Monday, May 01, 2017

Today's Headlines

  • China's Markets and Economy Are Going in Different Directions. China’s run of solid economic indicators proved little consolation for its shaky financial markets in April. The dichotomy stems from a shift in the leadership’s focus toward reducing leverage -- one that’s set to determine whether growth joins asset prices in heading down. Economists are practically unanimous in saying that reduced debt loads would be good for China’s longer-term health. The big unknown is whether officials can manage that without a dose of short-term pain. As UBS Group AG analysts put it in a note last week: if authorities’ initiatives are "not managed well, it could lead to a rise in credit events, excessive liquidity tightening, faster-than-intended slowdown of credit growth, and greater market volatility."
  • Wheat Futures Surge After U.S. Crop Pummeled by Storm. Wheat prices headed for record gains in Chicago on Monday as the U.S. winter crop faced substantial losses from snow and high winds that slammed into four Midwest states including Kansas, the top grower. More than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow fell on ripening wheat in parts of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska in the past 24 hours, David Streit, the senior lead forecaster at Bethesda, Maryland-based Commodity Weather Group LLC, said in a telephone interview. While it will take several days before the damage can be assessed accurately as the snow melts, early estimates suggest losses could exceed 50 million bushels, according to Pira Energy.
  • Mnuchin Says Reaching 3% U.S. Economic Growth May Take Two Years. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said an overhaul of the tax system, regulatory reform and better trade deals will help produce 3 percent U.S. economic growth within two years. Returning health in the U.S. job market, a 12 percent rise in stock prices since Trump’s election and consumer sentiment at the highest in 16 years are painting an optimistic picture of the economy. Even so, the economy expanded at its slowest pace in three years at 0.7 percent in the first quarter-- underlining the challenges of an administration aiming for 3 percent or higher annual growth.
  • EPA, Clean Energy Spared Trump's Ax in $1.1 Trillion Budget Deal. Environmental programs marked for death or deep cuts by President Donald Trump got a reprieve in the government funding deal revealed early Monday by congressional leaders -- at least for now. The Environmental Protection Agency, targeted for $247 million in cuts for this year’s funding, instead escaped with a budget trimmed by $81 million -- or 1 percent -- and no staff reductions. Research divisions within the Department of Energy received increases despite calls by Trump to slash or eliminate them. For example, its advanced research program, which would have been cut in half under Trump’s 2017 spending plan, instead will get a $15 million increase in funding this year.
Wall Street Journal:
Zero Hedge:
  • Macau gambling revenue rises 16.3 percent in April. Revenue at the world's biggest casino hub of Macau rose 16.3 percent in April, as new resorts helped draw high rollers and casual gamblers to the country's only legal casino hub. Gambling revenue in the southern Chinese territory in April was 20.2 billion patacas ($2.52 billion), government data showed on Monday. Analysts were expecting 13-17 percent growth.
Yonhap News:
  • S. Korea's exports soar 24.2 pct in April. South Korea's exports continued to rise in April, extending their winning streak to six months, on the back of brisk overseas sales of ships and chips, the trade ministry said Monday. Outbound shipments came to US$51 billion last month, up a nearly seven-year high of 24.2 percent from $41.1 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. It marked the second-largest monthly volume since October 2014, when shipments reached $51.6 billion, while it posted double digit growth for four months in a row for the first time in nearly seven years. The country's exports have been on a steady rise since November led by an upturn in oil prices and recovering world trade. Imports jumped 16.6 percent on-year to $37.8 billion in April. Last month's trade surplus came to $13.3 billion, marking 63 straight months of surplus, the ministry said.

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