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posted on 10 December 2016

Early Headlines: Russia Hacked GOP, Trump To Drain Energy 'Swamp'?, New Sec'y Of State Candidate, India IP Shrinks, India Has World's New Largest Solar Plant , China GDP Hides Volatility And More

Written by Econintersect

Early Bird Headlines 10 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.



  • CIA says Russia intervened to help Trump win White House: Washington Post (Reuters) The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, The Washington Post reported on Friday. Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, The WaPo said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks. The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton's chances of winning the election. The WaPo quoted a senior U.S. official as saying:

"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected. That's the consensus view."

Boom and bust economic theory suggests that, however we regulate banks, we should expect another financial crisis in the near future. With Goldman Sachs president and COO as the new national economic council director under Donald Trump, that theory might materialise a lot quicker.

  • In Trump stronghold, factories are humming but paychecks are thin (Reuters) When President-elect Donald Trump returns to this factory town on Friday for a victory celebration, he will find a region that is already experiencing the manufacturing renaissance he promised on the campaign trail. With local factories employing more workers than any time since the late 1990s, assembly line jobs are not hard to find. Those that pay a decent wage, however, are harder to come by. "We can barely make ends meet and we're stuck going nowhere," said auto parts worker Michael Baum, 22, as he smoked a cigarette in the parking lot of a Family Dollar discount store.

  • Trump team memo on climate change alarms Energy Department staff (Reuters) President-elect Donald Trump's Energy Department transition team sent the agency a memo this week asking for the names of people who have worked on climate change and the professional society memberships of lab workers, alarming employees and advisors. The memo sent to the Energy Department on Tuesday and seen by Reuters on Friday, contains 74 questions including a request for a list of all department employees and contractors who attended the annual global climate talks hosted by the United Nations within the last five years. It asked for a list of all department employees or contractors who have attended any meetings on the social cost of carbon, a measurement that federal agencies use to weigh the costs and benefits of new energy and environment regulations. It also asked for all publications written by employees at the department's 17 national laboratories for the past three years. See also Trump Team Memo Hints at Big Shake-Up of U.S. Energy Policy (Bloomberg). A Department of Energy employee, who asked not to be identified because he feared a reprisal by the Trump transition team, said:

"This feels like the first draft of an eventual political enemies list. When Donald Trump said he wanted to drain the swamp it apparently was just to make room for witch hunts and it's starting here at the DOE and our 17 national labs."





  • With its talk of extinguishing unreturned cash, is the government defaulting on its obligations? ( When the government declared that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were no longer legal tender, it did not declare that these notes were no longer the liability of the Central bank. The distinction is crucial. When government functionaries and others argue for extinguishing the Reserve Bank of India’s liabilities in the form of unreturned notes, that is the canceling of a government liability - a default, according to this author.

  • Industrial output in negative zone, contracts 1.9% in October (The Hindu) Industrial production shrank (-1.9 per cent year-on-year) in October owing to a fall in output in manufacturing, capital goods and mining. This was a fall from a high base of 9.9% growth in October last year. The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) - representing the general level of industrial activity in the economy - had grown by 0.7% in September after contracting for two consecutive months of July (-2.5%) and August (-0.7%). Industrial output is widely expected to be further impacted with production seen hurt by the effect of withdrawal of high-value currency notes, announced on November 8. At a recent pre-budget meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, industry had flagged an almost 30% fall in demand across sectors since the demonetisation move.

  • India has just built the world’s largest solar plant in record time ( At the end of November, the country turned on the world’s largest solar power plant spanning 10 km sq in Kamuthi in the state of Tamil Nadu. It packs 648 megawatts of power - nearly 100 more than California’s Topaz Solar Farm, which was previously the largest solar plant at a single location. At full capacity, the Kamuthi plant can provide enough electricity to power around 150,000 homes. The Rs 45.5 billion ($680 million) solar project consists of 380,000 foundations, 2.5 million solar modules, 576 inverters, and 154 transformers, according to the Deccan Chronicle. Each day, the plant is cleaned by a robotic system that is charged by its own solar panels, Al Jazeera reported.

The Kamuthi solar plant, backed by the Ahmedabad-based conglomerate Adani Group, was constructed in an impressive eight months. In comparison, Topaz took over two years and cost nearly $2.5 billion to build. On the south Indian site, 8,500 men installed an average of 11 megawatts-worth of equipment each day to complete the project in time.


  • Beyond Calm Chinese GDP Numbers, Volatility Runs Deep: BofAML (Bloomberg) Beneath the stability of China's infamously suspect gross domestic product figures lies a volatility that betrays policy-induced changes, according to economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Despite oft-touted fears of a hard landing, for the last five years the story told by official GDP figures has been felicitously dull. China grew by 6.7% year-on-year for three quarters in a row in 2016, squarely within the government's goal of a 6.5% to 7% expansion. But those statistics mask the drivers of growth in the world's second-largest economy, argue Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists Helen Qiao and Sylvia Sheng. A gauge compiled by the bank suggests the nation has had a much more volatile ride, and risks a slowdown in investment demand next year without further stimulus.According to the BofAML China-Aggregate Coincident Tracker, there have been several policy-induced mini-cycles over the last five years that suggest a much less stable path than that visible in headline GDP figures.

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