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What We Read Today 26 September 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 (and sometimes longer ones) 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.

  • Japan's Inflation Rate Dips (Takashi Nakamichi, The Wall Street Journal) Japan's consumer price inflation in August fell to +1.1% year over-year after correction for the 01 April consumption tax increase. This is down from 1.3% for both June and July and brings into doubt achievability of the Bank of Japan objective of 2% consumer inflation within about six months.
  • Recent article about Scotland Independence Vote :

Scots demand powerhouse parliament, says Salmond (Scott MacNab, The Scotsman) Alex Salmond, the soon to be former First Minister of Scotland, says that Scotland should have a "powerhouse parliament" as a result of the strong (46%) vote for separation from the UK.

  • Articles about wars elsewhere in the world:

Bashar al-Assad seeks to reap benefits from US-led raids in Syria (Financial Times)

The battle against the Islamic State is not ours to fight or win (The Washington Post) Hat tip to Roger Erickson.

Lindsey Graham: We need troops to fight Islamic State ‘before we all get killed here at home’ (The Washington Post) Hat tip to Roger Erickson.

Factbox: Arab states line up behind U.S. in fight against Islamic State (Reuters)

U.S. imposes financial sanctions on Islamist fighters (Reuters) Hat tip to Chuck Spinney.

U.S., Saudi Arabia, UAE strike modular oil refineries in Syria (Reuters) Hat tip to Chuck Spinney.

New airstrikes in Syria take aim at Islamic State's oil money (Reuters) Hat tip to Chuck Spinney.

France blasts EU over passivity in Syrian civil war (Reuters)

After border town attack, Syrians' welcome in Lebanon wears even thinner (Reuters)

Air strikes in Syria hit Islamic State-held areas near Turkey: monitor (Reuters)

Rouhani charm offensive at UN fails to impress Iran’s hardliners (Financial Times)

Financial Times: Putin demands EU-Ukraine pact rewrite (Financial Times, Kyiv Post)

Putin demands reopening of EU trade pact with Ukraine (Financial Times)

Russian TV sees US plot behind Ukraine and IS militants (BBC News)

There are 12 articles discussed today 'behind the wall'.

Do not miss "Other Economics and Business Items of Note", the final section every day.

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  • Gold / Silver / Copper futures - weekly outlook: September 22 - 26 ( This is the third in a series of metal price charts. Gold was discussed 'behind the wall' 23 September and copper 25 September. Silver has the most bearish technical pattern of the three metals. It has the longest established descending triangle and it is also the steepest. Silver has just slipped below the four year support level and this is the time for speculators to go short looking for a near-term gain of 15% or so around 15.00. Futures and options can be used for higher return potential. Notice the high volatility for silver, which makes stop loss management particularly tricky. Note: Silver has continued to trade lower every day this week. It is at 17.50 as this is written. Click here for latest spot price. For more on gold see third article below.

Click for large image.

  • Top 10 Dividend-Paying Stocks of 2014 (Financial Planning) The title is misleading. Correctly stated it would be: The ten largest market cap stocks which pay dividends. The average payout for these ten large cap giants is 3.18%. Most have a long history of dividend increases over time.
  • The Golden Dilemma (Claude B. Erb and Campbell R. Harvey, SSRN) Hat tip to Wayne Marr, Financial Economics Association. The authors find that data does not support gold as an inflation hedge over intermediate time frames. Since 1985 about 2/3 of the time the real return for gold has been negative. The history of inflation for the U.S. is one of the very interesting graphics in this paper (second graph below).



  • The Core Idea (Edward Hadas, Breaking Views) This is a book review for a new economics text book (available free on line). The book, "The Economy" has a group of authors under the banner Corecon. The project is supported by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Prof. Hadas feels the book does not make enough of a break with traditional economics teaching but then rationalizes the fact with the idea that if it were too radical then it would never be used by traditional economics teachers. Here is an excerpt from Hadas' essay:


  • Last Time this Happened, the Housing Market Crashed (Wolf Richter, Wolf Street) The inventory of unsold new homes is rising at an alarming rate. In spite of a reported "spurt" in new home sales (see latest GEI Analysis report this week) year-over-year inventory of new homes available for sale increased by 16% and the inventory of unsold completed homes surged by 23%. Sales of all new residential properties (single family homes, condominiums, and townhomes), new and existing, were down y-o-y by 16%. Single family new home sales declined by 2%. After all these "downers" there was one "upper": median sales price surged by 15% y-o-y. The last time house prices were shooting up and and sales were falling off a cliff was when the housing bubble was bursting in 2006. Not a comforting comparison to make. Especially when the smoothness of the roll-over data is considered - we are not dealing with noisy data here (see graph below).


  • UBC professor explores gender wage gap and balance of power in economics (Mischa Milne, The Ubyssey) Women have different behavioral tendencies than men in finance and business situations but little exists in text books about the important factors. Professor Mukesh Eswaran has written a book which addresses the above factors as well as the general economic wellbeing of women: Why Gender Matters in Economics.
  • Who’s afraid of free trade with Europe? (Angella MacEwen, The Progressive Economics Forum) The problems arise in the area of interference with established regulatory areas and national social and economic policies.
  • Watch US inflation expectations (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look) Inflation-linked treasuries (TIPS) are forecasting a declining inflation expectation. Below we see the 5-year expectation dropping well below the Fed 2% target. With action like this estimates of when the Fed might raise rates will have to move out. At this level of five-year expectation there is no way that rates can be raised. Current estimates for end of this year and all of 2015 must be off the table as long as inflation expectations stay significantly below the Fed target.


  • Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Germany expresses concerns about US and Canada trade deals (Financial Times)

BOE Inching Towards Raising U.K. Interest Rates, Says Carney (The Wall Street Journal)

Civil Asset Forfeiture Allows Police to Confiscate Cash With Impunity From Suspects of Drug Crime (Armstrong Economics) Canadian government warns its citizens not to carry cash in the U.S.

Economics needs to reflect a post-crisis world (Financial Times)

Fed Economist Calls for ‘Urgency’ in Addressing Unemployment (The Wall Street Journal)

Plight of Germany – Down For the Count? (Armstrong Economics)

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