Nov 14, 2012 08:15 UTC

Japan shuns fiscal cliff, won’t escape growth funk

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Japan has avoided fiscal harakiri. The decision by the country’s opposition parties to stop blocking the government’s deficit-spending plans is a big relief for an economy that shrank by an annualised 3.5 percent in three months through Sept. 30, and is likely to contract again in the current quarter. Exports are stumbling amid weak global demand and a boycott of Japanese-made goods in China. Amidst this, government spending worth 8 percent of GDP was in jeopardy because of the parliamentary stalemate, according to Fitch.

Nov 9, 2012 09:22 UTC

O-Burma trip rewards reformists for job half done

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By Wayne Arnold 

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

Barack Obama’s planned trip to Myanmar this month risks rewarding the country’s rulers for a job half-done. The visit would justifiably herald recent reforms and cultivate a key ally as U.S. foreign policy pivots to Asia. But it is sure to antagonize China’s new leaders and could reduce pressure on Myanmar to make the tougher changes it still needs.

Nov 8, 2012 07:06 UTC

How to make sense of China’s leadership line-up

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By John Foley

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

China’s big reveal of its top party leadership deserves careful reading. A day after the Communist Party congress ends on Nov. 14, a group of suited officials will take the stage, and China-watchers will try to make sense of who’s there and who isn’t. Xi Jinping is virtually assured the top spot; the rest are less certain. Here are five clues that the new line-up of the Politburo Standing Committee might offer about China’s direction in the next decade.

Nov 7, 2012 07:52 UTC
Edward Hadas

Big election loser: Uncle Sam’s global status

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By Edward Hadas

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

When Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, he was the world’s darling. Politicians and citizens in many countries, not to mention the Nobel Peace Prize committee, saw an intelligent, decisive and idealistic leader. Such a man could help set the global agenda dealing with its many challenges. Four years later, expectations will be lowered.

Nov 7, 2012 07:46 UTC

Obama’s legacy depends on second-term compromise

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

A successful second term for U.S. President Barack Obama depends on him learning to compromise. He won’t have much time to celebrate his win over Mitt Romney before confronting a mandatory raft of tax increases and spending cuts. To avert an imminent recession, he will need to channel his predecessor Bill Clinton and bring together a divided Congress on fiscal reform. A grand bargain could assure his place in history.

Nov 6, 2012 02:38 UTC

QE-lenient world gives Vietnam financial pardon

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

By Wayne Arnold

Investors can’t stay mad at Vietnam. Even after a downgrade last month by rating agency Moody’s, they’re willing to lend Hanoi dollars for less. Rising exports have helped restore reserves and avert a potential balance of payments crisis, while top officials have apologised for economic mismanagement. In a world awash with cash, however, investors are all too eager to forgive and forget.

Nov 5, 2012 10:05 UTC

Chinese reforms could trigger domino effect

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By John Foley

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

What does China want? Sustained growth, and happier citizens. How will it get there? Through economic reform. It sounds simple enough.

Oct 29, 2012 03:47 UTC

Hong Kong’s anti-foreigner property tax may spread

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Hong Kong’s new anti-foreigner property tax may catch on elsewhere. Battling the effects of cheap money and capital flight, the territory’s authorities have slapped a 15 percent stamp duty on buyers without a permanent residents’ card. Though the move will have unintended side effects, its political logic could prove appealing in other urban hotspots.

Oct 26, 2012 15:27 UTC

Review: A practical guide to writing in Chinese

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Mo Yan may have won the Nobel, but in China celebrity blogger Han Han rules online. More than half a billion readers have visited his irreverent blog. He’s also a hit on Sina Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, where his first post attracted 750,000 followers.

Oct 26, 2012 04:48 UTC

China insider exposé is explosive and predictable

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By John Foley

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

Fix one problem, and along comes another. On the day China expelled disgraced politician Bo Xilai from its parliament, a New York Times investigation alleged that Premier Wen Jiabao’s family controls financial assets worth $2.7 billion. The suggestion is explosive, particularly of a leader who has spoken out about inequality. But it is also mundane, and won’t much change the calculus for investors in the People’s Republic.