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What We Read Today 19 November 2016

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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Topics today include:

  • What Economists Think of Trump's 100-Day Plan

  • What Does the Worst Bond Rout in 15 Years Mean for Stocks?

  • Smart Cities are the Future

  • Global Reactions to the U.S. Election

  • World Energy Outlook for Next 25 Years

  • Coal is in Decline

  • Trump Continues Transition Meetings

  • U.S. is  Ignoring Africa

  • Financial Conditions are Rigged Against Trump

  • Vast Oil Reserve Discovered in West Texas

  • Does Trump Pass the Japan Test?

  • Southeast Asia Reaction to U.S. Election:  Turn to China

  • Colombia Peace Deal to be Debated in Congress

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Global Perspectives: Rapid Reactions to U.S. Election Results (Council on Foreign Relations)  For the first time in recent history, the U.S. electorate has signaled to the rest of the world that, in its judgment, the costs of U.S. global engagements exceed their benefits.  This article provides insights from sources around the world about the challenges this presents to the rest of the world, especially America's long-time allies.

  • World Energy Outlook 2016 sees broad transformations in the global energy landscape (International Energy Agency)  The age of fossil fuels is not ending, but coal will be in decline over the next 25 years, oil consumption will increase modestly, and use of renewables and natural gas will grosubstantiallyly.


  • Romney Leads Raft of Hopefuls, Advisers Meeting Trump (Bloomberg)  Mitt Romney (possible Secretary of State) and Steve Mnuchin (possible Treasury Secretary) led a parade of visitors to Donald Trump’s golf resort in New Jersey as the president-elect continues to assemble his administration.

  • Ignoring Africa (Council on Foreign Relations)  there is nothing new about American inattention to Africa, always leaving aside head-line grabbing episodes of pandemic disease and terrorism. Many Africans expected that Barack Obama’s election in 2008 would result in a transformation for the better of hitherto U.S. inattention to Africa.  But not much transpired. George W. Bush did more.  Early appointments for the Trump administration give no indication that the situation is likely to change.

  • Financial Conditions Are Rigged Against Donald Trump (Bloomberg)  The reaction in financial markets to President-elect Donald Trump's election victory — much like the win itself — has defied conventional wisdom, with U.S. equities surging following a sharp drop as the results came in. But if you're an occasional real estate developer — a self-professed "low interest rate guy" who wants to fix America's trade deficit while bringing factories back from overseas — it might seem as though markets have been rigged against you.  See also President-Elect Trump Is Walking Into A Zombie Economy.

  • A $900 Billion Oil Treasure Lies Beneath West Texas Desert (Bloomberg)   In a troubled oil world, the Permian Basin is the gift that keeps on giving.  One portion of the giant field, known as the Wolfcamp formation, was found to hold 20 billion barrels of oil trapped in four layers of shale beneath the desert in West Texas, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a report on Tuesday. That’s almost three times larger than North Dakota’s Bakken play and the single largest U.S. unconventional crude accumulation ever assessed. At current prices, that oil is worth almost $900 billion.


  • French conservatives rally voters in tightening primaries race (Reuters)  The race for France's conservative presidential nomination looked tighter than ever on Saturday, with voting due to begin within 24 hours and polls suggesting whoever emerges on top will make it all the way to the Elysee Palace.  Ahead of Sunday's vote, which will select two candidates for the decisive Nov. 27 second round, centrist Alain Juppe had lost most or all of his early polling lead as his fellow former prime minister Francois Fillon enjoyed a late surge.  After Britain's shock "Brexit" vote in June and last week's election of Donald Trump as U.S. president, the French election next spring will be the next test of strength between weakened mainstream political forces and rising populist insurgents.  Opinion polls have for months suggested that far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen will make it to the decisive run-off in May, but that Juppe would beat her if he won the conservative Les Republicains nomination.


  • Civilian casualties from Mosul are overwhelming capacity, U.N. warns (Reuters)  Mounting civilian casualties from fighting in eastern Mosul between Iraqi forces and Islamic State are overwhelming the capacity of the government and international aid groups, the United Nations said on Saturday.  Nearly 200 wounded civilians and military personnel were transferred to hospital last week, the highest level since the campaign to push the jihadists out of their last major stronghold in Iraq began on Oct. 17, said Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq.  The proportion of civilians among the wounded also appears to be on the rise, reaching 20% in the first month of the offensive, according to a Department of Health official, though part of the increase is likely due to improved access to areas newly retaken from Islamic State.


  • Abe’s Trump Test (Council on Foreign Relations)  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Donald J. Trump in New York Thursday, and, by all accounts, the meeting went well, but many Japanese are worried about Trump's previous statements on regional alliances and trade.


  • Southeast Asia Responds to the U.S. Election (Council on Foreign Relations)  Southeast Asian states were not a focus of the campaign, although the presidential candidates did condemn the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which included much of Southeast Asia and is now almost surely dead. Even the South China Sea, the most critical security issue in the region, received only occasional mentions on the campaign trail.  The Trump administration is not expected to follow Obama's "pivot to Asia" and so Asian countries will be looking more to China for Pacific region leadership.


  • Colombia's president to allow peace deal to be debated in Congress (Reuters)  Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday he will allow the new peace accord with Marxist FARC rebels to be debated in Congress before it is approved and passed into law.  Colombia's government this week published a revised peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in a bid to build support to end a 52-year war, after the original draft was rejected last month in a referendum amid objections it was too favorable to the rebels.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics, and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • What economists think about Donald Trump’s 100-day plan (Chicago Booth Review)  As part of his campaign, Trump proposed a 100-Day Plan that included “seven actions to protect American workers” from, among other things, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, currency manipulation, and energy drilling restrictions.  The University of Chicago collected opinions from economics professors around the U.S. and tabulated results:

  • What "The Worst Bond Rout In 15 Years" Means For Stocks (Zero Hedge)  With the steep sell-off in bonds interest rates have headed higher.  This has some negative connotations for stocks.  For one thing, corporate leverage is near an all-time high (first graphic below).  In recent sessions, there has been a strong correlation between falling stock prices and rising interest rates (second graphic below).  But interest rates are still within declining trend channels (third graphic below), so what is happening is not yet clear.

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