Aug 7, 2013 04:00 UTC

How Raghuram Rajan can end India’s mini-crisis

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Raghuram Rajan must show he is as good at managing financial crises as he is at predicting them. When he was chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Rajan was a prescient critic of a finance-fuelled credit boom, warning of “hidden tail risks” as early as 2005. His first task as India’s new central bank governor will be to avert the country’s looming currency crisis.

Aug 5, 2013 08:54 UTC

Milk scare exposes New Zealand’s dairy dependency

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By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

New Zealand’s dairy scare has exposed its dependence on milk. A warning about contaminated products at Fonterra, the country’s largest producer, has triggered recalls and temporary import bans around the world. The immediate fallout may be limited. But it’s a reminder that, with milk generating a quarter of its exports, New Zealand remains vulnerable to food scares.

Aug 2, 2013 15:52 UTC

Berlusconi verdict weakens Italian reform drive

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By Neil Unmack

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

Berlusconi’s conviction leaves Italy’s government weaker, but not broken. The media mogul-cum-politician lost his final appeal on his conviction for tax fraud, which will exacerbate tensions within Rome’s ruling coalition of the centre left and right. Yet neither party wants to face their electorate for now. That means a crisis isn’t imminent – but the prospect of a political consensus that would allow serious reform is now more remote.

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.