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posted on 05 December 2016

Early Headlines: Italy Votes 'No', Renzi Resigns, Euro Plunges 2 Pct, Asia Stocks Down, Trump Foreign Policy By Tweet, Dakota Pipeline Stopped, India Serv. PMI Contracts And More

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Early Bird Headlines 05 December 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.




  • Investor  -  State Dispute Settlement: A Terrible Instrument for Public Purpose (Joseph Firestone, Medium) JF has contributed to GEI. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now dead in the lame duck, and with Donald Trump’s victory, most probably for good. But, there are remaining issues arising from the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, since ISDS is included as a matter of course in all pending US trade agreements. A couple of excerpts from this article:

The purpose of ISDS is primarily to provide protection and mitigate risks for large multinational organizations headquartered in the United States, but wishing to increase their profits through large, and, at times risky, investments in other nations. I’ve argued in the past that the Government mitigating risks incurred by multinationals is not consistent with a public purpose standard for trade policy, or for that matter human rights.

When a nation cannot appeal an ISDS tribunal decision to its own supreme legal authority, then its sovereign authority has been undermined.


  • Trump’s ‘Unpredictable Starting Now’ Foreign Policy Already Here (Bloomberg) More than six weeks before his inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump is already carrying out his promise to make U.S. foreign policy less predictable with a series of moves that are keeping America’s adversaries, as well as its friends, off-balance. In the span of a week, Trump slammed China over currency and trade, had an unprecedented call with Taiwan’s leader, praised the Philippine president’s violent war on drugs and promised to visit Pakistan, effectively upending years of foreign policy. Even when new presidents want to change policies, they are usually careful to adhere to the strict and deliberately stilted language of diplomacy, which exists to prevent misunderstandings that can lead to unintended consequences.

  • Automation and manufacturing: Can Trump bring back American jobs (World Economic Forum) Trump promised but can he deliver? Here is the conclusion from the WEF:

Given the role of technology in displacing workers, protectionism - tearing up trade agreements and imposing tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods - won’t bring back high-paying manufacturing jobs, and Trump has no plan B. That means the polarization of America that brought Trump to power will only become far more severe.

  • Poor Gretchen on Fannie and Freddie (Bill McBride, Calculated Risk) McBride questions the statement of incoming Treasury Secretary about Fannie and Freddie: "It makes no sense that these are owned by the government." McBride suggests that this will just lead again to "privatizing profits, and socializing losses". If the losses will belong to the taxpayer, he says, then so should the profits. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) argues its his “duty" to see his panel’s investigations through to their conclusion. The conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, a longtime Clinton foe, is also promising to continue its work.

  • Clinton opponents vow to continue their pursuit (The Hill) Hillary Clinton's biggest adversaries are continuing their pursuit of the Democratic presidential nominee, even after her defeat in the election. President-elect Donald Trump has said that he does not plan to push a prosecution of Clinton, but others haven’t given up the chase.

  • Dakota Access Pipeline Faces New Setback as U.S. Permit Denied (Bloomberg) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied Energy Transfer Partners LP a permit to build a section of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota after weeks of opposition from Native Americans, environmentalists and other groups. The move punts a decision to the administration of President-elect Donald Trump. He expressed support for Dakota Access as recently as Dec. 1. Other pipelines also are being held up.



  • Who Are the Supreme Court Judges Who Will Decide on Brexit? (Bloomberg) Britain’s exit from the European Union is now in the hands of a golf enthusiast, a bellringer and ex-banker, among others, who sit as judges on the U.K. Supreme Court. Starting Dec. 5, these 10 men - and one woman - will decide whether Prime Minister Theresa May needs to hold a vote in Parliament before formally notifying the EU. It’s by far the biggest case in the seven-year history of the court, and is the first where all 11 will sit together to hear arguments.

  • The immigration debate needs liberal voices (City A.M.) The debate over immigration would continue to rage even if the UK had voted to remain in the EU. Indeed, with fresh figures showing that non-EU migrants made up the bulk of recent arrivals, one could argue it would rage all the harder if we hadn’t voted to ‘take back control’.


  • Renzi Quits as Italy Referendum Defeat Deepens Europe’s Turmoil (Bloomberg) talian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi quit in the early hours of Monday after losing a referendum he’d called to push through constitutional changes, threatening renewed political and financial turmoil for Europe. Opponents of Renzi’s proposal to rein in the power of the senate won Sunday’s referendum by 60% to 40%, with almost all votes counted.

Saudi Arabia

It has come about due to Riyadh’s belated, horrified understanding that it has utterly lost control over the energy market, running through its capital reserves in the process. Rather than young, feckless Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using Saudi Arabia’s John D Rockefeller strategy to permanently drive US shale out of the energy market, the exact opposite result has occurred. Unwittingly, the Saudis have made the Americans the new global energy swing producer, the permanent ceiling for the global price of oil.


  • Demonetisation: Services sector contracts on cash shortage; worst in three years, says PMI (Indian Express) Hit hard by cash shortage, services sector contracted in November - that too at sharpest rate in three years - as new orders fell for the first time since June 2015 though subdued inflationary pressure opened up room for RBI to lower rates, a monthly survey showed today. The Nikkei India Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tracks services sector companies on a monthly basis, stood at 46.7 in November, down from 54.5 in October. A reading above 50 means the sector is expanding while a score below this mark signals contraction.

  • Family’s $29 Billion Fortune Claim Denied Amid India’s Tax Hunt (Bloomberg) India’s government has rejected a $29 billion declaration of income from a family of four citizens. That fortune would’ve made them wealthier than the nation’s richest man. The Mumbai-based family including the patriarch, his wife, son and sister together declared 2 trillion rupees -- more than Mukesh Ambani’s $21 billion of wealth -- during a government program offering amnesty on undisclosed income, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Sunday. Another man from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat revealed 138.6 billion rupees of illegal income, locally known as black money. The department has since started a probe “to determine the intention behind these false declarations". According to the statement:

“After due inquiry, it was found that these were persons of suspicious nature and very small means and the declarations could have been misused."

  • Narendra Modi Wins Reader’s Poll for TIME Person of the Year (Time) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won the online reader’s poll for TIME Person of the Year, beating out other world leaders, artists and politicians as the most influentialfigure in 2016 among people who voted. The magazine’s editors decide the final Person of the Year, but poll results provide a look at how the world sees these figures. Modi won with 18% of the vote when the poll closed Sunday at midnight. He placed well ahead of his closest contenders, including Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Julian Assange, who all received 7% of the “yes" vote. The award for Person of the Year by the magazine comes ohn Wednesday.


  • Trump Takes On China in Tweets on Currency, South China Sea (Bloomberg) Donald Trump took on the Chinese government via social media on Sunday, rejecting criticism of his decision to take a phone call from Taiwan’s president at the risk of triggering a backlash from Beijing. The U.S. president-elect told his 16.6 million Twitter followers that he wouldn’t be told by China who he should or shouldn’t talk to, and reiterated some of the grievances about China used in his winning presidential campaign. The yuan reacted by declining for the first time in three days. Trump tweeted:

“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!"

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