News: 2014-03-24

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I ran a bit late this morning. SO there will be no daily commentary until tomorrow. It is a slow news day, in any event. I think the links here capture the essence of what’s happening.

Europe

BBC News – French business output grew in March, PMI survey says

Bundesbank Says German Growth to Slow – WSJ.com

Bankerna har lånat ut 90 miljarder

Swedish banks have 14 billion dollars in loans outstanding to Russia.

Moody’s stufte Bank Austria leicht ab – KURIER.at

Debt of Bank Austria was downgraded by Moody’s along with its parent Italian Unicredito.

Ratingagentur: Moody’s hebt Zyperns Ausblick an – Börse Märkte – Finanzen – Handelsblatt

Cyprus got an upgrade from Moody’s to a positive outlook from negative on sovereign debt.

Portugal : Südeuropas Musterschüler schüttelt die Troika ab – Nachrichten Wirtschaft – DIE WELT

Portugal is almost out of the troika program. The cost is 16% of GDP. Experts are now 40% of GDP versus just 28% pre crisis. This article praises Spain and Portugal for using the crisis to lift productivity and move to higher value added exports.

«Der Mindestlohn ist ein verkraftbarer Schock» – News Wirtschaft: Konjunktur – tagesanzeiger.ch

The Swiss will decide whether to institute a 4000 Franc per month minimum wage.

BBC News – Spain austerity: Huge Madrid protest turns violent

Markets

Shiller Metric Carries Warning for Stocks – WSJ.com

“Asked to define a bubble, some Wall Street wags say it is a bull market that an investor has missed. But with the period between earnings seasons now under way and the S&P 500 back near its record high, investors may turn more attention to the stock market’s overall health rather than just that of its components. ”

These Charts Show What is Wrong With American Capitalism | naked capitalism

Economics

Would Keynes Have Called this a ‘Liquidity Trap’ | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM

Economists Already Understood the Money Multiplier (not) | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM

Why are people’s views of inflation at odds with the economic reality? | Greg Jericho | Business | theguardian.com

Behavioural economics and public policy – FT.com

Three Dangerous Economic Ideas – Forbes

mainly macro: Bank says money multiplier is wrong – should we be shocked?

“You will actually find a great deal of the more modern stuff in the textbooks, but essentially in the form of add-ons. So first students are taught that central banks fix the money supply, and then they learn about Taylor rules. First they are taught about a Keynesian consumption function (with a large mpc), and then they learn about consumption smoothing. This is silly. It is also dangerous, because the problem with add-ons is that they may not get added on. In particular, students who learn all about the money multiplier may never go on to be taught that if banks are not short of reserves or have easy access to them, they can simply create deposits by issuing loans. I suspect it is this lacuna which helped motivate the Bank’s authors to write their article.”

Technology

Revealed: Apple and Google’s wage-fixing cartel involved dozens more companies, over one million employees | PandoDaily

Google, Apple, and Other Tech Titans’ Wage-Suppression Conspiracy Estimated to Cover One Million Workers | naked capitalism

Apple Mulls Launching Spotify Rival, Android App as Downloads Decline (Sources) | Billboard

Cisco Plans to Take On Amazon in the Cloud – WSJ.com

The Secret About Online Ad Traffic: One-Third Is Bogus – WSJ.com

Some Thoughts On The Latest Apple-Comcast Streaming TV Talks | TechCrunch

Apple in Talks with Comcast About Streaming-TV Service – WSJ.com

Jeff Bezos, The Washington Post, and his plan to take over the media world (speculative)

Asia

Russia’s leading role in the Indonesian mining revolution | Reuters

New worries on China growth as flash PMI shows contraction | Reuters

China PMI Misses | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM

China credit strains rise as Beijing embraces failure | Reuters

Abe adviser warns on impact of tax hike – FT.com

“A close adviser to Shinzo Abe has called for the Bank of Japan to take action “within one or two months” of next week’s increase in consumption tax, if data were to indicate that consumers were struggling to cope with the fiscal squeeze.”

North America

Ex-Christie Aides Seek Immunity in Deal for Bridge Scandal Documents – NYTimes.com

U.S. regulators failed to spot deadly GM defects that others saw | Reuters

ekathimerini.com | Shifting geopolitics

Ukraine

Ruchir Sharma: Putin’s Potemkin Economy – WSJ.com

I am not sure I wholly believe the narrative here, but here it is: “Russia grew richer during the last decade but did not develop in the normal sense of building up more sophisticated manufacturing industries. In a vibrant developing economy such as Korea or the Czech Republic, manufacturing accounts for at least 20% of GDP. Manufacturing in Russia accounts for just 15% of GDP, down from 18% in 2005. Small and medium-size companies of any kind, including banks, struggle to gain a foothold alongside state behemoths. The result is that the Russian state has few new sources of income outside of oil and gas, at a time when it is taking on more dependents.”

Russland-Konflikt : Deutschland leidet stark unter den Sanktionen – Nachrichten Wirtschaft – DIE WELT

This German article shows the German angst over sanctions against Russia. They say that German export strength is a big reason for Germany to be most affected by sanctions.

Die positiven Folgen des Krimkriegs | Never Mind the Markets

This Swiss article says Russia’s loss off the Crimean war in the 1850s to the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France was a boon to Russia because it showed just how important industrialization was.

Crimeans Line Up on Karl Marx Street for Ruble Lifestyle – Bloomberg

Weak rouble will expose Putin’s bluster to Russians – Telegraph

James Meek · Putin’s Counter-Revolution · LRB 20 March 2014

Thanks For Being So Cool About Everything | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

How the Russian ‘motherland’ is ascending – The Globe and Mail

Ukraine’s Top Diplomat Says Risk of War With Russia Grows – Bloomberg

Ukraine police find 42 kg of gold in home of ex-energy minister | Reuters

Russians pour money into London property – Telegraph NATO says Russia has big force at Ukraine’s border, worries over Transdniestria | Reuters

How Obama Crippled a Russian Bank with a Stroke of a Pen – Yahoo News

The Polemicist: Charge of the Right Brigade:Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection

I want to make a habit of entertaining a multiplicity of perspectives. If we entertain views from one perspective, it leaves us with blind spots from an analysis perspective. So here’s one out of consensus perspective on Ukraine. It points to corruption as a big problem.

Puppets of the Maidan – YouTube

This is the phone call between US State Department Assistant Secretary Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine about Ukraine that was leaked as the protests were building against the corrupt Yanukovych regime. It depicts the US as having a close relationship with the leaders now in place in Ukraine.

Yulia Tymoshenko She’s Back Euromaidan Revolution | New Republic

“When I was in Kiev last, in November 2009, Tymoshenko was running for president against Viktor Yanukovich, and her chances did not look good: Kievans I spoke to were fed up with her ruthless political style. Moreover, they saw her as a main reason for the ultimate failure of the Orange Revolution. She was also of questionable moral caliber: her fortune, then numbering in the hundreds of millions, was stashed abroad in cash and gold bullion, her mansion guarded by an army of personal bodyguards. Her business partner and crony politician Pavlo Lazarenko was in federal prison in the U.S. for money laundering, wire fraud, and transporting illegal goods, and there were charges that he siphoned off over $20 billion of Ukraine’s public funds into personal accounts in the U.S. Tymoshenko had herself been arrested for trying to smuggle out millions in cash.”

VOR Presents… The Mansions of the Euromaidan Plutocrat Junta | Voices from Russia

Corruption is rampant in Ukrainian politics as almost all the major political figures live in opulence, even those from the Euromaidan scene.

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