Economics and Investing:

Obama’s Final Budget Calls for $2.1 Trillion Tax Hike – B.B.

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Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

Low Oil Prices End 21st Century Gold Rush (USA Today) Excerpt: “Oil and gas companies worldwide have publicly announced plans to cut more than 319,000 jobs since late 2014…. Among them are large companies such as Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Weatherford International that supply services and equipment to drillers.”

Houston’s Energy Companies Majorly Downgraded by Moody’s (Houston Business Journal) Excerpt: “The negative outlook reflects the potential for a greater than expected deterioration in credit metrics if the demand for the company’s products remains subdued or due to an increase in shareholder distributions in the form of share repurchases….”

International News

New Guard Rises in Saudi Arabia as Oil Crises Forces Rethink (Bloomberg) Excerpt: “The economic and demographic challenges to the kingdom are too great, and they need to be resolved and confronted and addressed forcefully and quickly.”

Shell, Saudi Aramco Plan to Break Up Motiva Partnership (Wall Street Journal) Excerpt: “Ownership of biggest refinery in the US will shift to Saudi Arabia’s hands.” Note: The Wall Street Journal may require sign-in and/or an active subscription in order to access content.

Exclusive: After Motiva Split, Saudi Arabia Aims to Buy More US Refineries – Sources (Reuters) Excerpt: “Under the deal, Aramco would gain full control of the 603,000 barrel-per-day Port Arthur refinery. Shell will get two smaller Louisiana plants, which have a combined crude oil refining capacity of throughput 473,00 bpd last year, according to U.S. government data.”

Can the Oil Price Recovery be Maintained? (The Week) An interesting forecast. Excerpt: “He says prices may not hold at current highs in the short-term, but that they will not now go lower than $30 a barrel and will move up over the next year or so.”

Next Financial Crisis Could Overwhelm World’s Defenses, IMF Says (Bloomberg) Excerpt: “…a system-wide shock could overwhelm the world’s crisis resources, which include nations’ foreign-exchange reserves, central-bank swap lines, regional funds such as the euro area’s European Stability Mechanism, and the IMF itself….”

Personal Economics and Household Finance

4 Sad Facts about Americans’ Savings and What You Can Do To Fix It (Clark Howard) Excerpt: “Save more and spend less. If you’re a Clark Howard fan, then you’re probably familiar with this concept, even if you haven’t quite figured out how to make it work in your life. And that’s the case for a lot of Americans today, according to a new survey.”

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