News: 2014-03-07

Starting today, I am going to have a heavier round of foreign-language links because I want you to see the news flow that I am saying. Before, I didn’t include all those links because I was unable to comment on the stories or translate them. But I think it makes sense to put them in even so and let you do a translation if my short comment on what is important catches your eye. This will be most relevant in Europe and Argentina.

 

Technology

iPhone 5c inventories estimated at over 3 million units, says upstream supply chain

Apple has overestimated demand for the lower price 5c version of the iPhone

Why is American internet so slow? – The Week

The internet is fucked | The Verge

Good article on how cable and internet service providers like Verizon have used mergers in a way to reduce competition in the US and ultimately keep data rates low and prices high.

China may be the world’s biggest smartphone market, but IDC predicts smartphone growth to slow next year – Digits – WSJ

Spotify Just Bought Huge Music Data Company The Echo Nest

Not even extra cash helps: 94 percent of BlackBerry traders at T-Mobile switched platforms

Andreessen Horowitz leads $32.7M investment in high-flyer DigitalOcean

AP EXCLUSIVE: MAN DENIES HE’S BITCOIN FOUNDER – News from The Associated Press

 

Bitcoin

Japan Says Bitcoin Not a Currency – WSJ.com

Bitcoin: Some Parts Brilliant, Some Parts Sure to Bomb

Singapore police probe ‘unnatural’ death of American CEO of bitcoin trader | Reuters

“Singapore police are investigating what they have called the “unnatural” death of a 28-year-old American woman who ran a small exchange that traded virtual currencies, including bitcoins, from the Asian city state”

CEO in apparent suicide was bitcoin fan, had other issues, too – chicagotribune.com

The Face Behind Bitcoin – Newsweek

 

Europe

La vivienda se abarata un 37% desde máximos aunque modera su caída | Economía | EL PAÍS

Even though we have heard that Spanish house prices have stopped declining, this article says this is false, that house prices are still declining, though at a slower rate. The fall from  peak is now 37%.

Immobilien: Paulson investiert in Spanien – Fonds ETF – Finanzen – Handelsblatt

Hedge Fund guru John Paulson is now investing in Spanish property

SNB Suffers Loss on Lower Gold Price – WSJ.com

Arbeitsmarkt Schweiz: Weniger Arbeitslose in der Schweiz – Wirtschafts- und Finanzportal Nachrichten – NZZ.ch

Unemployment in Switzerland is 3.5%

S&P verhoogt ook outlook van Vlaanderen – De Standaard

S&P raised its outlook for Flanders, yet another example of the easing of the European sovereign debt crisis.

Moody’s hebt Ausblick für 20 deutsche und österreichische Banken « WirtschaftsBlatt.at

Moody’s has raised the outlook for 20 German and Austrian banks. Will this mean they get a clean bill of health in the stress tests? We’ll see.

UK companies hire staff at record rates – Telegraph

Greek bank Piraeus set to return to capital markets – FT.com

“Piraeus Bank is poised to become the first Greek bank since the eurozone crisis to return to capital markets, in a crucial test of investor readiness to lend to banks in the region’s recession-battered periphery. The bank wants to do a “benchmark” senior unsecured deal of at least €500m ahead of European regulators’ assessments of the region’s banks’ balance sheets later this year, according to a person familiar with discussions.” 

ekathimerini.com | Southern European states’ bond yields continue decline

“Spain’s 10-year yield fell nine basis points, or 0.09 percentage point, to 3.35 percent, the lowest since January 2006. Similar-maturity Italian yields declined five basis points to 3.37 percent after reaching 3.36 percent, the lowest since October 2005. Portugal’s 10-year yields slid 13 bps to 4.71 percent and Greece’s fell 12 bps to 6.81 percent.”

ekathimerini.com | Banks’ capital needs add up to 6.4 bln euros, says BoG

ekathimerini.com | Germany offers fund to defuse Greek war reparation claims

 

Ukraine

EconoMonitor : Ukrainian Chess

MUST READ article from Simon Johnson

Timosjenko: Rusland maakt misbruik van zwakte van het Westen – nrc.nl

Apparently, Timoshenko has said that Russia is using the west’s weakness to gain advantage in Ukraine

Russia’s English-Language TV Channel: We’re Biased and So Are You

Good article on media bias and journalism

Propaganda, or the other side of the story? | the first casualty.

More on media bias

Michael Meyer urges the new government in Kyiv to serve the interests of all citizens. – Project Syndicate

Ukraine crisis fails to trigger repricing of risk – FT.com

“The relative calm observed since Tuesday reflects investors’ calculations that a balance of economic interests between Russia and the west will prevent the crisis becoming a systemic threat to the global economy, even if it develops into a prolonged, 21st century version of the Cold War.”

Ukraine’s Naftogaz says paid for January Russian gas supplies | Reuters

Ukraine’s PM Urges Russia to Start Talks, Reject Crimea’s Referendum – WSJ.com

 

Emerging Markets

Shanghai Chaori in Default on Bond Interest Payments – WSJ.com

Zimbabwe’s only reserves are $500,000 of gold coins – Telegraph

EM’s dark debt squeeze exposure | FT Alphaville

“If you take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe exactly what the statistics tell you to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you what the statistics just can’t see. What we’re talking about is hidden debt. The debt that’s out there but which we can’t currently see or assess.”

 

North America

The Amazon Effect: Staples To Close 225 Stores, Says It’s Now Making Half Of All Sales Online | TechCrunch

Staples to shut 225 stores in North America as sales fall | Reuters

Costco posts disappointing results | Toronto Star

US fourth-quarter productivity is slashed – Independent.ie

U.S. jobless claims tumble to three-month low | Reuters

Outgoing NSA chief hints at ‘media leaks legislation’ – POLITICO.com

WASHINGTON: Probe: Did the CIA spy on the U.S. Senate? | National Security & Defense | McClatchy DC

Unemployment, Wages, Inflation, and Fed Policy – Tim Duy’s Fed Watch

Fed officials see high hurdle for changing course on QE taper | Reuters

Ben Bernanke earns more in a 40-minute speech than he did in whole year as Fed chairman | Financial Post

“Bernanke was paid at least $250,000 for his first public speaking engagement, in Abu Dhabi, since stepping down in January, according to sources familiar with the matter. That compares to his 2013 paycheck of $199,700, and the appearance was only the first of three around the world this week.”

U.S. Household Net Worth Hits Record High – WSJ.com

Delta makes a radical change to its frequent-flier program – The Term Sheet: Fortune’s deals blogTerm Sheet

“Delta Air Lines (DAL) is making a radical change in its frequent-flier program designed to win more business from its biggest-spending customers, including corporate travelers. These “elite” fliers account for just 2% of Delta’s customers but generate over 20% of the revenues, numbers typical of the industry.”

Making sense of Delta’s change to fare-based mile earning

Record home building in Canada drives spike in building permits | Financial Post

 

Markets

Buffett Cuts Bond Allocation as Berkshire Warns on Yields – Bloomberg

Cerberus Reaches Deal for Safeway – WSJ.com

Safeway LBO to be backed by US$7.6bn in debt | Capital City | IFRe

Exclusive: Pimco’s Gross declares El-Erian is ‘trying to undermine me’

 

Elsewhere

How to Pick Your Life Partner – Part 2 | Wait But Why

 

About 

Edward Harrison is the founder of Credit Writedowns and a former career diplomat, investment banker and technology executive with over twenty years of business experience. He is also a regular economic and financial commentator on BBC World News, CNBC Television, Business News Network, CBC, Fox Television and RT Television. He speaks six languages and reads another five, skills he uses to provide a more global perspective. Edward holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Edward also writes a premium financial newsletter. Sign up here for a free trial.