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posted on 11 August 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Lower, Oil Down, OPEC Oil Glut, Court Limits Public Broadband, Latest Election Stuff, China And Germany Are Partners, China Bad Debt Rising And More

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Early Bird Headlines 11 August 2016

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.




  • How Did People Migrate to the Americas? Bison DNA Helps Chart the Way (The New York Times) The Clovis culture was long thought to belong to the first people to reach the Americas. But archaeologists have now detected human presence in the Americas as early as 14,700 years ago. Since the corridor (see map image below) was closed at that time according to bison DNS research, presumably those first immigrants took a coastal route and arrived by boat.

  • Saudi Arabia, Iran pump at high levels as U.S. producers cut back (CNBC) Saudi Arabia is pumping record amounts of oil, and Iran is resuming production faster than expected - a strong sign neither is likely to easily entertain the idea of an OPEC deal to control production. OPEC this week said it would hold an informal meeting on the sidelines of an Algerian energy conference in late September, and some members - mostly Venezuela - have been pushing for talks on a new pricing mechanism. Chatter about a possible OPEC deal at that meeting sent oil prices higher this week, but they were in sharp retreat Wednesday on reports of higher U.S. oil stockpiles and on news that Saudi Arabia's production rose to a record 10.67 million barrels a day in July.


  • U.S. court blocks FCC bid to expand public broadband (Reuters) A federal appeals court said on Wednesday the U.S. Federal Communications Commission could not block two states from setting limits on municipal broadband expansion, a decision seen as a win for private-sector providers of broadband internet and a setback for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Cities in Tennessee and North Carolina had sought to expand municipal broadband networks beyond current boundaries, but faced laws forbidding or placing onerous restrictions on the expansions. Econintersect: This is a victory for monopoly control of internet services in many geographic areas were there is llimited service and/or no competition. Our answer to the argument that allowing municipalities to improve wideband services within their communities is unfair competition: Why can't the private sector compete with government in this activity? Doesn't private enterprise always do things more efficiently than government?

  • Spokesman Explains Why Clinton Charity Donor Sought State Dept. Meeting (The New York Times) Douglas J. Band, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton after he left the White House, sent an email to two of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's top aides with a "Very imp" message: The State Department needed to make one of its senior officials available for a conversation with a billionaire businessman - who also was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. The billionaire and donor, Gilbert Chagoury, wanted to speak to the State Department's top official on Lebanon, Mr. Band wrote in the April 2009 email to the two aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. Mr. Chagoury is a Nigerian-based hotel and real estate developer whose family is from Lebanon. Mark Corallo, a Washington-based spokesman for Mr. Chagoury, said in a statement Wednesday that Mr. Chagoury had been seeking to contact someone in the State Department to offer his insight into the coming elections that June in 2009 in Lebanon, where he has deep ties and experience. He had not been seeking official action by the State Department. Mr. Corallo said that no conversations ever took place.

  • As voters talk, the collapse of Trump's support becomes clearly audible (Tribune Washington Bureau, MSN News) Many gauges measure the rapid drop in Donald Trump's support this summer: Polls show the Republican nominee losing nationally and in most battleground states, prominent Republicans have publicly defected, and GOP elected officials rarely rush to his defense. Twenty women, mostly swing voters, sitting at conference tables in Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix on Tuesday night, provide another. The women, participants in focus groups convened by pollsters Neil Newhouse, a Republican, and Margie Omero, a Democrat, talked about the major party candidates as reporters watched from an office in Washington. The sessions were part of a project sponsored by Wal-Mart that for eight years has examined the attitudes of what the company calls Wal-Mart moms, women who shop at one of the giant retailer's stores. It's a group that includes about one in seven American voters and is replete with the swing voters and soft partisans who candidates normally seek to persuade or mobilize precisely because they can decide elections. The pollsters say that there is not a lot of support for Hillary Clinton either.

To many of these women, Clinton appeared distant, emotionless and closed off. Few had a clear view of what she stands for, Omero noted.

Trump's image appeared far more clearly etched in their minds, Newhouse said. Unfortunately for the GOP and its nominee, that image has become fixed in two tracks: foolish or frightening.

To some, Trump appeared as a buffoonish character. To others, he seemed dangerous - a hothead, authoritarian and inexperienced.

Those perceptions of the candidates' character weigh heavily for these voters. Few on either side indicated that specific policies or issues were driving their choices.

  • Donald Trump Calls Obama 'Founder of ISIS' and Says It Honors Him (The New York Times) A day after remarks that appeared to suggest that gun rights advocates harm Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump sprayed his fire at President Obama on Wednesday, accusing him of creating the Islamic State and saying the terrorist group "honors" him.

  • Who will win the presidency? (FiveThirtyEight) The polls-only forecast which had a virtual tie two weeks ago has blown out to a high probability of a Hillary Clinton win in November. If the election were held today the forecast is has an even higher probabi;ity of Clinton comong out on top, but the polls plus (including the economy and historical data) has Trump a little closer with a 25% probability of winning. The graphics below are for the current polls-only forecast:




  • New Duke of Westminster Is Youngest Among World's 400 Richest (Bloomberg) Hugh Richard Louis Grosvenor, who became the 7th Duke of Westminster after the sudden death of his father Tuesday, joins the Bloomberg Billionaires Index today as his inheritance makes him the youngest billionaire among the world's 400 richest people. As duke, the 25-year-old now heads his family's $12.3 billion estate, which includes hundreds of acres in London's Belgravia and Mayfair neighborhoods, country homes, and Grosvenor Group, the London-based real estate firm with assets under management of £13 billion ($19 billion) at the end of 2015.


  • China and Germany: A new special relationship? (CNBC) China's relationship with Germany has evolved a lot in the past few years. A strategic partnership in 2004 evolved into a "comprehensive" strategic partnership at the end of 2014. According to data from the Federal Statistics Office of Germany, China was the largest trading partner for imports. In exports, China was ranked fifth after United States, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Analysts have pointed out that trading relations between the two countries has steadily increased by an average of 14.2% annually, doubling nearly every five years. Official government data show that foreign direct investment (FDI) into China from Germany continues to be strong and Germany has consistently been among China's top ten foreign investors. The FDI flows have nearly doubled from its value in 2010 to $2.1 billion in 2013. This level has since been maintained. Furthermore, German companies employ close to an estimated 1.1 million staff in China, thus providing a boost to the country's economic reforms. German businesses have translated the ongoing relationship with China into a steady flow of investment.


  • When China's Good News on Bad Loans Isn't (Bloomberg) China's banking regulator has released data that showed the nonperforming loan ratio of commercial lenders held steady in the second quarter for the first time in almost three years. There are a couple of caveats China bulls may want to consider before celebrating, though. A good part of the plateau can be attributed to the base effect. Any nonperforming loan ratio can decrease or remain constant if the overall amount of loans increases, which it has. According to the China Banking Regulatory Commission's statement, total assets for commercial banks increased 15.7%. So bad debt has also increased by that amount. And the "special mention" debt, on the verge of going nonperforming is is still growing rapidly.



  • Strange Case of Chilean Industry That Everyone Sues - and Wins (Bloomberg) Chile's private health insurers have a peculiar problem. Every time they try to raise their premiums, thousands of their clients take them to court to stop the increase -- and win. Their inability to raise fees is denting earnings, pushing one of Chile's most profitable industries five years ago to the brink of collapse. Clients filed more than 130,000 injunctions against the companies last year, with judges not only ruling in their favor 100% of the time, but also making the insurers pay the legal fees. It cost the companies, known as Isapres, $34 million in 2015, double the amount of a year earlier.

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