Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will pardon the jailed former oligarch. Years ago, such clemency might have signalled openness to reform. Today it has nothing to do with political or economic liberalisation. It just reflects a desire to make the Sochi games run smoothly.
The EU governments’ agreement on how to resolve failing lenders looks complex and hard to implement, and it could worsen the fragmentation of euro zone banks. But it is a start. And the final compromise lowers the political barriers to fixing the southern countries’ lending woes.
The Hong Kong tycoon has handed the bank juicy mandates to help list two of his companies. That’s significant. HSBC has never quite managed to turn its formidable Asian corporate banking relationships into deal fees, to rivals’ relief. Things might finally be coming together.
If the gates at Apple, Microsoft and P&G can be rattled, complacency just isn’t an option for a $270 bln conglomerate. While GE’s strategy looks more coherent than ever, it still has soft targets for uppity investors: its finance arm and long-standing leader Jeff Immelt.
The electronic pseudo-currency had a good run. Ideologues, speculators and scammers enjoyed it while it lasted. Now Chinese authorities are determined on a strict clamp down, maybe an outright ban. Common sense prevails. Bitcoin’s price is down 50 pct. It will fall much more.
Vladimir Putin has agreed to buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian bonds and to sell gas to Kiev at a discount. The deal gives relief to Russia’s troubled neighbour but costs Moscow little and buys valuable influence. Pro-EU demonstrators in Kiev and other cites won’t go home soon.
Lenders should be better at dealing with bad credit, if new rules stick. That should make state-run banks more resilient. They’re not quite investment-ready yet though – there’s still the matter of pouring in capital to deal with the 10 percent of loans that have already turned.