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posted on 16 August 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Slip, Oil Dips, Yen Surges, MS Sees Iron Back To 40, EM Debt Surges, GOP Refers Clinton Charges To DoJ, Aetna Pulls Back From ACA And More

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Early Bird Headlines 16 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.




  • Oil prices dip as traders cash in on two-week price rally (Reuters) Oil prices edged away from 5-week highs on Tuesday, with traders cashing in on a 16% rally since early August that has largely been fueled by talk of producers taking action to prop up the market. International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $48.14 per barrel at 8.55 p.m. ET, down 21 cents from their previous close. Despite the dip, prices remained over 15% higher than the monthly $41.51 per barrel low from Aug. 2. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at $45.56 a barrel, down 18 cents from its previous close, but still over 16% above its $39.19 monthly low from Aug. 3.

  • Iron Seen at $40 by Morgan Stanley as China Pullback Is Nigh (Bloomberg) Iron ore's 2016 rally may be about to face a challenge from the changing of the seasons. Morgan Stanley has forecast that prices may tumble back to $40 a metric ton this half as the approach of winter in China typically blunts steel demand and output.




  • GOP lays out case for charging Clinton with perjury (The Hill) A pair of leading House Republicans on Monday laid out detailed instructions for the Justice Department to file perjury charges against Democratic presidential nominee. More than a month after first requesting the department open a criminal probe into Clinton for alleged misstatements she made under oath, the GOP heads of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees told a federal prosecutor specifically where they believed Clinton had lied to Congress about her email setup at the Department of State. See also GOP lawmakers ask FBI for Clinton interview notes.

  • Williams Calls for Rethink of Fed Orthodoxy in New Economic Era (Bloomberg) Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams called for monetary and fiscal policy makers to rethink the way they operate, saying America is getting a taste of a new economic normal that warrants a change in orthodoxy. Williams' analysis centers on the idea that neutral interest rates -- those that neither stoke nor slow the economy -- are historically depressed and are poised to stay that way. To better adapt, he urged governments to prepare to provide a stronger fiscal backstop and central bankers to consider scrapping the practice of targeting low inflation. See Monetary Policy in a Low R-star World (SF Fed Newsletter) Hat tip to Rob Carter.

  • Aetna pulling back from ObamaCare in blow to health law (The Hill) In a blow to the health care law, Aetna -- one of the largest health insurers in the country -- announced Monday that it will significantly scale back its presence on the ObamaCare marketplaces next year. The move comes as a range of insurers have complained of financial losses on the ObamaCare marketplaces. The company said it will scale back from participating in 15 states this year to just four states in 2017. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement, citing a loss of $200 million in the second quarter:

"As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision."

  • The Summer of the Shill (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone) Campaign 2016 won't just have lasting implications for American politics. It's obliterated what was left of our news media:

We now have one set of news outlets that gives us the bad news about Democrats, and another set of news outlets bravely dedicated to reporting the whole truth about Republicans.

Like the old adage about quarterbacks - if you think you have two good ones, you probably have none - this basically means we have no credible news media left. Apart from a few brave islands of resistance, virtually all the major news organizations are now fully in the tank for one side or the other.

  • Benefits of wind Trump demagoguery (The Hill) For someone who likes polls, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump seems to be ignoring recent polling that shows 81% of self-described conservatives favor expanding wind power.

Wind energy - which is homegrown and diversifies our electric grid - is a winning issue that is popular with most Americans, yet Trump keeps demagoguing the issue and ignoring the facts. With this or any issue, it is impossible to be a genuine conservative and ignore facts.


  • London has the worst debt crisis in the UK (City A.M.) Londoners have the most severe debt problems of anybody in the country, according to a leading debt advice charity. StepChange said those living in the capital were more likely to be behind on their monthly payments and typically had higher levels of borrowing than those across the rest of the UK. The findings comes in a new report, London in the Red, based on analysis of 15,000 StepChange clients, which found the average level of debt for those in London who used the service was £12,402 ($16,100), 3.5%t higher than outside the capital. Londonders were also 40% more likely to turn to the charity for help in the first place.

  • Brexit and wage inequality ( Wage inequality was partly behind the vote for Brexit. This column shows how areas with relatively low median wages were substantially more likely to vote 'Leave', and discusses the likely implications of Brexit for wage inequality in the future. Increased likelihood of a recession, a negative shock to trade, reduced migration flows, and the possible loss of passporting rights for the City will all alter the structure of wages in ways that will need to carefully monitored and studied in due course. Econintersect: So Brexit was revenge of the left-behind, but the outcome may leave them even further disadvantaged.


  • Dollar-yen below 101 again (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look, Twitter) The Bank of Japan wanted 120 but they are now almost 16% stronger. Bad karma!


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