Breakingviews

China’s world bank has rickety foundations

March 20, 2015

The country’s patchy record of funding big projects at home and abroad hasn’t deterred Western countries from rushing to join its new Asian infrastructure bank. To lure private capital, the body will have to be commercial and transparent. Early signs suggest it will be neither.

Asian fight against capital flight helps dollar

October 8, 2014

The region’s central banks fear foreign capital will flee when U.S. rates start rising. They hope higher rates at home will stem the flow. But domestic investment dips when interest costs rise. The result: spare Asian savings go into safe dollar assets, pushing the greenback up.

Future financiers condemned to repeat sins of past

June 7, 2014

Some 150,000 wannabe investment advisers, bankers and analysts take the CFA exam this weekend. Success hinges on understanding WACC and ROE. Knowledge of the South Sea Bubble or the Great Crash is not required. Vast ignorance of financial history is an overlooked systemic risk.

Review: China gives Africa handy investment lesson

By Stephanie Rogan
June 6, 2014

Howard French’s new book paints an unflattering picture of the PRC’s heavy involvement in Africa. But China’s presence is not all bad. At a minimum, it gives African governments and businesses a benchmark for other offers now that the continent is attracting Western interest too.

GDP-linked debt could make finance safer

By Edward Hadas
January 9, 2012

Ordinary fixed-interest securities are prone to default. Inflation-linked debt gives investors few of the benefits of economic expansion. Equities bring exposure to growth but are much more risky. Bonds with payments that vary with GDP could give investors a happier medium.

Iraq offers investors ultra-high risk-reward bet

February 20, 2012

When war ends, investment opportunity begins. There has been enough peace in Iraq for the Baghdad bourse to rise 32 pct over two years, outperforming bigger Middle East rivals. The risks are huge, but reconstruction, demographics and oil make this frontier market tempting.

Say hello to 100 years of financial repression

By Edward Hadas
March 15, 2012

The UK might issue ultra-long bonds. The yield would be ultra-low, courtesy of the Bank of England’s monetisation policy. Buyers would be ultra-foolish, but they may come – that’s how financial repression works. This looks like a symbolic victory for the government over savers.

Safe haven tremors signal big investment shift

March 20, 2012

The first cracks are appearing in the high edifice of safe haven bonds. Sovereign yields are rising, gold weakening and the dollar advancing after a decade of weakness. Global investors should assume that we are on the cusp of change.

Corporate cash surplus will be easy to misspend

By Chris Hughes
April 3, 2012

Large companies are sitting on spare cash, generating more, and are able to borrow cheaply. Where will it all go? Overly stringent investment hurdles will sadly deter investment spending. Though U.S. tax policy is a deterrent, financially driven M&A and buybacks are more likely.

Prestige and power fuel Qatar’s frantic shopping

April 3, 2012

The tiny Gulf state is racking up stakes in European big names. Since Qatar will generate around $50 bln of spare cash this year, this is likely to continue. There may be some apparent logic to the pick n’ mix of value and vanity investments. But it doesn’t look like a strategy.