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.
The $29 Trillion Corporate Debt Hangover That Could Spark a Recession (Bloomberg) Strains are emerging in just about every corner of the global credit market. Credit-rating downgrades account for the biggest chunk of ratings actions since 2009; corporate leverage is at a 12-year high; and perhaps most worrisome, growing numbers of companies -- one third globally -- are failing to generate high enough returns on investments to cover their cost of funding. Pooled together into a single snapshot, the data points show how the seven-year-old global growth model based on cheap credit from central banks is running out of steam.
Germany's Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over (Reuters) German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried on Saturday to placate the increasingly vocal critics of her open-door policy for refugees by insisting that most refugees from Syria and Iraq would go home once the conflicts there had ended. Despite appearing increasingly isolated, Merkel has resisted pressure from some conservatives to cap the influx of refugees, or to close Germany's borders.
Iran Cancels London Summit for New Oil Deals (Bloomberg) Iran canceled a London conference to promote new contracts for global oil companies, two weeks after economic sanctions were lifted, because the British government hasn't been able to issue visas for Iranians to travel, an official told the weekly Iranian magazine Seda. Econintersect: Let's see ... perhaps its the Circumlocution Dept.?
Russia's Great Shift Downward (Bloomberg) For Russia's battered economy, 2016 already looks miserable. The ruble has slumped to record lows as oil prices have fallen 11 percent since Jan. 1, to around $30 a barrel. The government, which gets nearly half its revenue from oil and gas, is scrambling to plug a 1.5 trillion-ruble ($19.2 billion) hole in its budget. But Putin has shown little interest in changing the economic model.
China strongly condemns US for sending warship near island (Associated Press) China strongly condemned the United States after a U.S. warship deliberately sailed near one of the Beijing-controlled islands in the hotly contested South China Sea to exercise freedom of navigation and challenge China's vast territorial claims. The missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) of Triton Island in the Paracel chain "to challenge excessive maritime claims of parties that claim the Paracel Islands", without notifying the three claimants beforehand, Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright said Saturday in Washington. China, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the Paracels and require prior notice from ships transiting what they consider their territorial waters.
Bearish Canadian currency fuels bullish travel environment (CNBC) The Canadian dollar - also known as the Loonie - dropped 16% against the dollar last year and is now hovering near 71 cents to the U.S. dollar. In January alone, the greenback added more than a percent against the Loonie. That means that U.S. travelers heading north of the border for the extended Valentine's Day/Presidents' Day weekend, or perhaps for the NBA All Star Game (Feb. 12-14) in Toronto will find everything from dining, shopping and lodging to local attractions being offered at a discount of as much as 30%.
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