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.
Asian stocks slip as commodity rout feeds demand fears (Reuters) Asian stocks slipped on Wednesday as crumbling commodity prices and data pointing to cooling demand from China sapped investor appetite for risk assets. Spreadbetters expected slightly calmer nerves to prevail in Europe, forecasting a modestly higher open for Britain's FTSE .FTSE, Germany's DAX .GDAXI and France's CAC .FCHI. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS lost 0.3% and edged toward its November trough, a break of which would take it to its lowest level since early October.
Franklin Templeton's Hasenstab: Fed hike to widen EM divergence (Reuters) A possible U.S. interest rate hike will magnify differences between emerging economies with concerns over South Korea, Mexico and Malaysia to abate thanks to their resilience, said Franklin Templeton's star bond investor Michael Hasenstab. Hasenstab, CIO, Templeton Global Macro, said countries such as Mexico, were in a better position to raise interest rates along or shortly after the U.S. Federal Reserve, thanks to their relatively strong fundamentals. Hasenstab said in an emailed statement:
"However, countries with relatively weaker fundamentals, such as Turkey and South Africa, are likely to be negatively impacted by US interest-rate hikes."
Why politicians will always struggle to sell action against climate change to the public (City A.M.) People are adverse to paying now and receiving later. The two week long Paris conference on climate change seems to be dragging on interminably. There are obviously many reasons why such summits find it difficult to reach meaningful agreements. But a fundamental one is that the electorates of the West are being asked to bear substantial costs right here and now, in return for a stream of benefits which will only become apparent well into the future.
Consumer Borrowing in U.S. Increased at Slower Pace in October (Bloomberg) Consumer borrowing cooled in October, reflecting the smallest gain in Americans' credit-card balances in eight months. The $16 billion increase in total credit followed a revised $28.6 billion surge in the previous month, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. Revolving debt climbed $179 million after a $6.7 billion advance, the data showed. While households kept their credit-card balances in check in October, loan demand for motor vehicles remained robust. Borrowing probably will stay elevated as auto sales exceeded an 18 million rate for a record third month in November.
Supreme Court lets local ban on assault weapons stand(Personal Liberty) In a victory for gun-control advocates, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected a 2nd Amendment challenge to laws that forbid the sale or possession of semiautomatic weapons that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The justices by a 7-2 vote refused to review rulings by judges in Chicago who upheld a ban on assault weapons in the city of Highland Park, Illinois, as a reasonable gun-control regulation. Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented. This is another in series of decisions supporting the right of local governments to regulate ownership and use of guns.
Loan to California shooter puts online lenders under the spotlight (Reuters) Prosper Marketplace's $28,500 loan to the husband of the couple that killed 14 people in California last week risks drawing regulatory scrutiny of the online lending industry's "fast and easy" business model. Online lenders such as privately held Prosper and market leader Lending Club Corp are part of a small, but fast-growing industry. They advertise quick, unsecured loans to potential borrowers, giving approval in minutes and money within days. Shooter Syed Rizwan Farook took out the loan from Prosper around the middle of last month, according to a source familiar with the matter. Authorities have said Farook, 28, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, were radicalized Muslims. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said that the Dec. 2 attack is being investigated as an "act of terrorism."
Russia says it hit Islamic State with submarine-launched missile for first time (Reuters) Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russia had for the first time struck Islamic State targets in Syria with missiles fired from a submarine in the Mediterranean. "The targets were two large terrorist positions in the territory of Raqqa," Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting, adding that the Calibre missiles had been fired from the submarine Rostov-on-Don.
Amnesty report: ISIS armed with U.S. weapons (CNN Money) A new report from a prominent human rights group has found that ISIS has built a substantial arsenal, including U.S.-made weapons obtained from the Iraqi army and Syrian opposition groups. Amnesty International's 44-page report, released late Monday, found that much of ISIS' equipment and munitions comes from stockpiles captured from the U.S.-allied Iraqi military and Syrian rebels.
Hooray! Japan is not in recession (CNN Money) Gross domestic product grew by an annualized 1% in the third quarter, instead of contracting by 0.8% as previously announced, Japan's Cabinet Office said Tuesday. That means the world's third-largest economy is not in recession, which is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. Japan's GDP data is often revised, because initial estimates are based on partial survey data. But Tuesday's shift from negative to positive growth is an unusually large change.
China's foreign trade slumps again (CBS Money Watch) China's imports and exports shrank again in November, but there were signs a decline in domestic demand might be turning around. Customs data released Tuesday showed exports contracted by 6.8%, accelerating from October's 3.6%. Imports declined 8.7%, but this was less than the previous month's 16% fall.
China's renminbi at weakest level against dollar for 4 years (Financial Times) The renminbi closed at its softest level in more than four years against the dollar on Tuesday as investors continued to fret about the capital outflows evident from currency reserve data published earlier in the week. Weakness was even more marked in the more volatile offshore market, where the spread between onshore and offshore rates reached its highest in more than three months, implying investors expect China's currency to continue weakening.
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