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posted on 26 May 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Down, Oil And Dollar Rebound, Gold Steady, Kushner To Cooperate, Housing Prices Cool In Parts Of London, Trump Bullies Germany, China's Fixing Formula, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 26 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 close mostly lower as OPEC output-cut extension disappoints traders (CNBC) Markets in Asia finished mostly lower on Friday, despite an agreement from major oil producers at an OPEC meeting to extend output cuts for an additional nine months. Oil prices fell by almost 5% in the last session following the news as some investors had been hoping for deeper production cuts. On Friday afternoon during Asian hours, oil prices traded modestly higher. Global benchmark Brent added 0.31% to $51.62 a barrel, while U.S. crude was up 0.16% at $49.98. The dollar strengthened against a basket of rival currencies to trade at 97.217 at 3:08 p.m. HK/SIN, off lows of 96.880 touched in the last session. Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,257.01 per ounce by 0411 GMT. The yellow metal almost flat for the week. U.S. gold futures gained 0.1% to $1,257.2 an ounce.

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Click for large image.

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U.S.

  • GOP holds on to win Montana House seat (The Hill) Republican Greg Gianforte is projected to win the Thursday special election for Montana’s lone House seat despite a shocking altercation with a reporter on Wednesday that led to an assault charge against the future congressman. News outlets crowned Gianforte the apparent winner at about 12:30 a.m. Easter Time with about 50% of the vote. Democrat Rob Quist had 44% at the time of the call, according to the Montana secretary of State's website.

  • Divided GOP Senators Push Forward on Health Care (NBC News) After weeks of meetings, Senate Republicans attempting to hash out a way forward on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are no closer to agreeing how the country's health care system should operate. One decision has been made, however: Over the upcoming 11-day recess, staff of the key committees have been tasked with beginning the process of putting pen to paper and crafting health care legislation. It's one step forward but it doesn't mean Republicans have reached any consensus yet.

  • Lawyer: Kushner to cooperate on all probes of Russia meetings (The Hill) President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner will cooperate on any probes of his past meetings with Russians, his attorney said Thursday. Jamie Gorelick said in a statement reported by The Wall Street Journal:

“Mr. Kushner previously volunteered with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."

  • How Michael Flynn May Have Run Afoul of the Law (The New York Times) President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, is facing a mounting tangle of potential legal troubles arising from his business dealings with foreign entities and his interactions with both executive branch and congressional investigators.

One set of problems stems from Russia. In 2015, Russian-linked companies paid Mr. Flynn more than $65,000, including about $45,000 from the state-backed Russian television network RT for a December trip to Moscow, where he delivered a speech and sat next to President Vladimir V. Putin at a dinner. Last December, an American wiretap of the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak, intercepted conversations he had with Mr. Flynn discussing the Obama administration’s imposition of sanctions on Russia for meddling in the election.

The other set stems from Turkey. Last year, Mr. Flynn’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, was paid more than $500,000 by Inovo BV, a Dutch corporation. Inovo is owned by Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-American businessman with ties to the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. The work centered on research to discredit Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in Pennsylvania, and whose extradition Mr. Erdogan has been seeking.

  • FCC asked to remove fake comments on net neutrality (The Hill) Individuals whose identities were used without their permission on comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are speaking out to the agency. In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai signed by 14 people, the group offers support for the principle of net neutrality, after the fake comments under their names called for the end of those rules. They also called for the comments to be removed.

UK

  • Terrorism in Britain: a brief history (The Conversation) The most famous incident of terrorism in early modern history is probably the gunpowder plot of 1605 when Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the House of Lords. But there is a long history of terror activities in the UK, going back into antiquitiy.

  • Now House Prices Are Being Cut in London Hotspots (Bloomberg) On the less fashionable fringes of London, home sellers are quickly finding out just what the market can bear. Buyers fleeing the capital’s costly center turned peripheral boroughs into London’s hottest property markets. Now, more sellers in those areas are being forced to cut their prices after values quickly outstripped the spending power of the average buyer. (First graph below.) But in East London prices are still surging. (Second graph below.)

Germany

  • Trump calls Germans 'bad, very bad' over trade (USA Today) In a Brussels meeting with top European Union leadership, President Trump took a pretty personal dig at Germany over its trade surplus. "The Germans are bad, very bad," Trump told EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel. The "very bad" translation comes from the Cambridge Dictionary, anyway. Google Translate says Trump's comments actually translate to "evil, very evil".

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China

  • China’s PBOC Said to Plan Change in Yuan's Fixing Formula (Bloomberg) China plans to change the way it calculates the yuan’s daily reference rate against the dollar, adding a “counter-cyclical adjustment factor" that may blunt the impact of big market swings, according to people familiar with the matter.

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