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posted on 29 December 2015

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Rise, ETFs In Next Crisis, US Holiday Sales Up Big, Low Tax States, Big ISIS Defeat In Iraq, Roots Of Russian Recession, China FDI And ODI Rise And More

Written by Econintersect

Early Bird Headlines 29 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 rise as crude prices stabilize (Reuters) Asian stocks poked into positive territory on Tuesday, shrugging off early losses as Chinese shares rose a day after marking their biggest loss in a month and crude prices took back some lost ground. Financial spreadbetters at IG expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open up by 2 points, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC were both seen rising by 0.6%.

  • Here's why some people believe Mark Zuckerberg's plan to bring cheap internet to the world is deeply flawed (Tech Insider) Hat tip to Marvin Clark. Not everyone is a fan of, Facebook's non-profit that aims to introduce cheap internet access to "the most disadvantaged" parts of the world. Since its February rollout in India, several big companies from that country, including a giant media firm and a major travel portal, have withdrawn from the service, claiming it conflicts with the spirit of net neutrality. See more under India, below.

  • ETFs to play main role in the next crisis (John Auters, Financial Times) The next financial crisis will be played out in indexes and exchange traded funds. That is inevitable given the huge share that ETFs now take of investor fund flows, and their popularity as hedge fund trading vehicles. What is less clear, and deeply controversial, is whether the structure of ETFs will itself contribute to the next crisis, or even cause it. Regulators, worried by past incidents when untested financial innovations helped exacerbate financial crises, are worried that it could.


"Murray said President Barack Obama's administration has issued regulations that illegally bypass the states and their utility commissions, the U.S. Congress and the Constitution in favor of putting the U.S. EPA in charge of the nation's electric grid."

"Thus, these people are prohibited from working and fall to the negative side of the economic ledger for the rest of their lives. This is not the America that I have always cherished. Well, I am obviously not giving up. Nor should you. We have the law, science, economics, cold hard energy facts and the Constitution on our side. Our cause is right. It is right for the coal industry and our communities and America. We must continue to do whatever we can to overcome the insanity of our current government."

  • 10 States With The Lowest Tax Burden (Financial Advisor) Taxpayers in the most expensive states spend nearly three times more to meet their civic burden than those in the least expensive states, according to the personal finance website WalletHub. Delaware (No. 1) is the only state not in the south or the mountain west. But there is some subjectivity in these rankings. For a list of the five best tax states with two states not in the top ten here, see The 5 Best And 5 Worst States For Taxpayers (Financial Advisor). This second article is from early 2014.


  • Economists warn of threat to eurozone from higher US rates (Financial Times) Interest rate rises by the US Federal Reserve could prove a mixed blessing for the eurozone economy as an expected boost to the region's exports and inflation risks being offset by increased global volatility and monetary tightening.


  • Iraq PM vows to defeat ISIS in 2016 after army's first major victory (Reuters) A triumphant Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared on Monday that the coming year would see his forces defeat Islamic State, after his military achieved its first major victory since collapsing in the face of the fighters 18 months ago. Iraqi forces flew the national flag above the main government complex in Ramadi earlier in the day, declaring they had recaptured the city, a provincial capital west of Baghdad, which fell to Islamic State in May.


  • The systemic roots of Russia's recession (Bruegel) To understand the deeper causes of the current recession, we must look at the history of the Russian transition and its partial reversal. Russia was never a star reformer. Its economic transition in the 1990s was long and painful because of the complex legacy of the Soviet system (structural distortions, macroeconomic imbalances and the absence of market institutions) and because of insufficient political support for market-oriented reforms. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the new millennium, those reforms started to bear fruit. In 1999 the Russian economy entered a phase of rapid growth on the back of increasing oil prices. At that time, Russia could be considered a country that had completed its basic transition agenda and managed to build a market economy based on private ownership, even if significant distortions and imperfections continued to exist. But then in 2003 Russia started a series of state takeover of private enterprises which has produced a retrogression, according to this article.


  • India is temporarily banning Facebook's plan to provide free internet to the developing world (The Times of India) Reliance Communications is Facebook's sole telecom partner in India to offer a set of basic internet services free to its subscribers. The service is called Free Basics. Earlier known as, Free Basics has been criticized by several experts as being against the spirit of net neutrality. TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has not announced a view whether Free Basics conforms to net neutrality. Net neutrality means Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. From an unnamed source:

"The question has arisen whether a telecom operator should be allowed to have differential pricing for different kinds of content. Unless that question is answered, it will not be appropriate for us to continue to make that happen."


  • Commerce ministry: Increase in FDI, ODI puts economy on target (Xinhuanet) Both foreign direct investment in China and outbound direct investment have risen this year, putting the nation on track to meet its annual growth target, the minister of commerce said on Sunday. FDI is expected to reach $135 billion this year, up almost 13% year-on-year, while ODI is forecast to hit $128 billion, up 24% year-on-year.

  • South China Sea: China anger at Filipino disputed island protest (BBC News) China has expressed anger after Filipino protesters landed on a remote island controlled by the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea. "We once again urge the Philippines to withdraw... from the islands that it is illegally occupying," foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday. It comes after about 50 protesters, mostly students, landed on Pagasa in the Spratly archipelago on Saturday. They said they wanted to highlight growing Chinese encroachment. China claims almost all the South China Sea, believed to be rich in resources, dismissing rival claims by neighbours. Map below is from Econintersect files and not from this article.


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