Dec 24, 2013 18:05 UTC

U.S. housing recovery could run out of steam

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

The U.S. housing recovery could run out of steam in 2014. Banks are likely to tighten lending standards once new rules come into place. Rising interest rates may drive down home loan volume, too. Cash purchases by investors could set a floor for house prices, but they may not be enough to prevent a major slowdown.

Dec 23, 2013 03:12 UTC

China’s bureaucrats play online war games

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By Robyn Mak 

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

Who governs the internet? Authorities in China can’t decide. The Ministry of Culture, a relatively unknown agency, staked a claim by clamping down on online games on Dec. 13. China’s leaders say they want to foster an innovative economy, but the tussle between the young internet sector and an outdated bureaucracy raises questions about whether they really mean it.

Dec 20, 2013 11:51 UTC

Germany will lift the soccer World Cup

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By Robert Cole

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

Germany is going to win the soccer World Cup. The football-mad Brazilian hosts have won five times, more than any other country. But using a Breakingviews calculator based on the hard numbers – the players’ transfer value, population, participation and public engagement – Teutonic power will squash the romantic dream of a sixth win for Brazil.

Dec 20, 2013 03:26 UTC

China is moving closer to its “Dubai moment”

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

China’s reform drive is getting closer to its “Dubai moment”. The emirate’s 2009 refusal to bail out its flagship holding company shocked lenders who had assumed all debt carried an implicit state guarantee. As China introduces market forces to its financial system, it will also have to draw a clearer line between public and private lending.

Dec 19, 2013 19:09 UTC

Khodorkovsky pardon comes too late to matter

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

Vladimir Putin is putting out potential fires before the Olympic flame reaches Sochi. If the Russian president is true to his word, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former oil oligarch, will not serve the last eight months of his 10 years in prison. The new leniency is part of a Kremlin public relations offensive before the winter games. It cannot be taken as the sign of an upcoming liberalisation of Russia’s politics or economy.

Dec 19, 2013 12:33 UTC

The wrongs and rights of the euro banking union

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By George Hay 

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

The euro zone banking union was always going to have a difficult birth. European governments finally agreed on Dec. 18 the second of three key milestones – a resolution directive establishing a common approach for dealing with struggling lenders. As with most EU compromises, it is an imperfect reform. It was criticized by European Central Bank officials, including president Mario Draghi, and doubts remain. But the euro zone at least has the beginning of a banking union.

Dec 19, 2013 05:40 UTC

Li Ka-shing IPOs could be HSBC’s breakout moment

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing may have given HSBC a breakout moment in investment banking. The Hong Kong tycoon looks to have handed the bank two juicy mandates to run initial public offerings. That’s significant. HSBC has never quite managed to turn its formidable Asian banking relationships into deal fees. Things might finally be coming together.

Dec 18, 2013 17:27 UTC
Edward Hadas

Bitcoin mania heads into the end game

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

Common sense is catching up with the bitcoin craze. In the process, it is bringing its backers financial losses and intellectual embarrassment.

Dec 18, 2013 12:27 UTC

Ukraine’s Russian lifeline means European pain

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich has found a friend to help keep him out of bankruptcy until election time, but by then the sponsor may find that $15 billion was a bit much to spend on a loser.

Dec 18, 2013 08:18 UTC

Swift bad loan clean-up will beef up Indian banks

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

India’s new purge on bad loans will make banks sturdier. The Reserve Bank of India has proposed rules whereby lenders would start creditor crisis talks for any company that owes more than $16 million, if it misses a single repayment for more than 60 days. It sounds strict, but that’s what India needs: 10 percent of state banks’ loans have already turned bad.