Dec 5, 2013 15:39 UTC

Forget museum art – Banksy might help Detroit

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By Richard Beales and Kevin Allison
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Christie’s says artworks owned by bankrupt Detroit could fetch up to $866 million. But there’s no need to stop there. With 78,000 abandoned buildings and a Banksy tag potentially worth $1 million or more, graffiti could help save the day.

Dec 5, 2013 12:53 UTC

China anti-bitcoin ruling will shake believers

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

So much for China’s willingness to tolerate financial innovation. Regulators have barred the country’s banks from trading bitcoin, while denying the pseudo-money legal status and cracking down on anonymous users. Though China has stopped short of an outright ban, the move dashes hopes the country might allow start-up currencies to exist alongside the official renminbi.

Dec 4, 2013 08:15 UTC

Westfield shops for premium with $28 bln carve-up

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By Una Galani

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

Westfield is shopping for a premium with its A$30.3 billion ($28 billion) carve-up. Just three years after its last big reshuffle, the shopping mall giant is separating assets in Australia and New Zealand from outlets in the United States and Europe. The cleaner structure may allow Westfield to command a higher valuation.

Dec 3, 2013 21:25 UTC

Detroit case revs up bankruptcy option for others

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

It’s the start of a new era for Detroit – and perhaps other American metropolises in wobbly financial condition. A federal bankruptcy judge ruled on Tuesday that Motown, suffocating under about $18.5 billion in debt, was eligible to file for protection from creditors. If the decision withstands appeal, it would confirm bankruptcy as a credible option for even the biggest U.S. cities. It could also give other municipalities the needed kick to get their houses in order.

Dec 3, 2013 05:05 UTC

“Secular stagnation” lament revives wealth paradox

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Larry Summers reckons rich countries are suffering from long-term stagnation. If accurate, the former U.S. treasury secretary’s view is chilling. It has also revived an old, unresolved puzzle: Why doesn’t the world’s capital willingly go where it’s most needed?

Dec 2, 2013 13:40 UTC

BoE’s small-firm stimulus is blueprint for Draghi

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By Neil Unmack

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

The euro zone is no longer collapsing, but credit is. The European Central Bank is reportedly considering giving banks cheap loans to stimulate lending. The Bank of England’s so-called Funding for Lending scheme shows that’s tricky, but the euro zone shouldn’t hold back.

Dec 2, 2013 06:33 UTC

China index: Sober lending, spending slows growth

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Our alternative index shows China’s growth prospects at a four-month low. Lack-luster exports played a part. But the dip also reflected a healthy slow-down in new loans, sales of property and Audis, as well as a sharp fall in luxury liquor stocks.

Dec 2, 2013 06:21 UTC

Bangkok’s fiscal bias fans Thai political angst

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Thailand’s turmoil has its roots in extreme inequality. The most recent protests – the latest in an ongoing political crisis – is at least partly a reflection of a deeper chasm worsened by a biased fiscal policy.

Nov 29, 2013 15:59 UTC

Dutch downgrade is a lagging indicator

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By Viktoria Dendrinou

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

And then there were three. Standard & Poor’s decision to strip the Netherlands of its triple-A credit rating leaves only Germany, Finland and tiny Luxembourg enjoying top-notch status in the euro zone. It is hard to argue with the assessment, but it would be wrong to see the downgrade as a red flag about the country’s economic health. While the Netherlands’ recovery from its housing bust is all too slow, property prices are bottoming, debt is low and reform is underway. Other euro zone members are bigger worries.

Nov 29, 2013 05:37 UTC

Australia too mealy-mouthed on protectionism

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By John Foley

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

Australia is being mealy mouthed about protectionism. Treasurer Joe Hockey blocked the A$3.4 billion ($3.1 billion) takeover of agricultural trader GrainCorp by U.S. rival ADM on Nov. 29, on the grounds that Australia’s grain market is only just getting used to competition, five years after the national wheat monopoly was disbanded. For Australia’s foreign investment prospects, the decision itself is less bad than the ambiguity over why it was made.