Our primary focus is Arkansas-specific intelligence and analysis. Our international coverage is extremely limited.
South African utility Eskom is instituting rolling blackouts 3x times a day lasting 3 hours at a time due to insufficient power production.
“At least three grocers in the United Kingdom are now rationing fruits and vegetables as retailers are hit by the effects of low harvests in parts of Europe and Africa, as well as adverse weather and issues with transportation.
Aldi, Asda, and Morrisons are now all imposing limits on what shoppers can buy as a result of the supply chain issue.”
Analyst Comment: The primary reason was high energy costs, which led several cold-weather growing operations to shut down this year. Nevertheless, the shortages should be short-lived as the regular growing season kicks off.
The United Kingdom is experiencing shortages of eggs and tomatoes. Egg shortages are due to the spread of Avian flu in Europe and subsequent extermination of infected flocks, while high energy prices led many winter grow operations to shut down, resulting in the tomato shortage.
Energy Analyst Sergey Vakulenko makes the case that Russian oil producers are using higher shipping costs and Russian-controlled shadow fleets to circumvent western sanctions. This tactic means Russian tankers can still use Western insurance providers while effectively selling oil above the price cap set under EU sanctions.
It also means, estimates of Russia’s revenue from energy sales significantly understate their actual revenue. So while the corporate press engages in champagne popping as they stare at charts of lower Russian energy revenue, the reality is it looks like the Russian’s have several mechanisms to keep the money flowing. those expecting an imminent collapse of the Russian economy, or an end to hostilities in Ukraine, will probably be disappointed.
Reuters: “Slumping energy revenues and soaring expenditure pushed Russia’s federal budget to a deficit of 1.76 trillion roubles ($24.78 billion) in January.”
Analyst Comment: I predict Russia will be successful in replacing a significant portion of its lost revenue from energy supplies by expanding sales to India, China and the Middle East. Western sanctions on energy will ultimately fail to cripple Russia’s economy.
Fox Business: “A growing copper deficit could impact the market for years to come as mining setbacks in South America mount…
Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York, told FOX Business ‘Peru, which accounts for 10% of global copper supply, and Chile, have experienced too many setbacks with poor ore quality, strikes, and water restrictions.’
Now, ‘The copper market will likely be in a deficit for years to come,’ he added. ‘Copper demand was solid in 2022, and if we see a robust reopening from China, prices could rally significantly.'”
The Freeport LNG terminal in Texas will soon be back operational. Europeans can expect a modest drop in natural gas prices as exports resume.
“Fertilizer prices have declined by more than 40 percent since hitting record (nominal) highs last spring, especially due to recent drops in natural gas prices and fertilizer plants reopening in Europe… Though prices remain almost twice the level of two years ago”
“Fearing unrest over food shortage, China recommends development of rice bran industry to tackle the country’s emerging food crisis…
China’s domestic crop output has been declining due to various reasons including the loss of fertile land, floods and disruptions in the food supply chain caused by geopolitical tensions and COVID lockdown-induced food shortages…
…the reality of a food shortage in China is so serious that in August 2020 President Xi Jinping introduced “Operation Clean Plate” under which diners in restaurants must eat all they have ordered.”
“The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) indicated in a report this week, ‘Brazil: Grain and Feed Update,’ that, ‘Brazilian agricultural production is expected to continue growing in 2023, maintaining the trend of producing another record-breaking grain harvest.'”
Analyst Comment: The World Economic Forum may proclaim to speak for the globe, but it’s agenda largely only aligns with Western nations: A competing order is developing, organized around BRICs and other agreements. This group of nations is investing in energy infrastructure including nuclear power, expanding food production, and strengthening their militaries. Meanwhile western nations undermine energy and other key infrastructure, hollow out fighting forces while inflaming international tensions, and continue to reduce and disincentivize food production.
“An eleven-year-old girl in Cambodia has died from bird flu, the country’s first fatality from the virus in years, health authorities said.
The World Health Organization has called for vigilance after the recent detection of bird flu in mammals, but has stressed that the risk to humans is low.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that Russia was pulling back from the New START treaty with the United States which reduces and limits each country’s nuclear arsenal.”
“International atomic monitors in Iran have detected uranium enriched to levels just below nuclear weapons-grade, risking an escalation over Tehran’s expanding program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is trying to clarify how Iran accumulated uranium enriched to 84% purity — the highest level found by inspectors in the country to date, and a concentration just 6% below what’s needed for a weapon.”
“The US is trying to train Ukrainians to change the way they fight so they use fewer artillery munitions as NATO says its stockpiles are dwindling. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin detailed the efforts after a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact group in Brussels this week.
‘We are working with the Ukrainian soldiers in various places throughout Europe to emphasize additional training on maneuver so that as they place more emphasis on maneuver and shaping the battlefield with fires and then maneuvering, there’s a good chance that they’ll require less artillery munitions, but that’s left to be seen,’ Austin told reporters.”
“The European Parliament has voted to approve a law that effectively bans the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and light commercial vehicles from 2035.
The law, which requires that manufacturers achieve a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars sold in the EU by 2035, received 340 votes for, 279 against and 21 abstentions.
It sets an intermediate target of a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions for cars compared with 2021 levels and a 50% reduction for vans by 2030.”
Klaus Schwab at the World Government Summit 2023: “We are at the beginning. When you look at technology transformation, it usually takes place in the terms of an S-curve. And we are just now where we move into the exponential phase… artificial intelligence, but not only artificial intelligence, but also the metaverse, neospace technologies, and I could go on and on…synthetic biology. Our life in ten years from now will be completely different, very much affected. And, who masters those technologies, in some way, will be the master of the world… My concern, my deep concern is that the source technologies, if we do not work together on a global scale, if we do not formulate shape together the necessary policies, they will escape our power to master those technologies.”
The State Department urges all American citizens and dual citizens to leave Russia immediately, citing the possibility of wrongful detentions.
CNN: “More than 33,000 people have died across Turkey and Syria since a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Monday, as hopes of rescuing more survivors dwindle amid freezing conditions.”
“Russia will cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day, or around 5% of output , in March, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday, after the West imposed price caps on Russian oil and oil products.”
“Ubisoft, the gaming developer behind titles like Assassin’s Creed, says it’s tackling ‘toxicity’ in gaming by collaborating with the police.
At a Customer Relationship Center in Newcastle, England, Ubisoft is collaborating with the Northumbria Police. Experts in the force share their expertise and knowledge in ‘harmful’ interactions online with the team at the center, who then apply what they learn to their everyday work.”
Analyst Comment: Expansion of the public-private partnership… fascism.