Breakingviews

Latam can rely on masses for next phase of growth

December 31, 2012

A few key people like the world’s richest man and showy political leaders have epitomized the region for years by spearheading the commodity-led, export economies. In 2013, a burgeoning middle class, helped by low interest rates, will make a mark powering Latin America’s future.

US housing doesn’t need another government bailout

December 26, 2012

The White House is mulling allowing homeowners with underwater private mortgages to refinance into cheaper government-backed loans. But Washington should be planning its exit from home finance, not extending its occupation. Luckily, these latest plans look like a pipe dream.

Washington may finally take up mortgage reform

December 21, 2012

Assuming Congress settles the deficit debate, housing finance should be its next stop. Lawmakers have postponed reforming the government’s role in funding home loans for four years. Some hurdles still remain. But economic, regulatory and political obstacles are dissolving.

Fed’s foreign bank crackdown is price of stability

December 20, 2012

Forcing overseas lenders to properly capitalize their U.S. arms is necessary to protect the local - and global - financial system. The Federal Reserve’s unilateral approach could prompt others to follow suit. But fears that fragmentation will stifle global banking are overblown.

Moody’s downgrade is good news for France

November 20, 2012

The U.S. ratings agency has followed S&P in stripping France of its AAA status. The arguments are well known, and markets yawned. But the move will add to the pressure to plough ahead with reforms. It could even help François Hollande convince the French there’s no time to lose.

SOEs could be China’s economic vampire squid

November 13, 2012

State-owned enterprises soak up too much capital, and pay out too little. Their costs are too low, and their bosses too powerful. The country’s new leaders may yet have a chance to make SOEs work on more commercial terms. If not, China’s households will be the ultimate losers.

Corporate China beating banks at their own game

October 17, 2012

Banks and bondholders aren’t the only ones working to keep the country’s debt-fueled party from crashing: companies are also lending more to each other, for longer. As growth slows, the risk is that rising past-due bills make it hard for the private sector to repay mounting debt.

UK banks’ euro zone firewall needs government help

June 13, 2012

Despite a recent re-tooling, the Bank of England still can’t provide lenders with three-year loans like those offered by the European Central Bank. That could leave lenders exposed if the euro zone cracks. It may be up to the UK government to support long-term bank credit.

California shows way through tricky pension mess

June 8, 2012

San Jose and San Diego want current public workers to make sacrifices for their pensions, like contributing up to 16 percent more of salaries to fund retirement schemes. Backed by voters, the proposals look to be a sensible way forward in the thorny thicket of pension reform.

BofA reject wins Fannie Mae booby prize

June 6, 2012

No good deed goes unpunished. Tim Mayopoulos, fired as the mega-bank hid Merrill losses in 2008, is the mortgage zombie’s new boss. That won’t improve the firms’ tense relationship. And he’s taking a pay cut. But his integrity and background make him a decent fit for the job.