The Day at a Glance | December 18 2023

*A cargo ship was attacked in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, US officials blame the Houthis.

*Chinese Communist Party officials hope that China’s economy will experience more favorable conditions and opportunities than challenges in 2024.

*ECB policy chief Bostjan Vasle said it will take at least until spring before they can reassess their policy outlook and market expectations.

*North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile on Monday with the potential capability to impact the entire United States, according to Seoul and Tokyo.

*German business confidence unexpectedly decreased in December.

Economic environment

A Norwegian ship was attacked in the Red Sea on Monday; according to US officials, the assault was carried out in Yemeni territory controlled by the Houthi movement aligned with Iran. The attack is the latest in a series on vessels crossing the Red Sea since the beginning of the Middle East war. The Houthis have targeted ships with “ties to Israel” in the Red Sea area and have warned against sailing through that territory in protest of Israel’s aggressive approach in Gaza. As a result, two major shipping companies, including MSC, the world’s largest container shipping line, announced over the weekend that they would avoid the Suez Canal in response to Houthi forces’ attacks, as they control most of Yemen. This is a crucial route for the international trade of goods between Europe and Asia, reducing costs and shipping times by avoiding navigating around the entire African continent. The Houthis pledge to continue carrying out their attacks until Israel halts its aggressive methods. However, it´s worth noting that on Saturday, they announced that real measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip would contribute to “reducing escalation” by the Houthis, marking the first indication that the militant group might be willing to scale back attacks. Lastly, the US has stated that it´s seeking a broad coalition to protect ships in the Red Sea and send a signal to the Houthis, who have also launched drones and missiles against Israel since the war began in October.

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