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posted on 08 February 2018

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Up, Dollar Up, Oil And Gold Down, US Oil To Middle East, Tesla In Space, House Right Revolts, How To Split EZ, Indian Stock Boom, China Imports Surge, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 08 February 2018

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, published Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 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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  • Oil World Turns Upside Down as U.S. Sells Oil in Middle East (Bloomberg) The United Arab Emirates, a model Persian Gulf petro-state where endless billions from crude exports feed a giant sovereign wealth fund, isn’t the most obvious customer for Texan oil. Yet, in a trade that illustrates how the rise of the American shale industry is upending energy markets across the globe, the U.A.E. bought oil directly from the U.S. in December, according to data from the federal government. A tanker sailed from Houston and arrived in the Persian Gulf last month.

  • No, Space X's Falcon Heavy Has Not Passed Mars Already (Live Science) What actually happened is that the rocket overshot its intended orbit and set itself onto a trajectory that would lead it much deeper into space than originally intended, into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

According to astronomer Phil Plait, writing for his blog, the spacecraft was expected to enter an elliptical orbit around the sun, intersecting the orbit of Mars at its farthest point and the orbit of the Earth at its nearest.


  • Yup, Flat-Earthers Think the Falcon Heavy Launch Was a Conspiracy (Live Science) Yesterday's successful launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket also sent an unusual payload into space: a cherry-red Tesla Roadster "manned" by a dummy named Starman and equipped with cameras that provided gorgeous views of Earth against the backdrop of space. But flat-Earthers aren't buying it. The Flat Earth Society, an organization dedicated to spreading the (incorrect) notion that the Earth is not round, tweeted:

"People who believe that the Earth is a globe because 'they saw a car in space on the Internet' must be the new incarnation of 'It's true, I saw it on TV!' It's a poor argument. Why would we believe any privately held company to report the truth?"

Technological advancements and new investor products could push bitcoin to $50,000 in 2018.


  • Right revolts on budget deal (The Hill) House conservatives on Wednesday revolted against a massive bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and bust spending caps, complaining that the GOP could no longer lay claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility. “I’m not only a ‘no.’ I’m a ‘hell no,’ " quipped Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of many members of the Tea Party-aligned Freedom Caucus who left a closed-door meeting of Republicans saying they would vote against the deal.

The swift backlash from fiscal hawks means that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his leadership team will need dozens of Democratic votes to help get the caps-and-funding deal through the lower chamber to avert a government shutdown set for midnight Thursday.

  • Idaho Lawmakers Strike Climate Change Language From New Science Standards (EcoWatch) The Idaho House Education Committee voted 12-4 Wednesday on a motion to strip references to human-caused climate change in the state's proposed new science education standards. The motion, proposed by Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell, strikes a section* from the Idaho Content Standards that includes the language: "energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment." Several paragraphs of "Supporting Content"** that delves further into climate science were deleted as well.

Boise Republican Rep. Patrick McDonald, the committee's vice chairman, joined the panel's three Democrats that opposed the motion to scrub climate-related passages from the standards.

  • Uranium One informant makes Clinton allegations in testimony (The Hill) An FBI informant connected to the Uranium One controversy told three congressional committees in written testimony that Moscow routed millions of dollars to America with the expectation it would be used to benefit Bill Clinton's charitable efforts while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quarterbacked a “reset" in US-Russian relations. The informant, Douglas Campbell, said in the testimony obtained by The Hill that he was told by Russian nuclear executives that Moscow had hired the American lobbying firm APCO Worldwide specifically because it was in position to influence the Obama administration, and more specifically Hillary Clinton. Democrats have cast doubt on Campbell’s credibility, setting the stage for a battle with Republicans over his testimony. Campbell said Russian nuclear officials ...

“... told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clinton’s Global Initiative."

  • Jerome Powell took over as Fed chairman Monday and was greeted by a sharp drop in the stock market.
  • Most Fed watchers assume Powell will follow former Chair Janet Yellen's script closely, but that could be a mistake.
  • Statements Powell made at 2012 meetings indicate discomfort with the low interest rates and quantitative easing practices the Fed has used to boost growth.
  • There's also speculation that he in the future he may choose to hold news conferences after each meeting to help communication.
  • US inflation has undershot the Federal Reserve's 2% target for much of the recovery, but a stronger economy and the tax cut package have sparked fears of a sudden pick up.
  • Inflation fears have driven bond yields higher and stock prices lower, reintroducing volatility into a market that hasn't seen much of it.
  • JP Morgan's head of cross asset strategy, John Normand, crunches the numbers to show inflation has historically surprised investors, but consistently to the downside.

Click for large image.


  • How the Eurozone Might Split (Foreign Affairs) The eurozone could split in two over the medium to long term thanks to a built-in design flaw in the eurozone architecture that makes it extremely difficult for the eurozone governors to deal with persistent export and import imbalances between states. As a single-currency area, the eurozone formally has no internal imbalances. In reality, however, the persistent export surpluses it runs against the rest of the world are generated in the north and east of the eurozone, while persistent budget deficits are generated in the south, an imbalance that could yet lead to a split in the eurozone. This would result in Germany and the eastern European states keeping the euro even if France and the southern Europeans bail out. Those in the south could adopt a new currency, the "nuevo euro".
  • Europe's Offshore Wind Capacity Grew a Stunning 25% in 2017 (EcoWatch) 2017 was a banner year for European offshore wind after installing a record 3.1 gigawatts of new capacity, twice the capacity installed in 2016, according to a new report from WindEurope, an industry association. European offshore wind capacity grew 25% in just one year to total 15.8 gigawatts, which WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson called "spectacular". UK and Germany had most of the new installations, with Belgium in third place.




  • Turkish voices increasingly calling for dialogue with Assad (Al-Monitor) Developments in Syria could force Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to swallow his antipathy to President Bashar al-Assad and establish some level of contact with him, as a growing number of Turks believe. Opposition parties along with retired generals and analysts argue that cooperating with Damascus is the only way to ensure Turkey’s security interests along its long border with Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains adamantly opposed to talking with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, however, even though Ankara established low-level contacts with Damascus prior to launching its onslaught against the Kurd's YPG in Afrin.


  • The changing habits of the formerly risk averse middle class in India caused quite a rally in the country's stock market: Its benchmark index soared 28 percent year on year in 2017.
  • But as volatility returns to markets, it remains an open question if those retail investors are in the markets for the long run.
  • Congress carved up nation, ruined democracy, says Modi (The Hindu) Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into the Congress in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, accusing it of “partitioning" the country and also of “scuttling democracy" during the past 70 years. His attack included barbs on Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who he accused of being undemocratic. And at a time when the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party have been protesting against Andhra Pradesh purportedly being given a raw deal by the Union Budget, Mr. Modi also accused the Congress of having been unfair to the State. He aalso laid the Kashmir problem at the foot of Congress for having chosen Jawaharlal Nehru over Sardar Patel as the first Prime Minister.


  • India and Russia have jointly developed the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile and plan on exporting the technology to allies.
  • If Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam acquire the missile, that could raise concerns in China.
  • China reported a 36.9 percent jump in imports and a rise of 11.1 percent in exports - both in dollar terms - for the month of January.
  • January trade surplus was $20.34 billion.

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