Diagnosis of economic malaise lacks credible cure

June 30, 2014

Global growth is feeble and financial markets are piling up risks, says the Bank for International Settlements. Yet its proposed remedies of tighter monetary policy and structural reform are unconvincing. Like everyone else, central banks are still seeking the right medicine.

Bank of England can overlook Russia’s problems

May 23, 2014

Rising house prices might encourage the British central bank to increase rates. But the boom is mostly in London, and has been amplified by a surge of flight capital from Russia. When that fades, the economy will look less unbalanced, and a strong pound may be less of a problem.

Obama’s appeal to 99 pct won’t sway a key minority

January 25, 2012

In his last State of the Union address before facing voters, the U.S. president outlined a radical agenda. He would tax millionaires more, target big banks and punish outsourcing. The ideas will resonate, but not with Republicans in Congress. They won’t let Obama accomplish much.

UK would gain from intelligent industrial policy

March 8, 2012

British politicians have long shied away from coherent long-term economic plans. But ad hoc decisions on technologies, infrastructure, immigration and banking are not good enough. Vince Cable, the business secretary, is right to call for a new vision.

Donor row saps UK government’s austerity authority

By Chris Hughes
March 27, 2012

After a pro-business budget, the “Cash for Cameron” affair has raised concrete concerns that the Conservative-led coalition can be bought by anyone with a fat chequebook. The government’s ability to get the country to swallow ongoing deficit reduction can only be undermined.

U.S. politicians could learn from Chinese moms

January 20, 2011

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington has triggered debate about whether the United States should copy his country's hands-on economic model.

Irish politics could complicate EU bailout

November 22, 2010

Ireland's politics could complicate its bailout with potentially devastating consequences.

Obama cannot bring change to the yuan

November 17, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama is putting renewed pressure on China to revalue its currency. Beijing is resisting, not only because it wants to protect China’s economic recovery, but also because expectations of a revaluation could limit its monetary independence by attracting hot money. As a result, any hint of change could actually be self-defeating.

Russia’s “new wave” of privatisation overblown

October 27, 2009

Russia has been talking up its privatisation plans. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described the sale of state assets as “one of the key tools of structural reform”. His deputy, Igor Shuvalov, has talked of privatising 5,500
state enterprises over the next few years, with the first 450 to be placed on the block next year. This has led to excitable talk about Russia’s “new wave” of privatisation.

Berlin fends off squeeze on shipping lemon

October 12, 2009

The German government may have hardened its heart to appeals for state aid from the likes of the troubled retailer Arcandor and Porsche. But it has softened its line for Hapag-Lloyd, the container shipping line part-owned by Tui. Berlin has agreed to guarantee 1.2 billion euro ($1.7 billion) in loans to the Hamburg company. Why has it chosen to support this particular lemon?