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posted on 28 September 2015

Early Headlines: Tokyo Shares Decline, Global Corporate Bonds Predict Crisis, Shell Abandons Arctic, Catalonia Separatists Win, Russia's Anti IS War, Weak China Data And More

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Written by John Lounsbury

Early Bird Headlines 28 September 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.



  • Tokyo shares lead losses in mixed Asian session (CNBC) Asian equity markets were mixed on Monday, with data from the world's second largest economy in focus. But volumes in the region were light with Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea shut for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

  • For global corporate bonds, it's another crisis (Financial Review) The last time credit spreads (coporate rates - treasury rates) widened in back to back years was in 2007 and 2008, while it also played out that way in 1997 and 1998 when the Asian crisis shook global markets. Right now, if spreads in investment-grade corporate bonds continue to widen, as 2015 comes to a close, it will mark the second year in a row they have blown out, according to Barclays data. Widening spreads usually indicate increasing pessimism about the economy.
  • Climbing aboard the Africa train (The Economist) Hat tip to Worth Wray (via Twitter). Private equity investment in African businesses (telecoms, railways, power companies and others) finds dramatic improvements in efficiency and profitability. This is just the opposite of what often happens in the West where private equity investments are made in order to enable stripping a company for investor gain resulting in a company decline.


  • Trump Says Hedge Fund Managers May Not Like His Tax Plan (Bloomberg) The Republican presidential candidate will announce his plan on Monday at 11 a.m. Eastern time at the Trump Tower in New York. He made some comments on the plan Sunday night on CBS's 60 Minutes. Besides the hedge fund managers he also said under his plan many Americans (lower income) will pay no taxes at all. Here is the full interview:


The European Union needs to accept responsibility for the lack of a common asylum policy, which has transformed this year's growing influx of refugees from a manageable problem into yet another political crisis. Each member state has selfishly focused on its own interests, often acting against the interests of others. This precipitated panic among asylum seekers, the general public, and the authorities responsible for law and order. Asylum seekers have been the main victims.

The EU needs a comprehensive plan to respond to the crisis, one that reasserts effective governance over the flows of asylum-seekers so that they take place in a safe, orderly way, and at a pace that reflects Europe's capacity to absorb them. To be comprehensive, the plan has to extend beyond the borders of Europe. It is less disruptive and much less expensive to maintain potential asylum-seekers in or close to their present location.


  • German defence minister denies plagiarism (BBC News) German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has denied claims she plagiarised parts of her doctoral thesis. The crowd-sourced plagiarism hunting website VroniPlag Wiki claims to have found "elements of plagiarism" on 27 of the 62 pages of Ms von der Leyen's 1990 dissertation. The politician said she had asked her university to have her thesis evaluated after she learned of the allegations. Two previous cabinet ministers have stepped down after plagiarism scandals. Ms von der Leyen told German media that it was "not new, that internet activists seek to spread doubts on the dissertations of politicians".


  • Catalan Separatists Win Narrow Majority in Regional Elections (The New York Times) Catalan separatist parties won a majority of the seats in regional parliamentary elections on Sunday that they had billed as a plebiscite on secession from Spain. The result is set to intensify Catalonia's drive toward independence, despite fierce opposition from Spain's government under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The separatist leaders have vowed to form a new regional government that will lead Catalonia to statehood within 18 months. While winning a narrow majority of parliament seats the separatists failed to win a majority of the popular vote. Also the government in Madrid has repeatedly warned that any breach of the Constitution would be struck down by the courts and could lead even to the suspension of Catalan secessionist politicians from office.


  • Syria conflict: Russia wants 'co-ordination' against IS (BBC News) Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a regional "co-ordinating structure" against Islamic State (IS). Mr Putin reiterated his support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who Western countries and the Syrian opposition have said must go. The crisis is expected to be high on the agenda as world leaders gather at the UN in New York. Mr Putin will hold rare talks with US President Barack Obama to discuss the issue later on Monday.


  • China Industrial Profits Fall Most Since 2011 as Growth Ebbs (Bloomberg) Chinese industrial companies reported profits fell the most in at least four years, as the pillars of China's infrastructure-led growth model suffered from a devalued yuan, a tumbling stock market and weak demand. Industrial profits tumbled 8.8% in August from a year earlier, with the biggest drops concentrated in producers of coal, oil and metals, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday in Beijing. It was the biggest decline since the government began releasing monthly data in October 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. But see also next article.


  • Measuring Chinese iron ore displacement (Macro Business) Chinese ore production official data suggest raw ore production is down 13% yoy to 1300 million tons. Bit the seasonal rebound in the months starting early each year shows a comparable strength to previous years.


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