Breakingviews

Asian capital controls are a real risk once again

August 21, 2015

Malaysia’s prime minister has ruled out a repeat of the country’s 1998 hot money curbs. But slumping Asian currencies suggest it’s too soon to be complacent. Raising interest rates could mean deep recessions. Some politicians might decide to prevent capital from leaving instead.

Bangkok attack shakes Thai economy’s last support

August 18, 2015

The deadly bombing of a shrine will scare off tourists whose numbers were up 29 pct this year. It’s another jolt to an economy already grappling with flat exports and weak private investment. Military rulers have been slow to boost public spending. That’s making things worse.

Singapore’s anti-ageing cure will take time

August 10, 2015

A shrinking labour force and voters’ desire to limit foreign workers could mean slow growth and not enough tax revenue for welfare. The city-state is trying to beat its demographic destiny by boosting productivity. The payoffs will only come when global demand perks up.

BNP Paribas’ M&A machine spits out growth and risk

July 31, 2015

France’s top bank by assets cranked out resurgent second-quarter earnings of 2.6 bln euros. Three takeovers in 2014 are delivering results. Yet dealmaking sprawl has tripped up rivals in the past. It might be a good time for the Belgian state to trim its 10 pct stake.

Hugo Dixon: The optimist’s guide to Greece

By Hugo Dixon
July 27, 2015

There are so many ways things could go wrong in Greece that it’s easy to miss how things could also go right. The good scenario involves the ECB buying up Greek bonds, the lifting of capital controls and a deal on debt relief – all by year-end.

South Korea might need stronger medicine than QE

July 23, 2015

The slowest quarterly GDP growth in six years points to a malaise deeper than a virus outbreak. A weaker currency can help with faltering exports, but it won’t free households from a debt trap. A bold cocktail of tax breaks, rebates and money-printing might be more effective.

Hugo Dixon: Greek deal leaves bitter aftertaste

By Hugo Dixon
July 13, 2015

Berlin was right to point out that Athens had lost Europe’s trust. But by pushing the Greeks so hard, Germany is also losing Europe’s trust. The summit’s eventual outcome is reasonably fair if tough. But both leaders, Merkel and Tsipras, need to work hard to rebuild trust.

Tsipras U-turn only lowers short-term Grexit risks

July 10, 2015

Greece’s latest bailout plan accepts most of what its July 5 referendum rejected. Creditors will have to actively want a Greek exit from the single currency for it to happen now. Yet fresh austerity, capital controls and Athens’ weak reform record mean the truce may not last.

Oil is grounded in a sub-$60 bear market

July 7, 2015

Brent crude fell over 6 percent on the back of worries about Greece and the prospect of an Iran nuclear deal. The latter has a much bigger, if delayed, impact. As U.S. shale drillers cut costs fast and Saudi Arabia goes for volume, ample supply is likely to keep a lid on prices.

Hugo Dixon: Greeks choose between bad and terrible

By Hugo Dixon
July 2, 2015

Voting “Yes” in Sunday’s referendum would mean Greece suffers at least two years of recession. Voting “No” would bring financial havoc in the short run followed by the return of the drachma, hyperinflation and deep-seated economic depression. The right answer is “Yes”.