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posted on 28 March 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks And Dollar Up, Oil, Gold Steady, Obama Climate Policies Gone, US Oil Glut, Euro Surges, Shorts Remain, Trump Into Yemen?, Iran-Russia Deals, Cat 4 Cyclone Hits Oz, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 28 March 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

  • Japanese and Australian shares jump more than 1% as dollar recovers (CNBC) Asia markets gained on Tuesday morning as investors shrugged off the disappointment from the current U.S. administration's ability to push through legislation to repeal and replace the Obama-era health-care law. The dollar traded at 99.331 against a basket of currencies at 3:08 pm HK/SIN, firmer compared to levels as low as 98.858 seen on Monday. During Asian hours, Brent crude was up 0.1% at $50.80 a barrel, and U.S. crude was up 0.19% at $47.83. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,253.66 per ounce at 0238 GMT, after touching its highest in a month at $1,261.03 the day before. U.S. gold futures inched down 0.2% to $1,253.7.

bond.yields.5.yr.developedcountries.2017.mar.27

U.S.

  • Trump to sign order sweeping away Obama-era climate policies (Reuters) U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday to undo a slew of Obama-era climate change regulations, a move meant to bolster domestic energy production but which environmentalists have vowed to challenge in court. The decree, dubbed the "Energy Independence" order, will seek to undo former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan requiring states to slash carbon emissions from power plants - a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord agreed by nearly 200 countries in Paris in December 2015. It will also rescind a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, reverse rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduce the weight of climate change in federal agencies' assessments of new regulations.

  • Surge in oil hedging could worsen US supply glut: Wood Mackenzie (CNBC) A surge in oil hedges will spur drilling activity in the U.S., Wood Mackenzie said in a report released on Monday, likely keeping a supply response in place longer than expected even if spot prices fall sharply. According to recent disclosures, producers have rushed to hedge, or lock in, oil prices above $50 a barrel after OPEC's November announcement to cut production. In its analysis of 33 of largest upstream companies with hedging programs, Wood Mackenzie found that the companies have added an annualized 648,000 barrels a day of new oil hedges since the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of 33% from the third quarter of the year and more than in any of the previous four quarters. Wood Mackenzie research analyst, Andy McConn, explained:

"Those producers - most of which are highly exposed to U.S. (shale) - will use hedging gains to help plug any budget deficits caused by sub-$50 spot prices."

  • U.S. government watchdog to review Mar-a-Lago trips, Trump hotel profits (Reuters) A U.S. government watchdog has agreed to review how classified information is kept secure at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the agency said on Monday, after Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about the issue last month. The Government Accountability Office's review will examine whether Secret Service agents subject Mar-a-Lago guests to any security screening, and evaluate the expenses incurred by government employees who travel with Trump to Mar-a-Lago, according to a letter the agency sent the lawmakers on Friday. The GAO will also check whether Trump has made any payments to the U.S. Treasury from profits at his hotels, the letter said. Trump's lawyer pledged at a Jan. 11 news conference to donate Trump Hotel profits from foreign governments to the Treasury.

  • Oil Wobbles as Looming U.S. Stockpile Gain Keeps Market Nervous (Bloomberg) The prospect of a further increase in record U.S. crude stockpiles that have undercut OPEC’s output curbs kept oil investors anxious, with prices stuck near $48 a barrel.

EU

euro.shorts.2011.2017.mar.27

Yemen

  • Trump administration weighs deeper involvement in Yemen war (The Washington Post) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has asked the White House to lift Obama-era restrictions on U.S. military support for Persian Gulf states engaged in a protracted civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to senior Trump administration officials.

  • Yemen: Hundreds of thousands protest Saudi-led military intervention in Sanaa (YouTube) Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Sanaa on Sunday, in a mass demonstration decrying the ongoing Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. The march marks the two-year anniversary of the start of the Saudi-led coalition's military operation in the country. Saudi Arabia began the campaign in March 2015 to support the ousted President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and to combat groups who oppose Hadi’s rule. Earlier this year, the UN made an urgent appeal to stave off famine in the country, as over seven million people are facing the threat of starvation. Currently, over three million people, including 2.1 million children, are acutely malnourished.

Iran

  • Iran's Rouhani seeks deals with new friend Russia (Reuters) Iran's president met Russia's prime minister on Monday in a bid to develop a warming relationship that has been greatly strengthened by both sides' involvement on the same side of the war in Syria. Beginning a visit to Moscow, President Hassan Rouhani told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: "I hope that a new turning-point in the development of our relations will be reached."

Iranian arms purchases and Russian investment in the Iranian energy sector are likely talking points for Rouhani, less than two months before Iran's May 19 presidential election.

Iranian media say he will discuss several economic agreements - potentially valuable prizes for the moderate leader, who is keen to show his people that Iran is benefiting from its 2015 deal with world powers to rein back its nuclear programme in returning for an easing of international sanctions.

China

  • Unreachable Huishan Executive Exposes China Debt Woes, Bank Risk (Bloomberg) An unreachable corporate treasurer. An emergency meeting with creditors. A $4.1 billion stock collapse. And a vindicated short seller. All that and more converged in a remarkable week for China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., a milk producer with outsized ambitions that may turn into the country’s latest poster child for weak corporate governance, the dangers of leverage and the potential for financial shocks.

Australia

  • Cyclone Debbie Slams Into Australia as Thousands Evacuated (Bloomberg) A powerful cyclone tore into Australia’s northeastern coast on Tuesday, forcing thousands of people to flee, shuttering coal mines and prompting insurers to declare a catastrophe. Cyclone Debbie made landfall near Airlie Beach, a tourist resort and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, at midday with wind gusts up to 260 kilometers per hour (162 mph), according to the Bureau of Meteorology. It’s the worst storm to hit Queensland since Cyclone Yasi -- the most severe at category five -- badly damaged sugar- and banana-producing regions in 2011. Debbie, which made landfall as a category four cyclone, was downgraded one step as the weather system moved inland, bringing heavy rainfall that’s expected to cause flash flooding.

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