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 close down; Aussie dollar drops over 1.7% after inflation unexpectedly drops (CNBC) Asia markets closed lower on Wednesday, ahead of key central bank decisions from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand this week. Australia's benchmark ASX 200 reversed morning gains of over 1% percent to close down 32.94 points, or 0.63%, at 5,187.70, with the financials, energy and materials sub-indexes dragging. The heavily-weighted financials sub-index finished down 1.17%, with major banking stocks selling off sharply as the Aussie dollar fell by 1.7%.
Oil hits 2016 high after U.S. crude draw report, gasoline rally (Reuters) Crude oil prices hit 2016 highs on Tuesday on the back of a rally in the gasoline market and after an industry group reported a surprise draw in U.S. crude stockpiles. Brent and U.S. crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures finished regular trading about 3% higher, riding on the coattails of a gasoline rally that hit August highs after a series of refinery hikes. Brent crude futures finished up $1.26 at $45.74 a barrel. In post-settlement trade, it rose as much as $2.01 to a 2016 high of $46.49. U.S. crude futures settled up $1.40 at $44.04. It gained $2.19 in after-hours trade to reach a year-to-date peak of $44.83.
Oil's Magic Number Becomes $50 a Barrel for Promise of Recovery (Bloomberg) The new magic number in the oil industry is $50. BP Plc, rig-owner Nabors Industries Ltd. and explorer Pioneer Natural Resources Co. all said in the past 24 hours that prices above $50 will encourage more drilling or provide the needed boost to cash flow. With oil bouncing close to $45 a barrel, an industry that has been shaving costs to stay competitive is ready for signs of stability at a price level less than half of 2014's average. Econintersect: This is tough news for Saudi Arabia which needs higher prices to support it's government welfare programs and for Russia which has very high production costs.
Trump Declares He's 'Presumptive Nominee' as Clinton Wins Four (Bloomberg) Republican Donald Trump declared himself the "presumptive nominee" and Hillary Clinton all but sealed the Democratic race as both scored dominating wins in northeastern state presidential primaries. Trump won all five states holding votes Tuesday -- Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware and Rhode Island -- and earned a boost of momentum ahead of a key contest next week in Indiana. Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, while the senator from Vermont was the victor in Rhode Island. Clinton's wins put her in close reach of her party's crown, with predictions from Sanders of altering that trajectory looking increasingly impossible.
Jane Sanders dismisses Trump advice on independent bid (CNN) Republican front-runner Donald Trump has some free advice for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: Make an independent bid for president. But Jane Sanders, Bernie's wife, says he "will not play the role of spoiler". She indicated his top priority was to make sure a Republican was not elected president.
Apple Shares Are on Track to Be the Dow's Biggest Losers (Bloomberg) For the fourth time in five quarters, shares of Apple Inc. are poised for a post-earnings drop. This one may hand the iPhone maker a distinction it could do without, making it the Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performer since it entered the gauge a year ago.
Britain's Ash forests face extinction - but a tree named Betty could save them (The Conversation) The ash tree accounts for about 20% of UK's trees and the species is under attack on multiple front. The tree is dying out in eastern Europe and Asia, as well as North America but this article says all is not lost. There are disease resistant strains and these may yet be used to save the entire species.
Why Britain's class system will have to change (The Conversation) Britain is still a society deeply divided by class. The same schools, established church and universities dominate public life, but under the façade of immobility, changes are afoot. Social class is clearly no longer neatly defined by occupation. People of the same income can have access to widely varying resources. Class is no longer simply a vertical ranking linked to capital and a system of production. It's possible to hold multiple class identities. The class sytem is no longer fit for purpose and must change for the 21st century.
EU had offered India gradual, asymmetric elimination of tariffs (The Hindu) The European Union has said that it offered India the possibility of asymmetric and gradual elimination of tariffs in the car and car parts and wines and spirits sectors as part of the negotiations on the bilateral free trade agreement known as the BTIA (Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement). A continuing absence of agreement in these sectors has contributed to the lack of progress on the trade deal despite last month's summit level talks between India and the EU. Lack of progress may be because India has wanted access to European markets for Indian service professionals (such as from the IT sector) and [t]"his does not seem to be imminent".
Yao Ming Gets Blocked in China (Bloomberg) At 7'6", Yao Ming wasn't often blocked during his Hall of Fame NBA career. But Chinese politics are a different matter, as Yao learned this week when the state-owned China Basketball Association (CBA) rebuffed the superstar's attempt to take the league private and remodel it in the image of the profitable NBA. Yao's bid was certainly worth a shot. Basketball is China's most popular team sport and the American NBA is the most popular professional league among Chinese fans. Last year, the NBA signed a $700 million deal with Chinese social media giant Tencent for digital rights to its programming in China -- its most lucrative digital partnership anywhere in the world. If Yao could have injected some of the NBA's professionalism and pizzazz into the Chinese leagues, he stood to make a fortune. Instead, his failure speaks volumes not just about sports, but about the difficulty of reform in China. Among the country's 150,000 state-owned companies, the CBA would seem an ideal test case for privatization: The mediocre and money-losing league is both in dire need of a revamp and nowhere near as sensitive as, say, the steel industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of people. The fact that Yao -- one of China's best-known and most beloved figures -- still couldn't overcome the league's resistance doesn't bode well for other efforts to loosen the state's grip on the economy.
Venezuela introduces two-day week to deal with energy crisis (BBC News) Venezuela's government has imposed a two-day working week for public sector workers as a temporary measure to help it overcome a serious energy crisis. Vice-President Aristobulo Isturiz announced that civil servants should turn up for work only on Mondays and Tuesdays until the crisis was over. Venezuela is facing a major drought, which has dramatically reduced water levels at its main hydroelectric dam.
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