Apr 21, 2014 06:46 UTC

Missing inflation could make Asian bonds frothier

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Asia’s inflation is missing. Analysts have been caught by surprise. If it isn’t found soon, the region’s frothy bond prices could get even higher.

Apr 17, 2014 16:02 UTC

Review: Hustling helps Africa’s partial success

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

“Kanju” makes modern Africa work. In her new book “The Bright Continent,” the American journalist Dayo Olopade claims that this Yoruba word for hustling, striving and rule-breaking explains how the invisible hand outwits the dead hand of corrupt bureaucracy in much of the continent. Sadly, kanju also makes most African countries tough places to do fully organized business.

Apr 17, 2014 15:36 UTC

Sanctions on Russia will cost less than inaction

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Vladimir Putin has set the stage well for the first international talks on Ukraine. Armed pro-Russian separatists have seized buildings in several eastern Ukrainian cities. Their uniforms and weapons suggest they are equipped by the Russian army, if not part of it. The rebels’ success has shown that the government in Kiev is not in control of the country – not even of its own security forces.

Apr 17, 2014 06:02 UTC

Asia push to in-house M&A forces advisers to adapt

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By Una Galani

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

Asian acquirers are taking their own advice when it comes to mergers and acquisitions – and global investment banks may have to adapt. From Singaporean sovereign investor Temasek to China’s CITIC, Asian companies are increasingly relying on internal talent to get deals done. The loss of business in an already tough market means big investment banks will have to work harder to prove their worth.

International banks have had a minimal role in two recent mega-deals. Temasek used its own mergers-and-acquisitions team to buy a 24.95 percent stake in AS Watson, the retail business of Li Ka-Shing’s Hutchison Whampoa, in March. Hong Kong-listed CITIC Pacific has named only its own subsidiary, and a related outfit, as advisers on its $36.5 billion acquisition of assets from its parent. Morgan Stanley worked on the deal, say people familiar with the situation, but isn’t mentioned in public documents.

Apr 17, 2014 02:14 UTC

CITIC’s $37 bln merger hints at SOE reform task

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By Una Galani

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

CITIC’s $37 billion merger has shed some light on the gargantuan task of reforming China’s state-owned enterprises. The giant conglomerate is merging its assets, which range from finance to football, into its smaller Hong Kong-listed subsidiary. The result combines listed stakes and a mish-mash of smaller businesses. But if all goes well, CITIC Pacific shareholders will get a profitable ringside seat in the cleanup.

Apr 16, 2014 06:02 UTC

Hong Kong needs to defend shareholder democracy

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By Una Galani and Peter Thal Larsen

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

Hong Kong needs to make a stand for shareholder democracy. Alibaba’s decision to shift its giant stock market listing to the United States has sparked a debate about control of public companies in the former British colony. Hong Kong’s stock exchange, whose rules wouldn’t have permitted a plan to let Alibaba insiders nominate a majority of board directors, is preparing a public consultation on shareholder rights. But dumping the principle of “one share, one vote” would be a mistake.

Apr 15, 2014 05:47 UTC

WH Group’s quick pork flip serves up meaty return

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By Una Galani 

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

WH Group’s quick pork flip will serve up a meaty return. The Chinese pig producer hasn’t had much time to justify the 31 percent premium it paid for rival Smithfield less than seven months ago. Yet the planned relisting of the enlarged group in Hong Kong implies the value of the U.S. business has risen at least 21 percent.

Apr 14, 2014 14:33 UTC

How China is stoking London’s housing bubble

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By George Hay

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

It takes a long trip on the London underground to get to the Aura housing development. From Waterloo Station, 42 minutes tick by until you pull into Edgware, the stop nearest to the half-completed apartment blocks being built on land formerly occupied by a now-bankrupt football club. Attempt the journey at the weekend, when large swathes of the tube are typically shut, and you must make a detour to nearby Canon’s Park station. From there, you face a 15-minute trek taking in a boarded-up pub, a Lidl supermarket and a municipal office block with smashed ground-floor windows. In every sense, you are a long way from what estate agents like to call “prime central London.”

Apr 14, 2014 06:35 UTC

China’s car joint ventures aren’t built to last

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Chinese drivers are booming in number, and foreign auto companies have cruised away with most of the sales. But access to what is now the world’s largest auto market has come with a big financial concession: joint ventures with local partners. Those alliances haven’t fulfilled Beijing’s goal of developing competitive Chinese brands. That divided interest could lead to future break-ups.

Apr 11, 2014 05:01 UTC

Asian bond sizzle is a bet on deflationary fizzle

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Asian bond market is sizzling. But that doesn’t mean investors are being reckless. Rather, it might reflect growing worries that the global economy is fizzling into deflation.