Review: The shirk ethic – a user’s guide

November 28, 2014

Work can be seen as a blessing or a curse. In “Empty Labor,” Roland Paulsen examines people who take mostly the latter view, asking how and why they shirk, and whether it’s always a bad thing. His study of idleness on the job is enlightening, amusing and sad.

Ecuador economic “miracle” meets maturity

September 11, 2014

President Rafael Correa’s experiments in modern socialism helped the country cut poverty, grow and prosper. But his investment-led model has run its course. Now he has to soften his defiance of international norms, from the bond market to the World Bank, to keep progress alive.

China growth index: Good month for train-spotters

August 30, 2013

Breakingviews’ forward guide to China’s economy has picked up, including rail freight volumes, an important sign of domestic demand. Summer’s PMI readings also improved. But most of the alternative growth indicators remain negative. Things are far from full steam ahead.

Global trade surplus: proof of alien life?

May 29, 2013

That’s one explanation for the finding that the world’s combined exports are worth much more than imports. If extra-terrestrials aren’t buying iPads, billions of dollars in capital must be crossing borders in the garb of trade. It’s another reason to be wary of official data.

Abenomics pulls Japan from its post-Lehman slump

May 13, 2013

The prime minister’s war on deflation has scored some early triumphs. All but two components of Breakingviews’ Abenomics Index strengthened in March, taking the gauge to its highest level since September 2008. And that was before the central bank’s bold money-printing pledge.

Record aircraft orders point to global growth bump

May 8, 2013

When airlines embark on a frenzy of expansion, economic slowdown tends to follow. That’s the conclusion implied by Breakingviews’ study of historical data. If the relationship holds, recent big orders by Asian airlines suggest rising risks of turbulence in the economy next year.

G7 only adds to global currency confusion

By Edward Hadas
February 12, 2013

In a four-sentence statement, the finance ministers of the world’s leading powers have managed to ignore the problem of inadvertent competitive devaluations, contradict themselves and make an empty promise. Currencies still look like the global economy’s weak point.

Surprisingly weak U.S. GDP has silver linings

January 30, 2013

A 0.1 pct Q4 fall defied expectations of a rise. Even so, less government spending accounted for much of the contraction while private consumption and income improved. Shrunken inventories, probably linked to the fiscal fears, also should reverse. There’s little cause for alarm.

China “hard landing” talk abates, but not for long

November 1, 2012

A return to growth in the key PMI survey, and a pick-up in the Breakingviews Tea Leaf Index, suggests China is on track for above-7.5 percent growth in 2012. Credit growth has been sustained and a property slump avoided. But the fragilities that worry China bears are still there.

Uncle Sam still living well beyond his means

August 8, 2012

While June consumer credit just missed its 2008 peak, overall debt in the first quarter was 250 pct of GDP against 232 pct four years ago. While the consumer has deleveraged a bit, business debt is flat and government debt has soared. At some point, this has to end.