Reuters blog archive

from Breakingviews:

Europe rightly throws shade on solar tariffs plan

By John Foley

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

European opposition to tariffs on Chinese solar panels sounds like turkeys voting for Christmas. After all, China has used cheap state financing to lower the cost of making solar equipment - and European companies like Germany’s Solar World have borne the brunt. Yet the reluctance of most EU member states to back proposals for a punitive tariff is smart. In a world of cross-border supply chains, Europe has too much to lose by pushing the point.

Germany, which is leading the charge against the European Commission’s proposed duties, is also the hardest hit by China’s rise from making almost no solar panels a decade ago to some 60 percent of the world’s total output. Among the casualties of the adjustment were Germany’s Q-Cells, once the world’s biggest cell maker.

Yet German economy minister Philipp Roesler has said that imposing provisional tariffs, which kick in on June 6, is a “grave mistake”. He is right for two reasons. The traditional fear, dating back to the global trade slump of the 1930s, is that tariffs breed retaliation in kind. That may happen. China imports most of the polysilicon that goes into solar panels, for example, and is mulling whether Western firms sell for less than their costs.

from Global Investing:

Turkey: investment grade, peace and FDI?

Turkey's elevation to investment grade last week may or may not be a game changer for its stock and bond markets, but the country is really hoping for a boost to FDI - bricks-and-mortar foreign direct investment  into manufacturing or power generation. Its peace process with Kurdish separatists should help.

Speaking last week at Mitsubishi-UFJ's annual Turkey conference, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek cited data showing an average 2 percentage-point pick-up in FDI in the two years immediately after a country moves into investment grade.

from Ian Bremmer:

Washington’s scandals won’t stunt America’s recovery

Scandal has visited the Obama administration, and thanks to the media narrative it’s larger than the sum of its parts. With a talking-point imbroglio after Benghazi, the IRS’s discriminatory practices and the Justice Department’s procurement of Associated Press phone records, the Obama administration and its allies are right to be worried.

But those of us invested in U.S. growth have little reason to fret. The past few years have proved that dysfunction in Washington has almost no effect on America’s attractiveness to investors. As the rates of U.S. Treasury bonds prove, America continues to be the place for investors to park their money. That’s because petty politics don’t control the fate of the country.

from Breakingviews:

Shell must hope Voser successor mimics his ways

By Kevin Allison

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

When a chief executive unexpectedly leaves to spend more time with his family, it's usually a cue to start a post-mortem into a failed tenure. Shell looks like an exception. Actually, it is shame Peter Voser is leaving. The Anglo-Dutch oil major could do worse than hope his successor mimics his ways.

from Breakingviews:

Exxon Mobil running hard just to stand still

By Christopher Swann

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

Exxon Mobil is having to run hard just to stand still. The world’s biggest company is pumping only a trickle more oil than 12 years ago - and maintaining even that is getting more expensive. Only buybacks are making growth in earnings per share look decent.

from Breakingviews:

New oil dynamics may challenge crude growth logic

By Christopher Swann and Kevin Allison 

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

Fears for the wobbly world economy have pushed Brent crude below $100 a barrel for the first time since July. Long-term trends at work in the oil market mean it could stay depressed. That’s good, since cheaper energy helps industry. Better still, booming shale output, greater efficiency and the rise of natural gas as a rival transport fuel may keep the oil price subdued even as growth is stimulated.

from Photographers' Blog:

Adventures on the western frontier

North Dakota

By Shannon Stapleton

It had been a couple months since I traveled somewhere to cover an assignment and I have to admit I was really looking to get out of town.

So when I heard that the Reuters text operation was covering a story in Williston, North Dakota on the Bakken Oil boom I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to visit a place that I had never been before. That same day I picked up the month's edition of National Geographic and saw on the cover that one of my favorite photographers Eugene Richards had spent some time there this past summer. I was excited to embark on an adventure to the western frontier and see for myself this modern day gold rush.

from Breakingviews:

How to go public and private all in one go

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

A Brazilian company seems to have found a way to go public and private all in one go. Biosev, an ethanol producer, is preparing to sell new shares next month. As part of the deal, parent company Louis Dreyfus is offering to buy them back in 15 months. It’s essentially an initial public offering, convertible bond and potential buyout packaged together. And it’s an overly clever solution to a unique problem.

from Breakingviews:

U.S. oil billionaire’s divorce is no private affair

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

American oil billionaire Harold Hamm’s impending divorce is not simply a private affair. Investors swiftly stripped half a billion dollars from the market value of Continental Resources on Thursday following news that founder and 68 percent owner Hamm and his wife are splitting. That may not do the threat justice. Any division of the tycoon’s $11 billion fortune leaves Continental exposed to hefty stock sales or a feud at the top.

from Breakingviews:

Cyprus will struggle to make gas math work

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

Cyprus’ latest ideas for wiggling out of its financial fix include bundling future gas revenues into a national “solidarity fund”. But Breakingviews calculations suggest the gas discovered to date isn’t worth enough to plug the country’s 5.8 billon euro ($7.5 billion) funding gap.