Russia's war at 6 months: A global economy in growing danger
MECKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Martin Kopf needs natural gas to run his family's company, Zinkpower GmbH, which rustproofs steel components in western Germany.
Zinkpower's facility outside Bonn uses gas to keep 600 tons of zinc worth 2.5 million euros ($2.5 million) in a molten state every day. The metal will harden otherwise, wrecking the tank where steel parts are dipped before they end up in car suspensions, buildings, solar panels and wind turbines.
Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the consequences are posing a devastating threat to the global economy, including companies like Zinkpower, which employs 2,800 people. Gas is not only much more costly, it might not be available at all if Russia completely cuts off supplies to Europe to avenge Western sanctions, or if utilities can't store enough for winter.
Germany may have to impose gas rationing that could cripple industries from steelmaking to pharmaceuticals to commercial laundries. "If they say, we're cutting you off, all my equipment will be destroyed," said Kopf, who' also chairs Germany’s association of zinc galvanizing firms.
Governments, businesses and families worldwide are feeling the war's economic effects just two years after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged global trade. Inflation is soaring, and rocketing energy costs have raised the prospect of a cold, dark winter. Europe stands at the brink of recession.
High food prices and shortages, worsened by the cutoff of fertilizer and grain shipments from Ukraine and Russia that are slowly resuming, could produce widespread hunger and unrest in the developing world.
Outside Uganda's capital of Kampala, Rachel Gamisha said Russia's war in faraway Ukraine has hurt her grocery business. She has felt it in surging prices for necessities like gasoline,...