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Fri, 20th January 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “democracy” Tag

Italy Urges Europe To Begin Censoring Free Speech On The Internet

First it was the US, then Germany blamed much of what is wrong in society on “fake news”, and not, say, a series of terrible decisions made by politicians. Now it is Italy’s turn to call for an end to “fake news”, which in itself would not be troubling, however, the way Giovanni Pitruzzella, head of the Italian competition body, demands the European Union “cracks down” on what it would dub “fake news” is nothing short of a total crackdown on all free speech, and would give local governments free reign to silence any outlet that did not comply with the establishment propaganda.

In an interview with the FT, Pitruzzella said the regulation of false information on the internet was best done by the state rather than by social media companies such as Facebook, an approach taken previously by Germany, which has demanded that Facebook end “hate speech” and has threatened to find the social network as much as €500K per “fake” post.

Pitruzzella, head of the Italian competition body since 2011, said “EU countries should set up independent bodies — co-ordinated by Brussels and modeled on the system of antitrust agencies — which could quickly label fake news, remove it from circulation and impose fines if necessary.” 

In other words, a series of unelected bureaucrats, unaccountable to anyone, would sit down and between themselves decide what is and what isn’t “fake news”, and then, drumroll, “remove it from circulation.” On the other hand, coming one week after Obama give Europe the green light to engage in any form of censorship and halt of free speech that it desires, when the outgoing US president voted into law the  “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act”, it should come as no surprise that a suddenly emboldened Europe is resorting to such chilling measures.

So with Europe on the verge of rolling out unbridled censorship, here is the strawman used to justify it.

German Minister Seeks Jail Time, Fines In Criminal Crackdown Against Facebook “Fake News”

With Facebook having announced last week the launch of measure to flag and eliminate fake news from appearing on its website, Germany does not think the process is fast enough, and according to Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas, German judges and state prosecutors need to crack down straight away on fake news disseminated through social media platforms such as Facebook. Interviewed by Bild am Sontag, Maas, a Social Democrat in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, has repeatedly warned the U.S. technology company to respect laws against defamation in Germany that are more rigid than in the United States and added that the newspaper the principle of free speech does not protect against slander.

 

Paolo Gentiloni Picked As Italy’s New Prime Minister

With the ECB snubbing Italy on Friday, and refusing to grant insolvent bank Monte Paschi more time to find a financial rescue, it was of paramount urgency for Italy to announce a replacement government that of outgoing prime minister Matteo Renzi, in order to mitigate concerns about the ongoing political chaos.  As a result, on Sunday, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella asked departing Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni – a loyalist from Renzi’s Democratic Party – to form a new government, in the process hopefully bringing to a close a political crisis triggered by a ‘no vote’ in a referendum on constitutional reform last weekend.

As the WSJ first reported, Mattarella gave Gentiloni the mandate to try to form a new caretaker cabinet. Gentiloni, 62, accepted and will begin consultations with political parties to put together his team of ministers. That list could emerge as soon as Sunday evening, setting the stage for the new government to seek votes of confidence in parliament by Tuesday. Correspondents say that if he is successful in rallying support a government could be formed in days.

Things moving quickly in Italy – new govt soon, then elections, bank bailout

Reuters with a run down on developments in Italy:

  • Italian President Sergio Mattarella looks likely to nominate (current) Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to head the next government
  • Gentiloni could potentially take office next week
  • He’ll oversee new elections, but before any vote can take place Italy needs a new electoral law
  • Meanwhile, the country’s third-largest lender, Monte dei Paschi di Siena looks as it needs an more or less immediate bhelp via state intervention to avoid collapse

What time will the Italian referendum result be announced?

When will be know the results of the constitutional referendum?

Here is the quick answer: The voting takes place on Sunday but the polls don’t close until 11 pm local time (5 pm in New York).

After that, the counting will start.

So it won’t likely be until sometime early Monday morning in Italy that we know which side won. I suspect will start to get an idea around 3 hours after the end of voting but it could be significantly later, especially if it’s close.

What’s important to note is that markets will be open when the results hit and that could create a tremendous amount of volatility. Many forex brokers have cut leverage ahead of the result in anticipation of a big move in the euro.

The second event to watch after the results will be the speech from Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. He has said he will resign if he loses. If that takes place immediately after the vote, it willl add to the uncertainty and weigh on the euro.

Euro nerves on display ahead of Italian referendum

The Italian constitutional referendum takes place on Sunday. The question on the ballot will ask Italians whether they are in favour of cutting the number of senators and reducing the costs of its political institutions. But Mr Renzi, who came to power in an internal party coup two years ago, has promised to step down and not lead a technocratic government should the ‘Yes’ campaign fail.

The euro itself has been relatively sanguine, holding around $1.06 of late even though a “No” vote in Italy is seen bolstering populist anti-Brussels movements across the bloc. But underneath the surface, the market is getting stressed. The cost of hedging volatility for the euro/dollar exchange rate over the next week has more than doubled in the past several days and at 18.2, is now the highest since June.

Bookies Rake In The Cash As Bets On U.S. Presidential Election Surges To New Record

The 2016 presidential contest has been one of many “firsts”:  the first to include a nominee of a major political party under an active FBI criminal investigation, the first in which nude pictures of a candidate’s wife hit the internet for all to see, etc.  Now, with less than 24 hours left until voting gets underway, according to Reuters the 2016 contest is poised to break yet another record as the “most wagered-upon political event” in history.

 With many opinion polls showing a tight race just one day before Tuesday’s election, record numbers of bettors are pouring millions into online platforms from Ireland to Iowa in the hope of capturing a financial windfall from a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.

UK-based internet betting exchange Betfair said on Sunday its “Next President” market was set to become the most traded it had ever seen and expected to surpass even Brexit, the contentious UK referendum to leave the European Union.

By Sunday, roughly $130 million had been traded on who will become the next U.S. president, compared with $159 million on the Brexit referendum, Betfair spokeswoman Naomi Totten said. The amount bet so far on the 2016 contest dwarfs the roughly $50 million laid on the 2012 race.

On sites like Paddy Power, gamblers can bet on anything from the most likely winner of the 2016 presidential race…

 Paddy Power

Overnight US Market :DOW Closed -29 Points.S&P Closed -9 points.

Stocks shifted into malaise mode Thursday afternoon with the looming election, sending the S&P 500 down for an eighth straight day.

That’s the longest losing streak for the broad market index since 2008, CNBC reported.

All three major indexes fell for the day after holding onto gains for at least much of the morning. The S&P 500’s loss was 0.4%, while the Dow Jones industrial average and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.2% and 0.9%, respectively.

Investors remain nervous about the outcome of the presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump next week as polls tighten.

As expected, the Federal Reserve left interest rate policy unchanged Wednesday but kept the door open for a rate hike at its December meeting.

U.S. benchmark oil futures slipped again, falling 1.5% to $44.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Emerging Markets: An Update

Fitch upgraded Taiwan by a notch.
Thailand has a new king.
South Africa’s Finance Minister Gordhan has been summoned to appear in court to face charges.
Brazil’s Congress voted to approve a constitutional amendment to freeze government spending in real terms for at least the next 10 years.
Brazil’s Petrobras cut fuel prices and introduced a new pricing mechanism.

In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, Brazil (+2.8%), Mexico (+2.6%), and Czech Republic (+1.6%) have outperformed this week, while the Philippine (-2.7%), South Africa (-2.7%), and China (-2.4%) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, MSCI EM fell -1.7% this week while MSCI DM fell -0.5%.

In the EM local currency bond space, Colombia (10-year yield -18 bp), the Philippines (-17 bp), and Brazil (-10 bp) have outperformed this week, while Turkey (10-year yield +27 bp), Russia (+22 bp), and South Africa (+13 bp) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield rose 5 bp this week to 1.77%. 
In the EM FX space, MXN (+2.2% vs. USD), BRL (+1.4% vs. USD), and COP (+0.5% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while ZAR (-1.9% vs. USD), KRW (-1.5% vs. USD), and THB (-1.1% vs. USD) have underperformed.

Iran Reaches 4Mln Barrel per Day Oil Output – National Oil Company

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, in this July 25, 2005 file photoAddressing the Petroleum Ministry officials, Kardor said that Iran was able to maintain its 14 percent quota in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), according to the IRNA news agency.

The official also announced further increase of oil production. “Our oil production capacity should reach 5.2 or 5.7 million bpd,” Kardor said. Iran has been re-entering the global oil market after in January the European Union, the United Nations, and partially the United States lifted their sanctions against the Islamic Republic after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified Tehran’s compliance with a nuclear agreement reached in July 2015.