Sep 30, 2013 14:34 UTC

UK’s politicians race to the bottom on policies

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By Ian Campbell

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

The next UK general election is in 2015, and the country’s politicians are already engaged in a classic pre-electoral sport: the race to the bottom. They are desperate for policies which please voters and the competition is fierce. Popularity is the aim, populism is the method. None of it is going to do the economy any good.

Sep 30, 2013 04:48 UTC

China Tea Leaf Index: Hanging on for reform

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

China’s rail shipments and steel drove our alternative growth index up to 96.3 in August, the highest since January. That looks like enough to give leaders the benefit of the doubt ahead of November’s party plenum, when the tone for future economic growth will really be set.

Sep 27, 2013 18:28 UTC

Review: U.S. can’t afford to forget the little guy

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

The Occupy Wall Street movement failed to ignite popular indignation about the widening gap between poor and rich in the United States. “Inequality for All”, a documentary based around Robert Reich, President Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary, makes a strong case for action.

Sep 27, 2013 07:59 UTC

Review: The puzzle of Fred Goodwin’s rise and fall

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Early in 2009, the British government was preparing to bail out Royal Bank of Scotland for the second time in four months. An emergency injection of capital in October 2008 had failed to shore up confidence. Now taxpayers were being asked to cover potential losses on almost 300 billion pounds of toxic RBS assets. Yet as the details of the rescue were finalised, British public opinion was in uproar over a much, much smaller sum: the 700,000 pound a year pension being paid to Fred Goodwin, the bank’s former chief executive.

Sep 26, 2013 09:33 UTC

Austerity is killing France’s attempt at reform

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By Pierre Briançon

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

For more than a year the French government has been trying both short-term fiscal discipline and long-term economic reforms. It is failing at both.

Sep 26, 2013 05:16 UTC

Bond-buying helps Japan’s banks more than economy

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Bank of Japan’s bond-buying is proving to be more of a blessing for the country’s lenders than for the deflation-stricken economy. The central bank’s spending spree has allowed lenders to offload 12 percent of their holdings of government debt this year.

Sep 25, 2013 13:26 UTC

Dangerous Fed roulette rules global markets

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By Ian Campbell

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

Global markets are now an especially dangerous game. Call it Fed roulette. The U.S. Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke promised clarity, forward guidance, a smooth exit policy. Forget it. The Fed couldn’t even guide markets to what it would do in September – let alone in 2015. Its decision last week was as unexpected as a spin of a roulette wheel. And the problems don’t stop there.

Sep 25, 2013 06:27 UTC

Hong Kong shouldn’t brush off Shanghai threat

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

Can Shanghai’s new free trade zone knock Hong Kong off its perch? Unless it can copy the Chinese city-state’s highly developed rule of law, it’s unlikely. But Hong Kongers can’t be complacent. Shanghai may yet turn its sights on other things the city-state holds dear – like its low taxes, and luxury-hungry tourists.

Sep 24, 2013 08:04 UTC

E-book: China’s mounting debt problem

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

 

The country’s economic rise is built on cheap finance. But with debt nearing 200 percent of GDP and much investment wasted, the foundations are looking shaky. “The East is Red” examines the origins of the boom, the current strains, and the painful choices China now faces.

Sep 23, 2013 13:39 UTC

Merkel’s triumph maintains Europe’s muddle-through

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

The German election has brought big shifts at home, but it will not shake up the country’s approach to European issues. Angela Merkel’s next government will look different to the last. However, it will be just as focused on structural reforms and fiscal discipline in the periphery. Europe’s muddle-through is not going away.