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 erase early losses as traders digest ECB easing (CNBC) Asia markets reversed early losses to trade mostly higher on Friday, as traders digested fresh easing from the European Central Bank (ECB) overnight. The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 erased losses to close up 86.52 points, or 0.51%, at 16,938.87. The index slipped 0.44% for the week. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi ended higher by 2.08 points, or 0.11%, at 1,971.41. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.65% in afternoon trade. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 closed up 16.32 points, or 0.32%, at 5,166.40, registering a 1.5% gain for the week. Chinese markets reversed losses in afternoon trade, with the Shanghai composite and the Shenzhen composite trading flat.
Boom Bust Boom (YouTube) Terry Jones (Monty Python) investigates the worldwide economic crash of 2008, and how we can avoid another global collapse in the future. Analyzing the direct link between the unstable financial system and our reliance on mainstream economics, the film puts a spotlight on the mistakes of the past some politicians and central bankers would like us to forget. Watch the trailer. See also next article. Also: Minsky in New York (GEI News).
Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why (The Guardian) When he isn't spewing insults, the Republican frontrunner is hammering home a powerful message about free trade and its victims, information that is almost completely missing from the media and discussions within the political establishment. Econintersect: This explains the reason Sanders attracts voters, as well.
Draghi Can Cut Borrowing Costs, But Can't Make Companies Borrow (Bloomberg) Mario Draghi's plans to buy corporate bonds will cut financing costs for European companies, if history is any guide. Getting companies to actually borrow and spend money will be harder. Corporations already have hefty incentives to sell debt, with average yields on investment-grade bonds in the region below 2% for a second year. But they have little appetite to raise money to invest in new factories and equipment, because the economic outlook is so weak. Econintersect: (Hint - this is sarcasm.) How can this be? Says Law states that supply creates its own demand. That this was (some argue) disproved by Keynes simply proves that Keynes was wrong. (End sarcasm.) We suggest that arguing that only supply controls economic activity (or only demand controls) is a debate among those concerned with fairies and heads of pins. Economies are far more complex than models would imply that use linear functions of either supply or demand.
BCC cuts UK economic forecasts in "wake-up call" (City A.M.) The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has cut its forecasts for UK economic growth in a "wake up" call to policymakers against a darkening global backdrop. The BCC chopped its estimates for UK gross domestic product growth from 2.5 per cent to 2.2% in 2016, from 2.5 per cent to 2.3% in 2017. This was also the BCC's first three-year forecast, and it expects Britain's economy to grow by 2.4% in 2018.
Germany says stolen Islamic State files 'probably genuine' (The Frontier Post) Germany's interior minister has said stolen files detailing thousands of recruits to the Islamic State group can be assumed to be genuine. Thomas de Maiziere said the information could help with prosecutions of IS fighters, and help prevent future recruitment to the militant group. The files obtained by German and UK media are said to identify IS recruits from 50 countries. They contain names, addresses, phone numbers and skill sets. Counter-terrorism police in Germany are studying the documents.
German exports post unexpected dip (Deutsche Welle) Exports fell by 0.5% on a seasonably adjusted basis in January, following a 0.7% decline in December, data from the Federal Statistical Office, Destatis, showed on Thursday. At the same time imports increased 1.2% on the month. The dip in exports was largely unexpected - economists had forecast growth of 0.8%. According to Volker Treier, Chief Economist at the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce:
"Weak growth in China is having a knock-on effect. The outlook is also not good in other emerging markets like Russia and Brazil In addition the positive effects of the relatively weak euro in recent months are now starting to evaporate."
Egyptian parliament drafts law to ban niqab (The Frontier Post) Hat tip to Sig Silber. The Egyptian parliament is drafting a law to ban women from wearing the niqab, a veil worn by the females that covers most of one's face. The ban will apply to wearing the clothing in public places and government institutions, it has been reported. The full-face veil is worn by some followers of Islam and typically covers all of the wearer's face other than their eyes. The clothing is common in Egypt which is a predominantly Muslim country. MP Amna Nosseir, professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, who has backed the ban, said that wearing the veil is not a requirement of Islam and in fact has non-Islamic origins.
U.N. envoy sees Syria presidential election in 18 months' time: RIA (Reuters) Syria will hold a presidential election in 18 months, Russia's RIA news agency on Friday quoted the United Nations peace mediator on Syria Staffan de Mistura as saying. The starting point for the election will be the latest round of Syria peace talks which are planned for March 14 in Geneva, de Mistura told RIA in an interview.
Why China fixed the yuan higher against the dollar (CNBC) China's central bank Friday guided the yuan higher against the dollar by the fastest pace this year, leaving some analysts puzzled by the size of the move. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the mid-point of the dollar-yuan trading band at 6.4905, its strongest level so far this year. The pace of the increase versus the previous day's fix was the fastest since November last year. Friday's fix compares with the onshore spot trade close of 6.5075 Thursday. China's central bank lets the yuan spot rate rise or fall a maximum of 2% against the dollar relative to the official fixing rate. Policymakers on the mainland now generally consider the yuan's level against a basket of the currencies of China's trading partners, although it still publishes the daily fixing against the dollar.
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