Breakingviews

Robots may spell “Control-Alt-Delete” for workers

October 23, 2014

Researchers think automatons could displace half of all existing U.S. jobs. If that happens rapidly, it could push humans into a strife-torn future in which lack of wage income hobbles prosperity even in capable societies. Yet governments can make the transition less stressful.

China’s capital defences have sprung a major leak

October 23, 2014

Strict controls should shield China from flighty foreign capital. In practice, investors have snuck in at least $725 billion of short-term money since 2008. That makes the economy vulnerable to outflows. Central bankers are saddled with preventing a trickle becoming a flood.

China’s capital defences have sprung a major leak

October 22, 2014

Strict controls should shield China from flighty foreign capital. In practice, investors have snuck in at least $725 billion of short-term money since 2008. That makes the economy vulnerable to outflows. Central bankers are saddled with preventing a trickle becoming a flood.

FX business now shares equities’ harsh economics

October 21, 2014

That’s why recently resurgent volatility in currency markets won’t restore investment banks’ revenue. Blame a secular shift in FX, and the rise of electronic trading.

Hong Kong tycoons can be part of protest solution

October 21, 2014

The city’s business leaders have outsize influence over local politics. Relaxing their grip on special corporate votes would be a symbolic gesture to pro-democracy activists – and may help preserve the stability that has served tycoons, and their investors, so well for so long.

Abenomics hits a speed bump, not a road block

October 20, 2014

Japan’s prime minister has lost two high-profile cabinet members and hinted at delaying a sales tax hike. Growth is sputtering as the world economy slows. Yet reforms are still going ahead. The key to Shinzo Abe’s success is maintaining the confidence of investors – and voters.

Review: The worst of both Mao and markets

By Guest Contributor
October 17, 2014

Nicholas Lardy’s new book describes a China in which the state is retreating. He has the numbers to demonstrate the private sector’s steady gains, but official statistics are deeply misleading. In the PRC, the public-private line is blurred by the triumph of crony capitalism.

Cheap oil is no tonic for sluggish Asian economies

October 17, 2014

Less expensive petrol and diesel mean smaller subsidy bills and healthier budgets in India and Indonesia. For others in the region, though, falling crude prices are a worrying sign of stalling global growth. Asia has too much debt to welcome disinflation.

Weaker euro won’t do much to stoke inflation

October 16, 2014

The ECB not-so-secretly hopes a cheaper currency will boost euro zone inflation. Good luck. The fall in dollar-denominated commodity prices is deflationary. And with demand weak, firms will struggle to pass on higher import prices. Only a huge euro slump would bring real relief.

Real estate rescue may not help China’s developers

October 16, 2014

Homebuyers will still spend if prices and financing are attractive. But property companies are selling more for less, which beats down their margins. If a pick-up comes at the expense of profitability, things will continue to get worse for Chinese housebuilders.