If only Argentine economy matched soccer success

July 13, 2014

The nation’s strong World Cup showing reflects astute management of its big fan base and valuable on-field talent. That contrasts with a 100-year record of wasting its human and natural resources. Avoiding policy own-goals could one day make Argentina an economic champion, too.

Review: Putting a face on China’s vague ambition

July 11, 2014

Many books about China strive for a sweeping overview. Evan Osnos’ “Age of Ambition” adopts a refreshingly human perspective. Despite some inevitable gaps, his close-up portraits of people in the People’s Republic are as revealing as a torrent of statistical superlatives.

Spending hike is best part of low-key India budget

July 11, 2014

The maiden budget from Narendra Modi’s new government failed to live up to the reform hype. But a promise to do away with retrospective changes in the tax code is welcome. And while boosting spending on roads, ports and cities is a gamble, this could revive the investment cycle.

Close presidential race may slow Indonesia reforms

July 9, 2014

Popular Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo faces a tough challenge from ex-general Prabowo Subianto in the country’s presidential poll. While the latter’s nationalistic talk makes investors edgy, a slim win for the former could also dim hopes of strong leadership and lasting change.

Internet ads add up for China’s party mouthpiece

July 8, 2014

The online arm of state news agency Xinhua is planning an IPO with a near-$1 billion valuation. Booming advertising has brought it success that has eluded the Western media. Xinhuanet’s fortunes aren’t built on headlines or scoops, but a lucrative monopoly on the PRC’s PR.

Hong Kong democracy debate puts business on spot

July 3, 2014

Thousands of citizens are pushing for fairer elections. The Big Four auditors and others have responded by warning of the dangers of disruption. Their clumsy interventions miss the point. The right to protest is a key part of the system that makes Hong Kong a magnet for commerce.

Macau revenue drop augurs further slowdown

July 2, 2014

Online betting on soccer’s World Cup may have contributed to the first year-on-year drop in the enclave’s gaming revenue since 2010. Fewer high rollers and a credit card crackdown didn’t help. That’s okay as long as tourist numbers keep rising. But future growth may be bumpier.

Builder’s shaky foundations dent UAE’s credibility

June 27, 2014

Shares in Arabtec have lost more than half their value in six weeks. The abrupt resignation of its CEO, uncertainty over sovereign support and poor communication are to blame. It’s a warning to investors attracted to the country by its new emerging market status.

U.S. drought could spark economic water warfare

June 26, 2014

Scarce rains have left California and the U.S. Southwest dry just as industries from beverages to semiconductors grow concerned about the availability of H20. That presents a flood of opportunity for water tech firms and Great Lakes states like Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Biggest risk of geopolitics is as a distraction

June 26, 2014

Fears that war and foreign policy chaos will disrupt the global economy have insidiously crept into the minds of investors, Barclays discovered. In reality, despite deterioration in the Middle East, the global balance is broadly positive. There are bigger things to worry about.