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Thursday, September 9, 2010


Most Asian markets gain, but Chinese shares experience decline
Concern that the Chinese government will tighten policy further led to a drop in shares of the country's banks and property developers Thursday, weighing on the Shanghai Composite. Most Asian share markets advanced, however. Japan's Nikkei 225 went up 0.8%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1% and South Korea's Kospi Composite added 0.3%. China's Shanghai Composite dropped 1.4%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Singapore's Straits Times indexes rose 0.4%. Taiwan's Taiex slipped 0.2% and New Zealand's NZX 50 lost 0.3%, while India's Sensex was up 0.5% in afternoon trading. Markets in Indonesia were closed. The Wall Street Journal (09 Sep.)

Obama pushes GOP to allow tax breaks and infrastructure spending
U.S. President Barack Obama called for Republicans to support his proposed tax breaks for businesses and $50 billion in spending to improve roads, airports and railroads, saying many of the ideas were backed by Republicans in the past. Speaking to a rally in Parma, Ohio, he urged Republicans to allow a swift vote in the Senate on a bill for small-business lending. Obama said Republicans helped write the legislation, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed. USA TODAY (09 Sep.)

Blue Chip Economic Indicators forecasts slower U.S. growth
For the third consecutive month, a panel of economists revised downward its projection for U.S. economic growth this year and in 2011. The 2010 forecast for the Blue Chip Economic Indicators was cut by 0.2 percentage point to 2.7%, and the economists lowered their projection for 2011 by 0.3 percentage point to 2.5%. Reuters (09 Sep.)

WEF: U.S. drops from second to fourth in economic competitiveness
The U.S. has fallen from second place to fourth among the most competitive economies, leaving Switzerland with the top ranking and falling behind Sweden and Singapore, according to the World Economic Forum. The group said the U.S. dropped on the list because of concern about the condition of its financial market, its weakening public and private institutions and a global economic imbalance. Reuters (09 Sep.)

Citi officials knew of mounting loan losses, the SEC says
The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a court filing that Citigroup officials, including Charles Prince and Robert Rubin, knew that losses on the bank's mortgage assets were mounting in 2007. Regulators have faulted Citigroup for failing to disclose the losses. Prince and Rubin were CEO and chairman, respectively, at the time. Bloomberg (09 Sep.)

*the key word here is "likely". NOT!
Moody's says U.S. banks have written down most of their bad loans
U.S. banks likely have written off about two-thirds of troubled loans they are expected to face through next year, according to Moody's Investors Service. "It is clear to us that bank asset-quality issues are past the peak," said Craig Emrick, senior vice president at Moody's. "However, charge-offs and nonperformers remain near historic highs." Google/The Associated Press (08 Sep.)

Report: Canada's housing market is cooling but not collapsing
Canada's housing market is going through a marked slowdown, but isn't close to a crash of the sort suffered by the U.S., according to The Conference Board of Canada. The think tank's finding comes after Statistics Canada released data showing that the total value of building permits for residential construction declined in July for the fourth consecutive month. Financial Post (Canada) (08 Sep.)

Trading partners are anxious about a drop in German factory orders
German manufacturers saw a sharp decline in orders in July, sparking concern of a slowdown among trading partners across Europe. Germany's expansion has been the one bright spot for the region's economy. However, German officials and economists have warned that despite a recent growth spurt, the nation can't sustain a high rate of growth if European governments implement austerity programs and the U.S. economic recovery continues to struggle. (Ireland) (09 Sep.)

Protracted oil and gas glut is developing worldwide, experts say
Oil and gas supply entering production combined with weak demand from developed nations is setting the stage for a lengthy oil and natural gas glut, experts said. The excess supply could drive the price of oil to $50 a barrel or lower for years, they said. (08 Sep.)

Analysis: Social Security didn't get fixed in 1983 after all
Actuarial problems that led U.S. policymakers to implement a fix for Social Security in 1983 are back because the fix was was undone by the way the government accounted for extra contribution from baby boomers, according to The Economist. Instead of treating the money as dedicated overpayment to Social Security, politicians lumped it in with general revenue, making it easier to cut taxes and run up the deficit. With boomers retiring, it looks as if Generation X will end up with the bill, the magazine notes. The Economist/Democracy in America blog (08 Sep.)

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