Dec 31, 2013 03:47 UTC

China index: Slowdown looks home-grown

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

China’s economy decelerated further in November, according to Breakingviews’ alternative index. Lower truck sales, steel output and rail freight volumes suggest sluggish demand. House prices and pollution were up, but their contribution is a sign that growth is far from healthy.

Dec 31, 2013 01:53 UTC

Merck woes show animal drugs are no panacea

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By Kevin Allison

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

Animal medicine, whether for livestock or pets, is a booming business. Pfizer’s recent spin-off, Zoetis, trades at a fat valuation premium to traditional drug makers. But the recent controversy over Zilmax, Merck’s feed additive, shows that an increasingly complicated global food chain carries its own investment risks.

Dec 30, 2013 14:35 UTC

Dollar to give other currencies beating many want

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By Ian Campbell

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

The dollar should make its way back from oblivion in 2014 as the Federal Reserve stops printing greenbacks like monopoly money. Emerging market currencies look vulnerable to a whipping they don’t want, the yen should continue to slide happily, the euro will ease and the pound will end up competing with the dollar at the front of the currency race.

Dec 30, 2013 07:12 UTC

Beijing will block a big overseas deal in 2014

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By Ethan Bilby

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

China will seek its own GE-Honeywell moment in 2014. European regulators asserted their growing power over global competition when they blocked the merger of the two U.S. industrial companies in 2001. Beijing’s antitrust watchdog is already giving increasing scrutiny to tie-ups even when both companies are foreign. The desire to show its economic might could see it block a deal outright.

Dec 27, 2013 16:36 UTC

Oil’s new age of plenty challenges old assumptions

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By Kevin Allison

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

The energy business may enter a tumultuous period in 2014, even if sanctions on Iranian oil exports remain in place. The combination of increased shale drilling, cheaper solar power and higher investments in energy efficiency has the potential to create a glut of oil from countries outside the OPEC producers’ cartel at current prices. A sharp drop in the oil price is possible, and more volatility in oil prices, energy investments and geopolitics is almost inevitable.

Dec 27, 2013 10:58 UTC

Europe will court shutdown with new parliament

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By Neil Unmack

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

The European Parliament that will be elected next year will be the most powerful and most fragile in the short history of the institution. It will be the first to use powers afforded by the Lisbon treaty: among other things, it will appoint the president of the European Commission. But support for its authority is waning. Europeans will neglect the polls and more votes will be captured by anti-euro, populist or far-right parties.

Dec 27, 2013 03:17 UTC

China’s banks are coming – this time for real

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By John Foley 

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

China’s banks are racking up foreign assets, driven by trade flows, and the country’s corporate diaspora. Even at the current slow pace, what today looks like “following the client” could soon become “following everyone’s clients”.

Dec 24, 2013 18:05 UTC

U.S. housing recovery could run out of steam

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

The U.S. housing recovery could run out of steam in 2014. Banks are likely to tighten lending standards once new rules come into place. Rising interest rates may drive down home loan volume, too. Cash purchases by investors could set a floor for house prices, but they may not be enough to prevent a major slowdown.

Dec 23, 2013 03:12 UTC

China’s bureaucrats play online war games

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By Robyn Mak 

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

Who governs the internet? Authorities in China can’t decide. The Ministry of Culture, a relatively unknown agency, staked a claim by clamping down on online games on Dec. 13. China’s leaders say they want to foster an innovative economy, but the tussle between the young internet sector and an outdated bureaucracy raises questions about whether they really mean it.

Dec 20, 2013 11:51 UTC

Germany will lift the soccer World Cup

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By Robert Cole

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

Germany is going to win the soccer World Cup. The football-mad Brazilian hosts have won five times, more than any other country. But using a Breakingviews calculator based on the hard numbers – the players’ transfer value, population, participation and public engagement – Teutonic power will squash the romantic dream of a sixth win for Brazil.