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.
Asia shares step back after mixed Chinese data (Reuters) Asian stock markets pulled back slightly on Wednesday after a mixed batch of Chinese data showed growth in the world's second-biggest economy was still in low gear. China's October industrial production growth cooled to 5.6% last month from a year ago, slightly lower than the 5.8% gain seen by economists in a Reuters poll. Retail sales jumped 11% from a year ago, just ahead of expectations of a 10.9% increase. Chinese shares extended losses, with the CSI300 index .CSI300 of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen falling 1.3%, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC eased 0.9%.
Oil glut to swamp demand until 2020 (Financial Times) The estimates of longevity for the global oil glut keep getting longer and longer. The latest comes in the annual outlook of the International Energy Agency, which said oil demand would rise by less than 1% a year between now and 2020, slower than necessary to quickly mop up an oil glut that has driven prices to multiyear lows.
Oil prices drop on rising stockpiles, slowing Asian economies (Reuters) Crude oil prices fell on Wednesday after industry data showed an increase in U.S. stockpiles, while China's factory output slowed and fears emerged that Japan's economy may have fallen into recession added to demand woes. Benchmark U.S. crude futures slipped to a two-week low at $43.55 a barrel in early trading before edging back up to $43.72 a barrel by 0652 GMT, still down almost half a dollar from their last close. Internationally traded Brent crude futures were down 29 cents at $47.15 a barrel.
Antarctica reveals answers to Mediterranean mystery: New Zealand-led study(Xinhuanet) The Mediterranean dried up around 5.6 million years ago and became a 1.5-kilometer-deep basin for around 270,000 years in an event known as the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC), which left a kilometers-deep layer of salt due to seawater evaporation. Researchers have determined that a combination of an ice age (which lowered ocean levels) and an uplift of land at Gibraltar created a landlocked basin which evaporated to salt beds until global warming created rising sea levels which allowed water to flow over the thin land bridge at Gibraltar reflooding the Mediterranean in just a few years. Noah's flood? No, this was 5.3 million years ago.
Late last week, a consortium of financial regulators in the United States, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, issued an astonishing condemnation of the US banking system. Most notably, they highlighted "continuing gaps between industry practices and the expectations for safe and sound banking." This is part of an annual report they publish called the Shared National Credit (SNC) Review. And in this year's report, they identified a huge jump in risky loans due to overexposure to weakening oil and gas industries. Make no mistake; this is not chump change. The total exceeds $3.9 trillion worth of risky loans that US banks made with your money. Given that even the Fed is concerned about this, alarm bells should be ringing.
Cameron's reform proposals will deliver an EU worth staying in (City A.M.) The UK's plans to opt out of "ever closer union" and for Europe to officially self-identify as a "multi-currency union", so the euro is no longer the EU's official currency, are vital. This guarantees that we will retain opt-outs on the single currency, defense, foreign affairs, taxation, and crime and justice which ensure we have the best of both worlds: economic partnership but national control where it matters.
Lebanese newspaper Ad-Diyar published an interesting article, telling about the phone call between Saudi monarch Salman Al Saud and the US President Barack Obama, in which the king reportedly bemoaned the White House's indecision, not allowing time to stop the devastating blows of Moscow to the Saud-sponsored insurgents in Syria . "We have no choice" - the newspaper quoted King Salman - "or you will allow Putin to create an immediate unconditional cease-fire in Syria to end its military campaign, and we intend to revise our alliance with the United States and unilaterally take direct efforts to overthrow Assad , including, if necessary, a military confrontation. "
Syria conflict: Russia 'peace plan' revealed ahead of key summit (BBC News) A Russian document circulating at the United Nations has proposed a constitutional reform process in Syria, lasting 18 months, to be followed by presidential elections. The document does not say whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in power during that time. It says certain Syrian opposition groups should take part in key talks on the crisis in Vienna on Saturday
Myanmar's Suu Kyi wins seat but presidency out of reach (Associated Press) Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has won her parliamentary seat, official results showed Wednesday, leading a near total sweep by her party that will give the country its first government in decades that isn't under the military's sway. While a win of that magnitude virtually assures the National League for Democracy of electing the president as well, Suu Kyi is barred from becoming president by a constitutional hurdle inserted by the junta when it transferred power in 2011 to a quasi-civilian government. Still, she recently has declared that she will be the country's de facto leader, acting "above the president," if her party forms the next government.
China Rebalancing Takes Hold as Output Slows, Retail Sales Jump (Bloomberg) China's industrial output matched the weakest gain since the global credit crisis last month, while retail sales accelerated, underscoring a shift in the economy toward greater reliance on consumer spending as old growth engines falter. The good news is that signs of vibrancy in China's swelling urban middle class abound: sales at retailers climbed by the most this year, and that was before Wednesday's Singles Day -- a record shopping extravaganza championed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The bad news: China's overall economy began the fourth quarter with little change in momentum as Bloomberg's monthly gross domestic product tracker clocked a 6.57% pace in October. That signals that monetary and fiscal easing have yet to spur any notable acceleration in growth, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts among those that predict the central bank will take further actions as a result.
China to become global leader in renewable technology: expert (Xinhuanet) China is set to become the global leader in renewable technology, aiding the rise of a moderately prosperous society following the significant reforms implemented in the five-year plans. Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC, told Xinhua in Sydney that China will become a global leader in environmental technology as the sector becomes more globally important.
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