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posted on 12 May 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar, Oil, Gold All Up, China Stocks Tumble, Trump Judge Nominees, Germany GDP Strong, India High Tech Exports, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 12 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

  • Asian markets close mixed after retail tanks in US session; oil gains (CNBC) Markets in Asia closed mixed on Friday, following the lower close stateside on weak earnings from U.S. retailer Macy's and ahead of the G7 finance meeting in Italy. The dollar eased against a basket of rival currencies to trade at 99.583, but still off the 98 handle seen last week. U.S. West Texas International crude traded higher by 0.38% at $48.01 a barrel while Brent crude futures edged up by 0.37% at $50.96. Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,227.33 per ounce at 0707 GMT. Spot gold rose 0.5% in the previous session, its best one-day gain in a month.

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U.S.

  • President Trump Appoints Judges Even He Could Love (The New Yorker) On Monday, President Trump announced his first group of lower-court nominations to the federal bench. The list illustrates how differently Democratic and Republican Presidents have approached the task of making judges: it comes down to ideology versus diversity.

Republicans since Ronald Reagan have recognized the power of federal judges to move the country in a conservative direction. Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court showed that the new President belongs to the same tradition, and his ten judicial nominees - five to the circuit courts of appeals and five to the district courts - reveal that he will continue to use the courts to advance his political agenda.

  • Trump Ordered to Turn Over Giuliani Memo in Travel Ban Suit (Bloomberg) The Trump Administration was ordered by a federal judge to disclose a memo drafted under the guidance of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani that allegedly served as an outline to make the president’s travel ban look like it wasn’t aimed at Muslims. While running for president, Donald Trump asked Giuliani to form a commission that would help draft a “Muslim ban" to “show [him] the right way to do it legally" after his initial proposal drew widespread public condemnation, according to a court filing by the Arab American Civil Rights League. The commission then recommended that “nationality be used as a proxy for religion," the group said in the filing.

  • In Trump's shadow, Fed official says trade barriers a 'dead end' (Reuters) Trade protectionism is a "dead end" that may score political points but will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy, one of the most influential Federal Reserve officials said on Thursday in the central bank's strongest defense yet of open borders in the face of a skeptical Trump administration. William Dudley, head of the New York Fed, did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump by name in a speech at the Bombay Stock Exchange. But he gave a full-throated economic and even political argument for resisting trade barriers that he said would hurt growth and living standards in both the United States and around the world.

  • What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class (Harvard Business Review) People in the U.S. middle class resent professionals and admire the rich. That's a summation of a primary thesis of this author. He argues that it explains the appeal of Donald Trump, very rich and very unprofessional. Trump "tells it like it is", straight from the basest terms of street talk. He defeated Hillary Clinton because she was too professional and didn't speak the language that resonated with the working class.

Germany

  • Germany outpaces UK, US and France with 0.6% quarterly growth - business live (The Guardian) German GDP expanded by 0.6% in the January-March quarter, up from 0.4% in the final three months of 2016. The growth was driven by higher business investment on new equipment and buildings, plus higher spending by consumers and the government. Strong exports also helped Europe’s powerhouse economy make a robust start to the year.

Syria

  • Russia Seeks Accord With U.S. on Iran Role in Syria Safe Zones (Bloomberg) Russia is seeking to convince the U.S. to accept an Iranian role in a plan for foreign troops to police safe zones in Syria as a step toward ending the six-year war. The U.S. and Iran must show “compromise and flexibility" in helping to secure the so-called de-escalation zones proposed by Russia to shore up a Syrian cease-fire, President Vladimir Putin’s Middle East envoy, Mikhail Bogdanov, told reporters in Sochi on Thursday. Russia is trying to mediate between the U.S. and Iran, though it’s under “no illusions" about the difficulties, he said.

India

  • Rising Rupee No Barrier For India's High-Tech Export Machine (Bloomberg) Indian exports are defying a firm rupee, riding a rise in global growth with a surge in shipments of the kind of high-tech goods every nation covets. Exports rose to a six year high in March and, for now, that upward trend is tipped to continue as the world economy chugs along and foreign direct investment boosts productivity and stabilizes the economy, said Pranjul Bhandari, chief India economist for HSBC Holding Plc. Bhandari wrote:

“India’s merchandise exports have risen sharply over the last two months. We find that the rise is coming from high-tech goods, particularly engineering goods and chemicals as well as medium-tech goods."

China

  • U.S., China reach deals on access for beef, financial services (Reuters) The United States and China will expand trade in beef and chicken and increase access for financial firms, as part of a plan to reduce the massive U.S. trade deficit with Beijing, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday. The deals are the first tangible results of trade talks that began last month after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Florida to discuss cooperation between the world's two largest economies. China import of U.S. natural gas will also be opening up.

  • China's Spending $500 Billion to Reshape the World in Its Image (Bloomberg) China is one of the few countries in the world today with money to spend, and Xi Jinping is ready to write some checks. China’s president will host almost 30 world leaders in Beijing on Sunday at the first Belt and Road Forum, the centerpiece of a soft-power push backed by hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects. More than 100 countries on five continents have signed up, showing the demand for global economic cooperation despite rising protectionism in the U.S. and Europe.

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Australia

Mexico

  • Mexico says called Trump's bluff when he eyed NAFTA exit (Reuters) Mexico said on Thursday it had called U.S. President Donald Trump's bluff over his suggestion he only decided to stay in the North American Free Trade Agreement as a favor to the leaders of Mexico and Canada after they asked him to renegotiate the deal. However, Mexico's government said it had sent a very different message to the United States during a crisis over NAFTA's future late last month, when Trump considered starting the six-month process for withdrawing from the accord. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told an audience at the Mexico Business Forum:

"The message was: if you guys think we're going to start negotiations with the trigger pulled on a U.S. exit in six months, forget about it! If you do that, just get out already - because there's no way we're negotiating under those conditions."

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