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What We Read Today 03 January 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

Oil declines in thin, volatile trading (Samantha Sunne, Reuters)  Brent crude traded down almost $2 a barrel Friday (02 January 2015) before recovering to close down less than a dollar at $56.42.  Part of the decline of more than 1.5% could be attributed to 0.9% strengthening of the U.S. Dollar Index.  See GEI Investing weekly wrap-up from for more details about stocks, forex, energy and other commodities.

David Bird, Missing Wall Street Journal Reporter, Foresaw an Oil Crash (Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Wall Street on Parade)  The Martens describe David Bird's writing in the Wall Street Journal in August 2013 which described how the Fed's QE taper would slow global economic activity and create an oil glut which would cause a price crash.  Just days after the article appeared, Bird left his home to go for a walk and never returned.  That didn't stop the oil market crash though.  And the Martens are saying now that the fallout from what has been happening still has a lot of playing out to do, especially in emerging markets.

A Stress Test for Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank (Jack Ewing and Binyamin Appelbaum, The New York Times)  ECB President Mario Draghi has been living with his now 2 1/2 year-old promise to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro.  As time goes by "whatever" is losing its punch as disagreements within the ECB board have limited his actions.

A central bank claiming that it will do ‘whatever it takes’ while not delivering with actions eventually loses its credibility,” said Athanasios Orphanides, a former European Central Bank board member who is now an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the E.C.B. has not been operating in a manner that promotes fulfillment of its mandate.”

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