Saturday, February 24, 2024

BWorld 680, The nuclear option to energize growth

The nuclear option to energize growth
February 8, 2024 | 12:02 am

My Cup of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.
https://www.bworldonline.com/opinion/2024/02/08/574259/the-nuclear-option-to-energize-growth/

The 2nd annual Ruperto P. Alonzo (RPA) Memorial Lecture will happen today, 3 p.m., at the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) in Diliman, Quezon City. The topic is “The Nuclear Option” and the economic implications. The event is jointly sponsored and funded by the UPSE-based Program in Development Economics Alumni Association (PDEAA) and the Philippine Center for Economic Development (PCED). PDE is a dear program of the late Prof. Ruping Alonzo who passed away in 2017 — today would have been his 76th birthday.

The main speaker will be Energy Undersecretary Sharon Garin, the panelists are Dr. Carlo Arcilla, Director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI); Froilan Savet, First Vice-President and Head of Network of Meralco; Lino Bernardo, Head of Special Projects of Aboitiz Power; Paolo Pagaduan, Senior Lead for Renewable Energy and Just Transition, Asian Peoples’ Movement for Debt and Development (APMDD); and this writer as a PDE alumnus, batch 33rd (SY 1997-1999). The panel moderator will be Jay Layug, Senior Partner of Divina Law and a UPSE alumnus.

So, why the “nuclear option”?

NUCLEAR POWER AND INDUSTRIALIZATION

1. Almost all major industrial countries in the world have been powered partly or largely by nuclear energy since the 1960s and ’70s. The United Kingdom (UK) opened its first nuclear plant in 1956, and by 1965 its nuclear power generation was already 15.1 terawatt-hours (TWH) or 15,100 GWH. In 1965, the United States of America (US) was already generating 3.1 TWH through nuclear power, while that of France was producing 0.9 TWH.

2. Nuclear power is generally safe, cheap and highly reliable. Since the 1970s, there was only one major nuclear accident with high fatality, in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986. The latest nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan in 2011 after a big earthquake and tsunami has zero fatality.

3. Even when some Western countries have reduced their nuclear power capacity, more Asian countries are turning to nuclear power to sustain their growth. From 2002 to 2022, these Asian countries have increased their nuclear power generation: China from 25 to 418 TWH, South Korea from 119 to 176 TWH, and India from 19 to 46 TWH. Major oil-gas producer and exporter United Arab Emirates quickly expanded its nuclear power generation from zero in 2019 to 10.5 TWH in 2021 and 20.1 TWH in 2022. Pakistan had 22.3 TWH generated by nuclear power in 2022.

4. Many countries that started “denuclearization” experienced slower GDP growth. In Table 1, one can see that France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Japan, and the US have shown this trend. In contrast, countries that expanded their nuclear power generation have experienced faster growth (at least 2.7% yearly), namely China, South Korea, India, and Pakistan. Taiwan has seen a trend in growth deceleration too, but it is still at 3.2% in the last decade.

WHY THE PHILIPPINES NEED NUCLEAR ENERGY, BADLY

5. Particularly for the Philippines, we need nuclear because it was coal power that saved us from possible daily “Earth Hours” every day for the past few decades and yet government has banned the building of new or greenfield coal plants since 2017. From 2008 (when the renewable energy law or RA 9513 was enacted) to 2022, the average increase of power sourced from wind was only 69 GWH/year, from solar, 94 GWH/year, and from biomass, 130 GWH/year. Power from geothermal and natural gas (Malampaya) was flat and even declining. Coal power was expanding by 3,620 GWH/year.

The implied capacity factor (ICF) — which compares the installed capacity with the actual generation — of intermittent renewables is low: 28% for wind, 25% for biomass, and 14% for solar. And yet they are favored by law and pushed by many sectors in the country and the world. Coal has a higher ICF of 61%, natural gas has an ICF of 55% (see Table 2).


The mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) could have contributed some 4.6 TWH/year, assuming a capacity factor of 85%. That is bigger than the combined generation of solar plus wind of only 2.9 TWH in 2022. Small modular reactors (SMRs) and even micro modular reactors (MMRs) will greatly help many power-deficient on-grid islands and off-grid islands and provinces like Palawan, Mindoro, Masbate, Marinduque, Camiguin, Batanes, and so on.

I will discuss more of this in the PDEAA forum this afternoon. The event is open to the public and media, with no registration fee for both physical and online participants and will be streamed live on the UPSE Facebook page.

Again, the event is organized and funded by the PDEAA and PCED. But to be transparent, the PDEAA solicited some corporate donations and support, not for this particular forum but for the future PDEAA room at the expanded UPSE building. Our initial supporters are the Aboitiz Power Corp., Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), and Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. Thank you, guys, for your generosity and support. Your companies will be recognized inside that room once it is finished.
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See also:
BWorld 677, Coal power and higher life expectancy, February 11, 2023
BWorld 678, Philippines has third-fastest growth among world’s top 40 largest economies, February 19, 2024 
BWorld 679, Growth forecasts vs actual growth, and agriculture performance, February 20, 2024

Two years of Russia-Ukraine war and oil prices

Today is two years of the Russia invasion of Ukraine. US, EU, NATO imposed various economic and military sanctions. Like price cap $60/barrel on Russia (Urals) oil. Initially it was followed by some importing countries but abandoned in a few weeks. Today WTI crude is $76.5/barrel ,Urals crude $76.2/barrel, almost zero price difference between the two. Start of price cap, difference between them  was up to $20/barrel, now zero. 


EU sanction is a failure, Putin is richer, have more funds to sustain the war. While Germany, UK etc have high inflation and negative or crawling growth in 2023.

The so-called "axis of evil" Russia, Iran, China, happen to be among the biggest producers, biggest reserves, of oil-gas, and CN is the biggest manufacturing base. Their capacity to supply the world with oil, gas and manufactured goods means many countries would not want to antagonize them.

This is not just a military conflict but also of an energy and economic conflict. The old dominant powers vs the emerging powers.

Us small countries should stay neutral as much as possible. We prioritize our economy and jobs, not the military political interests of both sides.

If we read or see some groups, academics, think tanks, etc. pushing for soft or hard support for the US, NATO position, very likely they are on the payroll of the US. Conversely if pushing for soft or hard support for CN or RU, very likely they are on the payroll of CN or RU.

Very easy to be swayed to either side then overlook our own interest as a nation -- jobs, economic and energy security. Taiwan, they should negotiate with China or face heavy and very expensive military preparations. Why should we be taking side in that boiling military and political situation? 

The main lesson of Ukraine two years war of endless destruction and deaths on both sides -- early negotiation is still the best option, stay away from using  missiles and tanks. Hardline position on either or both sides leads to hard losses in lives and properties.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

BWorld 679, Growth forecasts vs actual growth, and agriculture performance

Growth forecasts vs actual growth, and agriculture performance
February 6, 2024 | 12:02 am

My Cup of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.
https://www.bworldonline.com/opinion/2024/02/06/573630/growth-forecasts-vs-actual-growth-and-agriculture-performance/

Among the important reports published in BusinessWorld is the quarterly poll of economists and analysts on their GDP growth forecast, reported few days before the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) releases the official GDP data. This is on top of the monthly poll of the same group of economists and analysts for the monthly inflation rate forecasts.

I checked the infographics and reports on the quarterly GDP growth forecast polls for all four quarters of 2023 and came up with an analysis.

The forecasters are the chief economists of banks and consulting firms or one of the faculty members of academe. They are from banks, consulting and finance firms, and the academe.

The organizations were: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Banco de Oro (BDO), China Banking Corp. (CBC), ING Bank NV, Maybank Investment Banking Group, Philippine National Bank (PNB), Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), Security Bank Corp. (SBC), Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP) for the banks; ANZ Research, Capital Economics, HSBC Global Research, Moody’s Analytics, Nomura, Oikonomia Advisory & Research, Inc., Oxford Economics, Pantheon Macroeconomics, Ravelas (eManagement for Business, later Reyes Tacandong & Co.), S&P Global, Sunlife Investment Management & Trust Corp., for the consulting and finance firms; and, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD), Colegio de San Juan de Letran Graduate School, De La Salle University (DLSU), University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), and the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) for the academe.

I created a category based on how near or how far the forecasts were from the actual growth, represented by “plus or minus” (+/-). “Good” forecasts are those with an exact number and those +/- 0.3%. “Fair” forecasts are those with +/- 0.4% to 0.6% from the actual GDP. “Not Good” are those with +/- 0.7% to 1.1%, and “Outliers,” or far out forecasts, are those +/- 1.2% or higher.

Not all economists and analysts participated in the quarterly poll, some participated in Q1, but not in Q2 or Q3, but on average, 21 to 23 analysts join the quarterly poll.

Q2 of 2023 is notable because all the analysts were wrong and gave outlier forecasts. Q1 and Q4 had many analysts forecasting correctly (see Table 1).


So the best forecaster is BPI’s Emilio “Jun” Neri, with three out of four forecasts that were good. Congrats Jun and the team, you are brilliant. The organizations with the greatest number of outlier projections are Pantheon (4 of 4, with no good forecast) and Oxford (3 of 4).

This exercise shows that in general, human action and reaction to certain natural and social changes are still far from being accurately predicted by humans and trained professionals, no matter how elaborate and modern the mathematical models and tools they use are. That is why government and multilaterals’ central planning, one-size-fits-all policies are likely to produce more harm and disaster than the stated goals.

3 MEASUREMENTS OF AGRICULTURE PERFORMANCE

There are at least three ways to measure the performance of the agriculture sector. The first is the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AFF) sector in the GDP by industrial origin or GDP by supply side. The second is manufacturing of the food products sub-sector under the industry sector. And the third is the food and beverage service activities (FBSA) sub-sector under the services sector.

We must look at the two sub-sectors because there is heavy underreporting in the output of raw agricultural, animal, and fishery products as shown by AFF growth which is always very low, with a maximum 1.2% growth in the last six years even if overall GDP grew by 7.6%.

Growth in the manufacturing of food products reached 4.8% in 2022. This is not possible if there was no growth of at least a similar level in raw agricultural products. So, by proxy, AFF should be growing 2.3% to 4.8%, not just 0.5% to 1.2% as officially recorded.

FBSA is a better proxy because it includes directly cooked and served food like those in restaurants, hotels, carinderia and litson-manok stalls. Meaning non-manufactured, preserved, and canned foods are included. Annual growth in FBSA was 4.6% to 26% (see Table 2).

So, if AFF output is actually growing by 4% to possibly 26% and not 0.5% to 1.2%, then many agricultural subsidies and freebies (free irrigation, free tractors, free seeds, etc. with no timetable to end the subsidy) and the large and elaborate agricultural bureaucracies may not be justified. Instead, the government should focus on more rural infrastructure like longer and wider paved barangay roads that benefit everyone, not just farmers and fisherfolks.

Related here are taxation and energy policies that distort agricultural production. Like the imposition of diesel tax — from zero to P6/liter under the TRAIN law of 2017 (RA 10963) implying that expensive diesel for tractors, harvesters, trucks, irrigation pumps, fishing boats is necessary to “save the planet.”

Then there is a growing trend of land conversion from agriculture to solar farms. This has short- to long-term adverse impact on food production and food inflation. This must stop. Expanding food production, saving the poor and hungry, should be prioritized over “saving the planet” because the weather is uncertain.
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See also:
BWorld 676, My Economic Forecast for 2024 – 6.5%, February 10, 2024
BWorld 677, Coal power and higher life expectancy, February 11, 2023
BWorld 678, Philippines has third-fastest growth among world’s top 40 largest economies, February 19, 2024

Fiscal Irresponsibility 34, On sectoral parochialism and rising public debt

Sectoral parochialism, I just spontantaneously invented it to refer to being gung ho (in spending , subsidies etc.) on a particular sector to the detriment of the overall fiscal and macroeconomic  condition. I googled the term, there's no mention or definition yet, so I may have accidentally coined it :-)

I think almost everyone has sectoral parochialism so the result is ever expanding spending and borrowings even with zero economic or financial crisis. The overall fiscal condition is massaged to appear "fiscally sustainable".

Public economics is very different from household economics. In the latter, if you are always in debt, you can be called "Maluho, magastos, matabang, gastador,..." and people will avoid lending you until you become poor and forced to change ways.

In government, regardless of administration and country, endless borrowings and rising debt are always justified.

One reason why the US avoided recession in 2023 was the huge spending and borrowings by Biden. Federal debt $31 trillion in 2022 jumped big time to $34 trillion in 2023.

This 2024 out of around $6.7 trillion total federal budget, $1 trillion of that is interest payment alone. More ratings downgrade could be coming, overall econ condition would be tighter and riskier.


https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/timeline-150-years-of-u-s-national-debt/

Four good articles I saw.

1. Massive Money Printing Will Accelerate as Debt Soars
Daniel Lacalle 02/19/2024
https://mises.org/wire/massive-money-printing-will-accelerate-debt-soars

... between October and December 2023, the deficit ballooned to a staggering $510 billion....

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects an unsustainable path that still leaves a 5.0% deficit by 2027, growing every year to reach a massive 10.0% of GDP in 2053 due to a much faster growth in spending than in revenues. 

Why America Will Never Surmount Its Mountain of Debt
BY SCHIFFGOLD FEBRUARY 18, 2024 
https://schiffgold.com/guest-commentaries/why-america-will-never-surmount-its-mountain-of-debt/

The Federal Mega-Debt is Here to Stay
Jane L. Johnson 02/16/2024
https://mises.org/wire/federal-mega-debt-here-stay

There are only four means by which government can capture resources for its own use:

1. Outright confiscation of property for public use, which is prevented by the US Constitution’s “taking clause” without just compensation of the property owner.

2. Taxation.

3. Debt issuance.

4. Inflation that erodes the nominal amount of the debt over time, harming lenders.

Some observers would argue that this fourth strategy is perhaps what we are beginning to observe in the US and some other countries around the world...

Jim Grant: We’ve Yet to Feel the Full Consequences of the “Era of Free Money”
BY SCHIFFGOLD DECEMBER 12, 2023 
https://schiffgold.com/key-gold-news/jim-grant-weve-yet-to-feel-the-full-consequences-of-the-era-of-free-money/
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See also:
Fiscal irresponsibility 31, Another US government shutdown, implications for PH and other countries,
September 28, 2023 
Fiscal Irresponsibility 32, US public debt rising by $7.7 B/day, October 29, 2023
Fiscal Irresponsibility 33, More about the US deficit and debt, November 18, 2023.

Monday, February 19, 2024

BWorld 678, Philippines has third-fastest growth among world’s top 40 largest economies

Philippines has third-fastest growth among world’s top 40 largest economies
February 1, 2024 | 12:02 am

My Cup of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.
https://www.bworldonline.com/opinion/2024/02/01/572545/philippines-has-third-fastest-growth-among-worlds-top-40-largest-economies/

THE PHILIPPINE Statistics Authority (PSA) released the fourth quarter (Q4) 2023 GDP data yesterday — it showed that GDP grew by 5.6%. Full year 2023 growth was also 5.6% — good.

For this column, I monitored the growth of the top 40 largest economies in the world, those with GDPs of at least $700 billion in purchasing power parity (PPP) values in 2022. Two of the countries had no quarterly GDP data: Bangladesh and Pakistan. One country had data for Q1 and Q2 2023 only (for an average of 3.8%), the United Arab Emirates (UAE). So these three countries are not included among the 37 countries listed in Table 1.

I grouped the countries into three. Those in Group A have full 2023 data with growth of 2.5% and above. Those in Group B grew by 2.4% and below. And those in Group C had data for Q1-Q3 2023 only, with no Q4 data available yet. The results are interesting.

1. The Philippines has the fastest growth among the countries with full 2023 data. If those in Group C are included, the Philippines had the third-fastest growth after India and Iran.

2. The Philippines’ 5.6% growth in 2023 is high growth over a high base (which was the high growth in 2022) and hence, there is no so-called “base effect.” China’s 5.2% growth in 2023 is high growth over a low base, since it had low growth of 3% in 2022.

3. The European economies, except Spain and Turkey, are either crawling at 0.1% to 1.5% growth, or are contracting (Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Poland). Other European countries not in the top 40, those ranked among the 41st to 50th largest economies, are also contracting — Austria (-0.6%), the Czech Republic (-0.5%), and Finland (-0.5%) (see Table 1).


The US growth of 2.5% seems deceptive, as it is due to heavily debt-driven government spending. The US federal debt has increased from $31 trillion in 2022 to $34 trillion in 2023, a huge $3 trillion increase in just one year. In their fiscal year 2024 budget of about $6.7 trillion, $1 trillion is earmarked for interest payments alone. Meaning their leeway for public infrastructure and social services is now drastically affected. As of Jan. 29, 2024, the US federal debt was $31.14 trillion.

HIGH GROWTH IN HOUSEHOLD SPENDING, INVESTMENTS, SERVICES SECTORS

GDP is measured in two ways: by expenditure or demand side, and by industrial origin or supply side. GDP by demand is equal to GDP by supply.

In the Philippines’ GDP by demand, household consumption constitutes 73% of GDP and it grew 5.6% in 2023. Investments grew by 5.4%, but government consumption tanked at 0.4%. This is mainly due to base effect.

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman noted that: “There were some large government spending and subsidies in Q4 2022, like high vaccine procurement and ‘Libreng Sakay’ for Metro Manila buses, that were downscaled or discontinued in Q4 2023 to help control the deficit and borrowings. That fiscal consolidation move will give us wider fiscal space this year to continue high government spending on infrastructure. Public infrastructure last year remained high but is counted in investment or capital formation where there was high growth of 11.2% in Q4.” Good decision there, Madam Secretary.

In GDP by supply, the services sector constitutes 61% of GDP and it grew by 7.2% last year. The industry sector makes up 29% of GDP and it grew at a modest 3.6% (see Table 2).


The world economy will remain in a bad shape this year, led by the US and Europe, but Asian economies will anchor modest to high growth levels, led by India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Iran, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

A debt-financed growth is unsustainable and will lead to the bubble bursting in the short to medium term. The economic team led by Finance Secretary Ralph Recto must continue to aim for sustained high growth of 6% and up, a low inflation rate, a low interest rate, and a low unemployment rate of below 4%.

Secretary Recto’s “no new taxes” plan for this year and possibly beyond is a brilliant move. Allow the households and companies to keep more of their income and savings because they will spend or invest it anyway, mostly in the domestic economy.
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See also:
BWorld 675, Declining births, rising deaths, and economic damage, February 01, 2024
BWorld 676, My Economic Forecast for 2024 – 6.5%, February 10, 2024
BWorld 677, Coal power and higher life expectancy, February 11, 2023.

Peace and Prosperity, not war mongering

Consider the following countries with territory dispute with each other:

1. Philippines and Malaysia over Sabah. No war.

2. India and Pakistan over Kashmir. No war except occasional sporadic shooting.

3. India and China in the mountains. No war.

4. Russia and Ukraine over Crimea and Donbas regions. Big war.

5. Israel and Hamas over Gaza and other areas of Palestine. Big war.

6. Assad and ISIS over NWest (oil-gas rich) region of Syria. Big war.

What's the difference between 1, 2 and 3, vs 4, 5 and 6?

In 1, 2 and 3, the US, UK and NATO are not  involved, or not heavily engaged.

In 4, 5 and 6, the US UK are involved, NATO too in Ukraine. So whenever and wherever the US is involved, very likely there will be war.

In Taiwan, I think 95-99% there'll be war there, perhaps within 10 years. Chance of no war only about 1-5%. US is highly involved.

Below, one of my slides in my talk about Forecast 2024 (economics, energy, etc).


Sunday, February 11, 2024

BWorld 677, Coal power and higher life expectancy

Coal power and higher life expectancy
January 30, 2024 | 12:02 am

My Cup of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.
https://www.bworldonline.com/opinion/2024/01/30/571835/coal-power-and-higher-life-expectancy/

AMONG the common arguments against the retention of existing coal power plants in the Philippines and other countries is that coal is polluting and causes more sickness, lowering lifespans.

I intend to verify and quantify how honest or dishonest this statement is. For international data, I got the total coal consumption (in exajoules, EJ) by country, then divided it with their population in a given year, then I computed the coal consumption in gigajoules (GJ) per capita. I divided the countries into three. In Group A are the countries in Europe and North America, in Group B are selected Asia-Pacific countries plus South Africa, and in Group C are East Asian countries. The results:

1. Many countries in Group A had huge coal consumption until 2022. “Greenie” Germany had 43 GJ/capita, the US had 66, and Estonia had 90. In Group C, Indonesia had only 2.6 GJ/capita, Vietnam had 2.5, and Philippines had only 1.6. Yet the Philippines and other Asians are being bullied constantly to retire their coal plants soon — and prepare for blackouts and underdevelopment.

2. Despite repeated mantras of “decarbonization” and “exit from coal,” coal per capita consumption has generally been flat over the past two decades in many countries including greenie Europe and North America.

3. Countries with high coal consumption per capita also have long life expectancies of up to 82 years (Canada, Finland, Belgium). So there is no truth that as countries consume more coal power, their sickness incidence is high and life expectancy is low. It is a dishonest narrative (see Table 1).

The Philippines should expand our coal capacity, which is very small on a per capita level compared to greenie countries in the West. But there is endless bullying to decommission many of our coal plants, and opposing the expansion of existing ones, like the proposed coal expansion in Toledo, Cebu, partly on health grounds.

I computed the coal capacity per capita in some provinces in the Philippines. These are Bataan, Quezon, Batangas, and Pangasinan (see Table 2).

Bataan’s coal capacity per capita is 17 times larger than Cebu’s, Quezon’s is six times larger than Cebu’s. Are the people in Bataan and Quezon more sickly, dying faster, than the people in Cebu, or in provinces with no coal plants like the Cordillera and Cagayan regions, the Bicol region, the Negros provinces? Far out.

The Department of Energy (DoE) and other government agencies, national and local, should ignore the infantile concerns of the anti-coal groups based on dishonest health claims. The DoE should also consider allowing coal plants in greenfield investment while nuclear power development is still being discussed. Help enable the economy to have cheap and stable electricity, and help sustain fast growth.

UPSE RPA-PDEAA LECTURE

The University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) Program in Development Economics Alumni Association (PDEAA) will hold the second annual Ruperto P. Alonzo (RPA) lecture on the topic, “The nuclear option and economic growth” on Feb. 8, Thursday, 3 p.m., at the UPSE in Diliman, Quezon City. It will be open to the public and media.

The main speaker will be DoE Undersecretary Sharon Garin, and the panel discussants will be Irma Exconde (PDE batch 37); Dr. Carlos Arcilla of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI); a physicist, Paolo Pagaduan, of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development; and representatives from Aboitiz Power (AP) and MGen/Meralco. The moderator will be Jay Layug, an UPSE alumnus.

Sponsors of the event are AP, Meralco, and Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc.

It will be good to hear from the only energy companies in the Philippines which have explicitly declared their intention to develop nuclear energy in their future power portfolio. Robinsons, in the meantime, is one of the biggest power consumers in the country because of their many business units.
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See also:
BWorld 674, Nuclear energy and the UPSE RPA-PDEAA lecture, January 24, 2024
BWorld 675, Declining births, rising deaths, and economic damage, February 01, 2024
BWorld 676, My Economic Forecast for 2024 – 6.5%, February 10, 2024.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Deindustrialization 24, UK and Germany degrowth and high food inflation

Germany and UK are Europe's two biggest economies and they -- plus many other Europeans -- are in degrowth economic trend. Germany contracted in Q3 and Q4 2023 at -0.2% while UK has a crawling growth of only 0.3%.



Food inflation, until Jan. 2024 Germany has 4.2% and UK has 8% in Dec. 2023. An industrial country is not supposed to have this situation because... they are industrialized. They can mass produce, mass transport, mass storage food. But their climate-energy policies are simply leftie greenie, and they suffer high energy and food prices while pursuing degrowth econ, the worst that any country can hope for. And this trend is replicated in Italy, France, many other European countries.


Source: Trading Economics.

The Philippines and other developing countries should never follow Europe's climate and energy policies that are leftie-greenie, stay the usual route and attract companies leaving Europe.

Meanwhile, some recent reports I saw.

(1) Britain is on the brink of another 1973-style disaster
SAM ASHWORTH-HAYES  18 January 2024
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2024/01/18/britain-is-on-the-brink-of-another-1973-style-disaster/

Between the race to net zero, the failures of the Bank, and the dysfunction of the British state, we could be well on our way to a repeat of 1973.

Right now, Britain makes it through dark, windless days by turning to fossil fuel generators – mainly gas power plants. These could be manipulated into net-zero compliance through carbon capture and storage, but as intermittent renewables account for an ever larger share of generation and demand grows – particularly as gas heating is phased out for heat pumps – we may find we need more than the existing capacity to back up our grid.

(2) ‘Very worrying’: Trade unions alarmed by EU’s industrial collapse
By Thomas Moller-Nielsen | Jan 17, 2024
https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/very-worrying-trade-unions-alarmed-by-eus-industrial-collapse/

Fears were compounded after a Eurostat study published on Monday (15 January) found that … Year-on-year industrial output was also down 5.8% in November after declining by 5.4% in October.

“We are facing a very worrying situation,” European Trade Union Confederation Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet told Euractiv. “

Judith Kirton-Darling, the acting joint general secretary of industriALL Europe, similarly told Euractiv that her organisation, which represents some seven million European workers, “has been raising the alarm about industrial decline and the threat of deindustrialisation in Europe for some time”…

“Deindustrialisation is a clear and present danger, especially for energy-intensive sectors vital to downstream ecosystems,” said Tobias Gehrke, a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations…

Ben McWilliams, an energy policy analyst at Bruegel think tank, agreed that high energy prices bear most responsibility for Europe’s industrial decline.

(3) Sickest Economy In Europe: Green Policies Corrode Business, Germany’s Economy Plummets
By P Gosselin on 16. January 2024
https://notrickszone.com/2024/01/16/sickest-economy-in-europe-green-policies-corrode-business-germanys-economy-plummets/

Green policies causing energy shortages and price rises

The truth behind the country’s demise has much more to do with the government’s green policies, which are driving the prices of energy up and industries out of the country.

(4) Germany 'in permanent crisis mode' as two-year recession looms
Economy shrinks as country rocked by high rates and energy costs
Tim Wallace  15 January 2024
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2024/01/15/germany-at-risk-two-year-recession-as-economy-shrinks/

Germany’s economy shrank by 0.3pc last year after it was hit by higher interest rates and elevated energy costs, with economists warning that the industrial powerhouse faces a two-year recession.

Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING, said Germany has been “in permanent crisis mode” ever since the pandemic, as it has suffered from an “energy crisis, surging inflation and tightening of monetary policy”.

Germany was the worst-performing major economy in the world last year
Financial Times (pay-walled)
https://www.ft.com/content/792a1a09-701c-4c9d-aa77-0d9575d5bda9 

(5) Number of UK households failing to pay energy bills jumps by 39%
The Direct Debit failure rate in December 2023 increased by 15 per cent when compared to the previous year
Joe Middleton January 13, 2024
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-households-fail-to-pay-energy-bills-b2477045.html

This was mostly driven by increases of 39 per cent in the “electricity and gas spending category and 20 per cent in the “mortgages” category, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

At the beginning of the year Ofgem increased the energy price cap by 5 per cent from the previous £1,834 for a typical dual fuel household to £1,928. By comparison the energy cap was £1,277 per year in October 2021.

(6) Davos Devotees Deindustrialize Europe
In the name of green utopia, political leaders are quietly killing vital energy-intensive industries.
By Peter Huntsman  January 12, 2024
https://www.wsj.com/articles/davos-devotees-deindustrialize-europe-policy-energy-intensive-manufacturing-wef-4e78e385 

According to a recent report from the think tank Agora Energiewende, German greenhouse-gas emissions dropped 20% in 2023 to their lowest levels in 75 years primarily due to a collapse in energy-intensive manufacturing….

To stop this Continental calamity, business and government leaders must redouble their focus on basic economics and science. It will mean European governments increasing their domestic extraction of fossil fuels and minerals, as well as the refinement of these elements into chemicals, steel and the products that power advanced economies.

(7) German Industry Shrinks for Sixth Month as Recession Looms
Industrial production declined 0.7%, economist est. 0.3% gain
Economy probably contracted in final quarter of 2023
By Sonja Wind 9 January 2024
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-01-09/german-industry-shrinks-for-sixth-month-as-recession-looms

Production declined 0.7% from October, led by capital goods, and intermediate goods, the statistics office said Tuesday. That’s the sixth consecutive drop and defies economists in a Bloomberg survey, who’d predicted a 0.3% increase.
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See also:
Deindustrialization 21, UK update, Net zero religion, November 13, 2023
Deindustrialization 22, EVs impracticality, Energizing growth series, December 19, 2023
Deindustrialization 23, Germany economic decline, January 14, 2024.