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posted on 12 August 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Up, Oil Surges, Richest In World, Phelps Beats Ancient Record, London Office Rents Crash, Pound Falls, Yuan Float Distant, China Output Slows And More

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Early Bird Headlines 12 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.




From Moscow to Myanmar, US-European funded organisations undermine the essential work of genuine NGOs.

A nongovernmental organisation (NGO) is described as a not-for-profit organization independent from states and international governments. They are funded by donations and facilitated by volunteers drawn from the communities they serve.

Genuine NGOs fitting this description fulfill a vital role within the nations they work regarding issues including education, healthcare, the media, the environment, technology, and economic development.

They often perform their work in parallel with government organizations and may even cooperate with their national government. At other times, the provide a necessary but constructive check and balance to deficiencies present within a state.

However, NGOs can be abused. Foreign governments and financially motivated special interests can use the structure and appeal of NGOs as vectors to project unwarranted, coercive power and influence.

Funded not by the communities they claim to serve, but by these foreign interests, they often operate under the pretext of upholding the legitimate roles and responsibilities of genuine NGOs while in reality undermining a targeted nation's government, its people, its institutions, and national peace and stability. Ironically, such organizations also undermine the perceived legitimacy and effectiveness of real NGOs.

  • Oil up 4 percent as Saudis mull meeting, tighter market forecast (Reuters) Oil prices jumped the most in a month, rising more than 4% on Thursday, after comments from the Saudi oil minister about possible action to stabilize prices triggered a round of buying and the International Energy Agency forecast crude markets would tighten in the second half of 2016. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said OPEC members and non-members would discuss the market situation, including any action that may be required to stabilize prices, during an informal meeting on Sept. 26-28 in Algeria. The comments by the minister of the world's top oil exporter triggered fund buying and some short covering, giving a boost to prices, traders and brokers said. See also next article.

  • IEA Sees Oil Glut Easing (Bloomberg) Global oil markets will continue to re-balance this year as a pick-up in demand from refiners absorbs record output from several Persian Gulf producers, the International Energy Agency predicted. Refiners around the world will process record volumes of crude this quarter as their intake rebounds after falling in the second quarter by the most since 2009, the Paris-based adviser said in its monthly report. That will shrink brimming crude stockpiles even as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates pump at all-time highs amid competition between OPEC nations to secure market share, according to the agency.


  • Trump warns GOP he could stop fundraising (The Hill) Donald Trump on Thursday issued a threat to stop fundraising for the Republican Party after a report emerged that party officials could focus resources on down-ballot candidates. Trump told Fox News that he had spoken with Chairman Reince Priebus about a report the RNC may shift resources to down-ballot candidates as many Republicans shy away from his campaign. RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer denied that Priebus threatened to reallocate resources on Twitter.

  • Michael Phelps makes yet more history to win 22nd Olympic gold (CNN) Michael Phelps is used to rewriting history -- now he's eclipsing it too. You have to go back around 2,160 years, give a week or two, to find an athlete who could challenge the imperious record held by the "Baltimore Bullet." The US star claimed the 22nd Olympic gold of his Olympic career Thursday after powering past the opposition in the final of the 200-meter individual medley. That victory, the 13th individual triumph of his Olympics career, meant he surpassed the greatest athlete of ancient Greece and indeed of the Games -- Leonidas of Rhodes who was runner competing from 164 to 152 BC. For total metals here are the top 3 (from TopEndSports):

  • Independent candidate Evan McMullin gets on first state ballot (The Hill) Evan McMullin has gotten on his first state ballot days after announcing his late independent presidential bid, his campaign announced late Thursday. McMullin will appear on the ballot in Colorado in November, according to a statement from chief strategist Joel Searby. McMullin, a little-known former CIA officer and House GOP official, announced his long-shot White House bid on Monday as an alternative to Republican Donald Trump.


  • Brexit: the view from Eastern Europe (The Conversation) Eyebrows have been raised about the UK decision to leave the EU. Why would Britain want to cut itself from Europe and diminish its international status? Having suffered on the fringes of Western democracy under communism, the liberal elites of Eastern and Central Europe were extraordinarily pleased when their countries were able to join the European Union in 2004. They were integrated into what seemed to be a civilized, democratic and stable West. And just as the new EU members were able to join "the West", it started to fall to bits. First came the financial crisis and now Brexit. But large majorities in eastern European countries remain very supportive of the EU.


  • City of London office values fall most in seven years (Finance & Commerce) Office values in the City of London financial district fell the most in at least seven years after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Prices fell 6.1% in July on heightened economic uncertainty, especially for financial services firms, CBRE Group Inc. said by email Monday. That's the largest decline since the broker began compiling the data in July 2009. Econintersect: Hmmm...July 2009? Wasn't that the bottom of The Great Recession?

  • FTSE 100 soars to 14-month high as pound falls further against the euro (City A.M.) The FTSE 100 soared to above 6,900 for the first time this year on Thursday. At 6,914.71, the bluechip index closed up 0.7 per cent, its highest level in more than 14 months. The market had been lingering at less than 6,850 earlier in the afternoon, but rallied late on as oil prices rose around four per cent. The FTSE 250 was also up on Thursday, climbing 0.61% to 17,807.56, its highest level for more than a year. Market analysts noted that, while the FTSE 100 was up, it underperformed other markets. See also next article.

  • Pound in Longest Losing Run Since Brexit as Expanded QE Begins (Bloomberg) The pound fell for a fourth day, its longest losing streak since the Brexit vote, as the Bank of England started its expanded monetary easing program. The additional stimulus also sent U.K. government bonds higher, pushing five- and 10-year yields to record lows.


  • Yuan Free Float Seen a Decade Away as China Keeps Strict Control (Bloomberg) This article says the yuan isn't anywhere close to being fully convertible even as it prepares to enter the IMF's reserves basket on Oct. 1. A true free float is as far as a decade away, the yuan's top forecaster said, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. produced a still-to-do list that includes the need to ease capital controls and cut back on intervention.

  • Restaurants in China are replacing waiters with robots (Business Insider) Chinese restaurants started to replace their workers with robots as early as 2006. Though some have proven pretty incompetent, they're still cheaper than human wait staff - the approximate $1,200 up-front cost per robot is just a couple months' salary for an average server in China (though robot prices vary). Robot waiters seem to have taken off in China because they're novel and fun, rather than for their efficiency. Many robots in Chinese restaurants appear anthropomorphic and toy-like. For more see In China, a Robot's Place Is in the Kitchen (The Wall Street Journal).

  • Xi Jinping ramps up his crackdown on the Chinese media - both online and off (The Conversation) With almost no notice, any website in China can be shut down on a temporary or permanent basis if it's deemed to contain "politically incorrect" content. And sure enough, this summer, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced a crackdown on online news reporting, targeting some of China's most popular internet giants - including Sina, NetEase, Sohu, Tencent, and Phoenix. While China is used to tight controls on the internet and the media, this was nonetheless a remarkably aggressive move. And it speaks of a renewed zeal for an all-encompassing control of information.

  • China Stability Falters as Factory Output, Investment Slow (Bloomberg) China's recent economic stabilization faltered in July as factory output, retail sales and investment all slowed. Industrial production rose 6% from a year earlier in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. Retail sales climbed 10.2% last month, while fixed-asset investment increased 8.1 percent in the first seven months of the year. All three readings missed economists estimates. Bloomberg's monthly gross domestic product tracker slipped to 6.94% in July, from 7.13% a month earlier.

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