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posted on 06 October 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Higher, QE Forever?, Matthew Heads For Fla, GOP Blocking ACA Funds, Nobody Wants Twitter, Trump Slips More, Syria Refugees Numbers, Philippines-US Divorce And More

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Early Bird Headlines 06 October 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.




  • Fed's Fischer says low neutral rate a sign of potential economic trouble (Reuters) Evidence that the so-called natural rate of interest has fallen to low levels could mean the economy is stuck in a low-growth rut that could prove hard to escape, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said on Wednesday. Speaking to a central banking seminar in New York, the Fed's second-in-command said central bankers may face a future where the short-term interest rates set by policymakers never get far above zero, and the unconventional tools used during the financial crisis become a "recurrent" fact of life. As a result, he said, central bankers may face a future where the short-term interest rates set by policymakers never get far above zero, and the unconventional tools used during the financial crisis become a "recurrent" fact of life. He was concerned that the changes in world savings and investment patterns that may have driven down the natural rate could

"prove to be quite persistent...We could be stuck in a new longer-run equilibrium characterized by sluggish growth."


  • Hurricane Matthew: Thousands of Americans head inland to escape the storm (CNBC) Hundreds of thousands of Americans headed for higher ground Wednesday as Hurricane Matthew barreled toward the Florida and South Carolina coasts and the death toll from the monster storm climbed to at least 25. Evacuations were underway in Florida and South Carolina after Matthew, which hammered Haiti and strafed Cuba, began battering the Bahamas. For continuously updated repots and storm track maps, visit Sig Silber's GEI Weather Page.

  • Confusion Over Trump Appeal Means Markets Risk Brexit-Like Shock (Bloomberg) Minutes into last week’s presidential debate, investors decided that Donald Trump, a candidate many of them fear, was being outshone by Hillary Clinton. This, they figured, would help stem his momentum, and so they frantically bid up the value of the Mexican peso, a currency that has become an election barometer. The next day, the S&P 500 Index jumped 0.6%. But the Trump candidacy is largely unaffected by policy debate skills, and the failure to grasp that could lead markets into the kind of misstep and turmoil that the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union did, according to a number of market analysts.

  • GOP seeks to block ObamaCare settlements with insurers (The Hill) Republicans in Congress are plotting ways to block the Obama administration from paying insurance companies hundreds of millions of dollars as part of an ObamaCare program. GOP lawmakers say they are looking at “a dozen" options - including a possible provision in the year-end spending bill - to prevent the administration from using an obscure fund within the Treasury Department to pay out massive settlements to insurers. The insurance companies are suing over a shortfall in an ObamaCare program that they say is damaging their businesses. Settling the cases could help insurers deal with losses on the ObamaCare marketplaces, but Republicans argue the move would be a “bailout" that would circumvent the will of Congress which has used legislation to remove funding for so-called "risk corridors" in the law as originally passed.

  • Twitter Shares Drop on Report Saying Google Won’t Make a Bid (Bloomberg) Twitter Inc. fell as much as 11 percent in extended trading following a report that Alphabet Inc.’s Google isn’t interested in buying the social-networking service. Technology news website Recode reported Wednesday that Google doesn’t currently plan to make a bid for Twitter, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. Disney and Apple are also unlikely to be suitors, Recode said, without naming its sources. A representative for Google declined to comment on the report, while Disney didn’t respond to requests for comment. Apple declined to comment last week on reports that it was interested.

  • Ford chairman met with Trump over 'infuriating' Mexico comments (Reuters) Ford Motor Co (F.N) Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said on Wednesday he has met with Donald Trump to talk about the Republican presidential candidate's extensive criticism of the automaker's investments in Mexico. Ford told the Economic Club of Washington that he thought Trump's criticism of the No. 2 automaker's foreign investments were "infuriating and "frustrating" because of the company's extensive investments and employment in the United States. Trump has threatened if elected to impose hefty tariffs on Ford imports from Mexico. Ford told reporters after the event that the session with Trump was a "great meeting" that took place a few months ago.

  • Who will win the presidency? (FiveThirtyEight) By Nate Silver's analysis of polls data, Donald Trump is slipping fast in his prospects for becoming president. Just 10 days ago this same forecast had him with a probability in the mid-40s, Now he has slipped to less than one chance in 4. Ohia has now slipped from leaning Trump to leaning Clinton.



Click for larger image.



  • France makes new push for Aleppo ceasefire (Reuters) France is to launch a new push for United Nations backing for a ceasefire in Syria that would allow aid into the city of Aleppo after some of the heaviest bombings of the war. As diplomatic efforts resumed, the Syrian military said army commanders had decided to scale back air strikes and shelling in Aleppo to alleviate the humanitarian situation there. It said civilians in rebel-held eastern Aleppo were being used as human shields and a reduced level of bombardment would allow people to leave for safer areas. Intense Syrian and Russian bombing of rebel-held areas of the northern city of Aleppo followed the collapse last month of a ceasefire brokered by Moscow and Washington, which backs some rebel groups. The United States broke off talks with Russia on Monday, accusing it of breaking its commitments.


  • Data Dive: Escape from Syria (Reuters) Refugees from Syria are arriving in Europe at about 1/3 the rate of last year, but they are still coming even though 1 out of every 87 drown in the attempt.


  • Philippine Foreign Secretary Says ‘America Has Failed Us’ (Bloomberg) The Philippines’s top diplomat said President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking an independent foreign policy for the country because "America has failed us" in the decades since it gained independence from its former colonial master. Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in a statement distributed Thursday by the Department of Foreign Affairs:

"The United States held on to invisible chains that reined us in towards dependency and submission as little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom. Breaking away from the shackling dependency of the Philippines to effectively address both internal and external security threats has become imperative in putting an end to our nation’s subservience to United States’ interests."

South Korea

  • Samsung Recall Faces Blow as Replacement Blamed for Jet Drama (Bloomberg) Samsung Electronics Co.’s global recall of Note 7 smartphones received a fresh blow after a replacement device was blamed for smoke that led to the evacuation of a Southwest Airlines Co. plane. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are investigating Wednesday’s incident, they said in e-mailed statements. Samsung started replacing Note 7s around the world last month because a flaw in its lithium battery can lead to overheating, posing a burn hazard to consumers. The phone on the Southwest plane was a replacement for a recalled Note 7, the device’s owner, Brian Green, told The Verge, a technology news-focusedwebsite. Green said he picked up the phone at an AT&T Inc. store on Sept. 21, and showed The Verge a photograph of the box that displayed a black square symbol indicating a replacement phone. Bloomberg News last week interviewed a customer in China who said his new Note 7 had exploded less than 24 hours after it was delivered.


  • Short Sellers Target Anhui Conch Amid China Bubble Warnings (Bloomberg) China’s largest cement maker has become the most shorted stock in Hong Kong as debate intensifies over whether the country’s property boom is sustainable. Short interest in Anhui Conch Cement Co. climbed to 14.5% of its outstanding shares on Monday, the highest since February 2015 and five times the level seen seven months ago, according to the latest data compiled by IHS Markit Ltd. and Bloomberg.


  • Samsung Turns Farmers Into Bigger Earners Than Bankers (Bloomberg) The South Korean electronics giant Samsung moved into the rice paddies of Bac Ninh province in Northern Vietnam and began rolling out smartphones seven years ago. The latest exports include the company’s new Galaxy Note 7 phones and their batteries, which have embroiled the global brand in a massive product recall. Those gadgets have transformed Dung’s sleepy village into the country’s second-biggest exporting center after Ho Chi Minh City. Samsung Electronics Co. and its affiliates have built a factory town with 45,000 young workers and hundreds of foreign component suppliers -- a miniature version of the family-run chaebol conglomerates that dominate business back in Korea. The investment has been a windfall for businesses in Bac Ninh -- almost 2,000 new hotels and restaurants opened between 2011 and 2015 according to the provincial statistics office -- helping raise the province’s per capita GDP to three times the national average and has turned former rice farmers into a wealthy upper middle class.

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