Breakingviews

Review: The politics of anti-inequality

By Edward Hadas
April 24, 2015

Anthony Atkinson's "Inequality" is a UK-centric manifesto to help the poor and restrain the rich. The Oxford academic's specific proposals are mostly sensible, but they dodge serious questions about the role of the welfare state and the balance of national and global justice.

Review: Some of what is wrong with economics

By Edward Chancellor
April 17, 2015

Meghnad Desai mocks his fellow economists for not seeing trouble ahead during the early 2000s credit bubble. The retired professor wisely calls for more study of history and a less narrow perspective, but he is still too conventional. He ignores the crucial financial cycle.

Europe’s credit boom locks in mediocre returns

April 16, 2015

Investors are throwing money at European companies. Carrefour and Danone paid little over 1 pct a year to borrow for a decade; Novartis got 20-year funds at similar levels. A Breakingviews calculator shows how bond buyers’ generosity could backfire.

Singapore’s war on deflation hobbled by bubble

April 14, 2015

The city-state’s decision to hold back on monetary easing appears squeamish for a small economy battling low prices. But there are good reasons for caution. Singapore property has been pumped up by a multiyear credit boom. If air escapes too quickly, the damage could be greater.

Wobbly stock markets are in thrall to central banks

By Edward Hadas
March 11, 2015

Performance this year reflects likely monetary policy. The euro zone is set to ease: equities are strong and insiders are selling down stakes in Zalando, JCDecaux and others at a record clip. The U.S. market is weaker as tightening nears. Dollar-exposed Asian bourses struggle.

ECB’s Greek bank warning stays within reason

February 5, 2015

The decision to restrict Greek lenders’ liquidity unsubtly hints that Athens should tone down its anti-bailout rhetoric. The ECB may have large discretionary powers – but so far remains within its remit. As previous examples have shown, the meddling could have been worse.

India’s “improved” GDP statistics strain credulity

February 2, 2015

Revised data shows the economy grew 6.9 pct in the year to last March, just as fiscal and monetary tightening was taming inflation and narrowing the current account deficit. That’s something no major economy has experienced in recent history. Investors are right to be sceptical.

Putin, Piketty and Draghi hit Davos in spirit only

January 23, 2015

Political and financial leaders attending the World Economic Forum’s 45th annual meeting are buzzing about rampant inequality, the ECB’s quantitative easing and Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. All that’s missing from the Alpine retreat are the three provocateurs of the debates.

China slowdown sets scene for urban struggle

January 20, 2015

Growth of 7.4 percent in 2014 - a rare miss of the country’s target - distracts from the real goal in 2015: keeping the all-important middle classes content. City-dwellers’ incomes are lagging GDP, property prices are falling, and job creation is losing momentum.

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.