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from Breakingviews:

Occupy misses real threats to Hong Kong’s future

By Robyn Mak

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

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement misses the real threats to Hong Kong’s future. While tens of thousands of protesters led by students have taken to the streets demanding electoral reform, most of the former British colony's 7.2 million residents have shied away. Universal suffrage deserves public support, but the gradual erosion of rule of law and free speech poses a greater threat to the city's prosperity. It’s unlikely these concerns can unite the region in open confrontation with Beijing.

Despite the large turnout, student-led protests have failed to attract participation from the rest of the city. One reason may be pragmatism. China’s rejection of public nomination of candidates for the 2017 chief executive election is largely interpreted as a U-turn on Beijing’s commitment to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s quasi-constitution. But for many, what’s proposed is still better than nothing – and may even be a pilot for deeper reforms in the mainland itself.

Fear is a factor too. There is a genuine concern that a heavy-handed crackdown from Beijing is imminent should things escalate. Hong Kong’s leader has had to publically reassure the city that deploying the People’s Liberation Army forces, stationed in Hong Kong, is unnecessary. Comparisons with the Tiananmen Square demonstrations 25 years ago, which the authorities also tried to wait out until finally losing patience, further reinforce these anxieties.

from Hugo Dixon:

UK faces unpalatable election choice

By Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own.

The UK faces an unpalatable choice in next May’s general election. The Labour opposition, which is currently ahead in the polls, has a somewhat anti-business agenda. Meanwhile, the Conservatives want to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. If the people vote to quit the EU, industry will lose full access to its biggest external market.

from Breakingviews:

Hong Kong shreds hopes for orderly disorder

By Robyn Mak and John Foley

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

Hong Kong’s experiment in orderly disorder is coming unstuck. Thousands of protestors took to the streets on Sept. 29 calling for political reform and universal suffrage, and many still remain a day later. Markets are open, and the financial sector hasn’t taken any direct hits. But what started as a meticulously planned act of civil disobedience now risks spiralling into something more volatile and unpredictable, with damaging long term-implications for the city.

from Over-Gaffenated:

Brazil on the grill

The idea of increased political risk when it comes to the U.S. markets has been mined before, and it’s true that the uncertainty that surrounds debates such as the renewal of the Export-Import Bank’s charter and the growing expectation that Republicans, should they take power in November in the Senate, could force another confrontation over the debt ceiling. That said, political risk in the U.S. isn’t anything when compared with Brazil as the largest South American economy gears up for its presidential election, a contest between current president Dilma Rousseff and environmentalist Marina Silva, who until last month wasn’t even running (she was the vice presidential candidate for her party, whose original candidate was killed in a plane crash).

It’s an understatement to say the markets aren’t a fan of Rousseff, who hasn’t been able to bring the country out of its current economic rut – in fact, a chart of the Bovespa stock market makes it an easy one to pick out pivot points in the election race. In a two-week stretch following the death of Eduardo Campos, the Bovespa jumped more than 11 percent as investors started to see Silva as the candidate more likely to take out Rousseff (the other candidate, Aecio Neves, has seen his support slowly erode as Silva emerged as a popular choice).

from Breakingviews:

Tragedy may reshape Brazil economy, not just vote

By Martin Hutchinson and Richard Beales

The authors are Breakingviews columnists. All opinions expressed are their own. 

Add Marina Silva to the challenges facing Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s president faces a new opposition candidate in October’s election after Eduardo Campos’ death in a plane crash, and Silva looks a far bigger threat. If she ousts Rousseff, which polls show is possible, Brazil could gain economically from less state meddling.

from Breakingviews:

Review: Paul Ryan changes delivery but not direction

By Stephanie Rogan

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

Paul Ryan has written a book, just like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama before him. Unlike those of his Democratic rivals, though, the U.S. congressman and former vice presidential candidate’s is less memoir than campaign manifesto. Ryan’s fiscal prescriptions are familiar, but it’s also obvious he is trying to find a broader audience for them. Though it’s tempting to dismiss “The Way Forward” as just the musings of another presidential wannabe, the book’s title probably accurately reflects the notion that its contents will guide the Republican strategy in the years to come.

from MacroScope:

When Mario met Jean-Claude

European Central Bank President Draghi and Eurogroup President -Juncker talk during a news conference in Nicosia, Cyprus

A day before the European Central Bank’s monthly policy meeting, ECB President Mario Draghi will travel to Luxembourg for talks with incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Oh to be a fly on the wall.

Some in the ECB are concerned that ultra-low sovereign borrowing costs and Draghi’s “whatever it takes” promise has relieved pressure on euro zone governments to carry on with structural economic reforms.
Juncker has signalled he is comfortable with a Franco-Italian drive to focus on growth and job creation rather than cutting debt.

from The Great Debate UK:

Britain’s 8 million renters are a key electoral battleground

--Stephen Evans is a former Senior Policy Advisor for HM Treasury and Director of Employment and Skills at Working Links. The opinions expressed are his own.--

Estate agents boards are lined up outside houses in south London June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew WinningEstate agents boards are lined up outside houses in south London June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew WinningAsking prices for London houses have risen by £80,000 since the start of 2014 according to Rightmove. A three-bedroom house in London increases in value more each day than the average Londoner earns, a sobering thought on your daily commute. These are just the latest startling figures on house prices, particularly in London and the South East, prompting concern from Mark Carney and all three major political parties.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Democracy is on the ropes. So what are we going to do about it?

child holds her father's hand at a polling station in Kabul

Democracy is taking a bashing. On almost every continent, attempts to extend the right of people to choose their own government is running into deep trouble. In Iraq, Egypt, Ukraine, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and many other countries, democracy is being overwhelmed by despotism and despair.

A commonly heard response is that Western democracy is not for everyone, that what works in our society does not automatically work elsewhere. Another is to suggest that we should not try to spread democracy to the rest of the world; it is none of our business.

from MacroScope:

Signs of European dash for growth

The ripples of EU election results are being felt, no more so than in France where the National Front topped the poll.

The day after the results, Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised further tax cuts for French households. The government is already committed to a 30 billion euros cut in labour taxes to help business but insists all this can be done while meeting its EU deficit commitments.

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