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posted on 18 February 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Up, Oil Rises, Europe Looks Up, Gasoline Trades Like Recession, Economic Anger, North Sea On Brink, Russian Unemployment Up And More

Written by Econintersect

Early Bird Headlines 18 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 shares gain as crude oil bounce boosts risk assets (Reuters) Asian stocks rose across the board on Thursday as crude oil extended gains on hopes that big producers will cap output, improving investor sentiment for riskier assets. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.8%, pulling further away from a three-week low struck last week when a widespread chill in risk appetite amid concern about the euro zone banking sector depressed equities globally. Japan's Nikkei .N225 continued its recovery from last week's 16-month low and gained 3.0% percent, shrugging off the biggest drop in domestic exports since 2009. Shanghai stocks .SSEC rose 0.6%, in muted reaction to data showing China's January consumer inflation quickening to 1.8% from the previous year. Spreadbetters expected a mixed open for European shares, with Britain's FTSE .FTSE seen dipping on some nervousness as British Prime Minister David Cameron holds "now or never" talks to keep his country in the European Union. Germany's DAX .GDAXI and France's CAC .FCHI were forecast to open a touch higher.

  • Russell Napier on Deflation, Capital Controls, and Aggressive Policy Responses (Financial Sense) This is a brief preview of of an interview with Russell Napier. Subscription is required for the full interview.


  • Apple order: White House says San Bernardino request is limited (BBC News) The White House says a court ruling asking Apple to help the FBI access data on a phone belonging to the San Bernardino gunman does not mean asking for a "back door" to the device. Spokesman Josh Earnest said the FBI was asking for access to a single device. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump slammed Apple for contesting the court order, saying "we should open it up". Apple chief Tim Cook says circumventing security software on the iPhone risks the security of all its customers. In a statement, he said the court order was "an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers" that "has implications far beyond the legal case at hand".

  • Gasoline Trades as If U.S. Nearing Recession, Goldman Says (Bloomberg) Gasoline futures are trading as if the U.S. economy is about to hit the brakes, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Contracts for delivery in the summer months are currently priced less than $20 a barrel higher than crude oil. If those premiums were realized, they would be the smallest since 2010, when the U.S. unemployment rate was above 9%.


  • Fed must act on 'economic anger', says official (Financial Times) The US Federal Reserve must do a better job of responding to the rising tide of economic anger in America that is leading to a surge in protectionist rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail, according to the newest member of its policy committee. In an interview with the Financial Times, Neel Kashkari, who took over as head of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve at the start of the year, warned that the Fed needed to work harder to rebuild public trust and communicate with American citizens. Economic anger, he said, was "all around the country and it is non-partisan".



  • UK warned: North Sea is on the brink (City A.M.) One of Britain's best known oil tycoons has warned that low prices could destroy the UK oil industry if the government fails to slash taxes and encourage exploration in the sector. Speaking exclusively to City A.M., Algy Cluff, who pioneered exploration in the North Sea in the 1970s, has added his voice to a growing number of industry figures urging chancellor George Osborne to make significant tax and rebate concessions in his Budget next month. When asked if the industry could collapse without a change in government policy, Cluff warned: "If the price doesn't recover, yes - unless there are some sophisticated breaks."

  • 'Crunch time' for Cameron (BBC News) David Cameron's bid to win backing for his EU reforms has reached "crunch time", a UK government official says. The prime minister heads for a Brussels summit later hoping to agree a deal on changes that will pave the way for the UK's in/out referendum. It follows months of negotiations between officials, with the PM visiting 20 member states to make his case. EU Council President Donald Tusk told the BBC that leaders had "no choice" but to agree a deal at the two-day summit. Campaigners for a UK exit from the EU have dismissed the draft reforms as trivial, saying the only way to achieve change is to vote to leave.

  • Brexit is a giant leap into the dark: Why take the risk? (City A.M.) Nick Herbert MP, chairman of Conservatives for Reform in Europe, writes:

Fifteen years ago, I launched the campaign against Britain joining the euro. Our concern was that giving up the pound and control of interest rates would be damaging to the economy. Yet we saw the advantages to business and jobs of being in the Single Market.

Staying outside the euro showed that Britain could negotiate arrangements to give us what we want, taking part in those aspects of the European project that suit us, while retaining autonomy where they do not.

That is a status which those who are determined to leave the EU refuse to accept. For them, it's in or out, all or nothing. In their hot headed determination to rush for the Brexit, they haven't stopped to consider the cold reality of life outside. They can't even agree on the alternative.


  • Iran supports oil freeze, but doesn't commit to it (Financial Times) Iran said it supported the effort by the world's biggest oil producers - including Saudi Arabia and Russia - to stabilize prices, but fell short of saying it would curb its own output. No that sanctions have ended Iran has been working toward rebuilding production to pre-sanction levels, about 3x current production.


  • The One Shock Sidestepped by Russia Is Catching Up With Putin (Bloomberg) After deflecting pressure in 2015 with salary reductions, part-time work and unpaid vacations, companies are increasingly opting to cut jobs as the economy enters its second year of contraction. Data set to be released Thursday will show the jobless rate in January jumped to 6%, the highest since 2013, up from last year's low of 5.2%, according to the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The challenge for authorities is how to contain discontent without further straining the budget before parliamentary elections later this year.


  • The Pakistani women risking all to fight for their rights (Associated Press) The groups trying to advance women's rights in Pakistan's deeply traditional patriarchal society suffered a painful blow last month when the national parliament refused to pass laws banning child marriage. The parliament buckled to the dictates of the Islamic Ideology Council, a religiously right-wing advisory group with no legal authority. The same body has also said that taking DNA tests to identify a suspected rapist is against Islam.


  • Don't Panic About China's Slowdown, Goldman Says (Bloomberg) Chief country economist Song Yu projects 6.4% growth this year and wages, employment and consumption could 'take a hit'. Song says he's not negative about China's economic prospects and dismisses dire predictions of a coming collapse. Econintersect: Okay, as long as his pseudonym is not Alfred E. Neuman.

  • Australia says China 'challenged' South China Sea missile report (Reuters) China has "challenged" reports that it deployed advanced surface-to-air missiles to a disputed island in the South China Sea, but any militarization would be a concern, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Thursday. Taiwan's Defence Ministry said the missile batteries had been set up on Woody Island in the Paracels chain, which has been under Chinese control for decades, but is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. A U.S. defense official also confirmed the "apparent deployment" of the missiles, first reported by Fox News.

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