Activist row bigger than Keystone for TransCanada

November 19, 2014

A sparring match with a dissident investor may be more important than the fate of the $35 bln Canadian group’s tar sands pipeline. Bay Street has welcomed activists, and the regulatory environment is favorable. But for now, TransCanada appears to have shareholders on its side.

Rob Cox: Good news for guns is bad for gunmakers

By Rob Cox
November 18, 2014

A Republican U.S. Senate puts a bullet in new federal firearms controls. Yet Colt, maker of the gun that won the West, is short of cash, Moody’s downgraded Remington and shares of Ruger and Smith & Wesson have been clobbered. The industry does better with guns in a corner.

Euro zone stuck between health and healing crisis

November 14, 2014

The dreary 0.2 pct quarterly increase in GDP is a reminder of the region’s inability to shake off its long-standing malaise. But the news is nowhere near bad enough to spur any of the radical policy changes which might make a substantial difference.

Japan index: Tightening the purse strings

November 12, 2014

Unexpected growth in manufacturing output helped our alternative economic index to a new high in September. But it wasn’t enough to lift consumers: stagnant wages and higher sales taxes left spending in the doldrums. No wonder the central bank decided to ramp up bond purchases.

Obama and Xi compete to put the “I” in “APEC”

November 10, 2014

Both the U.S. and Chinese leaders are using the Beijing summit to push their own rival trade and investment deals. Sift through the alphabet soup and domestic politics is clearly foremost. There’s room for these big personalities to compromise, but also for dangerous mistakes.

Only Putin can stop rouble’s fall

November 7, 2014

Russia’s currency is sinking. The central bank is blameless. Neither intervention nor higher rates can support the rouble. The economy is deteriorating and reform hopes are fading as Moscow retreats into isolation. The situation will persist until the president changes policy.

China’s next GDP goal: trash the target

November 6, 2014

The old model – pick a number, mould the economy to fit – is no longer helpful. But China doesn’t seem ready to abandon numerical goals. One way forward would be to set a range instead, say 6 to 7 pct. That could provide direction, with wiggle room for things China can’t control.

End of U.S. QE is actually good for world economy

November 4, 2014

Investors worry about the end of America’s quantitative easing but global consumers, especially the poor, can welcome it. The halt has helped make oil and food cheaper, lowering inflation. That will also keep interest rates down. In all, it may be more stimulating.

Draghi can only dream of moving like BOJ’s Kuroda

October 31, 2014

The ECB chief might fantasise about taking big decisions with a one-vote margin, as the Bank of Japan leader just did. But realpolitik requires a goodly majority. The euro zone’s inevitable compromises complicate Draghi’s fight against stubbornly low inflation.

Hong Kong protests lay minefield for business

October 31, 2014

The democracy debate is dividing the city. For companies, keeping quiet is less risky than expressing an opinion that could irk customers, staff, or Beijing. It’s even harder for employees who must tread the blurry line between free speech and representing corporate interests.