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posted on 04 April 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar Steady, Gold Up, Oil Down, Susan Rice In Trouble?, GOP To Try Health Again, Jobless EU Youth, Buy Japan?, Mexico's Huge Oil Trade, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 04 April 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 markets lose ground, Aussie dollar slips as RBA rhetoric turns slightly dovish (CNBC) The Australian dollar slipped Tuesday afternoon as the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) rhetoric appeared slightly dovish, while equities around the region struggled. Chris Weston, chief market strategist at spreadbettor IG, reckoned Tuesday's trade had a "distinct risk-off vibe, although the moves in equities are probably best described as a 'drift', rather than a 'spike' lower." In the currency market, the dollar traded at 100.60 against a basket of currencies at 2:55 p.m. HK/SIN, climbing from levels below 99.60 reached in the previous week. Global benchmark Brent traded at $52.95 a barrel, down 0.32%, while U.S. crude was at $50.06, off 0.36%, at 2:57 p.m. HK/SIN. Spot gold had risen 0.2% to $1,255.51 per ounce at 0334 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.3% at $1,257.9.


When we look at space technology today, we see incredible achievements: global communications networks, reusable rockets, ticket sales for space-tourists, the International Space Station, and deep-space probes visiting asteroids and comets. These advances are only the beginning. Space is no longer a purely scientific or aerospace engineering domain. New players are emerging. The industries that drive commerce on Earth: energy, minerals, construction, transportation, tourism and hospitality, are beginning to see that space is not a stand-alone industry - it is a new medium to conduct business and generate revenue. The companies that created our infrastructure on Earth are moving into space. We are entering a new phase of economic expansion that involves not only the Earth, but asteroids, the Moon, and Mars.


  • Susan Rice requested to unmask names of Trump transition officials, sources say (Fox News) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Multiple sources tell Fox News that Susan Rice, former national security adviser under then-President Barack Obama, requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance. The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan - essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes. The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office. It was not clear how Rice knew to ask for the names to be unmasked, but the question was being posed by the sources late Monday.

  • Trump aides, lawmakers hold talks to revive healthcare bill (Reuters) Top White House officials met moderate and conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday in an effort to revive a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Key members of the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, invited a group of moderate Republicans known as the "Tuesday Group" to the White House. Pence then went to Capitol Hill to meet the Freedom Caucus, a group of House conservatives who last month derailed a healthcare bill backed by President Donald Trump.

The White House would like to see a revised bill come up for a vote as early as week's end, before the House breaks for a spring recess, and the text of the new proposal could be ready some time on Tuesday, lawmakers said.

  • White House will preserve all of Trump's tweets: reports (The Hill) The White House has agreed preserve each of President Donald Trump's tweets, even deleted or amended ones, following the request of the National Archives and Records Administration, according to a Monday Associated Press report. David Ferriero, the head of the National Archives, assured two concerned Democratic senators in a letter last week that the White House will save all of the president’s tweets.

  • Sessions orders review of Ferguson-style police reform deals (Fox News) The Justice Department late Monday asked a federal judge for more time to "review and assess" a proposed agreement to overhaul the Baltimore police department, saying it needed to determine how it might conflict with the crime-fighting agenda of new Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The government's request for a 90-day continuance came three days before a scheduled hearing before a federal judge, and just hours after Sessions announced he had ordered a sweeping review of the Justice Department's interactions with local law enforcement, including such court-enforceable improvement plans with troubled police agencies.

It provided an early glimpse of the attorney general's stance on police department oversight and his ambivalence about mandating widespread change of local law enforcement agencies.


  • Europe can’t handle the truth of its fundamental security weakness (City A.M.) With the UK exiting the EU, only France is left with significant full-spectrum security capabilities. In the uncertain age we live in, good as the French security services are, that is surely not enough. Europe has fatally decided on a security policy of all carrots and no sticks, only to find - in the guise of Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi, and radical Islam - that the world is not entirely populated by rabbits. Europe’s nonexistent security policy is the problem, not those who have the temerity to mention it. But tragically, in Colonel Jessup’s words (frpm A Few Good Men), Europe can’t handle the truth.

  • Youth Unemployment Shows Euro-Area Recovery Not Working for All (Bloomberg) For all the continued momentum in the euro-area recovery, differing prospects for young people across the bloc show the wounds of the debt crisis remain very raw.

The unemployment rate for those under age 25 was at 19.4 percent in February, according to data on Monday. While that’s an improvement compared with a year ago -- and is the lowest since 2009 -- it’s more than twice the total for the euro-area of 9.5 percent. In four southern European countries -- Greece, Spain, Italy and Cyprus -- at least three in 10 young people are still out of work.


  • Accused Barclays trader was a Libor "rookie", not an expert on the benchmark rate, court told (City A.M.) A former Barclays trader accused of playing a role in rigging Libor was merely a "rookie" trying to learn in an environment likened to studying medicine under Dr Frankenstein, his lawyer told the court today. The Serious Fraud Office has claimed Stylianos Contogoulas, 45, and Ryan Reich, 35, played roles in a conspiracy to fix the benchmark rate, in particular the US dollar linked version of the rate, between 1 June 2005 and 1 September 2007.

John Ryder, the lawyer for Contogoulas, told the court his client, who has a bachelor's degree in computer science, spent a chunk of his early career at the bank working on IT projects rather than learning the ins and outs of trading.

Ryder noted his client was two and a half years into his Barclays job before he was given his first small trading book and as a result "he missed out on all the instruction that would have been expected and would have taken place" had he been trading from day one.


  • Now May Be Time for Foreigners to Buy Japan Stocks, Goldman Says (Bloomberg) Now could be the time for foreign investors to return to Japanese equities, according to Goldman Sachs. Corporate governance reforms, a recovery in domestic demand and the strong performance of local stocks in U.S. dollar terms are all potential catalysts that may lure foreigners back after they sold net 1.1 trillion yen ($10 billion) of Japanese equities last quarter.


  • What's Really Driving the Trade Deficit With China (Michael Pettis, Bloomberg) MP has contributed to GEI. Today capital flows dwarf trade flows, and investment decisions by fund managers determine their direction and size. This has profound implications for trade. Large, persistent trade surpluses such as the one China runs with the U.S. are no longer the consequence of explicitly mercantilist measures. Instead, they're driven by policies that distort domestic savings rates by subsidizing production at the expense of households. This is the story of China, Germany, and, increasingly, other countries of the European Union. Prof. Pettis goes into the details behind China's trade surplus growth over recent decades.


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