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posted on 02 January 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Bitcoin Over $1000, Tesla Being Sued, New Nixon Treachery, Turkey And Russia Bombing ISIS In Syria, India Mfg Contracts, China Tightens Currency Controls And More

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Early Bird Headlines 02 January 2017

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.

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Global

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Click for larger image.

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U.S.

  • Yes, this is real: Michigan just banned banning plastic bags (The Washington Post) A new law in Michigan will prohibit local governments from banning, regulating or imposing fees on the use of plastic bags and other containers. You read that correctly: It’s not a ban on plastic bags - it’s a ban on banning plastic bags.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the new public act into law on Wednesday, along with 11 other bills. Gov. Rick Snyder is currently on vacation out of state, local news sources reported, and Calley has the authority to sign bills into law in his absence.

The new public act prohibits local ordinances from “regulating the use, disposition, or sale of, prohibiting or restricting, or imposing any fee, charge, or tax on certain containers," including plastic bags, as well as cups, bottles and other forms of packaging. This means individual cities and municipalities are not allowed to ban plastic bags or charge customers a fee for using them.

  • UPDATE 1-Tesla owner files lawsuit in California claiming sudden acceleration (Reuters) Tesla Motors Inc was sued on Friday by a Model X owner who said his electric SUV suddenly accelerated while being parked, causing it to crash through the garage into the owner's living room, injuring the driver and a passenger. The Model X owner, Ji Chang Son, said that one night in September, he slowly pulled into his driveway as his garage door opened when the car suddenly sped forward. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, seeks class action status. It cites seven other complaints registered in a database compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dealing with sudden acceleration without warning. The lawsuit said:

"The vehicle spontaneously began to accelerate at full power, jerking forward and crashing through the interior wall of the garage, destroying several wooden support beams in the wall and a steel sewer pipe, among other things, and coming to rest in Plaintiffs' living room."

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  • What history tells us about your investments in 2017 (Barry Ritholtz, The Washington Post) The usual quality review and outlook one has come to expect from BH. Included is a graphic that should be reviewed anytime someone suggests that "as goes January, so goes the year". January 2016 saw the biggest decline for that month in S&P 500 history. Then from the low for the year in February the S&P 500 gained 22%, the Dow gained 26% and the S&P 600 (Small Caps) gained 42% by the end of the year. Here is the January history:

Israel

  • Britain and Australia more supportive of Israel than Obama and Kerry (Gatestone Institute) Hat tip to Sig Silber. Noted American attorney Alan Dershowitz says that when the British Prime minister and the Australian foreign minister both criticize the Obama administration for being unfair to Israel, you can be sure that something is very wrong with what President Obama and Secretary Kerry have been doing. This is what Theresa May said:

"We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally. [W]e are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long."

Syria

  • Turkish, Russian aircraft destroy Islamic State targets in Syria: army (Reuters) Turkish warplanes and artillery have struck Islamic State targets in Syria, killing 22 of the group's militants, while Russian aircraft hit jihadists near the Islamic State-controlled town of al-Bab, Turkey's military said on Monday. In a round-up of its military operations over the past 24 hours in support of rebels in northern Syria, the army said the Russian aircraft destroyed Islamic State targets in the area of Dayr Kak, 8 km (5 miles) southwest of al-Bab.

India

  • State Bank of India cuts lending rate by 90 bps across maturities (Reuters) State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender by assets, said on Sunday it had cut its lending rates by 90 basis points for maturities ranging from overnight to three-year tenures, after experiencing a surge in deposits. After the move, its so-called overnight marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) fell to 7.75% from 8.65%, while three-year loan rates will now be 8.15% from 9.05% previously. Lending rates were also cut across other maturities effective Sunday. Banks have received an estimated 14.9 trillion rupees ($219.30 billion) in old 500, and 1,000 rupees notes from depositors since the government in Nov. 8 unexpectedly banned the banknotes in a bid to fight counterfeiting and bring unaccounted cash to the economy.

  • Key announcements of PM Narendra Modi's new year eve's speech (The Economic Times) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a slew of incentives to the poor, farmers, women and small businesses on Saturday in a special New Year's address. The incentives come ahead of the government's annnual budget, expected some time in February, and before key a election in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in early 2017.

  • Cash crunch pushed Indian factory activity into contraction in December (Reuters) Indian factory activity plunged into contraction last month as a cash crunch following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's currency crackdown severely hurt output and demand, a survey found on Monday. The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index INPMI=ECI fell to 49.6 in December from November's 52.3, its first reading below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since December 2015. It was also the biggest month-on-month decline since November 2008, just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial crisis and brought on a global recession.

China

  • China's new rule on yuan transfers not a capital control measure: Xinhua (Reuters) China's new rules on cash transactions and overseas transfers of yuan currency are not forms of capital controls, the state news agency Xinhua said, citing a central bank economist. Banks and other financial institutions in China will have to report all domestic and overseas cash transactions larger than 50,000 yuan ($7,201.50), compared with 200,000 yuan previously, the central bank said on Friday. Ma Jun, chief economist of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said the responsibility of reporting such transactions will be assumed by financial institutions, and there will be no extra documentation or official approval procedures required for companies or individuals, according to the Xinhua report issued late on Sunday. Ma added that other major economies have similar rules. China is maintaining the same quota of $50,000 for each individual's annual foreign exchange purchase.

  • Growth in China's factories, services slows in December - official PMI (Reuters) China's manufacturing sector expanded for a fifth month in December, but growth slowed a touch more than expected in a sign that government measures to rein in soaring asset prices are starting to have a knock-on effect on the broader economy. The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.4 in December compared with 51.7 in November. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion on a monthly basis while one below 50 suggests a contraction. December's reading was slightly below the forecast in a Reuters poll for 51.5.

  • China central bank adviser calls for flexible 2017 growth target (CNBC) The Chinese government should set a more flexible target for economic growth this year to give more space for reform efforts, a central bank adviser told the official Xinhua news agency in comments published on Sunday. Huang Yiping, a monetary policy committee member of the central People's Bank of China and Peking University professor, told Xinhua that China's GDP growth target range should be 6-7% for this year, compared with 6.5-7% in 2016.

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