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posted on 31 May 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Up, China Up Big After Flash Crash, Oil's Low New Normal, Verizon Strike Over, Migrant Crisis Swells, England Housing Boom Over?, HIV From Bad Blood In India And More

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Early Bird Headlines 31 May 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 False Promise of Negative Interest Rates (Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate) Prof. Skidelsky sees more negatives (pardon the pun) than positives.

  • Austerity policies do more harm than good, IMF study concludes (The Guardian) A strong warning that austerity policies can do more harm than good has been delivered by economists from the International Monetary Fund, in a critique of the neoliberal doctrine that has dominated economics for the past three decades. In an article, the IMF economists said rising inequality was bad for growth and that governments should use controls to cope with destabilizing capital flows. The three IMF economists came up with conclusions that contradicted neoliberal theory, the basis of the Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher revolution.

  • Oil's 'new normal' may be lower than you think (CNBC) Oil prices have rallied over the last two months due to unplanned production outages in Canada and Nigeria that have helped bring global supply and demand into better balance. Crude prices have declined since Thursday's peak but remained above $49 per barrel on Tuesday morning. Christian Gattiker-Ericsson, the chief strategist and global head of research at Julius Baer bank, said the likely next step for oil prices was back downwards.


  • Verizon, unions agree to pay raises, new jobs to end strike (Reuters) A tentative deal between Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and leaders of striking unions includes 1,400 new jobs and pay raises topping 10%, the company and unions representing about 40,000 workers said on Monday, hoping to end a walkout that has lasted nearly seven weeks. One analyst called the deal "very rich" for workers at Verizon, the No. 1 U.S. wireless provider, which reached the tentative pact with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) on Friday. Details for the new four-year contract were disclosed on Monday.


  • Defence spending by Nato's Europe states up as uncertainty rises (Financial Times) Defense spending by Europe's NATO states is set to rise for the first time in nearly a decade, figures show, as fears over Russian aggression and the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean stoke anxiety over security across the continent. But Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg warned, in an interview with the Financial Times, that a UK vote to leave the EU could throw the turnround into jeopardy.

  • Between 700-900 migrants may have died at sea this week: NGOs (Reuters) At least 700 migrants may have died at sea this past week in the busiest week of migrant crossings from Libya towards Italy this year, Medecins San Frontieres and the U.N. Refugee agency said on Sunday. About 14,000 have been rescued since Monday amid calm seas, and there have been at least three confirmed instances of boats sinking. But the number of dead can only be estimated based on survivor testimony, which is still being collected.


  • Evidence grows of an end to house price boom in England (Financial Times) Signs of faltering demand in the housing market are prompting estate agents and analysts to suggest England's house price boom may be ending. Paul Smith, chief executive of the Haart agency - which has more than 100 branches - said:

"We believe the nation has now neared the limit in terms of price rises."

Saudi Arabia

  • These three perilous trends spell disaster for Saudi Arabia (City A.M.) The three challenges to the Saudi economy: (1) War in Yemen and possibly elsewhere against Iran and Iranian surrogates; (2) their oil reserves are cast but they will not last forever; and (3) they have badly misjudged the American shale competitiveness which will keep them from regaining absolute control over oil markets.


  • Exclusive: Westinghouse to get new site for Indian nuclear plant - officials (Reuters) Toshiba Corp's Westinghouse Electric will relocate a planned project to build six nuclear reactors in India, officials said, clearing a land acquisition hurdle and bringing the first deal stemming from a U.S.-India civil nuclear accord struck more than a decade ago closer to reality. The six AP-1000 reactors would be built in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, after the original site proposed for the multi-billion-dollar project, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, faced local opposition. Indian federal and state officials confirmed that the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), which would operate the plants, had made a down payment on 2,000 acres (800 hectares) in Shrikakulam district on India's eastern seaboard.

  • Fire at Army's ammunition depot in Pulgaon kills 17 (The Hindu) In a tragic accident at the Army's Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) at Pulgaon in Maharashtra, an accidental fire has killed 17 jawans including two officers while another 19 were injured. CAD, Pulgaon is the largest ammunition depot of the Indian Army, and is also one of the largest depots in the world.

  • Bad blood: 2,234 get HIV after transfusion (The Hindu) In the last 17 months alone, 2,234 persons across India have been infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while getting blood transfusions. The maximum number of such cases - 361 - was reported from Uttar Pradesh due to unsafe blood transfusion practices in hospitals. Just last week, a three-year-old boy from Assam's Kamrup district, admitted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital for treatment of burn injuries, is reported to have contracted HIV due to transfusion of contaminated blood. Reportedly, no action has been taken against hospitals or blood banks. The information was disclosed following a Right to Information query by activist Chetan Kothari, who says the government is in denial:

"The government has been slackening on raising AIDS awareness due to budget cuts. Cases like these keep happening over and over again and no action is taken against erring hospitals and blood banks. This is an extremely serious issue, and the government needs to address it urgently."


  • Obama's Hiroshima visit was hugely momentous - and bitterly ironic (The Conversation) Given the extrovert, militaristic turn of the Jaapanese government, many people in the rest of East Asia will interpret Abe's message sceptically indeed. And given reports that the US's reduction of its nuclear arsenal has in fact slowed under Obama's rule, his renewed call for a world free from nuclear weapons doesn't ring as true as it once did.

  • The Silencing of Japan's Free Press (Foreign Policy) There have been alarming signs of deteriorating media freedoms in Japan. In March, three of the country's most outspoken television anchors were removed almost simultaneously by three different networks. While the networks were acting on their own, the dismissals were widely seen as orchestrated by the Abe government.


  • One-Minute Plunge Sends Chinese Stock Futures Down by 10% Limit (Bloomberg) Another 'Flash Crash'. Chinese stock-index futures plunged by the daily limit before snapping back in less than a minute, the second sudden swing to rattle traders this month. The Hong Kong exchange had a similar experience earlier in May. Contracts on the CSI 300 Index dropped as much as 10 percent at 10:42 a.m. local time, recovering almost all of the losses in the same minute. More than 1,500 June contracts changed hands in that period, the most all day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


  • China Default Chain Reaction Threatens Products Worth 35% of GDP (Bloomberg) The risk of a default chain reaction is looming over the $3.6 trillion market for wealth management products in China. Many non-performing loans in China are held by these entities and defaults would ripple widely and quickly through the Chinese economy.

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