Breakingviews

Unruly markets could derail Abenomics

February 12, 2016

A weak yen and buoyant stocks were key to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s fight against deflation. A flight from risk has reversed those gains and overwhelmed the Bank of Japan’s surprise shift to negative interest rates. The turmoil threatens Abe’s whole economic project.

Swiss 1MDB probe holds fat tail risks for Malaysia

February 1, 2016

Switzerland’s attorney general has indicated $4 bln was misappropriated from state firms, undermining Prime Minister Najib Razak’s efforts to shrug off the mess involving the sovereign fund. Though he can manage the fallout at home, foreign investigations are a lingering threat.

Malaysia’s strongman faces a challenge to impress

January 21, 2016

Prime Minister Najib Razak has survived a political scandal over dubious payments he received. He has also managed to tame debt at the sovereign fund he championed. Though his position looks secure, low oil prices and racial divisions will test efforts to repair his legacy.

Malaysia scrubs out half its sovereign fund stain

December 31, 2015

A $1.7 bln land deal with a Malaysian-Chinese group brings the financial cleanup of the world’s most troubled SWF nearer completion. The overhaul of 1MDB by boss Arul Kanda is impressive. He could now move to redeem a controversial $3 bln bond sold by Goldman Sachs.

Dixon: EU could fall apart without flexibility

By Hugo Dixon
December 21, 2015

Brussels’ knee-jerk reaction to crises is to ask for more power. Its latest series of problems has fuelled right-wing populism, which feeds off the idea that the EU already has too much influence. Unless the bloc adopts more decentralised solutions, it could unravel.

Zuma is making South Africa’s bad situation worse

December 10, 2015

Local markets are diving after the president sacked his finance chief. Domestic woes include acute electricity shortages, drought and strikes. Investors are apt to lump the country in with the likes of recessionary Brazil. Firing the money man will only confirm their prejudices.

Far-right poll success jeopardises French reforms

December 7, 2015

Marine Le Pen’s National Front won more votes than mainstream rivals in the first round of regional elections. Anti-euro and anti-immigration, the party espouses protectionism and state intervention. Its rise may force the ruling Socialists to rethink economic reform plans.

Congress punts gas tax hike in favor of bank raid

December 3, 2015

A $305 bln transport spending plan may soon be law. Rather than raise the absurdly low U.S. fuel levy, though, lawmakers are plugging a $70 bln shortfall by swiping the Fed’s rainy-day funds and dividends it pays lenders. Creative, perhaps – but it’s no long-term solution.

Turkey has more friends in politics than markets

November 27, 2015

Europe’s recent rapprochement with Ankara is born of necessity. Less porous shared borders will help control the flow of migrants into the West. But investors have a choice. Their ardour will hinge on how much reform latitude President Tayyip Erdogan gives his new government.

Britain joins sovereign wealth party too late

November 26, 2015

Creating a 1 billion pound sovereign wealth fund to encourage shale gas drilling in the UK could fail on two fronts. It won’t sway opponents of fracking in the UK countryside, and a financial windfall is unlikely given a global gas glut and unattractive shale economics.