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 markets mostly higher despite hawkish Fed comments; Nikkei up 0.3%, ASX up 0.7%(CNBC) Most Asia markets were moderately higher on Friday, retracing earlier losses, in a muted reaction to a fresh stream of hawkish commentary from U.S. Federal Reserve officials. The muted reaction to the possibility of tighter U.S. monetary policy comes as markets aren't pricing in much chance of a potential Fed hike, with analysts saying market indicators suggested a roughly 30% likelihood of a June step higher. That may be because some market players are taking the Fed's signals with grains of salt.
Gold Takes 'Brunt of the Selling' as Fed Primes Markets for Hike (Bloomberg) Gold is heading for the longest run of weekly losses this year courtesy of the Federal Reserve, which signaled in comments from policy makers and meeting minutes that U.S. interest rates may rise as early as June. Bullion for immediate delivery was little changed at $1,255.39 an ounce at 11:13 a.m. in Singapore, down for a third week, the longest losing streak since November, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. It sank to $1,243.90 on Thursday, the lowest since April 28, as a resurgent dollar hurt demand.
Oil prices rise as turmoil in Nigeria adds to global supply disruptions (Reuters) Oil prices rose in early trading on Friday as turmoil in Nigeria, shale bankruptcies in the United States and crisis in Venezuela all contributed to tightening supplies. Despite this, brimming inventories across the world were preventing supply shortfalls and sharper price spikes, traders said. International Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $49.10 per barrel at 0128 GMT, up 29 cents or 0.59% from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 was up 39 cents, or 0.81%, at $48.55 a barrel.
G-7 Gathering Kicks Off With Competing Views on Boosting Growth (Bloomberg) Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven advanced economies arriving for meetings in Japan on Thursday, sent mixed signals on how best to boost flagging global growth. While the host nation looks to favor an agenda that includes more fiscal stimulus to spur demand, a tonic that's strongly supported by Canada, not everyone signaled a willingness to spend more. Guess who wants more austerity? The gathering in Sendai, in the northeastern part of Japan hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, stretches from Thursday evening to Saturday. The formal agenda covers risks to the international economy, global financial architecture, sustainable and inclusive development and cross-border financial flows.
The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities: The Latest Numbers (Forbes) Hat tip to Reberta Kruse. Of the 15 fastest growing U.S. cities from July 2014 to June 2015, 9 are in the south (4 in Texas), 4 are in the southwest or on the west coast and the other 2 are Denver (arguably southwest) and metro New York City area.
These are the 10 most and least expensive towns in Britain (City A.M.) Kensington and Chelsea has been named Britain's most expensive neighborhood, with an average price of £11,321 per square meter ($1,550 per square foot). Despite prices dropping 1% in the last year, the borough's per square meter average is still five times higher than the national average of £2,216, according to a report by Halifax. Meanwhile six of the 10 least expensive areas in Great Britain are outside England, the cheapest of them all being Airdrie in Scotland where average price per square meter stood at £1,019 ($92 per square foot)..
Outlaw Libyan Dollar Traders Thrive While Hiding in Plain Sight (Bloomberg) Amid the clothing and jewelry shops along an upmarket street in Benghazi is another kind of emporium. The wares on display: crisp U.S. dollar notes. In plain view of Libyan police and security forces, the stores are engaged in illegal foreign exchange. The dollars are brought into Libya using fake trade invoices.
Chibok girls: Second schoolgirl rescued - Nigerian army (BBC News) A second schoolgirl from the more than 200 seized in the Nigerian town of Chibok has been found, the army says. Spokesman Col Sani Usman said Serah Luka was among 97 women and children rescued by troops in operations in the north-eastern Borno State. This comes two days after the rescue of the first Chibok girl, Amina Ali Nkeki. In all, 217 girls remain missing after their abduction by the Boko Haram Islamist group from a secondary school in north-eastern Nigeria in 2014.
Billion-dollar question: What will Prime Minister Modi do to Governor Raghuram Rajan? (The Economic Times) Subramanian Swamy - who comes across either as a crusader or a clown depending on where you stand - is after Raghram Rajan. This article discusses the question of which Massachusetts trained economics professor will be the next Governor of the Reserve Bank of India: the older Swamy (Harvard Ph.D. 1965) or the incumbent Rajan (MIT Ph.D. 1991).
BJP now a pan-India party: from Kashmir to Kerala, Gujarat to Assam (Business Standard) After a disastrous 2015 where it was electorally mauled first in Delhi and then Bihar, 2016 has brought much cheer for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Narendra Modi, greatly strengthening the prime minister's hand. But it seems not all agree with that assessment - See next article.
Five predictable results make for an uncertain 2019 (Business Standard) Modi's BJP may have regained some strength in the 2016 regional elections, but this writer sees the increasing likelihood that the next national election in 2019 may see a formidable alliance of other parties present a challenge with"everybody ranged against him". The writer suggests Modi needs to govern with more outreach - "softening his politics" in non Congress Party regions.
Korean dividend payouts to foreigners up 23% after '15 FY settlement (Maeil Business News) South Korean companies listed on the main Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) bourse and the secondary Korea Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (Kosdaq) bourse paid foreign shareholders a total of 7.39 trillion won ($6.3 billion) in dividends this year after settlements in December, up 22.5% from last year. Samsung Electronics Co. paid the largest amount of dividends worth 1.8 trillion won to foreigners. Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) paid 623.2 billion won, up 574.5 percent, followed by Hyundai Motor Co. with payout of 426 billion won. U.S. shareholders earned 42% of dividends paid to foreigners. The UK was second with 8.3% and Belgium third with 6.1%.
Korea's Doosan buoyant on fuel cell business for future growth (Maeil Business News) South Korea's Doosan Group, heavy industries manufacturer which has been venturing into retail and energy sector, envisions hydrogen fuel cell operation as its core business for the future. The group will accelerate spending to complete a fuel cell production plant in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do Province, Korea by October this year and bolster output capacity at its factory in Connecticut, U.S. for the goal, a group official said on Thursday. Doosan ventured into the fuel cell business in 2014 after it took over U.S-based leading fuel cell provider ClearEdge Power and local battery maker Fuel Cell Power Co. Last year, it raked in its first operating income of 5.5 billion won ($4.6 million) from the sector, reversing from loss of 16.6 billion in 2014. Sales in the first year that totaled 22.2 billion won jumped to 168.4 billion won last year. The company targets sales of 408 billion won this year and 1.2 trillion won by 2019. Econintersect: That is projected 5-year growth of more than 21,700%
China's answer to overcapacity: $4 billion set aside to finance steel, coal capacity cuts (The Economic Times) The Chinese central government will earmark 27.64 billion yuan ($4.23 billion) to help local governments pay for capacity closures in the steel and coal sectors this year, the finance ministry said on Thursday. The industrial enterprise restructuring funds will come in two parts, with the first used to pay for the relocation of laid-off workers, and the second used at the end of the year to reward local authorities that have exceeded their closure targets, the Ministry of Finance said on its website. China has pledged to cut 100 million to 150 million tonnes of crude steel production and 500 million tonnes of coal production in the next three to five years as it tries to tackle price-sapping capacity gluts in the sectors. Layoffs from the two sectors are expected to total 1.8 million people , according to official estimates.
Taiwan's leader faces thornier ties with China, growth woes (Associated Press) Taiwan's newly inaugurated President Tsai Ing-wen, the first female leader of the self-ruled island, must confront major challenges including navigating increasingly fractious relations with Beijing and rejuvenating the flagging economy. Beijing has responded to the January election of Tsai and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party by intensifying pressure on Taiwan with military exercises, diplomatic moves and cross-border deportations and prosecutions. At home, Tsai faces an economy that has fallen into a recession as exports have dropped due to sluggish demand from China and elsewhere.
Canadian wildfire crosses border into Saskatchewan (BBC News) The massive Canadian wildfire that displaced thousands of people in Alberta has officially spread to neighboring Saskatchewan. The fire is now 4,830 sq km (1865 sq miles) and has expanded east. It has burned about 7.8 sq km (3 sq miles) in the province so far. The border of Saskatchewan is about 90 km (60 miles) east of the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta which was substantially destroyed two weeks ago.
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