Britain joins sovereign wealth party too late

November 26, 2015

Creating a 1 billion pound sovereign wealth fund to encourage shale gas drilling in the UK could fail on two fronts. It won’t sway opponents of fracking in the UK countryside, and a financial windfall is unlikely given a global gas glut and unattractive shale economics.

German open-door isolationism is unsustainable

November 26, 2015

Angela Merkel has ignored domestic calls to shut out refugees. But she will find it harder to brush off French calls for the same. Alienating a key ally would undermine the union Merkel wants to save, and threaten economic integration.

UK’s Osborne is less austere than he makes out

November 25, 2015

Finance minister George Osborne isn’t quite the budget zealot his Nov. 25 spending cuts suggest. The UK has run bigger deficits relative to GDP than France during his tenure. He has also executed tax and spending U-turns when required. It helps that gilt investors buy the hype.

Portugal’s ropey bank rescue comes home to roost

November 16, 2015

The “good bank” part of bust lender BES needs another 1.4 bln euros, EU regulators say. If it ends up being sold cheaply, fellow banks that part-financed its rescue could suffer. Had Lisbon taken a tougher line with senior creditors last year, it would be in less of a mess.

Cox: Drought, not just of ideas, challenges Africa

November 12, 2015

The sub-Saharan region, once a bright spot for global growth, faces a worrying triple whammy. A lack of rainfall threatens agriculture and hydropower. Low commodity prices are taking a bite. Fold in sliding currencies, and inflation threatens stability and economic prospects.

IEA history lesson makes $100 oil more likely

November 10, 2015

The Paris-based International Energy Agency says the world’s reliance on low-cost Middle East oil could return to 1970s levels. By cutting capex, oil majors are bolstering that dependence. Supply squeezes could feed through to higher crude sooner rather than later.

Portugal dangles between stasis and crisis

November 9, 2015

A group of left-wing parties could replace Portugal’s minority government after a key vote on Nov. 10. This communist-backed coalition could repeal reforms and make the country ineligible for ECB bond-buying. Or it may prove weak, in which case a damaging stalemate could follow.

Dixon: Tsipras’ biggest stress tests yet to come

By Hugo Dixon
November 2, 2015

A central bank verdict that the top Greek lenders must raise only 14.4 billion euros is welcome news for the prime minister. But he has to implement more tough measures before he can secure debt relief from his euro zone creditors. Until then, he faces political risks.

BOJ opts to remain conventionally unconventional

October 30, 2015

Japan’s central bank decided not to add to its already huge bond-buying scheme. The bet is that prices will keep rising once the impact of cheaper oil fades. But with its 2 pct inflation target still distant, a nasty slowdown could yet force the BOJ to take more extreme measures.

Be careful what you wish for from China reforms

October 26, 2015

Economists and trade partners have long pushed for greater liberalisation. As the ruling party debates its new five-year plan, market forces may come to the fore again. Yet even a small devaluation spooked investors. If reforms do arrive, they will make China even more uncertain.