Bank of Japan bond vault may resemble a black hole

November 5, 2014

The central bank will suck more than 7 percent of outstanding government bonds into its gravitational pull next year. The longer this goes on, the stronger the investors’ belief that they will never see that debt again. Any dent in that confidence could be highly upsetting.

End of U.S. QE is actually good for world economy

November 4, 2014

Investors worry about the end of America’s quantitative easing but global consumers, especially the poor, can welcome it. The halt has helped make oil and food cheaper, lowering inflation. That will also keep interest rates down. In all, it may be more stimulating.

Xiaomi’s upward valuation hike hard to justify

November 4, 2014

A new funding round could give the Chinese smartphone group a valuation of $50 billion - five times its mooted price last August. That suggests a valuation comparable to tech giant Apple. While Xiaomi is growing fast, it lacks its U.S. rival’s dominance or innovation.

Music rally can shake off discordant Taylor Swift

November 3, 2014

The 24-year-old pop star yanked her latest album and catalog from Spotify. The digital streaming service and its ilk offer low per-song royalties but subscriptions give labels higher margins than CDs or downloads. Buyer habits are also changing, even if Swift is stuck in 1989.

Macau’s casinos worryingly reliant on high-rollers

November 3, 2014

A drop in big spenders could push Macau gambling revenue to its first annual drop on record. Forecasts for next year still seem too optimistic. If VIP gamblers shrink in number, the likes of Galaxy Entertainment and Wynn Macau would be especially hard hit.

Review: No bets on Berkshire after Warren Buffett

October 31, 2014

Lawrence Cunningham’s “Berkshire Beyond Buffett” argues the Oracle of Omaha has built a corporate culture that will ensure success after his departure. The book does a good job of cataloging Buffett’s portfolio. But it doesn't make a strong enough case for investors to follow.

Draghi can only dream of moving like BOJ’s Kuroda

October 31, 2014

The ECB chief might fantasise about taking big decisions with a one-vote margin, as the Bank of Japan leader just did. But realpolitik requires a goodly majority. The euro zone’s inevitable compromises complicate Draghi’s fight against stubbornly low inflation.

China index: Home truths upset economy

October 31, 2014

Our alternative growth index hit its lowest levels since April 2009 last month. Housing investment is leading the downturn with the slowest pace of growth in over two years. In the past, more bank lending was seen as the answer. This time, it doesn’t seem to be helping at all.

Hong Kong protests lay minefield for business

October 31, 2014

The democracy debate is dividing the city. For companies, keeping quiet is less risky than expressing an opinion that could irk customers, staff, or Beijing. It’s even harder for employees who must tread the blurry line between free speech and representing corporate interests.

Tim Cook’s pride may expand corporate talent pool

October 30, 2014

The Apple CEO’s decision to speak publicly about being gay should help advance the march toward acceptance. As boss of the world’s biggest company by market value, Cook could inspire others, giving C-suites and boardrooms more choice. They could use it.