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.

Mar 22, 2013 05:22 UTC

Exposed bondholders suffer solar burns in China

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By John Foley

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

Who wants equity-like risk for a debt-like return? Investors in bust Chinese solar panel maker Suntech got something close when they bought $575 million of convertible bonds back in 2008. Even though the bonds remain unconverted, the company’s bankruptcy could leave them with pennies – little better off than regular shareholders. Yet the lessons appear to be going unheeded.

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.