Breakingviews

Google EU antitrust spat riddled with holes

August 28, 2015

The search giant’s robust response to a European challenge over price comparison tools ratchets up a complex theoretical battle over what makes a monopoly. Yet the dispute misses a broader point: it’s hard to see how any likely outcome will make a massive difference to consumers.

Investors struggle to find true safe havens

August 26, 2015

Boltholes like U.S. and German bonds or the Swiss franc are benefiting less than might be expected amid equity swings and concern over a slowing China. Investors are rightly wary of once-safe assets that have moved erratically of late. The mystery is where they are going instead.

Hugo Dixon: Greece may not need debt haircut

By Hugo Dixon
August 17, 2015

No single measure, such as debt to GDP, adequately captures how unsustainable Athens’ balance sheet is. Most other yardsticks show Greece needs debt relief. But cutting the face value of its borrowings is probably not required.

Greece deal leaves euro intact but fragile

August 11, 2015

Athens may get its bailout after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gave in to reform demands. Quitting the euro is much less likely. It suggests currency union can bear the near-exit of a peripheral state. Economic rifts between core members, though, remain the big future risk.

Oil price slide complicates life for central banks

August 4, 2015

Brent is back down at $50 a barrel. Bond prices show this is eroding investor confidence that inflation will pick up. Central banks usually ignore the temporary impact of commodity price swings, but can’t afford to be complacent with inflation and policy rates already so low.

Hugo Dixon: Euro zone doesn’t need political union

By Hugo Dixon
August 3, 2015

The Greek crisis has triggered renewed calls for a euro zone government, budget and parliament. But such a political union isn’t needed, desirable or achievable. Instead, the euro zone needs more market-based solutions to thrive.

Edward Hadas: Nikkei joins demographic denial cult

By Edward Hadas
July 29, 2015

Nikkei is the latest Japanese company to look for growth outside the shrinking domestic market. Its Financial Times purchase may work out, but the approach is flawed. Few companies can profitably escape their demographic destiny. It may be better to accept steady decline.

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.

Tide flows against UK’s pro-EU campaigners

July 24, 2015

Polls right now suggest Brits want to stay in Europe. Yet the rough handling of Greece and a proposed transatlantic trade deal are alienating left-leaning voters. Meanwhile, potential sops to those worried by immigration are very unlikely to placate eurosceptics on the right.

Shouldn’t Credit Suisse and StanChart swap CEOs?

July 20, 2015

Bill Winters is beginning his tenure as new boss of the emerging markets lender at the same time that Tidjane Thiam takes charge of the Swiss investment and private bank. Both are capable executives, but their experiences seem uncannily to better suit the other’s job.