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.
Christine Lagarde gets her second term as IMF chief (City A.M.) Christine Lagarde, the first lady of global economics, has been "elected" for a second term as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Not all that surprising, considering she was the only candidate... In a statement today Lagarde said she was "delighted" to be given the opportunity to lead the IMF for another five years.
U.S. High Court Rejects Republicans on North Carolina Voting Map (Bloomberg) The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for a new congressional voting map in North Carolina this year, rejecting a Republican bid to reinstate district lines thrown out by a lower court. The order was one of the high court's first since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. It came without published dissent. A three-judge panel said Feb. 5 that the original map, drawn by the state's Republican-controlled legislature, unconstitutionally packed too many black voters into two overwhelmingly Democratic districts. The panel gave the state until Feb. 19 to put a new map in place. The state appealed on the basis that they would not be able to make the changes in time for the 15 March primaries. SCOTUS reply (paraphrased by Econintersect): Tough!
Sanders Raised $16 Million From the Unemployed and Retired (Fortune, MSN News) Sanders, who eschews super-PACs, has raised more money for his campaign than any presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat, other than Hillary Clinton. While Clinton has raised $108.9 million (17% from contributions of $200 or less), Sanders has raised 75% of his $73 million from donations of $200 or less. Retirees and the unemployed have provided more than 20% of Sanders' donations ($16 million).
These are the best commuter towns (City A.M.) With London's house prices on a seemingly inexorable rise, commuter towns are gaining in attractiveness for many, but those who are looking to make the move still need to find a way to make the balance of commuting time, extra travel cost and average house price square. Credit score group Totally Money has crunched the numbers to find out where Londoners looking for a bit of extra space can get the best value for money. Here are the best bets within 30 minutes commute time.
Tsipras may not sign EU deal unless borders are kept open (City A.M.) Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is using the European Council negotiations on the UK's draft proposals for EU reform as chance to secure a pledge from other member states that they will keep their borders open. Using leverage provided by the negotiations, Tsipras is threatening to withdraw support for the British deal if there's an attempt to seal off Greece over the EU migrant crisis, according to the BBC. Greece wants a pledge by all EU countries that they will keep their borders open for refugees until March, or may not sign any deal on Prime Minister David Cameron's reform proposals.
Abenomics? How About Kurodanomics? (Bloomberg) Japan's economy is weakening, so the BOJ may have to act again to stem deflation and prevent the yen from strengthening in a punishing fashion. What can they do? They will probably try to go to deeper negative interest rates. Econintersect: The firewall between monetary policy and "pseudo fiscal" action by central banks seems to us illogical to the extreme. What is needed is less money in the financial sector and more money in the consumption sector to create a market for a larger portion of the output potential of the economy.
China's outbound property buying spree will continue (South China Morning Post) Despite recent capital outflow control and yuan devaluation , analysts expect Chinese investment in overseas real estate will remain strong this year after growing dramatically last year. According to global property consultancy Knight Frank's latest research, total Chinese outbound property acquisition volume last year reached nearly US$30 billion, double that of 2014. Knight Frank executive director Paul Hart said Beijing's "One Belt One Road" initiative and strengthened bilateral relationship with countries such as Britain and Australia had made many Chinese companies eager to look overseas, especially in regions that had close geographic and economic ties with China. Hart said:
"There is significant policy support encouraging outbound investment."
China's Foreign Exchange Reserves Dwindling Rapidly (The New York Times) A year and a half ago, China held as much as $4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. But that has now shrunk by more than 20%, partly from overseas investments by Chinese and partly by PBoC (Peoples' Bank of China) selling foreign currency assets (like U.S. Treasuries) to buy back its own currency in an effort to prevent too rapid a devaluation. Economists inside and outside China are increasingly trying to guess how far reserves must fall before China might consider a sharp devaluation of the currency. An International Monetary Fund model suggests that an economy of China's size needs $1.5 trillion with strict capital controls and $2.7 trillion without them. See next article.
Could China Have a Reserves Crisis? [CHART] (ValueWalk) If China's foreign exchange reserves continue to diminish at the same rate as 4Q 2015, the following graphic shows how quickly the country's reserves could approach crisis levels.
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