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 mixed; trading stopped in Singapore (CNBC) Asian markets were mixed on Thursday, while trading in Singapore's securities market was halted due to duplicate trade confirmation messages being generated. In Singapore, the Straits Times Index was down 0.13% in mid-morning trade, before trading was halted. The SGX said in a statement the securities market was "put in adjust phase at 1138 hours due to duplicate trade confirmation messages being generated". The stock exchange operator said duplicate trades were not executed and the market remained "orderly".
The Ex-Con Inventor Disrupting Underwater Energy (Bloomberg) Herbert Williams went to prison for ten years for building a boat. It turns out it was an ultra-highspeed catamaran design purchased to run drugs. While in prison he worked on designing underwater turbines and out of that work has come what may be the beast that will make harnessing the energy of tidal bores a reality.
Usually fewer than one in five men will die before the age of 70, but that jumps to nearly one in three for the moderately obese, and eight in 10 for the morbidly obese.
In contrast around one in 10 women can expect to die early, with obesity raising the risk to one in seven. While obesity raises the risk of early death by just three per cent for women, it is 10 per cent for men, more than three times as much.
Oil Traders Scrape Bottom of the Barrel to Seek Out New Fortune (Bloomberg) The world's largest oil traders are scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of their next big opportunity. Vitol Group and Trafigura Group Pte's Puma Energy are adding ships and storage to trade bitumen, a thick, syrupy petroleum product used to make asphalt for roads and tar for roofs. Transport of the material, traditionally by truck, train or barge from refineries to local builders, has swelled into a global marketplace as demand climbs far from the source of production. The fight for profits from bitumen, said to come from the "bottom of the barrel" because of its weight, has been driven by fundamental changes in the market. Supply has dropped as aging refineries in Europe and the U.S. are closed or converted, while road construction in Asia and Africa has pushed up consumption. That's created demand for massive oceangoing tankers that keep the material heated.
This part of the energy industry may be creating next 'day of reckoning' for oil (CNBC) Refiners in the U.S., Europe and China are producing gasoline and other refinery products at levels in excess of consumption. So the glut in crude has been translated into a glut in petroleum products. But Dennis Gartman has turned bullish on crude after a couple of weeks bearish. However, he is not convinced he can stay long.
Consider the results of the Federal Reserve's latest comprehensive capital analysis and review of the 33 largest U.S. bank holding companies. The central bank evaluated whether the banks would have sufficient capital to keep operating even under severe distress. The Fed's worst-case scenario assumed a global recession, negative yields on short-term U.S. Treasury securities, 10 percent unemployment, halving of stock prices and a 25 percent drop in house values would lead to $526 billion of losses over nine quarters.
That's nastier than what followed the failure of Lehman Brothers. Yet by the Fed's reckoning, the banks still would have aggregate common equity tier 1 capital ratios of around 8.4 percent, well above the 5.5 percent reported in the first quarter of 2009. This is a testament to the way the new regulatory apparatus, working to the spirit and letter of Dodd-Frank, has made banks safer. They have boosted their capital buffers by $700 billion, to some $1.2 trillion.
What Would It Take for the Prime U.S. Workforce to Fully Recover? (Jill Mislinski, Advisor Perspectives dshort.com) Based on the moving average, today's age 25-54 cohort would require 2.7 million additional people in the labor force to match its interim peak participation rate in 2008 and 4.0 million to match the peak rate around the turn of the century. This is down from last month's 2.8M and 4.1M, respectively.
Juncker tells China to cut steel production or be frozen out of global trade club (The Telegraph) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. China has been told it must close down steel mills dumping excess production in Europe if the country is to be admitted to the global club that will allow it to trade freely with other nations. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, used blunt language in a speech in China warning that the country's chances of gaining market economy status are directly related to its steel exports.
Boris Johnson made foreign secretary by Theresa May (BBC News) New Prime Minister Theresa May has made Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who led the Brexit campaign, foreign secretary in her new government. He replaces Philip Hammond, who becomes chancellor. Ex-Energy Secretary Amber Rudd is home secretary and Eurosceptic David Davis is the Brexit secretary. Ex-chancellor George Osborne was fired.
Hammond Named U.K. Chancellor as Economy Suffers Brexit Fallout (Bloomberg) Philip Hammond was appointed the U.K.'s Chancellor of the Exchequer, tasked with the job of protecting the economy from the fallout of Brexit and meeting new prime minister Theresa May's pledge to tackle "burning injustice" in society. Foreign minister for the past two years, the 60-year-old takes over from George Osborne with the pound trading at its weakest against the dollar in three decades and companies from Vodafone Group Plc to JPMorgan Chase & Co. threatening to move jobs abroad after last month's vote to leave the European Union. Osborne was told by May he was no longer wanted in government, according to a person familiar with the matter. Econintersect: So "austerity George" is out. But will Hammond be any better? See next article.
Japan emperor intends to abdicate 'in a few years': NHK (Reuters) Japanese Emperor Akihito, who has spent much of his time on the throne trying to heal the wounds of World War Two, intends to abdicate in a few years, public broadcaster NHK and other domestic media said on Wednesday, a step that would be unprecedented in modern Japan. The 82-year-old monarch, who has had heart surgery and been treated for prostate cancer in recent years, expressed his intention to the Imperial Household Agency, NHK said. Akihito has been cutting back on his official duties, handing over some of the burden to his heir, Crown Prince Naruhito, 56. Born in 1933, Akihito was heir to Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japan fought World War Two, and whom Akihito succeeded in 1989.
U.S. launches quiet diplomacy to ease South China Sea tensions (Reuters) The United States is using quiet diplomacy to persuade the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and other Asian nations not to move aggressively to capitalize on an international court ruling that denied China's claims to the South China Sea, several U.S. administration officials said on Wednesday.
China's Factory Workers Head Home (Bloomberg) Many of the migrants who moved to Shenzhen and other Chinese factory towns to work have pulled up stakes to go back home for good. As manufacturing growth slows, and in some instances contracts, some workers are returning whence they came, some to very small towns. Many are returning with entrepreneurial dreams and are being met with free entrepreneurial training, tax waivers for businesses they start, and low-interest loans. Tourism is a priority.
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