Oil prices are too gloomy on chance of OPEC deal

October 26, 2016

Crude prices have wilted after Iraq joined Nigeria, Iran and Libya in seeking exemptions from production cuts. But this need not be the death knell of a deal to reduce output. Even a small reduction to production would balance a market that is now only narrowly oversupplied.

Free trade can survive its Wallonian wobble

October 25, 2016

The tiny Belgian region is holding up a trade pact between Europe and Canada. That doesn’t mean such deals are impossible, though - they just need even more time and creative thinking. The messy process also undermines the notion that ordinary people have no say in globalisation.

Spanish government begins to make up for lost time

October 24, 2016

The country's Socialist Party will allow acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy a second term, ending 10 months of political deadlock. His minority administration will now begin arduous tasks like cutting the budget deficit as the economy slows. A fractured parliament won't help.

Defiant losers are becoming a costly problem

October 20, 2016

Pro-EU campaigners and Britons who live near airports have challenged the will of the majority. Donald Trump may not accept U.S. election results. In finance, companies regularly face and resolve such insurrections. Solutions are similar in politics, but harder to implement.

Inflation is next nerve-jangler for investors

October 18, 2016

After years of undershooting price targets, some rate-setters, including Mark Carney in Britain, are now talking about tolerating overshoots. Equity winners will vary depending on whether inflation is of the good or bad variety. But global bonds are losers either way.

Inflation shows up at wrong time for Mark Carney

October 18, 2016

UK consumer prices are rising at their fastest pace in nearly two years. It should be a proud moment for the Bank of England chief, who has been struggling to achieve exactly this. Unfortunately, the pound’s fall is going to give him a bit too much of what he wanted.

RBS’s Russian goof sets tone for UK state meddling

October 18, 2016

The UK lender is reviewing a decision to stop banking a supplier of Russian broadcaster RT. It could just be a business matter, but RBS’s 73 pct state holding makes it seem political. If a post-EU Britain is heading for more use of subsidies, such confusion will recur.

UK property didn’t get the “hard Brexit” memo

October 17, 2016

Real estate funds that froze after the UK vote are opening, and prices have stabilised. Yet rents could collapse if Britain makes a clean break with the EU, and foreign investors may not ride to the rescue. Property stocks pricing in 20-percent price falls aren't cheap.

Breakdown: The dismal art of forecasting sterling

October 14, 2016

Most economists agree the pound has further to fall, but there is a wide range of views on how far. Long-term forecasts are an unfortunate necessity, but they are stab in the dark when it comes to a currency that is more in the thrall of politics than economics.

Cox: Amsterdam has first-world financial dilemma

By Rob Cox
October 13, 2016

The city that invented the stock exchange and multinational may be Europe's ideal post-Brexit banking hub. Beyond fears about traders' Ferraris clogging bike lanes, however, Amsterdammers will need to overcome a bonus cap. This is where populism may win out over Dutch pragmatism.