Mar 12, 2014 05:31 UTC

Chinese remedy offers little salve for Bill Ackman

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By John Foley

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

William Ackman is now tilting at pyramids in China. In the latest phase of the uppity investor’s year-long battle against Herbalife, he argued on Tuesday that the nutritional supplements and diet pill maker violated local laws that ban certain multilevel marketing strategies. The Pershing Square Capital founder raises some good questions. For all the effort, though, it’s hard to see how China will help confirm his ultra-bearish thesis.

Mar 11, 2014 20:58 UTC

Detroit turns bankruptcy precedents upside down

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

Bondholders in Detroit’s $18 billion bankruptcy must feel like they’re in a mirror universe. A restructuring plan filed by the city’s emergency manager would effectively turn bankruptcy precedents upside down by paying equity holders – in this case, ordinary Detroiters – at the expense of secured creditors. Such a shareholder-friendly approach might save the city and anoint Judge Steven Rhodes a hometown hero. But it may yet come at a market price.

Mar 11, 2014 15:15 UTC

Scandal will reshape FX trading dynamics

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Around the world, investigators are trying to find out if the largely unregulated foreign exchange market was manipulated. Even before the probes are completed, the pace of change will pick up in the $5 trillion-a-day market, in both what moves currencies and the way business is done.

Mar 11, 2014 05:52 UTC

Credit chains are China’s weakest link

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By John Foley

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

China’s debts are troubling – and not just because they’re alarmingly big. An equally worrying threat to the country’s prosperity is the complexity of those debts. That’s the trouble with China’s lengthening “credit chains”.

Mar 11, 2014 02:14 UTC

Japan index: Weak demand shows need for stimulus

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Breakingviews Abenomics Index inched higher in January. But manufacturing stumbled, and the trade deficit zoomed, suggesting anaemic demand both at home and abroad. With wages subdued and sales taxes about to rise, the economy may need a fresh dose of monetary easing.

Mar 10, 2014 16:20 UTC
Edward Hadas

Just ditch forward guidance

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By Edward Hadas

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

Central banks’ forward guidance provides modest gains with significant risks. That judgment, already common among economists, has just received an authoritative endorsement from the Bank for International Settlements. The implication is that this policy experiment should be abandoned.

Mar 10, 2014 06:52 UTC

China internet duo join forces against common foe

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Robyn Mak 

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

Two of China’s internet companies are joining forces against their common foe: Alibaba. Tencent is injecting its also-ran e-commerce units and $215 million in cash into JD.com for a 15 percent pre-IPO stake in the online retailer. More importantly, the two will collaborate on mobile commerce. Both have the same objective: erode Alibaba’s dominant market share.

Mar 7, 2014 19:47 UTC

Wal-Mart puts collar on Cerberus price for Safeway

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

Could Cerberus pay more for Safeway? Based on the 2007 A&P-Pathmark merger, synergies could be worth more than half the $9.4 billion that the private equity firm’s Albertsons supermarket is paying for its U.S. rival. In theory that leaves room for a higher offer. But competition from the likes of Wal-Mart means cost savings may need to go to shoppers, not investors.

Mar 7, 2014 16:01 UTC

What Putin wants matters less than what he doesn’t

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The Western governments wondering what Vladimir Putin wants in Ukraine should start by focusing on what he doesn’t. That has become a little clearer after the Russian president’s rambling press conference earlier this week, during which glimpses of rationality appeared amidst a long, disingenuous rant against the new authorities in Kiev. Putin doesn’t want Crimea – which is only a pawn in his Ukrainian game. He is not ready to take the risk of a Western-style democracy in the former Soviet republic. And he fears the disruption of the economic and financial ties that bind Russia and Ukraine.

Mar 7, 2014 14:32 UTC

Review: Why all you know about money is wrong

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By George Hay

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

Everyone knows what money is. Whether denominated in paper, coins or something else entirely, transactions get paid for by a physical commodity that enables humans not to waste their time bartering with each other. Felix Martin’s book, published this week in the United States, convincingly argues this view is not only wrong, but dangerous.