Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rodrigo Duterte’s impetuous pivot

Image result for south china sea map claims

Is the Philippines, until now a staunch American ally, falling into the Chinese camp?
Oct 19th 2016 | Asia

The Economist

EVEN in a year of extraordinary reversals, few would have expected it. In July China reacted with fury when an international tribunal upheld a complaint from the Philippines and rubbished China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. This week it is rolling out the red carpet for the mercurial Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte. He is being feted in a four-day state visit, with 400-odd businessmen in tow. Rub your eyes: America’s strongest ally in South-East Asia appears to be plopping like a ripe mango into China’s hands.

Greece Might Just Get a Boost From an Unlikely Source

The cash-strapped nation stands to gain a lift to demand from the aid effort for refugees


Nikos Chrysoloras

October 20, 2016 — 7:01 AM EEST

As European Union leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday with the refugee crisis on the agenda, some of them may repeat the claim that their economies can't bear the cost of aiding people fleeing war and persecution. Greece ought not to be one of them.
After all it has been through in the past six years, the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees from across the Aegean may in fact be giving the country a mild, short-term stimulus.
Hundreds of millions of euros have been spent so far to provide shelter, provisions, and support to migrants and asylum seekers, in a period when government-funded spending has taken successive cuts.

World’s Fourth-Biggest Currency Trader Sees Euro Decline Ahead

Lananh Nguyen


Deutsche Bank AG is sticking with its weaker euro call.
The currency dropped to the lowest in almost three months and the world’s fourth-largest foreign-exchange trader says it’s got further to fall. The bank sees the shared currency declining to $1.05 by year-end, more bearish than the $1.10 median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Traders will be watching the European Central Bank’s policy-setting meeting Thursday for signals about its monetary stimulus efforts, which haven’t prevented the euro from climbing this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Saudi Arabia to Offer International Investors $17.5 Billion in Bonds

Gulf countries are increasingly raising funds through international markets

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 19, 2016 7:27 a.m. ET
DUBAI—Saudi Arabia plans to raise up to $17.5 billion by selling bonds for the first time to international investors this week, two people aware of the transaction said Wednesday.

The kingdom also tightened its pricing guidance for the potential multi-tranche issue, which along with the estimated issue size reflects a strong appetite for the potential issue, bankers say.

For the five-year tranche, Saudi Arabia said it would pay around 140 basis points above U.S. Treasurys, compared with an initial guidance of around 160 basis points above U.S. Treasurys.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Turkey will fight Isis in Mosul, President Erdogan says

Bitter row between Ankara and Baghdad over role of Turkish troops in battle to retake Mosul threatens future of operation, US says

Bethan McKernan Beirut


It is “out of the question” for Turkish troops to stay out of the US-backed Iraqi army offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from Isis, the Turkish president has said.

“We will be in the operation and we will be at the table,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated in a televised speech on Monday. “Our brothers are there and our relatives are there. It is out of the question that we are not involved.”

Mr Erdoğan's comments came as Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced that the long-awaited operation to reclaim the city has begun.

The Iraqi army begins the liberation of Mosul

Even with backing from Kurds, Shia militias and an American-led international coalition, the campaign will be hard
Oct 17th 2016 | Middle East and Africa

The Economist

“THE time of victory has come…today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh [Islamic State].” With these words, broadcast at 2am on October 17th, Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, announced the start of the long-awaited offensive to liberate Mosul, the country’s second-biggest city, which was seized by IS in June 2014, and is the only significant place in Iraq that the jihadists still hold. Mr Abadi added: “The Iraqi flag will be raised in the middle of Mosul and in each village and corner very soon.” Across the rest of Iraq, following a series of victories this year, it already has been.

Will Italy Leave the Euro? Follow the Money

30 OCT 17, 2016 1:31 AM EDT
By Mark Whitehouse


Will Italy follow the U.K.'s example and leave the European Union? Far-fetched as it may seem, capital flows suggest that some people aren’t waiting to find out.

To keep the euro area's accounts in balance, Europe's central banks track flows of money among the members of the currency union. If, for example, a depositor moves 100 euros from Italy to Germany, the Bank of Italy records a liability to the Eurosystem and the Bundesbank records a credit. If a central bank starts building up liabilities rapidly, that tends to be a sign of capital flight.

'Brexit' May Hurt Britain Where It Thrives: Science and Research

OCT. 17, 2016

The New York Times

LONDON — When Adam Durant started his company analyzing climate-related threats to aircraft, he and his team of researchers symbolized the possibilities offered by the European Union.

Soon after graduating from college, Mr. Durant received a prestigious European Union grant to study atmospheric chemistry and conduct climate-related research. When he started his business, he hired staff members from Belgium and France without having to sponsor their visas.

But since Britain voted in June to leave the bloc, Mr. Durant has become the archetype of something very different: a nervous entrepreneur, unsure about future funding and even considering leaving the country.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Global Economy Week Ahead: China GDP, U.S. Industrial Production, ECB Meeting

Inflation data are due from the U.K. and the U.S., as well as retail sales from China

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 16, 2016 3:00 p.m. ET
The week’s economic calendar provides insight into how the world’s two largest economies are faring. It kicks off with a gauge of U.S. industrial activity, followed by a round of economic data out of China. From Europe comes a report on consumer confidence and a policy decision from the European Central Bank.

Nine Things You Need to Know About a ‘Hard Brexit"


 Simon Kennedy

October 17, 2016 — 7:00 AM EEST

Just when you finally grasped the meaning of “Brexit,” the subject grows more complicated. In London and the capitals of continental Europe, political leaders are preparing to discuss the terms and conditions of the U.K.’s coming separation from the European Union. Two broad options are being shorthanded as "hard Brexit" and "soft Brexit," with the U.K.’s prime minister, Theresa May, thought to lean toward the "hard Brexit" camp.

Kurdish Troops Advance on ISIS-Held Villages East of Mosul


The New York Times

BADANA PICHWK, Iraq — Kurdish forces on Monday morning began advancing on a string of villages east of Mosul, the start of a long-awaited campaign to reclaim Iraq’s second-largest city from the Islamic State, which seized it more than two years ago, officials said.

About 4,000 Kurdish pesh merga troops are involved in the operation to retake 10 villages, the opening phase of a battle that could take weeks or months and could involve nearly 30,000 Iraqi and Kurdish troops, with American warplanes providing air support. Iraqi counterterrorism forces, which work closely with American Special Operations commandos in Iraq, are also expected to join the Kurdish forces in the coming days.

Greece's lenders to launch new review as Athens digs in on debt relief

Sun Oct 16, 2016 | 4:06am EDT


By Michele Kambas and Lefteris Papadimas

Greece and its creditors start a fresh round of talks this week on reforming its labor market, a tricky task for a leftist government sliding in opinion polls but needed if the recession-hit state can ever win debt relief.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was re-elected a year ago promising to fight to revive collective bargaining and resist reforms that may lower the minimum wage. But he also needs a swift conclusion of the review to achieve Athens's primary goal of restructuring a mountain of debt, the highest in the euro zone, and mollifying an increasingly jaded public worn by years of austerity and unemployment.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Brexit means…higher prices

The economic impact of devaluations
Oct 13th 2016, 10:29 BY BUTTONWOOD

The Economist

THE economic arguments for and against Brexit in the course of the referendum campaign were quite esoteric and confusing to the average voter. Similarly, sterling’s decline in the currency markets might seem like the kind of thing that only concerns City traders.

So the row that has broken out between Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, and Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch multinational, has made the story concrete in ways that were not apparent before. Unilever wants to raise prices across a range of goods to reflect the fall in the pound, which has dropped from around $1.50 on the day of the referendum to less than $1.22 at the time of writing. Similar falls have been seen against the euro; indeed travellers who change their money at the airport are getting less than a euro per pound.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

U.S. says foreign forces in Iraq should be there with Baghdad's approval

Tue Oct 11, 2016 | 4:36pm EDT


Foreign military forces in Iraq should be there with the approval of the Baghdad government and under the umbrella of the anti-Islamic State coalition, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

Turkey and Iraq disagree over the presence of about 2,000 Turkish troops at a base in northern Iraq, as the coalition prepares for an attack on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

4 more Turkish servicemen lose asylum claim in Greece

Published October 11, 2016

Fox News

THESSALONIKI, Greece –  A state asylum service in Greece has rejected claims by four more Turkish military servicemen who fled in the wake of their country's failed coup attempt in mid-July.

Eight servicemen fled to the Greek border town of Alexandroupolis by helicopter, and all remain in police custody in Athens. Seven have now had their asylum claims rejected, following the latest decision announced Tuesday, with a decision pending for the eighth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

EU Sagas of Greece, Transaction Tax Back in Focus: Brussels Beat

Jonathan Stearns
October 10, 2016 — 1:00 AM EEST


Two European Union financial sagas return to the spotlight this week. One is Greece. The other is the financial transaction tax being pursued by 10 EU governments.
During much of last year, it would have been reasonable to bet that the FTT initiative had a better chance of succeeding than Europe’s efforts over half a decade to keep Greece in the euro area. Concerns about the health of Deutsche Bank AG and other European lenders add to the reasons why that’s no longer the case -- and just how far the tables have turned will be on display when EU finance ministers gather in Luxembourg on Oct. 10-11.
Euro-area finance chiefs will decide on Monday whether Greece, in its third international rescue program since 2010, qualifies for another disbursement of aid. At stake is a 2.8 billion-euro ($3.1 billion) payout tied to Greek overhauls in areas in such as pensions, bank governance and the energy market.

On Greece's Lesbos, migrants remain in limbo in squalid camps

by Reuters
Monday, 10 October 2016 15:20 GMT

Thomson Reuters

The flow of new arrivals has slowed to a trickle, but thousands of migrants remain in limbo on Greece's islands, in grim camps they liken to prisons
* Nearly 15,000 refugees languish on Greek islands

* Tents unheated, sanitation poor as winter approaches

* Local people say crisis has hurt tourism

By Karolina Tagaris

Less than one euro to the pound at many UK airports

By Ian Pollock
Business reporter, BBC News
10 October 2016


The continued fall in sterling's value means that the average rate available at 17 airport bureaux de change is now just 99 euro cents to the pound.
The worst rate is currently 88 euro cents at Moneycorp at Southampton airport and the best is €1.06 from the Change Group at Glasgow Prestwick.
Since the UK's Brexit vote in June, the pound has fallen sharply in value.
The average US dollar rate at the airports is down to $1.08 to the pound.
What's the pound exchange rate near you? Please tweet your pictures of currency exchange rate boards to @BBCBusiness and let us know
The survey of airport bureau de change currency rates was carried out by travel money firm FairFX on Monday morning.

Greece Clears Hurdle Toward Another Round of Bailout Aid

Greek economic overhauls win approval from eurozone finance ministers; $3 billion more in aid coming

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 10, 2016 2:03 p.m. ET

LUXEMBOURG—Greece has completed a set of key economic overhauls, eurozone finance ministers agreed Monday, marking the end of the first review of its fiscal bailout and clearing the way for disbursement of new loans to Athens.

The ministers, who were here for their monthly meeting, gave their blessing to €2.8 billion ($3.12 billion) in the next stage of financial aid, but they stopped short of signing off on it immediately. Instead, they said the country would receive the funds at the end of the month, when data on repayments Greece has made to domestic contractors should also be available.

While the next slice won’t be made immediately available, the fact that Greece’s creditors agreed that all the economic overhauls have been implemented essentially completes the lengthy first review of the country’s third bailout, which could amount to €86 billion

Monday, October 10, 2016

IMF says still engaged with Greece, no decision yet on bailout role

Sun Oct 9, 2016 | 12:21pm EDT


The International Monetary Fund said on Sunday it is still fully engaged in talks to join the Greek bailout program and has not yet decided on what role it will take.

The IMF's comment came after two sources with direct knowledge of the Greek bailout talks told Reuters on Saturday that negotiations for the fund to commit financial resources to the program are making little headway and the IMF likely would accept a special advisory status with limited powers.

"We remain fully engaged, with the aim of reaching agreement on a program that the fund can support with a new arrangement, as requested by the authorities," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in an emailed statement on Sunday. "In this regard a mission team will visit Athens soon."