Sep 18, 2014 06:36 UTC

China has not one property problem, but many

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By John Foley 

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

China’s real estate market is big enough that it can have not one property problem but many. A Breakingviews ranking of the forty biggest cities, according to different kinds of risks, shows there are huge differences between local markets. It’s not much consolation, though. A conflagration of regional problems could be just as bad as one big national one.

Aug 13, 2014 07:19 UTC

Japan’s GDP sacrifice is price well paid

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By Andy Mukherjee 

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

Japan’s GDP sacrifice is a fair price for much-needed fiscal correction.

The country’s output plunged an annualized 6.8 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, according to the Cabinet Office’s preliminary reading. The decline, which stock market investors had expected and therefore largely ignored, was a direct consequence of the April 1 hike in Japan’s sales tax, the first since 1997. Raising the levy by 3 percentage points prompted households to curb spending by a massive 19 percent.

Aug 7, 2014 07:13 UTC

China index: Beijing cleans up skies, not its act

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Skies above China’s big cities are turning blue, as its economic warning lights flash red. Across the country, PM2.5 readings – a measure of small particulates in the air – fell by 6 percent year on year in the first six months, Greenpeace reported in July. Beijing even scored the city’s least smoggy month since January 2011 according to data from the U.S. Department of State. Dirty industrials are leaving town and shutting down – but that’s just a quick fix.

Jul 13, 2014 23:14 UTC

German soccer glory was predictable – with luck

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By Robert Cole

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

Brazil’s World Cup was first-rate entertainment thanks to its many surprising results. For its part Breakingviews, also somewhat surprisingly, predicted that Germany would win the competition as long ago as last Christmas.

Jun 18, 2014 21:29 UTC

U.S. home affordability on way to lowest in years

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By Daniel Indiviglio and Richard Beales

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

U.S. homes may soon be as unaffordable as they have been in decades. With the Federal Reserve set to raise interest rates, house prices rising and incomes not keeping pace, the dream of home ownership – cheaper after the 2008 downturn – is receding again for many. A new Breakingviews calculator shows that by 2017 homebuyers may have to stretch once again.

Jun 3, 2014 03:51 UTC

China index: Property helps slowdown drag on

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Our indicator stalled at 90.8 in April, just a touch up on March. The home front still looks sluggish. Rail cargo and truck sales fell while exports were flat. Property was a drag: average monthly sales growth from January to April was 17 pct, down from 22 pct last year.

May 15, 2014 19:37 UTC

Where should AstraZeneca shares be trading?

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

Investors are putting a lot of faith in Pfizer succeeding in its $100 billion-plus quest to acquire UK pharmaceuticals rival AstraZeneca. The right price for the target’s share price can be seen as the weighted average of two possible outcomes – a sale to Pfizer or a standalone future. A new Breakingviews calculator shows why the market seems to think a transaction will probably happen.

May 13, 2014 04:02 UTC

Japan index: Wages bigger worry than spending

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

With the sales tax rising from April 1, the shopping spree that pushed the Breakingviews Abenomics Index to a 12-year high in March has ended. But sluggish wages are a bigger threat than a consumption freeze. If pay disappoints, the spending gloom may become more persistent.

May 7, 2014 06:11 UTC

Alibaba’s big reveal: high growth, odd governance

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By John Foley 

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

There are two things to know about Alibaba, which filed for an initial public offering in New York on May 6. First, China’s dominant e-commerce company is huge, and could be even bigger. Second, new investors will have little say in how it is run – the founders are keeping a firm grip.

Apr 29, 2014 06:56 UTC

China index: Economy is creeping and crawling

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Our index touched 90.7, slightly up from 89.5 a month earlier. But domestic activity still looks sluggish. Rail freight volumes are lower; truck sales are slower; steel production is stalling; and growth in air travel is unusually modest. Dwindling exports offer little support.