Breakingviews

E-book: Alibaba and the twelve digits

By Breakingviews Columnists
September 3, 2014

China’s e-commerce colossus is hitting the road for a $100-billion-plus IPO. But a spectacular growth story comes with quirks, including bizarre governance and founder Jack Ma’s penchant for offbeat deals. Breakingviews offers a punchy primer on the risks and rewards.

Tianhe fraud claims hit at China free-rider effect

September 3, 2014

An anonymous group says the chemical group cooked its books. Yet the allegations would have been easy to verify by pre-IPO backers like Morgan Stanley. If proven, the charges will undermine the notion that big-name investors can provide insurance against China’s opaque practices.

Six steps to Alibaba’s twelve-figure valuation

September 2, 2014

As the Chinese e-commerce giant launches its IPO, investors must decide what the shares are worth. Growth, profitability and stock market multiples are a factor. So are potential new businesses, though shaky governance merits a discount. Breakingviews spells out the key numbers.

Democracy snub leaves Hong Kong only bad choices

September 1, 2014

Citizens in the former colony have two options: choose between Beijing-approved chief executive candidates, or don’t vote at all. The new ruling leaves little room for compromise and risks a showdown with protesters. China’s leaders seem to care ever less what the world thinks.

Gold’s geopolitical ledge won’t hold up

September 1, 2014

International tension has helped stabilise the gold price after a 2013 plunge. But the fundamentals are bad. ETF redemptions persist while bar and coin investment has dropped heavily. Jewellery demand remains soft. Consumers want cheaper gold. They are likely to get it next year.

TV broadcasters missing big picture in Aereo fight

August 29, 2014

CBS, Disney and others oppose the Barry Diller-backed streaming startup’s rebirth as a cable firm. But conceding could put online services and, say, Time Warner Cable on equal legal footing and create more competition for content. That’s a win for viewers and networks alike.

Review: A pained call for radical financial reform

By Edward Hadas
August 29, 2014

Financial Times writer Martin Wolf’s new book is partly a cogent review of what went wrong in the 2008 crisis. But the message economists and policymakers should focus on, especially from a centrist intellectual, is that the best ideas for the future are far from the mainstream.

Global poverty needs a post-industrial definition

August 29, 2014

Criticism is mounting against the $1-a-day threshold, a legacy of industrial-age thinking that equated penury with calorie deficiency. That’s too narrow. Being unable to afford education, medication or old-age security counts as deprivation. So does exclusion from modern jobs.

Bland Lagarde will escape the Bretton Woods curse

August 28, 2014

The IMF chief is under investigation for signing off on a 403 million euro payout to a French tycoon. Her predecessor DSK and former World Bank boss Wolfowitz were both ousted for misconduct. Christine Lagarde, though, has few enemies. Being dull may prove her saving grace.

Tragedy may reshape Brazil economy, not just vote

August 27, 2014

Marina Silva, set to be the opposition presidential candidate after Eduardo Campos’ plane-crash death, is a fresh threat to Dilma Rousseff. Silva has long fought special interests. If she wins October’s election, a plausible outcome, Brazil could gain from less state meddling.