International Economics

Turkey cancels oil exploration plans in Syria, contemplates sanctions against Syria over the government’s violence against its people

November 15, 2011

“Syria’s leadership was offered a last chance to avoid sanctions by stopping its violent repression of anti-government protests but rejected it, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday.
“We have given a last opportunity to the Syrian regime but they didn’t want to seize it,” Davutoglu said. “We cannot afford to sit idle.”"

“Turkey on Tuesday canceled plans for oil exploration in Syria, while also threatening to cut electricity supplies after a spate of attacks by supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad on its diplomatic missions.”

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“Currency War” Book: Fed Chairman Bernanke’s quantitative easing forcing China to print more yuan was the ‘perfect currency-weapon and the Fed knew it’

November 15, 2011

““It was the perfect currency-war weapon and the Fed knew it,” he says, describing how the Fed’s expanding money supply forced China to print more yuan to maintain its peg to the dollar. “China was now importing inflation from the United States through the exchange-rate peg after previously having exported its deflation to the United States.”

Enough was enough, as President Barack Obama has now summed up the U.S. view that the yuan remains undervalued.

Rickards, whose CV includes stints at Citibank Inc. and Long-Term Capital Management LP, has written one of the scariest books I’ve read this year. Though I was tempted at first to dismiss him as alarmist, his intelligent reasoning soon convinced me that we have more to fear than fear itself.”

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Iran contemplates violently shutting down oil shipping in the Persian Gulf in retaliation against an Israel air strike on its nuclear facilities

November 15, 2011

“Iran is contemplating violently shutting down shipping in the Persian Gulf as one of several counterattack options if Israel strikes its nuclear facilities, regional and intelligence analysts say.

Such attacks would present the Obama administration with the option of undertaking a limited war against Iran by striking its warships and shore-based anti-ship missiles to keep the Gulf open for business.

Former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson said Iran has enough firepower to effectively close the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of all the world’s oil moves.

“One of the things that Iran has exercised, has the capability to do, is shut down the Persian Gulf,” Mr. Johnson said. “The best-case scenario is they shut it down for a week. The worst case is they shut it down for three to four months.””

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New Greece Prime Minister Papademos: Greece must remain in the Eurozone

November 15, 2011

“New Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos said he is determined to keep the country in the eurozone, but acknowledged it is set to miss its deficit reduction target this year.

Mr Papademos was sworn in last week to head a 15-week coalition government supported by the outgoing Socialists and rival conservatives. It was created to secure the approval of a new massive bailout deal worth 130 billion euros from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.

A vote of confidence in Mr Papademos’s new government will take place in parliament on Wednesday.

Presenting an outline of his policies, Mr Papademos told MPs that for his government, Greece’s euro membership is “our only choice”.”

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White House adviser Michael Froman: Obama “made it very clear that the American people and the American business community were growing increasingly impatient and frustrated with the state of change in China’s economic policy and the evolution of the U.S.-China economic relationship”

November 14, 2011

“Obama did not miss a beat, providing a perfectly bland response that there can be “friendly and constructive competition” between the world’s two biggest economies.

But Obama clearly took Corporate America’s concerns into consideration when he met privately with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Saturday.

“He made it very clear that the American people and the American business community were growing increasingly impatient and frustrated with the state of change in China’s economic policy and the evolution of the U.S.-China economic relationship,” said Michael Froman, a senior White House adviser on international economic affairs.

A day after his tete-a-tete with Hu, Obama laid on another layer of criticism before a bank of television cameras. He said the relationship was “off kilter” and China was too “grown up” now to flout international rules.”

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Canada says it will prioritize increasing energy exports to Asia following the U.S. decision to delay the approval of the Keystone Pipeline

November 14, 2011

“Canada will make it a priority to increase energy exports to Asia following the U.S. decision to delay approval of TransCanada Corp.’s $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

“This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we’re able to access Asian markets for our energy products, and that will be an important priority of this government going forward,” Harper said today, according to a transcript e-mailed by his office of remarks he made at a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu.

Harper said he conveyed that message at a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the summit.

The U.S. State Department said Nov. 10 it would delay a decision on Keystone XL to study an alternative route that would avoid environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska.”

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Japanese Government denies its Prime Minister told President Obama that he’s willing to negotiate on ‘all his country’s goods and services’ in a regional free trade agreement

November 14, 2011

“Japan denied a White House statement that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda yesterday told President Barack Obama he is willing to negotiate on all his country’s goods and services for a regional trade agreement.

“Prime Minister Noda never said this,” Japan’s Foreign Ministry said yesterday in a statement. Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman told reporters the U.S. “would stand by the statement that we issued earlier.”

The two leaders met at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu a day after Noda said Japan intends to join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks. The U.S. account after the meeting said Obama “welcomed Prime Minister Noda’s statement that he would put all goods, as well as services, on the negotiating table for trade liberalization.”

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Despite devastating floods, the Thailand Government intends on proceeding with its plan to raise the minimum wage to increase domestic spending

November 14, 2011

“Thailand’s government will proceed with a plan to raise the minimum wage to spur domestic spending even as companies face the cost of rebuilding after floods devastated industrial estates and shuttered businesses.

The government is considering measures to help companies recover from the disaster, including requests for additional tax incentives and a waiver of import tariffs to replace machinery, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said in an interview Nov. 12 in Honolulu, where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The floods may reduce economic growth by as much as 3 percentage points this year, he said.”

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair warns a collapse of the Euro would be ‘catastrophic’, urging Europe to hastily support the currency

November 14, 2011

“Former British prime minister Tony Blair warned on Sunday that the collapse of the euro would be “catastrophic” and urged Europe to move fast to support the currency. Blair said European leaders faced “very difficult and painful” choices and a “long-term framework of credibility” was needed to see off the crisis.”

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Egyptian security officials arrest leading member of Islamist armed group suspected of committing the attacks on an Egyptian gas pipeline

November 13, 2011

“Egyptian security officials have arrested a leading member of an Islamist armed group suspected of being behind attacks on a pipeline supplying gas to Israel and Jordan. Mohammed al-Teehi of the radical Islamist group Al-Takfeer wal Hijra was arrested during a sweep in the north Sinai town of El-Arish, a security official said.

Teehi was the mastermind of attacks on the gas pipeline and on police stations and installations in North Sinai, the official charged. On Thursday, two explosions hit the pipeline.

The pipeline, which carries gas through the Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, had already been attacked six times since former president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February. Egyptian authorities have on several occasions announced measures to step up protection of the pipeline and try to arrest those behind the attacks.”

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Inflation Rate in South Sudan jumped from 61.5% in September to 71.7% in October

November 13, 2011

“South Sudan’s annual inflation rate jumped to 71.7 percent in October from 61.5 percent in September on a new surge in food prices, the new African nation which is struggling to provide adequate food supplies said.

South Sudan became independent on July 9 under a 2005 peace agreement with its former civil war foe, Khartoum, but has been struggling to fight an economic crisis and contain tribal and rebel violence that has killed thousands this year.

The United Nations has warned the new underdeveloped nation will be facing severe food shortages from next year because it will produce less than half what is needed in 2011 due to heavy rain and widespread violence.

Month-on-month inflation accelerated 7.4 percent in October as food and non-alcoholic beverage costs — the biggest component in the consumer price index — rose by 11 percent.”

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New Prime Minister and new government in Greece take over without change to the position of Finance Minister

November 13, 2011

“Greece’s new technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos assumed power Friday at the helm of an interim coalition government that will seek to push through tough economic reforms and ensure the country avoids a catastrophic default.

Papademos, a former European Central Bank vice president, leads a government including ministers from three parties. Although the vast majority of posts are retained by members of outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou’s Socialists, the bitter rivalry between that party and the conservatives of Antonis Samaras is being at least temporarily set aside as Greece’s politicians struggle to put the country back on track financially and ensure it can retain its cherished position in the eurozone.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos retained his post, the conservatives got the key positions of foreign affairs and defense, and ministerial positions also went to members of a small right-wing party with nationalist leanings.”

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Asia-Pacific summit exchanges offer insight into the U.S.-China rivalry

November 13, 2011

“Tensions had been building in the lead-up to the annual APEC gathering over a proposed U.S.-led free trade deal that Washington wants as counterbalance to Chinese influence but Beijing sees as an attempt to force it to play by U.S. rules.

The situation came to a head at a news conference — on the eve of a leaders’ meeting hosted by President Barack Obama — when senior trade officials sparred over a proposed Transpacific Partnership between the United States and at least eight other Asia-Pacific economies.

China’s Assistant Commerce Minister Yu Jianhua struck first, saying pointedly that Beijing had not been asked to join talks on the pact but “if one day we receive such an invitation, we will seriously study the invitation.”

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk volleyed back, insisting that the proposed pact was not a “closed clubhouse.”"

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Internal disagreement in the Japan government over the country’s position on free trade stalls Japan’s role in the Asia-Pacific free trade agreement

November 13, 2011

“Japan’s prime minister hoped for praise at the weekend summit of Asian-Pacific leaders here for his bold pledge to join a U.S.-led free-trade pact—but his government instead got into a tangle with the Obama administration over just how far he had promised to go, and drew skepticism abroad and at home about the gesture. The day after Yoshihiko Noda made his announcement in Tokyo, his aides were scrambling in Hawaii to limit the extent that Japan was willing to negotiate, criticizing the White House for overstating Mr. Noda’s promise.

The unusual public disagreement between the two allies had been prompted by a White House news release that said Mr. Noda had told Mr. Obama during a bilateral session here that “he would put all goods, as well as services, on the negotiating table for trade liberalization.”

That triggered a release from the Japanese foreign ministry denying that Prime Minister Noda made such a remark in the summit meeting. Instead, Japanese officials have said Japan would enter the talks to learn the terms necessary but hasn’t promised to negotiate over every contentious issue.”

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President Obama caps the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in his home state of Hawaii

November 13, 2011

“President Barack Obama on Sunday dove into summit diplomacy, using his home state of Hawaii as an American foothold into the Pacific Rim region of the world he views as an explosive source of 21st century economic power. In the midst of a hard re-election bid, Obama kept his message on jobs, even as he privately lobbied for help on containing the Iranian nuclear threat.

The president was to meet throughout the day with fellow leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, a collection of 21 nations spanning the globe from Chile to China and accounting for roughly half of the world’s trade and economic output. He was to cap the summit with a solo news conference in which topics on and off his scripted agenda were likely to emerge.”

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