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.
As oil plows through $45 a barrel, U.S. producers rush to lock in prices (Reuters) U.S. oil producers pounced on this month's 20 percent rally in crude futures to the highest level since November, locking in better prices for their oil by selling future output and securing an additional lifeline for the years-long downturn. The flurry of dealing kicked off when prices pierced $45 per barrel earlier in April. It picked up in recent weeks, allowing producers to continue to pump crude even if prices crash anew. While it was not clear if oil prices will remain at current levels, it may also be a sign producers are preparing to add rigs and ramp up output. See also Oil prices fall on rising OPEC crude production (Reuters).
Astronomers find a tailless comet, first of its kind (Reuters) Astronomers have found a first-of-its-kind tailless comet whose composition may offer clues into long-standing questions about the solar system's formation and evolution, according to research published on Friday in the journal Science Advances. The so-called "Manx" comet, named after a breed of cats without tails, was made of rocky materials that are normally found near Earth. Most comets are made of ice and other frozen compounds and were formed in solar system's frigid far reaches. Researchers believe the newly found comet was formed in the same region as Earth, then booted to the solar system's backyard like a gravitational slingshot as planets jostled for position.
Oil Bulls Bet the Waning U.S. Shale Boom Will Curb Global Glut (Bloomberg) Hedge funds are rooting for a quick collapse of the U.S. shale boom. Money managers turned the most bullish since May as West Texas Intermediate crude climbed to a five-month high on optimism that falling U.S. production and rising fuel demand will trim the global glut. Investors shrugged off an inventory gain that left supplies at the highest since 1929. But there may be only a limited range for a price move higher - see next article.
$50 Oil is the Magic Number (Haynesville Shale) Frackers are getting ready to roll out rigs for new drilling if oil tops $50 and it is getting close (around $45).
At an average price of $53 per barrel of oil means the world's 50 biggest publicly traded companies in the industry can stop bleeding cash, according to oilfield consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Nabors, which owns the world's largest fleet of onshore drilling rigs, said it has already been talking with several large customers about plans to boost work in the second half of the year if prices rise "comfortably" above $50.
10 States Blocking the Power of the Sun (Eco Watch) Some of the sunniest states in the country are actively blockingrooftop-solar development through overtly lacking and destructive policy landscapes, according to a Center for Biological Diversity report released Tuesday. The 10 states highlighted in Throwing Shade: 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin - account for more than 35% of the total rooftop-solar technical potential in the contiguous U.S., but only 6% of total installed capacity. Econintersect: This report is factually correct but highly misleading because the cost of solar farm electric MAY be lower than the cost of rooftop within a couple of years and the states that lag in rooftop installations may emerge as low-cost electric states as a result. However, how this will play out does have a lot of complicating factors so the word 'MAY' was emphasized above. For details see A Comparative Discussion of Utility Scale Solar versus Distributed Solar.
Russia says talks to extend Syrian lull in fighting to Aleppo (Reuters) Russia said on Sunday talks were taking place to include Aleppo in a temporary lull in fighting declared by the Syrian army in some western parts of the country, a sign of intensified efforts to halt a surge of violence in Syria's former commercial capital. The United States said stopping the bloodshed in Aleppo, which has been at the center of an escalation of violence that has all but destroyed a wider ceasefire deal and broke up peace talks in Geneva, was a top priority. Nearly 10 days of bombardments by both the government side and insurgents in the city of Aleppo has killed more than 250 people, a monitoring group said, confounding hopes of an end to five years of war.
India factory activity growth slows sharply in April - PMI (Reuters) Growth in India's manufacturing sector slowed sharply in April as demand weakened, a business survey showed on Monday, reinforcing views that the central bank will have to cut interest rates again in coming months. The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to a four-month low of 50.5 in April from March's 52.4, nearing the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction and the lowest reading of the year. The pace of growth in both domestic and foreign orders dwindled, pushing firms to reduce output. The output sub-index fell to a two-month low of 51.0 from 54.2.
Recent rise in yen 'extremely worrying':Japan finance minister (Business Standard) Japan's finance minister said late the recent sharp rise in the yen is "extremely worrying", adding Tokyo will take action when necessary. The remarks, which suggest Tokyo's possible market intervention, came after the Japanese unit surged to an 18-month high against the dollar in New York Friday. The yen has risen more than 10% against the dollar this year.
China's regional economy shows positive growth amid mixed signs (China Daily) Economic data published by China's provinces and regions showed positive growth in the first quarter (Q1), but also highlighted the challenges faced by some areas. Tibet autonomous region and the economic powerhouse of Chongqing municipality performed the best in Q1, with growth of 10.7%. There were 24 provinces, municipalities and regions that posted growth rates faster than the national Q1 figure of 6.7%. Economic observers said the service industry had played a central role in boosting the economy, while real estate sales, which jumped in many big cities following government incentives rolled out in Q1, also helped. The Chinese economy has shown positive signs of stabilizing thanks to strong investment in infrastructure and the property sector, and it is expected to hold steady during the remainder of the year.
India's floundering bank debt-for-equity deals a warning for China (Reuters) Indian lenders are struggling to find new owners for unprofitable steel and infrastructure companies they took over under a debt-for-equity swap, a warning sign for China, which is launching a similar scheme. Indian banks have either taken over or are in the process of seizing majority control in 18 firms with a combined debt of about $15 billion, under a central bank plan that allows them to swap the companies' debt for equity and freeze non-performing loans, brokerage Religare Capital Markets estimates. The Reserve Bank of India's Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR) swap plan - aimed at reducing a $121 billion corporate bad debt mountain - envisages banks passing on control to a new owner within an 18-month grace period. Buyers, however, are not flocking in.
China's tax overhaul aims to cut business costs (The Business Times) China has rolled out a value-added tax (VAT) system across all industries that previously had a business tax, in the most ambitious overhaul of its tax regime in three decades. The world's second-largest economy is stumbling through its slowest growth in a quarter century but is continuing with tough reforms in its transition to a services-oriented economy from one powered by manufacturing. The government first began experimenting with a VAT in 1979 and started applying the tax to specific sectors in 2012. The final four sectors to adopt a VAT on Sunday are construction, property, finance and life services - which includes food and beverage, healthcare and tourism industries. The VAT shifts tax burden from manufacturers and providers of goods and services to consumers.
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