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posted on 06 January 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar Weaker, ACA Repeal Costs Money And Jobs, Toxic Diesel Cars, German Factory Orders Strong, Japan Co. Replaces Off. Workers With AI, Mexico Intercedes For Peso And More

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Early Bird Headlines 06 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.



  • Asia trades mixed; Japanese automakers sell off more than 1% each following Trump's Toyota rebuke (CNBC) Markets in Asia finished mixed Friday, with most Japanese automakers coming under pressure after President-elect Donald Trump threatened Toyota with hefty taxes and the yen climbed against the dollar. In the broader currency market, the dollar retreated to the 101 handle against a basket of currencies on Thursday, from levels above 103.60 reached earlier in the week. At 2:42 p.m. HK/SIN on Friday, the dollar index traded at 101.67.



  • Fully repealing Obamacare will cost $350 billion (CNN) President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans love to say how unaffordable Obamacare is. But completely repealing the health reform law would be pretty costly to the federal budget. A full repeal of Obamacare would cost $350 billion over the next decade, according to a new analysis from the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. This makes its wholesale dismantling much more complicated. Obamacare was carefully crafted in 2010 so that it didn't add to the federal deficit -- in fact, it boosted revenues slightly. The law affects the federal budget in three ways: coverage provisions, taxes and fees, and Medicare components. See also A new $1 TRILLION medical bill: Obamacare repeal fallout (CNBC). This is in addition to the federal deficit impact; it's the cost of so-called uncompensated care sought from hospitals and doctors over 10 years.

  • Repealing Obamacare could cost 3 million jobs, study finds (CNN) Congress has another reason not to roll back Obamacare too quickly: New research suggests that repealing two major provisions of Obamacare without replacing them right away could cost the nation 3 million jobs and trigger negative economic impacts that would extend far beyond the health care industry. The report was released Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund and George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health. It assumes Congress will gut two key provisions of the Affordable Care Act -- subsidies that help low- and moderate-income people pay for coverage and Medicaid expansion -- and that Congress won't put a replacement plan in place. If that happens, it would set off a chain reaction that could cost America an estimated 2.6 million jobs in 2019 alone, the report said. And these losses could rise to nearly 3 million by 2021. The federal government funds both state Medicaid expansion programs and the Obamacare premium subsidies. This money eventually flows to insurers and providers, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other medical facilities. It's used to purchase medical equipment and other goods and to pay staff and vendors.

  • ends 2016 with 8.8 million 2017 customers (LifeHealthPro) Open enrollment period for 2017 started Nov. 1 and is set to end Jan. 31. Through December 31 enrollemnts were up over 2% from last year to a new record of 8.8 million insured through the federal exchange. New enrollments were down this year but reenrollments were much above previous years to more than compensate. Additionnal enrollments through various state exchanges were not reported in theis article.

  • GOP won't promise ObamaCare fix will cover all (The Hill) Republican leaders are refusing to commit to their ObamaCare replacement plan covering as many people as President Obama's health law. Congressional Republicans are quickly moving forward to pass a repeal of ObamaCare and say a replacement plan will come later this year. But it's unclear whether that eventual replacement will provide insurance options for at least 20 million people, the number who gained coverage under ObamaCare, amid worries that many could lose their health insurance. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday declined to commit when asked at a press conference if the Republican plan would allow everyone covered through ObamaCare to remain insured.

  • 2016 in Charts. (And Can Trump Deliver in 2017?) (The New York Times) Here is the summary from The NYT:

The emotions stirred by Mr. Trump were also manifested in a surge in racial tensions. Through early November in New York, for example, the police department recorded 345 reports of hate crimes, compared to 253 during the same period last year. In just the two weeks after the election, 30 were reported, compared to only six in the same two weeks of 2015. A spate of hate crimes was also reported nationally for a similar period. More complete national data for 2016 is not yet available, but in 2015, anti-Muslim hate crimes jumped by 67 percent, the highest level since the 2001 terrorist attacks.



  • Diesel cars are 10 times more toxic than trucks and buses, data shows (The Guardian) Modern diesel cars produce 10 times more toxic air pollution than heavy trucks and buses, new European data has revealed. The stark difference in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) is due to the much stricter testing applied to large vehicles in the EU, according to the researchers behind a new report. They say the same strict measures must be applied to cars. NOx pollution is responsible for tens of thousands of early deaths across Europe, with the UK suffering a particularly high toll. Much of the pollution is produced by diesel cars, which on the road emit about six times more than allowed in the official lab-based tests. Following the Volkswagen “dieselgate" scandal, the car tests are due to be toughened, but campaigners say the reforms do not go far enough. See the new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation.

  • Why young people in Europe are absent when it comes to defending a united EU (Business Insider) Polls show young people as among the most convinced Europeans. But suffering under high unemployment, angered by bureaucracy and business interests in Brussels, and complacent about the linear progression of the project, they have not risen up in defense of it. Young Europeans today are far more likely to share a European identity across countries than older members. The drop in support for the EU in recent years is higher among those 50 and older than among those 18 to 34, according to a Pew Research Center study of 10 EU nations. Yet in a Eurobarometer poll from last year, more than half of young people in Europe (57%) say they have been marginalized and excluded from economic and social life in their countries in the wake of the global financial crisis. It’s given rise to an ambivalence. It is hard to stay enthusiastic when the system is not offering opportunity.


  • Merkel Anticipates Frosty Relations with U.S. (Spiegel Online) Doubts are growing inside Angela Merkel's Chancellery that the incoming American president will mature and become a statesman. The chancellor is preparing for frosty trans-Atlantic relations while at the same time trying to pull Europe together.


  • Japanese company replaces office workers with artificial intelligence (The Guardian) A future in which human workers are replaced by machines is about to become a reality at an insurance firm in Japan, where 34 employees are being laid off and replaced with an artificial intelligence system that can calculate payouts to policyholders. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes it will increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The firm said it would save about 140 million yen (£1 million, $1.2 million) a year after the 200 million yen (£1.4 million, $1.7 million) IBM Watson AI system is installed this month. Maintaining it will cost about 15 million yen (£100k, $124k) a year. Econintersect: How many life insurance policies will Watson buy?


  • China to invest £292bn in renewable power by 2020 (The Guardian) The world’s largest energy market looks to move from coal towards cleaner fuels. China will plough 2.5 trillion yuan (£292 billionn, $360 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020. The investment will create more than 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop the nation’s energy sector during the five-year 2016 to 2020 period. The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power would contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020.

Costa Rica


For the second time today (at midnight ET), Banxico officials confirmed the central bank entered the market to sell US dollars in an attempt to strengthen the peso. Now we await the next Trump tweet to take the peso back down...

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