Reuters blog archive
EU foreign ministers meet to decide how precisely to deploy sanctions agreed 10 days ago to hit Russian companies that help destabilise Ukraine and to block new loans to Russia through two multilateral lenders.
The EU foreign ministers are tasked with preparing a first list of people and entities from Russia that would be targeted. The number of individuals and companies to be penalized is up for grabs so there is scope to adopt a tougher posture.
The public statements of EU leaders have made it sound like a more dramatic move is possible. Could that be the “sectoral” sanctions that Washington has pushed for which could deliver a really serious blow to the already flatlining Russian economy? Well no, not yet. That would require another summit of leaders. The next one is set for the end of August although an emergency meeting is not out of the question and today’s meeting could give a nod in that direction.
Russia provides up to a third of the EU’s energy needs. Sweeping sanctions will inflict pain on the imposers too – on London’s dominant financial centre, on German commerce, on Italian energy security. Are they up for it? And will France give up on its 2.1 billion euros contract to sell helicopter carriers to Moscow?
from Nicholas Wapshott:
Did anyone hear the crack of a starting pistol? Nor me. But the race to become the Republican presidential nominee in 2016 is on.
Of course Reince Priebus, the GOP chairman, has been trying to keep the contest under close control since the party’s 2012 presidential primaries became a cable comedy sensation.
from Stories I’d like to see:
1. Figuring out the Iron Dome:
As I kept reading and seeing television reports last week about how the Iron Dome missile defense system was doing such a good job protecting Israel from Hamas’ rockets, this intriguing story by the highly regarded veteran journalist James Fallows appeared on the Atlantic website.
Fallows points to other reports suggesting that the system’s success might have been greatly exaggerated and, in fact, that in the midst of war, reporters – he singles out this Washington Post story -- often get seduced by military officials and weapons makers into overstating how effective some new piece of weaponry has been.
from James Saft:
By James Saft
(Reuters) - Rising tensions between Russia and the West are doing what central bankers can’t or won’t: scare investors.
Global stock markets fell for a third straight session on Monday, driven in substantial part by rising tensions after the downing of a civilian airplane over Ukraine.
from James Saft:
July 22 (Reuters) - Rising tensions between Russia and the
West are doing what central bankers can't or won't: scare
Global stock markets fell for a third
straight session on Monday, driven in substantial part by rising
tensions after the downing of a civilian airplane over Ukraine.
At the Upshot over the weekend, Tyler Cowen writes that Americans’ view of income inequality is too narrowly nationalistic. Instead, he says, we should “preface all discussions of inequality with a reminder that global inequality has been falling and that, in this regard, the world is headed in a fundamentally better direction.” Basically, rising incomes in growing economies like China and India should outweigh the inequality concerns of countries (like the U.S.) where increasing exports are causing incomes at the top to rise. “While Chinese growth has added to income inequality in the United States, it has also increased prosperity and income equality globally,” he says.
A global reduction in income inequality is great, says Ryan Avent, but Cowen’s piece misrepresents the heart of the American argument against income inequality. It isn’t about globalization; instead, it’s about lax financial regulation, subsidies to big banks, low tax rates for the rich, and the appearance that political persuasion can be bought. Further, he says, even if American inequality is benefiting the poor in other parts of the world, “few voters are content to have their economies run as charities.”
from Data Dive:
The Chinese housing has been in rough shape for more than a year. Quartz's Gwynn Guilford charts the latest set of bad numbers. It's not an out of control crash just yet – prices are still rising on a yearly basis – but the boom of the last decade is certainly over.
In May, Guilford argued that it may already "be too late for the Chinese government to stop its housing bubble from popping." The problem, she said, was that economic growth had become too closely tied to housing investment. Matt O'Brien made a similar point when he said that a manufacturing-dominated view of China's economy was out of date. After the financial crisis, demand for its exports dropped, and so China looked to housing, the sector at the heart of the crisis in the West, to drive its recovery.
from Reuters FYI:
Despite incredulous onlookers, Civil War re-enactors (and a Scarlett o'Hara impersonator) gather to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta.