Sep 10, 2014 06:50 UTC

Rakuten’s $1bln U.S. buy stretches loyalty logic

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By Una Galani

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

Rakuten’s latest acquisition stretches loyalty logic. Buying U.S. cash back site Ebates for $1 billion will help Japan’s largest e-commerce group beef up abroad. It also underscores Rakuten’s determination to use loyalty schemes to distinguish itself from rivals like eBay and China’s Alibaba. Yet, as with Rakuten’s other recent chunky deals, it’s unclear how all the parts fit together.

Sep 9, 2014 15:58 UTC

Double-digit oil promises lubrication not seizure

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By Ian Campbell

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

Double-digit oil is a welcome sign, not a harbinger of deflationary doom. The decline of the price of a barrel of Brent crude to just below $100, down 13 percent from its June peak, is good disinflation. It will help consumer spending and global economic recovery.

Sep 9, 2014 05:56 UTC

China smartphones set to pick off global giants

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Not everyone is able to spend $500 on a smartphone. For those lacking funds or wanting better value for money, China’s handset makers increasingly appeal. Today, most of their sales are domestic. Yet low costs are helping them dial in new emerging market customers.’

Sep 8, 2014 13:59 UTC
Edward Hadas

Sterling fall shows rational alarm over Scotland

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By Edward Hadas

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

The market is not too negative about the pound. The fall of sterling – down 6 percent against the dollar since July 15 and by 2 percent from Friday morning to Monday morning – is less a panic than a rational response to the possibility that the United Kingdom will be divided in two.

Sep 8, 2014 07:14 UTC

Aussie privatisation push makes for buyer’s market

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By Una Galani

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

Australia’s privatisation push is creating a buyer’s market. State governments are being encouraged to divest their infrastructure holdings. The assets on the block, which include everything from ports to electricity networks, could be worth A$100 billion ($93 billion), according to Infrastructure Australia. That’s equal to almost three-quarters of the total value of mergers and acquisitions involving an Australian target over the past two years. A lack of coordination between states could leave laggards with lousy valuations.

Sep 5, 2014 13:25 UTC

Euro has further to fall

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Euro zone inflation is too low, and economic activity sluggish. But at least one thing is going the European Central Bank’s way. Its hankering for a weaker currency will be fully gratified.

Sep 5, 2014 06:04 UTC

South Korea repeats Sweden’s monetary mistake

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By Andy Mukherjee 

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

South Korea’s finance minister has warned that the economy is entering “an early stage of deflation”. His admonition should stir the country’s central bank from slumber.

Sep 4, 2014 14:02 UTC

Scottish secessionists in bind over North Sea oil

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

How much oil is left in the North Sea? The question is playing a key role in the debate over Scottish independence, since most of the bounty would probably remain in Scotland, and would make up around 15 percent of national output. But the real question isn’t just how much is left, but what politicians can do to get it out of the ground.

Sep 4, 2014 06:59 UTC

China’s consumers show early signs of a debt wish

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By John Foley

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

It’s a truism that Chinese people don’t like to borrow – but one that may no longer be true. China hasn’t gorged on consumer lending in the way that U.S. shoppers did, but rising credit card activity shows their traditional aversion to debt is fading fast.

Sep 3, 2014 21:24 UTC

Home Depot hack scarier than Hollywood breach

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By Richard Beales

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

It’s no surprise that stolen nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence attract more attention than a nerdy report on Home Depot’s security breach. But it’s an unfortunate reality that Hollywood celebrities need to guard their privacy, whether threatened by paparazzi or hackers. Corporate breaches that expose millions of people to financial loss are, on the other hand, in a different league.

With Home Depot, it’s not yet clear what the scale of any hacking may have been, or whether the company’s systems were violated despite strong defenses. But security blogger Brian Krebs said he had received information suggesting the Home Depot episode could be larger than last year’s hack of Target. That attack, which he first publicized, exposed the credit card data of at least 40 million customers.

COMMENT

Easier to pay cash when you go to Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s and other stores. Of course, you are sometimes considered old-fashioned if you do so, but better safe than sorry.

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