News: 2014-03-21

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Ukraine

BoE: Ukraine tensions could trigger ‘material increase’ in commodity prices – Telegraph

If this tit-for-tatting escalates… | FT Alphaville

“France looks mighty exposed, with $51bn potentially at risk. But that’s in absolute terms; it’s still only 0.5 per cent of total French bank assets. Instead, look at Austria, where the $17bn at risk represents 1.4 per cent of its total bank assets. Germany and Spain stand out as having very little exposure, at least on the bank loan front. yet the picture changes markedly when “other exposure” (derivatives, guarantees and trade credit) is taken into account. Suddenly the US — and, to a lesser extent, the UK — is most exposed.”

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Putin tells Russian businessmen to bring their assets back home | Reuters

Europe adds 12 names to Russia sanctions, plans broader move | Reuters

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The International Monetary Fund Said Officials Have Made Significant Progress in Ukraine Bailout Talks – WSJ.com

Crimea and the Bay of Pigs | askblog

Poland speeds up missile defense plan amid Ukraine crisis | Reuters

Obama expands U.S. sanctions on Russians over Crimea annexation | Reuters

What the loss of Crimea means for Ukrainian energy

EU Leaders Discuss Sanctions Against Russia – WSJ.com

“European leaders headed into a meeting Thursday facing internal divisions that are hampering their ability to impose tough sanctions against what they call unacceptable Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Leaders indicated the main response from a European Union summit to Russia’s annexation of Crimea would be the addition of some names to a list of 21 people targeted last week.”

Germany’s Russian rethink: How Merkel lost faith in Putin – Yahoo News

Markets

Junk Bonds at $2 Trillion as Gundlach Pulls Back: Credit Markets – Bloomberg

Strauss-Kahn Seeks to Start $2 Billion Hedge Fund – NYTimes.com

Top of the market?

North America

U.S. current account gap hits 14-year low in fourth quarter | Reuters

FedEx Cuts Full-Year Forecasts as Winter Storms Add Costs – Bloomberg

Jobless Claims in US Held Last Week Near Four-Month Low – Bloomberg

Uneven Wage Gains Restrain Recovery – WSJ.com

FRB: Press Release–Federal Reserve releases summary results of bank stress tests–March 20, 2014

Fed ‘Stress Test’ Results: 29 of 30 Big Banks Could Weather Economic Shock – WSJ.com

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Fell Slightly In February – WSJ.com

“Sales of previously owned homes fell 0.4% in February from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That matched a forecast by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and was the sixth decline in sales in the past seven months.”

Why investment banks need to shave $1-trillion off their balance sheets

Home sales woes: Fewer people moving out on their own

“It would have been easy to blame February’s continued feeble home sales on the weather, but Realtors seemed more taken with weak affordability and the lack of new households being formed”

Europe

National Front aims for breakthrough in France’s local elections – FT.com

Budget 2014: Britain’s false recovery is a credit mirage, unlike real recovery in the US – Telegraph

“The UK has a current account deficit running at more than 5pc of GDP, the worst in a quarter of a century and by far the worst of the G7 ”

China

China’s financial distress turns all too visible – FT.com

“It is still possible that China will blink, raise infrastructure and housing spending and new credit creation, and lower bank reserve requirements and the renminbi. This would introduce a sharp twist to the underlying plot, but lead to a more dramatic conclusion.”

If China Sneezes, Africa Can Now Catch a Cold | iMFdirect – The IMF Blog

China to Accelerate Measures to Stabilize Growth – Bloomberg

The stimulus begins.

Tumbling Chinese yuan sets off ‘carry trade’ rout, triggers derivatives contracts – Telegraph

“China’s yuan has suffered its biggest one-week fall in 20 years, nearing key trigger levels that threaten a wave of forced selling and mounting stress for those with dollar debts.”

Morgan Stanley: China’s Minksy moment is here | | MacroBusiness

As credit tightens at home, Chinese sell Hong Kong luxury real estate | Reuters

Sell what you can, not what you must. This is the essence of a liquidity crisis.

Emerging Markets

BBC News – Brazil launches price-fixing probe into 18 companies

Twitter outage hits Turkey as prime minister says he will ‘eradicate’ it | The Verge

Technology

Bitcoins are like ‘glass beads’, warns Danish national bank | Technology | The Guardian

““Bitcoins are not money in a proper sense as there is no issuer behind them,” the report states. “Instead, bitcoins display the characteristics of a commodity to which users attach value. Unlike precious metals such as gold and silver, bitcoins have no actual utility value, bearing closer resemblance to glass beads.””

Bitcoins Buy a Villa in Bali – WSJ.com

Bitcoin software gets fix for weakness that helped bring down Mt. Gox | Ars Technica

Mt. Gox Finds 200,000 Missing Bitcoins – WSJ.com

How Modern Marketplaces Like Uber And Airbnb Build Trust To Achieve Liquidity | TechCrunch

Global Mobile Ad Spend Jumped 105% In 2013, On Track For $31.5B In 2014 Led By Google, Says eMarketer | TechCrunch

TV Subscriptions Fall for First Time as Viewers Cut the Cord – Bloomberg

BBC News – Big data retailing offers tailor-made shopping for all

Twitter Encourages Navel Gazing With Tool For Finding Your First Tweet | TechCrunch

How You Leak Your Privacy Every Day (and How to Stop)

Facebook Disputes Claims That They Were Aware Of NSA Data Collection Outside Of FISA Orders | TechCrunch

Pebble has sold over 400,000 smartwatches | The Verge

Microsoft changes policies for snooping on Outlook.com accounts | The Verge

Netflix US & Canada Blog: Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality

Netflix targets Comcast over ISP fees – FT.com

“Netflix has accused Comcast and other big internet providers of using their “market position” to impose tolls for access to their networks, hindering the ability of online video operators to provide a quality service.”

Google makes Gmail more secure in light of NSA snooping

Elsewhere

BBC News – New sports doping test ‘1,000 times more sensitive’

As it should & ought to be… – Guaranteed Income – Choose Your Boss (the market based safety-net)

Why we debate the unimportant issues, by Scott Sumner

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