Dec 13, 2013 10:44 UTC

HK inside-trade payout more deterrent than portent

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A group of nearly 300 Hong Kong investors are about to share an early $3 million Christmas present. That’s the amount former Morgan Stanley banker Du Jun has been told to pay the unwitting victims of his insider trading in 2007. White collar criminals should beware, but investors shouldn’t expect a rush of future payments.

Dec 12, 2013 10:03 UTC

Microsoft lucky to avoid Nokia’s India tax bill

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Microsoft is lucky to dodge Nokia’s tax bill in India. On Dec. 12, the Delhi High Court allowed the Finnish group to transfer its Chennai factory to the U.S. software giant as part of its planned $7.4 billion sale of its mobile handset business. While the overall deal wasn’t in doubt, Microsoft avoids Nokia’s hard-to-assess tax liability. If only Vodafone had been so fortunate.

Dec 11, 2013 06:33 UTC

Japan index: Abenomics momentum masks weakness

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

A second straight gain in October pushed the Breakingviews Abenomics index to its highest since the 2008 crisis. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must worry about the durability of the recovery. Wage gains aren’t yet large enough to compensate households for rising prices.

Dec 10, 2013 12:04 UTC
Edward Hadas

Mandela’s successors can shape his economic legacy

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By Edward Hadas

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

As world leaders gather to remember Nelson Mandela, they may ponder South Africa’s middle-income trap, with economic growth held back by poor education, inadequate investment and excessive corruption. Yet compared with other post-colonial economies, even stagnation would be a tribute to Mandela’s peace-making.

COMMENT

The threat of industrial and mineral “nationalization” is ever present in SA, and that specter is already hurting developmental momentum of its economy. Investors don’t like uncertainty.

Unfortunately, the wide-eyed idealists who initially occupy the political halls of emerging nations such as South Africa, reach too readily, heavily, and often into the pockets of what should be their economy’s saviors…its capital investors.

Then the politicians point fingers, blame conspiracies in general, and the U.S. or Eurozone specifically when capital-flight sets in.

My guess is South Africa will soon go the way of Venezuela and others.

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Dec 10, 2013 07:44 UTC

Narendra Modi could be India’s Shinzo Abe

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Narendra Modi could be India’s Shinzo Abe. If the recent state polls are any indicator of the electorate’s mood, the opposition politician will be prime minister of the world’s largest democracy by May next year. Just like his Japanese counterpart, Modi would oversee higher asset prices and revive growth, but struggle with structural reforms.

Dec 9, 2013 08:35 UTC

Banks’ taper rehearsal gives emerging markets hope

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The banking industry’s dress rehearsal for tapering by the Federal Reserve has given emerging markets hope.

Dec 6, 2013 02:12 UTC

Benefits of being “G-SIFI” seem to outweigh costs

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

The benefits of being labeled “too big to fail” may just outweigh the costs. Since regulators first published their list of global systemically important financial institutions, or G-SIFIs, the banks concerned have boosted capital and tamped down balance sheets. But smaller lenders, particularly in Europe, have done the same without joining the club. And shareholders seem not to notice much of a difference.

Dec 5, 2013 07:14 UTC

Qantas needs help to escape financial nosedive

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By Una Galani

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

Qantas needs help to escape from its financial nosedive. The Australia carrier’s shares plunged 11 percent after it warned that it will report a pre-tax loss of up to A$300 million ($225 million) in the first six months of the year. Part of the problem is that the airline is a political hybrid, restricted from raising foreign capital but without the support openly state-backed rivals enjoy.

Dec 4, 2013 08:15 UTC

Westfield shops for premium with $28 bln carve-up

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By Una Galani

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

Westfield is shopping for a premium with its A$30.3 billion ($28 billion) carve-up. Just three years after its last big reshuffle, the shopping mall giant is separating assets in Australia and New Zealand from outlets in the United States and Europe. The cleaner structure may allow Westfield to command a higher valuation.

Dec 3, 2013 05:05 UTC

“Secular stagnation” lament revives wealth paradox

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Larry Summers reckons rich countries are suffering from long-term stagnation. If accurate, the former U.S. treasury secretary’s view is chilling. It has also revived an old, unresolved puzzle: Why doesn’t the world’s capital willingly go where it’s most needed?