Mar 20, 2014 13:04 UTC

Euro zone periphery trade is running out of gas

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By Neil Unmack and Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

The euro zone periphery trade is running out of gas. Investors keen on a recovery story have been piling into assets in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece for over 18 months now. But some periphery assets are looking expensive. Further gains need two tricky conditions to be satisfied.

Mar 20, 2014 06:19 UTC

Confused Fed adds to emerging market muddle

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

A confused U.S. Federal Reserve has added to the muddle in emerging markets.

At their meeting that ended on March 19, the nine voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) wriggled out of a previous commitment to start increasing interest rates after unemployment had fallen to 6.5 percent. To assure markets that overnight rates will stay at near-zero levels, the committee promised instead to seek maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.

Mar 19, 2014 17:34 UTC

UK’s political budget transfers from young to old

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By Ian Campbell

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

George Osborne claimed to have a big white rabbit up his sleeve. It turned out the UK chancellor had hidden a cuddly toy for pensioners. Osborne is running the budget for both the economy and the election.

COMMENT

Too many Brits have been taken in by this “rich deserve more” propaganda. Consider this info from across the pond: “Fact: One economist estimates that for every $1 we spent on unemployment insurance benefits, we get $1.61 in economic activity back.”

This comes from Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.

Not included in his formulae is the on going cost to the community of ill health incurred when on a tight budget, decay of property through lack of heating and investment, morale sapping inability to provide for dependents, loss of educational standards to the children etc etc. When people who are even relatively well off lobby for more we can be forgiven for shaking our heads in disbelief. Can’t we?

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Mar 19, 2014 06:35 UTC

Japan stock market selloff is a temporary setback

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Japan’s stock market has suffered a temporary setback. The country’s equity indices have dropped more than 10 percent this year in local currency terms. With the central bank on standby for more easing, however, Japanese stocks should benefit from home support.

Mar 18, 2014 06:24 UTC

Real risk to emerging markets lies in real rates

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By Andy Mukherjee 

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

The real big risk for emerging markets this year lies in surging real interest rates.

Mar 17, 2014 18:40 UTC

Smartest U.S. export to China could be Max Baucus

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

Uncle Sam’s new man in China arrives just as his employer seems to have lost interest in its biggest trading partner. Max Baucus, who starts as ambassador to Beijing this month, has little experience of China and even less of diplomacy. Yet used wisely by his bosses, Baucus may be well placed to prize open new trade agreements that would leave both sides better off.

Mar 17, 2014 15:15 UTC

Market adjustment is not over yet

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By Ian Campbell

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

The golden fear gauge is rising. Gold is up to a six-month high of $1,383 an ounce. A more serious equity and commodity meltdown threatens as markets grow more uneasy about Ukraine, China, emerging economies and global growth. Gold may go a bit higher still – but its rally too may soon prove vulnerable.

Mar 17, 2014 06:32 UTC

Weibo IPO sets bar low for Alibaba

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By John Foley 

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

Imagine the riskiest possible share offering. It would be a new, unprofitable company with rapid and uncertain growth in an emerging market. One whose customers are fickle, which lives under the constant threat of being snuffed out by regulators, and where external shareholders are dominated by insiders. The listing of Sina Weibo fits the bill. The Twitter-like microblog has also set a low bar for the upcoming market debut of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Mar 14, 2014 16:39 UTC
Edward Hadas

Review: An unreliable guide to inequality

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By Edward Hadas

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

Thomas Piketty is set to become a star. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” – the new book from the founder of the Paris School of Economics – has received gushing praise from the New York Times and the Economist, even before the official publication of the English translation next month. The massive production, 577 pages of text plus voluminous supporting material, posits that economic inequality is a major social problem which is likely to get worse. Piketty’s arguments, however, fail to persuade.

Mar 14, 2014 15:06 UTC

Rouble hard to defend against Putin’s attacks

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Vladimir Putin isn’t waiting for the European Union’s sanctions on Russia and is already inflicting serious damage on the nation’s economy. The Russian president’s move on Crimea has sent Moscow stock markets down by 18 percent since the beginning of March, and the rouble has fallen almost 2 percent in the same period, and 12 percent since January, even with the Central Bank of Russia dipping into its $500 billion-odd worth of reserves to defend the currency. Yields on 10-year Russian government bonds now stand at 9.42 percent, up 1 percentage point since the events in Crimea.