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posted on 26 February 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Firm, Electric Car Revolution, Next Oil Crisis, US Durable Goods Strong, UK Housing Woes, Modi's India Problems, China Will Defend Yuan And More

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Early Bird Headlines 26 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 markets mostly higher; Sharp drops 15% on takeover deal (CNBC) Asian markets were mostly higher Friday, with Japan extending gains from the previous session and Australia closing flat. Market watchers will be focused on a two-day gathering of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Shanghai that kicked off Friday to discuss global economic growth concerns.


  • Here's How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil Crisis (Bloomberg) Over the next decade there will be an automotive revolution as all-electric (plug-in) vehicles will not only be cheaper to operate (even at $10 - $20 oil) but will also be no more expensive to buy than ICE (internal combustion engine) counterparts. By 2040, long-range electric cars will cost less than $22,000 (in today's dollars), according to the projections. Worldwide 35% of new cars worldwide will have a plug. The comparable purchase cost condition will be reached much sooner, in as soon a 6 years. See next article for estimation of impact on oil consumption..



  • Apple Pushes IPhone Standoff Toward Congress or Supreme Court (Bloomberg) The fight over Apple Inc.'s refusal to help the FBI break into an iPhone used by a terrorist in California is destined for Washington. The only question is whether it will be Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court that breaks the impasse. Apple argues the Justice Department is overstepping its authority by forcing the company to help disable the encryption on an iPhone used by one of the two shooters who killed 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino on Dec. 2. The company's argument that lawmakers failed to give prosecutors the power they are seeking reveals a gambit that the Supreme Court will side with it on privacy and block an attempt to make it a "hacking" department for the government.

  • Strong U.S. durable goods orders offer hope for manufacturing (Reuters) There is still at least one canary alive in the coal mine. Here is Sober Look's Tweet:


  • Rubio Puts Trump on Defensive Over Immigration, Obamacare in Super Tuesday Debate (Bloomberg) Bloomberg says this was a moment of political turnaround for Florida Senator Marco Rubio as he went on the attack, and Trump seemed at one point at a loss for a quick retort, while Rubio seemed to be almost enjoying the sparring. The Washington Post said the winners were Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney (on Twitter), while the losers were Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, John Kasick,The Shrieker and the writer's bladder which was stressed by the length of the debate without a break. We're sorry, if you don't what is meant by The Shrieker you'll have to read this at The WaPo.


  • Hometrack figures show UK house sales fell in 2015 (City A.M.) The number of number of homes sold across the UK's top 20 cities fell by 2% over the last year, according to data released today by Hometrack. London has seen a 7% dip in transactions in the year to January while Cambridge experienced the biggest drop in sales, down 20% year-on-year. Hometrack's UK Cities index shows house price inflation rose by 10.2% compared with 8.6% a year ago, fueled by a shortage of new homes - taking the average cost of a house to £231,700 (US$336,000).

  • UK houses earned more last year than two thirds of workers (City A.M.) Two out of five UK workers (38%) earned less than the average home in the last 12 months, a new study by Post Office Money claims. The Cost of Buying & Moving report, which was compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that average house prices rose by seven per cent - or £18,119 - over the last 12 months, while the average worker took home earnings of £26,426. This means the average house in the UK effectively earned 69% of the average worker's salary over the last year. Workers needed to wait until 4 September last year, before their earnings pull equal with the annual increase of the average UK home. A typical home's earnings now nearly match the starting salaries of several professions including that of a graduate nurse, at £21,692, a teacher (£22,023), junior hospital doctor (£22,636), a police officer (£23,317), while they outpace that of a solider (£18,125).

  • Pop-up homes could help cut the cost of renting by a third (City A.M.) Pop-up construction refers to a method of building, where structures are built in a factory before being assembled on-site. Pop-up homes take 1/3 of the time to build, which in turn would help the next London mayor with a way of reaching the target 50,000 new homes a year more quickly. There have been a few pop-up homes built in London already including Mitcham, where flats were being rented at £148 per week compared with the local market average of £210 per week. (Econintersect: In the U.S. these homes are called "manufactured housing" and structures range from trailers and mobile homes to larger structures which are similar to "stick built custom homes".)


Iranians will vote on February 26 to elect both the 290-seat parliament and the 88 clerics of the Assembly of Experts, the body that chooses the supreme leader. This is the most important political moment for the Islamic Republic since the disputed 2009 presidential vote and the mass protests that followed. Here's why it matters.

Iran's parliament, the Majlis, is elected every four years. It has little influence over the supreme leader or institutions such as the judiciary and the military - including the elite Revolutionary Guards - but its makeup is a crucial determinant of the government's success.

The Majlis can support or block proposed legislation, including the annual budget and the five-year development plan, and it can caution and impeach ministers, a power it has used regularly.


  • Modi and Rajan: Unlikely Allies Battling India's Oligarchy (Bloomberg) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. The positive working relationship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan -- featuring moves to control inflation, narrow the fiscal deficit and boost foreign reserves -- is helping counter the narrative of disappointment since Modi took office. While investors remain frustrated with failures including a delayed tax overhaul, India isn't currently gripped by the sense of panic that struck in 2013, when emerging markets last came under pressure. Between them, they have the potential to upend a growth model that funnels wealth to a small elite. In the process, that would empower a younger generation with lower business costs and a more level playing field. However, see also next article.

  • Is Narendra Modi's government unravelling? (BBC News) A number of government actions using police and military force to suppress dissent and activism by students, journalists, lawyers, castes and others has raised questions about the durability of the Modi government.

  • New Delhi's water crisis is far from over (Reuters) India scrambles to get water to its capital city after the supply was sabotaged by protesters over the weekend. Reuters' Doug Busvine visits the Munak canal to figure out why it's taking so long to get the water switched back on. There is a video with this article that shows just what a huge infrastructure project is underway. Water may not be restored for 2-3 weeks for the city of 20 million.




  • China rules out weakening yuan to boost trade (Associated Press) China's central bank chief promised Friday to avoid weakening its yuan to boost sagging exports as he tried to reassure nervous financial markets about his government's handling of its economy and currency at the start of a closely watched gathering of global finance officials. Beijing wanted to use the gathering of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 rich and developing countries to promote its campaign for a bigger voice in managing global trade and finance. Instead, the communist government is scrambling to defend its reputation for economic competence following stock market and currency turmoil.

  • Hank Paulson: China needs to let 'failing companies fail' (CNBC) The bail-out king speaks.

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