In Brief – N.22 – October 4, 2015

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his left-wing Syriza party has a “clear mandate” after winning a second general election in less than nine months, with just over 35% of the votes out of a turnout at roughly 55%.

Several popular Chinese names in Apple Inc.’s App Store were found to be infected with malware XcodeGhost in what is being described as a first-of-its-kind security breach, exposing a rare vulnerability in Apple’s mobile platform.

Volkswagen VW shares plunged after CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized on emissions cheating unveiled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This could expose the German carmaker to up to $18 billion in federal fines if the EPA assesses the maximum possible penalty of $37,500 per vehicle.

Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on,” tweeted Democrat Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, sending Nasdaq Biotech down 5.26% on September 21, 2015.

Li Ka-Shing, Asia’s richest man and 17th world’s wealthiest man according to Forbes, would have sold most of his China-based financial assets with a view to acquiring others mainly in Western Europe, drawing discontent on behalf of the Chinese authorities which blasted Li as “ungrateful”.

In his first interview with foreign media – the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) – since Chinese stocks skidded this summer, President Xi Jinping defended his government’s economic stewardship and said slowing growth and market fluctuations won’t deter needed reforms.

Government support to fossil fuel consumption and production in OECD countries and key emerging economies remains high, at $160-200 billion annually, and is hampering global efforts to curb emissions and combat climate change, according to a new report.

Flash China Caixin PMI falls to 47 in September 2015, a 6-1/2-year low, wrote CNBC. “The principle reason for the weakening of manufacturing is tied to previous changes in factors related to external demand and prices,” said He Fan, chief economist at Caixin Insight Group.

Hillary Clinton opposes the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, taking sides with progressives who are fighting the 1,179-mile project over environmental concerns. “I oppose it because I don’t think it’s in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change,” Clinton said.

Gains made by Syrian Kurd fighters against ISIS have also lent support to Iraq’s fight against the extremist group by disrupting ISIS’s freedom of movement between Iraq and Syria, a US CENTCOM spokesman said.

Monetary policy should stick to its core mandate of price stability, and should deviate from its traditional role only if the benefits to the economy outweigh the costs, according to a new study from the IMF.

“We will not fail,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC’s top rebel commander Timochenko said after shaking hands before Cuban President Raul Castro in the Havana and agreeing to end decades-long war in 6 months.

Egypt will pay €950 million for the two Mistral class warships which France finally refused to deliver to Russia, according to announcement made by the office of French President François Hollande. Russia is unlikely to comment given that Egypt is an ally, analysts said.

In a notice, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accused French oil company Total SA of manipulating the price of natural gas in the US southwest by making “uneconomic trading“ in order to affect index prices on at least 38 occasions between June 2009 and June 2012.

Citing the DPRK, China and Russia as possible threats for key US allies, the US Marine Corps (USMC) is moving 15% of its force to the Pacific, in Hawaii and beyond. The USMC – now with cyber capabilities – is seeking to expand its presence in Australia and seeks greater engagement with India.

France will give additional €4 billion for public development aid to reach a total €12 billion by 2020, announced French President François Hollande in a speech before the UNGA.

Royal Dutch Shell will cease exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast following disappointing results from an exploratory well backed by billions in investment and years of work.

“I relate to my colleagues the American and French presidents with great respect, but they aren’t citizens of Syria and so should not be involved in choosing the leadership,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said about his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad.

Swiss group Glencore share price slumped 30% on September 28, 2015, reaching its record low since its IPO on the LSE in May 2011 and falling 90% YTD. Such dramatic trading highlighted a commodities sector still going through a most serious crisis.

As Q3 2015 will be the worst for global markets since 2011, billionaire investor Carl Icahn broadcasted a video titled “Danger Ahead” in which he said stocks could go down “a lot more” mostly because of marketsoverheatedby the Fed’s too long zero interest rate policy.

Several days before the official announcement by group Royal Dutch Shell that it stopped drilling for Arctic oil, the EIA Executive Director Fatih Birol said that if such activity isn’t “viable yet” chiefly because of costs and technological challenges, it could be so “for the day after tomorrow”.

On September 30, 2015, France’s General Directorate for Armaments (DGA) has conducted, from Biscarrosse (Landes), a successful in-flight test of the ballistic M51 strategic missile that currently equips two of the four new generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

Policymakers will need to strengthen policies to address current challenges and help lead the world economy to recovery, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a speech at the Council of the Americas.