“Dollar Advances With Stocks as Irma Threat Recedes.”
The dollar gained, Treasuries retreated and stocks advanced as an appetite for risk returned after an anticipated North Korean missile test failed to materialize and Hurricane Irma struck the U.S. with less force than feared. Gold, the yen and the Swiss franc all fell.
Bloomberg’s dollar index was headed for the first increase in eight days, while U.S. stocks rallied, Treasuries slipped and insurers jumped after Irma weakened and shifted direction to spare Miami a direct hit. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed the most in more than three weeks as all the region’s major stock gauges advanced. Crude erased earlier gains even as Gulf Coast refining capacity continued to recover.
Pyongyang warned of retaliation if the UN Security Council approves harsher sanctions over its recent nuclear test in a vote Monday. But speculation had mounted that the country would mark the anniversary of its founding with another missile over the weekend — and that didn’t happen.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve speakers are now in a blackout period before next week’s policy meeting, so investors are likely to devote much of their attention to assessing the impact of natural disasters on U.S. growth. While the most dire predictions about Irma seem to have been avoided, the storm converted streets into rivers, hammered Caribbean islands and the Florida Keys with deadly fury, and left at least 4.7 million without power and millions temporarily displaced.
“Facebook fined 1.2 million euros by Spanish data watchdog.”
Facebook has been fined 1.2 million euros ($1.4 million) for allegedly collecting personal information from users in Spain that could then be used for advertising, the national data protection watchdog said on Monday.
The fine stemmed from an investigation into the social network company conducted alongside similar probes in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, the AEPD authority said. The 1.2 million euro fine is a fraction of Facebook’s quarterly revenue of about $8 billion and stock market capitalization of around $435 billion.
AEPD said it found three cases in which Facebook had collected details such as the gender, religious beliefs, personal tastes and browsing history of its millions of Spanish users without informing them how such information would be used.
According to the AEPD, the tech giant did not sufficiently inform users about how it would use data collected on third-party websites, and did not obtain consent to use it. Using cookies, Facebook also collects data from people who do not have an account on the social network but navigate other pages containing a “like” button, AEPD said. Facebook users’ activity can also be tracked on third-party sites, and the information collected added to what is already associated with a Facebook account, AEPD said.It said it also found evidence the network kept information for more than 17 months after users closed their accounts.
“ECB Governors Promise Caution to Calm Fears Over Stimulus Exit.”
As the European Central Bank prepares to wind down its ultra-accommodative stimulus, some of its top officials are telling investors not to fret.
Governing Council member Ardo Hansson comments in an article last week — which acknowledge that the ECB’s bond purchases were slowed as of April this year — follow the council’s cue last week that a decision on the next step of the program is likely in October. While policy makers are considering various options on how a gradual winding-down process might look, some have expressed concern over the prospect that financial conditions will tighten and damage the economy. Hansson argued that the main contributor to the ECB’s accommodative policy isn’t the monthly level of bond purchases — currently scheduled to run at 60 billion euros ($72 billion) until at least the end of this year — but rather the overall level of excess liquidity in the system.
After more than 2 trillion euros of asset purchases, combined with negative interest rates and free loans to banks, the bloc’s economy is proving robust yet inflation continues to fall short of the ECB’s goal. A surging euro has increased concerns that consumer-price pressures will be damped.
Executive Board member Sabine Lautenschlaeger, who has previously urged policy normalization as fast as possible, acknowledged the conundrum in the same Eurofi magazine but said that policy makers must get ready to act. Austrian Governor Ewald Nowotny took a similar stance, saying that a strategy to pare back stimulus must be “well designed, it has to be gradual, clear and consistent with our reaction function and our forward guidance.”
New York Times
“Hurricane Irma Linked to Climate Change? For Some, a Very ‘Insensitive’ Question.”
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, says it is insensitive to discuss climate change in the midst of deadly storms. Tomás Regalado, the Republican mayor of Miami whose citizens raced to evacuate before Hurricane Irma, says if not now, when? “This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the E.P.A. and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change,” Mr. Regalado told the Miami Herald. “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.”
In Washington, science is increasingly political, the fact that oceans and atmosphere are warming and that the heat is propelling storms into superstorms has become as sensitive as talking about gun control in the wake of a mass shooting. “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced,” Mr. Pruitt said ahead of Hurricane Irma, echoing similar sentiments he made when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas two weeks earlier. “To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida,” he added.
It’s unclear whether experiencing powerful storms will change minds. A 2015 study published in the journal Climatic Change found Americans experiencing extreme weather events are not necessarily more concerned about climate change. Last week E&E News interviewed several Republican lawmakers whose constituents were hit by Hurricane Harvey and most said they had not considered the issue of climate change.
“When we try to warn people about the risks, there’s no ‘news’ hook. No one wants to listen. That’s why the time to talk about it is now,” Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, wrote in an email as Harvey lashed the Texas coast. “The most pernicious and dangerous myth we’ve bought into when it comes to climate change is not the myth that it isn’t real or humans aren’t responsible. It’s the myth that it doesn’t matter to me. And that is exactly the myth that Harvey shatters.”