News: 2014-02-17

News links for 17 Feb 2014


Emerging markets

Thai police in show of force against anti-government demonstrators –

Emerging-world fashions that change with the seasons –

Revamped price index sets stage for tough pay talks in Argentina –

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Chinese credit semantics | FT Alphaville

“From SocGen’s Wei Yao: Don’t mind bank lending, credit growth is still slowing in China. From UBS’s Wang Tao: Don’t worry about aggressive credit tightening. From BoFAML’s Lu Ting: Now you know the People’s Bank of China is not really tightening”

China’s ICBC Weighs Middle East Acquisitions to Boost Profit – Bloomberg

India Budget Seeks 7-Year Low Deficit Amid Sops for Votes – Bloomberg

Fears grow of Venezuela media crackdown after protest killings –

Brazil housing bubble fears as economy teeters –

“A number of economists including Robert Shiller, the Nobel-prize winning Yale University professor, have warned that a bubble may be building in Latin America’s largest economy, where house prices have tripled since 2008, rising even faster than the cost of rents. “Things have not changed so suddenly for Brazil that it would justify prices rising this much,” said Mr Shiller, adding that during a trip to Brazil last year he felt like he was in the US in 2005. “Interest groups develop that want to cheerlead the housing boom . . . it sounds like something I’ve seen before.””

Malestar en Brasil por el reclamo argentino de una desmentida

There is bad blood between Argentina and Brazil over a proposed free trade agreement with the EU. Brazil is reputed to have claimed Argentina was holding the deal up.

Argentina estrena un nuevo IPC y reconoce la inflación real | Economía | EL PAÍS

Argentina released new inflation numbers under pressure from the IMF. These numbers show month-to-month inflation of 3.7% in January.

The tragedy of Argentina: A century of decline | The Economist

Turkish PM tightens grip on judiciary –

“Turkey’s parliament has voted to increase government control over judges and prosecutors, in a move Ankara says is a justified response to a conspiracy against the government but which critics depict as an authoritarian step that undermines the rule of law.”



Gradualis: Scotland’s Dependence on Rising Oil and Gas Prices: A Question of Macroeconomic Stability

Gradualis: A Tale of Two Countries: The Sectoral Balances of Scotland

“When examining the Scottish economic statistics one thing immediately jumps out: namely, the dependence of just about every key macroeconomic variable on oil exports”

UK risks Scottish backlash with arrogance over independence: Salmond | Reuters

Excluding the Scots from sterling would be juvenile | David McWilliams

EU Commission president says Scotland membership not automatic –

“Scotland’s independence campaign was dealt a blow when José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, said it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU.”

The fractured middle: UK salary split sees übers pull ahead –

Downward mobility: Lucy Mangan on the fall of the middle class – Telegraph

Riksbank Governor Says Disinflation Fight Most Pressing Goal – Bloomberg

Euro-Area Growth Eases Pressure on Draghi for Stimulus – Bloomberg

Los precios marcan su mayor caída en enero en 50 años: un 1,3% | Economía | Cinco Días

Spanish prices declned at the fastest month-on-month rate in at least 50 years in January, with a decline of 1.3%. The textile sector was a large part of the fall. | Decline in house prices slows down in Oct-Dec 2013

“In total, the slide in house prices throughout 2013 came to 10.3 percent, against an 11.7 percent annual drop in 2012. From the start of the crisis in the third quarter of 2008 up to the end of 2013 the total decline reached 38.2 percent.” | Harmonized consumer price index down 1.4 pct y-o-y in January

Greek Budget Surplus Beats Target –

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‘Slowly but surely, people are returning – suddenly Ireland’s not toxic any more’ –


North America

The Obama administration’s pursuit of whistleblowers is taking a toll : Columbia Journalism Review

Industrial Production Pushed Down by Manufacturing Decline –

TheMoneyIllusion » Jan Hatzius touts wage growth as a policy indicator

I also said this on twitter. It would make sense to move from the unemployment rate to wage growth as a forward guidance target.

Calculated Risk: Update: Household Debt Service Ratio at lowest level in 30 years

EL-ERIAN: Washington Needs To Stop Creating ‘Pot Holes’ To Growth – Business Insider

“”The reason why you’re seeing this pivot of the Fed, the costs and risks are starting to outweigh the benefit,” he said. “It has certainly bought the system time, but it hasn’t done so in a costless manner.” “It can buy the system time to heal, but it alone cannot carry the burden… We should realize the Fed cannot deliver great outcomes for the economy without help. Either they’re going to get help from other agencies in DC that are currently paralyzed or our future is going to be less bright.””

West Virginia water after the spill: ‘We do not drink it. My pets do not drink it’ | World news |

Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm –

“The government of Indonesia had retained the law firm for help in trade talks, according to the February 2013 document. It reports that the N.S.A.’s Australian counterpart, the Australian Signals Directorate, notified the agency that it was conducting surveillance of the talks, including communications between Indonesian officials and the American law firm, and offered to share the information. “



Five Takeaways from Japan GDP – Real Time Economics – WSJ

Japan pension fund warns of unfair Abe pressure –

“The head of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund has hit out at pressure to rebalance its bond-heavy portfolio, arguing that his Y124tn ($1.2tn)-in-assets institution should not be used as a tool to push up stock prices.”



Gold, Silver Surge to Three-Month Highs –

Gold Rises to 3-Month High on Haven Demand as Silver Extends Run – Bloomberg

Gold price signals China credit bubble bursting as investors seek safety – Telegraph

I agree that gold is a safe haven at that would benefit from a crisis.

Bitcoin price on Mt Gox collapses –

“At 5pm in Tokyo the Mt Gox Bitcoin price was $310, down from $470 on Friday and a long way adrift from the $611 rate quoted by Coindesk, which averages prices across leading global exchanges excluding Mt Gox. The freeze on Bitcoin withdrawals is adding to fears that the rapid rise of interest in trading Bitcoin and other virtual currencies is not being matched by systems to support it. “

Don’t blame squids, blame China | FT Alphaville

“it’s China that’s rigging the market, mainly by trapping, and thus cornering, much of the world’s copper supply in long-term collateral deals on home turf. What’s more, that rigging is being motivated by the very same capitalistic interest-rate incentives that conventionally encourage banks in the west to “rig markets” as well. In other words, it’s all the result of China becoming more (not less) capitalistic.”

China Ore Stockpiles Rise to Record on Financing Deals – Bloomberg

Occidental Re-Evaluates Its Role in Commodities Trading –

Crisis Chronicles: The Commercial Credit Crisis of 1763 and Today’s Tri-Party Repo Market – Liberty Street Economics

“During the economic boom and credit expansion that followed the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), Berlin was the equivalent of an emerging market, Amsterdam’s merchant bankers were the primary sources of credit, and the Hamburg banking houses served as intermediaries between the two. But some Amsterdam merchant bankers were leveraged far beyond their capacity. When a speculative grain deal went bad, the banks discovered that there were limits to how much risk could be effectively hedged. In this issue of Crisis Chronicles, we review how “fire sales” drove systemic risk in funding markets some 250 years ago and explain why this could still happen in today’s tri-party repo market.”



Make It A Grande: Mammoth Tusk Find Likely Seattle’s Largest : The Two-Way : NPR

Internet troll personality study: Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism.

An Unintended Effect of Energy-Efficient Buildings: Toxic Mold


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