Oct 9, 2013 09:18 UTC

China competition proves hard for Yum to swallow

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By Ethan Bilby

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

China is eating less KFC chicken, and that has hurt sales at the chain’s U.S. owner, Yum Brands. Revenue at the group’s comparable Chinese branches fell 11 percent in the third quarter, year on year. While last year’s fears of antibiotic-laced Zinger Burgers didn’t help, fierce competition has also made the company a less reliable bellwether of Chinese appetites.

Oct 9, 2013 05:19 UTC

Obama’s Fed chair pick looks timed to calm market

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

U.S. President Barack Obama’s pick to be the next Federal Reserve chair looks timed to calm the market. Janet Yellen appears set to get the nod on Oct. 8 to run the central bank. That will mark a safe, boring end to a wild nomination process. But a little certainty is what global investors need from a politically chaotic Washington. A debt ceiling deal remains elusive, but at least there’s some predictability on Fed policy.

Oct 8, 2013 21:05 UTC

GOP’s best bargaining tactic: raise debt ceiling

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

Congressional Republicans might want to consider a new bargaining tactic: raising the debt ceiling. Using the prospect of imminent default to force the White House to a compromise on the government shutdown isn’t working. Removing it from the table would show that the GOP can be reasonable – and allow the funding debate to rage without roiling global financial markets.

Oct 8, 2013 06:10 UTC

For China, U.S. debt ceiling is a paper tiger

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By John Foley

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

For China, the U.S. debt ceiling is what Mao Zedong might have called a paper tiger: terrible to behold, but in reality not so scary. Provided Washington doesn’t actually default on Oct. 17, when the Treasury has warned it could run out of cash unless allowed to borrow more, Chinese concern looks needless, and even self-serving.

Oct 4, 2013 15:50 UTC
Edward Hadas

Review: Economic history makes a happier return

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

It is easy to tell grim stories about the world economy. A billion people still live in desperate poverty. The world’s rich are pulling further away from the poor. Many developed economies are still in a rut, five years after a financial crisis. In “The Great Escape”, Angus Deaton provides a more optimistic, and much more accurate, narrative.

Oct 4, 2013 03:09 UTC

China’s dash for dairy based on frothy forecasts

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

Foamy figures about the popularity of drinking milk in China have lifted share prices of domestic milk producers and fuelled one of the biggest mainland initial public offerings of the year, Huishan Dairy’s $1.3 billion debut last week. China’s market potential is large, but the rate of growth may be leaner than advertised by milk industry bulls.

Oct 3, 2013 14:02 UTC

UK’s Help to Buy scheme is a no-brainer for banks

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By George Hay

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

The UK’s Help to Buy scheme is a no-brainer for banks. On Oct. 8, the UK government is likely to disclose final details of its questionable policy encouraging homebuyers to take on large, taxpayer-backed debts at the bottom of the interest-rate cycle. There are good reasons for banks to feel wary. But there are hard financial reasons for them to sign up.

Oct 3, 2013 06:43 UTC

Tokyo Electron takeover is no template for Japan

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

Foreign acquirers have long-struggled to make headway in Japan. That makes Applied Material’s recent takeover of Tokyo Electron an interesting case study. The U.S. tech firm wooed its smaller rival with an all-stock merger and the promise of shared governance. However, the model may not work so easily elsewhere.

Oct 2, 2013 13:18 UTC

Global snowbelt leaves the world behind

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By Ian Campbell

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

Go north, young man, and, even more so, young woman. That is a message implicit in the World Economic Forum’s new Human Capital Index. Talent is squandered in most of the world. The flight of the talented to wealthy northern economies reinforces the recipient nations’ success and risks leaving the donor countries lagging behind.

Oct 1, 2013 14:21 UTC

U.S. does what it can to de-reserve the dollar

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By Swaha Pattanaik and Edward Hadas

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

Imagine a twisted U.S. administration that wanted to destroy the dollar. It wouldn’t be easy. The world relies on the greenback for its foreign currency reserves and as the unit of record. Transition to a new regime would be complicated – and there are no practical alternatives in sight. Policies would need to be carefully constructed.