Jun 3, 2014 03:51 UTC

China index: Property helps slowdown drag on

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Our indicator stalled at 90.8 in April, just a touch up on March. The home front still looks sluggish. Rail cargo and truck sales fell while exports were flat. Property was a drag: average monthly sales growth from January to April was 17 pct, down from 22 pct last year.

May 30, 2014 03:01 UTC

Indian bank recap is painful but necessary

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Quentin Webb

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

India’s state-owned banks need a government bailout. The country’s wobbly public sector lenders require around $45 billion to put their balance sheets on a firmer footing, according to a Breakingviews calculator. That’s a bill the new government can ill afford. But if it acts fast, it may be able to take advantage of the post-election euphoria to persuade private investors to put up some of the cash.

COMMENT

Banking reforms and transparency is essential for sustained long term health of the economy and financial system. Together, the security enforcement and legal system needs to be strengthened to enable better risk taking by banks.

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May 28, 2014 06:17 UTC

Korean chat app sends mixed valuation messages

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By Robyn Mak 

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

What’s the value of mobile chat apps? Investors have been scratching their heads about the topic ever since Facebook slapped a $19 billion price tag on WhatsApp earlier this year. The recent backdoor listing of South Korea’s Kakao offers a new data point. But its user metrics and revenue numbers still offer a mixed message on valuation.

May 27, 2014 13:38 UTC

Italy’s lesson for Europe: do your homework

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By Neil Unmack

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

Italy has a lesson for Europe: do your homework. The victory of Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party in European Parliament elections demonstrates that a strong domestic politician can be more appealing than euro-bashing, even in a sickly economy.

May 27, 2014 06:56 UTC

Piketty spreadsheets set bad Excel example

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By Richard Beales

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

Thomas Piketty has had a bad few days. The Financial Times has launched a critique of the data behind the French economist’s bestseller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” In such a sweeping study, errors are almost inevitable. But he has also fallen prey to sloppy spreadsheets.

COMMENT

Unfortunate mistake, similar to the Reinhart and Rogoff mistake that was discovered by graduate student.

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May 26, 2014 07:16 UTC

U.S. firms get caught in China spying crossfire

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By Ethan Bilby

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

It’s almost a year since U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a cordial “shirt-sleeves summit”. When it comes to the two countries’ internet rivalry, however, bare knuckles have replaced bare forearms. Last week’s indictment by the United States of five Chinese army officers as alleged cyber spies has prompted a backlash against American companies. China’s weapon is shutting them out from future growth.

May 23, 2014 06:21 UTC

Unavoidable coup is awful for Thai economy

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Thailand’s latest military coup was probably unavoidable. But that doesn’t make it any more likely that an army takeover will heal the country’s deep-seated divisions. The increased risk of violent conflict leaves the economy, which contracted by 2.1 per cent in the first quarter, further adrift.

COMMENT

Good article!

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May 22, 2014 06:37 UTC

JD.com wins rich price despite poor governance

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By Robyn Mak 

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

JD.com has achieved a rich price despite poor governance. China’s second largest e-commerce group priced its shares above the expected range on May 21, raising $1.8 billion. Investors in the initial public offering seem unfazed that the company just disclosed a 5.3 billion yuan ($849 million) loss in the first quarter of 2014, caused by a gift of stock to the company’s chief executive officer. Such a large and unexplained act of generosity should raise red flags.

May 21, 2014 18:43 UTC

Russia puts gas-hungry China in a bear hug

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

Russia has signed a long-awaited gas pipeline deal with China, and it leaves the People’s Republic in a bear hug. Russia gets a new market outside the increasingly frosty European Union. Oil major PetroChina gets to balance out some losses from low regulated prices at home. But the optics of the deal shred Beijing’s pretensions to political neutrality.

May 21, 2014 06:50 UTC

Chinese real estate is in real trouble

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By John Foley

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

China’s property market is built on a vicious triangle. There are three ways the pressures building in the real estate industry could show: shrinking investment, disappearing funding for developers, and lower prices. Though they’re all related, the effects and remedies are different.