Mar 4, 2013 08:33 UTC

China’s gains tax won’t put a roof on house prices

By John Foley

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

China’s house prices are too high and local tax revenue too low. What better way to address both problems than taxing capital gains on property? China’s cabinet has promised to enforce such a levy on homeowners. While that drove down the share prices of property developers, it is unlikely to do the same for real estate values.

Mar 1, 2013 15:33 UTC

UK’s EU problem becomes more pressing

Photo

By Pierre Briançon

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

It has taken just a short week to expose British Prime Minister David Cameron’s stated European policy as lacking in both strategy and tactics.

Feb 28, 2013 20:03 UTC

U.S. budget cuts more blip than bomb

Photo

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

For all the rhetoric from both political parties, the impending U.S. budget cuts are more a blip than a bomb. An initial $100 billion-worth of federal spending reductions won’t do much real damage to the growing economy.

Feb 28, 2013 07:22 UTC

BOJ chief could score early win by dumping rule

Photo

By Andy Mukherjee

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

Expectations are running high for Japan’s next monetary czar. Haruhiko Kuroda, who has been nominated by the government as the Bank of Japan’s next governor, needs to quickly demonstrate his deflation-fighting credentials. One way would be to do away with the BOJ’s self-imposed limit on how many government bonds it can hold.

Feb 27, 2013 05:58 UTC

Illumination alone won’t slow China shadow banks

Photo

By John Foley

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

When it comes to China’s shadow banks, switching on the lights isn’t enough to make the risks go away. The country’s lenders may soon be asked to disclose their off-balance sheet lending activities, starting with a trial in Shanghai, according to the Financial Times.

Feb 26, 2013 15:44 UTC

Euro zone must change to allow Italy to reform

Photo

By Pierre Briançon

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

The downside of democracy is that people take it seriously. The Italians have spoken, in their effervescent, yet rather clear way. Europe’s powers-that-be are sorry that the “pro-reform parties” didn’t win a governing majority in Rome. The vote has opened weeks of political uncertainty the country could do without. Whatever its next government, and no matter how stable it proves, Italy will pay a price if it fails to reform.

Feb 26, 2013 05:21 UTC

Wage subsidy could blunt Singapore’s edge

Photo

By Andy Mukherjee

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

Singapore’s government hopes that new subsidies for low-wage workers will fix two problems: pressure on company profits, and income inequality. But in doing so, it will just create new problems later on.

Feb 25, 2013 14:55 UTC

Moody’s shaming brings UK gain in currency war

Photo

By Ian Campbell

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

The only question had been which rating agency would shoot first. Moody’s did the deed, removing the UK’s triple-A rating on Friday. It is a political humiliation for the UK government, but the downgrade also removes that lingering expectation of being gunned down. The irony is that the humbling may help the UK achieve recovery sooner – and without firing another monetary policy shot in the currency wars.

Feb 25, 2013 07:42 UTC

Asia’s property taxes are covert capital controls

Photo

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Asia’s city-states are experimenting with a new form of capital controls: property taxes. In its latest effort to cool the market, Hong Kong has hiked stamp duty for real-estate transactions, apart from those that involve local first-time buyers. Discriminating against foreign speculators may distort the market and have limited success in constraining prices. Yet its popular appeal is clear.

Feb 21, 2013 08:13 UTC

Southeast Asia’s growth could lead to credit curbs

Photo

By Andy Mukherjee

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

Southeast Asia’s heady debt-fuelled growth is beginning to resemble the unsustainable mid-1990s boom. But authorities are shy to raise interest rates as doing so could attract more overseas capital, stoking inflation and financial instability. Direct curbs on credit and capital flows may prove more attractive.