Aug 28, 2013 09:41 UTC

China’s consumers aren’t living up to sales pitch

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By John Foley

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

Consumer brands in China are finding their rewards aren’t quite as advertised. Growth in purchases of a wide range of goods has slowed sharply over the past year, and companies ranging from Samsonite to Apple are reporting disappointing Chinese sales figures. Consumers in the world’s second-largest economy will have their day, but the idea they alone can sustain growth looks threadbare.

Aug 27, 2013 09:46 UTC

China’s debt molehills could turn into mountains

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By John Foley

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

The mountains are high, and the shareholders are far away. China’s banks are reporting results that suggest their bad debts are under control and earnings healthy. But where investors don’t easily see them, risks are growing. It’s at the local level that the problems with China’s debt build-up could escalate most rapidly.

Aug 26, 2013 09:15 UTC

Asia sell-off will expose weak corporate defences

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Generals usually fight the last war, not the current one. Investors have a similar mindset. In Asia, a market sell-off has raised concerns about a re-run of the financial calamity of 1997-98. Though most of the region’s economies are in better shape this time, corporate leverage has risen quickly, and it looks like some companies have forgotten the lessons of history.

Aug 22, 2013 05:05 UTC

Fed liquidity curbs will act as Asia’s detox plan

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Federal Reserve is forcing Asia to kick its addiction to hot money. The prospect of higher U.S. interest rates had made the region’s dwindling trade surpluses look an increasingly dangerous habit. Though markets may be turbulent, pricier local money or cheaper currencies will improve the trade balance for most Asian countries.

Aug 21, 2013 09:23 UTC

India in depth: Let rupee sink to save the economy

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

India’s failing defence of the rupee is doing more harm than good. It’s time New Delhi left the plunging currency to market forces and shifted its focus to boosting exports and investment.

Aug 21, 2013 05:53 UTC

Bo Xilai trial says little about China rule of law

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By John Foley

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

The trial of Bo Xilai is a test of China’s political tolerance, not its rule of law. For foreign capitalists, the latter matters more. It’s almost unthinkable the ousted Chongqing party chief will receive anything other than a guilty verdict. Yet it’s still possible to hope that disputes over investment and contracts will be resolved in a more transparent way.

Aug 20, 2013 05:50 UTC

China price probes may be too much of a good thing

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By John Foley

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

China’s trustbusters have found their mojo. Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission fined six milk companies including Danone and Fonterra for fixing prices. Petroleum groups, telecom operators, banks and auto makers may be next to feel the heat. China needs stronger watchdogs, as long as what motivates them is a hunger for good, not a taste for glory.

Aug 19, 2013 04:46 UTC

Strategic nepotism may give Wall St a Chinese burn

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By John Foley

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

Investment bankers are only as good as their contacts. In China, that may present Wall Street with a problem. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether JPMorgan hired relatives of powerful people to win business, according to the New York Times. If it decides the answer is “yes”, foreign banks will find it even harder to get a foot in the door.

Aug 16, 2013 04:47 UTC

Indonesia imitates India’s costly growth obsession

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Indonesia is failing to learn from India’s economic misery. That makes it a candidate for a disorderly decline in the currency, runaway inflation and financial instability.

Aug 15, 2013 14:42 UTC

Markets are poor judge of Egyptian violence

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By Kevin Allison

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

Investors responded to the violent crackdown in Egypt by bidding up the price of oil and of insuring the country’s sovereign debt. The reaction is understandable, but not insightful. Political risk is just too difficult to price.