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posted on 05 July 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks, Dollar, Oil, Gold All Flat, Rally Fade, Climate Change Truth, UK Green Energy Record, Qatar Nat Gas Squeeze For US, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 05 July 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.pac.2017.jul.05

"We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid."

U.S.

  • Indiana GOP request for ObamaCare ‘horror stories’ goes wrong (The Hill) The Indiana Republican Party has requested that the state's constituents share their "horror stories" with ObamaCare, the Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday. Many of the people respondents, however, flooded them with stories about how the healthcare system positively affected their lives.
  • The 2017 rally is about to fade, warns Wells Fargo strategist (CNBC) The rally that the S&P 500 has enjoyed thus far in 2017 is set to fade in the second half of the year, according to Scott Wren, Wells Fargo Investment Institute senior global equity strategist. He has on his list of concerns that wage increases could damage corporate profit margins heading into 2018, and that some investors may also become wary about the Federal Reserve's interest rate tightening cycle (the central bank is expected to raise interest rates once more before the year's end). Wren said Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation":

"We're looking for a few headwinds in terms of valuations, and not a heck of a lot getting done in Washington."

  • Media errors give Trump fresh ammunition (The Hill) A string of high-profile corrections and retractions by major news organizations on stories about President Trump or his allies have fueled more allegations of bias in the mainstream press. The relationship between Trump and the news media regularly hits new lows, with insults flying between the two camps and reporters warning that the president is inciting violence against journalists.

But Trump’s allies on the right believe the president’s claims that the mainstream media is “fake news" have been bolstered by recent missteps. They point to recent admissions from top news outlets - including CNN, the New York Times and the Associated Press - that bombshell stories were either overcooked or included incorrect details.

Adding insult to injury: Breitbart News, the pro-Trump media outlet that is scorned by many in the mainstream press, has been fact-checking their mainstream counterparts with some success.

For years, Trump has indulged the strange conspiracy theory that, as he put it in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive." But this was not the reason Trump advanced for withdrawing the US from the Paris accord. Rather, the agreement, he alleged, was bad for the US and implicitly unfair to it.

While fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, Trump’s claim is difficult to justify. On the contrary, the Paris accord is very good for America, and it is the US that continues to impose an unfair burden on others.

Historically, the US has added disproportionately to the rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and among large countries it remains the biggest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide by far - more than twice China’s rate and nearly 2.5 times more than Europe in 2013 (the latest year for which the World Bank has reported complete data). With its high income, the US is in a far better position to adapt to the challenges of climate change than poor countries like India and China, let alone a low-income country in Africa.

In fact, the major flaw in Trump’s reasoning is that combating climate change would strengthen the US, not weaken it. Trump is looking toward the past - a past that, ironically, was not that great. His promise to restore coal-mining jobs (which now number 51,000, less than 0.04% of the country’s nonfarm employment) overlooks the harsh conditions and health risks endemic in that industry, not to mention the technological advances that would continue to reduce employment in the industry even if coal production were revived.

  • The New NRA Video and Trump's Media Attacks Are Symptoms of America in Decline (The Real News Network) In the days leading up to the July 4th holiday, U.S. President Donald J. Trump renewed attacks on the media in a series of tweets. They also come on the heels of an alarming recruitment video from the National Rifle Association. We get a response from preeminent historian and author, Gerald Horne, who connects the Trump election with Britain's vote to Brexit from the European Union.

UK

  • Renewable energy sets new record for UK electricity generation (Independent) Renewable energy generated a record amount of electricity in the first three months of this year, making up more than 26% of the total produced in the UK, according to new government figures. Decarbonising the UK economy is required to meet its international commitments as part of the attempt to reduce the effects of global warming. The UK has been doing relatively well in switching to low-carbon electricity, but has performed less well in the domestic heating and transport sectors. He writes:

“These Brexiteers have sold us a pup and lied to the public. This is why I believe the public should be given a say on the final Brexit deal."

If there is one thing to keep in mind, it is that people change theirs. And, because people’s sentiments change, countries change direction. No possible future should be ruled out, including one in which both parties say, “Let’s try again."

France

  • The Predictable Winners of Macron's Presidency (Bloomberg) French President Emmanuel Macron has promised a dramatic departure from the recent past. France's youngest leader since Napoleon has brought in on his coat-tails a new generation of fresh-faced young leaders, many of whom have never held political office before. And in his debut speech to both houses of France's parliament, Macron reiterated his call for a new order -- a "veritable revolution," as he called it, to re-energize French politics.

But while the new faces and reforming ambitions are a welcome change in France, it's worth asking whether the move will empower new thinking. A closer look suggests that the most immediate beneficiaries of Macron's policies will be a more seasoned group: France's "enarques," or graduates of the famous Ecole Nationale d'Administration, its finishing school for civil servants.

Qatar

  • Top liquid natural gas exporter Qatar announced it will hike its output by 30 percent in the coming years.
  • The increase overlaps with an anticipated glut in the LNG market and efforts by U.S. companies to increase natural gas exports.
  • LNG exports are a critical part of President Donald Trump's plans for American "energy dominance."

Russia

  • The Memo: Trump faces high stakes meeting with Putin (The Hill) President Trump will be playing for high stakes when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, later this week. The encounter between the two men, the first since Trump became president, will be closely scrutinized in light of the allegations of Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. election - and because of the ongoing probes into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. But it is far from certain that Trump will even bring up the issue of Russian interference. At a White House briefing last week, national security adviser H.R. McMaster insisted “there’s no specific agenda" for the meeting.

North Korea

"The deep strike precision capability enables the (South Korean)-U.S. alliance to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions."

China

  • China Bond Connect Has Potential to Shift PBOC Policy (Bloomberg) China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong coincided with the official start of the China Bond Connect program with Hong Kong that gives offshore investors another way to access the mainland’s $10 trillion debt market. Although the link between China’s mainland and offshore bond markets may look ceremonial, for the People’s Bank of China it could help set the stage for a policy shift.

Getting a handle on China’s monetary policy is not an easy task. That’s because the PBOC has multiple objectives: growth, price and financial stability, and controlling the currency. A shift in monetary policy, therefore, represents a change in focus within this multiple objectives strategy. This is what happened in late 2015, when policy shifted from a focus on hiking reserve requirement ratios to managing the yuan. Credit in China rapidly expanded and by the spring of 2017 the PBOC embarked on a campaign to reduce the amount of leverage in the economy and control growth in domestic credit.

The result was a sharp drop in domestic bond issuance that may have sparked efforts by Chinese authorities to quicken the pace of liberalizing the nation’s capital markets. The prospect of foreign money flowing into the domestic Chinese bond and stock markets has the potential to drive PBOC policy toward inflation and GDP targeting.

Australia

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