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The Economist (January 30)

2016/ 01/ 31 by jd in Global News

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari “is repeating an economic error he made as dictator 30 years ago.” To avoid devaluation, he has instead thrown limits on imports, creating scarcity that “will be even more inflationary. A weaker currency would spur domestic production more than import bans can and, in the long run, hurt consumers less. The country needs foreign capital to finance its deficits but, under today’s policies, it will struggle to get any.”


Financial Times (January 29)

2016/ 01/ 30 by jd in Global News

Though the Zika virus has been present in Africa since at least 1947, it only “arrived in South and Central America over the past two years and is now proliferating rapidly.” In addition to alarming the World Health Organization with its explosive growth, Zika has investors worried. “Shares in cruise operators and airlines took a hit on Thursday amid growing concerns that the virus could dissuade tourists from heading to the Caribbean.”


Reuters (January 29)

2016/ 01/ 29 by jd in Global News

“The Bank of Japan unexpectedly cut a benchmark interest rate below zero on Friday, stunning investors with a move aimed at shielding the country’s sluggish economy from volatile markets and slowing global growth.”


Wall Street Journal (January 27)

2016/ 01/ 28 by jd in Global News

“Beijing’s decision to stop propping up stock prices is a positive sign that leaders are getting serious about reforming its markets. The expected appointment of Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan, one of China’s most prominent free-marketeers, to oversee regulators would restore confidence once the market finds its real floor.”


Bloomberg (January 26)

2016/ 01/ 27 by jd in Global News

“Why are economists so willing to declare to the world that free trade is good?” Their consensus flies in the face of popular opinion and “powerful evidence that industries and regions that have been more exposed to Chinese import competition since 2000—the year China joined the World Trade Organization—have been hit hard and have not recovered.”


New York Times (January 25)

2016/ 01/ 26 by jd in Global News

“A massive snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast moved out to sea on Sunday, leaving 28 people dead, near-record snowfall in some major cities and heavy flooding along the coast.” With over 30 inches (76 cm) of snow in some places, this ranks as New York’s second highest snowfall since 1869. Some areas received even more, with West Virginia recording over 40 inches (101 cm).


Washington Post (January 24)

2016/ 01/ 25 by jd in Global News

“The Washington region on Sunday lurched fitfully from under one of the heaviest snowfalls in memory, with federal and local governments set to be closed on Monday, the Metro system prepared to offer severely limited service Monday, and authorities warning that it could take days for the plows to reach some residential streets.”


The Economist (January 23)

2016/ 01/ 25 by jd in Global News

Oil price slumps usually do “the world a power of good. The rule of thumb is that a 10% fall in oil prices boosts growth by 0.1-0.5 percentage points.” This time, however, the abrupt 75% drop in the price of oil is testing the old paradigm. “Producers are suffering grievously. The effects are spilling into financial markets, and could yet depress consumer confidence. Perhaps the benefits of such ultra-cheap oil still outweigh the costs, but markets have fallen so far so fast that even this is no longer clear.”


Institutional Investor (January 21)

2016/ 01/ 24 by jd in Global News

“For more than half a decade, a seemingly irresistible momentum has been building around the idea that finance and technology are converging at a historical inflection point, a combination of business transformation and competitive disruption that has come to be labeled fintech.” Fintech “has legs,” making a “2000-style crash” unlikely. Still, fintech is not immune to cyclical decline, may be approaching frothy levels, and carries other risks as well.


Wall Street Journal (January 21)

2016/ 01/ 23 by jd in Global News

“Amid China’s economic tremors, political uncertainty in the U.S. and policy sclerosis in Europe, ECB President Mario Draghi is the only policy maker in town who seems determined to keep the party going.” While the European Central Bank (ECB) left rates and its quantitative easing program unchanged, Draghi the “lonely agent of good cheer” suggested the ECB would review its policy, possibly easing the spigot as early as March.


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