News: 2014-04-02

Slovenia Raising Debt at Record Pace in 2nd 2014 Offering – Bloomberg

This tells you the euro crisis is over until the next cyclical downturn: “Slovenia is raising debt at its fastest pace on record as the nation plans the sale of 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in bonds, less than two months after it last went to the market, to tap lower borrowing costs.”

Shlomo Ben-Ami revisits the West’s misplaced post-Cold War triumphalism. – Project Syndicate

“The fact is that Putin’s actions are not just about Crimea, or even about Ukraine. Just as Hitler was driven by the desire to reverse the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended WWI, Putin is focused on reversing the Soviet Union’s dismemberment, which he has called “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century.””

Ivan Krastev blames the West’s weak response in Crimea for empowering Russia. – Project Syndicate

“Just a few months ago, most Western politicians were convinced that in an interdependent world revisionism is too costly and that despite Putin’s determination to defend Russia’s interests in the post-Soviet space, he would not resort to military force to do so. It is now clear that they were sorely mistaken.”

Euro-Zone Jobless Rate Stays High –

“The European Union’s statistics agency said that while the number of people without jobs fell by 35,000 during February, that wasn’t a large enough drop to change the unemployment rate, which remained at 11.9%, still close to record highs.”

Investors scoop up new U.S. platinum coins as gold slumps | Reuters | Greece said to plan 2 billion-euro bond sale in first half

“The yield on Greek 10-year bonds dropped to 6.40 percent on Wednesday, the lowest since May 2010 and down from as much as 44.21 percent in 2012. Greek securities returned 23 percent in the first quarter, the best performance among the 14 euro-area sovereign debt markets tracked by Bloomberg World Bond Indexes.”

Ford Cuts Jobs at Russian Plant –

German cabinet signs off on minimum wage from 2015 | Reuters

“Germany’s cabinet gave the green light on Wednesday to a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour in Europe’s biggest economy – a flagship project for the Social Democrats (SPD) who share power with Angela Merkel’s conservatives.”

Greek bond yields tumble to 2010 low –

“Tuesday’s deal has buoyed the Greek market, sending the Athens Stock Exchange to near a three-year high and trimming the 10-year bond yield, which moves inversely to prices, by 15 basis points to 6.19 per cent, the lowest since April 2010, before the first severe bout of eurozone turmoil. The slump in bond yields increases Greece’s chances of returning to bond markets later this year as planned.”

Japan Inc. Doubts BOJ’s Inflation Target – Japan Real Time – WSJ

““Companies are skeptical toward the BOJ’s ability to meet its objective,” said Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities. “The survey let us confirm that inflation expectations aren’t rising as much as the BOJ has hoped they would.””

Financial markets may be underestimating threats to the global economy | Nouriel Roubin | Business |

China Central Bank Orders Firms to Close Bitcoin Trading Accounts in Two Weeks –

Pressure rises on Gross as investors pull $3.1 billion from Pimco’s flagship fund | Reuters

For Borrowers, Bonds Are Beautiful –

“Corporate borrowing boomed anew in the first quarter, as slowing U.S. stock-market gains revived investor demand for bonds. Highly rated firms sold about $317 billion in the U.S. during the first quarter—the second-highest quarterly figure ever and the most since the $347 billion logged in the first quarter of 2009, according to Dealogic data going back to 1995. ”

Chilean authorities say 2 confirmed dead following massive quake | Reuters

GM avoided defective switch redesign in 2005 to save a dollar each | Reuters

Letting the air out of the bubbles | South China Morning Post

Apartment Rents Climb as Vacancies Drop –

London house prices rise 18% in year fuelling fears of bubble | Money |

House prices: gap between London and the rest of the UK ‘widest in 40 years’ – Telegraph

China’s first junk bond default highlights risk | beyondbrics

CalPERS Tries Ineffective Mudslinging in Response to Our Ongoing Private Equity Investigation | naked capitalism

WhatsApp announces 64 billion messages sent through its texting app — in just one day


Canada’s Getting Richer. Most Canadians Aren’t. – Bloomberg View

EUROPP – Russia’s sluggish economy is not a function of the Ukraine crisis or sanctions, but reflects long term economic trends

“One of the underlying factors in the Ukraine crisis is the health of the Russian economy, including the impact that EU and US sanctions could potentially have in bringing about a change in policy. Pekka Sutela writes that while Russia is currently experiencing sluggish economic growth, this has more to do with long-term structural weaknesses than the direct effects of the Ukraine crisis. He notes that a side effect of Russia’s economic decline is that Vladimir Putin’s popularity with Russian citizens is now based largely on foreign affairs and social conservatism, rather than the economic performance which underpinned his appeal during the 2000s.”

Skepticism as Cuba OKs law to lure foreign investors

“foreign companies will be able to hold a 100% ownership in ventures. For companies that engage in joint ventures, the profits tax will be cut from 30% to 15%, and most investors would be exempt from paying that tax for at least eight years. The law also would allow the free transfer of profits and dividends off the island without additional tax and ensure legal protections for companies engaged in disputes.”

Cuba approves law aimed at attracting foreign investment | Reuters

“Cuba’s National Assembly passed a new foreign investment law on Saturday that aims to bring badly needed capital to the communist economy by offering steep tax cuts and promising a climate of investment security. The country has scared off investors in recent years by jailing foreign executives, attempting to seize greater control of businesses once they prove successful and letting active proposals die without offering an explanation.”

Russia PMI Manufacturing press release – Mar 2014

“Russia’s goods-producing sector continued to experience a downturn in March, PMI® data from HSBC showed. Latest survey data marked a fifth successive month of decline, with output and new business both contracting at the fastest rates in nearly five years. Exports continued to weigh on overall new order inflows, despite the weaker ruble. Manufacturers continued to shed staff, and backlogs fell sharply. Also reflecting the weakening currency, inflationary pressures surged, with input prices rising at the fastest rate in three years.”

Bank of Finland Forecast for Russia 2014 – 2016

The economy: On cloud nine trillion | The Economist

“Our Asia economics editor takes his leave, less worried than many of his peers about the frailties and paradoxes of China’s economy”

La France rate encore son objectif de déficit public en 2013

France missed its 2013 deficit target of 3.7% by a country mile with a 4.3% deficit. It will likely miss its 2014 deficit target as well. Targets and deficits are above the 3% Maastricht hurdle for both 2013 and 2014.

Stock Market When Fed Is Tightening – Business Insider

FBI Investigating High-Speed Trading –

Greece Plans to Issue First Long-Term Bond Since Securing Bailout –

“Greece wants to issue a three-to-five year bond by June and plans to raise about €4 billion to €5 billion ($5.5 billion to $6.9 billion) on financial markets by the end of the year, taking advantage of improved market sentiment for troubled euro-zone countries such as Portugal, the officials said”

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