Nov 12, 2014 08:24 UTC

Japan index: Tightening the purse strings

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Unexpected growth in manufacturing output helped our alternative economic index to a new high in September. But it wasn’t enough to lift consumers: stagnant wages and higher sales taxes left spending in the doldrums. No wonder the central bank decided to ramp up bond purchases.

COMMENT

please explain how giving billions to currency traders and bankers helps the average person. Bond buy and ramping stock market actually hur people

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Nov 12, 2014 06:06 UTC

Chinese flirt app seeks undiscerning IPO investors

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By Robyn Mak

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

China’s latest tech initial public offering looks like a date from hell. Social network Momo has a fast growing user base and puts a flirtatious twist on location-based chat apps. But a recent history of widening losses and very peculiar governance risks suggest investors should commit at their own risk.

Nov 11, 2014 07:47 UTC

China embraces troublesome cult of consumption

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By John Foley 

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

China has no more potent symbol of consumer power than “Singles’ Day”. Alibaba, the e-commerce giant that invented the shopping frenzy which takes place every Nov. 11, shifted $2 billion of goods on its websites in the first hour of trading. If consumers kept that up all year, retail sales in the People Republic would be five times bigger than they actually were in 2013. Fortunately, they don’t.

Nov 10, 2014 07:18 UTC

Obama and Xi compete to put the “I” in “APEC”

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By John Foley 

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

There is no “I” in “APEC”. Yet the leaders of China and the United States are both using the Beijing round of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation this week to push their own agendas. Using the global stage to play domestic political games leaves room for dangerous mistakes.

Nov 7, 2014 14:15 UTC

America: land of phantom job openings

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By Stephanie Rogan

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

The vacancies are posted, the workers are there but U.S. employers are hiring at a slower rate. Welcome to America, land of phantom jobs.

COMMENT

In Germany we’ve these fake openings since decades. It makes the company look better, if they offer jobs. ‘Bla Bla recruits again!’ in huge letters in the local newspaper is just another kind of advertising, which makes customers believe the company has a good time and is doing good for the community.

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Nov 7, 2014 13:19 UTC

Only Putin can stop rouble’s fall

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The rouble is down 28 percent since the beginning of the year. The Central Bank of Russia has not been able to cushion the fall against its chosen dollar-euro reference basket. It is not at fault.

Nov 7, 2014 07:12 UTC

Japan’s banks may swap old nemesis for new foe

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Japan’s banks may end up swapping their old nemesis with a new enemy.

The central bank’s bulked-up bond-buying plan will relieve lenders of the burden of financing Japan’s overextended government. Shrinking their portfolio of Japanese government bonds (JGBs) helps to reduce the risk that even small increases in interest rates will leave banks with big losses. But if Japanese companies remain reluctant to invest, the lenders’ spare cash may stoke bubbles in stocks and property. In that case, banks could arguably end up living more dangerously than before.

Nov 6, 2014 14:41 UTC

Gold bulls have precious little to cling to

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By Ian Campbell

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

The golden metal is being crushed by the paper it despised. The dollar index is at a four-year high and the gold price at a four-year low, having fallen nearly 40 percent from its peak to below $1,200 an ounce. It is hard to see gold avoiding a swift plunge below $1,000 unless turmoil in other markets turns the precious metal into a temporary haven.

Nov 6, 2014 06:05 UTC

China’s next GDP goal: trash the target

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By John Foley

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

China’s days of picking a number for GDP growth and moulding the economy to fit are probably over. At the same time, its planners still seem wedded to symbolic statistical goals. Targeting a range for national output, rather than any single figure, would be an elegant way to square the circle.

Nov 5, 2014 06:56 UTC

Bank of Japan bond vault may resemble a black hole

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Bank of Japan’s bond vault is starting to resemble a black hole: debt keeps falling in, never to escape. At least, that’s what investors want to believe. If their expectations change, the consequences for Japan’s bond market could be ugly.