Pacific Business Insider — January 8, 2016

Obama’s Obama: The president has cycled through more chiefs of staff than any of his White House predecessors. Denis McDonough is the one who came to stay. Politico

Is Huma Abedin Hillary Clinton’s secret weapon or her next big problem? The loyal aide has spent decades at the presidential contender’s side with unparalleled access. But with a powerful Republican senator raising questions about her role in the Clinton-era State Department, Abedin finds herself the latest victim of the Stop Hillary movement. Vanity Fair

The TPP train could still get derailed: There’s a long way to go before the United States passes real trade legislation — and it may not end up being what the American people want. Phil Levy — FP

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Chaos in Chinese stock market sends economic waves around the world: Just a week ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping sounded a triumphant note as he rang in the new year, touting the economy’s continued growth and financial reforms that have elevated the country’s currency among the world’s elite. In a state-televised address, Xi sat behind an imposing wooden desk, hands clasped, and declared that “the general public has enjoyed the increasing sense of gain.”But the first week of 2016 has brought only chaos. WP “We should be worried rather than calmed by the moves that we have seen so far,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University and former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division.

China is a vessel — the fundamentals across the board are dreadful: CCTV-America’s Owen Fairclough interviewed Marc Ross, co-founder and partner of Caracal Strategies, on the Chinese stock market and the state of the global economy. CCTV-America 42 of 46 commodities the World Bank tracks are all at record lows | Baltic Dry Index, oil, copper, Candanian Loonie = all down

Bank of America Merrill Lynch: The Shanghai Composite will plummet by nearly 30% in 2016: This time is not different. Bloomberg

Philippine peso declines the least in emerging Asia this week: Buoyed by remittances from overseas workers and a growing business-process outsourcing industry, the Philippines is forecast to outpace the rest of Southeast Asia’s developing-nation economies and grow 6 percent this year, according to Bloomberg surveys. Bloomberg

Senator Cotton leads US Congressional Delegation on SE Asia trip: Senator Cotton (R-Arkansas) led a Congressional Delegation to Thailand and Burma to learn about and strengthen U.S. relations with them. Senator Cotton was joined by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Congressman Luke Messer (R-Indiana), Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), and Congressman Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma).

How the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Latin America suddenly became a letdown: When the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was signed in October 2015, countries in the Latin American region, particularly Mexico, Peru and Chile, immediately found their investment opportunities in Vietnam and vice versa. However, the Trans-Pacific Partnership post a different threat for Latin America in terms of multinational investors from the U.S. Latin Post

Pacific trade deal foes say Keystone case shows pact’s risk: A legal dispute over the Keystone XL oil pipeline is giving opponents of a Pacific trade agreement a fresh argument in their effort to get Congress to kill the pact. Bloomberg

Indonesia, South Korea sign $1.3bn fighter jet development deal: Indonesia and South Korea have signed a $1.3 billion deal on the development of Seoul’s next-generation fighter jets aimed at replacing an aging fleet. JG

US pressures China over North Korea relationship: The Obama administration told China on Thursday that its approach for dealing with North Korea had “not worked”, as Congress readied a new round of sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang that could hit Chinese banks. FT

Kim Jong Un celebrates his birthday with a bang as he seeks to cement rule: Kim Jong Un turns 33 on Friday, and from the North Korean leader’s perspective, he has plenty to celebrate: Everyone’s talking about him again. WP

Donald Trump says he favors 45% tariff on Chinese imports: Donald J. Trump said he would favor a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States, proposing the idea during a wide-ranging meeting with members of the editorial board of The New York Times. NYT “I would tax China on products coming in,” Mr. Trump said. “I would do a tariff, yes — and they do it to us.”

Yellow Cab of San Fransico to file for bankruptcy: San Francisco’s largest taxi company is edging toward filing for bankruptcy. Yellow Cab Co-Op said challenges from tech rivals Uber and Lyft, as well as mounting lawsuits from traffic collisions contributed to the fiscal Hail Mary. Those “rideshare” companies are headquartered in San Francisco — their home turf. SF Examiner Don’t hate the player, hate the game | Riders wanted better and Yellow Cab couldn’t deliver

Alcoa will permanently close its 269,000 metric ton Warrick Operations smelter in Evansville, Indiana by the end of the first quarter 2016. Move comes as Alcoa takes action to increase their competitiveness of its upstream business amid prevailing market conditions.

Penske Automotive Group announced it has acquired a 49% equity ownership interest in the Nicole Group, a luxury dealership group with operations in Kanagawa and Tokyo, Japan. As imports continue to grow market share in Japan, combined with the group’s solid reputation in the marketplace, Penske expects to leverage the strength of the existing business.

Ford China reports it sold 124,768 vehicles in December, a 27% increase from last year’s level.

Taco Bell to reveal new menu item during Super Bowl: Taco Bell is planning a Super Bowl ad that will reveal news of what company officials are calling its “biggest food creation yet.”

The unicorns of Southeast Asia: Some of the top investors in the region include prestigious firms in the Western world, such as Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global. It is not surprising at all. The region has a huge combined GDP, US$2.57 trillion, with 60 percent of the population in the young age group of 15–34. TechCrunch

The Great economic recasting — Can China pull it off? The year 2016 started with a bang in China, but unfortunately, not with traditional firecrackers. Instead, economic data showing the 10th-straight month of slowing domestic manufacturing sent China’s stock markets into a downward spiral, triggering the market’s newly instituted circuit breakers and shutting down trading on January 4 and again on January 7. Knowledge @ Wharton In addition to jitters about the domestic economy, says Marshall Meyer, an emeritus professor of management at Wharton, the “perpetual low level conflict in the Mideast” is rattling China. “Disruption of energy resources in China poses real difficulties for them and tells you where their real Achilles heel lies.”

College football playoff committee drops the ball on New Year’s Eve: Despite scheduling snafu, ESPN forges ahead. AdAge BTW — Only 238 days until Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines return to the Big House. Let me know if you want to catch a game in 2016. I also know a wonderful tailgate close to the stadium.

John Beeden sets non-stop solo Pacific row record: A Briton has completed the quickest non-stop solo row across the Pacific from North America to Australia. John Beeden, 53, set off from San Francisco on 1 June and rowed for an average of 15 hours a day. BBC

Kensuke Miyazaki to become first ever Japanese MP to take paternity leave: Despite Japan’s generous paternity leave provisions, just 2.3% of eligible working men actually take it. Guardian

Edited by Marc Ross
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