Jul 5, 2013 05:04 UTC

China’s shipbuilding supertanker will turn slowly

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By John Foley

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

In 1433, China abandoned its costly maritime ambitions, forfeiting for centuries its chances of oceanic dominance. It is unlikely to make the same mistake again. While the tribulations of China Rongsheng show that the country’s modern shipping industry is in trouble, a sector with such strategic and symbolic importance can stay afloat long after its financial appeal has run dry.

Jun 28, 2013 09:02 UTC

China’s corporate spying is three-cornered problem

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By John Foley

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

American prosecutors have targeted Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel for allegedly stealing secrets from a U.S. rival. The threat of a $4.8 billion fine for a company with total assets of $4.6 billion sounds potent. But it doesn’t address the economic conditions that make China a target for accusations of ideas theft. Call it the corporate espionage triangle.

Jun 25, 2013 13:26 UTC

Is Ben Bernanke wrong, or is QE impotent?

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By Agnes T. Crane and Edward Hadas

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

Investors are clearly upset, but it’s hard to know why. The chronology is clear. The rout in global markets – from U.S. Treasuries to copper, from Shanghai stocks to junk bonds – started after Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, suggested that the American economy might soon be strong enough to need less monetary support from the central bank. The causality is another matter.

Jun 24, 2013 10:27 UTC

China’s bonfire of liquidities claims first victim

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By John Foley

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

China’s bonfire of the liquidities has claimed its first victim: equities. Stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen tumbled more than five percent on June 24 after the central bank published a letter suggesting it’s in no rush to help overstretched lenders continue in their bad habits. This tough new approach could mean a little more chaos will be injected into China’s financial system. For the economy overall, it’s both positive and helpful.

Jun 20, 2013 14:06 UTC

Don’t bet on RBS good bank/bad bank split

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By George Hay

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

Don’t bet on a good bank/bad bank split at Royal Bank of Scotland. George Osborne, the UK chancellor, used his Mansion House speech on June 19 to announce a study on the possible hiving off the state-held lender’s ropey assets. It doesn’t mean that will happen when the Treasury reports back in the Autumn.

Jun 20, 2013 05:03 UTC

Fear of Fed: Where to hide in Asia?

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The end of the cheap-cash era may not be good news for Asian equities, but it need not lead to an across-the-board stampede. The end of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s bond-buying programme has triggered fears of a liquidity drought. However, not all markets are equally vulnerable.

Jun 19, 2013 20:07 UTC

Google shareholders get modest future-proofing

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By Richard Beales 

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

Google shareholders are getting some modest future-proofing. A novel deal protects owners of the company’s non-voting stock against a discount – and from the day when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin no longer wield full control. The convoluted legal settlement, however, only goes to show it’s better to avoid a shareholder caste system in the first place.

Jun 17, 2013 21:11 UTC

AT&T is all dressed up with nowhere to go

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By Robert Cyran

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

AT&T is all dressed up with nowhere to go. The telecom company had a $93 billion bid for Telefonica blocked by Madrid, according to a Spanish newspaper. The target has denied that it received any expression of interest. But the report is a sign of the problem AT&T faces: it has a lofty stock multiple, which makes M&A tempting, but it seems shut out of both domestic and foreign deals.

Jun 6, 2013 19:56 UTC

U.S. defense on Big Data as murky as industry’s

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By Robert Cyran and Antony Currie

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

The Obama administration argues the National Security Agency’s secret collection of Verizon phone records doesn’t compromise privacy and is good for the country. Wall Street and Silicon Valley often make similar claims. History suggests it often ends up better for those controlling the data than for those supplying it.

Jun 4, 2013 21:36 UTC

Could UBS resurrect partnership investment banking?

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Goldman Sachs’s initial public offering in 1999 seemed to hammer a nail in the coffin for the partnership model in investment banking. Now activist investment firm Knight Vinke is suggesting that UBS might adopt something like a partnership structure as part of its plan to split wealth management from investment banking. The breakup idea is overambitious today. Only with time, luck and possibly more capital, could an employee-owned UBS investment bank be made to work.