The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster for business and economic news. Unfortunately, most of us are entering 2023 with a lot less fortune. Here are the biggest stories that dominated 2022 headlines in this week’s Five for Friday.
#5: FTX Scandal
Cryptocurrency was already facing turmoil amid the long crypto winter. Then, the end of the year brought scandal in the sector. It will take months or years to get to the bottom of how FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried allegedly muddied the finances between the exchange and his hedge fund Alameda Research. Billions in customer and investor funds are missing and Bankman-Fried is facing eight criminal charges and is living with his mom and dad under house arrest.
#4: Inflation nation
Inflation could have been 2022’s word of the year, but for some reason Oxford’s is “goblin mode.” Prices peaked in June, up 9.1% year-over-year, a 4-decade high. Congress tried to deal with it by passing the massive Inflation Reduction Act, which doesn’t immediately reduce inflation. The Federal Reserve also tightened monetary policy while raising interest rates from near zero to above four percent. Inflation still sits well above the Fed’s threshold of 2%.
#3: Disney v. Florida
Disney ended up in the middle of the controversy over Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Facing pressure to take a stand from the company’s employees, then-CEO Bob Chapek eventually said the company was against the legislation from the start but had kept quiet in public. Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and the state’s legislature retaliated by revoking Disney’s special tax status that allowed the company to operate as its own city. While Chapek was able to weather that storm, he was fired in November after huge losses in streaming. Former Disney CEO Bob Iger swung in to save the day and helm the House of Mouse once again.
#2: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Prices were already high when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, which sent energy and commodities prices surging even further. Oil soared over $120 per barrel over the uncertainty, with Russia accounting for around 10% of global supply. The E.U. had an even harder time with skyrocketing energy prices due to its reliance on Russia for natural gas and coal. Wheat prices also spiked since Ukraine accounts for roughly 10% of the world market. It took months for the United Nations to work out a deal with Russia to get Ukrainian exports flowing again.
#1: Twitter Takeover
The Elon Musk Twitter saga has easily been the biggest business story of the year. Let’s take a brief look at what happened. Musk offered to buy Twitter and the board eventually accepted. He then tried to back out of the deal, blaming bots on the platform, and was sued by Twitter. Musk later decided to move forward with the $44 billion deal. He took Twitter private and became the CEO. He orchestrated the Twitter Files, and amid uproar over his “free speech absolutist” approach, he conducted a Twitter poll asking whether he should step down, a move the majority of voters supported. Musk eventually agreed to do so once he finds a successor. All of this has taken its toll on Tesla’s stock, which has plummeted.