block COVID-19 entering the country after several small towns suffered outbreaks; the U.S. recorded the highest number of illegal border crossings in more than 60 years.

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