Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - A bumpy 2023

Bloomberg Weekend Reading

All eyes will be on the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank next week for their last policy meetings of the year, with likely 50 basis point rate hikes by both as they slowly gain ground against inflation. US short-term inflation expectations dropped to the lowest level in more than a year, helped by falling gasoline prices. But Europe’s energy problems are likely to persist. Even with glimmers of good news for the US, it’s still shaping up to be a rough 2023 for the global economy, according to Bloomberg Economics, with the euro area starting the year in recession and the US possibly ending it in one. By contrast, China is projected to expand more than 5%. Reflecting on the wild swings that have marked the year, Liam Denning writes in Bloomberg Opinion that he doubts anyone predicted 2022 ending with oil prices down and the cost of batteries going up.”

What you’ll want to read this weekend

Still on the back foot thanks to Ukrainian advances in recent months, Vladimir Putin is again making thinly veiled threats of nuclear war. Moscow’s atomic arsenal is a “deterrent factor,” Putin volunteered this week, only to later make an even graver proclamation that he’s considering making a nuclear first strike part of Russian military doctrine. Putin’s forces, which have spent the past nine months killing potentially tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians, are continuing their bid to deprive the country of heat, water and power this winter by bombing infrastructure. It’s become a feature of daily life in Kyiv. But Putin did seek to claim a different kind of victory this week: In exchange for releasing WNBA player Brittney Griner, the US set free a notorious arms dealer with reported ties to Russian military intelligence. Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer, had been serving a 25 year term for conspiracy. At his sentencing, the judge said Bout “has sold weapons to some of the most vicious and violent regimes in the world.”

Former Soviet military officer and arms trafficker Viktor Bout, center, is escorted by US federal agents after arriving at Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, New York, on Nov. 16, 2010. Source: U.S. Department of Justice via Getty Images

China is rapidly dismantling its “Covid zero” policy following widespread protests over the draconian restrictions that came with it. But the threat of economic disruption remains high: If China’s recovery accelerates, it could become an upward force on inflation. And for investors who have been waiting to deploy capital to China—where both inoculation rates and vaccine efficacy lag the West—they “should be careful what they wish for,” Niall Ferguson writes in Bloomberg Opinion.

Democrats expanded their fragile lead in the US Senate with Raphael Warnock’s victory in Georgia’s runoff vote, only to see Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema narrow it right back by switching to independent—and reclaiming her leverage over the chamber (though it may be more about her political survival). Still, Warnock’s win cements Georgia as a bona fide battleground state. Congress, meantime, passed legislation to protect same-sex marriage—a victory for Democrats concerned that a Republican-appointee supermajority in the Supreme Court was preparing to end the right just as it did with abortion.

Soaring rents forced millions of young Americans to move back in with their parents this year, according to a new survey. While there’s been some cooling in the rental market in the US, in New York City, Manhattan apartment rents climbed slightly last month after a series of declines. But the market isn’t returning (just yet) to the hypercompetitive heights of the summer.

The weather is turning colder in the Northern Hemisphere (if you’re in Scandinavia, it already has), and many travelers are looking to the warm beaches of the Caribbean. Some hotels and resorts in the region used their downtime during the first years of the pandemic to improve products and services. Nine new venues are opening their doors. For less sandy travel, here are the shows to catch in London and New York.

The Branson Estate on Moskito Island in the British Virgin Islands. Source: Virgin Limited

What you’ll need to know next week

  • Fed appears  poised to hike interest rates—but just by a half-point.
  • The European Central Bank is to raise rates in a similar fashion.
  • A US Senate panel holds a hearing on FTX—and may  subpoena SBF.
  • Ghana’s November inflation numbers are revealed amid money crisis
  • NASA prepares for splashdown of Orion capsule in Artemis 1 mission. 

This Secretive Gulf Family Is World’s Richest

The Al Nahyan family has ruled the United Arab Emirates for half a century. Now they’ve emerged as the world’s richest family, surpassing the Waltons of Walmart. But the family’s wealth is about more than oil, with investments in everything from the Manchester City Football Club to SpaceX and Savage X Fenty. 

The Al Nahyans control a vast empire separate from state investment funds. Source: Bloomberg

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