Breakingviews

 
Ben Bernanke is an expert on the famous crash. But Barry Eichengreen argues in his new book that the Fed boss during the 2008 crunch hadn't learnt the lessons of the boom preceding the bust. Bernanke's knowledge helped with crisis management, but it is too early to say how much. 

Greek deposits fly between a rock and a hard place

One remedy to capital flight would be to give so-called emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks. But heavy use of ELA could mean big losses if Greece left the euro. The alternative is to copy Cypriot capital controls. That, though, would be politically toxic in Greece.

Say "ni hao" to Jack Ma's Amazon-style volatility

Alibaba’s boss, like the U.S. group’s Jeff Bezos, has built online retail dominance. But there are downsides. Unpredictable earnings are Exhibit A. The Chinese group also has fickle regulators. It may not be the last time investors suffer nearly $40 bln of losses in two days.

Rob Cox: Podemos can improve Spanish capitalism

After Syriza's victory in Greece, investors are fretting that Spain's "We Can" party could derail reform plans and fiscal discipline. They needn't worry. The Podemos target is the demon of corruption. Even if the movement has already peaked, it has done the country a service.  

Alibaba gives crash course on government relations

The e-commerce group’s shares fell after a Chinese regulator lambasted its sales habits. Alibaba must convince investors it was blindsided, and prevent its beef with the watchdog escalating. It’s an insight into how contradictory and value-destructive the Chinese state can be.

Facebook investment largesse manageable - for now

Boss Mark Zuckerberg splashed out so much on new projects that his firm’s Q4 operating margin fell by a third. But the social network’s top line grew 49 pct thanks to more users and mobile income. That’s a reasonable dynamic, assuming Zuckerberg is picking the right ventures.

Mortgage freeze could hasten Greek bank reform

Before Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gets any euro zone deal on Greece’s public debt, he could make good on his promise of a permanent mortgage moratorium. That would inflict pain on the country’s banks – but ultimately force them to restructure.

Currency market still scarred by Swiss trauma

Brutal swings seen just after the Swiss central bank suddenly abandoned its franc cap have faded. But price signals and perplexing moves suggest the extraordinary gyrations left their mark. Singapore’s surprise easing and continued Swiss official musings will add to the jitters.