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posted on 08 February 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Oil Down, Dollar Up, GOP Silences Warren, Judges Hear Travel Ban Case, China Invites UK To Talks, Rate Cut Expected In India And More

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Early Bird Headlines 08 February 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.



  • Asian shares mixed as crude prices fall nearly 1% after major US oil inventory build (CNBC) Asian markets traded mixed on Wednesday afternoon, reversing some earlier losses, while oil prices remained under pressure after data overnight showed a build-up in U.S. crude inventory. U.S. crude fell 0.79 percent to $51.76 a barrel by 4:15 p.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday, climbing from an earlier low of $51.22, while global benchmark Brent lost 0.49 percent to $54.78. On the currency market, the dollar traded relatively higher against a basket of currencies at 100.41 at 2:19 p.m. HK/SIN, climbing from levels below 100 in previous sessions.



  • Elizabeth Warren silenced over US Senate criticism of Sessions (BBC News) Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by Senate Republicans on Tuesday after reading a letter written by the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. The 30-year-old letter criticised Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump's nomination for attorney general. Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, said Ms Warren had broken senate rules by impugning the conduct of another senator. See first video below in which the sound recording was apparently abruptly cut off. The second video picks up where the sound ends in the first video. She subsequently read Coretta Scott King's letter live on Facebook. See third video below (turn up your volume).

  • Senate GOP's effort to shut Warren up backfires (CNN) This article says that the GOP silencing of Sen. Warren (D, MA) turned "what could have been an ordinary late-night partisan floor speech for C-SPAN devotees into a national story".

  • For Trump Travel Ban, Hard Questions From a U.S. Appeals Court (Bloomberg) It was, by any measure, high legal drama: For just over an hour, appeals court judges sharply questioned the lawyer defending President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Noah Purcell, the Washington solicitor general representing the states of Washington and Minnesota, also came under the gun, challenged about evidence that the ban discriminates on the basis of religion.

  • Leaks Suggest Trump's Own Team Is Alarmed By His Conduct (The Huffington Post) White House leaks are common, but leakers suggesting the president might be unfit for office are not. But Trump supporters are happy with the job he is doing. See next two articles.

  • Gallup Daily: Trump Job Approval (Gallup) Gallup tracks daily the percentage of Americans who approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president. Daily results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,500 national adults; Margin of error is ±3 percentage points. So far in 2017 the president is showing a pretty solid 42% of the population core support level. But he's been moving lower in the number who are neutral in their opinion and now has a net rating of -12.

  • One-Third Don’t Know Obamacare and Affordable Care Act Are the Same (The New York Times) (Econintersect: We wonder just how we should interpret poll results when we see results like these.) A sizable minority of Americans don’t understand that Obamacare is just another name for the Affordable Care Act. This finding, from a poll by Morning Consult, illustrates the extent of public confusion over a health law that President Trump and Republicans in Congress hope to repeal. In the survey, 35% of respondents said either they thought Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different policies (17%) or didn’t know if they were the same or different (18%). This confusion was more pronounced among people 18 to 29 and those who earn less than $50,000 - two groups that could be significantly affected by repeal.



  • Russia Shows Why China Should Just Stop Burning Up Its Reserves (Bloomberg) Brazil is also offered as a case study for China. Econintersect: Are Russia and Brazil really good comps for China? Ths article points out that the ruble slid from 2013-2015 as Moscow drew down a third of its foreign reserves hoard. See also graphic under Brazil, later below.


  • Another Rate Cut on the Cards for India as Patel Tries to Buoy Growth (Bloomberg) Economists predict Indian central bank Governor Urjit Patel will deliver a final interest-rate cut Wednesday to buoy growth, though the question is whether he will acknowledge it as the last of this cycle. The Reserve Bank of India is expected to lower the repurchase rate to 6% from 6.25%, according to 34 of 39 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Lowering inflation is seen as giving the central bank more room to ease.



  • Russia Shows Why China Should Just Stop Burning Up Its Reserves (Bloomberg) Brazil failed to arrest the real’s decline from the start of 2013 to the end of 2015, when its economy fell into what some termed an economic depression. The Latin America’s central bank used foreign currency swaps instead of tapping reserves to try and stem the real’s drop, which halved the real's value vs. the U.S. dollar.

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