Sep 5, 2013 14:23 UTC

Middle East turmoil perpetuates OPEC charade

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By Una Galani

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

Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has been awful for the people of the region. The same cannot be said for OPEC, the oil cartel. The long list of crises – violence in Iraq, fear of sectarian spillover from the Syrian conflict, oil worker strikes in Libya and sanctions against Iran – has conspired to keep crude prices high.

Sep 5, 2013 02:56 UTC

Not all Asian countries need to fear the Fed

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Falling Asian currencies have triggered a sell-off in bonds and equities. Some investors now fear a repeat of a 1997-style crisis. Yet while a new Breakingviews’ interactive risk map shows no economy in the Asia-Pacific region is entirely sober, it is India that has become most addicted to cheap money.

Sep 4, 2013 11:57 UTC

Commodity decoupling hints at return to old normal

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By Kevin Allison

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

Commodity markets are rediscovering a semblance of normality. After a sustained period of tight correlation, the prices of raw materials have diverged from equities. Different commodities are charting different paths too. If the trends hold, it suggests that familiar forces of supply and demand are regaining the upper hand after years of crisis-driven trading.

Sep 4, 2013 04:22 UTC

China’s bad debt could leave $500 bln equity hole

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By John Foley

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

China’s bad debts could blow a $500 billion hole in bank balance sheets. That’s roughly how much extra equity the eleven biggest lenders might need if 10 percent of their loans went sour, according to a Breakingviews calculator. Though the chairman of ICBC, China’s biggest lender, thinks dismal bank valuations are “unfair”, the malaise is well deserved.

Sep 3, 2013 08:35 UTC

The lessons for China from Japan’s lost decade

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Is China condemned to suffer a Japanese “lost decade”? Its economy today has three big similarities with Japan in the late 1980s: High and rising debt, diminishing export competitiveness and an ageing society. China can avoid slipping into Japan’s deflationary hole, but only if it learns from Tokyo’s failure to cleanse its banking system.

Sep 2, 2013 15:16 UTC

Bale-in at Real Madrid won’t lead to bailout

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By George Hay

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

Real Madrid’s world-record signing of Gareth Bale will have UEFA mopping its brow. Soccer’s European governing body is currently ushering in so-called “financial fair play” guidelines designed to stamp out the gross commercial mismanagement that permeates the game. But even after splashing out 100 million euros on a single player, the Spanish club will probably stay on the right side of the referee.

Sep 2, 2013 08:26 UTC

Emerging market currency rescue is a pipe dream

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Can emerging markets fight back against currency speculators? An idea floated by India to mount a joint defence has a certain charm. After a rout in the rupee the past three months, New Delhi wants other developing countries to help in a coordinated intervention in offshore foreign exchange markets, Reuters reported on Aug. 31. In reality, it sounds unworkable.

Aug 30, 2013 15:57 UTC

Review: Thatcher’s determination battled her flaws

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

The first volume of Charles Moore’s authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher covers the British prime minister’s life “From Grantham to the Falklands”. In his recounting of her childhood and early years in power, Moore shows her great determination, which was often needed to overcome previous mistakes.

Aug 30, 2013 14:52 UTC

Belarus-Russia spat clears way for potash plunge

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By Kevin Allison

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

Before the arrest of a top Russian fertiliser executive in Belarus this week, there was a slim chance that two of the world’s biggest potash producers might revive their alliance setting the prices of the soil nutrient. The ensuing diplomatic bust-up between Minsk and Moscow now makes reconciliation unlikely. Farmers and consumers will benefit from lower potash prices.

Aug 30, 2013 09:59 UTC

China growth index: Good month for train-spotters

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Breakingviews’ forward guide to China’s economy has picked up, including rail freight volumes, an important sign of domestic demand. Summer’s PMI readings also improved. But most of the alternative growth indicators remain negative. Things are far from full steam ahead.