Jun 18, 2014 21:29 UTC

U.S. home affordability on way to lowest in years

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By Daniel Indiviglio and Richard Beales

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

U.S. homes may soon be as unaffordable as they have been in decades. With the Federal Reserve set to raise interest rates, house prices rising and incomes not keeping pace, the dream of home ownership – cheaper after the 2008 downturn – is receding again for many. A new Breakingviews calculator shows that by 2017 homebuyers may have to stretch once again.

Jun 18, 2014 04:20 UTC

China veto is wake-up call for world’s dealmakers

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By Ethan Bilby 

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

Chinese regulators have sunk their first overseas transaction, killing a container-shipping alliance led by Denmark’s Maersk. The particular national interest made this tie-up especially vulnerable. But there’s a real risk China could torpedo other global deals.

Jun 17, 2014 08:33 UTC

Alibaba’s slow unveiling shows good and bad sides

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Alibaba is lifting its veil to reveal both good and bad sides. The e-commerce giant has released more information ahead of its highly anticipated initial public offering. Though some of the disclosures will persuade prospective investors its business is relatively robust, the rapid shift by users to mobile phones is squeezing margins.

Jun 16, 2014 18:06 UTC

Gazprom/Ukraine dispute is proxy for Putin’s whims

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By Pierre Briançon 

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

Europe has long been used to the perennial drama of “Ukraine versus Gazprom,” but this year’s version is not your run-of-the-mill gas price dispute. Making good on a longstanding threat, Gazprom has said it will deliver gas to Ukraine only if it has been pre-paid. This comes after the Russian energy group failed to settle a dispute with Naftogaz, its Kiev-backed counterpart, over what it claims are more than $4 billion of overdue bills.

COMMENT

No wonder GOPers love Putin for his ‘strength’.
He has the same petty mean streak most of them do.

Posted by emm305 | Report as abusive
Jun 16, 2014 06:25 UTC

Samsung software bet rests on future beyond phones

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By Robyn Mak 

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

Samsung may be the world’s largest smartphone vendor, but the electronics giant is looking beyond phones. The company has launched the first smartphone that runs on its own operating system. Samsung is unlikely to challenge Google’s lead in handsets any time soon. But it may have more success with software that can control televisions, appliances and even cars.

Jun 13, 2014 14:27 UTC

Review: “House of Debt” diagnosis beats remedies

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

Atif Mian and Amir Sufi are better at diagnosis than cure. In their book, “House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again,” the two professors make a compelling case that excess consumer debt caused the severity of the U.S. Great Recession. Unfortunately their mortgage bailout proposal would worsen future such problems. Another idea, shared value mortgages, might work partially – but tighter monetary policy would work better still.

Jun 13, 2014 06:16 UTC

China’s Hong Kong experiment faces biggest trial

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

China’s experiment with Hong Kong is facing its biggest trial. The former British colony has mostly thrived in the 17 years since it was handed back to the People’s Republic. But a planned “Occupy Central” democracy protest is about to test Hong Kong’s openness – and China’s patience.

COMMENT

Hong Kong might do better if they fixed their broken electoral system allowing companies and foreign entities more votes than the people that lived there. (A system it inherited) – but that is hong kong – it’s always been about the Money.$$$

Posted by StigTW | Report as abusive
Jun 12, 2014 13:07 UTC

Harvard could get smarter about its endowment

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By Richard Beales

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

Harvard University could get smarter about its $33 billion endowment. Jane Mendillo, who has managed the Ivy League university’s portfolio for six years, is leaving at the end of 2014. Her predecessor is partly to blame for crisis losses, but Harvard nevertheless seems to have overpaid for mediocre returns.

Jun 11, 2014 20:34 UTC

Obama student loan fix spares rod, spoils borrower

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

President Barack Obama’s latest tweak to the U.S. student loan program spares the rod and spoils the borrower. Extending repayment caps and debt forgiveness to older graduates gives too many high earners a break. Making everyone pay a flat percentage of income would be simpler, fairer – and cheaper for taxpayers. It could also deliver a valuable lesson in financial responsibility.

COMMENT

Financial responsibility!!!!!.. That went away with bank sponsored legislation that rewrote the personal bankruptcy laws back in 2005. Thanks to the GOP and George bush, banks do not share in the risk of college lending as that debt can NEVER be forgiven via bankruptcy. No risk no responsibility.. Easy profits for the banks!!!

Couple that with college counselors selling degree programs with little financial viability and you get the mess we have now. Shame on the bankers and school administrators. At the university of Texas..in 2007.. School officials were implicated in a kick back system from loan originators!!!

I’d recommend requiring the university to carry the debt and the risk… They are in the best position to know what majors bring in a salary that can pay back the debt.. If a student defaults.. The university loses.. Make it part of their pension fund portfolio and all the university employees will work harder to produce financially responsible graduates!!!!

Posted by michaelryan | Report as abusive
Jun 11, 2014 14:22 UTC

China’s vanishing metals corrode confidence

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By John Foley 

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

Faith in metal-backed lending in China is corroding – and so is confidence in the country’s giant credit system. Authorities and banks including Standard Chartered and CITIC are investigating whether traders at Qingdao port used the same lot of copper and aluminium to back multiple loans. Vanishing collateral isn’t a new problem, but could prove to be China’s weakest link.