Breakingviews

Review: The virtual bubble of bitcoin

By Edward Chancellor
May 15, 2015

The digital currency fits well in the inglorious history of finance. Nathaniel Popper tells the story in “Digital Gold”. Bitcoin’s hot idea, limited supply and uncertain value helped spawn a price explosion. After the bust, the underlying technology may still have a future.

Currency market still scarred by Swiss trauma

January 28, 2015

Brutal swings seen just after the Swiss central bank suddenly abandoned its franc cap have faded. But price signals and perplexing moves suggest the extraordinary gyrations left their mark. Singapore’s surprise easing and continued Swiss official musings will add to the jitters.

Bitcoin is latest victim of disinflation

By Edward Hadas
January 16, 2015

The would-be currency is down 33 pct this year. Bitcoin is a collectible like a painting so psychology matters, and that’s against it in the current climate. Free transactions could end too. The tech may have value, but bitcoin will struggle to regain lost confidence.

Swiss recalibrate currency world by dropping peg

By Edward Hadas
January 15, 2015

The Swiss National Bank could print enough francs to keep the currency stable against the euro but not against the dollar. So it dropped the euro peg in favour of more negative rates and a vague commitment to intervene. The franc rocketed. But it is a less predictable safe-haven.

Only Putin can stop rouble’s fall

November 7, 2014

Russia’s currency is sinking. The central bank is blameless. Neither intervention nor higher rates can support the rouble. The economy is deteriorating and reform hopes are fading as Moscow retreats into isolation. The situation will persist until the president changes policy.

Russian central bank intervention is a dead end

October 8, 2014

The central bank of Russia is buying roubles on the market, but the exchange rate keeps sinking. The economy has deep structural flaws, worsened by Putin’s aggressive foreign policy. There are many reasons to take capital out of Russia. For the currency, the only way is down.

Pound joins euro as weak dollar victim

May 8, 2014

The Federal Reserve keeps printing money and Europe isn’t. That forces the greenback down, and the euro and now sterling up. The euro zone’s deflationary risks are rising while the UK recovery is becoming more unbalanced. When Fed policy finally changes, the UK looks more at risk.

Rupee’s decline adds to India’s woes

December 12, 2011

The rupee has fallen 17 percent this year. Self-inflicted wounds and worries about troubles elsewhere have led to a flight of the capital which India needs to fund its current account deficit. New Delhi, already in turmoil, is running out of firepower to deal with the impact.

Anglo-Saxon law rare winner from euro crisis

December 13, 2011

Banks are worried that assets will be redenominated into less valuable new currencies if the euro implodes. There is little they can do to limit risks on existing bonds and loans. But they may resort to English and New York courts to protect themselves from future losses.

New currency unions could yet see the light of day

By Edward Hadas
December 20, 2011

The euro is in deep trouble. But if leaders successfully realign political and fiscal policies with monetary facts on the ground, it could set a precedent. Single currencies have big economic and geopolitical advantages. Gulf states and South America might yet embrace the idea.