Breakingviews

 
Sliding energy prices could make already-low Asian inflation vanish. That’s bad news for heavily indebted economies like China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. If prices and wages don’t rise, borrowers will curb spending. Slowing GDP growth could stumble.

SABMiller’s Coca-Cola push is Africa buy signal

The UK brewer and the U.S. drinks giant are merging assets in southern and eastern Africa to create a soft-drinks bottler with $3 bln of sales. SAB gets control and gains market access. The move points to the continent’s strategic potential, and similar consolidation could follow.

Faulty air bags puncture Takata financial cushion

The Japanese group has set aside $660 mln to replace car parts linked to at least five deaths. Regulatory demands for a US-wide recall could double the bill. Lawsuits and fines will mean more pain. Takata’s survival may depend on the support of its customers – or the government.

Wells Fargo: first big bank simple enough to fail

The $1.6 trln lender secured a provisional stamp of approval from regulators for its living will. Less credible plans from 11 other titans suggest size isn’t the issue. Wells ranks fourth in assets and first in market cap. The real problems are complexity and interconnectedness.

Remember the UK housing bubble?

Not long ago an overheating housing market was seen by many as the big UK danger. Now mortgage approvals are dropping and house inflation is easing – even though mortgages are getting cheaper. Tighter home-loan regulation is a factor. Workers’ low earnings are the main restraint.

Samsung IPO offers ringside seat for restructuring

The South Korean conglomerate’s de facto holding company is an odd mix. Cheil Industries operates theme parks but most of its value is in a stake in an insurer. For those seeking exposure to Samsung’s wider shake-up, the $1.4 bln IPO is a way to get close to its heir apparent.

American banking has its own Tea Party

Like the anti-establishment wing of the GOP, the Independent Community Bankers of America has emerged as a highly vocal opponent of all things Wall Street, including a Lazard banker’s nomination for a Treasury role. These are the plaintive cries of a dying breed of banker.