U.S. mortgage activity falls to lowest since January – MBA

A measure of U.S. mortgage application activity fell last week to its lowest level since early January as 30-year mortgage rates rose to their highest since July 2015, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released on Wednesday showed. The Washington-based industry group’s seasonally adjusted mortgage market index fell 9.4 percent to 417.2 in the week ended Nov. 25. This was the lowest since 398.5 in the week of Jan. 8.

U.S. should cede control of Fannie and Freddie: Mnuchin

U.S. President-elect Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, on Wednesday waded into the long-running battle over the future control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest players in the U.S. home mortgage market, saying that the lenders should be returned to private control. Fannie and Freddie stood at the center of the 2008 financial crisis. Continue reading “U.S. should cede control of Fannie and Freddie: Mnuchin”

Trump assembles America’s ‘richest cabinet’

US President-elect Donald Trump took a populist tone on the campaign trail, pledging to stand for a beleaguered working class abandoned by the elite. Yet, as he selects his cabinet, observers are already pointing out that he is putting together the richest administration in US history. So far, his choices include a billionaire investor, a woman who married into a retail dynasty and a multi-millionaire banker. Democrats have been quick to the attack. Continue reading “Trump assembles America’s ‘richest cabinet’”

Russia positions 55,000 troops by its border with Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has deployed 55,000 troops on the Ukrainian border in Russia’s latest muscle-flexing exercise prompting fears of an invasion. The sudden influx of feet on the grounds adds to up to 7,500 Russian soldiers already stationed in Ukraine. Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Ihor Dolhov made the announcement in Kiev, where officials are said to be convinced Russia is attempting to topple the government. Continue reading “Russia positions 55,000 troops by its border with Ukraine”

Subprime Auto-Loan Delinquencies Surge to NY Fed’s Attention

Six million Americans are 90-plus days delinquent. The increasingly turbulent sector of subprime auto loans bubbled to the attention of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In its Liberty Street Economics, it worries about the “notable deterioration in the performance of subprime auto loans” – Fed speak for the momentum with which these loans are going to heck. About six million people with subprime credit scores (below 620) are now at least 90 days past due on their payments for their car or truck. Continue reading “Subprime Auto-Loan Delinquencies Surge to NY Fed’s Attention”

China’s ‘extraordinary leverage’ tops Bank of England’s growing list of concerns

China, euro zone sovereign debt and the potential fallout from Brexit top the escalating list of concerns for the Bank of England (BOE), according to a report published on Wednesday which warns that risks to global stability have spiked in the past six months. The U.K.’s central bank’s semi-annual Financial Stability Report states, “Vulnerabilities stemming from the global environment and financial markets, which were already elevated, have increased further since July.” Continue reading “China’s ‘extraordinary leverage’ tops Bank of England’s growing list of concerns”

US crude settles up 3.3% at $51.06, extending surge on OPEC output cut deal

Oil prices surged as much as 5 percent on Thursday, with Brent crude at its highest in about 16 months, extending gains after OPEC and Russia agreed to restrict output to reduce the global supply glut more quickly. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Wednesday to its first oil output reduction since 2008 after de-facto leader Saudi Arabia accepted “a big hit” and dropped a demand that arch-rival Iran also slash output. Continue reading “US crude settles up 3.3% at $51.06, extending surge on OPEC output cut deal”

Italy’s referendum could spark another European banking crisis: Economist

This Sunday’s referendum in Italy could kick off another banking crisis in Europe, according to one economist. “In my view the biggest risk is actually for the banking sector, even more so than political risk, and there will be some political instability,” Megan Greene, ‎chief economist at Manulife Asset Management, told CNBC on Tuesday. Continue reading “Italy’s referendum could spark another European banking crisis: Economist”

Populism is downside risk to global growth

The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has been a positive for stock markets and may increase economic growth, but the surge in populism in the West is a big problem, warn experts. The credit rating agency warned that there were large downside risks to the world economy as a result of the growth of populism and the possibility of the U.S. and China starting a trade or currency war. Continue reading “Populism is downside risk to global growth”

Trump market rally will end after inauguration, expert predicts

The market may be rallying on President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, but one market expert told CNBC he expects that to end after Inauguration Day. That’s because that has been the pattern when a new president from a different party takes office, said Tom McClellan, editor of the McClellan Market Report. After the election, hopefulness and euphoria usually sends stocks higher because “everybody assumes that whatever’s wrong is going to get changed or fixed by the new guy even though nobody’s doing anything yet in terms of governing,” he said in an interview with “Closing Bell” on Tuesday. Continue reading “Trump market rally will end after inauguration, expert predicts”

Trump expected to name former Goldman banker Mnuchin for Treasury: source

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name former Goldman Sachs partner and Hollywood financier Steven Mnuchin as his nominee for Treasury secretary, a source said on Tuesday, putting a Wall Street veteran in the top U.S. economic Cabinet post. Mnuchin, who was Trump’s presidential campaign finance chairman, could be named as early as Wednesday, said a Republican source close to the decision. Continue reading “Trump expected to name former Goldman banker Mnuchin for Treasury: source”

Trump expected to pick investor Wilbur Ross as U.S. commerce secretary

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Wilbur Ross, a billionaire known for his investments in distressed industries, to head the Commerce Department, a Republican source familiar with the decision told Reuters on Tuesday. An announcement on Ross to lead the department, which pursues anti-dumping cases against cheap foreign imports, could come as early as Wednesday, NBC News said. Continue reading “Trump expected to pick investor Wilbur Ross as U.S. commerce secretary”

Saudi Arabia carries on drilling despite oil slump

Saudi Arabia is one of the very few countries which has increased its drilling for new oil and gas wells since prices began to slump in the middle of 2014. The number of rigs operating in Saudi Arabia has climbed from 105 to 126 over the same period, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes. The only other countries to report a significant increase in rig counts were the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, which produce from the same petroleum basin as Saudi Arabia. Continue reading “Saudi Arabia carries on drilling despite oil slump”

Oil jumps over 10 percent as OPEC finalizes output cut deal

Oil soared more than 10 percent on Wednesday to over $50 a barrel and its highest in a month as some of the world’s largest producers agreed to curb production for the first time since 2008 in a bid to support prices. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which accounts for a third of global oil supply, agreed to cut production from January by around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), or over 3 percent, to 32.5 million bpd. Continue reading “Oil jumps over 10 percent as OPEC finalizes output cut deal”

Trump Picks Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary

Mr. Trump named Elaine L. Chao on Tuesday as his choice to be the next secretary of transportation, elevating someone whose background and experience are in many respects completely at odds with the brash and disruptive tenor of his anti-Washington campaign. But her selection also signaled Mr. Trumps need to surround himself with people who can help him accomplish the most ambitious parts of his agenda, even if they come from the political establishment he has so often scorned. Continue reading “Trump Picks Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary”

‘Don’t think that Dodd-Frank will be repealed,’ analyst says

Investors shouldn’t let their hopes run too high about President-elect Donald Trump peeling back bank regulations despite market highs, Strategas Research Partners’ Dan Clifton said Tuesday. “Financials is a good place to be, but don’t think that Dodd-Frank will be repealed,” Clifton told CNBC. Clifton said some regulations would likely be rolled back, including parts of Dodd-Frank that affect small banks, and he could see regulators taking a more hands-off approach. Continue reading “‘Don’t think that Dodd-Frank will be repealed,’ analyst says”

China commodities, stocks slide as weak yuan spurs fears of liquidity squeeze

China’s stock markets fell and commodities prices plunged on Wednesday as government efforts to steady the sliding yuan currency and curb capital outflows added to fears of a liquidity squeeze in the banking system. Analysts said moves by China’s central bank in recent days to shore up the yuan were sucking additional liquidity from the system even as banks and companies start to hoard cash as they typically do heading into the year-end. Continue reading “China commodities, stocks slide as weak yuan spurs fears of liquidity squeeze”

Canada approves new pipelines to boost exports

Canada on Tuesday approved Kinder Morgan Inc’s hotly contested plan to twin a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast, setting up a battle with environmentalists who helped elect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The government, under pressure from both green groups and the energy industry, said allowing Kinder Morgan to build a second pipeline next to its existing Trans Mountain line will help ensure oil exports reach Asia and reduce reliance on the U.S. Market. Continue reading “Canada approves new pipelines to boost exports”

Baker Hughes to form fracturing company with Goldman Sachs

Baker Hughes Inc said it has reached an agreement with CSL Capital Management and Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s merchant banking division to create a hydraulic fracturing company in which Baker Hughes will own a 46.7 percent stake. Under the terms of the agreement, oilfield services provider Baker Hughes will contribute its North American land cementing and hydraulic fracturing businesses, which comprises of assets in the United States and Canada. Continue reading “Baker Hughes to form fracturing company with Goldman Sachs”

Growth stalling would be biggest risk to Europe’s economy: ECB’s Draghi

Stalling recovery would be the greatest risk facing the euro zone’s economy, the head of the European Central Bank said on Monday, underscoring, before an important policy decision next week, the ECB’s focus on supporting growth. The ECB is due to decide next week on whether to extend beyond March its 1.74-trillion-euro ($1.84-trillion) bond-buying program, the centerpiece of its much-criticized stimulus policy, that some say has created bond and property price bubbles and should be wound down. Continue reading “Growth stalling would be biggest risk to Europe’s economy: ECB’s Draghi”

Monte dei Paschi faces potential legal claims for $8.5 billion: document

Ailing Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena said on Monday it is facing potential legal claims for a total of more than 8 billion euros ($8.5 billion) in a series of civil lawsuits. In a prospectus for a debt swap offer due to start on Monday, the Tuscan bank said it had set aside 627 million euros to cover for such claims. Continue reading “Monte dei Paschi faces potential legal claims for $8.5 billion: document”

Warren slams Wells Fargo over arbitration position

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday criticized Wells Fargo & Co’s decision to require customers affected by its unauthorized accounts scandal to go through arbitration rather than allowing them to sue. The San Francisco-based bank last week asked a U.S. court to uphold contract clauses that mandate arbitration, something financial firms often use to protect against litigation. Continue reading “Warren slams Wells Fargo over arbitration position”

Fears mount of multiple bank failures if Renzi loses referendum

Up to eight of Italy’s troubled banks risk failing if prime minister Matteo Renzi loses a constitutional referendum next weekend and ensuing market turbulence deters investors from recapitalising them, officials and senior bankers say. Mr Renzi, who says he will quit if he loses the referendum, had championed a market solution to solve the problems of Italy’s €4tn banking system and avoid a vote-losing “resolution” of Italian banks under new EU rules. Continue reading “Fears mount of multiple bank failures if Renzi loses referendum”

Eight EU countries warned over vulnerable property market

The residential property market risks overheating in eight European Union countries, including Britain, partly from unintended effects of ultra-low interest rates, the EU’s financial risk watchdog said on Monday. The eight countries face a medium-term risk either from overvaluation or excessive household debt levels, a systemic risk to the bloc’s financial stability that requires regulatory attention, the European Systemic Risk Board said in a report. Continue reading “Eight EU countries warned over vulnerable property market”

Trumps Promises Will Be Hard to Keep, but Coal Country Has Faith

Experts say Mr. Trumps expansive campaign promise to put our miners back to work will be very difficult to keep. Yet as he prepares to move into the Oval Office, Appalachians are eyeing Washington with a feeling they have not had in years: hope. The American market for coal is shrinking, industry analysts agree. Utility companies have drastically reduced their reliance on coal, in part because of President Obamas aggressive regulations to cut emissions from power plants, but also because natural gas is cheaper. Continue reading “Trumps Promises Will Be Hard to Keep, but Coal Country Has Faith”

Italy vote may surprise markets for worse

Italy’s Sunday vote on government reform will likely be 2016’s third major victory for anti-globalization sentiment. It may also be unlike the U.K. Brexit vote or the U.S. Trump presidential victory in that it will not be a surprise but financial market reaction will be worse than expected. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s package of constitutional reform, which would centralize power, looks set to get the thumbs down from Italian voters December 4, an outcome he has said he would meet by resigning. Continue reading “Italy vote may surprise markets for worse”

Saudi Arabia’s oil problems run far deeper than OPEC

Saudi Arabia’s problems run far deeper than trying to cobble together a deal with fellow OPEC members to curb crude oil output in order to bolster prices. About two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports head to Asia, and the kingdom’s struggles in the region’s two biggest importers, China and India, are symptoms of its wider issues in crude markets. Continue reading “Saudi Arabia’s oil problems run far deeper than OPEC”

OPEC experts end meeting, no agreement on detail

OPEC experts ended their meeting on Monday without agreeing on concrete details of a planned reduction in oil output by individual countries that will be presented to an OPEC ministerial gathering on Nov. 30, an OPEC source told Reuters. Credibility is in focus as OPEC meets this week in Vienna on a proposal to curb output as speculation swirls a deal may not be reached, says Azlin Ahmad of Argus Media. Continue reading “OPEC experts end meeting, no agreement on detail”

China regulator warns risks increasing for insurers’ credit assets

China’s insurance regulator said that risks are rising for insurers’ credit assets, according to a post on the official website of the regulator. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) has adopted a slew of measures this year to reduce risks from insurers, from reining in aggressive acquisitions to investing in long-term assets using short-term funds. Continue reading “China regulator warns risks increasing for insurers’ credit assets”

Cities Vow to Fight Trump on Immigration, Even if They Lose Millions

Here in Los Angeles, where nearly half of the citys residents are Latino, Mayor Eric Garcetti has vowed to do everything he can to fight widespread deportations of illegal immigrants. In New York, with a large and diverse Latino population, Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged not to cooperate with immigration agents. And Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago has declared that it “will always be a sanctuary city. Continue reading “Cities Vow to Fight Trump on Immigration, Even if They Lose Millions”

Trump aides say Cuban government will have to change

The Cuban government must move toward enacting greater freedoms for its people and giving Americans something in return if it wants to keep warmer U.S. relations initiated by President Barack Obama, top aides to President-elect Donald Trump said Sunday. The comments by Trump advisers Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus followed the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Continue reading “Trump aides say Cuban government will have to change”

Trump calls it ‘sad’ that Clinton joining recount effort

President-elect Donald Trump said Sunday it’s “sad” Hillary Clinton is joining an effort to force recounts of votes from the Nov. 8 election in up to three crucial states. Trump tweeted part of Clinton’s concession speech, when she told supporters they must accept that “Donald Trump is going to be our president,” and snippets from her debate remarks, when she assailed the Republican nominee for refusing to say in advance that he would accept the Election Day verdict. Continue reading “Trump calls it ‘sad’ that Clinton joining recount effort”

Italy Defies EU Imposed Austerity With Brussels-Baiting Budget

Italian deputies on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a draft 2017 budget that the European Commission has warned will breach EU rules on the management of public finances. A vote of confidence designed to curtail debate on the first reading of the budget bill was carried by 348-144 votes, making its definitive approval by the lower house of parliament on Monday a formality. Continue reading “Italy Defies EU Imposed Austerity With Brussels-Baiting Budget”

China will stick to ‘going out’ strategy amid outflow concerns

China said it will stick to its opening up policy and “going out” strategy on investment even while a slide in the yuan to 8-1/2-year lows revives worries about capital fleeing the country. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that China plans to tighten controls on companies looking to invest abroad in an effort to slow surging outflows. Continue reading “China will stick to ‘going out’ strategy amid outflow concerns”

Credit Suisse banker probed for alleged fiduciary duty violations

Geneva prosecutors have opened legal proceedings against a suspended Credit Suisse banker accused of violating his fiduciary duties in a case brought by wealthy Turkish families who say they lost 300 million Swiss francs ($296 million), SonntagsZeitung reported. Two independent Turkish asset managers who oversaw money for wealthy clients that was deposited in Credit Suisse accounts are suspected of illegally covering up losses linked to the Turkish lira’s collapse in 2013, the newspaper reported. Continue reading “Credit Suisse banker probed for alleged fiduciary duty violations”

U.S. is a net exporter of natural gas for first time in nearly 60 years

The U.S. has become a net exporter of natural gas, further evidence of the how the domestic oil and gas boom is reshaping the global energy business. The U.S. has exported an average of 7.4 billion cubic feet a day of gas in November, more than the 7 billion cubic feet a day it has imported, according to S&P Global Platts, an energy trade publisher and data provider. Exports also topped imports for a few days in September, Platts reported. Continue reading “U.S. is a net exporter of natural gas for first time in nearly 60 years”

U.S. shoppers spend less over holiday weekend amid discounting

Early holiday promotions and a belief that deals will always be available took a toll on consumer spending over the Thanksgiving weekend as shoppers spent an average of 3.5 percent less than a year ago, the National Retail Federation said on Sunday. The NRF said its survey of 4,330 consumers, conducted on Friday and Saturday by research firm Prosper Insights & Analytics, showed that shoppers spent $289.19 over the four-day weekend through Sunday compared to $299.60 over the same period a year earlier. Continue reading “U.S. shoppers spend less over holiday weekend amid discounting”

Indian cash crunch hits gold demand during peak wedding season

The scenario is being played out across India, the world’s second biggest consumer of gold, where it is customary to gift jewellery in marriages. The resulting drop in incomes and tepid buying in the wedding season means gold imports, which spiked in the immediate aftermath of the banknote announcement amid panic buying, are likely to drop sharply in the coming months, said traders in India and in the supply hubs of Dubai and Hong Kong. Continue reading “Indian cash crunch hits gold demand during peak wedding season”

India rupee ban: Opposition parties begin ‘day of rage’

Indian opposition parties say thousands will participate in nationwide protests against the government’s ban on two major currency notes. Earlier this month, the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were banned overnight, causing chaos as people lined up at banks to exchange their old currency. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the decision saying it was an anti-corruption measure. Continue reading “India rupee ban: Opposition parties begin ‘day of rage’”

Trump claims millions voted illegally in presidential polls

President-elect Donald Trump has asserted he won the popular vote on 8 November “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”. The Republican, who won the all-important electoral college count, offered no evidence to back his claim. It comes after the camp of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton said it would support a vote recount in Wisconsin initiated by a Green Party candidate. Continue reading “Trump claims millions voted illegally in presidential polls”

Sanders to Trump: use defense contracts as leverage for Carrier jobs

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders turned up the pressure on President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday about his pledge to try to stop an Indiana air conditioner manufacturer from moving 1,400 jobs to Mexico. Sanders on Saturday warned “it is not good enough to save some of these jobs” and said Trump should use as leverage United Technologies’ defense contracts, Export-Import Bank financing, and tax breaks. Continue reading “Sanders to Trump: use defense contracts as leverage for Carrier jobs”

Donald Trump blasts Jill Stein ‘scam’ Wisconsin recount, issues call to accept results

President-elect Donald Trump denounced the effort to recount Wisconsin’s votes as a “scam” engineered by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, calling on voters to “accept this result and then look to the future.” On Saturday, the campaign of Democratic contender Hillary Clinton said it would back Stein’s efforts to take a fresh look at voting results in Wisconsin, a crucial swing state that narrowly backed Trump over Clinton. Continue reading “Donald Trump blasts Jill Stein ‘scam’ Wisconsin recount, issues call to accept results”

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President

On Thanksgiving Day, a Philippine developer named Jose E. B. Antonio hosted a company anniversary bash at one of Manilas poshest hotels. He had much to be thankful for. In October, he had quietly been named a special envoy to the United States by the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte. Mr. Antonio was nearly finished building a $150 million tower in Manilas financial district a 57-story symbol of affluence and capitalism, which bluntly promotes itself with the slogan Live Above the Rest. Continue reading “Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President”

Finger Pointed at Russians in Coup Plot in Montenegro

After multiple but unproven accusations that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is working hard to destabilize Americas friends in Europe, a pro-Russian mercenary detained in Montenegro is slowly spilling his guts and providing the first insiders account of what the authorities in this tiny Balkan nation say were Russian efforts to sow mayhem. Continue reading “Finger Pointed at Russians in Coup Plot in Montenegro”

Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who defied US for 50 years, dies at 90

Former President Fidel Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half century rule, has died at age 90. With a shaking voice, President Raul Castro said on state television that his older brother died at 10:29 p.m. Friday. Continue reading “Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who defied US for 50 years, dies at 90”

Iraq, torn by war and strife, is slowly drawing the notice of investors

Flames emerge from a pipeline at the oil fields in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, October 14, 2016. One of the most unstable countries in the world also happens to have the distinction of being one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Believe it or not, Iraq — riven as it is by terrorist insurgency and civil strife — is expected to grow by a sizzling 7.2 percent this year, according to World Bank data. Continue reading “Iraq, torn by war and strife, is slowly drawing the notice of investors”

Thanksgiving, Black Friday store sales fall, online rises

Sales and traffic at U.S. brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday declined from last year, as stores offered discounts well beyond the weekend and more customers shopped online. Internet sales rose in the double digits on both days, surpassing $3 billion for the first time on Black Friday, according to data released on Saturday. Data from analytics firm RetailNext showed net sales at brick-and-mortar stores fell 5.0 percent over the two days, while the number of transactions fell 7.9 percent. Continue reading “Thanksgiving, Black Friday store sales fall, online rises”

Mexico factory exports slump by most in nearly 4 years

Mexican factory exports fell by the most in nearly four years in October, data from the national statistics agency showed on Friday. Adjusted for seasonal swings, factory exports fell by 5.9 percent in October from September, the biggest drop since January 2013. Mexico exports mostly factory-made goods and uneven demand in top trading partner, the United States, has weighed on Latin America’s No. 2 economy. Continue reading “Mexico factory exports slump by most in nearly 4 years”

Preview of U.S. trade in October signals surge in deficit

An early look at U.S. trade in October showed a big increase in the trade deficit: The advance look at trade in goods rose 9.6% to $62.0 billion, the government said Friday. A broader look at overall trade will be released in early December, and trade in goods, not services, accounts for most of that figure. Trade patterns of services like medical advice are more consistent month to month. October’s jump was bigger than economists had expected. The Econoday consensus was for a deficit of $59.7 billion.

Saudi Arabia tells OPEC it won’t attend non-OPEC talks on Monday

Top OPEC oil exporter Saudi Arabia has told the producer group it will not attend scheduled talks in Vienna on Monday with non-OPEC oil producers, OPEC sources said on Friday. The meeting was planned to discuss the contribution that producers outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC) will make to a supply-limiting agreement. OPEC oil ministers meet on Wednesday to finalize the deal.