Mar 21, 2013 14:49 UTC

Cyprus exit risk is real – and manageable

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By Neil Unmack

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

Is the European Central Bank ready to start a Cyp-riot? It has threatened to cut off Cyprus’ banks if Nicosia doesn’t take a bailout, potentially triggering the country’s exit from the euro. The ECB has threatened to cut off banks and countries before but backed off. This time it may be serious.

Mar 21, 2013 09:17 UTC

Mining saga highlights pitfalls of Chinese M&A

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Sundance Resources is a case study in what ails Chinese-led takeovers. The Australian miner’s deal to sell itself to Hanlong Mining for $1.4 billion is under pressure after its suitor’s chairman was apparently arrested. The 18-month saga highlights the hurdles facing Chinese bidders, and explains why suitors are often met with scepticism.

Mar 20, 2013 05:31 UTC

China rail reform skirts big question: who pays

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By John Foley

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

China’s massive rail expansion is good for the economy. Burying it under $420 billion of debt isn’t. The long awaited dismantling of China’s sprawling Ministry of Railways and creation of a new rail company, announced on March 10, is a good moment to change track.

Mar 19, 2013 16:20 UTC

UK cannot afford a budget giveaway

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By Ian Campbell

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

The UK economy is flat-lining and austerity is blamed. But George Osborne should resist mounting pressure to reverse course or slash taxes in his third budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer on Wednesday.

Mar 19, 2013 08:46 UTC

Philippines has an unhealthy upgrade obsession

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Philippines is on an unhealthy low-debt diet. Manila’s obsessive pursuit of a one-notch ratings upgrade, which would grant the sovereign investment-grade status, could have unwanted side effects.

Mar 18, 2013 09:02 UTC

China’s new market watchdog may lack teeth

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By John Foley

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

As head of China’s new market watchdog, Xiao Gang has a tough mission: to bite the hand that fed him. While head of Bank of China, he oversaw an unprecedented lending spree that helped get China’s economy out of a hole. His next mission, as boss of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, will be to beef up the country’s capital markets – weakening the big banks’ stranglehold.

Mar 15, 2013 06:34 UTC

Fed harder to grade than banks on stress tests

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By Antony Currie

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

It’s harder to grade the Federal Reserve over its handling of the stress tests than it is the 18 banks which take them. On the face of it, the regulator has devised a rigorous but fair system. This year, it rapped Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan over the knuckles for their flawed models, though still approved their plans to return capital to shareholders. It vetoed proposals by Ally and BB&T, and gave its blessing to former dunce Bank of America. But the Fed’s math and much of the results remain a secret. That makes some of the toughness seem more for show.

Mar 14, 2013 03:28 UTC

Abenomics can clear Japan’s demographic hurdle

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Japan has a serious demographic disadvantage: its population is both shrinking and ageing. But the situation is not so dismal – at least not yet – that it will wreck Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to revive the economy.

Mar 13, 2013 15:21 UTC

Russia’s central bank can avoid “putinisation”

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Elvira Nabiullina has the worst possible credential for the job of head of the Russian central bank: she is a close ally of Vladimir Putin. The former economy minister, currently the Russian president’s chief economic adviser, will take the new post in June. Her appointment has been greeted with some scepticism.

Mar 13, 2013 08:16 UTC

China’s solar bonds leave dim hope of payback

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By John Foley

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

Dim prospects for payback await bondholders in China’s Suntech Power Holdings. The stricken solar panel maker, unlikely to meet a $541 million bond payment due on March 15, has persuaded over half its foreign creditors to hold off for two months. On purely financial grounds, it’s hard to see how the bondholders could come away with anything in the event of a default. What value remains is a bet that China values foreign investors too much to snub them outright.