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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Apr 9, 2013 14:49 UTC

It is time the UK buried Thatcher’s europhobia

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By Robert Cole

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

David Cameron’s wish to reform the EU has been met with barely-disguised derision in Berlin, Paris and Brussels. It is not that Europe thinks it is perfect: Merkel, Hollande, Draghi et al know they have mountains to climb. In principle and in practice, the euro project has big problems. But why on earth should the leaders of Europe make a complex job more difficult for themselves by pandering to the prejudices of its peripheral northern cousin?

COMMENT

Obviously Mr Cole has no appreciation of the UK public’s distrust of the EU. We see that Britain’s wealth is being spewed into a corrupt euro system with very little benefit to the UK and there is unacceptab;le and frustrating interference in UK’s social, legal, financial and industrial sectors. The forthcoming referendum will make this very clear to the UK politicians that enough is enough!

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Apr 8, 2013 13:35 UTC

Thatcher’s economic revolution was not bloodless

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

Margaret Thatcher’s government was Schumpeterian: it destroyed as well as created. Her ultra-high interest rates and strong pound devastated industry, then her 1986 reform gutted the City of London. But her reduction in marginal tax rates and defeat of the unions restored Britain’s economic vitality.

Apr 8, 2013 03:54 UTC

China and the chaos theory of finance

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By John Foley

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

Will China have a financial crisis? And if so, would Chinese people be any worse off? The answers are not found in the country’s rapidly rising levels of debt, but in the potential for chaos when things go wrong. China is sliding further along the scale of chaotic financial systems, but is not yet in the danger zone.

COMMENT

The Financial Chaos Index is a fascinating idea. It seems difficult to know at which position a particular economic entity stands in real time because major players have an interest in making it appear that everything is as it should be.

Position on the index might be considered a functional juxtaposition of previously hidden, ignored or unknown risks and the responses to those risks over time.

Consider the multiple risks mentioned in this recent Reuters article regarding the Eurozone:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/1 3/us-europe-ministers-esm-idUSBRE93C0972 0130413

It is impossible to know at this moment whether the risks will be adequately resolved in a timely fashion. At this moment, either all is well or the Eurozone is quite high on the Financial Chaos Index… and we will discover which is the case at some point in the future.

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Apr 5, 2013 01:58 UTC

Japanese economy needs nuclear second chance

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By Christopher Swann

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

Japan needs to give nuclear energy a second chance. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goal of weakening the yen will make electricity even pricier in a country that imported over 80 percent of its energy even before the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Mar 27, 2013 07:02 UTC

Chinese credit alarms sound in the east

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By John Foley

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

Credit alarm bells are ringing in China’s east. Earnings from three of the country’s top four lenders show that while the national ratio of bad debts to loans is still falling, stress is building in coastal regions. Problems in an area rich in private sector businesses and manufacturing could be a national concern.

Mar 25, 2013 14:40 UTC

The first oligarch dies, his kleptocracy thrives

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Boris Berezovsky built something that lasted. The man found dead on March 23 may have been alone, broken, bitter, and a shadow of his flamboyant former self as Russia’s richest man and king-maker. Yet the system he invented two decades ago in the throes of the big Soviet meltdown is functioning well. The men at the top may have changed, and turned against their former mentor and master. But the rulers of today’s Russia – both the oligarchs who looted the country’s resources and branched out, and the clique of ex-KGB officials working hard to get their hands on a share of the loot – are Berezovsky’s children.

Mar 25, 2013 06:33 UTC

Abandoned gold loans are India’s “jingle mail”

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The myth that Indians’ love for gold is driven by tradition rather than financial self-interest has been dashed. Falling prices have prompted borrowers who took out loans secured against the yellow metal to break a cultural taboo and abandon their collateral. It’s the Indian equivalent of American homeowners who walked away from their underwater mortgages by mailing the keys to their homes to the bank.