Aug 2, 2013 15:36 UTC

Review: Venezuela’s revolutionary leaves chaos behind

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By Ian Campbell

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

“Comandante” sounds like the title of a wide-eyed hagiography. But the book by Rory Carroll, the Guardian’s Venezuela correspondent, is something far more welcome: a clear-eyed account of the whims, machinations and follies of Hugo Chavez, the late Venezuelan leader. It leaves the reader wondering just how the country can find a way forward. The book’s weakness is that the account is far from atmospheric and its structure might have been dreamed up by Chavez’s planning ministry.

Jul 31, 2013 09:40 UTC

Mongolia’s economic fairytale faces reality check

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Mongolia’s fairytale economic boom is developing cracks. The failure of the country’s fifth-largest bank and delays to the development of its giant copper mine underscores fears that its growth potential is built on shaky foundations. Yet greater economic realism may ultimately be welcome.

Jul 30, 2013 04:52 UTC

Gift coupons could sweeten Japan’s sales tax pill

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Shinzo Abe mustn’t be coy about raising Japan’s sales tax. A plan to double the country’s consumption levy is crucial to convincing bondholders that public debt won’t spiral out of control. If the prime minister is worried demand will take a hit, shopping vouchers could limit the damage.

Jul 26, 2013 03:39 UTC

India seeks diaspora bailout without strings

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

India wants to ask its diaspora for a loan to ride out a funding crunch. For the fourth time in 22 years, the government is contemplating a cash call, Reuters reported on July 22. The borrowing will probably be in the form of a time-deposit-like structure, exclusively aimed at non-resident Indians.

Jul 24, 2013 05:47 UTC

New-age trade clubs: A guide for the perplexed

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Global trade is going private. After a frustrating 12-year-long wait for the World Trade Organization to hammer out an accord acceptable to its 159 members, businesses and governments are now hedging their bets. Enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which received a boost this week with Japan joining the negotiations.

Jul 22, 2013 03:44 UTC

Time for victorious Abe to roll up shirtsleeves

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Shinzo Abe’s majority in Japan’s upper house is a political watershed. With it, he can start work on the Japanese economy’s broken plumbing.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led alliance’s victory in the upper house elections on July 21 gives Abe control of both chambers of parliament until the next round of polls in 2016. That gives the prime minister a rare flexibility to pass laws that has eluded many of his predecessors since 1989.

Jul 22, 2013 02:17 UTC

China’s PBOC serves reformists an amuse-bouche

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By John Foley

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

China’s central bank has just whetted the appetites of reformists. The People’s Bank of China said on Friday that starting immediately it will let banks lend as cheaply as they like, removing the floor of around 6 percent for one-year loans. It smells like interest-rate liberalisation, but it’s only an amuse-bouche.

Jul 19, 2013 03:21 UTC

Baidu deal shows pain of being China tech upstart

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By Robyn Mak

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

Baidu’s offer to buy China’s biggest home grown mobile app store operator for $1.9 billion is a cautionary tale for smaller tech firms. NetDragon, the majority owner of 91 Wireless, agreed to sell its trophy asset to the search engine giant. The seller’s shares plunged by almost a quarter. As competition between Chinese tech giants intensifies, upstarts must choose: compete or get out of the way.

Jul 18, 2013 13:32 UTC

Navalny verdict shows Russia unsafe for business

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By Pierre Briançon

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

There was never any doubt about the verdict. After a sham trial for graft that didn’t fool anyone, Alexei Navalny was bound to be found guilty of stealing countless acres of forest in the Kirov region. Yet the sentence – five years in prison for Russia’s main opposition leader – was a brutal surprise. There is something mysterious about Vladimir Putin’s obviously irrational vindictiveness against opposition and dissent. The only certainty is that it is taking Russia in a deeply worrying direction.

Jul 17, 2013 08:47 UTC

India new FDI rules show welcome long-termism

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Hurrah for long-termism. India has decised to open up local industries, including its telecoms sector, to greater foreign participation. It may not create a rush of new investments, but it should lead to a modest improvement in confidence.