China’s consumers show early signs of a debt wish

September 4, 2014

It’s time to retire the idea that Chinese shoppers don’t borrow. Companies have racked up most of the country’s debt mountain. But credit card debt, which delivers generous fees for banks, is rising fast. Though the numbers are small, bad incentives could store up future trouble.

Wal-Mart can win leading the way on minimum wage

May 22, 2014

The mega-retailer’s labor costs would rise by $2 bln with a higher U.S. pay floor. But it also has more low-wage customers than employees, thus translating into a net gain in earnings, a Breakingviews analysis shows. Taking a stand on the issue could pay off for Wal-Mart.

Americans can’t feel better than companies forever

September 27, 2012

U.S. consumers are cheerier about life. But the corporate world is gloomier. If consumption jumps, it could soothe the business world’s blues. But the weak global economy and dysfunction in Washington are stunting hiring and could drag people down along with executives.

Japan tensions rewrite China shopping lists

February 13, 2013

Ongoing territorial spats seem to make China’s consumers and corporates more patriotic. Cars and travel were hit, and even China-to-Japan M&A fell by 93 pct in the last quarter of 2012. Consumers are now starting to forgive - or forget - but corporates may be slower to move on.

Where did Apple’s missing market value go?

March 7, 2013

The iPhone maker’s market value has declined by $260 bln in six months. A broad group of global rivals like Google and Samsung picked up less than half that. If Apple is fading, the Android complex could be worth far more. Or maybe it’s just that consumers will grab the spoils.

China’s Singles’ Day shows market power of one

November 7, 2013

Online shoppers may snap up over $4 billion of goods when prices halve on Nov. 11. But the best deal goes to Alibaba. Singles’ Day will further entrench the dominance of its platforms Tmall and Taobao. Faced with such market clout, sellers have little choice but to join in.

Would a new consumer agency ban ObamaCare?

October 15, 2009

The cost structure of the Baucus healthcare reform plan is reminiscent of a teaser-rate mortgage. The whole deal seems affordable at first -- but then costs skyrocket.

China’s “biggests” come early, late or not at all

February 7, 2014

Recent superlatives include top red wine consumer, car purchaser and oil importer. Being the biggest brings China investment, but can also be a sign of inequality and inefficiency. Meanwhile, some coveted firsts still look a long way off.