Breakingviews

Microfinance leaves India’s banks in the dust

August 23, 2016

After the near-collapse of the industry six years ago, small lenders to the poor are back and growing fast. A tight regulatory leash, low bad loan ratios, and high returns make microfinance a more attractive investment proposition than the country’s ailing state banks.

Rajan reforms can thrive with India’s new RBI boss

August 22, 2016

Urjit Patel is a safe choice to lead the central bank. The deputy governor was a key architect of reforms introduced by outgoing head Raghuram Rajan. To earn the same level of acclaim, Patel must see these through and ratchet up the fight against bad debts. 

Saudi building bust may demolish prince’s reforms

August 19, 2016

Low oil prices have left thousands of foreign construction workers stranded without pay, and some building companies in financial trouble. Saudi is trying to diversify away from oil, make economic reforms and avoid disrupting the social order. It’s not easy to do all three.

Indian tycoon’s $9 bln tidy-up is too clever

August 15, 2016

Kumar Mangalam Birla is merging two holding companies. That helps streamline his Aditya Birla conglomerate. But the overly complex deal gives investors on both sides reasons to grumble. One side is forced to share a healthy balance sheet and the other a promising financial arm.

from Viewsroom:

Viewsroom: India water woes; fintech; Trumponomics

August 12, 2016

Drought, farmers, poor pricing and bad infrastructure in the world's second-most populous country hinder Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' vision; peer-to-peer lenders try to deal with a downturn; and Donald Trump's economic plan is more pinstripes than blue collar.

Viewsroom: U.S. election, European banks, Uber-Didi

August 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle over infrastructure needs, while Trump faces growing opposition from fellow billionaires. Also: the ups and downs of Europe's lenders after a stress test with no fail grade, and why Uber is ceding to Didi the ride-sharing crown in China.

Tax overhaul boosts Modi’s reform credentials

August 3, 2016

India is set to pass a bill paving a path to a long-awaited goods and services tax. Exemptions will dilute the potential boost to growth. But the bill is evidence that the prime minister can compromise to get things done. That bodes well for a long wish list of other reforms.

Indian tycoon’s sweetened Cairn bid is still sour

July 25, 2016

Anil Agarwal's mining group Vedanta has upped its offer to buy out the minorities of its cash-rich Indian subsidiary. The 9 percent premium looks far from compelling. The fate of the $2.4 bln bid rests with Cairn India's two largest outside investors.

Breakdown: Solving Asia’s other bad debt problem

June 30, 2016

It's not just China: soured loans are clogging up Indian lenders too. Though a cleanup is underway, the worry is that the departure of central bank chief Raghuram Rajan will delay it. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to fix the banks to fulfil a pledge to create jobs.

A checklist for India’s new central bank chief

June 20, 2016

The Reserve Bank of India needs a new governor after Raghuram Rajan’s premature departure. The ideal candidate would support reforms underway and have some experience as an international macro-economist. Crucially, though, he or she needs to be able to stand up to the government.