Friday, 29 January 2016

The Need for a Tax on Financial Trading and other news and views

The Need for a Tax on Financial Trading - A financial transaction tax — a per-trade charge on the buying and selling of stocks, bonds and derivatives — is an idea whose time has finally come. ... A well-designed financial transaction tax — one that applies a tiny tax rate to an array of transactions and is split between buyers and sellers — would be a progressive way to raise substantial revenue without damaging the markets.

Hollande-Rouhani lunch scrapped after Elysée Palace 'refused to remove wine from menu' - France, unlike Italy, has reportedly refused to take wine off the table for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, meaning he will lunch alone during his historic trip to Paris – the first for an Iranian leader in 17 years. As anger mounted in Rome on Wednesday over a decision to cover up nude statues with large white panels so as not to offend Mr Rouhani, the French have already made it clear that no such cultural concessions would be made regarding its cherished gastronomy. In Rome, alcohol was not served at an official dinner held in Mr Rouhani’s honour – a standard Italian diplomatic gesture for visiting Muslim dignitaries. But in Paris, an originally planned lunch at the Elysée Palace with François Hollande was dropped because the French refused to cede to the Iranian presidency's demand for halal meat to be served and for the wine to be left off the table, citing “republican traditions”.

In Search of Growth Strategies - Restoring growth to the global economy will require the removal of obstacles to investment, efforts to fix dysfunctional labor markets, and measures to counteract rising inequality. But, with few exceptions, such comprehensive growth strategies have been missing.

The Crusade Against Multiple Regression Analysis - I hope that in the future, if I’m successful in communicating with people about this, that there’ll be a kind of upfront warning in New York Times articles: These data are based on multiple regression analysis. This would be a sign that you probably shouldn’t read the article because you’re quite likely to get non-information or misinformation.

The Ethics of a Child Pornography Sting - Should the F.B.I. have continued to operate a website to ensnare predators even though that allowed illicit images to be seen and spread?

Clive Palmer's Queensland Nickel owes $100m and needs large cash injection to continue trading, administrators say

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Some thoughts on China and other news and views

False Alarm on China - The prospect of an economic meltdown in China has been sending tremors through global financial markets at the start of 2016. Yet such fears are overblown. While turmoil in Chinese equity and currency markets should not be taken lightly, the country continues to make encouraging headway on structural adjustments in its real economy. This mismatch between progress in economic rebalancing and setbacks in financial reforms must ultimately be resolved as China now enters a critical phase in its transition to a new growth model. But it does not spell imminent crisis.

China’s Bumpy New Normal - China’s shift from export-driven growth to a model based on domestic services and household consumption has been much bumpier than some anticipated, with stock-market gyrations and exchange-rate volatility inciting fears about the country’s economic stability. Yet by historical standards, China’s economy is still performing well – at near 7% annual GDP growth, some might say very well – but success on the scale that China has seen over the past three decades breeds high expectations.

Hysteria over China has become ridiculous - China is recovering but the world is not yet out of the woods. Capital outflows are dangerous wild card in China's currency drama. By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: ... Any hint of relative optimism on China in the currently wildly-polarized mood can easily be misunderstood. My view has long been - and continues to be - that China has left it too late to wean the economy off debt-driven growth and over-investment in industry, and will therefore drift into the middle-income trap. Since China's banking system is an arm of the state, bad debts will be rolled over in perpetuity. There will be a slow loss of dynamism rather than a "Minsky" moment. It will be a denouement "a la japonaise", a landscape of soporose companies. The Communist Party may have bought another year to 18 months. If so, the reckoning has been delayed again. Optimism means nothing more than that.

Climate outlook overview - Above average February to April rainfall favoured in central and southern Australia, but drier than average in the far north; Temperatures more likely to be cooler than average in central regions but warmer in the far north and far south; Climate influences include a record-warm Indian Ocean basin, a weakening El Niño and warm sea surface temperatures around much of the Australian coastline, particularly near Tasmania

What Were The Least (And Most) Corrupt Countries In 2015? - No country is free of public corruption, a scourge that has wide-ranging effects on the lives of billions of people. But in 2015, more countries saw drops in corruption than those that saw gains, according to the new Corruption Perceptions Index.

RankCountry/territory2015 Score2014 Score2013 Score2012 Score
1Denmark91929190
2Finland90898990
3Sweden89878988
4New Zealand88919190
5Netherlands87838384
5Norway87868685
7Switzerland86868586
8Singapore85848687
9Canada83818184
10Germany81797879
10Luxembourg81828080
10United Kingdom81787674
13Australia79808185
13Iceland79797882
15Belgium77767575
16Austria76726969
16United States76747373
18Hong Kong75747577
18Ireland75747269
18Japan75767474
21Uruguay74737372
22Qatar71696868
23Chile70737172
23Estonia70696864
23France70697171
23United Arab Emirates70706968
27Bhutan65656363
28Botswana63636465
28Portugal63636263
30Poland62616058
30Taiwan62616161
32Cyprus61636366
32Israel61606160
32Lithuania61585754
35Slovenia60585761
36Spain58605965
37Czech Republic56514849
37Korea (South)56555556
37Malta56555657
40Cape Verde55575860
40Costa Rica55545354
40Latvia55555349
40Seychelles55555452
44Rwanda54495353
45Jordan53494548
45Mauritius53545257
45Namibia53494848
48Georgia52524952
48Saudi Arabia52494644
50Bahrain51494851
50Croatia51484846
50Hungary51545455
50Slovakia51504746
54Malaysia50525049
55Kuwait49444344
56Cuba47464648
56Ghana47484645
58Greece46434036
58Romania46434344
60Oman45454747
61Italy44434342
61Lesotho44494945
61Montenegro44424441
61Senegal44434136
61South Africa44444243
66Sao Tome and Principe42424242
66The FYR of Macedonia42454443
66Turkey42455049
69Bulgaria41434141
69Jamaica41383838
71Serbia40414239
72El Salvador39393838
72Mongolia39393836
72Panama39373538
72Trinidad and Tobago39383839
76Bosnia and Herzegovina38394242
76Brazil38434243
76Burkina Faso38383838
76India38383636
76Thailand38383537
76Tunisia38404141
76Zambia38383837
83Benin37393636
83China37364039
83Colombia37373636
83Liberia37373841
83Sri Lanka37383740
88Albania36333133
88Algeria36363634
88Egypt36373232
88Indonesia36343232
88Morocco36393737
88Peru36383838
88Suriname36363637
95Armenia35373634
95Mali35322834
95Mexico35353434
95Philippines35383634
99Bolivia34353434
99Djibouti34343636
99Gabon34373435
99Niger34353433
103Dominican Republic33322932
103Ethiopia33333333
103Kosovo33333334
103Moldova33353536
107Argentina32343435
107Belarus32312931
107Cote d'Ivoire32322729
107Ecuador32333532
107Togo32292930
112Honduras31292628
112Malawi31333737
112Mauritania31303031
112Mozambique31313031
112Vietnam31313131
117Pakistan30292827
117Tanzania30313335
119Azerbaijan29292827
119Guyana29302728
119Russia29272828
119Sierra Leone29313031
123Gambia28292834
123Guatemala28322933
123Kazakhstan28292628
123Kyrgyzstan28272424
123Lebanon28272830
123Madagascar28282832
123Timor-Leste28283033
130Cameroon27272526
130Iran27272528
130Nepal27293127
130Nicaragua27282829
130Paraguay27242425
130Ukraine27262526
136Comoros26262828
136Nigeria26272527
136Tajikistan26232222
139Bangladesh25252726
139Guinea25252424
139Kenya25252727
139Laos25252621
139Papua New Guinea25252525
139Uganda25262629
145Central African Republic24242526
146Congo Republic23232226
147Chad22221919
147Democratic Republic of the Congo22222221
147Myanmar22212115
150Burundi21202119
150Cambodia21212022
150Zimbabwe21212120
153Uzbekistan19181717
154Eritrea18182025
154Syria18201726
154Turkmenistan18171717
154Yemen18191823
158Haiti17191919
158Guinea-Bissau17191925
158Venezuela17192019
161Iraq16161618
161Libya16181521
163Angola15192322
163South Sudan151514N/A
165Sudan12111113
166Afghanistan111288
167Korea (North)8888
167Somalia8888

Mexico is having the grown-up conversation about marijuana that every country should have

Environment vs. Economy: A Shift in American Opinion - Consider how you would answer this question from the Gallup poll organization: "With which one of these statements about the environment and the economy do you most agree--protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth (or) economic growth should be given a priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent?"