Feb 11, 2014 06:41 UTC

Alibaba’s $1.6 bln map deal fuels online land grab

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By Robyn Mak and John Foley 

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

Alibaba’s purchase of AutoNavi is a land-grab, in two senses. The Chinese e-commerce group has offered a premium price to buy out the 72 percent of the U.S.-listed mapping company it doesn’t already own, valuing the whole thing at $1.6 billion. There’s a compelling competitive reason for Alibaba to get deeper into online maps, but what’s hard to locate is the financial rationale.

Feb 11, 2014 02:09 UTC

Japan index: Trade gap, muted wages raise risks

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Breakingviews Abenomics Index improved for the fourth straight month in December. But it masks two risks. A vanishing current account surplus means relying on foreigners to finance bloated public spending. Besides, struggling wage growth could stall private consumption.

Feb 10, 2014 06:22 UTC

Age shifts weaken global economy’s shock absorbers

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The world economy has become more fragile. And it’s not just that the stimulus-driven recovery from the 2008 crisis has been anaemic and incomplete. Another worrying trend is the shift in the age structure of the global population which may have eroded some of the crucial shock absorbers.

Feb 7, 2014 16:06 UTC

Welcome to Sochi, Putin’s Potemkin village

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Sochi may become a metaphor for modern-day Russia, but not the one Vladimir Putin was thinking of. The Russian president made the Winter Olympics a personal project, designed to showcase his country’s ability to compete in prestige with the world’s major powers. It has not worked out as he wished.

Feb 7, 2014 05:40 UTC

China’s “biggests” come early, late or not at all

By Ethan Bilby and John Foley
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

China collects superlatives. In 2013, it added biggest goods trader, top red wine consumer and number one oil importer. Some “biggests” are a sign of investment potential, but others suggest inequality and inefficiency. Meanwhile, some of the most meaningful, like having the world’s dominant currency, still look a long way off.

Feb 6, 2014 22:14 UTC

Return to U.S. workforce of old a mixed blessing

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

The recent decline in the U.S. jobless rate to 6.7 percent is flattered by low labor participation. A return to the 2006 level of workforce involvement would mean 8 million more job-seekers and unemployment running over 11 percent. But as a Breakingviews calculator shows, that dramatically overstates the scale of the problem.

COMMENT

Discounting the significance of the low participation rate using the number of people on disability and in higher education is neither comforting nor compelling to me. Those on disability, while they may or may not be able to control their circumstances that make them disabled, are still net consumers with almost no offsetting production.To a certain extent the same can be said of those in higher education. However, IF, the higher education students in large number are able to find a job when they get that degree and not be under debilitating debt themselves, they may actually move our needle forward one day. Nice read, I appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

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Feb 5, 2014 06:15 UTC

IPO flops will come back to haunt Li Ka-shing

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

Li Ka-shing’s stock market flops will come back to haunt the tycoon when it matters most. His latest spinoff, utility HK Electric, has become the third listing in a row from the businessman’s energy-to-telecoms empire to fizzle. Though markets are soft, Li’s reputation for selling at the top may make it harder to get a premium valuation if he decides to press ahead with an initial public offering (IPO) for his prized health and beauty retail business, A.S. Watson.

Jan 31, 2014 11:30 UTC

Emerging vacuum a harbinger of global downdraught

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By Ian Campbell

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

Emerging economy policymakers are wailing, understandably. But they can’t expect some magical coordination of global monetary policy. U.S. tightening is essential to curb global bubbles. Emerging markets are the first victims. They won’t be the last.

Jan 30, 2014 12:15 UTC
Edward Hadas

Markets give central bankers lessons in humility

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By Edward Hadas

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

Markets are teaching central bankers some hard lessons. The monetary authorities in developed economies are learning how hard it is to switch direction. And emerging markets are showing that no policy rate is right when the economy is wrong.

Jan 30, 2014 06:29 UTC

ICBC takes slow-burn approach to global expansion

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By John Foley

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

ICBC’s purchase of Standard Bank’s UK trading division has moved at a glacial pace, and gives rivals little to fear. That’s the best sign that China’s largest lender knows what it’s doing.