Jan 20, 2015 11:46 UTC

Climate feels right for certain deals in Davos

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Torrid trade winds are blowing through Switzerland’s crisp mountain air. Global business leaders and bankers convene this week for the World Economic Forum fresh off a $3.5 trillion year of mergers, the biggest tally of the post-financial crisis era. While the momentum creates an ideal climate for corporate dealmaking, it’s less clear the atmosphere is conducive to strike the more important political accords for which Davos has become renowned.

Jan 19, 2015 14:27 UTC

Cheap oil comes with hidden risks for airlines

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

The falling oil price is a short-term blessing for airlines. In Europe, it might turn into a long-term curse. The real test for the industry is not whether profits increase in 2015, but whether it can limit the negative side effects of cheap fuel.

COMMENT

” The likely result is profit-destroying competition.”

Yeah… competition does not actually destroy profits within an industry. It just spreads the profit over more companies. Cheap cotton did not destroy the shirt.

Posted by AlkalineState | Report as abusive
Jan 16, 2015 15:37 UTC

Review: Why banking is flawed and how to fix it

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By Dominic Elliott

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

“The End of Banking” is an important book about finance. Jonathan McMillan, the nom de plume taken by an investment banker and a macroeconomist, provides a holistic and compelling explanation of the crisis of 2008. The authors predict a repeat, barring a revolution in finance.

Jan 16, 2015 12:46 UTC
Edward Hadas

Bitcoin is latest victim of disinflation

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By Edward Hadas

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

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Bitcoin is proving a big disappointment. The would-be currency is down 33 percent against the dollar so far in 2015, and 71 percent in the last year. There’s almost certainly more bad news to come.

COMMENT

Oh I don’t know. A currency that has lost 85% of its value in one year. And is doled out by an anonymous group of neck beards on the internet…. what could possibly cause a loss in investor confidence there?

Posted by AlkalineState | Report as abusive
Jan 15, 2015 21:07 UTC
Guest Contributor

Guest view: Hard to spell Colombia without o-i-l

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By Ilan Goldfajn and João Pedro Bumachar

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

The steep and quick drop in the price of oil has rattled Latin America. While we expect the price of Brent to rebound to $70 a barrel by the end of 2015, that falls well short of the $100 in recent years and the outlook remains uncertain. In the meantime, Venezuela is clearly the region’s biggest loser, with oil representing 95 percent of exports, and bond prices at near-default levels. Colombia, less obviously, has much to lose. Chile, as a big importer, is the clear winner.

Jan 15, 2015 19:47 UTC

Swiss give scary lesson on central banks’ limits

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Central bankers have to live up to high expectations. Investors and politicians expect them to control inflation, prevent deflation, promote growth and keep the financial system healthy. The Swiss National Bank, an above-average institution, has failed at two simpler tasks, keeping its word and preventing destabilising currency moves. The lessons for the rest of the world are scary.

Jan 13, 2015 18:08 UTC

MetLife’s Snoopy takes on the regulatory Red Baron

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By Rob Cox

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

Challenging regulators can often come back to bite you in the rear. JPMorgan proved this by publicly questioning the reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act and then privately failing to rein in some particularly naughty behavior by some of its traders. That’s what makes MetLife’s decision to take its watchdogs to court so surprising.

Jan 13, 2015 11:50 UTC
Edward Hadas

Oil price floor could be a long way down

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By Edward Hadas

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

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The oil market these days offers producers lessons in three basic ideas of market economics. They are all painful.

COMMENT

The interesting drop in retail sales despite low oil prices suggests a giant parallel economy. Such a development is well known from Portugal, where black markets make half of the gdp nowadays. We haven’t heard much of such a phenomena in the USA after the real estate crash and start to question the real conditions of the economy.

Posted by seafloor | Report as abusive
Jan 9, 2015 16:18 UTC
Guest Contributor

Review: Trade can bring war

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By Edward Chancellor

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

Few doubt that international trade usually increases the wealth of nations. Does it also bring peace? Many think so, but economic historian James Macdonald points out in “When Globalization Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana” that the last high point of globalization ended just over a century ago in a devastating world war – between countries which were also each other’s largest trading partners.

New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman writes about the “Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention,” positing that no two countries that are part of a global supply chain have ever fought a war with each other. Macdonald decries such thinking as simplistic and unhistorical.

Jan 8, 2015 15:35 UTC

Response to Paris attacks caught between two risks

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By Pierre Briancon

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

It is safe to assume that Charlie Hebdo would not have hesitated to extract satire even from the depths of its own tragedy. Only the murder of its editor and some of its most celebrated cartoonists, in a shooting rampage that left 12 dead in and near the French weekly’s office on Wednesday, will prevent the magazine from doing its job this week – lampooning powers-that-be and all forms of authority, steering clear of anything resembling tact or conventional good taste.

COMMENT

the aftermath of this attack is straight out of Fahrenheit 451, appropriately enough. we may never know who was behind those balaclavas and ‘spoke perfect French’ …

Posted by wilhelm | Report as abusive