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posted on 18 August 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Dollar And Gold Steady, Oil Up, Growing Global Distrust, Trump Seeks Afghan Policy, Irish Deflation, Trump Wants To Kill Iran Deal, China Housing Moderates, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 18 August 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

  • White House jitters and Barcelona terror attack weigh on Asian shares (CNBC) Asia markets were pressured in Friday trade after investors on Wall Street sold off on growing uncertainty over the Trump administration's ability to follow through on its economic policies. The dollar index was slightly softer at 93.473 at 3:37 p.m. HK/SIN, and remained well below a mid-week high of around 94.145. Brent crude was up 0.31% at $51.19 a barrel at 3:41 p.m. HK/SIN and U.S. crude was up 0.40% at $47.28. Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,286.60 per ounce by 0113 GMT, after climbing for two straight days. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were flat at $1,292.60 per ounce.

asia.pac.2017.aug.18

  • Three quarters of people think the system is rigged against them (World Economic Forum) The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer found what it described as “an implosion of confidence" around the world. Trust in mainstream institutions of all kinds, from business to governments, and the media to NGOs, has never been in such short supply. It’s now at its lowest since the survey began five years ago. Two-thirds of countries fall into what the report labels “distruster" territory, where trust levels have sunk below 50%.

There is also a leadership credibility crisis, with just 37% of people now seeing CEOs as credible and only 29% feeling the same about government officials.

But, of the four institutions measured, it is the media that has seen the biggest fall off in trust among the public. It is distrusted in 83% of countries (less than 50% of people trust it); and in only five - Singapore, China India, Indonesia, and the Netherlands - does trust exceed 50%.

  • Wilkerson: Under Trump, Al Qaeda is Flourishing (The Real News Network) Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, discusses record US military strikes under President Trump and how Al Qaeda is taking advantage of contradictions in US policy:

U.S.

  • Trump's Search for an Afghan War Policy Takes Him to Camp David (Bloomberg) President Donald Trump has summoned his defense and foreign policy team to Camp David Friday in an effort to resolve months of debate over the future U.S. role in Afghanistan, where 8,400 American troops continue to fight a war Trump has long questioned. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Thursday when asked about the gathering at the presidential retreat in rural Maryland:

“We will move this toward a decision. “We are coming very close to a decision and I anticipate it in the very near future."

Presidents have come in many forms and still commanded the office. Ronald Reagan had a moral compass and the self-knowledge to delegate political tactics. LBJ was a difficult man but had the skill to accomplish much that was good. Mr Trump has neither skill nor self-knowledge, and this week showed that he does not have the character to change.

This is a dangerous moment. America is cleft in two. After threatening nuclear war with North Korea, musing about invading Venezuela and equivocating over Charlottesville, Mr Trump still has the support of four-fifths of Republican voters. Such popularity makes it all the harder for the country to unite.

Ireland

Spain

Six civilians and a police officer were injured in the second incident in the resort town of Cambrils, which the government said was connected to the Barcelona attack. The suspects broke through a checkpoint early Friday and began running over pedestrians on the oceanfront promenade, after which they were shot by police, La Vanguardia newspaper said. They wore explosive belts, the report said.

Local media said that the rented van drove about 600 meters (2,000 feet) down the avenue in Barcelona, striking pedestrians. The driver is still at large.

Iran

One of the most successful examples of transatlantic cooperation in recent years was the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was finalized in July 2015. The deal imposes strict constraints on Iran’s nuclear program, and provides for enhanced transparency, in return for relief from international sanctions.

China

  • China's new home price growth cools in July: statistics bureau (Reuters) China's home price growth slowed in July, with Beijing declining for a second straight month, reinforcing expectations that property price growth may stagnate over the course of the year. Government restrictions to keep prices in check weighed on larger cities, with July showing the slowest growth since August 2016, while smaller centers pulled back but remained robust.

Policymakers have prioritized stabilizing the property market ahead of an autumn leadership reshuffle, stressing the need to avoid dramatic price fluctuations that could threaten the financial system and harm social stability.

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