Breakingviews

Why it’s a bad idea for China to prop up its stock market

July 28, 2015

Regulators say they will keep supporting stocks. That unwise pledge is the high price of being a financial free rider. Like many governments, China’s authorities found the easy gains from a rising market irresistible, and have ended up its slaves.

China worries start now for Visa and MasterCard

July 27, 2015

The People’s Republic will open its $7 trln bank card payment market to outsiders. Yet Visa and MasterCard, whose shares have risen since the decision, face an entrenched incumbent and online rivals like Alibaba. The hype from getting market access looks premature.

China fatigued by debt as flexible yuan turns 10

July 21, 2015

The world’s economic growth engine abandoned the dollar peg a decade ago. Beijing may have given up on a cheap yuan, but its pro-market resolve is in doubt. And while the People’s Republic’s debt-creating trade surplus has shrunk, domestic leverage is rising at a worrying pace.

Breakdown: What’s driving China’s latest web boom?

July 20, 2015

The newest buzzword is O2O, or “online to offline”. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are racing to connect half a billion smartphone users to local services, from taxis to takeaways. There’s huge growth – but this is an expensive battle. Breakingviews offers a download.

China’s rout may disrupt online finance pioneers

July 16, 2015

Regulators have targeted Hundsun, an $8 bln trading-tech firm backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, over the market crash. Internet finance in China flourished in legal grey areas. If official attitudes are hardening, it will be riskier and pricier for Ma and peers to innovate.

Edward Hadas: Greece, China and financial failure

By Edward Hadas
July 15, 2015

Not noticing how loans were distorting the Greek economy led to a crisis. In China, the financial system’s ability to create illusory wealth is causing bother. The authorities are lost everywhere. They would do better if they treated finance as an unruly servant of the economy.

China GDP surprise leaves central bank on the hook

July 15, 2015

Quarterly growth hit a surprisingly strong 7 pct and the bean-counters say expansion is “ready to pick up.” That’s too hopeful given stubborn disinflation and other signs of wariness among companies and consumers. Stock markets have rebounded, but interest rates must still fall.

Micron would be a less-than-fab deal for China

July 14, 2015

A state-backed group is reportedly eyeing a record $23 bln bid for the U.S. memory-chip maker. Beijing is already building a standalone semiconductor industry via smaller takeovers. But completing this deal, and getting the most out of the acquired business, will be much harder.

What was lost in China’s stock market slide

July 10, 2015

In their attempts to prop up share prices, the authorities abandoned all pretence of respecting market forces. Worse still, their efforts were visibly ineffective. The debacle undermines China’s reputation for competent economic management. It may also set back broader reforms.

Trade halts add to China’s Potemkin market problem

July 9, 2015

Boom, bust and bailout already make it hard for outsiders to take Chinese stocks seriously. An extraordinary slew of trading halts, trapping investors in hundreds of stocks, makes things worse. Bosses and bourses get a temporary respite at the cost of their own credibility.