Early Bird Headlines 18 August 2015
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, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- Yuan devaluation breaks last line of global economic defence, warns top economist (The Telegraph) Stephen King of HSBC warns the world’s financial system may face another crisis without China as a backstop.
As Japanese and European central banks have weakened their own currencies, they have raised the cost of imports and fended off damaging deflation.
Mr King said: “To the extent that a weaker yen and euro imply a stronger renminbi, it looks as though the world economy has been engaged in a game of deflationary pass-the-parcel.
“The country that finally gets to unwrap the prize is the loser, not the winner.”
- Project Sunroof: mapping the planet’s solar energy potential, one rooftop at a time (Google Green Blog) A new app from Google is Project Sunroof, a new online tool to help homeowners explore whether they should go solar. Only available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno (in central California), and the Boston area for now, the tool uses high-resolution aerial mapping (the same used by Google Earth) to help calculate any roof’s solar energy potential, without having to climb up any ladders.
- The Refugees Are Coming!!! (CounterPunch) This essay attributes the condition of third world peoples now on global migrations to the after effects of colonialism.
- Fish Farming Becomes Bigger Business Than the Open Sea (Bloomberg Business) For the first time, the world is eating more fish from farms than from the open sea, spurring billions of dollars of takeovers as one of the largest food companies seeks to capitalize on rising demand.
- City grime ‘breathes back out’ polluting nitrogen gases (BBC News) Scientists say the grime which clings to urban surfaces “breathes out” nitrogen gases when hit by sunlight.
- Hacking Case Raises Question on Securities Fraud (The New York Times) Hat tip to Marvin Clark. The elaborate scheme described by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, which involved breaking into computer servers to obtain confidential information about impending corporate announcements, certainly looks like a classic case of insider trading. The defendants are accused of making millions of dollars in profits by using information to trade profitably. See Nine Charged in Insider Trading Case Tied to Hackers.
- Julian Bond, Charismatic Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75 (The New York Times) Mr. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was the committee’s communications director for five years and deftly guided the national news media toward stories of violence and discrimination as the committee challenged legal segregation in the South’s public facilities. He went on to lead the NAACP, become a Georgia state senator and was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher.
- U.S. warns China to stop pressuring expatriates to return home (CNN) U.S. diplomats have warned China to stop using covert law enforcement agents on U.S. soil to pressure Chinese citizens into returning home to face justice, often on corruption charges
- Court’s Free-Speech Expansion Has Far-Reaching Consequences (The New York Times) A little-noticed U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in June makes it unconstitutional for local and state governments to restrict such things as panhandling, lawn and highway signs, rob calls, billboards, etc, etc. Why? These laws can all be considered aspects of free speech. Legal scholars are questioning whether the justices considered all the consequences of their ruling.
- Yanis Varoufakis: bailout deal allows Greek oligarchs to maintain grip (The Guardian) The former finance minister accuses EU leaders of punishing ordinary people as he argues measures imposed on Greece will make dire economy worse. Also, Varoufakis has a proposal for Greece (and all over-indebted Eurozone countries) published tonight in GEI News: Varoufakis Proposal for Eurozone Sovereign Debt.
- Greek government on its ‘last legs’ while Angela Merkel faces growing rebellion in Berlin (The Telegraph) ‘Deep wounds’ within ruling Syriza party and growing disquiet in Berlin threaten to derail political support for a new €86bn Greek rescue.
- Syria bombs Damascus suburb a day after deadly air strikes on marketplace (The Guardian) The Assad regime has attacked opposition-held Douma again Monday following raids on Sunday that killed more than 100 people and were condemned by the UN.
- China stocks slide 6%, hit global sentiment (CNBC) The Shanghai market opened up and then ended down 6%. Is this the start of a new leg down in the crash? Will we see a spate of 1929 NYSE comparisons again?
- China shadow banks appeal for government bailout (Financial Times)
Eleven shadow banks have written an open letter to the top Communist party official in northern China’s Hebei province, asking for a bailout that would enable the bankrupt company to backstop loans to deadbeat borrowers. If the guarantor cannot pay, it could spark defaults on at least 24 high-yielding wealth management products (WMPs).
Analysts worry that a series of bailouts in recent years have encouraged irresponsible lending by fuelling the perception the government won’t tolerate default. The latest appeal for a bailout will again force officials to choose between ensuring short-term financial stability or imposing market discipline on investors, which should improve lending practices in the long term.
- China’s yuan slips even as central bank sets firmer midpoint (Reuters) The range of +/-2% around today’s official midpoint is 6.27 to 6.52. Exercising this range in a day’s trading would produce volatility not seen in yuan renminbi trading in years, if ever.
China’s yuan fell against the dollar on Tuesday despite a slightly stronger midpoint set by the central bank as traders expect the currency to be under further downward pressure amid a struggling economy.
The People’s Bank of China set the midpoint rate CNY=SAEC at 6.3966 per dollar prior to market open, firmer than the previous fix of 6.3969.
The spot market CNY=CFXS opened at 6.3923 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.4005 near midday, 58 pips away from the previous close and 0.06 percent away from the midpoint.
The spot rate is currently allowed to trade with a range 2 percent above or below the official fixing on any given day.
- Indonesian plane: Rescue team reaches Papua crash site (BBC News) An advance party of an Indonesian rescue team has reached the site where a Trigana Air plane crashed in the western Papua region on Sunday. Initial reports from the team say the aircraft was completely destroyed and 38 bodies were found in the wreckage. It came down in dense forest in a mountainous area, a few kilometres from its original destination of Oksibil. There were a total of 54 persons on board.
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