News: 2014-03-27

News links for 27 Mar 2014

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Europe

Struggling eurozone risks losing its good looks – FT.com

“One explanation is that for all its woes, the eurozone’s assets look attractive relative to other parts of the investment world – whether struggling emerging markets or overpriced US equities. What is more, the eurozone is a turnround story; let’s not forget it was close to collapse less than two years ago. But weak headline economic growth and inflation data also mask a significant change that has not gone unnoticed in financial markets: the eurozone has shifted decisively into a current account surplus, exporting more goods and services than it imports. Official data this month showed the surplus in the final quarter of 2013 hit almost 3 per cent of gross domestic product – the highest since the euro was launched in 1999. “

ECB Faces Uncharted Waters With Negative Deposit Rate – WSJ.com

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“The European Central Bank would be moving into largely uncharted territory, with potentially serious effects on the financial system and currency markets, if it goes ahead with the increasingly popular idea of setting a negative rate on bank deposits—essentially forcing banks to pay for the privilege of parking their money at the ECB.”

Pace of recovery in Britain slows to eight-month low, CBI figures show | Business | The Guardian

BBC News – Lithuania pleads for US gas exports to counter Russia

Pope Francis accepts resignation of German ‘bishop of bling’ – FT.com

 

China

How rumour sparked panic and 3-day bank run in Chinese city | Reuters

Central bank steps in to calm China bank run – FT.com

Default risks surge at China steel mills – survey | beyondbrics

““Looking at profitability, it is clear why the smaller mills are making the largest cuts (in production) – for the first time in the history of the steel survey not one smaller mill reported that they are making money,” a Macquarie report on the survey said (see chart).”

China’s Economy Under Mounting Stress as Companies’ Profits Slump, Banks Take Large Write-Offs – WSJ.com

China’s Largest Bank, ICBC, Declares War on Alibaba – China Real Time Report – WSJ

“In recent years, Internet firms such as Alibaba and Tencent have begun to muscle in on territory traditionally occupied by state banks—both through offering mobile payment services as well as online investment products featuring returns superior to those offered by state banks. State banks, meanwhile, are striking back.”

Australia’s luck runs out as China slows – FT.com

“When China’s growth rate slows by 1 per cent, emerging markets suffer a slowdown of 0.7 per cent. Australia is not an emerging market but it will also suffer disproportionately from any slowdown in China, along with Indonesia, Brazil, Chile and Peru, according to JPMorgan. Recently, an official at one Asian sovereign wealth fund with a $30bn portfolio of Chinese shares sought advice from a big Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager on how to hedge that portfolio in the face of falling growth on the mainland. One answer: short Aussie dollars. “

 

North America

A Stake Through the Greedy Heart of the NCAA? – Bloomberg View

“Peter Sung Ohr, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, today ruled that Northwestern University’s football team can unionize. This is a big, big deal. If the ruling is upheld by the NLRB in Washington, and the various courts to which the university and NCAA would then appeal, it will be a revolution. As members of a union, the Wildcat players could, for example, insist on having independent concussion experts on the sidelines during games. They could demand that Northwestern cover medical expenses related to sports injuries, as well as pay the full costs, including expenses, of attending college. “

Fed bars shareholder payout plans from Citi, 4 other banks | Reuters

Too Big to Fail Is Bigger Than You Think – Bloomberg View

Robert Shiller’s Nobel Knowledge | WSJ.Money spring 2014 – WSJ.com

Is muniland doping the data? | MuniLand

“Puerto Rico and New Jersey may have played with the numbers recently to put a better gloss on their weak finances. They seem to be “doping” the data.”

In a Move Towards FATCA Enforcement, Hong Kong Agrees to Share Tax Information With the U.S. – China Real Time Report – WSJ

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Surged In February on Aircraft Demand – WSJ.com

“Excluding the volatile transportation segment, durable goods orders rose only 0.2%. New orders for primary metals and electronic products drove those gains. But demand for electrical equipment and machinery declined last month. “

 

Emerging Markets

Historic Court Ruling Stops Cultivation of Bayer’s GM Maize in Brazil – Sustainable Pulse

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Broken BRICs | Capital City | IFRe

“All the while the BRICs are, to coin a phrase, crumbling. Brazil is mess. India’s GDP growth has fallen back to 4.1%, the lowest in a decade. Russia – well that’s another subject. That leaves us with China which might suddenly find itself alone and referred to as “The big C”. Let’s face it, India and Brazil to a greater extent and Russia and China to a much lesser extent failed to use the boom times to apply any of the structural changes to their economies which might have seen them on the path of the only economy to truly break out of the emerging bracket – Korea.”

 

Ukraine

IMF agrees bailout for Ukraine | World news | theguardian.com

Gazprom deal in Germany raises alarm – FT.com

“A little-noticed Gazprom deal to take over one of Europe’s largest gas storage facilities is attracting fresh scrutiny in Germany amid a deepening stand-off with Russia over its aggressive moves against Ukraine.”

Ukraine Starts Talks With Slovakia for Importing Gas From EU – Bloomberg

BBC News – Ukraine agrees to 50% gas price hike amid IMF talks

“Ukraine’s interim government says it will raise gas prices for domestic consumers by 50% in an effort to secure an International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid package.”

BBC News – Crimea crisis sharpens Latvia ethnic tensions

“Around 300,000 Russian-speakers, or 13% of Latvia’s population, are so-called “non-citizens”. And they live in an EU member state and member of Nato. “

Germany’s Schaeuble Says Greece Could Be Model for Ukraine Aid – Bloomberg

“German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that European nations looking to throw Ukraine a financial lifeline could use Greece’s bailout as a blueprint. “If ever we were to reach a situation in which we had to stabilize Ukraine, we would have many experiences from Greece” to draw on, Schaeuble told an audience at the NRW School of Governance in the western German city of Duisburg. “

La Suisse ne sanctionnera pas la Russie

Switzerland has decided to NOT sanction Russia for its actions in Ukraine

 

Technology

Can Oculus survive the Facebook effect?

Cerberus Acknowledges Data Breach, States Some Usernames and Encrypted Passwords Stolen | Droid Life

In Response To Google, Amazon Drops EC2 And RDS Prices By 40%, S3 Storage Costs By 36% To 65%

Circle gets $17M to expand bitcoin service, releases first product to select users

How many ways can the New York Times find to repackage and sell what amounts to the same content?

Why Buffett Doesn’t Invest In Technology – Business Insider

Invasion of the Data Snatchers, Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything | naked capitalism

On Candy Crush and other drugs | Capital City | IFRe

Am I allowed to admit that, until last week, I had never heard of Candy Crush, let alone its creator, King Digital Entertainment? Well I hadn’t but in a quiet moment – we have rather more of those at present than we care to admit – I googled it and had myself a trial game. Good fun… but worth US$7bn? As it floated on the NYSE yesterday, evidently yes.

DERIVATIVES: First Bitcoin swaps created | Capital City | IFRe

King Digital IPO draws scrutiny after high-profile gaming failures | South China Morning Post

“”The red flag for this IPO is that King’s revenues and fortunes are built on one game,” said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of Destination Wealth Management. “I would be inclined not to invest in stock like this.””

Instagram reports 200M users, 20B photos shared — Tech News and Analysis

CircleUp gets $14M to expand equity crowdfunding site that attracts food and health startups — Tech News and Analysis

 

Elsewhere

North Korean men are now required to get the exact same haircut as Kim Jong Un | GlobalPost

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