Frontrunning: February 18

  • G-20 Signals Support for Japan Easing Without Yen Talk (BBG) - but how will Mrs Watanabe know to sell the JPY without nightly proddings?
  • Obama Faces Risks in Pipeline Decision (NYT)
  • White House Immigration Plan Leaked (WSJ)
  • Reader’s Digest Is Bankrupt as Iconic Magazine Falters (BBG)
  • Venezuela's Chavez in surprise return from Cuba (Reuters)
  • German Recovery Hinges on Euro Zone (WSJ)
  • Hong Kong’s Bankruptcy Requests Climb to Almost Two-Year High (BBG)
  • China New Year Retail Sales Growth Slows on Frugal Drive (BBG)
  • Debt Bubble Born of Easy Cash Prompts Swedish Rule Review (BBG)
  • In Europe's tax race, it's the base, not the rate, that counts (Reuters)
  • Ugliest Danish Banks Find No Buyers in Toxic Asset Trap (Bloomberg)
  • Italian Undecided Voters Targeted in Campaign’s Last Week (BBG)
  • Leader of Boeing engineers brings militant tone (Reuters)
  • Russian Scientists Test Meteor Fragments After Chelyabinsk Blast (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* The G-20, the world's largest economies, will face the first test of their ability to present a united front on currency policy when foreign-exchange markets open in Asia on Monday.

* German Economy Minister Philipp Rosler warned that the return to strong growth in Europe's largest economy later this year depends on stabilization of the euro zone.

* The U.S. Treasury market's heyday of soaring prices is likely over, but some bond managers say there could be one more run. Treasury prices surged after the 2008 financial crisis, dragging yields to an all-time low of 1.4 percent at one point from more than 4 percent, as the Federal Reserve has bought trillions of dollars in Treasurys to help prop up the economy.

* Officials from India will visit Italy this week as the country intensifies its investigations into bribery allegations regarding a helicopter deal worth almost 560 million euros ($747.62 million) with a division of Italian defense contractor Finmeccanica SpA.

* The French investment bank Natixis disclosed a plan to simplify its structure even as it reported a plunge in fourth-quarter net profit.

* South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye nominated state think-tank chief Hyun Oh-seok as finance minister for her incoming government to steer Asia's fourth-largest economy - a move that isn't likely to see any significant change to current economic policies.

* Europe's flagship effort to limit greenhouse-gas emissions faces an existential threat as the price of emissions has fallen dramatically, eroding an incentive for industries to pollute less and forcing policy makers to weigh environmental priorities against economic concerns



Man Group's incoming Chief Executive Emmanuel Roman plans to nearly double the size of the hedge fund firm's executive committee as part of a management shake-up at the company.

Vodafone Group Plc and BAE Systems have signed a five-year deal to work on cyber security with a focus on developing safeguards for mobile devices.

China has given ConocoPhillips approval to restart production at an oilfield off the country's Northeastern coast after a 17-month shutdown prompted by a spill in 2011.

A wave of small companies could demand a suspension of potentially mis-sold interest rate hedging products after a Treasury minister asked the Financial Services Authority to insist that banks should allow all potential victims to refrain from paying premiums until their cases were resolved.

The EU is set to impose the most stringent curbs on bankers' pay since the 2008 financial crisis as talks on reforms to make banks safer enter a decisive week.

BT is in talks to buy football rights from Walt Disney Co's ESPN as the channel explores an exit from the UK.

A proposal being considered by global regulators could force some banks to sharply raise the capital they hold against trading assets, at least over the short term.



* President Obama faces a knotty decision in whether to approve the much-delayed Keystone oil pipeline: a choice between alienating environmental advocates who overwhelmingly supported his candidacy or causing a deep and perhaps lasting rift with Canada.

* Publishers in France say they have struck an innovative agreement with Google Inc on the use of their content online. Their counterparts elsewhere in Europe, however, say the French gave in too easily to the Internet giant.

* A chill between Hollywood and China remains almost a year after word leaked about an SEC investigation into possible corrupt practices.

* With some states poised to clear the way for legal gambling on the Internet, Silicon Valley's traditional gaming companies are expanding to meet the expected deluge of players.

* Business Insider, the online news franchise started by Henry Blodget nearly six years ago, is appointing an executive editor for the first time as it grapples with a good problem: growth.

* Federal and state officials and consumer advocates have grown worried that companies with relatively young, healthy employees may opt out of the regular health insurance market to avoid the minimum coverage standards in President Obama's sweeping law, a move that could drive up costs for workers at other companies.

* Rem Vyakhirev, who as chief executive of the huge Russian energy company Gazprom during the 1990s resisted efforts by reformers to break up and privatize it, only to end his tenure a billionaire owning valuable pieces of the company himself, died on Feb. 11. He was 78




--Revenue in 116 large state-owned companies reached 22.5 trillion yuan ($3.61 trillion) in 2012, up 9.4 percent from a year earlier, according to data from State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

--Sales volume in the retail and catering industry during the week-long Spring Festival reached 539 billion yuan this year, up 14.7 percent from 2012.


--China's State Council has issued a proposal to increase the use of energy-efficient internal combustion engines across the industrial sector to 60 percent. The move can reduce total fuel consumption by 6-10 percent, or around 20 million tonnes of fuel oil, and 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 levels.


--China's nonferrous metal output expanded at a slower pace of 9.3 percent to 36.91 million tonnes last year, down 1.3 percentage points from 2011. A total of 8,057 major non-ferrous metal producers tracked by the ministry cumulatively saw their profits fall 8.9 percent to 155.8 billion yuan.