Japan inflation slows to lowest level in a year

A flurry of economic data released Friday revealed a mixed picture for Japan, suggesting the outlook remains challenging for the world’s third biggest economy which slipped into recession in the third quarter. While consumer inflation slowed to its lowest level in a year in October, raising skepticism over the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) ability to achieve its inflation target, industrial output and spending showed further signs of revival.102034514-512282149.530x298

The nationwide core consumer price index (CPI) – which excludes volatile food prices – rose 2.9 percent in the month from a year ago. The figure was in line with a Reuters poll and follows a 3 percent rise in September. However, adjusted for an increase in the sales tax hike that took effect in the second quarter, core consumer prices rose 0.9 percent on year, below September’s 1 percent rise and well below the 2 percent target the Bank of Japan (BOJ) aims to achieve by April 2015.

Industrial production rose 0.2 percent on month in October, above expectations for a 0.6 percent decline in a Reuters poll but down from September’s 2.7 percent increase. Meanwhile, retail sales rose 1.4 percent on year, above expectations for a 1.2 percent rise but slower than September’s 2.3 percent increase. “I’m positively encouraged by the numbers,” said Alex Treves, head of Japanese equities at Fidelity Worldwide Investment.

“The first thing that pops into my head is that I’m very glad that [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe has already announced he wants to defer the consumption tax increase because it might just have been possible that he would have used numbers like these to say: Let’s hike the consumption tax next year as planned. That would not have been the right thing,” he added. Japan’s economy has struggled since the government raised the sale tax to 8 percent from 5 percent in April, effectively shutting consumer’s wallets. To mitigate the move, the BOJ unveiled a fresh batch of stimulus measures at the end of October, the first time since launched its massive quantitative easing program in April last year.

Abe this month announced snap elections for December and delayed a second sales tax hike initially scheduled for October 2015 by 18 months, after data showed the world’s third largest economy shrinking an annualized 1.7 percent in the third quarter, following an equally dismal 7.3 percent contraction in the second quarter. Treves says the additional measures from the central bank were encouraging, and investors should to allow time for the stimulus to take effect.


China has ‘wasted’ $6.8 trillion in investment


“Ghost cities” lined with empty apartment blocks, abandoned highways and mothballed steel mills sprawl across China’s landscape – the outcome of government stimulus measures and hyperactive construction that have generated $6.8 trillion in wasted investment since 2009, according to a report by government researchers. In 2009 and 2013 alone, “ineffective investment” came to nearly half the total invested in the Chinese economy in those years, according to research by Xu Ce of the National Development and Reform Commission, the state planning agency, and Wang Yuan from the Academy of Macroeconomic Research, a former arm of the NDRC.

China is this year on track to grow at its slowest annual pace since 1990, and the report highlights growing concern in the Chinese leadership about the potential economic and social consequences if wasteful investment leaves projects abandoned and bad loans overloading the financial system. The bulk of wasted investment went directly into industries such as steel and automobile production that received the most support from the government following the 2008 global crisis, according to the report.

Mr Xu and Ms Wang said ultra-loose monetary policy, little or no oversight over government investment plans and distorted incentive structures for officials were largely to blame for the waste. “Investment efficiency has fallen dramatically [in recent years],” they say in the report. “It has become far more obvious in the wake of the global financial crisis and has caused a lot of over-investment and waste.”

Beijing has in recent years sought to move from its investment-heavy, credit-dependent growth model to one that relies more on consumption and services. But slipping growth rates this year have seen it fall back on loose credit and government-mandated infrastructure investment to prop up the economy and ensure steadily rising employment. Much of the investment in recent years has been funneled into real estate projects, but apartment sales and prices have fallen this year, leading to fears of an impending property crash. Most of the industries that feed the real estate sector, such as steel, glass and cement, are awash with overcapacity and have been hit hard by the property downturn.

Misallocation of capital and poor investment decisions are not the only explanation for the enormous waste in China’s economy. A significant portion of China’s post-crisis stimulus binge was simply stolen by Communist Party officials with direct responsibility for boosting growth through investment, according to separate estimates by Chinese and overseas economists. For the past two years, President Xi Jinping has been engaged in a wide-ranging anti-corruption inquiry that has engulfed thousands of officials.


Euro zone inflation dips; Italian jobless hits record


Euro zone inflation fell again in November amid expectations that theEuropean Central Bank (ECB) could try to bolster the region’s economy by announcing further stimulus measures. Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in November from the same period a year earlier, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union. This is down from 0.4 percent in October and in line with market expectations.

The single currency fluctuated in morning trade on Friday amid a slew of economic news. After the inflation number the euro rose to around 1.2446 against the greenback after trading at 1.2435 beforehand. “The scale of the disinflation problem facing the ECB becomes increasingly concerning as time progresses,” Colin Bermingham, an economist at BNP Paribas said in a research note after the release.

“Three of the big four euro zone economies have reported inflation for November and all three are below 0.5 percent (year-on-year).” Meanwhile, unemployment figures for October showed a reading of 11.5 percent for the euro zone, holding steady from September. Italy was the major drag with the struggling nation’s numbers reaching a record higher of 13.2 percent in October.

This is the highest the figure has ever been since records began back in 1977. The youth unemployment rate – those aged between 15 and 24 – came in at 43.3 percent, adding 0.6 percentage points in a month, according to the statistics agency Istat.


Carly Fiorina eyes a 2016 presidential bid

Add former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to the list of Republicans taking a look at the 2016 presidential race. The Washington Post reports Fiorina, who lost a 2010 U.S. Senate race in California, “has been talking privately with potential donors, recruiting campaign staffers (and) courting grass-roots activists.” She’s also planning to visit Iowa and New Hampshire.AP KENTUCKY SENATE MCCONNELL A ELN USA KY

While Fiorina’s got a compelling narrative as the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, she will also face challenges in what could be a very crowded field of Republicans reaching for the White House.

For one, Fiorina was defeated by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer by 10 percentage points in 2010 — a year in which there were strong anti-Washington feelings across the country and the political environment was ripe for Republicans.

In 2010, Fiorina was an unknown to many conservative voters and she received a well-timed endorsement in the GOP primary from Sarah Palin. That shored up Fiorina with conservatives and she defeated former congressman Tom Campbell and Tea Party favorite Chuck DeVore for the Senate nomination. But if she runs in 2016, there are many better known and well-established Republicans — from Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who appeal to the party’s Tea Party wing, to current and former governors such as Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, who would attract support from the GOP’s mainstream — who are also looking at running for president.


Chaos grips U.K. stores at Black Friday sales

Black Friday chaos spread across the pond to Britain as customers trampled each other in scenes police compared to “a mini-riot.” In an effort to grab the hottest deals, customers crushed each other and got into disputes at seven stores in northern England belonging to supermarket giant Tesco, said Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police Peter Fahy. Police were forced to close many of the stores, he said.635527730885970397-EPA-BRITAIN-ECONOMY

As the situation “spiraled out of control,” three people were arrested, a woman’s wrist was broken, a TV was dropped on a shopper in a wheelchair and a security guard was punched, Fahy said. The chaos comes as an increasing number of U.K. retailers take part in Black Friday, including through online deals. Visa predicted U.K. shoppers would spend roughly $810 million online using credit cards Friday, which would make it Britain’s biggest Internet shopping day in history.

“This is the first year I’ve ever heard of Black Friday in the U.K.,” said Melinda Neunie as she pursued Topshop’s flagship store in London’s Oxford Circus to take advantage of discounts up to 50%. In London, police responded to reports of large crowds gathering at three Tesco stores. Nobody was injured, and no arrests were made. Police were also called to locations including Dundee, Glasgow and Cardiff, the BBC reported.

Also visiting Topshop to take advantage of the deals, Maira Khan said she hadn’t seen the chaotic scenes that had engulfed other stores. “I think it’s an excuse to go out and shop,” she said of Black Friday coming to the U.K. Describing the events in Greater Manchester as “reasonably predicable,” Fahy said the stores “did not have sufficient security staff on duty.”

“Across Greater Manchester, large supermarkets already make significant demands on policing through calls to shoplifting, anti-social behavior and thefts of fuel from their petrol stations — much of which is preventable,” he said. “We just ask these stores to work with us to reduce the demands on policing and reduce the risks of disorder and crime.”


Crude oil’s plunge expected to drive gas prices to $2.60 a gallon, or less

Crude oil’s latest plunge hit the energy sector hard again Friday, but consumers are likely to see a new round of softening gasoline prices well into the holiday season. Pump prices, already 49 cents lower than year-ago levels to a national average of $2.79 a gallon Friday – are expected to come down at least another 19 cents, to $2.60. But a handful of states, including Missouri,Oklahoma and South Carolina, could soon see sub- $2 gas, says Tom Kloza, senior analyst with the Oil Price Information Service.635526244819479646-AP-Thanksgiving-Travel-Vignettes-Nebraska

The drop – which is expected to save consumers more than $400 million a day – is coming courtesy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the 12-country cartel that was unable to agree on production cuts at a Thursday meeting. That sent crude oil prices tumbling Friday, with benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropping over 10% to $66.15, lowest since September 2009. Wholesale gasoline contracts for mid-December delivery sank 6.5% to $1.90.4 a gallon.

Oil’s slide sank energy sector stocks, especially drillers and energy services stocks. More oil patch carnage could follow, because oil prices, hurt by the stronger dollar, lower demand and rising output by North American producers, have yet to floor. “The heaviest selling came as the (market) closed, and that is not a good omen for next week’s trading,” Kloza says.”It appears likely that much more aggressive cuts will be coming.”

The aggregate fallout? U.S. consumers will soon be paying less than $1 billion a day for motor fuel, the lowest daily bill since January 2010. Homes and businesses that use heating oil will also see a break, with prices expected to fall below $3 a gallon, vs. 2013 winter prices of $4 to $4.25.


OPEC decision means ‘pain train’ for U.S. oil industry

OPEC’s decision to maintain oil-production levels could threaten financing for some U.S. oil industry expansion and trigger market consolidation in an only-the-strong-survive scenario, economists and analysts said Friday. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ Thanksgiving Day announcement that it would not cut production in response to weaker prices is seen at least in part as an effort to maintain market share amid competition from U.S. shale oil producers.635527881553026518-GTY-174323642

The move roiled energy markets in shortened holiday trading Friday, setting off a nosedive in the shares of many U.S. oil companies. U.S. light crude fell 10.2% to $66.15, while Brent crude dropped 3.4% to $70.15 for the day. Analysts predicted the benchmarks could fall further next week when traders return from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Some oil industry analysts have already cut their predictions. Platts, a leading provider of energy markets information, on Friday cited Standard Chartered analyst Paul Horsnell’s forecast of $68 a barrel for Brent crude in a “chaotic” first quarter of 2015. Much of the recent increase in U.S. oil production, the product of fracking and drilling in North Dakota, Colorado and elsewhere, is funded with borrowed money, said Philip Verleger, an economist and energy industry consultant who forecast an abrupt end to the trend.

“I think the lending to companies that are going to drill that kind of well is going to stop. Right now,” Verleger predicted in a Friday phone interview. “There’s going to be no more cash into these companies from the outside.” Describing the aftermath of OPEC’s decision as a “pain train,” financial analysts atRobert W. Baird & Co. issued a Friday note that forecast need for a “double-digit percentage drawdown” in the U.S. oil rig count “to mitigate crude oil oversupply concerns.”

U.S. oil production won’t necessarily fall sharply in the short term, because companies with existing wells can survive even if oil prices drop to $50 to $55 a barrel, said Verleger. “We may be about to find out what the break-even cost for the U.S. oil industry really is,” Jason Bordoff, founding director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, said in a Friday phone interview. But Verleger added a key caveat.

“I think the vulture capital investors are circling,” with the aim of potentially buying weaker U.S. oil producers on the cheap, he said. ExxonMobil (XOM), which in 2010 bought XTO Energy, a Texas-based subsidiary with expertise in developing unconventional oil resources, could also hunt for acquisitions among independent U.S. oil producers hit by lower prices, he predicted. “Some of these firms can survive. Some of them can’t. The ones that can will buy those that can’t,” said Verleger.

Lower prices could eventually prove to be an economic boon by forcing producers to find ways to reduce costs, predicted Norbert Ruecker, head of commodity research at global Swiss bank Julius Baer. “Today’s pain should make the marginal shale, deepwater or oil sands suppliers fitter, driving further cost reductions,” Ruecker said in a note cited by Platts. Some analysts predicted the oil market’s financial gyrations could prompt OPEC to reopen discussions on production levels before the cartel’s next scheduled meeting in June. However, Verleger said key OPEC member Saudi Arabia would likely press to maintain the new status quo “until they’re sure they have their market share locked in.”


Crude plunges 10%, dragging down energy shares

Crude oil plunged more than 10% a barrel Friday to its lowest level in more than five years after OPEC opted not to cut production in a world awash in oil. The OPEC decision roiled markets, pushing energy shares sharply lower but sending airline shares skyward.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-oil-pump-image17680658

At its low point Friday, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude tumbled as low as 65.92, the first time it has been below $70 a barrel since 2010, according to indexmundi.com. Using monthly prices, WTI tumbled to its lowest level since it dipped below $65 a barrel back in July 2009. The double-digit percentage drop was its biggest one-day slump in five years, according to Bloomberg.

Crude was down $7.50 per barrel, or 10.17%, to $66.26, at 1:44 p.m. ET, according to Yahoo Finance. OPEC, the Middle East cartel which once dominated the oil business before competitors emerged from other corners of the globe, opted to keep their daily production level unchanged despite plunging crude prices and ample supply around the globe.

OPEC’s decision not to reduce the amount of oil that they pump out of the ground sent oil prices, which have been in freefall for weeks, tumbling further to a fresh 5-year low. OPEC’s move is the latest sign that they are willing to wage a price war and keep their current market share intact and pressure upstart U.S. oil players. Sinking crude prices puts major pressure on the USA’s burgeoning shale business, as U.S.-style “fracking” is a more expensive way to extract oil. Lower oil prices puts great pressure on U.S. oil producers’ profit margins and makes it much more difficult for them to run profitable businesses.

The OPEC decision, which comes amid a glut of oil due in part to a fresh supply coming out of the suddenly energy-rich U.S., moved stocks in the airline sector up and pushed energy stocks down sharply. The big beneficiaries of lower energy costs are U.S. air carriers. Airlines ranging from American Airlines to United Continental saw their shares rise sharply as investors price in bigger profits due to lower costs for fuel.

Airline stocks closed sharply higher:

JetBlue shares rose $1.03, or 7.6%, to $14.63.

United Continental rallied $4.63, or 8.2%, to $61.23.

American Airlines rose $3.56, or 7.9%, to $48.53.

Delta Air Lines jumped $2.43, or 5.5%, to $46.67.

Southwest Airlines gained $2.54, or 6.5%, to $41.82.

Energy shares, however, were hit hard by the plunging crude prices:

Exxon-Mobil was down $3.94, or 4.2%, to $90.54.

Chevron was off $6.24, or 5.4%, to $108.87.

BP was down $2.27, or 5.5%, to $39.32.

The oil services field players also got crushed:

Halliburton was down $5.14, or 10.9%, to $42.20.

Schlumberger fell $6.86, or 7.4%, to $85.95.

Dow ekes out record close; oil plummets 10%

Stocks ended mostly lower — but with the Dow eking out a new record close — as Wall Street separated the winners and losers tied to nosediving oil prices and kept a close tabs on Black Friday sales. The Standard & Poor’s 500 also managed to log a six-week winning streak.1215-stock-market_full_600

A barrel of Texas Intermediate crude settled at $66.15 Friday — a whopping 10.2% drop. At the 1 p.m. close of the abbreviated, post-Thanksgiving session, the Dow Jones industrial average stood fractionally higher, settling at its new record of 17,828.24, passing the level set in the previous session by a half-point. It is the 31st record close for the Dow of 2014.

The S&P 500 ended down 0.3%, while the Nasdaq composite gained 0.1%. All three indexes have climbed for six weeks straight. It’s the longest climb for the three market measures since an 8-week winning streak that ended in November 2013. The apparent takeaway from Wall Street: lower oil prices benefit more businesses than it hurts and has a massive positive impact on consumers’ disposable income.

“‘Tis the season: energy down, consumer up,” is the way Strategas Research Partners summed up the energy math. Says Strategas analyst Nicholas Bohnsack: “The continued decline in the price of crude oil and the resulting savings at the gas pump will likely continue to bolster consumer shares as the market anticipates the positive implications on consumer spending.”

Citing data from the Financial Times, Bohnsack says Americans consume 135 billion gallons of gasoline per year. With retail prices down $0.85 per gallon to roughly $2.78, from $3.64 in June, the consumer is on pace to generate an estimated $115 billion in savings from lower petrol expenditures, he noted in his report to clients. Investors are grappling with the fallout of yesterday’s decision by OPEC to not cut its daily crude production despite a glut of oil around the globe. Oil prices, which were already under pressure due to weaker demand due to a sluggish global economy and ample new supply coming online in the U.S., are plunging anew today after the OPEC decision.

“The selling in oil was epic, with contracts rolling over from $73.50 to $67.75 on WTI in about an hour,” earlier Friday morning, said Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group. The overall stock market is not likely to get crushed due to plunging oil prices as there are many companies — namely consumer stocks, airlines, transportation names, cruise lines – that will benefit from lower oil prices. The Dow, however, might suffer a bit more than the broader stock indexes because both Exxon-Mobil and Chevron are Dow components and are down more than 4% in pre-market trading.

There are winners and losers related to crude plunging to a fresh 4½ year low. Airline shares are soaring and energy stocks are tanking in pre-market trading in response to lower oil prices following the OPEC decision not to cut production amid an oil glut. The big beneficiaries of lower energy costs are U.S. air carriers. Airlines ranging from American Airlines to United Continental saw their shares rise 4% to 5% as investors price in bigger profits due to lower costs for fuel. In contrast, energy shares, including oil-and-exploration companies like Exxon-Mobil and oil services players like Halliburton, which is down more than 4% in pre-market trade, are seeing their shares take a big hit.


Natural Herpes Cure Revealed in HSV Eraser Program – New guide to treat and completly eliminate Herpes Virus Outbreaks by Dr. Christine Buehler’s diet

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Contact Person: Dr Christine Buehler
Email: Send Email
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Source: www.abnewswire.com