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from Breakingviews:

Privatisations a bright spot for gloomy Aussie M&A

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Privatisation is a bright spot in what looks to be an otherwise dreary year for Australian dealmakers. The country is set for a flurry of activity as cash-constrained local governments prepare to flog existing infrastructure assets in order to fund new projects and create jobs.

Recycling capital from old projects into new ones is the key to easing Australia’s “infrastructure deficit” broadly estimated by analysts at around $700 billion. Given that the federal government sold off the bulk of its trophy assets long ago, Tony Abbott is relying on local authorities to help him live up to a promise to be the country’s “infrastructure prime minister”.

The sale of energy assets and port lease agreements by the state of New South Wales accounted for most of the $6.4 billion raised by Australian authorities last year, according to Thomson One. That was the biggest year for privatisations in the country since 2010.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba tests the limits of non-bank banking

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By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Alibaba isn’t a bank. But for customers it’s getting hard to tell the difference. Users of China’s dominant e-commerce website can now deposit funds, make investments, take out loans and even give out gifts of virtual cash. In taking on China’s lenders, Alibaba and its online rivals may be taking on bank-like risk.

from Breakingviews:

China’s “biggests” come early, late or not at all

By Ethan Bilby and John Foley
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

China collects superlatives. In 2013, it added biggest goods trader, top red wine consumer and number one oil importer. Some “biggests” are a sign of investment potential, but others suggest inequality and inefficiency. Meanwhile, some of the most meaningful, like having the world’s dominant currency, still look a long way off.

from Breakingviews:

IPO flops will come back to haunt Li Ka-shing

By Una Galani
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Li Ka-shing’s stock market flops will come back to haunt the tycoon when it matters most. His latest spinoff, utility HK Electric, has become the third listing in a row from the businessman’s energy-to-telecoms empire to fizzle. Though markets are soft, Li’s reputation for selling at the top may make it harder to get a premium valuation if he decides to press ahead with an initial public offering (IPO) for his prized health and beauty retail business, A.S. Watson.

from Breakingviews:

Smog obscures looming water risk for China

By Katrina Hamlin
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

China’s smog is visible, and vexes the urban rich. But attempts to fix the looming “airpocalypse” may be exacerbating another acute risk: water. If the country’s planners really want to make growth sustainable, they will need to pull the plug on cheap supply for thirsty energy companies and consumers.

from Expert Zone:

Solving the Indo-Japanese equation

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

In geopolitics, neighbours rarely make great alliances. However, distance does not impede strong partnerships.

In the case of Japan and India, historical bonds nurtured by Buddhism and the Japanese providing the wherewithal to freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose for the Indian National Army, provides for the necessary people-to-people connect.

from Breakingviews:

China’s dash for dairy based on frothy forecasts

By Ethan Bilby
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Foamy figures about the popularity of drinking milk in China have lifted share prices of domestic milk producers and fuelled one of the biggest mainland initial public offerings of the year, Huishan Dairy's $1.3 billion debut last week. China’s market potential is large, but the rate of growth may be leaner than advertised by milk industry bulls.

from Breakingviews:

Tokyo Electron takeover is no template for Japan

By Una Galani
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Foreign acquirers have long-struggled to make headway in Japan. That makes Applied Material’s recent takeover of Tokyo Electron an interesting case study. The U.S. tech firm wooed its smaller rival with an all-stock merger and the promise of shared governance. However, the model may not work so easily elsewhere.

from Breakingviews:

An Abenomics lesson on politics for Uncle Sam

By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Two years ago, there was no gloomier place than Japan. The country was recovering from the horrific devastation of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. Fearful of radiation poisoning, Tokyoites were purchasing Geiger counters and eschewing vegetables. The government was a thicket of finger-pointing, evasion and paralysis.

from Breakingviews:

China Tea Leaf Index: Hanging on for reform

By John Foley
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China's rail shipments and steel drove our alternative growth index up to 96.3 in August, the highest since January. That looks like enough to give leaders the benefit of the doubt ahead of November’s party plenum, when the tone for future economic growth will really be set.

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