Фондовые индексы Азиатско-Тихоокеанского региона закрылись разнонаправленно после того, как республиканцы Сената США приняли законопроект о пересмотре налоговой системы США, а президент Дональд Трамп в воскресенье написал в твиттере, что никогда не просил экс-директора ФБР Джеймса Коми прекратить расследование в отношении Майкла Флинна, бывшего советника Белого дома по нацбезопасности. Это противоречит показаниям самого Коми. Японский фондовый рынок закрылся в красной зоне после новостей о том, что республиканцы Сената США приняли законопроект о пересмотре налоговой системы. Акции Kobe Steel, Panasonic, Advantest и Fanuc упали в цене на -1-2%, Canon - на -0,2%, а Sony - 1,4%. Розничные магазины J. Front Retailing и Takashimaya увеличили капитализацию на 1,7% каждый после публикации отчета о сильных ежемесячных продажах в ноябре. Потребительское доверие Японии улучшилось, как ожидалось в ноябре, до самого высокого уровня за последние четыре года, свидетельствуют данные опроса кабинета министров. Индекс потребительского доверия в Японии вырос до 44,9 с 44,5 в предыдущем месяце. Австралийские акции восстановились от первоначальных потерь на фоне роста прибыли горнорудных и энергетических компаний. Акции BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group и South32 выросли в цене на 1,5% - 1,6%, а Rio Tinto - на 1,2%. Бумаги ANZ и Westpac упали в цене примерно на 1%. NIKKEI 22707.16 -111.87 -0.49% SHANGHAI 3310.37 -7.25 -0.22% HSI 29138.28 +64.04 +0.22% ASX 200 5985.59 -4.17 -0.07% KOSPI 2501.67 +26.26 +1.06% NZ50 8184.87 -3.96 -0.05% Информационно-аналитический отдел TeleTradeИсточник: FxTeam
More Abenomics Failures: Retail Sales and Factory Output Contract, Businesses Reject Wage Hike Plea; Fine-Tuning a la Buiter
Abenomics is back in the spotlight tonight. Results show a complete failure on three fronts: retail sales are down, factory output is back in contraction, and the most humiliating of all, Japanese firms have outright rejected Prime Minister ...
More Abenomics Failures: Retail Sales and Factory Output Contract, Businesses Reject Wage Hike Plea; Fine-Tuning à la Buiter
Complete Failure of AbenomicsAbenomics is back in the spotlight tonight. Results show a complete failure on three fronts: retail sales are down, factory output is back in contraction, and the most humiliating of all, Japanese firms have outright rejected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plea for higher wages.Retail Sales Decline, Factory Output ContractsPlease consider Japan output, retail sales slump, dampen recovery prospects. Japan's factory output fell for the first time in three months in November and retail sales slumped, suggesting that a clear recovery in the world's third-largest economy will be delayed until early in 2016.While manufacturers expect to increase output in coming months, the weak data casts doubt on the Bank of Japan's view that an expected pick-up in exports and consumption will help jump-start growth and accelerate inflation toward its 2 percent target.Industrial output fell 1.0 percent in November from the previous month, more than a median market forecast for a 0.6 percent decline, data by the trade ministry showed on Monday.Separate data showed that retail sales fell 1.0 percent in November from a year earlier, more than a median forecast for a 0.6 percent drop, as warm weather hurt sales of winter clothing.Wary of soft growth, the government plans nearly $800 billion in record spending in the budget for the fiscal year that will begin on April 1.The BOJ has signalled readiness to expand stimulus if risks threaten Japan's recovery prospects. The central bank fine-tuned its stimulus programme on Dec. 18 to ensure it can keep up or even accelerate its money-printing.Fine-TuningDamn that weather. It's always too hot, too cold, or too perfect for retail sales.The only possible conclusion is central banks need to fine-tune the weather to get predictable outcomes.Not to worry, there's the tried-and-failed method of more government spending as a fallback mechanism. Businesses Reject Abe's Plea to Hike WagesAs if weather-related fine-tuning was not problematic enough, the Japan business lobby head won't commit to higher wagesThe head of an influential Japanese business lobby won't pass on the government's requests to its members to raise salaries next year, a worrying sign that real wages may not increase fast enough to boost consumption in the country."The government is hoping for higher wages, but the Keizai Doyukai, as an organization that corporate executives personally belong to, is not going to tell its members what to do," said Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, chairman of the Keizai Doyukai, which regularly participates in the government's corporate policy panels and is one of Japan's top three business lobbies."Companies that don't have money obviously won't raise wages."Higher wages are crucial to policymakers' efforts to break a decades-long cycle of weak growth and deflation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won modest wage gains from the largest firms, but this has been slow to filter through the economy.Around 65 percent of people work at small and medium-sized enterprises, many of which are losing money and are therefore unlikely to raise salaries or spend extra money on training employeesMore Fine Tuning NeededWhat's with these damn corporations? Why do they insist on making a profit anyway? Clearly this misguided and very unpatriotic behavior must be fixed at all costs.And I have just the solution. As part of the fine-tuning effort, all Abe needs to do is guarantee minimum corporate profits. Should that fail, there's always the last resort of free helicopter-drop money for everyone. Lord knows how important it is to slay the deflation dragon once and for all. Don't take my word for it. Instead, listen to Willem Buiter, Citibank's Chief Economist. He knows precisely how damaging deflation is. For details, please see Helicopter Drop, What Else?Mike "Mish" Shedlock Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Фондовые торги в Японии 11 апреля завершились снижением индекса Nikkei на 2,38%. Рынок проседает все больше, а котировки устремили к шестимесячным минимумам. Аналитики не исключают, что текущая тенденция продолжится и может содействовать дальнейшему ухудшению ситуации. Спад аналитики связывают с проседанием американских бирж в целом и котировок компаний высокотехнологического сектора в частности. Американских инвесторов, как и их коллег по всему миру, более всего разочаровала динамика Nasdaq, просевшего по итогам торгов в США от 10 апреля более чем на 3,1%, или 130 пунктов. Эта потеря стала для индекса самой существенной за 2,5 года. Тем не менее, в текущем месяце Nikkei продолжает демонстрировать более слабые позиции, чем Nasdaq, даже с учетом новых потерь последнего. На корпоративном фронте неблагоприятной новостью стало сообщение крупного одежного ритейлера Fast Retailing. Компания сообщила, что снижает собственный прогноз по операционной прибыли на год. Подобное сообщение в совокупности с недавним повышением налогов оказало неблагоприятное влияние на инвесторов. Напомним, что с 1 апреля в Японии был официально повышен налог с продаж. Котировки Fast Retailing снижаются на 7,9%. Котировки еще одного ритейлера, J.Front Retailing, также оказались под давление информации о снижении продаж на фоне повышения налога. Бумаги J.Front Retailing тем не менее дорожают на 0,6%. Иена продолжила укрепляться по отношению к доллару, что оказало негативное влияние на котировки крупных экспортеров, традиционно выигрывающих за счет слабой национальной валюты. Котировки Canon Inc. снизились на 0,7%, бумаги Ricoh Co. Ltd. подешевели на 1,5%, акции Panasonic Corporation стали дешевле на 1,6%, а рыночная капитализация Toshiba Corp. сократилась на 1%. Ценные бумаги автопроизводителя Toyota Motor стали дешевле на 0,2%, акции Nissan Motor Co. - на 1,4%, а рыночная капитализация Mitsubishi Motors Corporation сократилась на 0,6%. Накануне фондовые торги в Японии завершились минимальным ростом индекса Nikkei, который поднялся лишь на 0,43 пункта. По итогам торгов 11 апреля 2014 г. индекс Nikkei снизился на 2,38% и составил 13960,05 пункта. Доллар США снизился на 0,15 иены, курс составляет 101,63 иены за 1 долл.
J Front Retailing Co Ltd, Mori Building Co Ltd, L Real Estate and Sumitomo Corporation on Wednesday announced they have recently reached a mutual agreement to jointly operate a retail facility forming part of the largest mixed-use building in Ginza developed by the Ginza 6-chome Urban Redevelopment Consortium. The building…
Форекс: Доллар США торгуется с понижением Этим утром доллар США торгуется с понижением относительно своих главных конкурентов. Учитывая ненасыщенность макроновостного фона в эти дни, рынки будут находиться в ожидании выхода экономических показателей грядущей недели. Между тем, вместе со вчерашними благоприятными данными по первичным заявкам на получение пособия по безработице внимания инвесторов заслужат и некоторые ключевые макроэкономические цифры из США, которые должны быть опубликованы так же на следующей неделе; они скажут о степени экономического восстановления в Штатах. Что касается европейской части света, то интересы сосредоточатся вокруг окончательного значения деловой активности в сфере фабричного производства Еврозоны и предварительного уровня инфляции потребительских цен. В 6 часов утра по GMT евро и британский фунт прибавили 0,3 процента и 0,2 процента против американского доллара, торгуясь по цене 1,3737 доллара и 1,6440 доллара соответственно. Японская иена снизилась на 0,3 процента по отношению к евро и несколько повысилась по сравнению с долларом США. Тем временем, выпущенные ночью данные показали ускорение темпов японской инфляции потребительских цен в ноябре и приближение её уровня к целевым двум процентам Банка Японии. Фондовый рынок Европа: Рынок откроется в «плюсе» Открытие германского фондового индекса DAX и французского CAC ожидается на 82 пункта и 20 пунктов выше соответственно. Индекс Британской фондовой биржи FTSE100 откроется повышением на 36 пунктов. Публикация цен производителя Франции и Греции; счёта текущих операций Испании запланирована на сегодня. Сообщений по ключевым экономическим индикаторам Великобритании, а также корпоративных релизов не ожидается. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) заявила, что в 2014 году компания планирует открыть ещё около 60 офисов и 115 дополнительных банкоматов в Колумбии в рамках своего плана по расширению бизнеса в стране. Merck KGaA (MRK) находится в поиске партнёра среди иранских производителей для выпуска лекарственных средств в стране, – пишет «The Financial Times». Lafarge SA (LG) объявила о готовности продать бельгийской компании Etex Group (ETEVP) свою оставшуюся 20-процентную долю в европейских и южноамериканских операциях по добыче гипса приблизительно за 145,0 миллионов евро наличными. По информации агентства Reuters, вчера Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) отменила четыре рейса как в Париж, так и из него после того, как большинство её сотрудников во Франции единодушно вышли на больничный в знак протеста против сокращения рабочих мест. Тем не менее, согласно сообщениям, во второй половине дня перелёты возобновились. Фондовый рынок Азия: Торги в основном в «зелёном» Этим утром азиатские рынки торгуются большей частью на положительной территории. В Японии Takeda Pharmaceutical (4502) отступили в силу прекращения компанией работ по совершенствованию препарата ТЭК-875, предназначенного для лечения сахарного диабета, ввиду отсутствия положительных результатов. Toshiba (6502), напротив, выросли на фоне сообщений о том, что компания ведёт переговоры с Bechtel Corporation и другими американскими фирмами в целях продать часть своей доли в электротехнической и ядерной компании Westinghouse Electric. Front Retailing (3086) прибавили в цене благодаря превзошедшим ожидания рынка результатам по операционной прибыли в третьем квартале. В 6 часов утра по GMT индекс Токийской фондовой биржи Nikkei 225 торгуется на 0,5 процента ниже на отметке 16090,8 пункта. В Китае Hareon Solar Technology (600401) и Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology (002506) подорожали в связи с перспективами роста спроса на солнечную энергию в 2014 году. В Южной Корее Hanjin Shipping (117930) продвинулись вперёд вслед за получением компанией около 300,0 миллиардов южнокорейских вон путём создания совместного предприятия с Hahn & Company. В Гонконге акции финансового сектора HSBC Holdings (5) и Standard Chartered (2888) зафиксировали убытки. Фондовый рынок США: Фьючерсы торгуются ниже В 6 часов утра по GMT фьючерсы на S&P 500 торгуются на 1,6 пункта ниже. Информации по основным экономическим показателям и корпорациям США сегодня не будет. В четверг в рамках продлённой торговой сессии WPCS International (WPCS) «взлетели» на 26,5 процента после того, как BTX Trader – подразделение компании – выпустило автоматическую торговую платформу для трейдеров, пользующихся такой цифровой валютой как Биткоин; так, программа сможет позволить им собирать данные и исполнять ордеры на пяти самых популярных биржах Bitcoin. ANI Pharmaceuticals (ANIP) подскочили на 5,1 процента ввиду объявления компании о приобретении у Teva Pharmaceutical Industries 31 дженерикового препарата, выведенного ранее на рынок, приблизительно за 12,5 миллиона долларов наличными, а также получения процента будущей валовой прибыли от реализации продукции. Associated Estates Realty (AEC) и JDS Uniphase (JDS), напротив, пошли вниз на 7,6 процента и 1,6 процента соответственно. Американский фондовый индекс S&P 500 во время вчерашней регулярной торговой сессии прибавил 0,5 процента и завершил свои торги на своём историческом максимуме вслед за позитивными данными по числу заявок на получение пособия по безработице в США за прошлую неделю. Amazon.com (AMZN) выросли на 1,3 процента на сообщениях компании о достижении рекордных показателей во время праздничного сезона в рамках его членской программы Amazon Prime; так, за третью неделю декабря 2013 года число её новых заказчиков выросло более чем на один миллион. Акции ритейлеров Urban Outfitters (URBN) и Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) пошли вверх на 2,2 процента и 0,5 процента соответственно на фоне новостей о высоком уровне продаж с 1 ноября по 24 декабря 2013 года. Exxon Mobil (XOM) и Chevron Corporation (CVX) подорожали на 1,7 процента и 1,1 процента соответственно. Тогда как, eBay(EBAY) отступили на два процента по причине замедления роста объёма продаж в период со Дня благодарения по 22 декабря 2013 года. Facebook (FB) опустились на 0,4 процента. Сводка последних новостей Инфляция потребительских цен Японии растёт Японский годовой уровень инфляции потребительских цен в ноябре поднялся до 1,5 процента по сравнению с октябрьским показателем в 1,1 процента. Японская безработица не наблюдает изменений С учётом сезонной корректировки ноябрьский уровень безработицы в Японии остался на уровне предыдущего месяца – 4,0 процента. Рост объёма промышленного производства замедляется Скорректированный на сезоность объём промышленного производства Японии увеличился в ноябре на 0,1 процента на ежемесячной основе, что оказалось меньше рыночных ожиданий, в прошлом месяце был зафиксирован однопроцентный рост. Розничные продажи Японии идут вверх больше прогнозов Ноябрьские розничные продажи в Японии выросли на 4,0 процента в годовом сопоставлении, опередив ожидания рынка, по сравнению с пересмотреннными данными за октябрь, отразившими рост в 2,4 процента. Производственный сектор Японии демонстрирует незначительные улучшения Японский индекс деловой активности PMI в обрабатывающем секторе от JMMA/Nomura продвинулся в декабре до семилетнего максимума в 55,2 пункта, тогда как в ноябре его значение было равно 55,1. Японский уровень оплаты труда повышается Ноябрьский уровень оплаты труда в Японии поднялся на 0,5 процента, тогда как пересмотренный показатель предшествующего месяца показал падение на 0,1 процента. Расходы домохозяйств Японии растут медленней Годовой показатель объёма расходов домохозяйств в Японии вырос в ноябре на 0,2 процента, не дотянув до рыночных ожиданий; в предыдущем месяце было зарегестрировано увеличение на 0,9 процента. Китай отмечает некоторое замедление в темпах роста промышленной прибыли На ежегодной основе прибыль, полученная промышленными компаниями Китая за первые 11 месяцев 2013 года, прибавила 13,2 процента по сравнению с ростом на 13,7 процента за первые 10 месяцев этого же года. Материал предоставлен Saxo Bank http://ru.saxobank.com
In a party as small as the Liberal Democrats, the same people tend to crop up again and again at conference. But can that possibly explain why the business secretary appears to be following our writer around?The first thing the initiate notices on entering the Liberal Democrats' Monday-morning economics debate (policy motion F19: Strengthening the UK Economy) is the pair of traffic lights flanking the stage. They're there to govern the length of speeches – they go amber after a while, as a warning – but they're pointed toward the audience, which turns it into a bit of a game: will they beat the lights? Presumably speakers also have some means of knowing their time is almost up, but a surprising number still stray into the red. Final words honed to encapsulate, draw applause or incite laughter are ruined by the chair's unceremonious interruption: "Could you draw your remarks to a close, please."This is supposed to be an exciting moment – they're debating a motion supporting the government's fiscal mandate; essentially they want to own the recovery - and the word is that Vince Cable isn't turning up to support the leadership. But the arguments seem abstruse and procedural. They're presently debating whether or not to include lines one through four of amendment one; lines which themselves call for the deletion of lines 53 through 55 of the motion proper. As exhortations to the rank and file go, "I urge you to remove the first four lines of the first amendment, and the last four of the second," is not the most inspiring.Naomi Smith, co-chair of the Social Liberal Forum, speaks up for both amendments. Tim Farron, president of the party, urges Lib Dems not to get the jitters and hand credit for the recovery to George Osborne. He gets the loudest applause of the debate so far, but it's hard to compare it with anything because the room has been filling up steadily.Delegates are then called to the "intervention mic" set up to one side of the hall, for a series of one-minute speeches. Linda Jack, chair of Liberal Left, is the first person to speak unequivocally. "If we're not going to distinguish ourselves from the Tories," she says, "then the question 'What are the Liberal Democrats for?'" is a valid one. But her passionate speech ends abruptly: when your minute's up on the intervention mic, they turn it off.Suddenly Cable, the man they said wouldn't turn up, turns up. Cameras flock to him, and bathe him in a harsh bubble of light that follows him while he looks for a seat and stays with him after he sits down. It's going to make it very hard for him to concentrate, I think.The chair says: "I now call Nick Clegg from Sheffield." The deputy prime minister takes the stage. "This motion is about what we can do now," he says. He tells the delegates to "be careful what you wish for". As he speaks, the light goes amber, then red. "Can you draw your remarks to a close please," the chair says. Everybody laughs. It's a sign that the leader plays by the same rules as everyone else; you can't accuse him of stage management, unless his straying into the red was stage-managed.The leadership wins the vote: lines one to four deleting lines 53 to 55 are themselves deleted. A guy coming out of the auditorium behind me sums up the debate as "good humoured, well mannered and ill-informed".Here's another thing the initiate (all right, it's me – I've never been to a party conference before) notices: the Lib Dems are a small party. You seem the same faces again and again, on the stage, in the hall, queuing for coffee. Paddy Ashdown is having a quiet chat on a forlorn balcony over a shopping mall. Charles Kennedy is walking out of the debate on the bedroom tax saying: "Well, that was very satisfactory." Everyone knows everyone, and if you're not a Lib Dem, it can be a little lonely.And here's another thing: Vince Cable, the man who wasn't meant to be somewhere, is everywhere. After the vote he's in the lobby, talking on camera. He makes his big speech just before lunch, defending the party's role in the coalition. "Without us in government," he says, "we would now be ruled by people who think that the problem with this country is that workers have too much job security." Just after lunch he speaks again, at a debate on tax. The conference directory lists him as speaking at no fewer than four separate fringe events that evening. He's inescapable.The Clyde auditorium is linked to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) and the Crowne Plaza Hotel by a series of narrow labyrinthine corridors, which are poorly signed and offer ample opportunity to get lost. To solve the problem, they've posted a steward at every potential wrong turn. It takes four of them to get me to the exhibition hall, where all the charities and pressure groups put up their booths.The Countryside Alliance is here; so are Guide Dogs, the Falkland Islands government, Royal Mail and CND. At the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), they've set up a giant game of Operation. I win a box of mints packaged up to look like prescription tablets, which, oddly, strikes me as something IOSH might want to campaign against. Sweeties that look like medicine? What could possibly go wrong?A group called the Tobacco Retailers' Alliance has set up a booth that looks like a shop selling fags. Its representative tells me it is campaigning against tobacco smuggling. "It's the same people who are carrying out drug smuggling," he says. It's also pretty clear they're against plain cigarette packaging, which the Lib Dems are calling for in an emergency motion. It's true, he says, but only because it would increase smuggling. "If you only have one design to copy," he says. "It makes it that much easier for smugglers."At the BBC booth they're showing silent clips of Sherlock Holmes. In the middle of the booth Cable is seated at a desk, with headphones on, in front of a Dalek. He's giving a radio interview, but he looks like part of the exhibit.On a TV screen on the booth's outside wall, a tieless Clegg is doing a Q&A with delegates. I recognise Linda Jack – the woman from the intervention mic – when she stands to ask a question. "I'm wondering if there's still a place in this party for me," she says. "To be honest it's only the glee club that keeps me here."On the way back to the auditorium, Cable comes sweeping up behind me in the corridor. I pose for a picture with him, thinking it will stop him following me everywhere.During the tax debate I drift off briefly, only waking when someone behind me shouts, "Rubbish!" Afterward I find Linda Jack, who tells me she has a bit of history taunting Clegg at Q&As. As an early Clegg supporter who once proclaimed that she'd trust him with both her life and her party, she stood up two years ago and said: "I still think I could trust you with my life; can I still trust you with my party?"Is she really worried there's no place for her in the party? "This is my spiritual home, politically," she says. "But then when I see what's happened to the party, there's no way we're living up to those values. That is what really hurts me."Shouldn't the leadership take credit for its successes in government? "If I went to the doctor and he mended my broken leg," she says. "And he told me what a beautiful job he'd done mending it, without telling me he'd cut the other one off in the process …"(Here's one more thing I've learned: Lib Dems love tortuous analogies. Paul Coleshill compared Trident to a clapped-out sports car inherited by a middle-aged man of failing prowess. Another debate speaker launched a simile about a broken-legged camel that was cruelly cut off by the red light.)As we talk lots of people stop to say hello to Jack, to put up a thumb, to say well done. "Keep the faith," says one. "We need people like you to keep pushing. There's more of you around than you think there are."Jack says the party is losing good people on the left, fed up with the leadership's constant compromises on core values. "Today has been a real disappointment," she says. "All the way along, from Vince voting against those deleted lines …"He wasn't even supposed to come, I say. "He wasn't gonna come and then he suddenly turns up," she says. "I tweeted earlier on that I wondered if somebody'd kidnapped his cat."I tell her my theory: I think there are two Vince Cables.Party president Tim Farron does not subscribe to the portrait of the Lib Dems as a divided party, drifting ever rightward and losing good people on the left.""I don't buy that," he tells me. "If you're in government you've got to compromise with reality. There were some people who just couldn't tolerate the very notion of being in the same room as the Conservatives. I think there are others who found the notion of us being in power at all as something they couldn't stomach."That evening I get back to my hotel room just as Newsnight begins. Cable is on, facing an audience of activists who all seem familiar to me. Jack raises her hand and tells Cable she thought somebody must have kidnapped his cat.The next day Vince Cable again comes up behind me as I am walking. I slow to let him pass, and eventually he turns off down a corridor, but after I descended the stairs to the exhibition hall, he somehow materialises behind me from a hidden door. I do a circle of the exhibits and double back in order to lose him.Later, at lunchtime, I decide to test my theory about the two Cables, sneaking into one and then the other of two fringe talks he's scheduled to be attending simultaneously. He's not at the first, but he is at the second, something to do with the UK music industry. I don't hang around; the refreshments have already been decimated.In the afternoon, there's a big debate about Trident. Activists have proposed an amendment asking for language about reducing Britain's nuclear capacity to be replaced with a commitment to all but eliminate it. As always a lot of time is taken up with Lib Dems – not without cause – congratulating themselves for being willing to debate. Having never been before I can't tell whether the debate is more fractious than usual, because of the years of coalition, and the looming election, because the leadership wants its way at any cost."I just think the issues are a bit more meaty," Farron tells me. "Trident and taxation and issues to do with energy supply. These are really massive issues and there's no way of the leadership fixing it". The leadership can never guarantee an outcome on any vote, ever."They try, though, don't they?"They try to encourage people to go and vote a certain way," he says. "I always assume when I get a phone call at two o'clock in the morning before a vote saying please, please please will I speak at the debate, that it might be too close to call. I think you can only use me once a conference for that."The Trident vote is too close to call by a show of voting cards. They have to send stewards into the aisles to count them all. The result – 322 against the amendment, 228 for – is a victory for the leadership.On the final morning of the conference Jack speaks in favour of her amendment to the motion on "manifesto themes", stressing the party's commitment to core values and its constitution. "If I'm a vegan and I'm choosing a new suite with my partner," she says. "I might compromise on the fabric and colour, but I certainly won't compromise on the material."The conference is basically over by the time Clegg's speech starts: delegates have checked out of hotels, and Clegg's words have been made available to journalists.In answer to Jack's question, "What are the Liberal Democrats for?" Clegg seems to have an answer: "Our mission," he says, "is to anchor Britain to the centre ground."Jack would say he needs to make sure he brings the party with him on that mission. "A good leader," she told me, "would seek ways to reconcile and think about how we can deal with things in a way that keeps everybody together - a bit like what a coalition is supposed to do, isn't it?"I decide to leave the Lib Dems to it, and walk across the windswept construction siteout side the conference centre back toward my hotel, looking back over my shoulder to make sure Vince Cable isn't behind me.Liberal Democrat conference 2013Liberal DemocratsLiberal Democrat conferenceVince CableTim Dowling theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
A federal judge rules Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) acted with "malice and reckless indifference" by asking a store employee to dress against her religious beliefs. The retailer decided to take the case to court instead of refining its "Look Policy" as the EEOC suggested. What to watch: Abercrombie & Fitch appears to be losing the battle on several fronts over maintaining that its employees are living advertisement for the lifestyle look it's selling. Analysts think a more subtle approach may be warranted. Post your comment!
On the global event front, in the week ahead, China retail sales and IP data will be important. In addition, the Indonesia MPC will meet on Thursday. In the intermeeting period, Bank Indonesia hiked policy rates by 50bps to defend its currency and we expect them to announce another 25bp hike this round. That would be 150bps in hikes since June and we will be watching to see how determined they sound to prevent further FX weakness. In Japan, the higher Q2 GDP revision (even if missing expectations) will be an important factor in the decision whether or not to go ahead with the VAT hike. The data will likely be spun as strong enough to support the tax increase as planned. In Europe, watch to see if industrial production registers a yoy increase for the second consecutive month. UK labour statistics will also be key since the BoE adopted a 7% unemployment threshold last month. In the US, retail sales on Friday will be the main data release. In addition, Congress will return from its 5-week recess on Monday and will likely keep their focus on Syria this week. Finally, San Francisco Fed President Williams (who does not vote on FOMC policy this year) will speak on Monday. Last week, Williams argued that the FOMC should maintain its focus on the unemployment rate, despite its limitations. After Friday's employment report saw the unemployment rate drop again due to falling participation, this issue is likely to resurface. The Fed's communication blackout period begins on Tuesday so Williams will be the last FOMC speaker before the September meeting ends on the 18th. The Week Ahead Monday, September 9 Australia Housing Finance (Jul): Consensus +2.0%, Previous +2.7%. Japan GDP Q2, Final 3.8%: Consensus 3.9%, Preliminary 2.6%. China CPI (Aug): Consensus +2.6% yoy, Previous +2.7%. China WPI (Aug): Consensus -1.7% yoy, Previous -2.3%. US Consumer Credit (Jul): Consensus +$12.3bn, Previous +$13.8bn. Also interesting: Fed’s Williams speaks. Tuesday, September 10 Australia Nab Business Survey (Aug): Previous: Business conditions -7pts, Confidence -3pts. China Retail Sales (Aug): Consensus +13.2%, Previous +13.2%. China IP (Aug): Consensus +9.9%, Previous +9.7%. India Trade Balance (Aug): Previous –US$12.3bn. Turkey GDP (Q2): Consensus +4.1%, Previous +3.0%. South Africa Current Account Balance (Q2): Consensus –ZAR196bn, Previous –ZAR191bn. France IP (Jul): Consensus +0.5% mom, Previous -1.4%. Sweden IP (Jul): Consensus +0.5% mom, Previous +3.0%. Italy GDP (Q2, Final): Consensus -0.2% qoq, Preliminary -0.2%. US Small Business Optimism (Aug): Consensus 95.0, Previous 94.1. Also interesting: US JOLTS job openings. Wednesday, September 11 Australia Consumer Sentiment (Sep): Previous 105.7. Hungary CPI (Aug): Consensus +1.6% yoy, Previous +1.8%. Czech Republic Current Account Balance (Jul): Consensus –CZK7.0bn, Previous –CZK3.2bn. Poland Current Account Balance (Jul): Consensus +EUR73mn, Previous +EUR574mn. Germany HCPI (Aug, Final): Flash 1.6% yoy. UK Unemployment (Aug): Consensus -21k, Previous -29.2k. UK ILO Unemployment Rate (Aug): Consensus 7.8%, Previous 7.8%. US Wholesale Inventories (Jul): Consensus +0.3% mom, Previous -0.2%. Thursday, September 12 Australia Employment (Aug): Consensus +10k, Previous -10.2k. Australia Unemployment Rate (Aug): Consensus 5.7%, Previous 5.8%. Australia Participation Rate (Aug): Consensus 65.2%, Previous 65.1%. Korea MPC: Consensus expect the policy rate to remain at 2.5% Philippines MPC: Consensus expect the policy rate to be unchanged at 3.5%. Japan Core Private Machinery Orders (Jul): Consensus +2.2%, Previous -2.7%. Turkey Current Account Balance (Jul): Consensus -$5.4bn, Previous -$4.5bn. Israel Current Account Balance (Q2): Previous +1.8bn. France HCPI (Aug): Consensus +1.0% yoy, Previous +1.2%. Spain HCPI (Aug, Final): Consensus 1.6% yoy. Flash 1.6%. Sweden Unemployment Rate (Aug): Consensus 7.9%, Previous 7.8%. Italy IP (Jul): Consensus +0.3% mom, Previous +0.3%. Euro Area IP (Jul): Consensus -0.3% mom, Previous +0.7%. US Import Price Index (Aug): Consensus +0.5% mom, Previous +0.2%. Also interesting: Mark Carney presents inflation report to Treasury Select Committee. US jobless claims. Friday, September 13 Russia MPC: Consensus expect the policy rate to remain at 5.5%. We continue to expect rates to remain on hold through the end of the year on the basis of a relatively stable inflation outlook. Consensus expects 50bps in cuts through the end of the year. Poland CPI (Aug): Consensus expect 1.1% yoy, Previous 1.1%. Sweden GDP (Q2, Final): Consensus -0.1% qoq, Preliminary -0.1%. US PPI (Aug): Consensus +0.2%, Previous +0.0%. US Core PPI (Aug): Consensus +0.1% mom, Previous +0.1%. US Retail Sales (Aug): Consensus +0.4% mom, Previous +0.2%. US Core Retail Sales (Aug): Consensus +0.3% mom, Previous +0.5%. US Consumer Sentiment (Sep): Consensus 82.0, Previous 82.1. US Business Inventories (Jul): Consensus +0.3% mom, Previous +0.0%. In table format from SocGen: Top issues for the week ahead: UK DATA TO UNDERMINE CARNEY UK data this week, including the August RICS house price balance, August claimant count and July construction, is set to paint a picture of recovery becoming increasingly broad based. MARKET ISSUES: The better data are set to leave that market increasingly sceptical that Mr Carney will be able to stick to his forward guidance. Good news for Sterling! US CONSUMER STRENGTH July consumer credit is expected to see a slower pace with a gain of $11.1bn, down from $13.8bn in June. If our forecasts are correct, this nonetheless means a year-todate gains in consumer credit of $91bn compared to $79.6bn for the same period last year. The key report this week, however, will be the August retail sales. We look for a gain of 0.5% mom for retail sales ex-autos. MARKET ISSUES: In our opinion, data between now and 17-18 September is unlikely to steer the Fed away from tapering at the upcoming meeting. GOOD ACTIVITY FOR CHINA IN AUGUST As detail by lead China economist, Wei Yao in this edition of the Week Ahead, the August trade data painted a fairly mixed picture. This is the first of a truckload of Chinese data out this week. We expect August new loans to pick up to CNY740bn, but total credit is the more important variable, also capturing the shadow banking system and this is now slowing. Overall, we expect the August activity data (industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investments) to point to a further improvement in August. MARKET ISSUES: Looking ahead, our central scenario continues to look for a structural slowdown of the Chinese economy. Those expecting to see a durable return to 8%+ growth rates will in our opinion be disappointed. WILL GERMANY BE TOUGHER AFTER THE ELECTION? Just two weeks left to the German election and opinion polls have narrowed. An important question for the markets is just how tough a new German government will be on Europe. Will Spain and France be forced to catch up on what appears to be some fiscal slippage? Will Italy be pushed to reform? The consensus is that Chancellor Merkel will show some flexibility, but will nonetheless want to see progress on both austerity and reform. Tougher questions still are whether Greece and Portugal will receive further financial assistance. No surprise; the majority of Germans are opposed to lending more to the European periphery. Our expectation is that compromise will ultimately be reached, but will come with the usual conditionality. The deeper point around the German elections that we also have taken away from recent conversations with experts is the Germany will be politically more volatile over the next four year term as it seems increasingly unlikely that a strong majority will emerge from the German election. Wolfgang Munchau in the FT also makes this point. When it comes to European issues, the risk is that there will be little resolve to advance further on banking and fiscal union and little appetite for new loans. This would be very bad news for the European process. MARKET ISSUES: A less politically stable Germany is not a scenario that we believe is currently discounted by the markets. Risks of such an outcome are growing and all else being equal we see this as bad news for the future growth prospects of both the euro area and Germany. As highlighted in our recent European Themes, Germany urgently needs reform! Source: Goldman and SocGen
Wall Street got off to a relatively positive start last week even as rising concerns over the conflict in Syria weighed heavily on the markets. Last Wednesday, the Senate approved President Obama’s request to strike Syria, bringing the U.S. one step closer to military intervention. On the economic front, the Federal Reserve’s “beige book” showed the U.S. economy growing at a “modest to moderate” pace in July and August, fueled by consumer spending on housing and cars [see The Best (And Worst) Performing ETFs For Every Quarter]. In U.S. labor news, initial jobless claims fell to 323,000, slightly below the expected 333,000, while Automatic Data Processing and Moody’s Analytics reported that 176,000 new private-sector jobs were created in August. U.S. nonfarm payrolls expanded 169,000–below the 175,000 estimate–though the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.3% from 7.4%. This week, investors will once again see a slew of economic reports. Below, we outline three ETFs that [...]Click here to read the original article on ETFdb.com.Related Posts:ETF Insider: Bears Lurking In Uncharted Territory3 ETFs To Watch This Week: EWJ, XRT, ENZL17 ETFs For Day TradersETF Insider: Earnings Jitters Are Back ETF Insider: Progress In Greece Will Tip Markets
Leaked documents show scale of Philip Morris efforts against anti-smoking directiveConfidential documents have revealed the formidable lobbying operation waged by a tobacco giant seeking to undermine efforts to make cigarettes less attractive to children and women, and force packs to carry larger health warnings.The documents obtained by the Observer show how Philip Morris International (PMI) employed 161 people to combat a proposed tobacco products directive (TPD), a major piece of European Union legislation that health campaigners say would save lives.Under proposals by the commission's ENVI public health committee, which had been due to be voted on this week in the European parliament, cigarette companies would be forced to include large pictorial health warnings on tobacco products covering 75% of the front and back of packs. There would also be a ban on all flavoured tobacco products – such as menthol, vanilla and strawberry – and on slim cigarettes and slim cigarette packs. These are seen as particularly attractive to younger smokers and to women, say health experts. The directive could also lead to e-cigarettes being regulated under pharmaceutical legislation and sold like medicines, something some new entrants in the market oppose.On Thursday it emerged that the crucial vote had been postponed by MEPs until 8 October, a significant victory for the tobacco lobby. As a result, time is running out to introduce the directive before January when the presidency passes from Lithuania, which is pro-regulation, to Greece, which is opposed to tobacco control."There is little time to get the directive passed before this parliament comes to an end and the whole process has to start again," said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Ash."That would be good news for the tobacco industry in its endless search to wring profits out of new addicts, but terrible news for children and young people across Europe."Delaying the directive has been a key goal of the tobacco lobby. Internal PMI EU public affairs briefings from 2011 and 2012 – marked "private and confidential. For internal discussion and illustration purposes only" – show that the tobacco giant, which now employs David Cameron's election strategist Lynton Crosby as a consultant, was intent on derailing the directive.In one slide dated 9 August 2012, PMI discusses whether its strategic objective is to "push" (ie remove elements of the directive) or to "delay" it. A company spreadsheet reveals that it used 161 employees and consultants in lobbying. It shows that in the year to June 2012, the lobbyists claimed almost £1.25m in expenses for their meetings with MEPs. The spreadsheet shows that by 22 June last year, 233 MEPs – 31% of the total – had been met by PMI at least once. In a separate spreadsheet, several MEPs are listed as having been met four or five times. Almost half of the European People's Party and European centre-right groups met with PMI's lobbyists, the documents show.The internal slides also show how PMI targeted farmers' organisations, retail bodies and trade and business associations to reach high-level decision makers in the European parliament and the European Commission.There is also evidence that the company commissioned academic and economic studies to promote its claims.One slide showed PMI's intention to generate avis négatifs (negative opinions) about proposals put forward by the EC's Sanco directorate – the body charged with ensuring health and consumer protection.Another slide explained that it was PMI's objective to ensure "that menthol be excluded from characterising flavours ban in TPD". PMI said it would not comment on the confidential documents leaked to the Observer. However, in a statement it said it believed the directive was flawed. "It is up to the EU to set the timeline for considering this legislation, and it is our hope that these flaws will be addressed and that the EU implements a regulatory framework that is fair, science-based and makes sense in light of the EU's priorities, without imposing unnecessary burden on the economy," PMI said.Separately, emails released under the Freedom of Information Act by the Department of Health reveal that concerns about the directive were shared by other tobacco firms.Earlier this year the department feared that Imperial Tobacco had obtained protected information from the European Council working group, which was helping draw up the directive.The matter raised concerns in Whitehall that the tobacco lobby was in receipt of market sensitive information, raising questions about the relationship between Brussels and lobbyists.Imperial wrote to the department to say it was alarmed to learn that in April the government had spoken in favour of plain packaging for cigarettes during a European Council working group meeting and demanded confirmation from the department.When asked to reveal the source of its information, Imperial declined to tell the department.The department was forced to write to Imperial explaining that the council's reports "are subject to principles of professional secrecy".Philip Morris InternationalTobacco industrySmokingHealthHealth policyEuropean commissionEuropean UnionEuropeFreedom of informationLobbyingImperial TobaccoJamie Doward theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Retail expert Mary Portas will mount a vigorous defence of her efforts to revitalise the high street in front of MPs today.
Matsuzakaya department store closed its doors in Ginza on Sunday night after doing business in the upscale shopping area for 88 years. Operator J. Front Retailing Co made the announcement at the end of last year. The store has been holding clearance sales until 10 p.m. each night since June…
Wolf Richter www.testosteronepit.com www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter Anecdotal evidence has been piling up in Japan. Lamborghini sales in fiscal 2012, ended March 31, hit the highest level in 14 years. Ferrari sales jumped 40% for the first quarter. Luxury retailers forecast fat profits. “The sudden improvement in the stock market has led to a big rise in sales at our department stores for luxury brands and high-end goods like jewelry, precious metals, and watches,” said Ryoichi Yamamoto, president of J. Front Retailing Co. The rich – beneficiaries of the Bank of Japan’s phenomenal money-printing binge – are spending, even if it’s not on products made in Japan. Now we have the first trickle of statistical evidence. Much of it came in one fell swoop, appropriately enough, during Golden Week, which has nothing to do with gold and isn’t even a week, but a series of holidays interspersed with a few work days. Overall retail sales were down 0.3% in March from prior year, but large-scale retailers booked a 2.4% gain. Spending by households of two or more persons jumped 5.2% in March from prior year. Part of it was ascribed to warmer temperatures, the rest to the stock market. “This is the effect of Abenomics,” explained Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co., giddily oblivious to the misery that asset bubbles leave behind, including the epic bubble in Japan that burst in 1989; to this day, the economy stumbles over its detritus. But everybody loves bubbles on the way up. They make people forget the aftermath of prior bubbles. They make economists and central bankers say stupid things. They make rational people giddy. But Abenomics wisely didn’t take credit for the unemployment rate that inched down in March to 4.1% from 4.3% – due to women dropping out of the workforce. The number of employed people grew by 310,000 over the 12-month period, to 62.46 million, a solid improvement in a country with a declining working-age population. But that was underway before Shinzo Abe was hoisted to the perch of Prime Minister. Another trend Abenomics couldn’t take credit for: housing starts rose 6.2% for the 12-month period through March, the third year in a row of growth. Among them, starts for rental homes soared 10.7%. Even industrial output increased in March, for the fourth month in a row, if by a less-than-hoped-for 0.2% month to month. A beginning. For the 12-month period, output was still down 7.3%. Based on the recent improvements, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry increased its assessment for the future. Optimism is winding its way back into the economic fabric. If Japan is going to go down under its load of debt, Abenomics will make sure it’s going down swinging. Two weeks ago, the Lower House passed the ¥92.6 trillion budget, of which 46.3% has to be borrowed. Once the “supplementary budgets” are thrown on top of it, half of all government expenditures have to be borrowed. Abenomics sticks to the old playbook, the one that didn’t work before: spending on public works projects will jump 15.6%. That budget feeds the corporate and individual welfare state. But no one wants to pay for it. Borrow it instead. Alas, someone will end up paying for it. And it’s not going to be the taxpayer, as the budget makes clear. It’s going to be the direct or indirect owners of Japan’s debt, it’s going to be savers and anyone with assets. Yup, taxpayers. Abenomics is conjuring a bout of inflation. In patriotic support, companies are busy raising prices. McDonalds announced proudly that it would jack up the price of some burgers by 25%! The first increase since 2008. Double-digit energy price increases have already whacked consumers and businesses. Now the government confirmed its success story: inflation has arrived! The preliminary all-items index for the Tokyo area for April, a precursor for the national index, showed inflation of 0.3% month to month, reducing deflation for the 12-month period to 0.7%. Goods were up 0.4% – annualized about 5% inflation! Services rose 0.2%. Almost every item was up. Fuel 1.3%, clothes and footwear 2.2%, in one month! The national index for March, which lags the Tokyo index by a month, showed a monthly inflation of 0.2%, cutting deflation for the 12-month period to 0.9%. This is just the beginning. At this pace, Abenomics will meet the 2% inflation target early. But the 2% target is just a cover. The BOJ will allow inflation to spiral “out of control” while keeping its iron knee on yields. Inflation will eat into the wealth of savers and retirees, the generation that benefited the most from funding much of the welfare state with debt. It will eat into wages. It will cause mayhem and pain, but gradually, rather than suddenly. In the process, it will diminish the debt's weight. Abenomics seems to have chosen that strategy as a lesser evil – because, as Vice Finance Minister Takehiko Nakao pointed out in a hilarious understatement, “A debt ratio of 245% of GDP is not really safe.” High government debt is not a problem until it becomes one – the “Bang! moment.” That’s the fundamental conclusion by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart when they studied the now hotly debated correlation between government debt and GDP growth. Now John Maudlin tears into the mainstream media’s distortions of that debate. Read.... Outside the Box: Debt, Growth, and the Austerity Debate And here is a powerful, musical appeal (with lyrical text in English) to the Japanese that slams politicians, bureaucrats, the nuclear industry and its shenanigans, and the mainstream media.... "humanERROR" by the Japanese rock group "Frying Dutchman"
NELSON, Ga. -- The city council in a small north Georgia town voted Monday night to make gun ownership mandatory – unless you object. Council members in Nelson, a city of about 1,300 residents that's located 50 miles north of Atlanta, voted unanimously to approve the Family Protection Ordinance. The measure requires every head of household to own a gun and ammunition to "provide for the emergency management of the city" and to "provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants." Not that every household must go out and purchase a firearm. The ordinance exempts convicted felons and those who suffer from certain physical or mental disabilities, as well as anyone who objects to gun ownership. The ordinance also doesn't include any penalty for those who don't comply. But backers said they wanted to make a statement about gun rights at a time when President Barack Obama and some states are pushing for more restrictions in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre in December that left 20 children and six educators dead. Councilman Duane Cronic, who sponsored the measure, said he knows the ordinance won't be enforced but he still believes it will make the town safer. "I likened it to a security sign that people put up in their front yards. Some people have security systems, some people don't, but they put those signs up," he said. "I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city. Basically it was a deterrent ordinance to tell potential criminals they might want to go on down the road a little bit." The city council's agenda says another purpose of the measure is "opposition of any future attempt by the federal government to confiscate personal firearms." Nelson resident Lamar Kellett was one of five people who spoke during a public comment period and one of two who opposed the ordinance. Among his many objections, he said it dilutes the city's laws to pass measures that aren't intended to be enforced. "Does this mean now 55 miles an hour speed limit means 65, 80, whatever you choose? There's not a whole lot of difference. A law's a law," he said. Kellett also said the ordinance will have no effect, that it won't encourage people like him who don't want a gun to go out and buy one. The proposal illustrates how the response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre varies widely in different parts of the country. While lawmakers in generally more liberal states with large urban centers like New York and California have moved to tighten gun control laws, more conservative, rural areas in the American heartland have been going in the opposite direction, seeking to loosen restrictions, arm educators or even require gun ownership. Among the other efforts to broaden gun rights that have surfaced since the Newtown killings: _ Earlier Monday, lawmakers in Oklahoma scuttled a bill that would have allowed public school districts to decide whether to let teachers be armed. _ Spring City, Utah, passed an ordinance this year recommending that residents keep firearms, softening an initial proposal that aimed to require it. _ Residents of tiny Byron, Maine, rejected a proposal last month that would have required a gun in every home. Even some who initially supported the measure said it should have recommended gun ownership instead of requiring it, and worried that the proposal had made the community a laughingstock. Selectmen of another Maine town, Sabbatus, threw out a similar measure. The state's attorney general said state law prevents municipalities from passing their own firearms laws anyway. _ Lawmakers in about two dozen states have considered making it easier for school employees or volunteers to carry guns on campus. South Dakota passed such a measure last month. Individual communities from New Jersey to Colorado have voted to allow administrators or teachers to carry guns in school. Located in the Appalachian foothills, Nelson is a tiny, hilly town with narrow, twisting roads. It's a place where most people know one another and leave their doors unlocked. It used to be a major source of marble, with the local marble company employing many in town. But that industry is mostly gone now, Mayor Mike Haviland said. There are no retail stores in town anymore, and people do their shopping elsewhere. While the town used to have an internally driven economy, just about everyone leaves town for work now, making it a bedroom community for Atlanta, Haviland said. The mayor said he never dreamed his small city would be the focus of national and international media attention, but he understands it. "It bumps up against the national issues on guns," he said. Nelson resident Lawrence Cooper and his wife, Nanette, sat on their front porch Monday morning, enjoying a pleasant breeze and listening to the radio show of conservative Herman Cain, who unsuccessfully sought the 2012 Republican nomination for president. The Coopers support the ordinance. "It's supporting gun rights flat out, and there is so much – not antipathy – but antagonism against gun ownership these days," Lawrence Cooper said. "And this is a very conservative small town, and they are fully in support of this." The couple doesn't own any guns, but 52-year-old Lawrence Cooper said he grew up with them, and this ordinance might inspire him to go out and buy one. He chuckled as he pulled out a small black-and-white photo from his wallet. It shows him at 3 years of age, in front of a rack of hunting rifles and shotguns. Police Chief Heath Mitchell noted that the city doesn't have police officers who work 24 hours a day and is far from the two sheriff's offices that might send deputies in case of trouble, so response times to emergency calls can be long. So having a gun would help residents take their protection into their own hands, he said. But the chief – the town's sole police officer – acknowledged the crime rate is very low. He mostly sees minor property thefts and a burglary every few months. The most recent homicide was more than five years ago, he said. The proposed ordinance is modeled after a similar one adopted in 1982 by Kennesaw, an Atlanta suburb. City officials there worried at the time that growth in nearby Atlanta might bring crime to the community, which now has about 30,000 residents. Kennesaw police have acknowledged that their ordinance is difficult to enforce, and they haven't made any attempt to do so. Leroy Blackwell, 82, has lived in Nelson for about 50 years and owns a hunting rifle that he keeps in a closet. He'd support the ordinance even if it didn't have exemptions, but he prefers it to be voluntary, he said. He said before the council's decision that he'd rather see the measure put to a popular vote instead. "Really, I think it would be more fair to put it to a vote" so everybody could have a say, he said. The town has gotten an enormous amount of media attention since the council began discussing the ordinance last month. Councilman Jackie Jarrett said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Most of the concerns have been raised by people worried about the mentally ill or convicted felons being required to own a gun, but he's quick to point to the proposed exemptions, he said. Mostly, he's amazed that anyone outside of Nelson cares about the ordinance. "It really has surprised me that we've gotten so much attention, especially since this isn't affecting the world," he said. "It's just a small town thing." And, as it turns out, it may not affect Nelson all that much, even though the ordinance is set to go into effect in 10 days. "Most everybody around here's got guns anyway," Jarrett said.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — David Wescott has two 32-ounce growlers he brings into Proof Brewing Company to fill up and take home. Why two? Because Florida is one of only three states where it's illegal to fill one 64-ounce beer container, known as a growler. He can get as many of the 32-ounce containers filled as he wants, and Florida breweries can also fill unlimited 128-ounce growlers for customers to take home. But the size preferred by most beer enthusiasts is banned. "If you're bringing some beer home for you and the wife, that's two beers," Wescott, whose wife calls him a beer snob, said of the quart-sized growlers. "It makes no sense to me. It's just not logical – 128s are probably too much, 32 is too small. I'd love to get a 64." Two lawmakers have filed bills to legalize the half-gallon jugs, but a group of beer distributors is fighting both measures and appears to have helped effectively kill both for the year. "It's really silly. I have in my office a 32-ounce, a gallon and a 64 to show people. And I ask them, `Which one do you think is currently illegal?'" said Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation. "They all think the gallon is illegal. They say, `Oh, you're trying to legalize the big one!' and I say, `No, it's the one in the middle,' and it's like, `Why is it not legal?' They don't get it." And Edwards doesn't even drink beer. She said her only motive in sponsoring her bill is economic development. The half-gallon size growlers are an industry standard and are sold at breweries around the country, helping to expand the small businesses. Amherst Brewing Company in Massachusetts, which locals call ABC, has gone through three expansions since the pub opened in 1997. Chloe Drew, ABC's bar manager, said that growth has been helped by selling the 64-ounce growlers that fill two refrigerated cases at the front of the restaurant. "It's really good for small towns because they become a destination and people can bring stuff home from that destination. It's probably only going to bring people back," Drew said, adding that the Florida law is strange because anyone who wants 64 ounces could simply buy two 32-ounce growlers. The Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, which represents all the state's Anheuser-Busch distributors, is opposing the bill. Its lobbyist, Mitch Rubin, was able to convince Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, not to give it a hearing at the House Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee she chairs. Without a House hearing, the bill is essentially dead. Rubin said he is trying to protect the three-tier system of alcohol distribution the federal government set up after Prohibition. It basically ensures that alcoholic products are passed through a distributor to get to retailers. Exceptions have been made, however, for purchases where products are produced, such as buying bottles of wine at a winery. State law does allow take-home sales at breweries, though Rubin argues that language was meant only to allow sales at Busch Gardens in Tampa when Anheuser-Busch brewed beer at what is now a major theme park. He said it was never intended to allow breweries to sell directly to consumers. "It's definitely operating in the gray," said Rubin, who said he is not fighting the bill to boost distributers' profits. "There's a little to that, but the larger point is about the three-tier system, and that is our larger concern." At his urging, Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, tried to add a nearly 12-page amendment to Sen. Jack Latvala's two-line bill. The amendment would have allowed 64-ounce growlers to be sold, but it also would have restricted take-home sales to only the smallest of startup breweries. The Senate Regulated Industries Committee refused to consider the amendment before approving the bill, though Rubin has likely succeeded in halting that measure as well. Latvala noted that it's hard for beverage laws to be changed because of the powerful lobbying of distributors. He pointed out that it took years for Florida to change a law that only allowed beer cans and bottles in sizes of 8, 12, 16 or 32 ounces. The law, until changed in 2001, kept many imported beers out of Florida because bottles were based on the metric system. Also banned at the time were 22-ounce bottles popular with microbreweries. "It's the same thing still going on. Those that have the sizes and those that have the distributorships are protecting that," said Latvala, R-Palm Harbor. Brewers say growlers and tasting rooms are an important part of growing business, especially when certain beers aren't readily available in stores. A tasting room at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, for instance, has helped the business grow from two employees in 2009 to more than 50 now, said owner Joey Redner. The larger profit margins on beer sold at Florida breweries helps them reinvest the money to produce more beer, which creates more jobs. Unlike beer giants such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, which have automated systems that allow a few people to brew massive amounts of beer, craft brewing is labor intensive. In order to brew more, small breweries have to hire more people. Redner said he believes the wholesalers association is opposing the growler bill to protect its profits, as growlers and brewery tasting rooms help craft brewers expand their market presence. "Ninety-nine percent of their business is a large, foreign-owned company that makes 100 million barrels of beer. That's where their bread and butter is. These craft breweries, that's not what's keeping the lights on for them," Redner said. "If they can shut the tasting rooms down, they can get rid of some the competition." The Beer Industry of Florida, which counts MillerCoors distributors among its members, supports allowing the 64-ounce growlers because the industry group doesn't see the jugs as a threat to the three-tier system, said BIF president Eric Criss. The current rules can be frustrating for out-of-state tourists accustomed to the 64-ounce growlers. Luke Kemper, the owner of Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville, said more and more often people visiting from other states are told their 64-ounce growlers can't be filled. Likewise, if they buy a 32- or 128-ounce growler, they probably can't fill them when they get home. Chris Lashway of Fredericksburg, Va., recently stopped at Proof Brewing in Tallahassee while on his way to South Florida. He likes visiting microbreweries and said he would have liked to buy a 64-ounce container so there would be more to share with his hosts. Instead, he ordered a quart of red ale. "It is very bizarre," he said of the rules. ___ Follow Brendan Farrington on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bsfarrington
I learned of a petition at the presidents site, that one where anyone can start a petition and have it addressed if you reach 100,000 signatures. We the People it's called. The petition is sponsored by United Front Against Austerity which also goes by the name Against Austerity.org I know nothing about this organization, though I have looked. Thus, I'm remaining without opinion. But, I do like this one idea of theirs and the idea needs push. The petition is to have a sales tax placed on Wall Street's transactions. I think this is a grand idea. After all, Wall Street and the banks have always referred to their stuff as “products”. Finance accounts for over 8% of our GDP, over 30% of corporate profits. But, mostly financial transactions are so numerous that the total dollar value makes our GDP look puny. Our GDP represents 1.9% of the total of the financial sales. Of course, not all items would be taxable. It' like food. We don't tax that. Many would call this a transaction tax but, this is the wrong terminology. Wall Street has made it's self into a producer within our economy. To paraphrase the infamous words of Larry the Liquidator, they “make you money”. Odd as it is, money is what they sell to the consumer. They're a regular “retail” establishment. At least that's how they view themselves. So, we should welcome them to such a status by making them collect and submit biweekly sales tax. Sales tax is one of the major methods by which we raise revenue. Everyone knows about sales taxes. It's the tax that is not mentioned when the conservative bitches about those people who don't pay taxes. Well, here's an entire group who truly does not pay the tax every other person pays when they buy something. President Obama should love this tax. He and (too many) other Democrates seem to want a balanced approach with his deficit reduction plan. A 2 to 1 tax to revenue is often mentioned. Well, considering sales taxes take up 5 to 7% of the lowest 60% of our population's income (the bottom 20% pay 7%) and the top 1% pays about 0.5%, it seems to me the concept of balancing needs to look here. The total sales are estimated to be $5 qaudrillion per year. That's some gross revenue there. That means some major coin in sales tax. According to UFAA: The Wall Street sales tax is very much in the mainstream. HR-6411, introduced by Congressman Keith Ellison (MN), is gaining support in the US Congress and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has pledged to introduce such a bill in the US Senate. Dean Baker wrote about a sales tax in February. So, please go over to the presidents site and sign the petition. It's only good until April 10th. The petition needs another 90,000 signatures. Let's make Obama address this. Spread the word.