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posted on 23 April 2016

Early Headlines: Emerging Markets Bull, Netflix Loses Momentum, New York Vote Fraud By Officials, IMF Again Betrays Greece, Japan Should Tax Savings?, EV Fraud In China And More

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Early Bird Headlines 23 April 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.



  • The Emerging Market Bull Rages On (Doug Fabian) Well, since mid-January, emerging markets have staged a laudable rebound. That rebound has been particularly robust over the past three months, as emerging markets exchange-traded fund (ETF) EEM has soared nearly 20% over that period. The most important factor in this rally is the rise in commodity prices, which Doug thinks will continue.


  • The Rise and Fall of Netflix (Investing Daily) Shares of video streaming company Netflix (NFLX) plunged 15% this week after the company announced surprisingly weak first quarter results on Monday. It was trading above $130 four months ago, but since then NFLX has seen its share price fall back to where it was last July when it broke above $95 for the first time. At the heart of the matter isn't so much Netflix's financial results, but its anemic growth in subscribers. The company now projects only 2.5 million net (of cancellations) new customers in the second quarter of this year, about 40% less than the 4 million increase analysts had built into their growth estimates at the beginning of 2016.

  • Top NY Election Official Ousted for Purging Over 125,000 Brooklyn Voters (U.S. Uncut) Hat tip to Doomstead Diner. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced of an official investigation into how New York City officials mishandled the primary election this past week. In a statement issued the day after the primary, Schneiderman said: "If necessary, we will initiate additional inquiries in additional areas of the State where voting irregularities appeared unusually high." But the New York City Board of Elections is already preparing to fire Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the chief clerk of elections in Brooklyn, after suspending her without pay following the New York primary's chaotic voting process and massive voter purge. Haslett-Rudiano reportedly skipped a step in normal procedure to prevent inappropriate removal of eligible voters when conducting a periodical purge of voters who had either died or moved away. This error resulted in the removal of nearly 8% of Brooklyn's registered voters. The purge of 125,000 is much larger than the 57,909 votes by which Hillary Clinton won the heavily Democratic borough last Tuesday.

  • It must be impossible for the Fed to create inflation (Warren Mosler) MB contibutes to GEI. Warren explained why the Fed was on a fools errand and the inflation alarmists were full of malarkey in 2011.

  • Wall Street banking revenue is in free fall, and here's why (CNBC) Fixed income, currencies and commodities trading declines hit Wall Street hard in a volatile first quarter.


  • Eurozone edges closer to deal over Greece (Financial Times) Speaking at Friday's meeting, Ms Lagarde said that, according to IMF estimates, no "nominal haircut" of Greek debt was needed because enough easing could be achieved by other forms of debt relief, such as maturity extensions and reprofiling. Econintersect: The IMF caves again to Germany and once more betrays Greece.


  • Migrant crisis: Merkel and EU officials visit Turkey to promote deal (BBC News) German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top EU officials are due to visit the Turkish-Syrian border to promote a controversial month-old migrant deal. The visit comes amid questions over the legality of the EU-Turkey pact, which deports back to Turkey migrants who do not qualify for asylum in Greece. Human rights groups say Turkey is not a safe place to return people. Turkish officials have warned the deal could collapse if demands for visa-free EU travel for its citizens are not met.


  • A man who has helped save more than 40,000 lives in Syria was just denied entry into the US (Business Insider) The head of Syria's Civil Defense Units, also known as the White Helmets, said he was denied entry into the US upon arriving in Washington, DC, from Turkey to receive a humanitarian award. Raed Saleh, 33, said he flew from Istanbul to Dulles airport on Tuesday. He was set to receive a humanitarian award from InterAction, an NGO based in Washington, DC, for his work with the White Helmets - an organization of more than 2,800 volunteers that respond to bombings against civilian communities in Syria. The group says that more than 40,000 people have been rescued by volunteers working with the Civil Defense Units. The volunteers receive a $150-per-month stipend to don their White Helmets and dig people out from beneath the rubble of barrel bombings. But Saleh - who was nominated for the 2016 Humanitarian Award by the non-profit Relief International and addressed the UN Security Council just last year in New York about the White Helmets' humanitarian work - said he was told by customs agents to "go back where he came from" when he arrived in DC on Tuesday night.


  • Despite back-to-back disasters, climbers return to Everest (Associated Press) Despite back-to-back Everest disasters - the 2015 earthquake and a massive avalanche the year before - hundreds of mountaineers have come back for a new season. With them, they bring millions of dollars to this poverty-wracked nation. Everest Base Camp has once again turned into a village of bright nylon tents and tea huts. It buzzes with commerce - trekkers on stopovers and mountaineers hoping to reach the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit. While the numbers of trekkers across Nepal is down about 40 percent compared to last year, according to the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, the business community still sees that as good news.


  • One Economist Suggests Tax to Make Japan Inc. Spend Their Cash (Bloomberg) Japanese policy makers have taken extraordinary measures in recent years to yank the nation clear of deflation and create a better environment for businesses. They've had mixed results, and corporate Japan is yet to reciprocate with higher spending and wages. That's prompted some analysts to suggest more radical ways of compelling companies to deploy their cash hoard on capital investment and salaries. Hiromichi Shirakawa, a former central bank official who is now chief Japan economist at the Credit Suisse Group, is at the forefront of the debate with his plan to tax corporate savings. Econintersect: Some refer to excessive savings as the result of a debt deflation trap. Others quote Keynes : Paradox of thrift. The bottom line is that if you can't make money with your money you might as well save it. And if cash is taxed, as proposed here, then those with savings will find ways to avoid keeping it in visible cash and still not invest it.



  • Fraud Leaves China's Electric Car Demand in Doubt (Bloomberg) The numbers may have looked too good to be true. Suzhou Gemsea Coach Manufacturing Co., operating out of a blue metal shed west of Shanghai, told the Chinese government it produced 3,700 electric vehicles last year -- almost all of them in one month. That month was December, the last before the government reduced subsidies it pays makers of electric and hybrid vehicles to help clear some of the world's smoggiest skies. When inspectors, accompanied by state TV reporters, swarmed the site in Suzhou to verify the numbers, they found a few Gemsea brand vans parked outside and hardly any modern assembly equipment inside. The investigation casts doubt on the accuracy of reported Chinese electric-vehicle sales that are double those in the U.S.


  • Signing the Paris Climate Agreement is easy - what comes next for Australia will be hard (The Conversation) Australia has signed previous climate treaties, but it has a mixed record in following through with its commitments.

  • How the deficit obsession is eroding the budget's usefulness (The Conversation) Over many years the budget has morphed from an economic statement explaining how the government allocates resources, to a fiscal statement. The emphasis has shifted to explaining how the government will manage the budget surplus or deficit, and therefore government debt. Over the last few years what passes for an "economic debate" has tended to focus on the fiscal deficit, as if balancing the budget were the hallmark of sound economic management. Much of the detail about appropriations has been dropped.


  • Mexican Human Rights Defenders Say They Are Target of Smear Campaign (ProPublic) Long-established civil rights movements in Mexico have been characterized in the press as a "mafia embedded in power" who had defrauded the government out of millions of dollars while advocating on behalf of traffickers and kidnappers. "How much of this money ended up in the pockets of these impassioned human rights defenders", one column asked without citing any proof. Meanwhile, real crime victims barely receive enough government support to cover funeral costs, another column asserted. This Sunday, an independent group of experts is expected to release the findings of its investigation into a 2014 attack on a caravan of buses loaded with students from a teacher's college in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero that left three students dead and 43 others missing. The violence at Ayotzinapa shattered Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's efforts to convince the world that government corruption and impunity were problems of the past. It emboldened the relatives of the tens of thousands of other people who have gone missing to come forward and file complaints - some against the country's vaunted armed forces. And it has spawned massive protests across the country, led by the students' families and friends. Civil rights group representatives have told ProPublica that the bevy of bad press items are an attempt by the government to discredit the forthcoming report which will not shed favorable light on the government.

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