Thursday, February 10, 2011


News Links, February 11, 2011

-- Global economic meltdown --
Deutsche Boerse Deal With NYSE Signals New Wave of Mergers
IMF head urges bigger global role for China's yuan
"International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Thursday the Chinese yuan should be given a greater role within a restructured international monetary system."
European debt crisis threatens Portugal
Portugal defiant as borrowing costs rise, denies trouble tapping bond markets
Tital wave of debt still guiding US monetary policy
Scotiabank to sell gold to consumers in Mexico, Dubai
Dutch Central Bank Orders Pension Fund To Sell Its Gold
IMF calls for dollar alternative
Japan has reason to watch China inflation data
"When China sneezes, Japan puts on its flu mask."

-- Egypt --
Mubarak Won't Leave Egypt But Passes Powers To Vice President
Egypt's working class joins anti-government revolt
Protests Leave Egyptian Economy in Shambles
Weeks of protest take toll on Egypt's economy
Bedouin kill 3 Egyptian police in attack on building
Egyptian expats foresee worse trouble
Suez Canal Secure, Operating; Egyptian navy escorting ships
Spitzer: U.S. has a vital interest in Suez Canal

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
Somali piracy 'threatens global oil supplies'
"The piracy situation is now spinning out of control into the entire Indian Ocean."
Mexico pipeline thieves trigger big fuel spill
Suicide attack at Pakistan army base
Japan watches Russian military near disputed isles
Egypt crisis: regimes across Middle East braced for more protests
When the People Push Back (Daily Reckoning)
Mexico drug war an 'insurgency'? US official's gaffe sparks US-Mexico row.
U.S. intel chief: Iran keeping nuclear arms option open
As long as Israel's nuclear arsenal exists, you can bet on it. -- RF
Saudi king alive, rumours of death untrue
Saudi king in excellent shape, foreign minister says
"The cost of insuring exposure to Saudi Arabian sovereign obligations for five years also spiked by 19 basis points from the previous day's close."
Why is the king resting in Morocco? Why doesn't he rest at home? -- RF
Pro-reform Saudi activists launch political party
Residents on disputed island increasingly shun Japan

-- Energy/resources --
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Fascinating must-read piece for those interested in what's going on behind the scenes in the world's oil markets. Particularly addresses the recent price discrepancy between WTI and Brent prices, but there are lots of juicy nuggets here. -- RF
Rio Tinto's 2010 profits triple to $14bn on rising commodity prices
PetroChina Pays $5.4 Billion for Canadian Gas Assets
Watch out America, China is coming for your oil and gas
Chile Plans Measures to Avoid Electricity Rationing
The Middle East Shifts Away from Oil Exports
'Massive' Closures of U.S. Coal Plants Loom, Chu Says
But the power shortfall will never be made up owing to the decline in primary energy supply and in financial resources to built new capacity. -- RF

-- Got food? --
U.S. Crop Surplus Shrinking as World Output Drops, Demand Rises
Drop in US, global corn supply stokes inflation talk
Corn Supplies at 15 Year Low Driving Stock Prices
"Grain stocks continue to become dangerously low each month. There is currently less than a three week supply of corn available. Corn prices above $6.00 will pressure food prices and supply rationing."
When push comes to shove, people will choose food over ethanol, and the US corn ethanol industry will be dealt a catastrophic blow. -- RF
Foot-and-mouth-hit S. Korea farms pour away milk
"South Korean dairy farmers are pouring away 200 tons of milk a day as the country grapples with its worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, an official said Thursday."
Food: What's really behind the unrest in Egypt (Jeff Rubin)
Wheat Hoarding Likely to Be `Widespread,' Prompting Price Gains, UN Says
Here's the Beef: Cattle Prices Hit Record Highs
North Korea appeals to foreign governments for food aid
Extreme weather pushes food prices higher
"The recent surge in food prices echoes the increased volatility in oil prices over a decade ago, when the growth of global oil demand began to outpace the development of new production capacity."

-- Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown --
Blackouts raise lots of questions about electricity industry
Although this article specifically discusses the recent blackout in Texas, the questions apply to general systemic failure around the world. -- RF
Report: Egypt Shut Down Net With Big Switch, Not Phone Calls
Hackers hit 'at least five oil and gas firms'
Cybersecurity 'battleground of the future'
U.S. intel heads off 'devastating attacks'

-- China --
China police stop spread of Egypt news: activist
China drought could continue into spring
Most income spent on basic necessities
"MORE than 77 percent of Chinese residents surveyed said most of their income went to food, housing and clothing last year, with only a small amount left for travel and health care."
Food prices may increase CPI in January to new high

-- UK --
UK Deficit Widens To A Record In December
"Challenges continue to mount in the path of British economic recovery as the country's trade deficit reached a record in December, adding more concern that the country's continuous struggle to recover from the worst financial crisis in decades could spur credit downgrades."
Subprime Mortgage `Party Over' as U.K. Borrowing Costs to Rise
Public restrooms disappearing
Britain Faces Closing The Book On Libraries

-- US --
Whitney Muni Bond Forecast 'An Important Call': Chanos
Harvard's Rogoff expects serious social unrest due to income disparities in the US
Ron Paul: QE2 Is a Total Failure and Bernanke Is Delusional About Inflation
CBO: Current policies unsustainable
January deficit grows by $50B, on pace for $1.5T
Homes, gas lines on fire after massive Pa. blast
Unemployment 101: Who pays for jobless benefits, anyway?
"Employers pay state and federal taxes to cover all those unemployment checks. But with unemployment at 9 percent, those taxes aren't enough, leaving some states in dire straits."
Market's Dirty Little Secret: 9% Unemployment Just Fine
"It's a taboo subject to discuss in public, but corporate executives would prefer to buy back their own stock than hire more people this year. Meanwhile, investors want unemployment to stay at elevated levels so that the Federal Reserve stays accommodative."
US border spiraling out of control? Hardly, top border official says.
US Home Foreclosures Rise in January, More Seen
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Could Be Phased Out Under Treasury's Housing Plan
GOP cuts deep as right revolts
When Recovery's Just a Word (Gregor Macdonald)
Here's a short but excellent piece on the subject of "recovery" and unemployment in the US. -- RF
No New Jobs Is The New Normal (Decline of the Empire)
The Foreclosure Crisis Remains Awful With 1 In 93 Nevadans Receiving A Notice In January
High-Speed Pork: Why fast trains are a waste of money
Trump: U.S. is a 'laughing stock'

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