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 mostly up, with Nikkei up 0.2%, Shanghai adding 0.4% (CNBC) Asia markets were mostly higher Friday morning as persistent concerns over a potential for a Federal Reserve rate hike in April provided some support for Japan shares. But volume may be thin throughout the trading day as many major markets are shut for the Good Friday holiday.
Why oil's 'shot in the arm' for the global economy isn't going to happen (MarketWatch) Remember the "shot in the arm" that the global economy was going to get from low oil prices? Turns out it's probably not going to happen. At least until the global economy gets out of the low-interest-rate environment, and when that will be? That's according to new research from the International Monetary Fund released Thursday.
It's Getting Harder to Pay the Rent in America (Bloomberg) It's been more than 15 years since Congress increased funding for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the government's primary method for encouraging construction of affordable housing. On Thursday, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is to announce a plan that calls for Congress to spend 50% more on the program, enough to build as many as 400,000 homes over the next decade. That makes the Democrat's plan an ambitious attempt to increase the stock of affordable rental housing, one that comes in the face of potential opposition by a Republican majority, along with the legislative gridlock of a presidential election year. It's also just a drop in the bucket. There are 3.9 million low-income households that lack access to affordable housing, according to Cantwell's office. Just as troubling, the number of U.S. households spending 50% of their income on rent could increase to 15 million by 2025, according to a study by Harvard's Joint Center on Housing Studies and Enterprise Community Partners.
The only political entity less popular than Congress and the GOP? Donald J. Trump. (The Washington Post) Trump's negative ratings are driven by the 53 percent of Americans who view him "very unfavorably" - the stronger of the two options for "unfavorable." For reference, only about a third of Americans hate Congress that much. But half of the country gives Trump the worst rating it possibly can. Opinions of the GOP have stumbled, mind you. After the 2014 elections, opinions of the party were about half-and-half. It's slipped downward since then, likely powered by the anti-establishment sentiment within the Republican electorate itself and, we might assume, unhappiness from others about the party's front-runner. Ted Cruz's popularity has also dropped over the last year or so, a product of his candidacy, no doubt. Hillary Clinton's tanked and then recovered a little. Weirdly enough, Paul Ryan and the Democratic Party are both viewed relatively positively. Econintersect: What have Hillary and the Democratic Party done to increase their relative favorability ratings? In our opinion nothing - except not being Republican. See also The Trump-Cruz war over wives goes nuclear (The Washington Post)
Belgians, Dutch Point Fingers Over Counter-Terror Intelligence (Bloomberg) Belgium said it had no advance knowledge of the deportation from Turkey last summer of Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the suicide bombers who struck Brussels this week, as the Netherlands said it had no reason to take action when the man landed there in July. Dutch Justice Minister Ad van der Steur, meanwhile, presented documents to the Dutch Parliament in The Hague on Thursday showing that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had sent a message to the Dutch embassy in Ankara 26 minutes before El Bakraoui's scheduled takeoff, saying that El Bakraoui would be on the flight to Schiphol. The note sent to the Dutch embassy didn't say why El Bakraoui was being expelled. So much for Turkey's claim they notified the Netherlands of El Bakraoui's association with terrorism when they deported him.
Japan firms could stash cash in safes if rates go negative: Reuters poll (The Business Times) Some Japanese firms, facing the possibility of negative interest rates on their deposits, would consider stuffing their cash in a safe rather than pay to keep it in the bank, a Reuters poll found, in what would be an unintended and unwelcome side-effect to the country's new monetary policy. While the bulk of companies in the Reuters Corporate Survey said they would keep their money in bank accounts if their lender followed the Bank of Japan in cutting rates below zero, 15% said they would withdraw funds.
Japan's Negative-Yield Bonds Return More Than Double Treasuries (Bloomberg) The bug in search of a windshield is still soaring high. Negative yields are proving to be no deterrent to investors in Japan's bonds. The nation's government debt has returned 5.8% in the past six months, the most of 26 sovereign debt markets tracked by Bloomberg. Treasuries gained 2.2%.
China 'detains 17 over Xi resignation letter' (BBC News) A total of 17 people have been detained in China following the publication of a letter calling on President Xi Jinpin to resign, the BBC has learned. The letter was posted earlier this month on a state-backed website Wujie News. Although quickly deleted by the authorities, a cached version can still be found online. In most countries the contents of the letter would be run-of-the-mill political polemic.
Chinese Earnings Estimates Cut Most Among Major Asian Markets (Bloomberg) Chinese companies listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong had their profit estimates cut the most among major Asian economies as the slowest growth in more than two decades erodes corporate earnings. Projections for earnings of companies in the Shanghai Composite Index in the next 12 months were lowered by 6.8%, while those for firms in Hong Kong's Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-share gauge, were reduced by 6.2%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Taiwan central bank says economic growth gradually recovering (The Business Times) Taiwan's central bank said it sees economic growth gradually recovering quarter by quarter, as it announced a 12.5 basis point (0.125%) cut to its policy rate on Thursday. The rate cut came as expected and is the third consecutive cut since the central bank began lowering the discount rate in late September.
Decline in exports to slow down the road: minister (Yonhap News Agency) South Korea's trade minister said Thursday the pace of the decline in the country's exports will slow in the future amid recovering oil prices and stabilizing exchange rates. The country's exports have been on the decline since January last year.
N. Korea boasts of big leap in arms with solid-fuel rocketry (The Washington Post) North Korea's Kim Jong Un has overseen the launch of a solid-fuel rocket, state media announced Thursday, claiming a major technological advancement that could greatly increase Pyongyang's ability to strike other countries, including the United States. Experts are working to verify North Korea's latest boast, but, if true, it would mark another worrying development in the state's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
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