Mar 19, 2014 17:34 UTC

UK’s political budget transfers from young to old

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By Ian Campbell

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

George Osborne claimed to have a big white rabbit up his sleeve. It turned out the UK chancellor had hidden a cuddly toy for pensioners. Osborne is running the budget for both the economy and the election.

COMMENT

Too many Brits have been taken in by this “rich deserve more” propaganda. Consider this info from across the pond: “Fact: One economist estimates that for every $1 we spent on unemployment insurance benefits, we get $1.61 in economic activity back.”

This comes from Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.

Not included in his formulae is the on going cost to the community of ill health incurred when on a tight budget, decay of property through lack of heating and investment, morale sapping inability to provide for dependents, loss of educational standards to the children etc etc. When people who are even relatively well off lobby for more we can be forgiven for shaking our heads in disbelief. Can’t we?

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Mar 19, 2014 06:35 UTC

Japan stock market selloff is a temporary setback

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Japan’s stock market has suffered a temporary setback. The country’s equity indices have dropped more than 10 percent this year in local currency terms. With the central bank on standby for more easing, however, Japanese stocks should benefit from home support.

Mar 18, 2014 06:24 UTC

Real risk to emerging markets lies in real rates

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By Andy Mukherjee 

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

The real big risk for emerging markets this year lies in surging real interest rates.

Mar 14, 2014 16:39 UTC
Edward Hadas

Review: An unreliable guide to inequality

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By Edward Hadas

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

Thomas Piketty is set to become a star. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” – the new book from the founder of the Paris School of Economics – has received gushing praise from the New York Times and the Economist, even before the official publication of the English translation next month. The massive production, 577 pages of text plus voluminous supporting material, posits that economic inequality is a major social problem which is likely to get worse. Piketty’s arguments, however, fail to persuade.

Mar 14, 2014 15:06 UTC

Rouble hard to defend against Putin’s attacks

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Vladimir Putin isn’t waiting for the European Union’s sanctions on Russia and is already inflicting serious damage on the nation’s economy. The Russian president’s move on Crimea has sent Moscow stock markets down by 18 percent since the beginning of March, and the rouble has fallen almost 2 percent in the same period, and 12 percent since January, even with the Central Bank of Russia dipping into its $500 billion-odd worth of reserves to defend the currency. Yields on 10-year Russian government bonds now stand at 9.42 percent, up 1 percentage point since the events in Crimea.

Mar 12, 2014 12:37 UTC

Russia harms the BRICs and adds to global risks

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By Ian Campbell

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

BRICs? Perhaps it should be shortened to BICs. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is a big blow to the Russian economy and also to other embattled emerging economies. It’s not good for the global picture either, as the redirection of funds makes developed markets more bubbly and vulnerable.

Mar 11, 2014 05:52 UTC

Credit chains are China’s weakest link

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By John Foley

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

China’s debts are troubling – and not just because they’re alarmingly big. An equally worrying threat to the country’s prosperity is the complexity of those debts. That’s the trouble with China’s lengthening “credit chains”.

Mar 11, 2014 02:14 UTC

Japan index: Weak demand shows need for stimulus

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The Breakingviews Abenomics Index inched higher in January. But manufacturing stumbled, and the trade deficit zoomed, suggesting anaemic demand both at home and abroad. With wages subdued and sales taxes about to rise, the economy may need a fresh dose of monetary easing.

Mar 7, 2014 16:01 UTC

What Putin wants matters less than what he doesn’t

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The Western governments wondering what Vladimir Putin wants in Ukraine should start by focusing on what he doesn’t. That has become a little clearer after the Russian president’s rambling press conference earlier this week, during which glimpses of rationality appeared amidst a long, disingenuous rant against the new authorities in Kiev. Putin doesn’t want Crimea – which is only a pawn in his Ukrainian game. He is not ready to take the risk of a Western-style democracy in the former Soviet republic. And he fears the disruption of the economic and financial ties that bind Russia and Ukraine.

Mar 7, 2014 05:55 UTC

Japan pension debate goes beyond bonds and stocks

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Japan’s pension reform debate is heating up. But it’s in danger of missing the wood for the trees.