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Chancellor George Osborne now wants to return the bank rapidly to private hands after May’s election. Both strategy and governance have been flawed. Britain is wary of starting to reduce its 79 pct stake at a loss. But that’s a price worth paying to put RBS on a stable footing.

Chinese FX intervention could be due a comeback

For over a decade a weak yuan brought in export revenues. Then a rising currency attracted investment. The falling exchange rate helps the former but puts the latter in jeopardy. In order to avoid a financial crisis, stronger is probably better, even it means more meddling.

Carlos Slim buys Spanish real estate on the cheap

The Mexican tycoon bought a 25 pct stake in property firm Realia at a discount and is eyeing a takeover. He is also the biggest shareholder of builder FCC, which in turn owns major stakes in Realia and Cementos Portland. Slim effectively controls all three. Minorities beware.

China's lower growth target is missed opportunity

Premier Li Keqiang says GDP will grow about 7 pct this year. Though the lack of precision helps, the goal may still force the government into short-term stimulus or fudging the numbers. For all its progress, China is still not ready to scrap its big, reassuring objective.

Actavis sale dresses up barely investment grade

The acquisitive drugmaker attracted huge demand for $21 bln of bonds one notch above junk. They yield 1.75 percentage points over U.S. Treasuries, less than Verizon’s bigger, better-rated issue did in 2013. Buyers of top-tier debt can’t help but keep looking further downward.

Europe's rebound poses new questions

Jobs, growth, morale: the Old Continent is perking up. Policymakers and investors need to adapt. The threat of deflation may recede. Central bank bond-buying may prove unnecessary. And established politicians could regain ground. Yet investors might still cling to bonds.

JD.com tries Alibaba's route to e-commerce profit

Transactions that match buyers with retailers on the Chinese group’s website grew 220 pct in the fourth quarter, far outstripping growth in direct sales. Acting as a middleman, like larger rival Alibaba, may offer better margins. Earnings are still absent, but look less elusive.