Early Headlines: What Makes the Dutch Tall?, Oil Below $49, Troika Returns to Athens, Japan Exports Increase, China Manufacturing Slumps and More
Early Bird Headlines 24 July 2015
Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- Oil falls on concerns about supply glut, shaky demand (Reuters) Thursday Brent crude oil futures settled at its lowest since April on Thursday and U.S. crude fell into bear market territory and ended below $49 a barrel for the first time since late March, as persistent concerns about ample supply and shaky demand offset support from the dollar's weakness. U.S. crude's $48.45 a barrel settlement is down 21 percent from the June 10 close at $61.43 and a 20 percent downturn is considered by many traders to constitute a bear market.
- Central banks dump up to US$260b FX reserves in Q2: Citi (The Business Times) Central banks dumped as much as US$260 billion of foreign exchange reserves in the second quarter as emerging market central banks tried to mitigate the impact of capital fleeing their own economies. This has been a particular problem for China, as discussed in What We Read Today yesterday.
- Rules for asset-backed financing may be eased (Business World) Global regulators may ease restrictions on asset-backed or pooled-debt in a policy shift that banks and European policy makers say is needed if financial markets are to play a bigger role in funding economic growth.
- Yes, America's Middle Class Is Shrinking – Here's the Proof (Money Morning) Five data points are reviewed but here is the punch line:
Maybe the new term for what used to be the middle class should be "below-the-middle class."
- Investors rethink stock valuations as China, growth weigh on prospects (Reuters) Some disappointing earnings announcements and the recent crash in Chinese stocks have investors feeling uncertain.
- Greece and creditors return to the bargaining table. Now what? (Financial Times) Now that Greece has enacted the austerity measures that have been dictated, representatives of the country's bailout monitors (the Troika) will return to Athens on Friday for the first time in months to begin the "final slog" towards agreeing on a deal. The talks will now expand to include two areas where creditors think there is significant room for liberalization in the Greek economy: labor laws and restrictions in the product market. Econintersect note: "Liberalization" means removing labor bargaining rights and removing protections from competition for Greek businesses. It remains to be seen if any debt restructuring (cancellations, extending maturities and lowering interest) that has been demanded by the IMF will be on the table.
- Did natural selection make the Dutch the tallest people on the planet? (Science) The Dutch are the tallest people on earth. Over the last 200 years, they have grown 20 cm in height: a rapid rate of increase that points to environmental causes. This secular trend in height is echoed across all Western populations, but came to an end, or at least leveled off, much earlier than in The Netherlands. A study of birth records in the Netherlands finds that tall men father more children than shorter men, suggesting a genetic relationship and perhaps providing an example of evolution through natural selection. See Does natural selection favour taller stature among the tallest people on earth? (Proceedings B of The Royal Society)
- Crimea Is Now Putin's Problem Child (Bloomberg) Russian security services are cracking down on alleged corruption in the newly annexed peninsula.
- SEBI busts billion-dollar ‘tax evasion shops’ (The Hindu) More than 900 entities have been banned from capital markets by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). It has also referred these cases to the Income Tax Department for further investigations.
- Japan Exports Rise Most in Five Months on Cars, Electronics (Bloomberg) The value of overseas shipments rose 9.5% from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday, versus an estimated 10% gain. Export volumes were unchanged, signaling limited support for industrial production that has held back economic growth.
- China's Vice Finance Minister promises "pro-active" fiscal policy (The Economic Times) China will pursue a "pro-active" fiscal policy to stabilise investment growth and boost domestic consumption in the world's second-largest economy, a vice finance minister said on Wednesday. Liu Kun was quoted as saying on the Finance Ministry's website that an active fiscal policy was part of six crucial areas that the ministry was focused on, alongside lifting growth in investment and consumption.
- Caixin China PMI drops sharply, surprising markets (CNBC) The preliminary China Caixin purchasing managers index (PMI) surprised markets by dropping to a 15-month low in July, with analysts pinning the hit on the recent stock market crash and weak export demand. The index, released Friday, fell to 48.2, coming in well below the 49.7 forecast from a Reuters poll and the 50-mark separating growth from contraction. See the detailed data at GEI News.
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