Breakingviews

Coal rally may already be out of steam

September 22, 2016

The steel-making fuel is likely to give producers like BHP Billiton and Anglo American unexpected earnings boosts but there are few reasons to believe in a lasting rally. Weak Chinese metals demand and a potential revival in domestic supply could make gains fragile for investors.

BOJ buys time and friends with yield-based reboot

September 21, 2016

The Bank of Japan has ditched its money-printing goals, pledging instead to keep 10-year interest rates at zero until inflation exceeds 2 pct. The central bank’s latest overhaul means it is less likely to run short of debt to buy, and eases the financial sector’s pain.

China’s startups have few good options left

September 20, 2016

A slowdown in venture capital is squeezing smaller tech hopefuls. Many have flocked to the "New Third Board" but it's hard to raise new equity on this moribund over-the-counter market. Some cash-strapped groups may sell out to larger rivals, or cut costs and hope for the best.

Scarce bonds and bank pain limit BOJ’s next move

September 19, 2016

The Bank of Japan faces a conundrum in its battle to revive inflation. It can’t keep buying $800 bln of bonds a year for much longer, but negative rates are deeply unpopular. This week’s big policy review might require the BOJ to make other concessions to the financial industry.

China’s car scam shows best and worst of subsidies

September 15, 2016

Lavish grants for electric vehicles nurtured new technology and a massive market. The largesse came at a price, though, with many millions of dollars lost to scammers faking sales to claim cash. There may yet be a happy ending for home-grown heroes like BYD.

Samsung’s handset fires singe its brand

September 12, 2016

The tech giant is speeding up a recall of Galaxy Note 7 phones, after reports of fires and explosions, while airlines have banned in-air use. Samsung shares have fallen sharply. The immediate financial hit looks manageable but the reputational damage could be worse.

DoCoMo spat adds odd twist to India scare stories

September 6, 2016

The Japanese telco is struggling to enforce a London arbitration award ordering Tata Sons to pay it $1.2 bln. Tata says it wants to pay. India refuses to approve. Despite a slew of reforms, high-profile legacy disputes with foreign firms hurt the idea India is open for business.

China’s big banks enjoy calm before the storm

August 26, 2016

Net profits at CCB and BoCom are stable, as are bad-loan ratios: a pleasant surprise given the wider backdrop. This partly reflects a growing gulf in asset quality between large banks and their smaller peers. The giants are probably also putting off recognising bad debts.

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.

Rajan reforms can thrive with India’s new RBI boss

August 22, 2016

Urjit Patel is a safe choice to lead the central bank. The deputy governor was a key architect of reforms introduced by outgoing head Raghuram Rajan. To earn the same level of acclaim, Patel must see these through and ratchet up the fight against bad debts.