Breakingviews

Iconoclasts needed to topple central bank targets

August 25, 2016

A reboot of global monetary policymaking is the best thing that could emerge from rate-setters’ annual Jackson Hole shindig. An overhaul is pressing as reality upends more and more economic orthodoxies. Ditching simplistic and discredited inflation targets would be a good start.

Britain’s haul: 27 gold medals and a wooden spoon

August 22, 2016

China underwhelmed in the Olympic medals table, while the tiny UK excelled. That’s a poor guide to more important competitions. Though Britain still has soft power, its value as a role model is on the wane. China no longer needs gold medals to secure its place on the podium.

Rio Tinto’s best is not yet good enough

August 3, 2016

The Anglo-Australian miner has slashed debt but can't take its eye off the ball after posting its worst earnings in 12 years. No wonder Rio is trading at a discount to peers. New boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques is paying out dividends, but has his work cut out to win over investors.

Chinese investors up the ante in online games

August 1, 2016

Gaming outfit Shanghai Giant, Alibaba boss Jack Ma, and partners are buying Israel's Playtika for $4.4 bln. This looks pricier than Tencent's recent purchase of the firm behind Clash of Clans. Plus, casino-style games are even more at risk of being overtaken by the latest hit.

Short hit on Itochu is wake-up call for Japan

July 27, 2016

A report by U.S. firm Glaucus poses hard questions about how the $20 bln trading house accounts for big investments in Colombia and China. Like activists before them, foreign short-sellers could help shake up a market that often looks too cosy.

Trump chooses fear mongering over economic promise

July 22, 2016

The White House hopeful was anointed at the GOP convention. He and other speakers, like tech investor Peter Thiel, presented a dire picture. The economy is stable but violence at home and abroad has unnerved voters. The grim message, coupled with populist appeal, could resonate.

Malaysia fiasco undercuts Goldman’s standards push

July 22, 2016

After the financial crisis, the Wall Street firm overhauled its business practices in an effort to avoid big reputational as well as financial risks. But its dealings with scandal-hit sovereign fund 1MDB, spelled out in new lawsuits, cast doubt on the depth of Goldman's changes.

Merger “synergies” can’t just be code for job cuts

June 8, 2016

Most mega-deals leave companies with fewer staff, and higher sales and profit per head, a Breakingviews analysis shows. That’s capitalism. But the mood is changing, at least in pro-market Britain. Synergies do exist, but those reliant on cutting jobs may get harder to realise.

Blackstone bets Indian IT can weather US election

April 5, 2016

The buyout firm’s $1.1 billion bid for Indian outsourcer Mphasis looks brave when U.S. presidential candidates are touting restrictions for skilled foreign workers. The low valuation and a long-term contract with seller Hewlett Packard Enterprise at least offers some protection.

Politics, not finance, is key question for Anbang

March 31, 2016

The ambitious Chinese group could probably buy U.S. hotelier Starwood for $14 bln without breaching limits on insurers’ overseas assets. Raising the necessary funding would be doable, too. The real issue is whether Anbang can keep China’s government onside.