Dear Leader’s death may prize open hermit state

December 19, 2011

Will North Korea shut down or open up? Muddle on or fail completely? It's anyone's guess, although the influence of China, which has opened trade zones on the North Korean border and has little interest in seeing a failed nuclear state, suggests more openness.

Dear Leader’s death may prize open hermit state

December 19, 2011

Kim Jong-il managed to keep North Korea cut off from the world. Trade flows barely exist, Chinese energy and French cognac aside. The intellectual seclusion is at least as great. Autarky has brought economic hardship, a heavy burden Kim’s successor will struggle to lift.

China could be North Korea’s ally of last resort

December 29, 2011

Conventional thinking has it that South Korea will one day absorb its impoverished cousin. But if the North collapses, Beijing may have more interest in propping it back up. Like bailing out a bank, doing so would require liquidity, capital and more accountable management.

Kim Jong-un could thaw dictatorship into growth

March 1, 2012

If North Korea’s basketball-loving young master really wants to build on his limited nuclear deal with the U.S., land reform would be a good place to start. That should boost food supplies and stimulate small business. Privatizations, big finance and crony capitalism can wait.

Gold teeters on edge of bigger falls

April 11, 2013

The safe-haven metal is vulnerable. The Cyprus crisis and Korean fears have helped it surprisingly little. Cypriot gold sales and analysts’ downgrades are soft blows. Barring Korean disaster, gold faces nemesis in the Fed’s growing unease about money printing and a tapering of QE.

Korea embargo adds to market’s political fear

May 25, 2010

Investors rarely like wars or rumors of war. But for global markets, the renewed military tension on the Korean peninsula comes at a particularly sensitive time. The threat to this fairly big economy -- South Korea's GDP is four times larger than Greece's -- adds to the impression of a world out of control.