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posted on 29 March 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar, Oil Up, Gold Down, Article 50 Day, Westinghouse Files Ch. 11, Trump Wants $1B To Start Wall, Russian Protests, China's $8T Shaky Debt, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 29 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

  • Asia markets close mixed after Dow breaks 8-day losing streak, Brexit ahead (CNBC) Asia markets finished mixed on Wednesday and sterling slipped as markets await the formal move by the U.K. to start an historic split with the European Union. The dollar was stronger at 99.875 against a basket of currencies, above yesterday's lows at 98.858 but still weaker compared to levels above 100 last week. Brent crude continued to rise during Asian hours, up 0.39% to $51.53 a barrel, and U.S. crude rose 0.45% to $48.59. Oil rose more than 1% Tuesday in the U.S.. Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,248.32 per ounce at 0325 GMT. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.6% to $1,247.9.

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U.S.

  • Schock staffer was FBI informant, court filings reveal (The Hill) The FBI wired a congressional staffer and turned him into a secret informant during its investigation into former Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-Ill.) alleged misuse of government and campaign funds, Schock’s attorneys said Tuesday in federal court filings.

The staffer, who is not named, secretly taped conversations with Schock and people working in his office while Schock was still a member of Congress, according to a 30-page motion and attached memo that cites documents from the court discovery process.

The informant took documents from Schock’s Illinois district office, including from another staffer’s desk and email inbox, and provided them to federal investigators, the documents say.

  • Toshiba's Westinghouse files for US bankruptcy (BBC News) Westinghouse, Toshiba's US nuclear unit, has filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection. The US firm has struggled with hefty losses that have thrown its Japanese parent into a crisis, putting the conglomerate's future at risk. Westinghouse has suffered huge cost overruns at two U.S. projects in Georgia and South Carolina.

  • GOP torn over what to do next (The Hill) Days after the GOP’s healthcare effort crashed and burned, House Republicans are vowing to give it another shot until they “get it right". They seem, though, to be largely on their own. President Trump is publicly signaling he wants to move on to tax reform and maybe team up with Democrats on something bipartisan, such as an infrastructure package.

  • Donald Trump proposes spending nearly $1 billion to build 50 miles of his border wall (Salon) The White House’s defense and border security spending budget supplement is requesting $999 million to build 48 miles of new wall, according to DHS justification documents reported by CNN. In addition, the money would also fund 14 miles of replacement fencing in San Diego. This would be on top of 14 miles of new wall construction in San Diego, 28 miles of new levee wall barriers in the Rio Grande Valley region, and six miles of new border wall also in the Rio Grande Valley region.

  • House passes bill undoing Obama internet privacy rule (The Hill) The House on Tuesday voted in favor of blocking internet privacy rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year, sending the bill to President Trump, who is expected to sign it into law. The bill passed 215 to 205, with 15 Republicans joining 190 Democrats voting against it. The FCC rules would have given consumers greater control over what their internet service provider can do with their data by requiring those companies to get permission from customers before using their information to create targeted advertisements.

UK

What is Article 50?

Article 50 refers to the 264-word clause of the Treaty on European Union (often referred to by the marginally more memorable moniker, the Lisbon Treaty) allowing countries to leave the European Union (EU).

Any country can leave the union subject to “its own constitutional requirements".

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Russia

Of course, none of this has fundamentally changed the domestic reality. Putin will have no difficulty in dispensing with Navalny and stage-managing an election victory for a fourth term in 2018. But even if he is as much in control as he was before the protests, the legitimacy of his rule is still in danger.

China

Jilin Jiutai Rural Commercial Bank Corp., a major creditor to embattled China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., said late Tuesday it has extended a total of 1.35 billion yuan ($196 million) in credit to the dairy producer, including 750 million yuan through the purchase of investment receivables from a finance lease company.

Investment receivables -- a category that can include using wealth-management products, asset-management plans and trust-beneficiary rights to disguise what are in effect loans -- allow banks to reduce the amount of cash they need to set aside for capital and provisions for loan losses.

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