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Montana Bans TikTok, Australian Timber Trade Resumes, Record Rents in NYC Boroughs

Shemesh Shahar
Latest News
May 18 2023 12:22AM

Global Temperatures to Surpass Paris Agreement Limit

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, there is a 66% likelihood that global average temperatures will surpass pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C in one of the next five years. This represents a significant increase from previous estimates, with odds being near zero in 2015. The Paris agreement aimed to limit long-term global warming to 1.5°C, making this a more ambitious target.

Montana Bans TikTok

Montana has become the first U.S. state to ban TikTok for all residents, expanding on previous prohibitions limited to government-issued devices. Governor Greg Gianforte cited concerns over data privacy and China’s ownership of TikTok’s parent company. The ban has been deemed “unlawful” by a spokesperson for the social-media app and is likely to face legal challenges.

Erdogan Extends Black Sea Deal

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, announced a two-month extension to the Black Sea grain deal between Ukraine and Russia. This agreement, facilitated by Turkey and the UN, enables Ukraine to export crops through vital ports. The extension is seen as a diplomatic victory for Erdogan, who is seeking re-election in a run-off vote later this month.

Ecuador’s President Dissolves Parliament

Ecuador’s President, Guillermo Lasso, dissolved the opposition-controlled parliament, effectively ending impeachment proceedings against him. Lasso appeared before congress to address embezzlement charges, which he denies. Utilizing a constitutional clause, Lasso will rule by decree for the next six months until elections take place. The opposition had pledged to hold protests if this clause was invoked.

German Carmakers Urge Post-Brexit Delay

German carmakers are urging the European Commission to postpone post-Brexit rules that could have a detrimental impact on the UK’s struggling automobile industry. Starting next year, electric vehicles traded between the UK and the EU will need to meet specific “rules of origin” criteria, requiring 45% of their parts to originate from within the two regions. Failure to meet these criteria may result in 10% tariffs.

UK’s Semiconductors Partnership with Japan

During his visit to Tokyo, Rishi Sunak, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, will announce a “semiconductors partnership” with the Japanese government. This move aligns with the UK’s goal of diversifying its chip supply chain to mitigate geopolitical risks. The announcement precedes the publication of a British semiconductor strategy that highlights the risks associated with relying heavily on a limited number of supplier countries.

Ghana Seeks Debt-Service Relief

Ghana aims to achieve $10.5 billion in external debt-service relief over the next three years as part of its loan restructuring plan with the International Monetary Fund. The government’s objective is to reduce the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product and external debt service to revenue. Additionally, the World Bank will provide $1.6 billion in budget and balance-of-payments support, further aiding Ghana’s economic goals.

Australian Timber Trade Resumes

Australian timber exports to China will resume after a two-year restriction period, signaling a thaw in economic and diplomatic relations between the two countries. China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, announced that the timber industry has been granted permission to restart trade. The halt in trade occurred in 2020 due to concerns over pests, but these concerns have since been alleviated through thorough examination of materials provided by Australian exporters.

Vienna’s Housing Market Decline

Vienna’s housing market experienced a significant decline, surpassing even Stockholm, according to Bloomberg City Tracker. Over the past year, the Austrian capital saw a 12.2% drop from peak levels, while Stockholm experienced a 6.4% decrease. In contrast, Madrid, Milan, and Zurich exhibited gains in their housing markets.

New Zealand Expects Economic Growth

According to Treasury Department forecasts, New Zealand is expected to avoid a recession with the support of increased tourist arrivals, cyclone recovery, and government spending. The budget projections published in Wellington indicate a 1% increase in gross domestic product for the year ending June 2024. The forecasts show growth in every quarter this year, in contrast to the previous prediction in December that anticipated three consecutive quarters of contraction.

Record Rents in NYC Boroughs

A report by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate reveals that median rents on new leases reached record levels in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and northwest Queens in April. Confident landlords have raised prices and reduced incentives, leading to these new highs. In Manhattan, the median rent reached $4,241, representing an 8.1% increase from the previous year and surpassing the previous record set in March by $66. Brooklyn’s median rent of $3,500 saw an almost 15% rise from last year, while the median in the Queens area, including Astoria and Long Island City, increased nearly 13% to $3,525.