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posted on 14 December 2015

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Lower Again, Oil Continues Slide, Yuan Weakens, Slaves Process Shrimp, Merkel FT Person Of The Year, Supply Side China And More

Written by Econintersect

Early Bird Headlines 14 December 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.



  • Asia stocks drop as oil rout deepens, yuan extends slide (Reuters) Asian stocks fell on Monday and China's yuan hit fresh 4-1/2 year lows as plunging oil prices added to investors' nervousness about riskier assets ahead of an expected U.S. rate rise later in the week. Spreadbetters saw the somber mood extending into Europe, forecasting Britain's FTSE .FTSE, Germany's DAX .GDAXI and France's CAC .FCHI to open flat to a touch lower. The yuan moved to 4 1/2 year lows around 6.46 to the dollar. Brent crudel was trading below its Friday close, the latest price at $37.70.

  • Paris climate pact may rebuild the trust needed for ongoing global action (Al Jazeera) The accord by 195 nations encourages voluntary efforts to curb emissions and provides billions to help poor nations. Hailed as the first truly global climate deal, committing both rich and poor nations to reining in rising emissions blamed for warming the planet, the Paris agreement sets out a sweeping, long-term goal of eliminating net manmade greenhouse gas output this century. Econintersect: Rather pie in the sky sentiments. There are strong political forces within the U.S. opposed to this agreement and, if they gain more power in the next election, the U.S. will likely withdraw from the agreement. That would effectively remove any chance of many other countries staying the course agreed. And evenh if U.S. support is notremoved there are many p;roblems - see next article.

  • Climate obstacles emerge within hours (Financial Times) The obstacles facing this weekend's historic global climate change accord were thrown into relief on Sunday night when businesses and government officials downplayed the impact of the deal and US Republicans underlined their opposition. The Paris agreement, which requires all countries to regularly publish plans to deal with global warming, has been hailed by international leaders as a turning point after more than 20 years of effort to make this century the last to be powered by fossil fuels. But coal and oil industry executives shrugged off any suggestion the new agreement sealed in Paris on Saturday night would have any immediate impact on their businesses.

  • Global supermarkets selling shrimp peeled by slaves (Associated Press) Pervasive human trafficking has helped turn Thailand into one of the world's biggest shrimp providers. Despite repeated promises by businesses and government to clean up the country's $7 billion seafood export industry, an Associated Press investigation has found shrimp peeled by modern-day slaves is reaching the U.S., Europe and Asia. The problem is fueled by corruption and complicity among police and authorities. Arrests and prosecutions are rare. Raids can end up sending migrants without proper paperwork to jail, while owners go unpunished. More than 2,000 trapped fishermen have been freed this year as a result of an ongoing Associated Press investigative series into slavery in the Thai seafood industry. The reports also have led to a dozen arrests, millions of dollars' worth of seizures and proposals for new federal laws.


  • Iraqi's Oregon Jackpot Raises Questions on Lottery Sales (The New York Times) The man from Baghdad showed up unannounced this month in a state office building in Salem, Ore., with a piece of paper in his hand that he said was worth $6.4 million. He politely asked that his name be kept quiet, then told state officials that he had set up a local bank account into which they should deposit money annually. And then he went away, richer and more mysterious than when he arrived. It was not an ordinary day at the Oregon Lottery. The story started with small details, lottery officials said, and became bigger from there: The man was 37, an Iraqi Kurd. He had recently arrived in the United States from his home in Baghdad, and he said in fine English that he had won the Oregon Megabucks lottery drawing in late August by possessing the six correct numbers - without ever having visited the state. The ticket, lottery officials learned, had been bought through, a company based in the island nation of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, but had been printed out in a little deli on the outskirts of Bend, Ore., called Binky's. There is no question that the Iraqi winner was a legitimate winner. The questions involve whether the sale was legal.


  • Watch the presses roll as Europe scrambles to fix its banks (Financial Times) The official purpose of the ECB's private and public sector asset purchase programs - quantitative easing - is to achieve a higher level of inflation. If this goes on for a very long time - as I believe it will - it may end up as an ersatz debt resolution instrument.


  • The skills shortage and access to funding is holding back the UK's entrepreneurs (City A.M.) Over two-fifths (42%) of start-up businesses surveyed by the Institute of Directors' 99 network said they struggled to hire people with the right skills, and almost as many (39%) said they had difficulty accessing financing, which was preventing the growth of the company. Access to skilled employees, and good digital infrastructure are the two most important things for a start-up the respondents agreed.


  • Le Pen's National Front Shut Out of French Regional Governments (Bloomberg) After polling strongly in the first phase of the voting a week ago, France's National Front failed to win any regional assemblies in runoff elections Sunday, dealing a blow to leader Marine Le Pen's efforts to build on a historic first-round result and prepare the far-right party for government. The 12 regions had 7 going to Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right Republicans and 5 going to the current governing Socialist party. The change from the earlier vote, where Pen's party appeared poised to win at least two of the districts, was voter turn-out. A week ago only 48% of the voters showed at the polls, while this week the turn-out was 59%.


  • Person of the Year: Angela Merkel - The transformation of a cautious chancellor (Financial Times) Instead of jumping to protect Germany's frontiers from a wave of Syrian refugees, as many conservatives wanted, she pledged to shelter anyone from the war-torn country. Her "refugees welcome" message spread like wildfire. On social media, Syrians shared images of Ms Merkel bearing the words "we love you". A burst of euphoria broke out, with Germans rushing to help the influx of refugees. In a matter of weeks, Ms Merkel had been transformed in the eyes of the world and her fellow Germans. The cautious, "step-by-step" chancellor who had led Germany for a decade was gone, replaced by a politician with bold convictions. It was a big gambit, and it is far from clear whether it will pay off.

Saudi Arabia


  • The Great China Supply-Side Revolution? Communists Change Tack (Bloomberg) During the meeting of top Communist Party officials in October, the discussion explored stepping up supply-side reforms such as dealing with overcapacity and excess labor in state-owned industries and tax cuts, according to a party official familiar with the discussions. Applying the supply-side theory that embraces productivity gains and reduced tax barriers could reinvigorate the public sector while potentially free up room for private enterprise, according to proponents. If adopted, the shift would mark an acknowledgment that a policy "troika" that previously focused on investment, consumption and exports wouldn't be enough to deliver the government's ambitions for 2020.

  • Fosun founder Guo Guangchang appears in public (BBC News) Guo Guangchang, the high-profile Chinese tycoon detained by police last week, has made an appearance at his company's annual meeting in Shanghai. The Fosun International chairman was first reported missing on Friday. The company later revealed he was assisting authorities with a probe. Fosun president Wang Qunbin said the investigation mostly concerned Mr Guo's personal affairs, not company business.

  • Hong Kong Property Foreclosures Seen Doubling in 2016 on Economy (Bloomberg) Property foreclosures in Hong Kong will double from current levels by the end of next year as a slowing economy hurts borrowers' ability to service their mortgages, according to an auctioneer with 23 years of industry experience. The average number of foreclosures has risen to 80 a month currently from about 50 to 60 in the first half of 2015

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