Saturday, February 20, 2016

Today's Headlines

  • China Removes Xiao as CSRC Head After Stock Market Meltdown. The head of China’s securities regulator has been removed from his post after last year’s $5 trillion stock-market bust, an unprecedented government rescue and a renewed crisis as plunging Chinese equities last month reverberated around the world. Xiao Gang, 57, a former head of Bank of China Ltd., had been chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission since March 2013. His exit was announced Saturday by state-owned Xinhua News Agency, which cited a State Council statement. Xiao’s replacement is Liu Shiyu, who previously served as chairman of Agricultural Bank of China. 
  • China Lenders' Foreign-Exchange Holdings Omitted From PBOC Data. China’s central bank omitted details of financial institutions’ foreign-exchange holdings from monthly data that sheds light on the scale of its intervention to support the yuan. The change took effect in its report for January, when the currency’s slide to a five-year low roiled global financial markets and prompted the People’s Bank of China to step up efforts to boost the exchange rate amid record capital outflows. While the authority announced a $99.47 billion slide in its foreign-exchange reserves for last month, less than December’s record $107.9 billion drop, the figure may not represent the true extent of dollar sales if state-owned lenders were also used to intervene.
  • Canada's Credit Cycle Has Never Been This Desynchronized From the United States. A rapid private debt binge is nearly over, Macquarie says. Canada has entered the very late innings of its super-charged private sector credit cycle, one that has completely decoupled from that of its largest trading partner, according to Macquarie Analyst David Doyle. "Canada’s private sector nonfinancial debt to GDP ratio (includes household debt and non-financial business debt) has skyrocketed since 2005, rising by over 60 percentage points," he wrote. "This is a greater magnitude of increase than occurred for the forty years prior (1965 to 2005)."
  • Bet Against Dollar at Own Peril, Managers of $365 Billion Say. The dollar’s weak start to 2016 is showing signs of a turnaround as doubts about the economic outlook fade, according to U.S. Bank Wealth Management and Pioneer Investments. Traders who almost completely rule out a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase this year are confronted with data showing the U.S. economy is growing at a faster pace than its major peers. A forecasting tool created by the Fed Bank of Atlanta indicates U.S. growth in the first quarter of 2.6 percent at an annual rate, exceeding 1.6 percent average for Group of Eight countries, according to Bloomberg surveys.
  • Apple(AAPL)-U.S. Step Up Fight Over San Bernardino Shooter IPhone. The U.S. government and Apple Inc. escalated their battle over accessing data on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, raising the stakes in the high-profile standoff about the balance between law enforcement and privacy in the digital age. The Department of Justice on Friday asked a California judge to compel Apple to provide tools that will make it easier for investigators to unlock the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, saying the company’s refusal amounted to putting profits over security. Apple executives quickly responded, saying that the U.S. government is overreaching and threatening to set a precedent that undermines civil liberties.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Greatest Democratic Judicial Hits. What Republicans learned from Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Senate Democrats haven’t made much progress shaming Republicans into yielding on President Obama’s upcoming Supreme Court nominee, and no wonder. As much as they’re trying, they can’t erase their own abusive history of double and sometimes triple standards in confirmation politics.
  • Had bullish commentary on (USO), (SYF) and (PDCO).
  • Had bearish commentary on (BABA) and (SIG).
Fox News:
  • North Korea's arsenal raises the stakes for US grid security: Experts. North Korea, the country whose nuclear ambitions have been the fulcrum of global security concerns for more than a decade, may be a threat in more ways than one. Concerns about Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal have largely revolved around whether the country could eventually launch a warhead at neighboring South Korea, or even the United States itself. Yet the country's recent actions have converged with percolating fears about the U.S.'s antiquated power grid—which a growing number of observers say is vulnerable to asymmetric threats.
Zero Hedge:
Business Insider:
  • Iran says managed to increase its oil exports by 500,000 bpd -FARS. Iran has increased oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day since international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in January, a top official said on Saturday. "As we had promised, we managed to increase our exports by 500,000 bpd shortly after the lifting of sanctions," Mohsen Ghamsari, Director of International Affairs of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), was quoted by the FARS news agency as saying on Saturday.
Financial Times:
  • Fears grow that Brazil’s resolve on economy has collapsed. Political street brawls may be commonplace in some parts of Latin America but until this week they were unusual in Brazil. However, these are not normal times in Latin America’s largest economy. Many analysts fear a consensus in Brazilian politics on how best to manage the economy is collapsing and with it hopes of a quick recovery

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