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posted on 04 February 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Jump, Oil Surges, Europe Looks Up, Assange May Surrender, Most US New Energy Renewable, European Banks Tumble And More

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Early Bird Headlines 04 February 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 jump as dollar slide boosts oil (Reuters) Asian shares rallied on Thursday as speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve might opt to not raise interest rates at all this year hammered the dollar and sparked a huge rally in oil prices. By some measures the U.S. currency suffered its largest one-day percentage drop outside of the crises of 1998 and 2008, symptomatic of just how crowded bullish positions had been. The sudden reversal provided a much-needed boost to beleaguered commodities, sending oil up no less than 8%, and easing pressure on energy shares and risk appetite. That relief showed in equity markets where MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped 1.9%. Australia's resource-heavy index rose 1.7% and South Korea 1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.8% as trade wound down ahead of the Lunar holidays. Hong Kong stocks leaped 1.7%, in part because the U.S. dollar's fall lessened strains on the HK dollar's peg. Japanese investors, however, seemed less happy with the yen's newfound strength against the dollar and nudged the Nikkei down 0.7%. European shares are expected to rise, with Britain's FTSE 100 seen rising 0.4% and Germany's DAX up 0.5%.

  • BP: Oil price volatility could be consigned to history (City A.M.) Shale may smooth the price swings for oil in the future:

"US shale is far more price responsive, because a producer can set themselves up and start drilling very quickly. Moreover, if the price falls it's a lot easier to reduce production. Consequently, the supply features of the oil market are changing and over the next 20-30 years, price volatility might fall as a result."

  • Marijuana, Alternative Cash Crop to Bananas in the Caribbean? (telesurtv) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Banana plantations have depleted soils and resulted in erosion. Now some propose to replace bananas with another cash crop: marijuana. So now doe we call them weed republics?

  • Assange to accept arrest if UN rules against him (Associated Press) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he will accept arrest by British police if a U.N. working group on arbitrary detention decides that the three years he has spent holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy does not amount to illegal detention. Writing on WikiLeaks' Twitter account Wednesday night, Assange said if the U.N. finds he has lost his case against the United Kingdom and Sweden then he will turn himself into police at noon on Friday. "However, should I prevail and the state parties be found to have acted unlawfully, I expect the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me," Assange added. Assange took refuge in Ecuador's British embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden where two women have accused him of sexual assault.


    • Renewables Top Fossil Fuels as Biggest Source of New U.S. Power (Bloomberg) Developers installed 16 gigawatts of clean energy in 2015, or 68% of all new capacity, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in its Sustainable Energy in America Factbook released Thursday. That was the second straight year that clean power eclipsed fossil fuels. The biggest growth came from wind farms, with 8.5 gigawatts of new turbines installed as developers sought to take advantage of a federal tax credit that was due to expire at the end of 2016; Congress extended it in December. Econintersect: Natural gas may have gotten cheaper but green energy is getting cheaper faster.


    • European bank shares are tanking (City A.M.) Shares in leading banks tumbled throughout Europe Wednesday, with Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered falling by 6.0% and 4.3% respectively. A sea of red engulfed the sector as fears spread of slowing economic growth and credit losses from energy companies hobbled by low oil prices.


    • EU neverendum: Why a Remain vote could still push the UK out (City A.M.) The author's view is the most likely outcome of the referendum is a vote to remain. But if people hoped that would be the end of the story, they'll need to think again. There will be far-reaching ramifications even if Britain votes to stay in the EU, and Britain should be prepared for the possibility of a "neverendum". As long as UK remains ourside the Eurogroup it will keep moving further away from the end structure: a politically integrated Eurozone, which will in essence become the EU. Econintersect: For the author's scenario to be realized, the Eurozone has to survive the dysfuntion of its current structure to get to the presumed end point - and that is quite problematic.

    • Take more refugee children from Europe, Tory MPs tell David Cameron after mission to Lesbos (The Independent) A group of Tory MPs have urged David Cameron to consider taking more refugee children from within Europe after seeing the desperate situation on the Greek islands. The three MPs met with immigration minister James Brokenshire following a fact-finding mission to Lesbos, where up to 6,000 asylum-seekers arrive from Turkey every day to squalid conditions and total administrative chaos. The Prime Minister rejected calls last week from charities to take in 3,000 unaccompanied children who had already arrived in Greece and Italy, saying Britain would focus its efforts on Syria and other conflict zones. Now members of his own party are urging reconsideration after their trip to Lebos.


    • Opinion on the establishment of an investment tribunal in TTIP (German Magistrates Association, Hat tip to Roger Erickson. The TTIP is the Transatlantic Trading and Investing Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the U.S. According to an article in The Independent, it is about "reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations". It amounts to a transfer of power from sovereign nations to transnational corporations. Under TTIP courts would be established, not under control of any sovereign, but under an international (supernational) trade organization. An association of German judges has written an opinion:

    The German Magistrates Association rejects the proposal of the European Commission to establish an investment court within the framework of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The DRB sees neither a legal basis nor a need for such a court.

    The clearly implied assumption in the proposal for an International Investment Court that the courts of the EU Member States fail to grant foreign investors effective judicial protection, lacks factual basis. Should the negotiating partners have identified weaknesses in this area in individual EU Member States, these should be taken up with the national legislature and clearly defined. It would then be up to the legislators and those responsible for the judiciary to provide remedy within the proven system of national and European legal protection. Only in this way can the full legal rights to which any law-seeking party in Germany and the European Union is entitled, be guaranteed. The creation of special courts for certain groups of litigants is the wrong way forward.



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