Jan 13, 2015 18:08 UTC

MetLife’s Snoopy takes on the regulatory Red Baron

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By Rob Cox

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

Challenging regulators can often come back to bite you in the rear. JPMorgan proved this by publicly questioning the reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act and then privately failing to rein in some particularly naughty behavior by some of its traders. That’s what makes MetLife’s decision to take its watchdogs to court so surprising.

Jan 13, 2015 11:50 UTC
Edward Hadas

Oil price floor could be a long way down

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By Edward Hadas

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

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The oil market these days offers producers lessons in three basic ideas of market economics. They are all painful.

COMMENT

The interesting drop in retail sales despite low oil prices suggests a giant parallel economy. Such a development is well known from Portugal, where black markets make half of the gdp nowadays. We haven’t heard much of such a phenomena in the USA after the real estate crash and start to question the real conditions of the economy.

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Jan 9, 2015 16:18 UTC
Guest Contributor

Review: Trade can bring war

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By Edward Chancellor

The author is a guest columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Few doubt that international trade usually increases the wealth of nations. Does it also bring peace? Many think so, but economic historian James Macdonald points out in “When Globalization Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana” that the last high point of globalization ended just over a century ago in a devastating world war – between countries which were also each other’s largest trading partners.

New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman writes about the “Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention,” positing that no two countries that are part of a global supply chain have ever fought a war with each other. Macdonald decries such thinking as simplistic and unhistorical.

Jan 8, 2015 15:35 UTC

Response to Paris attacks caught between two risks

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By Pierre Briancon

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

It is safe to assume that Charlie Hebdo would not have hesitated to extract satire even from the depths of its own tragedy. Only the murder of its editor and some of its most celebrated cartoonists, in a shooting rampage that left 12 dead in and near the French weekly’s office on Wednesday, will prevent the magazine from doing its job this week – lampooning powers-that-be and all forms of authority, steering clear of anything resembling tact or conventional good taste.

COMMENT

the aftermath of this attack is straight out of Fahrenheit 451, appropriately enough. we may never know who was behind those balaclavas and ‘spoke perfect French’ …

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Jan 8, 2015 14:55 UTC

Merkel subjects Greece to risky tough love

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

There should be no doubt that Angela Merkel wants to keep the euro zone intact. Her played-up indifference to the possibility that Greece might leave if it doesn’t find a deal with its creditor partners is part of that long game. The German chancellor just wants to send an advance warning to Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the left-wing Syriza party who may emerge as the winner of the Greek parliamentary election on Jan. 25. Investors should see through the bargaining hubbub. The next Greek crisis will have its cliffhangers – but Berlin will ensure it ends in compromise.

Jan 6, 2015 15:18 UTC
Guest Contributor

Guest view: Banks need to lead on cultural change

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By William Rhodes

William Rhodes, a former Citigroup executive, is president and chief executive of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors and author of “Banker to the World.”

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

Jan 6, 2015 12:52 UTC

Petrodollar drought is new risk for markets

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Low oil prices hurt energy producers. They may hurt financial markets too.

For years, energy windfalls were large enough to give major oil producing nations surplus cash. Exporters accumulated foreign exchange reserves and put money into funds which aimed at stabilising economies, paying pensions or just earning a return on investments. The total assets under management of these “petrodollar” investors increased by $2.5 trillion between 2009 and 2014, according to Citi analysts’ calculations.

Jan 5, 2015 17:12 UTC

A double-speak guide to modern markets

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By John Foley and Rob Cox

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

As the market perpetually shifts, so do the rhetorical stylings its players use to talk their way out of problems. The past year saw above-average creativity when it came to saying one thing and meaning another. Here, Breakingviews offers up 10 euphemisms we’d most like to see disappear.

Jan 5, 2015 16:48 UTC

Water woes could open taps on corporate risk

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By Antony Currie

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

Water is set to become a more serious risk for companies and investors. It’s already recognized. World Economic Forum attendees named H2O a top-three risk two years running. And two-thirds of the world’s largest companies worry about how constraints may affect their business, according to environmental research firm CDP. Few, though, are well prepared for problems. That is set to change.

Jan 2, 2015 11:51 UTC

Current account is key Africa factor in 2015

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

A positive balance of payments will be the key African success factor in 2015. Rapid growth is likely to continue. The IMF predicts 5.8 percent GDP growth for sub-Saharan Africa, up from 5.1 percent in 2014. However overspending, overborrowing and – in some countries – Ebola could cause trouble.