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What We Read Today 27 March 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

  • IMF rushes through $15bn Ukraine bailout (Peter Spiegel and Neil Buckley, Financial Times) The bailout is being made to bolster foreign exchange reserves which have fallen to barely two months' import cover. This week Ukraine government officials said they expected the economy to contract by at least 3% this year.

  • These Solar Panels Love Cloudy Days (Katie Marks, networx) Photovoltaic cells made from organic photoconductors (rather than the usual silicon based materials) are actually more efficient on cloudy days than sunny. They also have physical properties that make them adaptable for use on windows, siding, roofing and other structural elements of a residence (or business for that matter). However, there is nothing commercially available yet while "kinks' are worked out. Maybe 2019? How many times have you heard about the next great thing that would be here in just five years? And how many as you still waiting for?
  • The Planet’s Best Stealth Fighter Isn’t Made in America (Bill Sweetman, The Daily Beast) Sweden is building a new stealth jet that moves beyond some of the problems with the U.S. F-35, a design now 30 years old and still not "flying". The new Swedish plane will have engines from the U.S. and other components from the UK, Ialy and Brazil.

Today there are 12 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.


  • Dr. Copper Sends Bad News (Simon Constable, Barron's) Simon is the latest to comment on the rapid price decline for copper, long considered a leading economic indicator. Among the possible reasons for the current decline he mentions a slowdown in China, the world's largest consumer of copper and the use of metal inventories as security for financing deals.
  • New planet-like body found sneaking through the inner Oort cloud (Akshat Rathi, David Rothery and Stephen Lowry, The Conversation) More Pluto-like bodies exist outside the orbit of the official planet furthest from the sun, Neptune. For years tiny Pluto was categorized as a planet but was reclassified as just a large object in the Kuiper belt which surrounds the solar system. The object, called 2012VP(113), is similar to Pluto and another miniature planet type body called Sedna, is a member of a class of objects called "plutinos" the existence of which is inconsistent with theories of how the solar system was formed.
  • US long bond yields approach breakdown (Houses and Holes, Macro Business) Weak housing data in the U.S. has treasuries showing signs of a breakout rally at the long end of the yield curve. The 30-year interest rate looks ready to drop through support at 3.55%. H&H says the 10-year is not quite so primes for a drop (interest rate, rally in price).


  • Licensed Appraiser From East Hampton Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme ( Hat tip to Russell Huntley. United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Deidre M. Daly, announced that Brandy Gomez, 35, of East Hampton, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud related to a real estate appraisal scheme. Court documents indicate that Gomez submitted fraudulent claims for appraisal fees for appraisals she did not performed. Gomez reportedly received approximately $47,908 for appraisals not performed. She could receive up to 30 years in federal prison. So this is what our U.S. attorneys do instead of taking on the trillion dollar crooks.
  • Banks pay out $100bn in US fines (Richard McGregor and Aaron Stanley, Financial Times) When it comes to banks we think it's only fair to say 'a hundred billion here, a hundred billion there and after a while it will add up to real money'. But even one day after this article and graph appeared, another settlement, this time for $9.5 billion by Bank of America, was announced. See BofA to spend $9.3 billion in FHFA settlement (Associated Press, USA Today). So another tall red bar is needed in 2014 in the graph below.


  • China Banks Drained by ‘Vampire’ Internet Funds (Jun Luo, Bloomberg) Internet companies are offering online money market accounts with higher interest than bank accounts. In just a few months the largest such venture has captured 81 million depositors. Shall we call these the 'vampire shadows'?


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