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posted on 01 September 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar And Oil Down, Gold Flat, Trump Cuts ObamaCare, Irma Becoming A Monster, Brexit Stalled, Greek Debt, UN Says Iran Okay, India GDP Slump, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 01 September 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.

early-bird-301-180


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Global

  • Most Asia markets gain following expectation-topping Caixin manufacturing PMI (CNBC) Most major indexes in Asia made tentative gains on Friday as investors parsed through the release of manufacturing activity data from China. Traders also digested the slide in the dollar on the back of U.S. data releases overnight. The dollar index was down at 92.639 at 11:51 a.m. HK/SIN. Oil prices slid after settling almost 3% higher overnight. U.S. crude slipped 0.59% to trade at $46.95 a barrel and Brent crude shed 0.2% to trade at $52.75. Spot gold slipped 0.2% to $1,319.50 per ounce as of 0338 GMT, not far from the more-than-nine-month high of 1,325.94 hit on Tuesday, and was on track for a weekly gain of more than 2 percent. U.S. gold futures were up 0.2% to $1,325.20 per ounce.

asia.pac.2017.sep.01

U.S.

  • Trump to slash ObamaCare outreach funding (The Hill) The Trump administration is slashing funding for ObamaCare enrollment outreach. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials announced on a call with reporters Thursday that funding for advertising and other outreach for ObamaCare enrollment will be cut from $100 million last year to $10 million this year. A department official argued the administration is seeing "diminishing returns" from ObamaCare spending. Officials also pointed to ObamaCare's shortcomings to justify the cuts. Econintersect: We are reminded of the sarcastic story about a political campaign speech where the candidate says: "Government can't do anything right. Elect me and I'll prove it."
  • Texas Republicans Helped Chemical Plant That Exploded Lobby Against Safety Rules (International Business Times) The French company that says its Houston-area chemical plant is spewing "noxious" smoke - and may explode - successfully pressed federal regulators to delay new regulations designed to improve safety procedures at chemical plants, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times. The rules, which were set to go into effect this year, were halted by the Trump administration after a furious lobbying campaign by plant owner Arkema and its affiliated trade association, the American Chemistry Council, which represents a chemical industry that has poured tens of millions of dollars into federal elections. The effort to stop the chemical plant safety rules was backed by top Texas Republican lawmakers, who have received big campaign donations from chemical industry donors.
  • Right accuses left of hypocrisy on antifa (The Hill) Conservatives are decrying what they see as a muted response to the rise of the left-wing antifa movement amid a series of violent protests and clashes that have broken out at events across the country. Some on the right have accused liberals and the media of being loath to condemn violence on the left from militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists, while racing to denounce such behavior by right-wing groups.
  • Trump Weighs Tying Debt Limit Increase to Harvey Aid (Bloomberg) President Donald Trump is considering attaching an increase in the U.S. debt limit to an initial $5.95 billion disaster aid funding request for Hurricane Harvey, two administration officials said, a move aimed at lowering the risk of an unprecedented default. The White House request, which could come as soon as Friday, would include $5.5 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the remainder to the Small Business Administration. The request is being prepared primarily to cover funding demands through the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year, according to the officials, who described the matter on condition of anonymity.
  • Irma Turning Into Monster Hurricane: "Highest Windspeed Forecasts I've Ever Seen" (Zero Hedge) Hurricane Irma continues to strengthen much faster than pretty much any computer model predicted as of yesterday or even this morning. Per the National Hurricane Center's (NHC) latest update, Irma iscurrently a Cat-3 storm with sustained winds of 115 mph but is expected to strengthen to a devastating Cat-5 with winds that could top out at 180 mph or more. GEI's Sig Silber will be following this and reporting as it develops.

Friends of Trump told the Post that while the President has spent August dedicated to dealing with North Korea, proposing tax reform plans and addressing the catastrophic damages in Hurricane Harvey, his frustration with some top aides is simmering.

One subject of Trump's alleged growing ire is Economic Council Director Gary Cohn for disapproving of the president's response to violence in Charlottesville, Va.

  • Tillerson moves to close State cyber office (The Hill) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has outlined a reorganization plan that would involve closing the State Department office charged with promoting U.S. cybersecurity interests abroad, according to a letter obtained Tuesday.

In a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tillerson confirmed his proposal to eliminate the position of cybersecurity coordinator and fold the functions of the cyber office into a bureau in charge of business and economic affairs.

The proposed change, reports of which surfaced in July, is part of a broader effort by Tillerson to reorganize and streamline the State Department's functions.

EU

According to the latest figures released by the UN’s refugee agency, 4,337 people are believed to have drowned since September 2016 while attempting to reach European shores. Most departed from Libya bound for Italy, from Turkey bound for Greece or, more recently, from Morocco bound for Spain. A further 4,185 people died in the previous 12 months, from 1 September 2015 until the end of August 2016.

UK

  • Devil in the Detail: Brexit Talks Are Making Little Progress (Bloomberg) The Brexit negotiations are deadlocked. From the large issues like Britain’s divorce bill, to the small technical ones like reciprocal health care, progress is scarce. That makes the chances of the U.K. being allowed to move on to trade talks in October increasingly slim, according to Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator. The European Union blames Britain’s reluctance to set out its positions; Britain says the EU isn’t flexible enough to compromise.

Click for large image.

Greece

  • The current bailout program is set to end in September of next year.
  • Tsipras's objective is to re-gain full market access to international bond markets and to leave institutional help behind.
  • Greece's debt isn't manageable in the long-run without being either extended or forgiven, according to the IMF.

Iran

India

  • India’s Q1 GDP growth falls to 5.7%, hits 3-year low (The Economic Times) The same quarter a year ago was 7.9% and expectations were for 6.4%. Major disappointment.
  • India manufacturing rebounds in August after tax tumult (Financial Times) India’s manufacturing sector bounced back from a 101-month low as greater familiarity with a new system of taxation aided a rise in new orders and output across the country. The Nikkei-Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for August rose to 51.2, recovering from July’s low of 47.9 when new tax laws hit the sector. The August figure brings the gauge back above the 50-level separating expansion from contraction.
  • All-India CPI for industrial workers rises by 5 points in July (The Economic Times) All-India Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) increased by five points in July, the first month after the GST implementation and rose from 245 to 250. In terms of monthly change, it increased by 1.79% during the month against (-)1.08% during the corresponding month in 2016, according to an official statement. However, the inflation increased from 1.08% to 1.79% during the month compared to 6.46% in July last year.

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