Breakingviews

Hadas: Central banks play with monetary absurdity

September 23, 2016

Monetary authorities have taken recourse in increasingly empty promises. The Bank of Japan's Haruhiko Kuroda has taken this verbal drama to a new and ultimately dangerous level. Central banks could rely on deeds, not words, if their tools and targets were more realistic.

Vodafone tops up for a fight in India

September 23, 2016

Injecting $7 bln of cash will help the mobile giant's Indian unit compete in a mega spectrum auction and in a price war against new entrant Jio. It also suggests an IPO of the wholly owned business is off the table for now. India may become a big drag on its London-listed parent.

China gets steelier about debt restructuring

September 22, 2016

Metals trader Sinosteel has agreed a $4 bln workout. The deal is a fudge, but spreads the pain more widely than expected. Meanwhile, a smaller miner has been allowed to fail. Both episodes suggest China is getting a bit tougher about debt problems in moribund sectors.

China postal bank aptly fails to push envelope

September 21, 2016

Postal Savings Bank is raising $7.4 bln after pricing shares in its IPO near the bottom of the range. The implied worth of the lender's equity is 0.93 times its forward book value, in line with peers. Higher costs and loan concentration means it is lucky to secure that.

Trading really is about survival of the fittest

September 19, 2016

A new study finds trading prowess is linked to accurate detection of one's own heartbeat, a trait common in people with lower body mass indexes. Despite its limitations, the paper implies physiology has a profound role in markets, and that humans still have an edge on machines.

India lays foundation for a fintech revolution

September 14, 2016

A new payments platform, tied to biometric identity data, will hasten the move to a cashless economy. The open system sets India's fintech infrastructure apart from China or the U.S. That's great news for consumers and entrepreneurs, less so for big banks and mobile wallet firms.

Postal bank’s $8 bln IPO scrapes through the door

September 13, 2016

Postal Savings Bank of China is roughly worth its trailing book value at the middle of the price range. SOE listings can't pass at a discount. But that's where rivals with higher returns trade. The bank's safer lending profile, and anchor investors, should stop logic taking hold.

China tosses trading partners some import scraps

September 9, 2016

In August, for the first time in 22 months, imports turned positive. But most foreign exporters and China bashers can keep the bubbly on ice. The data's timing has a whiff of diplomacy. Beijing will keep its aggressive trade policies in place so long as they serve other goals.

Mario takes Nintendo up a level in mobile gaming

September 8, 2016

Nintendo unexpectedly unveiled a Super Mario game at Apple's new phone launch. Following Pokemon's wild success, this confirms the Japanese group is no longer dragging its feet on reform and is ready to use top characters on mobile. It boosts the case for the new-look Nintendo.

Rakuten jig highlights Japan’s warped benchmark

September 7, 2016

Shares of the shopping website leapt on news it would join the Nikkei 225. It shows the power of an arbitrary index weighted by share price instead of fundamentals like size or free float. The Bank of Japan's $60 bln-a-year push into index funds will only amplify the distortion.