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.
Flat Chinese May manufacturing survey fails to drive Asia stocks (CNBC) Asian markets failed to find a common thread Wednesday after mixed signals from China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) data and better-than-expected Australian economic growth. Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) came in well above expectations, rising 3.1% on-year in the first quarter, compared with a Reuters poll forecast for 2.8% growth. That sent the Australian dollar surging to as high as $0.7293 from around $0.7230 before the data. The Aussie was fetching $0.7284 at 10:01 a.m. SIN/HK time. Australia's stocks trimmed losses, with the S&P/ASX 200 off 0.73% after being down as much as 1.34% earlier. Most sub-indexes remained in the red. The heavily weighted financial sub-index dropped 1.25%, while the energy sector fell 1.54%.
OPEC Dying of Self-Inflicted Wounds (Bloomberg) The closest OPEC came to operating like a true oil cartel was in the early 1970s. Back then, it controlled more than half the world's oil supply and was more or less aligned in trying to manage pricing and, for many members, throwing off the remnants of colonialism. These days, OPEC accounts for about 40 percent of oil supplies, and it is divided on multiple fronts, be it the vast economic gulf between the haves of the Gulf States and the have-nots of Venezuela or the enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran. What really threatens OPEC's survival, though, is something it helped bring to life: shale production. This new source of oil can be ramped up and down much more rapidly to match changes in demand than traditional production and has removed a significant control element from OPEC.
Asteroids 'dumped water into molten Moon' (BBC News) There is water on the moon after all - just not much. A smattering of water is buried deep inside the Moon and it arrived during the satellite's very early history, a new study concludes, when asteroids plunged into its churning magma oceans. How and when water got trapped in volcanic lunar rocks is a huge and open question for planetary scientists. This international team has compared the chemistry of Apollo mission samples with various types of space rock. They say that icy, early asteroids were the likely source of most of the water. After such impacts the Moon's developing crust could have trapped the water in the cooling magma. Much later, volcanic activity spewed some of that magma back onto the surface and, much later again, a precious few of those volcanic rocks were bagged by Apollo astronauts. Tightly bound up in the rocks is a trace of water: somewhere between 10 and 300 parts per million (0.001-0.03%).
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Where the money went: Trump details fundraising for vets (Associated Press) Under pressure to account for money he claimed to raise for veterans, an irritated Donald Trump lambasted the news media Tuesday for pressing the issue and listed charities he said have now received millions of dollars from a fundraiser he held in January. Phone calls to all 41 of the groups by The Associated Press brought more than two-dozen responses Tuesday. About half reported checks from Trump within the past week, typically dated May 24, the day The Washington Post published a story questioning whether he had distributed all of the money.
Euro-Area inflation rate remains negative as ECB ponders outlook (The Business Times) Euro-area consumer prices failed to increase for a fourth consecutive month, highlighting policy makers' struggle to stoke inflation despite multiple rounds of stimulus. Prices fell 0.1%t in May from a year earlier, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said on Tuesday. That's in line with the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists and follows a drop of minus 0.2% in April. The unemployment rate held at 10.2% last month, according to a separate Eurostat release.
Mediterranean Sea disasters swallow up over 1,000 migrants (Associated Press) The death toll keeps rising. The treacherous Mediterranean Sea crossing from Libya to Italy has claimed the lives of over 1,030 migrants in the last week, mostly as barely seaworthy smuggling boats foundered and sank despite calm seas and sunny skies, a migration agency said Tuesday, citing new accounts from survivors.
NHS will not fund anti-HIV Prep drug plan (BBC News) NHS (National Health Service) England has reiterated it will not fund a "game-changer" drug treatment that can prevent HIV, angering HIV charities which had been campaigning to reverse the decision. The NHS is standing firm and says it has no responsibility to provide the treatment, known as Prep. It says the onus should fall on local authorities instead. Charities have called the decision "shameful", and warned that lives would suffer as a result. Prep (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily pill that can considerably lower a person's chances of catching HIV. If taken correctly, it is almost entirely effective in preventing HIV.
At 7.6% in FY16, India is now the fastest growing economy(The Business Standard) India's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.6% in 2015-16, up from 7.2% a year ago. The full-year growth was fueled by close to 8% growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2015-16, the fastest in the world for the January-March quarter as well as FY16. It is also the highest number for India since the new GDP series was launched in 2011-12. With such a high growth number, India has managed to retain its tag of the world's fastest growing major economy - outpacing even China.
S&P says Japan sales tax hike delay makes 'some sense' (Reuters) Delaying a sales tax increase in Japan scheduled for April next year makes "some sense" as it could push the economy into several quarters of anemic growth, making it hard to raise revenue, a senior Standard & Poor's executive said on Tuesday. Weaker growth resulting from faltering consumer spending would jeopardise the government's goal of returning to a primary budget surplus, which excludes new borrowing and debt servicing costs, in fiscal 2020. Econintersect: If Japan produces a budget surplus it cannot grow it's GDP unless the there is a trade surplus larger than the fiscal surplus. This is elementary accounting - and governments do not seem to realize it. Or do they just think that they can lie long enough to survive the next election?
China's factories steadying but weak, hopes for quick recovery fade (Reuters) China's manufacturing activity showed signs of steadying in May but remained weak amid soft demand at home and abroad, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still struggling to regain traction. A rebound in March had raised hopes that China's economy was reviving, breathing life into global financial and commodity markets, but analysts said the soggy activity readings and weak April data suggest no quick recovery is in sight. China's official factory activity gauge expanded for the third straight month in May, but only marginally, while a private survey showed conditions deteriorated for a 15th straight month. Both showed factories continued to cut staff.
China to 'pressure' U.S. on maritime issues, paper says (Reuters) China will "pressure" the United States on maritime issues at talks in Beijing next week because of Chinese concern about an increased U.S. military presence in the disputed South China Sea, a major state-run newspaper said on Tuesday. China has been angered by what it views as provocative U.S. military patrols close to islands China controls in the South China Sea. The United States says the patrols are to protect freedom of navigation.
GDP: Australia's economy grows 3.1pc, fastest quarterly growth since 2012, says ABS (abc.net.au) Australia's economy grew 1.1% in the first quarter, and 3.1% over the past year, its fastest quarterly growth since March 2012. The Bureau of Statistics figures show growth was driven largely by a surge in export volumes, which contributed 1% out of the 1.1% quarterly growth. Household consumption also added to the better-than-expected economic expansion, contributing 0.4%. The largest detractor from growth was falling business investment in engineering construction and new buildings, which dropped 2.2%.
Fancy dress financial regulators ASIC and APRA must go (The Sydney Morning Herald) Corporate fraud and victimizing whistleblowers is going uninhibited in Oz. A leading journalist in exposing the criminal activity is Adele Ferguson who speaks in a 5 minute video accompanying this article. We have been unable to get the code to embed the video here, so click on the headline to watch her presentation.
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