The Radar: 10 Brewing Stories You Need To Be Watching Right Now

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Shocked about the plunge of the Pound last week?Blown away by the conclusion to the Greek crisis?

Don’t get caught waiting for news to make the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Don’t worry, we’re here for you with our guide to key stories that you must pay attention to in the weeks ahead. Some are hot and will impact you immediately.

Other are just on the periphery and only may develop into something… like the next Greece.

The 10 stories to keep on your radar >

Hedge Funds: Under attack over claims of rampant and destructive speculation.

Hedge funds have come under increasing pressure from sovereign governments over their bets against the Euro during the recent Greek debt crisis. Charges of community wide collusion against the single European currency have led to increased anger at how the financial firms organise themselves and act.

While the original Wall Street Journal story has been questioned to the point of disproving it, the hangover from report remains. Hedge funds must be careful not to upset an already difficult politically populist situation.

Heat: Medium-cool.

The Greece Crisis Ends (And the attention turns to Spain)

Now that the Greek crisis has come to a fairly undramatic close, Euro zone members have started to look around curiously for who is the next. PIIGS members seem the likely choice, with Italy and Spain in the lead due to their quantity of debt, but France may also emerge as a surprise crisis candidate.

The EU is now preparing and IMF-style bailout fund to deal with troubled states. But will it have enough capital to refinance an economy the size of Spain or Italy's if put to the test?

Heat: Modestly warm.

Iran: What's the next step on sanctions?

The back and forth flow of criticism on Iran over their nuclear project has brought sanctions back on the menu, but one key member of the UN Security Council, namely China, continues to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

China's position reflects its oil-based relationship with Iran, but currently the rest of the veto wielding members of the council are on board with the U.S.' new plans.

Heat: Lukewarm.

Commodities: China begins de-stockpiling.

China is starting to let loose some of the world's key commodities, which could dramatically shift prices in markets like aluminium if projections are correct.

China appears to be cutting back on the commodities it brings in, while also shipping harbor bound stockpiles to places like Japan.

The impact of this reduction of demand and increase in supply would be declining prices in commodities, so bets on things like copper and aluminium going yet higher may be misplaced.

Heat: Warmer.

China: Big meetings, big drama.

The fallout from the Chinese National Congress is beginning to materialise and it points towards subtle, yet serious, policy changes.

The country intends to target of economic growth of 8% remains unchanged, but there is the possibility things like secrecy laws and policies towards the urban-rural divide may be addressed and altered.

Meanwhile, the world is starting to wake up to China's big PUBLIC debt. That's right, while China is known for its reserves, its city/local governments have been building up big debts, and it's possible that leaders in Beijing will one day have to bail them out.

Heat: Warmer.

China: Public debt warnings emerge

China's public debt situation has long been assumed to be stable, but doubts are beginning to emerge over the dealings of local government backed lenders.

Some have suggested that Chinese 'secret' borrowing could be up to 96% of GDP.

China is now planning to nullify state backing of local loans.

Heat: Warm.

Recovery: We're back

We've declared the recovery on the back of consumer credit rising for the first time since the start of the recession.

Job numbers are also pointing towards if not a surge against unemployment, a definite bulwark in further increases.

While the recovery may be here, austerity budgets could kill growth and take the rug out from under our return to growth before it even builds.

Heat: Warm.

The rise of alternative, safe-haven currencies.

Last week saw the Pound get hit heavily by news that the UK election could result in a chaotic hung parliament. The euro remains vulnerable, the yen is facing a looming budgetary crisis, and the US is far from out of the chaotic woodwork.

Watch out for the rise of alternatives: gold, IMF sdrs, the yuan, and the currencies of uber-save havens like Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway.

Heat: Hot

Health Care: The end is nigh

President Obama continued his push last week for some sort of health care reform and proposed a severely trimmed down version of the plan his party originally sought.

Now he's imposed a March 18th deadline to get a deal done on the subject, or abandon the project all together.

That leaves just 10 days of heavy political wrangling left for the President to save face and some sort of reform to squeak through.

Heat: Hot

The World Is Rioting: Protesters take to the world's streets to fight cuts. Where is next?

Austerity measures have led Euro zone states like Greece and Portugal to turn to riot as a away of protesting the proposed budget cuts. Such street activism has also cropped up in California, where state budget cuts have hammered public sector workers.

The UK, leaning towards an austerity budget of its own, also had protests to fight public sector cuts on Monday.

Any of the other PIIGS states or U.S. states in budget crisis would seem a likely flash point for future flare ups.

Heat: Hottest.

BONUS: The rise of the hard-right in Europe

Every few years it seems, a far-right candidate does well in a poll or an election, and pundits declare the return of the far right. And then, sure enough, that fads. This time the candidate du jour is Dutch, anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders, who did well in a recent poll.

Is Europe ready to make its big right turn?

Now Check Out The 10 Banks With The Most Exposure To The CRE Time Bomb

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