FIG Topics of Interest

 

01/25/18

The last time U.S. drillers pumped 10 million barrels of crude a day, Richard Nixon was in the White House. The first oil crisis hadn’t yet scared Americans into buying Toyotas, and fracking was an experimental technique a handful of engineers were trying, with meager success, to popularize. It was 1970, and oil sold for $1.80 a barrel.

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01/24/18

"Our organizations worked hard over the past year to support your efforts and the efforts of tax-cutters in Congress to provide American families much-needed and long-overdue tax relief," reads a letter being sent to the White House from executives of the Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity. "But increasing the gas tax would effectively undermine recent tax cuts by clawing back hundreds of billions of dollars — roughly 25 percent of the total benefit from tax reform."

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01/23/18

There are plenty of losers from the decision: Chinese manufacturers, U.S. rooftop panel installers and renewable energy developers including utilities that are planning large-scale solar farms. There are also a few in the industry that stand to gain -- some more surprising than others.

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01/22/18

“The history of U.S. government shutdowns over the last several decades suggests that the furlough of nonessential personnel and curtailment of agency activities could shave a few tenths of a percentage point from GDP growth in a given quarter if a funding gap lasts for several weeks. A shutdown for a few days to a week is unlikely to have a sizable impact,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva of Bloomberg Economics.

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01/19/18

Investors ploughed $23.9 billion into stocks this week, bringing cumulative four-week inflows to their strongest ever level, BAML strategists said, citing EPFR data.
The record inflow to stocks reflected investors’ overwhelmingly optimistic view on equities as global indices continued to crank out new records, driving them to add risk and wary of being left out of the final leg of the bull run.
“Happy new ‘Fear of Missing Out’”, BAML strategists quipped.

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01/18/18

The funding plan heading toward a House vote as soon as Thursday would keep the government operating through Feb. 16. But after that, Congress will need to confront deep-seated differences to agree on new budget limits, immigration legislation and raising the federal debt ceiling.Democrats are demanding protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children as part of a spending bill. Trump decided in September to end an Obama-era initiative that shielded them from deportation, effective in March. The U.S. counts 690,000 people currently enrolled in the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. 
“The American people elected us to fund defense and hold the line on non-defense spending," said Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus. “We had a little difference in opinion on a lot of things with our leadership’s decisions last month.”
Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania who is chairman of an appropriations subcommittee, said some of his GOP colleagues need to “grow up” and recognize that a 60-vote threshold for passage of most legislation in the Senate forces compromise from a majority party that holds just 51 seats. 
“Leadership has no choice but to reach a deal,” Dent said. “We need a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. We’re going to raise defense spending, the price is going to be that non-defense goes up as well.”


 

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01/17/18

“There is going to be a significant unloading,” particularly of Treasuries, said Reuven Avi-Yonah, a professor who specializes in corporate and international taxation at the University of Michigan Law School. “The general consensus is that the best use of the funds is to distribute it out to shareholders.”

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01/16/18

Here's a look at the four key obstacles lawmakers face in their efforts to forge a deal by Friday.
Spending caps
Lawmakers are currently faced with tight budget caps, agreed to in 2011, that limit how much they can spend for the rest of fiscal year 2018 and beyond.
The Dreamers
The partisan debate over how to deal with the Dreamers — the 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — grew more acrimonious last week after President Trump allegedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and other African nations "s__hole countries" and suggested the U.S. should instead encourage more immigration from Norway, a predominately white country.
Disaster aid
As if the negotiations weren't fraught enough, there are also sharp disagreements over a disaster aid package for Texas, Florida and other places devastated by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Health programs
The least controversial part of the negotiations: funding for community health centers and a children's health insurance program called CHIP.

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01/12/18

“China’s economic expansion has been beating expectations since the second half of last year, boosting demand for all kinds of commodities,” Guo Chaohui, an analyst with Beijing-based China International Capital Corp., said by phone. “We are expecting continued strength in economic growth in 2018 which will keep up the nation’s import appetite.”

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01/11/18

"The mainland will surely act to make sure Taiwan and the U.S. pay the price for their high-level exchanges," said a Wednesday op-ed published by The Global Times, a nationalistic arm of the Communist Party media apparatus.

"Beijing's diplomatic retaliations toward Washington will come from all sides," it continued. "This will multiply exponentially the costs for the U.S, of handling global affairs and make the country profoundly realize that the Taiwan question is the Chinese mainland's bottom line that it cannot afford to touch."

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