Breakingviews

Corbyn is global symbol not of rage but confusion

September 23, 2016

The UK Labour Party leader, facing re-election this weekend, has split the left in two. Divisive figures like Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump reflect a new difficulty in identifying heroes and villains. An old foe, globalisation, is in retreat, yet perceived inequality persists.

Tech giants don’t grow on European soil

September 16, 2016

The region hasn't produced its own answers to tech disruptors like Facebook and Alibaba. That leaves the EU open to accusations of sour grapes when foreign companies like Apple are targeted for unpaid taxes. Regulation and fragmented markets explain Europe's failure to launch.

Carney guessing game feeds bond market distortion

September 13, 2016

The Bank of England has revealed corporate bonds eligible for its 10 billion pound buying spree. Its requirement that companies make a material contribution to the country still throws up some anomalies. Second-guessing the central bank makes capital markets less efficient.

Banks ask for Brexit clarity they can’t have

September 8, 2016

Big financial groups want Britain’s chancellor to say what kind of settlement he wants after an EU exit. That’s understandable: they want to make plans. But it wouldn’t be smart for Philip Hammond to be too specific ahead of what will essentially be a poker game with EU peers.

Europe may end up behind the curve on 5G internet

September 1, 2016

Telecom companies claim the EU's new open-internet guidelines disadvantage them relative to U.S. and Chinese players. They're right that Europe may slip behind in the race for superfast internet, but net neutrality isn't the real enemy. Blame a highly fragmented market instead.

EU offers vitamin pill to dying media patient

August 26, 2016

Brussels wants to give media the right to seek compensation from search engines like Google that use online content. The intention is laudable - some publishers may be losing out. But the proposal has similarities with schemes in Germany and Spain - which haven’t worked.

Post-Brexit UK consumers are oddly rational

August 18, 2016

Flagging confidence didn’t stop Britons from spending a month after their vote to leave the EU. Consumers may be blind to the recession threat. Or they may be anticipating that a slumping pound will push up the price of imported goods, and pre-empting higher inflation.

Contrary smoke signals bedevil Brexit firefighting

August 17, 2016

An unexpected drop in the number of people claiming jobless benefit jars with other, grimmer survey data. Monetary policy has already been eased to manage any post-vote slowdown and a fiscal stimulus is likely. Clashing signals make it harder for policymakers to target such help.

Renzi’s referendum gamble could be double or pits

August 15, 2016

Defeat in Italy's upcoming constitutional referendum could cost PM Matteo Renzi his job, and leave important reforms unfinished. A victory too could end badly. It could leave a strong Renzi government, but also pave the way for one led by the radical 5-Star party.

Commerz lays bare market over-optimism on EU banks

August 2, 2016

The German bank says negative rates will further weigh on revenues. Investors are already braced for low returns: Commerzbank trades at 0.3 times book. Still, with analysts' earnings forecasts almost twice those assumed in the EU stress test, even more caution is warranted.