International Trade January 2024

Corporate debt defaults soared last year and could be a problem again in 2024 as cash-strapped companies deal with the burden of high interest rates, S&P Global Ratings reported

The number of companies that failed to make required payments on their debt totaled 153 for 2023, up from 85 the year before, an increase of 80%. It was the highest default rate outside of the Covid-related spike in 2020 in seven years.

S&P said there could be hard times ahead for corporate America, which, according to the Federal Reserve, is carrying a $13.7 trillion debt load. Company debt has jumped 18.3% since 2020 as companies took advantage of the Fed slashing interest rates in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

U.S. deficit tops half a trillion dollars in the first quarter of fiscal year

 For the period from October 2023 through December 2023, the budget deficit totaled just shy of $510 billion, following a shortfall of $129.4 billion in just December alone, which was 52% higher than a year ago. The jump in the deficit pushed total government debt past $34 trillion for the first time.

Saudi Arabia nearly doubles estimate for the value of its mineral resources

Saudi Arabia nearly doubled the estimate for the value of its mineral resources and is seeing lucrative deals signed during its Future Minerals Forum held in Riyadh this week, ministers told CNBC.

Estimates for the kingdom’s untapped mineral reserves have jumped from $1.3 trillion in a 2016 forecast to $2.5 trillion, according to Saudi Mineral Resources and Industry Minister Bandar Al Khorayef. The resources include gold, copper, phosphate and rare earth elements, offering new sources of subterranean wealth on top of Saudi Arabia’s mammoth oil reserves.

China will make foreign investment easier, vice premier tells foreign executives

Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng met with global financial executives Wednesday and pledged to make it easier for foreign institutions to invest in the country.

China’s annual exports drop for the first time in seven years

Exports fell 4.6% in 2023, the first annual decline since a 7.7% drop in 2016, according to Wind Information.

Bitcoin tops $43,000 as ETFs look to turn over a new chapter

The cryptocurrency’s rebound and, more importantly, the lower outflows seen in spot ETFs, have significantly improved market sentiment. In recent days, many analysts have pointed out that these withdrawals are easing, especially in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which has been responsible for most of the downward pressure on bitcoin.

The ECB leaves interest rates at 4.5% and insists they will remain there for a sufficiently long period.

The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, with an eye on a first cut that could come in the summer of 2024 in the face of a sharp drop in inflation. The Frankfurt-based central bank left its three key interest rates unchanged at its December meeting.

Venezuela’s gold and oil sanctions return after María Corina Machado’s disqualification

The sanctions are back. The US will begin revoking Venezuela’s gold licences on 13 February and multinational oil company licences in April if the Nicolás Maduro regime does not comply with the Barbados agreements, such as the release of political prisoners and the disqualification of María Corina Machado. Washington also announced gas licences that also expire in April.

Canada prepares to flood oil market with opening of major pipeline

The Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada is now 95 to 98 percent complete, according to the US Department of Energy. This expansion and upgrade will be a game changer for Alberta, Canada’s main oil producing region. Although the pipeline is not yet fully operational, oil production in Alberta reached an all-time high in November as companies anticipated the completion of the project. This will allow Canada to significantly increase its oil exports.



More information:

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C/ Villanueva 29
28001 Madrid
P: +34 91 436 00 90


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