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posted on 14 March 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Higher, 2016 Bullish For Bonds?, Sherman, Clayton Antitrust Action, EU-Turkey Deal Illegal?, Merkel Spanked, US-Russian Offensive In Syria, India Wholesale Deflation And More

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Early Bird Headlines 14 March 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.




  • Morgan Stanley Says Bonds Set to Surge in 2016 Year of the Bull (Bloomberg) Even though bond interest is negative in a number of countries around the world, Morgan Stanley (MS) says this year will see a further bull market for bonds. In the U.S. they forecast a 10-year treasury yield of 1.45% by the fall and the Bloomberg Global Developed Bond Index should continue toward (but not reach) zero yield. The index reached 0.69% yield at the end of February. MS expects the Fed will wait until December for the next rate hike.


  • Ignored for Years, a Radical Economic Theory Is Gaining Converts (Bloomberg) This article presents a discussion of MMT (Modern Monetary Theory), why it is now getting more attention and what opponents arre saying about it.

  • The Most Important 2016 Issue You Don't Know About (New Republic) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Two laws from the turn of the 20th century, the Sherman and Clayton Acts, empower the government to police markets for cartel behavior and pricing abuse, to deny mergers when they create anti-competitive concentration, and to break up monopolies that harm consumers and stunt the economy. Two agencies, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the Justice Department's antitrust division, carry this enforcement capability. And on Wednesday last week, at a meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, senators of both parties doubted that the agencies are getting the job done. There is a fixed screen at the beginning of the video of the hearing - procedings start at approximately 18:30. There are transcripts of three of the statements presented here: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D, VT); William Barr, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Divison; and Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission.



  • Inside Europe's refugee deal with Turkey - is it legal and can it work? (The Conversation) The proposed refugee exchange programme between the EU and Turkey is the most visible example of an evolving European policy of "humane return". Containment (keeping refugees in the Middle East) hasn't worked, nor have deflection (razor wire on the Hungarian and Macedonian borders), temporary protection or permanent resettlement. This is the latest arrow pulled from the quiver of failed solutions. Humane return is essentially the process of quickly removing asylum seekers en masse from your own territory while appearing to conform to general legal principles. But it appears to violate refugee protection guaranteed under the United nations 1951 Refugee Convention.


Ivory Coast

  • Ivory Coast: Extremists kill 14 civilians, 2 special forces (Associated Press) Armed men attacked an Ivory Coast beach resort Sunday, killing at least 16 people and sending tourists fleeing through the historic town of Grand-Bassam in an attack claimed by al-Qaida's North Africa branch. Bloody bodies were sprawled on the beach and witnesses described horrific scenes as a lazy weekend afternoon was shattered by the West Africa's latest extremist strike. Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara told reporters at the scene that 14 civilians, two special forces and six assailants were killed when the gunmen stormed the beach.


  • 161 chemical weapons attacks in Syria's war, new report says (Associated Press) A report by the Syrian American Medical Society claims that chemical weapons have been used at least 161 times through the end of 2015 and caused 1,491 deaths in the 5 year Syrian civil war. It says such attacks are increasing, with a high of at least 69 attacks last year, and 14,581 people have been injured in all. The U.S.-based nonprofit, which supports more than 1,700 workers at over 100 medical centers in Syria, says the list is based primarily on the reports of medical personnel who have treated victims, aided by NGOs and other local sources.

  • Russia ready to cooperate with US-led coalition in fight for Syria's Raqqa: Interfax (Reuters) Russia is ready to coordinate its actions with the U.S.-led coalition in Syria to push the Islamic State group out of Raqqa, Interfax news agency quoted Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.


  • Indian WPI Falls More Than Estimated Before Rajan's Rate Review (Bloomberg) Wholesale prices declined 0.91% in February from a year earlier after a 0.90% decrease in January, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Monday. The median of 30 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists had predicted a 0.19% decline. A separate survey shows consumer-price inflation easing to 5.51% from 5.69%. Rajan on Saturday said the central bank was "comforted" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plan to shrink the budget deficit to 3.5% of GDP while telling reporters to "wait and see" how that feeds into monetary policy. He's scheduled to review policy on April 5 as he looks to keep CPI below 5% by March 2017.


  • China to set up maritime "judicial centre" (BBC News) China's Supreme Court is setting up its own international maritime "judicial centre" to handle territorial disputes. The top court gave few details in its announcement, but said the centre would help China become a "maritime power". Beijing is locked in disputes with its neighbours over claims in the resource-rich South China Sea, with tensions raised in recent months over China's aggressive land reclamation. It has also squared off with Japan over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

  • China Burns Hedge Funds as $562 Million Yuan Bet Turns Worthless (Bloomberg) Seven months after a shock devaluation spurred hedge funds and other speculators to wager on further declines, the yuan's unexpected resilience has turned many of those bets into losers. At least $562 million of options that pay out if the currency drops below 6.6 per dollar -- its weakest point since the devaluation -- have expired worthless since August. Another $807 million will lapse within three months. Econintersect: A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon it'll add up to real money.


  • Big protests across Brazil put more pressure on president (Associated Press) Mammoth demonstrations across Brazil are putting even more pressure on embattled President Dilma Rousseff as she heads into a tough week for her attempt to survive impeachment proceedings in Congress. According to police estimates, a total of 3 million people took to the streets in 200 cities Sunday calling on the president to resign amid widespread anger over corruption investigations and the worst recession in years.

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