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What We Read Today 20 November 2015

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.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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  • Baltic Dry Shipping Index Drops to All-Time Low (Bloomberg)  The cost of shipping commodities fell to a record, amid signs that Chinese demand growth for iron ore and coal is slowing, hurting the industry’s biggest source of cargoes.  The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping rates for everything from coal to ore to grains, fell to 504 points on Thursday, the lowest data from the London-based Baltic Exchange going back to 1985. Among the causes of shipowners’ pain is slowing economic growth in China, which is translating into weakening demand for imported iron ore that’s used to make the steel.  See also nest article,


  • Baltic Dry Hits New Low; What It Means, and Doesn’t Mean (The Wall Street Journal)  The bad news continues to pile up in the commodities complex. The latest is that the Baltic Dry Index hit a new all-time low. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that what the index is measuring isn’t the use of those commodities, but the shipping of them. Therefore, what it’s really measuring is capacity use in the shipping industry. So if the index falls, as it did in 2012, it might say as much about the interior workings of the shipping industry as it does about the global economy. Indeed, while the index’s drop on Thursday set a new all-time low, the previous all-time low was from this past February.  See also next article.


  • Abandon ship: Baltic Dry index hits record low (The Telegraph)  A leading indicator of world economic growth, the Baltic Dry, has plunged to its lowest ever level.  Econintersect:  But this assessment may be an oversimplification.  See preceding article.




  • Belgium is a failed state (Politico)  That the Paris terrorist attacks had strong links to a suburb of Brussels didn’t shock manys who live in the Belgian capital. Radio stations here in both French and Dutch are full of discussions about Molenbeek that elicit indignation, sorrow, anger, guilt, despair, defiance. But not surprise.  Last Friday’s attacks in Paris were but the latest in a litany of jihadist incidents over the last two years involving people with ties to Molenbeek, including the 2014 shooting at the Jewish museum in Brussels, the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January and the failed attack in August on a Thalys train.


  • France Should Get EU Leeway for Security Spending, Juncker Says (Bloomberg)  French President Francois Hollande’s increased spending to boost security in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday should be given special treatment under Europe’s budget rules, according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.  Juncker said:

“For an extraordinary situation we need extraordinary spending.  And it goes the same for other countries.”



  • Syria crisis: Massive Russian air strikes on 'IS targets' (BBC News)  Russia says it has intensified its air raids on what it calls "terrorist" targets in Syria and raised to 69 the number of its aircraft there.  But President Vladimir Putin said the current level of attacks was not enough to defeat so-called Islamic State (IS).  Russia said it fired cruise missiles for a fourth day against IS targets. The long-range missiles were launched from Caspian Sea warships.


  • Brazil's Inflation Surpasses 10% for First Time in 12 Years (Bloomberg)  Brazil is gripped in an epic "stagflation".  Inflation exceeded 10% for the first time in 12 years, complicating President Dilma Rousseff’s efforts to revive an economy that is also battling higher-than-forecast unemployment.  Consumer prices rose 0.85%t from Oct. 15 to Nov. 12, pushing the 12-month inflation rate to 10.28%, the national statistics agency said Thursday. The monthly gain, the fastest since mid-June, compares with the median estimate of 0.86%t in a Bloomberg survey of 44 analysts.  As consumer prices in Latin America’s biggest economy continue to accelerate, Brazil’s central bank has delayed its plan of slowing inflation to its 4.5% target to 2017 from 2016. The bank has signaled it will keep rates on hold for a third consecutive meeting next week as it is caught between higher living costs and the deepest recession in 25 years.


  • The Man Who Went From Harvard to Goldman to Colombian Jail (Bloomberg)  As a baby-faced entrepreneur, Kaleil Isaza Tuzman once symbolized the tech industry’s meteoric meltdown. Just years out of Harvard College and a stint at Goldman Sachs, he launched an Internet company only to see it collapse three years later.  Today, he finds himself in a South American maximum-security prison, begging to return to the U.S to face securities fraud charges that could send him to an American jail cell for as long as 20 years. For now, he shares a 90-square-foot cell with an accused murderer and a drug trafficker in Patio 16, a wing of the Colombian prison reserved for often-violent defendants.

Transports facing breakout attempt, could help S&P 500 (Chris Kimble, LinkedIn)  The Dow Jones Transportation index has remained inside of rising channel (A) over the past 20-years.  The decline of late took it down to test this channel as support back in August. At the same time it was testing 20-year support, it was testing 5-year rising channel support at the same time.  So far, support has held.  Now the Transports are facing a falling resistance line that has been in play for the past 6-months.  A breakout above resistance would be a positive price development and would also be a good sign for the broad markets.

Click for large image at Kimble Charting Solutions.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

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