Oil price optimism grows, the man who thinks like Sherlock and why humans became monogamous

Technology Eye | April. 13, 2016

The heads of the world’s largest oil trading houses sought to draw a line under nearly two years of falling prices on Tuesday as Brent crude rose to its highest level this year. Vitol, Trafigura, Mercuria, Gunvor, Glencore and Castleton, which sell enough oil to meet almost a fifth of global demand — were all but unanimous in telling an FT conference in Lausanne that oil prices were unlikely to revisit the sub-$30 lows they hit in early January.

The collapse in the oil price has had an enormous impact on the corporate world — with surprising results that haven’t followed the path history might suggest. (FT)

In the news

IMF warns on global economy The “increasingly disappointing” world economy is facing the threat of a “synchronised slowdown” and mounting risks including another bout of financial market turmoil and a political backlash against globalisation, the International Monetary Fund has warned. In its semi-annual World Economic Outlook, the IMF on Tuesday reduced its global growth forecast for 2016 by 0.2 percentage points to 3.2 per cent, downgrading its expectations for a wide range of advanced and emerging economies. (FT)

The tiny trek to the stars Vast fleets of tiny space craft could hurtle at unprecedented speeds towards the nearest stars to search for extraterrestrial life under a new research project funded by a Russian entrepreneur and backed by Stephen Hawking. The Breakthrough Starshot initiative aims to accelerate “nanocraft”, made of a silicon chip and a sail, to up to 20 per cent of the speed of light. (FT)

Zuckerberg delivers political broadside In his most politically charged speech to date, the Facebook chief warned the world against turning inwards, including building walls and reducing trade and immigration . Mr Zuckerberg said the right path was to connect more, not less and to prioritise “hope over fear”. (FT)

UK steel’s day of reckoning Tata Steel is set to close down its UK arm if it is unable to negotiate a viable sale by May 28. The Indian group caused shockwaves at the end of March when it announced that it would sell its British division, either as a whole or in parts, after making substantial losses for several years. (FT)

China buys into US Chinese investment in the US hit a record $15bn last year and is set to reach twice that this year, despite calls for greater scrutiny and growing political sensitivities in Washington. (FT)

S Korea probes sex pills-for-votes claim Elderly men have allegedly been given erectile dysfunction drugs to buy their votes in legislative elections. The country goes to the polls today, with President Park Geun Hye’s Saenuri party expected to win a clear majority . (Yahoo, VOA)

Cat videos aren’t what they used to be BuzzFeed, known for its lists, irreverent content and fast-growing editorial operation, missed its revenue target for 2015 and has slashed its internal projections for 2016 by about half. (FT)

It's a big day for

US banks First-quarter earnings for the big US financial institutions kick off with traditional early bird JPMorgan Chase. (FT)

Food for thought

Don’t blame central banks for negative rates The FT’s Martin Wolf on controversial monetary policy : “A quarter of the world economy now suffers negative interest rates. This condition is as worrying as the policies themselves are unpopular.” (FT)

Your offshore funds David Cameron has been struggling to control the political fallout from revelations that he used to own shares in an offshore investment fund run by his late father. But any UK private investor who has ever bought an exchange-traded fund almost certainly owns a bit of “offshore wealth”. (FT)

Not a drop to drink Classified US diplomatic cables reveal how a growing water crisis in the Middle East further destabilised the region, helping spark the civil wars in Syria and Yemen — and just how worried global political and business leaders are that water shortages could spark unrest across the world. (Reveal)

The man who thinks like Sherlock If you struggle to remember your grocery list, it might be worth following the advice of Alex Mullen. In December, the American was crowned the world memory champion after he memorised a single pack of cards in 21.5 seconds. And he believes anyone can do it: “you just have to create a mind palace ”. (BBC)

What happens next in Iraq? The US-led coalition and Iraqi government have spent billions on defeating Isis and they have been winning, with 40 per cent of the territory the jihadi group once held back in government hands. But less effort has been put into planning the reconstruction of a country that the jihadi force has torn apart. (FT)

Why humans became monogamous New research suggests the shift away from polygamy to monogamy with the dawn of the agricultural age 10,000 years ago could be down to the impact of sexually transmitted infections in communities. (The Guardian)

Video of the day

Impact of Cameron’s tax disclosures Janan Ganesh and Frederick Studemann discuss the response from David Cameron, UK prime minister, to criticism over his financial affairs emerging from the so-called Panama Papers . (FT)

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

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