Breakingviews

Bank of Japan goes from activist to bystander

April 28, 2016

The world’s most aggressive central bank has wrong-footed investors by holding policy steady even as the backdrop weakens. There are reasons to hold back: a previous push into negative rates is still bedding down, for example. But markets could have been let down more gently.

Mitsubishi Motors’ VW-style crash is justified

April 26, 2016

The Japanese carmaker’s value has dropped by $3.4 bln since it admitted fiddling test data. Though uncertainties abound, that reaction doesn’t look excessive. If its cash pile halves, EBITDA drops by a quarter and already-low valuation multiples shrink, the decline is deserved.

Bank of Japan’s boldness risks diminishing returns

April 25, 2016

Inflation and growth remain moribund despite epic bond-buying and subzero interest rates. One bold move would be for the central bank to step up purchases of exchange-traded funds. That would lift shares and maybe help confidence - but wouldn’t change corporate behaviour much.

Saudi’s sweet debt deal could rebound on banks

April 21, 2016

The kingdom is close to its first international debt deal in 25 years to plug a hole in its finances caused by weak oil prices. Vast oil reserves make Saudi debt enticing, but the price slump is changing the game in several ways. And Middle East states have defaulted before.

Japan Inc would gain by fixing M&A sights on home

April 20, 2016

Bosses have been busy buying abroad. But often it makes more sense to consolidate fragmented domestic industries. With Japanese firms under pressure to become better-run and more profitable, a recent string of tie-ups could signal the start of a more investor-friendly deal spree.

Deals can help Japan’s banks offset dollar drought

April 13, 2016

Mega-banks MUFG, SMFG and Mizuho are making new loans abroad faster than they can amass matching deposits. This headache has boosted the cost of swapping funds from yen to dollars, and made regulators in Tokyo wary. Buying smaller U.S. lenders would help reduce the mismatch.

Stronger yen heightens pressure on Bank of Japan

April 8, 2016

One U.S. dollar now buys less than 109 yen, versus 120 at the start of the year. That is bad news for corporate earnings, inflation, and state finances. Direct intervention would be unpopular abroad. The central bank, already deep in experimental territory, may need to do more.

Cox: Dan Loeb helps one Abenomics arrow hit target

By Rob Cox
April 7, 2016

Forget the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate blunder, or the government’s muddled fiscal policies. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s corporate-governance reforms hold the most promise. The pushy investor’s fight with the operator of Seven-Eleven convenience stores offers a useful glimpse.

Japan index: Modest beginnings for the new year

March 15, 2016

Our Abenomics Index rose slightly in January compared with the year-end, creeping closer to a 15-year high. Gains in manufacturing production and a slight uptick in loans, consumption and wages helped. But falling stocks and consumer prices were still a drag.

Sharp and Foxconn: the secret CEO text messages

February 26, 2016

The $4.4 bln rescue of the ailing Japanese group is on hold after its Taiwanese buyer said it could not sign the deal - even after Sharp announced the transaction. Foxconn boss Terry Gou is due to meet counterpart Kozo Takahashi. Breakingviews imagines their exchange.