Breakingviews

Renzi is still dodging big Italian pension fight

May 21, 2015

The prime minister has found a clever way to blunt a constitutional court ruling on pensions that threatened to blow a hole in Italy’s budget. That avoids a conflict with Brussels. But he hasn’t bitten the bullet on the bigger pension issue: bloated spending that stifles growth.

Edward Hadas: The uses and abuses of GDP

By Edward Hadas
May 20, 2015

The standard measure of output is a useful indicator of short-term trends. It can also help compare levels of development. In poor countries, faster GDP growth is a good policy goal. But in richer countries, GDP-think misses important economic changes and challenges.

EU growth surprises hide clear pattern

By Edward Hadas
May 13, 2015

Recovering Spain was still the GDP star in the first quarter, but traditionally strong Germany did no better than perpetually stagnant Italy, while France defied gloomy predictions and the UK disappointed. Behind the mix-up, the recoveries are real, but mostly slow and unsteady.

Review: China fails to live up to luxury hype

April 10, 2015

After a decade of red-hot growth, prospects have dimmed in luxury’s star market and given pause to high-end brands. With vigor returning to traditional hubs like the United States, a prediction that Chinese shoppers are establishing a Bling Dynasty looks premature at best.

Finding double-digit growth in India’s GDP fog

March 17, 2015

New statistics are deceptively rosy. If the economy can grow 7.4 pct when local interest rates are high and world demand low, how tough would 10 pct be? But complacency may lead to bad policies. Efficiency trends peg potential GDP growth at just 7 pct. Only reforms can lift it.

India’s “improved” GDP statistics strain credulity

February 2, 2015

Revised data shows the economy grew 6.9 pct in the year to last March, just as fiscal and monetary tightening was taming inflation and narrowing the current account deficit. That’s something no major economy has experienced in recent history. Investors are right to be sceptical.

China slowdown sets scene for urban struggle

January 20, 2015

Growth of 7.4 percent in 2014 - a rare miss of the country’s target - distracts from the real goal in 2015: keeping the all-important middle classes content. City-dwellers’ incomes are lagging GDP, property prices are falling, and job creation is losing momentum.

Bad ideas catching up with Latin America in 2015

December 29, 2014

For four years, the region has mostly lagged world economic growth. The IMF predicts another year of the same. While Pacific-oriented countries will shine, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela will suffer. With a couple of exceptions, misguided policies are coming home to roost.

Positive U.S. momentum could grow in 2015

December 23, 2014

Jitters like recessions abroad seem unlikely to derail America’s economic recovery as late-year growth, jobs and incomes came in unusually strong. Lower gas prices and the possibility that housing ticks up make even inevitable interest rate hikes look easy to shake off.

China’s superlative growth looks hard to sustain

December 18, 2014

Assume the economy expands as briskly in the next 20 years as in the past decade. Its share of world GDP could top 35 percent, a Breakingviews calculator shows. A static workforce would have achieved heroic productivity gains. If it doesn’t, China’s slowdown has only just begun.