Breakingviews

Hadas: Central banks play with monetary absurdity

September 23, 2016

Monetary authorities have taken recourse in increasingly empty promises. The Bank of Japan's Haruhiko Kuroda has taken this verbal drama to a new and ultimately dangerous level. Central banks could rely on deeds, not words, if their tools and targets were more realistic.

Scarce bonds and bank pain limit BOJ’s next move

September 19, 2016

The Bank of Japan faces a conundrum in its battle to revive inflation. It can’t keep buying $800 bln of bonds a year for much longer, but negative rates are deeply unpopular. This week’s big policy review might require the BOJ to make other concessions to the financial industry.

Mario takes Nintendo up a level in mobile gaming

September 8, 2016

Nintendo unexpectedly unveiled a Super Mario game at Apple's new phone launch. Following Pokemon's wild success, this confirms the Japanese group is no longer dragging its feet on reform and is ready to use top characters on mobile. It boosts the case for the new-look Nintendo.

Rakuten jig highlights Japan’s warped benchmark

September 7, 2016

Shares of the shopping website leapt on news it would join the Nikkei 225. It shows the power of an arbitrary index weighted by share price instead of fundamentals like size or free float. The Bank of Japan's $60 bln-a-year push into index funds will only amplify the distortion.

DoCoMo spat adds odd twist to India scare stories

September 6, 2016

The Japanese telco is struggling to enforce a London arbitration award ordering Tata Sons to pay it $1.2 bln. Tata says it wants to pay. India refuses to approve. Despite a slew of reforms, high-profile legacy disputes with foreign firms hurt the idea India is open for business.

Tokyo’s analysts outperform on a bad metric

August 30, 2016

Sell-side researchers everywhere are under pressure to be kind to companies. Yet Japan stands out for the uniformity of opinions, a Breakingviews analysis shows. More than half of big stocks in the country don't have a single negative rating. No wonder short-sellers are circling.

BOJ does bare minimum for Abenomics reboot

July 29, 2016

Japan's central bank added just $26 billion of equity funds to its annual asset-buying binge. That is about as little as it could do without disappointing markets or Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. The BOJ is running low on options and probably wants to keep some powder dry.

Short hit on Itochu is wake-up call for Japan

July 27, 2016

A report by U.S. firm Glaucus poses hard questions about how the $20 bln trading house accounts for big investments in Colombia and China. Like activists before them, foreign short-sellers could help shake up a market that often looks too cosy.

SoftBank’s Son tests limits of investor patience

July 19, 2016

SoftBank shares tanked after its no-synergy, $32 bln bet on UK chip designer ARM. Having just lost his heir apparent, founder Son talks about the company as if it is private and says the highly leveraged entity is "net debt zero". It takes the shine off his striking track record.

SoftBank’s $32 bln ARM bet gives investors a shock

July 18, 2016

The Japanese tech group has reportedly agreed to buy the UK chip designer. It's a pricey punt on connected devices, and an unwelcome surprise for those who thought SoftBank was focused on reducing debt. Shareholders remain at the mercy of Chairman Masayoshi Son's "crazy ideas".