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 as dollar takes a breather (CNBC) Asian markets traded mixed on Monday as dollar strength took a breather and oil prices surged. Helping to improve sentiment around Asia, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, eased off a multi-year high of 101.48 touched last week. The greenback was wavering at 101.09 against a basket of currencies as of 3:40 pm HK/SIN.
Oil prices climb on expectation of OPEC-led output cut (Reuters) Oil prices rose about 1% on Monday as producer cartel OPEC moved closer to an output cut to rein oversupply that has kept prices low for over two years. International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $47.35 per barrel at 0023 GMT, up 49 cents, or 1.05%, from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 0.98%, or 44 cents, at $46.14 a barrel.
Barney Frank admits 'mistake' in Dodd-Frank (The Hill) Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said on Sunday that his namesake banking regulation bill Dodd-Frank should have been more lenient towards smaller banks. In a radio interview with John Catsimatidis, Frank said that the asset threshold for “extra supervision" of banks should have been set higher:
“We put in there that banks got the extra supervision if they were $50 billion in assets. That was a mistake. We should have made it much higher, $125 billion or more, and we should have indexed it."
Obama’s Doubts on Trump Seep Through Somber Facade on Last Trip (Bloomberg) Barack Obama once expected his last foreign trip as president to be a farewell tour to a world enjoying the fruits of a foreign policy he thought would last: an outstretched hand to peaceful Muslims, a strengthened alliance with Europe, a deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions. All of that is in jeopardy after the Nov. 8 election of Republican Donald Trump as Obama’s successor. And the president’s parting words on Sunday in Lima, Peru before returning to Washington hinted he may yet fight as Trump seeks to roll back Obama’s accomplishments. Obama said in a news conference in Lima, Peru:
“I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance. As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle, but go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes."
Subways are New York’s biggest death trap (New York Post) The subway system, the necessary evil on which millions of workers, students and tourists depend daily, has turned into a snarled mess of traffic, chaos, and ultraviolence. The threat of blood on the tracks has become constant as the number of passengers surges to a level unseen since 1948 - more than 1.76 billion rides were tallied last year. Some 150 people - and climbing - are struck by trains each year, 50 or more fatally. A significant number of these (the number not specified in this article), are pushed off platforms in front of trains, some by people they know and others by strangers.
A Bleak Outlook for Trump’s Promises to Coal Miners (CNBC) made coal a centerpiece of his campaign, holding rousing rallies with miners in hard hats, who he said had been neglected under eight years of the Obama administration. The strategy paid off, helping him score crucial wins in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Now, though, coal may prove a different sort of symbol - that is, of the challenges that the president-elect will face delivering on his many promises to restore struggling sectors of the American economy. The United States coal industry and the jobs that support it have been in decline for decades as a result of environmental concerns, automation in mining and slowdowns in manufacturing industries that burned coal for power. And these days, no matter who is president, coal is at the mercy of market economics. Coal's No. 1 rival is cheap, cleaner-burning natural gas - which could become an even more potent competitor under the incoming administration. The probable easing of restrictions on pipeline building and loosening of rules on gas exploration and production would mean more natural gas reaching the market. Econintersect: The following video is an interview with one of Trump's advisors who says that coal will have a part in the country's energy future because "there is a very rapid cooling in the world right now". Wow!
Hillary Clinton’s Twitter Chart of Doom (Bloomberg) The 2016 campaign featured more than 300 million tweets mentioning Clinton or Trump, with the Republican commanding a dominant 2-to-1 share of that conversation. Both candidates faced unprecedented unfavorable ratings among voters, but sentiment on Twitter gave Trump an edge. From his June 16, 2015, campaign announcement through Election Day, tweets mentioning Trump were 51 percent positive (+1). That compares to 51 percent negative (-1) for Clinton since her announcement on April 12, 2015, according to data from social media analytics firm Brandwatch provided exclusively to Bloomberg Politics. And Clinton's rating on Twitter was in a general downtrend in the weks leading up to the election:
May pledges tax cuts to win back business vote (The Times) Theresa May will try to repair her damaged relationship with business leaders when she promises today to match Donald Trump’s plans to slash corporation tax. The prime minister will insist that she supports free markets, values capitalism and backs business, as she makes a concerted effort to win back support lost after her maiden speech as leader to the Tory conference.
Fillon, Juppe kick off race for support for French presidential ticket (Reuters) Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has conceded and the top two vote-getters in Sunday's preliminary voting, two former prime ministers, Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe, head into a runoff campaign for France's conservative presidential ticket on Monday. Fillon is the favorite after winning the endorsement of Sarkozy. Juppe has a week to turn around his momentum-sapped campaign and win over the supporters of the other candidates after Fillon surged to victory, ending only six points short of the 50% threshold needed in the first round. The Sarkozy endorsement may be more than Juppe can hope to overcome.
Stranded trucks, unpaid workers: India Inc counts cost of cash crunch (Reuters) Like millions of Indians fed up with corruption and counterfeiting, Vimal Somani cheered Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock move to replace all high-value banknotes. Two weeks on, his business is being hammered by the ensuing cash crunch. Sales at Somani's aluminum foil maker, Rockdude Impex, have fallen by roughly a quarter in the past week, and the cash shortage that followed the "demonetization" drive has left his supply chain in tatters: his trucks are stranded with no money for fuel, workers won't load goods for free, and distributors can't pay up. Modi's move on Nov. 8 was aimed at cracking down on corruption and flushing out funds stashed away in India's "black economy". But the cancellation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes ($7.30 and $14.70), more than 80% of currency in circulation, threatens to push Asia's third-largest economy into a liquidity crisis. See also next article.
How getting rid of ‘black money’ has driven a digital treasure hunt in India (The Conversation) In the West, many would likely think that the revocation of certain bank notes, though it may cause some inconvenience, would be no problem. After all, the large majority have bank accounts and debit and credit cards to use. But in India it is a different story - banking is still considered to be a luxury for the majority of people who are below the poverty line. Despite current government attempts to ensure financial inclusion, many still use only notes and coins to pay for goods and services. In fact, it is estimated that 95% of transactions in India are made using cash and, for those squirreling money away, it is a necessity to survive. Though its intentions for the country’s economy appear positive, the move has not been well received by the common man. Tempers are flaring and some are warning of riots over the abrupt change. The poor, who are unused to dealing with banks, have mainly been left by authorities to wait in long queues outside financial institutions simply to figure out what to do with their notes. Into this void, there are numerous digital banking systems evolving, discussed in this article. The Reserve Bank of India has also been encouraging citizens to make use of internet and mobile banking at least in the short term as it works to “alleviate the pressure on the physical currency".
India crash raises concerns of underinvestment in railway as toll hits 133 (Reuters) Rescue workers picked their way through the last of the mangled carriages of a derailed train on Monday to pull out more bodies from a disaster that killed at least 133 people and injured more than 200. (See pictures here.) The derailment was India's deadliest train crash since 2010 and has renewed concern about the poor safety standard of the state-run network, which is a lifeline for millions of Indians but has suffered from chronic underinvestment. The largely colonial-era system, the world's fourth largest, carries about 23 million people every day. But it is saturated and aging badly. Average speeds top just 50 km/h (30 mph) and train accidents are common.
China Moves to Fill World Leadership Void as Trump Era Dawns (Bloomberg) China has pounced after Donald Trump’s election win to claim the mantle of the world’s champion for free trade and against climate change, prompting a melancholy warning from President Barack Obama that the U.S. risks getting left behind in Asia. Obama met in Peru on Sunday with leaders of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that Trump vowed to kill along with the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. Obama said that TPP members told him they want to move forward with the pact, “preferably" with the U.S.
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