By The Economist
Stockmarkets in America continued to plunge on Monday as investors eyed the prospect of monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 entered correction territory: the index has shed over 10% from its record close on January 3rd, marking the worst-ever start to the year. High-growth tech firms and speculative assets have been hard hit: the Nasdaq Composite fell by over 4% on Monday; the price of bitcoin has roughly halved since its November high.
The Pentagon put 8,500 troops in America on alert to deploy to eastern Europe amid Russian threats against Ukraine. “No missions have been assigned. This is really about getting folks ready,” said an army spokesperson. Earlier the secretary-general of NATO said the alliance would take “all necessary measures” to protect its members in case of a Russian attack.
The president of Burkina Faso, Roch Kabore, is reported to have been detained by mutinying soldiers at a military camp, although his exact whereabouts are unknown. On Sunday evening heavy gunfire was heard around the presidential palace. Mr Kabore has faced mounting criticism from the army and street protesters about his government’s failure to combat attacks by Islamist insurgents.
One of Europe’s biggest bicycle manufacturers agreed to a takeover by a consortium led by KKR, an investment company, for around €1.6bn ($1.8bn). Accell Group, based in the Netherlands, is the owner of Raleigh and other well-known brands such as Haibike and Sparta. Demand for bicycles surged in the pandemic, with people using them to exercise and avoid public transport.
The United Arab Emirates intercepted two missiles fired into Abu Dhabi by Houthi rebels in Yemen. The UAE is part of a coalition led by Saudi Arabia which supports Yemen’s government against the rebels, who are backed by Iran. Last week a drone attack killed three people in Abu Dhabi. On Friday alone coalition air strikes killed more than 60 Yemenis.
Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, ordered an official inquiry into allegations by a Conservative MP that she was fired as a minister because of her “Muslimness”. Nusrat Ghani said that a government whip (whose job it is to manage the party’s MPs in parliament) told her that she was “making colleagues feel uncomfortable.” Mark Spencer, who identified himself as the person in question, denies the claims.
Taiwan reported that 39 Chinese military planes flew into its Air Defence Identification Zone on Sunday, the largest such intrusion since October. Taiwan scrambled jets in response. China frequently flexes its military muscles to intimidate Taiwan, over which it claims sovereignty. On Saturday the American and Japanese navies showed off a flotilla in the Philippine Sea east of Taiwan.
Figure of the day: $130trn, the stock of cross-border financial assets in 2020, an increase of almost 60% since 2007. Read the full article in The Economist.
Credit| The Economist