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Frontrunning: August 20

  • Crude prices fall towards $40 on global glut (Reuters)
  • China Central Bank Injects Most Funds Since February as Money Rates Increase (BBG)
  • Divided Fed Puts Yellen on Hot Seat (Hilsenrath)
  • So Long September: Bond Traders Defer Their Date With the Fed (BBG)
  • More Foods Boast Non-GMO Labels—Even Those Without GMO Varieties (WSJ)
  • UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site (AP)
  • IAEA says access to Iran's Parchin military site meets demands (Reuters)
  • Time to End Quarterly Reports, Law Firm Says (WSJ)
  • ETFs Forced to Get ‘Smart’ Hedging Dollar With Easy Money Gone (BBG)
  • A Family Drama Splits Far Right in France (WSJ)
  • Swing-State Poll Suggests Joe Biden Opening (BBG)
  • Stymied at English Channel, Migrants With Money Turn to Smugglers (WSJ)
  • U.S. government, police working on counter-drone system (Reuters)
  • Valeant Nears $1 Billion Deal for Maker of Women’s Libido Drug (WSJ)
  • Hacker's Ashley Madison data dump threatens marriages, reputations (Reuters)
  • Bulls Walk Away From U.S. Options Market as Put-Call Ratio Jumps (BBG)
  • Meet Xi’s Team of Wise Men Trying to Avert China’s Hard Landing (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- Marine Le Pen's quest to transform France's far-right National Front party from a fringe movement into a dominant force in European politics is hitting a fundamental obstacle: her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. (http://on.wsj.com/1hNsc6q)

- The Federal Reserve faces a potential cliffhanger about whether to raise interest rates at its September meeting, a decision that will test Chairwoman Janet Yellen's ability to lead an uncertain policy-making committee. (http://on.wsj.com/1hNscDF)

- Hillary Clinton's campaign said emails on the private server she used when secretary of state contained material that is now classified, the clearest explanation thus far of an issue that has roiled her bid for the presidency. (http://on.wsj.com/1hNsgmM)

- Influential law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz on Tuesday called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to consider allowing U.S. companies to do away with the obligatory updates, one of the most important rituals on Wall Street and in corporate America, suggesting that they distract executives from long-term goals. (http://on.wsj.com/1hNshHk)

- As French authorities crack down in the port of Calais, thousands of more well-heeled migrants trying to reach the UK are turning to smuggling rings that promise a safer passage. (http://on.wsj.com/1hNslqp)

- Coinciding campaign events miles apart in New Hampshire offered a uniquely split-screen perspective on the sprawling, volatile Republican primary contest. Jeb Bush, a former two-term governor of Florida, kin to two American presidents and policy wonk, is favored by many in the GOP establishment, but hasn't ignited the conservative grass roots. Donald Trump, a blustery reality-television star who has never held public office, is openly mocked by GOP leaders and mobbed by voters wherever he goes. (http://on.wsj.com/1hNsmuG)

 

FT

The German government said on Wednesday it expects the number of asylum-seekers and refugees to Germany to be a record 800,000 this year, nearly twice as high as Germany's previous record for asylum claims, set during the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1992.

The German parliament approved a third bailout for Greece on Wednesday. The 86 billion euros ($95.60 billion) Greek rescue deal sailed through the Bundestag lower house 454-113 with 18 abstaining.

Russia's consumer watchdog has launched a probe into the French supermarket chain Auchan to ensure it complied with Russian health standards and sanitation laws, the watchdog's head Anna Popova said on Wednesday.

The world's largest wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems posted a stronger-than-expected second-quarter profit and a record order that soared by 56 percent. The company, however, kept its estimates on hold disappointing investors that expected an increase in guidance.

 

NYT

- Federal Reserve officials are struggling to get comfortable with the persistent sluggishness of price inflation as they move toward raising interest rates later this year. (http://nyti.ms/1TUDR4z)

- With oil prices collapsing and companies in retrenchment, a federal auction for drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday attracted the lowest interest from producers since 1986. (http://nyti.ms/1NmsQ7Y)

- The district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles said Wednesday that background checks used by Uber Technologies Inc failed to uncover the criminal records of 25 drivers in the two cities. (http://nyti.ms/1hNtKNN)

- McDonald's Corp long ago went global. Lately, the anti-McDonald's campaign has started following it around the world. The union-led effort to raise wages and organize workers at fast-food chains in the United States is expanding its focus beyond organized protests at home. (http://nyti.ms/1E6KBFp)

 

Hong Kong

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

- Global logistics giant United Parcel Service announced on Twitter that it is banning shipments of shark fin amid worldwide pressure from conservationists. Hong Kong imported 5,758 tonnes of shark fin last year, according to government figures. This is roughly half the world's harvest. Almost 12 percent is delivered by air. (http://bit.ly/1PyAv1l)

- Hong Kong's status as the world's foremost yuan hub could be threatened in two years as trade in the currency moves to the mainland, HSBC said. If the yuan achieved full convertibility by 2017, Hong Kong would face new challenges to retain the top spot as settlement in the city would drop significantly, according to the bank. (http://bit.ly/1TX4u3D)

- Central Huijin Investment, the state investment company, on Wednesday used more than 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) to increase its stake in A-shares of Chinese banks, including Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China , in Beijing's latest market rescue effort. (http://bit.ly/1Lk7LYy)

THE STANDARD

- Jakarta will set up an online rating system for employment agencies of Indonesian helpers sent to Hong Kong, Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said. The rating system, which will be open for workers and employers to anonymously rate the service providers, will allow the Indonesian government to closely monitor the conduct of agencies, Lau added. (http://bit.ly/1J5UKyJ)

- Uber has launched the second phase of a campaign to gain support for its car-calling app after collecting 50,000 signatures online against the arrests of its drivers last week. Uber returned to the Internet to ask people to join a "one person, one mail" push, urging people to e-mail the Secretary for Transport and Housing to say Uber should be allowed to operate. (http://bit.ly/1Pn7Qvw)

HONG KONG ECONOMIC JOURNAL

- Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group's chairman Lui Che-Woo said he expected gaming revenue in Macau to have slid to the bottom in June after months of falling.

- Kingston Financial Group, which recently secured new investors including billionaire Cheng Yu-Tung and Wang Jianlin, is in talks with other investors on potential cooperation, according to chief executive officer Chu Yuet-Wah. Chu said she does not rule out the possibility of introducing more new shareholders into the company.

 

Britain

The Times

* GVC Holdings PLC is prepared to increase its offer for Bwin.party to at least 130 pence a share or nearly 1.1 billion pounds ($1.72 billion) in a final push to secure a takeover of its online gambling rival. (http://thetim.es/1J5gf56)

* The biggest independent UK oil producer in the North Sea, EnQuest PLC, revealed a sharp slump in profits during the first half of this year as it was buffeted by the sliding international price of crude. (http://thetim.es/1TWPvH1)

The Guardian

* Irn-Bru's maker, AG Barr, is to end glass-bottle returns after 110 years as it invests 5 million pounds in new facilities. The company cited a reduction in the number of bottles returned for 30 pence as customers increasingly chose to recycle at home. (http://bit.ly/1fqiTaT)

* Shares in Glencore PLC, the FTSE-100 miner and commodities trader, have slumped to a record low after tumbling prices for coal and metals linked to slowing Chinese demand hit first-half profits. (http://bit.ly/1gXW5jV)

The Telegraph

* Britain's insurance firms are under pressure to improve their defences against cyber attacks, as the Bank of England conducts a survey to check up on progress in the sector. (http://bit.ly/1E565Ti)

* Car insurer, Admiral Group PLC has shrugged off gloomy forecasts of costly claims inflation to post better-than-expected profits for the first half of the year. (http://bit.ly/1JjIjTB)

Sky News

* The U.K. has reached "saturation point" in terms of the number of high-skilled jobs available for graduates leaving university, according to an industry body. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said 58.8 percentage of UK graduates are in jobs deemed more suitable for non-graduates. (http://bit.ly/1EDwx0R)

* Carlsberg has faced a drop in the sale of its beers in Russia and Ukraine, but has grown its market share in Kazakhstan. (http://bit.ly/1MyICuJ)

The Independent

* Bluebella, burst into the black, making a profit of 347,000 pounds in 2014 against a 430,300 pounds loss the previous year. Sales tripled to 3.7 million pounds. (http://ind.pn/1E5aPs8)