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posted on 13 October 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Up, Dollar Down, Gold And Oil Up, Disaster Prone Asia, Trump Guts Obamacare, Puerto Rican Debt Still Cratering, Rush Out Of Spanish Bonds, China Trade Data Strong, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 13 October 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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  • Stocks in Asia edge up as investors digest China trade data (CNBC) Markets in Asia were mostly higher on Friday despite Wall Street's lower close and as investors digested the release of China trade data. U.S. inflation and retail sales data are also due just ahead of the trading day stateside. The dollar index stood at 92.963 at 11:45 a.m. HK/SIN, below Thursday's close of 93.097. Brent crude futures edged up 0.5% to trade at $56.53 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediateadvanced 0.57% to $50.89. Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,296.21 an ounce by 0328 GMT. The metal was on track to post its first weekly gain in five weeks.


  • The region accounts for 57 percent of the global death toll from natural disasters since 1970. The principal causes were earthquakes and storms, followed by floods.
  • A person in Asia-Pacific is five times more likely to be hit by a natural disaster than someone living in other regions.
  • The region lost $1.3 trillion in assets between 1970 and 2016 due to natural disasters, and the cost of the damage has been rising.
  • Floods, droughts and storms have affected 6.3 billion people in Asia-Pacific since 1970, compared to 0.9 billion in the rest of the world.
  • Natural disasters displaced 60.4 million people globally between 2013 and 2015 - more than half were in Asia-Pacific, including in the Philippines (15 million people), China (13.1 million) and India (9.2 million).
  • In 2016, 4,987 people died in Asia-Pacific due to disasters, the majority in floods (3,250) which hit Bangladesh, China, North Korea, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Storms accounted for 880 deaths and extreme temperature 336.
  • Droughts affected 13.4 million people in the region in 2016, mainly in China and Cambodia.
  • A large number of disaster-hit people were girls and women, who often experience disadvantages that make them less resilient. In earthquakes, for example, female family members are more likely to be at home in poorly constructed houses. They are also less likely to learn to swim or climb trees. In the 2004 tsunami that hit Indonesia's Aceh province, women accounted for 77 percent of deaths.


  • Trump To Cut Off Billions In Key Obamacare Payments To Insurers (Huffington Post) President Donald Trump plans to halt payments to health insurance companies serving the poorest customers on the Obamacare exchanges, the White House announced Thursday. Trump has threatened to withhold these funds, valued at $7 billion this year, since shortly after his election victory last November. The threats alone have roiled the health insurance market, and if he follows through, it promises to be significantly disruptive. Trump will make an announcement Friday, according to Politico, which first reported the news. In Trump’s mind, dealing damage to the Obamacare market is a means to achieve leverage he believes will force congressional Democrats to cooperate with replacing the Affordable Care Act, the law President Barack Obama signed in 2010 that has brought the number of uninsured Americans to a historic low.


  • President Donald Trump's new executive orders may be "very good for a lot of people," but they would be bad for people, too.
  • Removing healthier, cheaper customers from the Obamacare "risk pool" would make insurance companies raise rates to finance benefits for sicker, costlier ones.
  • These orders would redistribute income from one group of Americans to another.
  • 69 Republicans vote against aid for Puerto Rico, other disaster sites (The Hill) Legislation to provide $36.5 billion in aid for communities affected by recent wildfires and hurricanes, including Puerto Rico, secured widespread support in the House on Thursday save for 69 Republicans. The votes in opposition included many members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who believe government spending should not add to the deficit. Freedom Caucus leaders like Chairman Mark Meadows (N.C.), Justin Amash (Mich.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio), voted against the aid package.
  • Bill to Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule Passes House Panel (Think Advisor) Rep. Ann Wagner’s bill to repeal the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, the Protecting Advice for Small Savers Act of 2017, H.R. 3857, passed out of the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday. The bill, which passed by a vote of 34-26, now goes to the House. Wagner, R-Mo., introduced her bill, which keeps a fiduciary rulemaking under the Securities and Exchange Commission’s jurisdiction, on Sept. 27. Wagner’s PASS Act establishes a best-interest standard for broker-dealers, and as she said recently, repeals Labor’s rule, “period. Full stop. And it gets the Department of Labor out of the broker-dealer space." Econintersect: It is typical that a bill to provide protection for people working in the retail financial services space has a name saying it is to protect retail customers. Hypocracy reigns supreme!
  • Kelly: I'm not quitting or getting fired (The Hill) White House chief of staff John Kelly used his first public appearance before the news media on Thursday to dismiss rumors of friction between himself and President Trump. Speaking in the White House press briefing room, Kelly said he is not planning to leave his post even as he acknowledged his new role “is the hardest job I’ve ever had".
  • Puerto Rican Debt Keeps Cratering (The Daily Shot) Puerto Rico’s general obligation debt took another leg down.


As the UK prepares for formal exit from the EU, it’s important to position ourselves to maximise new opportunities.

I share the positive and optimistic outlook for a global free trading Britain, and have set out the Prime Minister’s vision on trips across Asia since being appointed as minister of state at the Foreign Office.

This is already well set to be the Asian century. Two of the world’s top five economies are in this continent, with two more predicted to join by 2030.



  • In September, China's exports were up 8.1 percent from a year ago in dollar terms, while imports were up 18.7 percent
  • Analysts polled by Reuters expected a 8.8 percent rise in dollar-denominated exports and a jump of only 13.5 percent for dollar-termed imports in the same period
  • Imports from North Korea tanked 37.9 percent in September from a year ago
  • Chinese exports to North Korea fell 6.7 percent in September.


  • Thousands evacuated in Vietnam as floods, landslides kill 46 (Reuters) More than 17,000 households have been evacuated and more than 200 homes have collapsed in central and northern Vietnam. At least 46 people and 33 people were missing in the worst such disaster in years, the search and rescue committee said on Thursday. Rising sea levels are also threatening Vietnam's more than 3,260 km (2,000 mile) coastline, resulting in increased flooding of low lying coastal regions, erosion and salt water intrusion.


  • Brazilian activist awarded for fight against Amazon rainforest dam (Thomson Reuters Foundation) A Brazilian activist on Tuesday won a top international honor for her long fight against a giant hydroelectric dam in the Amazon rainforest that has forced tens of thousands of indigenous people from their homes. Antonia Melo is the first Brazilian to receive the Alexander Soros Foundation Award for Environmental and Human Rights Activism, designed to expose the impacts of projects such as the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu river. The project, which will be one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams, will flood a swathe of biodiverse rainforest inhabited by the indigenous Xinguense people. Belo Monte is the largest and most high-profile of an estimated 100 hydropower projects planned for the Brazilian Amazon.

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