Mar 17, 2014 18:40 UTC

Smartest U.S. export to China could be Max Baucus

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

Uncle Sam’s new man in China arrives just as his employer seems to have lost interest in its biggest trading partner. Max Baucus, who starts as ambassador to Beijing this month, has little experience of China and even less of diplomacy. Yet used wisely by his bosses, Baucus may be well placed to prize open new trade agreements that would leave both sides better off.

Mar 17, 2014 15:15 UTC

Market adjustment is not over yet

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By Ian Campbell

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

The golden fear gauge is rising. Gold is up to a six-month high of $1,383 an ounce. A more serious equity and commodity meltdown threatens as markets grow more uneasy about Ukraine, China, emerging economies and global growth. Gold may go a bit higher still – but its rally too may soon prove vulnerable.

Mar 17, 2014 06:32 UTC

Weibo IPO sets bar low for Alibaba

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By John Foley 

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

Imagine the riskiest possible share offering. It would be a new, unprofitable company with rapid and uncertain growth in an emerging market. One whose customers are fickle, which lives under the constant threat of being snuffed out by regulators, and where external shareholders are dominated by insiders. The listing of Sina Weibo fits the bill. The Twitter-like microblog has also set a low bar for the upcoming market debut of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Mar 14, 2014 16:39 UTC
Edward Hadas

Review: An unreliable guide to inequality

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By Edward Hadas

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

Thomas Piketty is set to become a star. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” – the new book from the founder of the Paris School of Economics – has received gushing praise from the New York Times and the Economist, even before the official publication of the English translation next month. The massive production, 577 pages of text plus voluminous supporting material, posits that economic inequality is a major social problem which is likely to get worse. Piketty’s arguments, however, fail to persuade.

Mar 14, 2014 15:06 UTC

Rouble hard to defend against Putin’s attacks

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Vladimir Putin isn’t waiting for the European Union’s sanctions on Russia and is already inflicting serious damage on the nation’s economy. The Russian president’s move on Crimea has sent Moscow stock markets down by 18 percent since the beginning of March, and the rouble has fallen almost 2 percent in the same period, and 12 percent since January, even with the Central Bank of Russia dipping into its $500 billion-odd worth of reserves to defend the currency. Yields on 10-year Russian government bonds now stand at 9.42 percent, up 1 percentage point since the events in Crimea.

Mar 14, 2014 07:02 UTC

Temasek buyout throws sovereign weight behind Olam

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Temasek is extending a protective arm around Olam. The Singapore state investor is leading a group which has offered to buy the 48 percent of the commodity trader it doesn’t already own at a valuation of $4.3 billion. The buyout should help to shield Olam from sceptical short-sellers – and remove any doubts over its creditworthiness.

Mar 13, 2014 15:07 UTC

ECB needs cunning plan to join currency wars

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

The euro is at two-and-a-half-year highs. Its strength risks driving ultra-low inflation even lower. The European Central Bank may be squeamish about blatantly targeting a weaker euro. But it need have no qualms about picking monetary policy tools that maximise damage to the single currency.

Mar 13, 2014 07:00 UTC

Kiwi rate rise shows cows beating central bankers

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

New Zealand’s decision to exit record-low interest rates makes the cows of the South Pacific the envy of the world’s central bankers.

Mar 12, 2014 12:37 UTC

Russia harms the BRICs and adds to global risks

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By Ian Campbell

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

BRICs? Perhaps it should be shortened to BICs. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is a big blow to the Russian economy and also to other embattled emerging economies. It’s not good for the global picture either, as the redirection of funds makes developed markets more bubbly and vulnerable.

Mar 12, 2014 05:31 UTC

Chinese remedy offers little salve for Bill Ackman

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By John Foley

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

William Ackman is now tilting at pyramids in China. In the latest phase of the uppity investor’s year-long battle against Herbalife, he argued on Tuesday that the nutritional supplements and diet pill maker violated local laws that ban certain multilevel marketing strategies. The Pershing Square Capital founder raises some good questions. For all the effort, though, it’s hard to see how China will help confirm his ultra-bearish thesis.