Frontrunning: August 29

  • Hurricane Isaac Whips Storm Surge on Path to New Orleans (Bloomberg)
  • Republicans Vow to Transform Obama’s U.S. With Low Tax, Freedom (Bloomberg)
  • Little-known Ryan to take center-stage at Republican convention (Reuters)
  • An $800 billion stimulus tempest in a teapot: China State Researcher: Local Govt Investment Plans Largely Symbolic (WSJ)
  • China Says Payment Delays, Defaults May Worsen (Dow Jones)
  • G-7 Countries Call for Increased Oil Output to Meet Demand (Bloomberg)
  • Creeping Socialism: Clegg calls for emergency tax on rich (FT)
  • United Airlines computer problem delays 200 flights (Chicago Sun Times)
  • Paulson, Investors Avoid Fireworks Despite Brutal Run (Bloomberg)
  • Occupy Sets Wall Street Tie-Up as Protesters Face Burnout (Bloomberg)
  • The nostalgic grass is always greener: Serbia Joblessness Swells as Milosevic-Era Leaders Return (Bloomberg)


Overnight Media Summary


* Tropical storm Isaac made landfall in southeastern Louisiana, less powerful than originally feared but still threatening to inundate flood-prone, low-lying regions with a major storm surge and heavy rain.

* Mitt Romney kicks off a concerted push by Republicans to move foreign policy into the spotlight, taking on President Barack Obama's record overseas.

* The Obama administration released its final fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, requiring each auto maker's fleet to reach an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

* Texas' Republican-controlled legislature disenfranchised minorities with the electoral maps it drew following the 2010 census, a federal court found, though the ruling won't affect the November election.

* The Group of Seven leading industrialized economies appealed to the world's major oil producers to boost output as fears about Hurricane Isaac and tensions with Iran pushed up oil prices.

* U.S. home prices ended the second quarter with the first positive annual growth rates since the summer of 2010, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller indexes.

* California Governor Jerry Brown announced a deal with legislators to overhaul state workers' pensions, partly by boosting the retirement age and capping benefits.

* Income on U.S. farms is expected to climb this year to its highest level in nearly four decades, the government said, despite the drought that has hit much of the farm belt.

* Energy companies shut down nearly all offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as about two-thirds of the region's natural-gas output, as Hurricane Isaac headed toward the Louisiana shore.


British Business

The Times


Efforts by HM Revenue & Customs to clamp down on alcohol tax fraud have been lambasted as inadequate by an influential House of Commons watchdog.

The Telegraph


David Cameron will not drop his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow until at least 2015 despite warnings from business leaders that the delay is damaging the economy.


Spanish savers withdrew nearly 60 billion pounds ($94.98 billion) from the country's banks last month as fears of a Greek-style economic collapse rise.

The Guardian


Britain's wealthiest people should face an emergency tax to avoid a breakdown in social cohesion as the country fights an "economic war" caused by a longer than expected recession, Nick Clegg said.

The Independent


Claims management companies (CMCs) could be forced to pay back millions to consumers under new plans announced on Tuesday by the Ministry of Justice.



* U.S. has set higher fuel efficiency standards. The rules, first proposed last year, would require new cars and trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving by 2025.

* In the coming month, ECB President Mario Draghi will be under pressure to provide details of his plan to shore up the euro zone's weaker member nations by buying their bonds.

* The most economically important region of Spain, Catalonia, asked the national government on Tuesday for more than 5 billion euros in emergency financing, underscoring a growing regional debt burden as the country struggles to pull out of its economic tailspin.

* Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy is hoping to persuade his European partners to let the European Central Bank buy more government debt to help keep borrowing costs lower.

* The latest housing data showed a year-over-year increase in prices nationally, with a recovery apparent even in places like Miami, Atlanta and Detroit.

* Newhouse Newspapers, which earlier this spring announced that it would stop printing a daily paper at The New Orleans Times-Picayune and its Alabama newspapers, said it would end the daily distribution of two more of its newspapers in Harrisburg, Pa.

* New York is looking at whether the makers of energy drinks are misleading consumers about how much caffeine the drinks contain and the health risks they could pose.

* Federal Aviation Administration will appoint a group to study air travel rules and make recommendations on changes, but in-flight cellphone calls will continue to be banned.




* The Quebec election is down to a two-way fight for francophone votes between the province's top opposition parties, leaving Jean Charest's third-place Liberals with little time to avoid an embarrassing finish.

* Carleton University has rewritten a controversial donor agreement for its school of political management to make clear that a wealthy patron does not have the final say on faculty hiring and curriculum. The new donor agreement comes after Carleton stonewalled for almost a year to hide the details of its $15 million deal with Calgary businessman Clayton Riddell.

Reports in the business section:

* Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia surprised investors with higher-than-expected profits and dividend increases - a sign that Canadian banks are confident enough with the economic picture to return more cash to their shareholders.

* German engineering conglomerate Siemens AG is betting on strong growth in Canada in coming years, underpinned by the stability of its resource-focused economy and a pending free-trade agreement with Europe, Chief Executive Peter Loescher said in an interview on Tuesday.


* Quebec Liberal leader Jean Charest waded into the French language laws debate this week, saying he wants to reopen the French language charter and extend it to federal institutions, before appearing to backpedal a day later.

* Toronto Police closed the westbound lanes of the Gardiner Expressway, near Kipling Avenue, on Tuesday night to investigate "remains." This portion of the highway was closed at roughly 7:15 p.m. to investigate "remains of something." But it is unclear whether it is human or animal, said Staff Sgt Keith Smith.


* Canadian air travellers may soon be able to access wireless internet after federal regulators signed off on a plan by Illinois-based Gogo Inc to begin offering the service north of the 49th parallel.

* BCE Inc's media unit is partnering with Quebec entertainment icon Cirque de Soleil in a production pact to develop new content based on the world-renowned troupe's acrobatic theatrics.


European Economic Update

  • France Business Confidence Indicator 90 – in line with expectations. Consensus 90. Previous 90. Revised 89.
  • Switzerland KOF Swiss Leading Indicator 1.57 – higher than expected. Consensus 1.45. Previous 1.43. Revised 1.41.
  • Sweden Consumer Confidence 5.4 – lower than expected. Consensus 5.7. Previous 5.6.       
  • Sweden Manufacturing Confidence s.a. -9 – lower than expected. Consensus -3. Previous -2. Revised -3.
  • Sweden Economic Tendency Survey 97.1 – higher than expected. Consensus 95.5. Previous 96.1. Revised 95.4.
  • Italian Retail Sales s.a. 0.40% m/m -0.50 y/y - higher than expected. Consensus -0.20% m/m. Previous -0.20% m/m -2.00% y/y. Revised 0.10% m/m -1.7% y/y.
  • Norwegian Manufacturing Wage Index 0.10% q/q. Previous 0.70% q/q. 


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