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posted on 06 April 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Dollar, Oil Down, Gold Firm, "Huge" Dereg Achievement, States Contest Climate Policy, Hot Emerging Mkts, China And N. Korea, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 06 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 in the red with Trump-Xi summit eyed (CNBC) Asian markets mostly fell on Thursday morning, tracking losses on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve released its March Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes which was viewed as hawkish, with China bucking the trend. The dollar was weaker at 100.500 against a basket of major currencies at 11:27 am HK/SIN time. Brent futures traded lower by 0.57% to $54.05 a barrel while U.S. crude fell 0.63% to $50.83. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,254.06 per ounce by 0324 GMT. U.S. gold futures climbed as much as 1% to $1,260.80 and were last up 0.6% at $1,256.



  • The filibuster has a fatal flaw - and Republicans are ready to expose it (Boston Globe) Democrats now have enough “no" votes to sustain a filibuster against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. But Gorsuch is likely to get confirmed anyway, because the filibuster has a fatal and inherent flaw - and the Republicans are ready to expose it. That Republican counter-attack is sometimes called the “nuclear option," as if the Republicans are going to have to employ the deadliest weapon to secure victory. But actually it’s not difficult at all. All Republicans need to do is tell Democrats that they’re not allowed to filibuster Supreme Court nominees anymore.

Here’s the key thing to understand: the filibuster isn’t mentioned in the US Constitution or written into statute. It’s just a rule that Senators have chosen to impose on themselves. It’s a hoary anti-majoritarian Senate tradition, whereby 41 Senators have the power to block action on a bill, even if 59 of their peers support it.

But the majority party canchange the rules and - poof! - no filibuster.

  • Trump administration points to deregulation as "huge accomplishment" (CBS News) The White House told reporters on Wednesday that through use of the Congressional Review Act, they have rescinded 11 regulations implemented by President Obama, amounting to $10 billion in savings for the economy over the next 20 years. Econintersect: This is nonsense. To scale the numbers to a personal scale, these savings are something like you declaring a huge victory by increasing your retirement account after 20 years of saving from $400,000 to $400,010.

  • Dimon Warns ‘Something Is Wrong’ With the U.S. (Bloomberg) JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has two big pronouncements as the Trump administration starts reshaping the government: “The United States of America is truly an exceptional country," and “it is clear that something is wrong." Here is the start of ills described by Dimon:

Since the turn of the century, the U.S. has dumped trillions of dollars into wars, piled huge debt onto students, forced legions of foreigners to leave after getting advanced degrees, driven millions of Americans out of the workplace with felonies for sometimes minor offenses and hobbled the housing market with hastily crafted layers of rules.

  • Rick Perry added to National Security Council’s core decision-makers (Statesman) Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been added to a core group within the National Security Council in a shakeup of members announced on Wednesday, replacing President Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon.

  • New York, other states challenge Trump over climate change regulation (Reuters) A coalition of 17 U.S. states filed a legal challenge on Wednesday against efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to roll back climate change regulations, deepening a political rift over his emerging energy policies.

  • Cohn Backs Wall Street Split of Lending, Investment Banks (Bloomberg) In a private meeting with lawmakers, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said he supports a policy that could radically reshape Wall Street’s biggest firms by separating their consumer-lending businesses from their investment banks, said people with direct knowledge of the matter. Cohn, the ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive who is now advising President Donald Trump, said he generally favors banking going back to how it was when firms like Goldman focused on trading and underwriting securities, and companies such as Citigroup Inc. primarily issued loans, according to the people, who heard his comments.

The remarks surprised some senators and congressional aides who attended the Wednesday meeting, as they didn’t expect a former top Wall Street executive to speak favorably of proposals that would force banks to dramatically rethink how they do business.

Yet Cohn’s comments echo what Trump and Republican lawmakers have previously said about wanting to bring back the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that kept bricks-and-mortar lending separate from investment banking for more than six decades.

  • College Grads Stuck With Low Wages as Hiring in U.S. Heats Up (Bloomberg) The relegation of college graduates to non-degree positions was once seen as a temporary blow for young people unlucky enough to graduate around the time of the deep 2007-2009 recession. But about 44% of recent college grads were employed in jobs not requiring degrees in the final quarter of 2016, not far from the 2013 peak of 46%, while the share of that group in low-wage positions has held steady, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Wednesday. This indicates the nation’s labor market isn’t at full health, despite an unemployment rate forecast to remain at 4.7% in today's monthly report.


  • Emerging Market Bid Is So Hot Thailand Faces U.S. Watchlist Risk (Bloomberg) Thailand is no stranger when it comes to hot money. This time around, officials have a new dynamic to worry about when it comes to cooling inflows from abroad: Donald Trump. The Southeast Asian nation has seen $3.42 billion flood in this year, an influx that’s driven the baht to its highest since mid-2015. The problem is that any overt steps to curb gains in the exchange rate could draw the attention of Trump administration officials probing trading partners for measures that contribute to U.S. trade deficits.


  • Duterte's Philippine Tax Plan May Reverse Foreign Fund Exodus (Bloomberg) Philippine equities can lose their tag as the only emerging Asia market to suffer foreign fund outflows this year -- with a helping hand from President Rodrigo Duterte. Strategists say progress on Duterte’s promised tax reforms is needed to bring back global asset managers, who have offloaded $230 million of Manila-listed equities in 2017 while pouring $6.7 billion into India and $1.4 billion into Malaysia. Investors are also looking for company profit growth to justify an index valuation that’s at the widest premium to emerging market peers in six months.


  • Japan education reforms stir memories of wartime indoctrination (Reuters) A push for patriotic content on the ethics syllabus on Japanese schools is rekindling fears that children will be taught to take a less critical view of the country's militarist past and a more submissive attitude to government. The campaign to put patriotism back in schools has been a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's agenda since his first one-year term from 2006, when parliament revised a law setting out the goals of education to include nurturing "love of country" and respect for tradition and culture. That and amending the country's postwar, pacifist constitution have been key goals for Abe and many conservatives in his ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

North Korea

"There's so much at stake, the Trump administration is going to work on a way forward. They're expecting much more from China. How Beijing responds to this call for action will be a clear signal to Trump on how serious they are about the U.S.-China tie. Ninety percent of North Korea's trade is with China, and the Trump administration sees that as clear leverage that China can use,"


For Xi, the meeting represents an opportunity to establish a personal rapport with Trump and potentially stave off a trade war that threatens to make China’s economic slowdown much more painful. Yet it also carries risk: An errant Trump tweet or off-the-cuff remark seen as disrespectful could give ammunition to party members who want to thwart Xi’s reform plans.

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