Global Macro Scoreboard

Global Macro Scoreboard: Iran-Saudi Rivalry, Bitcoin, Oil Markets

Global online audiences were drawn to the Iran-Saudi Rivalry, as the Kingdom targets Hezbollah; Bitcoin, which had a roller-coaster week; Oil Markets, affected by uncertainty in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela; the Qatar Blockade, as another Tehran-Riyadh flashpoint; and the North Korea Crisis, which has devolved to name-calling.


The score on the left denotes the percentage share an issue captured of the weekly total upswing in digital attention across all major macro issues. For example, the Iran-Saudi Rivalry accounted for more than 20 percent of the total increase in online attention to market-moving macro issues over the course of the week. Contact us at if you have questions about our methodology or how to interpret the Scoreboard.

1.) The Iran-Saudi Rivalry accounted for the greatest share of increased online attention this week. After apparently coercing the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and ordering its citizens to quit the country, the Kingdom has ramped up its threats against Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon. Country volatility for Lebanon continues to surge, an indication that online audiences are bracing for further escalation.

2.) Bitcoin had a tumultuous week, falling from a record high of $7,500 to $5,600. In a research note 10 days ago, we warned that the nature of digital conversation about the cryptocurrency had become more superficial, indicating herding behavior could be taking hold and that a price correction was possible.

3.) Online audiences focused on Oil Markets are reacting to the turmoil in both Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Crude prices have continued to rise in the wake of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's power grab and signs of greater instability in the gulf. As uncertainty has grown, so has our volatility signal for Saudi Aramco, which has hit a year high.


Further, as risk consultancy Asymmetrica showcased this week, our volatility signals for Venezuela have continued to rise as the specter of a default by state oil company PDSVA looms. Derivatives industry association ISDA reconvenes Monday to make a ruling on whether a late bond payment by PDSVA constituted a default. 

4.) Though still stalemated, Saudi Arabia's Qatar Blockade also drew more attention this week as a flashpoint in the Iran-Saudi cold war.

5.) With President Donald Trump wrapping up his trip to Asia, the ongoing North Korea Crisis drew increased digital attention this week. In South Korea, Japan, and China, Trump sought to muster regional support for U.S. efforts to halt the North's nuclear program. But media coverage of the diplomatic substance was stepped on by an exchange that featured Pyongyang calling Trump an old fool, and Trump (NEVER) calling Kim Jong-un “short and fat”.


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