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.
Asian markets mostly positive, Chinese shares fall (CNBC) Asian shares were mostly positive on Wednesday as investors await Donald Trump's first full press conference as president-elect to give insight into the new administration's economic policies. The dollar index was tracking 102.16 during Asian trade, compared to yesterday's levels as low as 101.8. In the commodities market, U.S. crude futures were up 0.26% at $50.96, while global benchmark Brent added 0.22% to $53.76.
Big Oil Hits Sweet Spot as New Projects Reap Rewards of Recovery (Bloomberg) Big Oil is poised to reap rewards this year as investments made before the crude-price slump pay off just as the recovery starts. Seven of the world’s largest energy companies will together boost oil and natural gas output by 398,000 barrels a day, the most since since 2010, according to data from Oslo-based consultant Rystad Energy AS. In 2018, output will rise even faster. The oil majors aren’t increasing their drilling budgets. Instead they’re benefiting from money invested before the rout. Lower costs combined with higher output would allow companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to maximize their gains from improved oil prices. Should crude remain above $50 a barrel, 2017 could be a break-out year, eliminating the need to borrow to pay dividends, according to analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein.
Obama offers optimism -- and warnings -- in farewell address (CNN) Popular but politically humbled, President Barack Obama said goodbye to the nation Tuesday night, declaring during his farewell address that he hasn't abandoned his vision of progressive change but warning that it now comes with a new set of caveats. His voice at moments catching with emotion, Obama recounted a presidency that saw setbacks as well as successes. Admitting candidly that political discourse has soured under his watch, Obama demanded that Americans renew efforts at reconciliation. Full program (Obama actually starts his speech at 6:53):
Suddenly, Home Sale Agreements Are Falling Apart Across the U.S. (Bloomberg) A Trulia analysis of U.S. listings shows that 3.9% of homes that moved from for-sale to pending in 2016 moved back to for-sale again, nearly double the rate in 2015. Such “failed sales" increased in 96 of the 100 biggest U.S. metros, with big swings in areas large and small, rich and poor. That includes Los Angeles and Charleston, S.C., as well as San Jose and Akron, Ohio.
Trump, GOP at crossroads on repealing ObamaCare (The Hill) In a significant development, President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday called on Republicans to pass an ObamaCare replacement within “weeks" after repeal. Trump’s comments urging his party to act quickly on a replacement come as a growing group of congressional Republicans is expressing serious concerns about moving forward quickly on repeal without having a replacement plan ready, or at the least the outlines of one. Just weeks ago, Republicans had floated the possibility of passing a replacement bill two or even three years down the road.
Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him (CNN) Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN. The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump. The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials. See also next article.
Conway: Trump 'not aware' of reported briefing on new Russia allegations (The Hill) President-elect Donald Trump's top aide Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday said that Trump was not briefed on a summary of an unsubstantiated but explosive dossier that claims Russia collected compromising info on him. CNN on Tuesday reported that the Intelligence Community briefed the president-elect and President Obama last week about the allegations by appending a two-page synopsis, based on memos written by a former British MI6 operative, to its larger report about Russian meddling in the election. The dossier has reportedly been circulating through the intelligence community. The synopsis was reportedly included in part to show that Russia was partial to Trump over Hillary Clinton, choosing not releasing damaging information about him. Conway said late Tuesday that Trump was "not aware" of the two-page synopsis that was presented as an appendix to the main intelligence report. See also next arcticle. See Conway's comments starting at 3:20:
Another huge win for post-Brexit UK: Snapchat sets up international HQ (City A.M.) Snap, the newly formed parent company of huge hit messaging app Snapchat, has chosen to set up its international headquarters in the UK in another boost for a post-Brexit UK. The multi-billion-dollar valued firm which is expected to go public this year will book its UK sales here, and those from countries where it has no legal entity, eschewing the jurisdictions often favoured by US tech companies such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Netherlands.
Russia ready for US talks as new era beckons (CNN) Russia is willing to work on improving relations with the new US administration -- even if American sanctions aren't lifted any time soon. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that relations between Moscow and Washington are at their "lowest point" and that there were "completely different ways of normalizing them".
Putin's Other American Propaganda Effort: Anti-Fracking News (Bloomberg) Russia is no longer the world's largest gas producer and isn't happy about it. The U.S. first outproduced Russia 8 years ago and has been widening the lead for the last 5 years. He is also not happy that the U.S. surpassed Russia in oil production 5 years ago. Russia is behind some of the "news" shedding a negative light on fracking, according to this article.
Old floods show Brisbane’s next big wet might be closer than we think (The Conversation) Six years ago, a catastrophic flood unfolded in the Lockyer Valley in southeast Queensland. The floodwaters then spread on January 11 2011 across the Brisbane River floodplains, inundating the Brisbane CBD and inner suburbs, and bringing the state’s capital to a standstill. The January floods came in the wake of other devastating floods that had hit Queensland towns and cities in December 2010, affecting an area bigger than France and Germany combined. Thirty-three people died in the 2010/2011 floods; three remain missing. Our research, based on palaeological flood records, suggests floods of the size of January 2011 may be more common than we think. When the next one occurs is a matter of when, not if.
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