Apr 24, 2013 07:11 UTC

Return to glory days may elude Japan’s automakers

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By Antony Currie

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

The weakening yen is good news for Japan’s automakers. The more than 20 percent drop in the currency’s value against the dollar since early October will boost profit from overseas sales – and probably market share, too. A return to the glory days of 2006, though, is likely to prove elusive.

Apr 23, 2013 06:34 UTC

Japanese workers need to go back to the 1980s

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Japanese workers are hoping for a 1980s revival. If the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent inflation goal appears daunting, meeting it in two years – as promised by new chief Haruhiko Kuroda – is even more of a challenge. For the central bank to succeed, wages will have to grow faster than they have in the past two decades.

Apr 22, 2013 09:47 UTC

“Schwarzman scholarships” have many beneficiaries

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Steve Schwarzman is giving something back – to China. The Blackstone founder is contributing his name, and $100 million of his private wealth, to kick-start a scholarship programme at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. The programme may not be entirely philanthropic: China lost much more investing in his buyout firm’s initial public offering. But there will still be many beneficiaries if the scheme helps Western and Chinese elites understand each other better.

Apr 19, 2013 07:01 UTC

IMF crowd should cut Japan some slack

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By Christopher Swann

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

The crowds gathering for the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting should cut Japan some slack. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies are in for a drubbing at the shindig in Washington, DC. IMF officials have been bemoaning Japan’s “risky” fiscal stimulus while the U.S. Treasury has been grumbling about the weaker yen. But Japan was right to act.

Apr 18, 2013 06:42 UTC

Radical career move: become a Chinese citizen

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Here’s a radical career choice for investment bankers: become a Chinese citizen. American-born Marshall Nicholson has swapped his U.S. citizenship for a Hong Kong passport. Though the move is largely for family reasons, it will also go down well with clients on the mainland. For Western financiers seeking a local edge, it’s the ultimate display of commitment.

Apr 17, 2013 11:18 UTC

Graft show-trial a new sign of Putin’s weakness

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Alexei Navalny rose to prominence as a Western-style shareholder activist in a country devoid of Western-style capitalism. He took apart Russian companies’ available statements and numbers to expose graft, corruption and embezzlement detrimental to investors.

Apr 16, 2013 02:08 UTC

Weaker yen won’t halt Japan Inc’s overseas spree

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A weaker yen won’t reverse Japan Inc’s overseas M&A drive. While a strong currency, low interest rates and a stagnant home market fuelled an international shopping spree in 2012, the promise of a domestic revival under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has caused buyers to temporarily put away their wallets. But even so-called Abenomics can’t cure Japan’s ageing and shrinking population.

Apr 15, 2013 00:28 UTC

Ten ways to tell whether Abenomics is working

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Shinzo Abe wants to stem the rot – and quickly. Less than four months into the job, Japan’s new prime minister has launched one of the world’s most ambitious programmes of fiscal and monetary easing. His goal is to defeat the scourge of deflation that has corroded the once-dynamic economy, shrinking it by 9 percent in 15 years. But is Abenomics having its desired effect?

Apr 12, 2013 14:33 UTC

Review: Stockman polemic gloomily convincing

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

David Stockman is a polemicist. “The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America”, the new book by the former adviser to President Ronald Reagan and private equity magnate, is a tirade, arguing over more than 700 pages that crony capitalism and central planning have increasingly corrupted U.S. policy since the Franklin Roosevelt administration.

Apr 12, 2013 11:53 UTC

Euro zone daren’t flunk Lisbon’s solidarity test

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By Neil Unmack

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

Euro zone finance ministers took the risk of sending the Cypriot economy back to the stone age, with a tough bank restructuring and conservative approach on how much debt the country could take on. They now have a chance to show their sensitive side by giving Portugal and Ireland an extension on their bailout loans. They should seize it: playing hardball again would be self-defeating.

COMMENT

These debts can be rolled over for ever in order to hide the fact that the Eurozone’s economic forecasts are rubbish. Portugal and Ireland were supposed to be enjoying growth by now but are far from it. The reality is that Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and now Cyprus are going to be stuck in depression for years and years. Any hope of repaying their debts is just that – a hope. The Eurozone finance ministers will again and again kick the can down the road instead of facing reality.

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