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posted on 05 May 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Oil Down, Gold Steady, Commodities Contagion?, Trump For Universal Haelth Care, Macron Holds Lead, Growth For Japan?, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 05 May 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 struggle as commodity prices fall, US jobs data eyed (CNBC) Most Asian markets lost ground on Friday as traders await the U.S. nonfarm payrolls data later and after drops in commodity prices overnight. U.S. light crude futures dropped 1.82% to $44.69 a barrel by 2:35 p.m. HK/SIN, after trading as low as $43.76. Brent was down 1.45% at $47.68 a barrel at 2:36 p.m. HK/SIN, after falling as low as $46.64 earlier. Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,228.31 per ounce as of 0105 GMT, after touching 1,225.20 on Thursday, its lowest since March 17. Gold was poised to end the week down over 3%, the biggest percentage fall since the week ending Nov. 11. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,228.60 an ounce.

asia.pac.2017.may.05

  • Oil's Plunge Accelerates Below $45 as U.S. Shale Confounds OPEC (Bloomberg) Oil slid below $45 a barrel for the first time since OPEC agreed to cut output in November as U.S. shale confounds the producer group’s attempts to prop up prices. U.S. crude output expands in longest run of gains since 2012. On Wednesday the importance of $45 for WTI crude was emphasized by the dramatic drop once that level was touched.

  • Bad Week for Oil and Iron Gets Worse, Spurs Some Risk Contagion (Bloomberg) Iron ore has lost about 12 percent this week in Singapore, the most since November, as the material used in steelmaking fails to shake concernsabout supply and the outlook for Chinese demand. This combines with the developing routin oil prices (see oreceding article) to raise concerns that other commodities and assets could suffer similar downturns.

  • Finance ministers from Japan, China and South Korea agreed to resist all forms of protectionism in a trilateral meeting on Friday.

  • A communique after the meeting used language that was removed from a G20 communique in March under pressure from Washington.

U.S.

  • Vulnerable Republicans back ObamaCare replacement (The Hill) Several vulnerable Republican lawmakers joined their party Thursday to pass the landmark plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare through the House, casting risky votes that complicate their chances forward in the 2018 midterms. The measure passed with 217 yes votes, all Republican - only one vote more than the threshold Republicans needed for passage.

Twenty Republicans, including many facing their own tough races in 2018, voted against the bill in a move that could make it harder for Democrats to hang the bill on them if it proves unpopular. But a number of GOP lawmakers who also face competitive reelection races next year did cast a vote with their party, despite being top Democratic targets.

Those lawmakers who voted yes include GOP Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Rod Blum (Iowa), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Erik Paulsen (Minn.), David Valadao (Calif.), David Young (Iowa) and John Faso (N.Y.).

  • Sanders to Trump: 'We'll quote you' on support for universal healthcare (The Hill) President Trump has put his foot in his mputh again, this time in appearing to endorse universal healthcare. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) seized on President Trump's compliment of Australia's universal healthcare system on Thursday, saying Democrats will remind the president of the comments from the Senate floor. Sanders weighed in on the comments during an interview on MSNBC after Trump remarked that Australia has "better healthcare than we do" during a meeting with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

  • Blue Feed, Red Feed (The Wall Street Journal) To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue" and the other “red." If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned" in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal." These aren't intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives. Econintersect: Much of what passes for political opinion today has more similarities with theology than political science. When you look at the two feeds assembled by The WSJ, note how much of the content in each is fact, logical reasoning, and beliefs (matters of faith). The beliefs expressed on both ends of the political spectrum are the result of brain-washing for the most part - not arrived at by careful analysis (althought many of the devotees would argue otherwise).

  • Why the Retail Crisis Could Be Coming to American Groceries (Bloomberg) The American grocery store has so far been mostly immune to the ravages of online shopping and the all around apocalyptic outlook facing the nation's retailers. But a war is coming to the staid supermarket, and that could mean more consolidation, bankruptcies, and falling prices. The problem for traditional groceries is the growth of deep discount stores.

UK

"We turned Philip from dashing young Prince Charming into a reactionary old grump. He has never really been either."

France

The late stages of the first round campaign were incredibly open and led to real debates between different visions for the future of France. This seemed to enthuse French voters. While polls suggested that abstention could reach a record 30%, the turnout in the first round of voting on April 23 was in fact close to 78%, similar to the 2012 election.

The results in the first round also pointed to sharp ideological divisions in France, with four candidates finishing with more or less 20% of the vote. From the radical left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon to the hard right conservative François Fillon, from centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron to far right Marine Le Pen.

France seemed at a turning point, with the two mainstream parties who have governed the country for most of the Fifth Republic - Les Républicains and the Parti Socialiste - suffering terrible blows.

  • Decision Time for France as Polls Show Macron's Lead Holding (Bloomberg) French voters face a stark choice in Sunday’s presidential election between joining the wave of populism that has swept across some rich democracies in the past year or an attempt to renew the governing principles that have guided their country for decades.

Marine Le Pen, 48, wants France to turn away from the European Union and its commercial partners to shelter behind trade barriers and immigration controls following the lead of British and U.S. voters in 2016.

Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old front-runner, takes precisely the opposite view: that France can thrive in a globalized world and that the 27-nation EU offers the best tools to temper the harshest effects for workers, control population flows and counter terrorism.

Japan

  • Bank of Japan's Kuroda: Something major is changing in the Japanese labor market (CNBC) Speaking with CNBC on the sidelines of the 2017 Asian Development Bank meeting in Japan, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda explained that he is seeing shifts in the country's labor market, and that could augur good things for the Japanese economy. In fact, he predicted that wages and prices would begin to accelerate. He suggested that the future growth rate could reach 1.5%, much above the average for the last two decades of deflation.

South Korea

  • South Korea’s next president faces a belligerent north and a confused US (The Conversation) South Korea is under serious pressure on two fronts. Internationally, Seoul and its allies are scrambling to head off the threat from North Korea, which some fear is ramping up for another nuclear test - but the South Korean response to that threat will to some extent be determined by what happens in its presidential election on May 9. With no serious conservative contender, the election has become a race between two liberal candidates - former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in and Ahn Cheol-soo, a doctor and former software entrepreneur. The question is which one can successfully win over the popular movement that ousted Park as the two heavyweights duly rush to distance themselves from their scandalous predecessor.

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