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Institutional Investor (September 28)

2011/ 09/ 30 by jd in Global News

“China is putting the brakes on its economy, Japan is stuck in earthquake recovery mode, and Southeast Asia—where the pace of development varies sharply from country to country—is a grab bag of sweets and lemons…. Still, investors say that some of Japan’s better-established companies remain among Asia’s most attractive.”

 

Washington Post (September 27)

2011/ 09/ 29 by jd in Global News

“If Europe goes bankrupt, taking the rest of the world down with it, it won’t be for a lack of ideas about how to fix the continent’s sovereign-debt mess.” Yet, Germany has applied the brake to any number of fixes. It looks like the price for this inaction will be “a brutal, global recession.” Hopefully, Europe’s leaders can still avert this by demonstrating “clearly and convincingly that they have a plan for restructuring insolvent countries (e.g., Greece) while shoring up salvageable ones (e.g., Italy and Spain).”

 

Financial Times (September 26)

2011/ 09/ 28 by jd in Global News

“The business model of the Big Four accounting firms is under attack from the European Commission, which is pushing for tough rules that would force the firms to abandon their consultancy businesses and share audit work with smaller rivals.” The draft legislation is hardly a sure thing and the Big Four will likely do all they can to fight it, but Michel Barnier, the EUs internal market commissioner, is supporting the legislation as way to restore confidence in financial reporting.

 

New York Times (September 26)

2011/ 09/ 27 by jd in Global News

A proposal to modify securities listing regulations appears to have gained bipartisan support in the U.S. The proposal would allow small investors to support companies through “crowdfunding, a financing model that relies on collecting small sums of money from many people over the Internet.” Since the 1930s companies have either had to limit fund-raising to wealthy investors or follow the intricate registration process which typically proved “too costly given the small sums being sought.”

A proposal to modify securities listing regulations appears to have gained bipartisan support in the U.S. The proposal would allow small investors to support companies through “crowdfunding, a financing model that relies on collecting small sums of money from many people over the Internet.” Since the 1930s companies have either had to limit fund-raising to wealthy investors or follow the intricate registration process which typically proved “too costly given the small sums being sought.”

 

The Economist (September 24)

2011/ 09/ 26 by jd in Global News

Arctic ice is disappearing faster than previously thought. The ice is now estimated to be just half as thick as it was 1979 “and there is probably less ice floating on the Arctic Ocean now than at any time since a particularly warm period 8,000 years ago, soon after the last ice age.” Models had predicted that summer ice would disappear by century end. Instead “at current rates of shrinkage… this looks likely to happen some time between 2020 and 2050.”

Arctic ice is disappearing faster than previously thought. The ice is now estimated to be just half as thick as it was 1979 “and there is probably less ice floating on the Arctic Ocean now than at any time since a particularly warm period 8,000 years ago, soon after the last ice age.” Models had predicted that summer ice would disappear by century end. Instead “at current rates of shrinkage… this looks likely to happen some time between 2020 and 2050.”

http://www.economist.com/node/21530079

 

Bloomberg (September 23)

2011/ 09/ 25 by jd in Global News

Even though the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates low in an attempt to reduce strain on the housing market, the number of households speding an excessive amount on mortage payements has continued to rise. This “persistent stress in housing” illustrates “one of the main problems with the Fed’s attempts at monetary stimulus: Many borrowers simply can’t take advantage of lower mortgage rates, because their income has fallen, they owe more than their homes are worth, or they shouldn’t have qualified for a mortgage in the first place.”Even though the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates low in an attempt to reduce strain on the housing market, the number of households speding an excessive amount on mortage payements has continued to rise. This “persistent stress in housing” illustrates “one of the main problems with the Fed’s attempts at monetary stimulus: Many borrowers simply can’t take advantage of lower mortgage rates, because their income has fallen, they owe more than their homes are worth, or they shouldn’t have qualified for a mortgage in the first place.”

 

The Independent (September 20)

2011/ 09/ 22 by jd in Global News

The practice of “fracking” to access shale gas reserves is becoming widespread in the U.S. And now the UK faces the alluring promise that “drilling for shale gas in Lancashire could create as many as 5,600 jobs.” The downside is “that such drilling could also poison groundwater, pollute the atmosphere and cause major ecological damage.” The Independent believes the benefits do not outweigh the risks. “Fracking is an unconscionable gamble with potentially catastrophic results. It has already been banned in France. It should be banned in Britain as well.”

 

New York Times (September 20)

2011/ 09/ 21 by jd in Global News

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman was convinced “the next great crisis would be different” from the last. He figured it might be technology- or resource-related, rather than financial. He’s now surprised to find “we’re having the same crisis, and making the same mistakes.” We are again suffering from “a banking crisis and a collapse of aggregate demand, aggravated by bad monetary and fiscal policy.”

 

Financial Times (September 19)

2011/ 09/ 20 by jd in Global News

“There are no examples of lasting currency unions that are not ultimately backed by a political union.” The EU papered over this and other shortcomings in hopes that the economic benefits of monetary integration would lead to popular support. Instead national identities remain “much stronger than any common European loyalty.” This hinders leaders from extending decisive support to solve the eurozone’s problems, making clear “the limits to European solidarity.”

 

The Economist (September 17)

2011/ 09/ 19 by jd in Global News

The Economist salutes Japan for succeeding. “The nation responded as one, dimming lights and cranking down the air-conditioning…. Peak electricity usage fell by nearly a fifth in the Tokyo region, compared with last year. Amazingly, Japan made it through the summer without blackouts.” The Economist provides a new challenge. “The new government should break up Japan’s electricity monopolies.” Japan needs a smart grid where pricing is linked to demand, monopolies are eliminated, and generation and distribution separated.

 

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