China and India reform hopes are on hold

April 15, 2016

New leaders in both countries raised hopes for restructuring banks and state-owned companies. But current plans are not bold enough while the window for action is narrowing. Beijing’s investment habit and New Delhi’s obstructive bureaucracy are proving stubbornly hard to shift.

India’s growth spurt could be for real this time

December 23, 2014

The country’s decade-long obsession with GDP expansion has proved costly. It stoked inflation and damaged balance sheets due to a lack of effort to boost production. By contrast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reforms promise a slow buildup to a more enduring increase in output.

Asia’s top-down corporate reforms vary in promise

August 25, 2014

Newish leaders across the region are pushing to change the way companies work. Although the mechanisms and targets vary between countries, increasing efficiency appears to be a common theme. But investors eyeing improved returns will find not all reforms are equal.

Japan quake anniversary shows lessons unlearned

March 7, 2012

The economy bounced back after 2011’s disaster, but Tokyo squandered a chance to push through painful economic reform. Now growth is slowing. That leaves Japan in the same state it was in before the earthquake – only deeper in debt and one year closer to its moment of reckoning.

China reform may require a deeper crisis

March 20, 2012

The outgoing premier and his likely successor have both called for change. But the biggest required reforms will leave powerful losers. Unlike Greece, Spain or Russia, China lacks creditors or voters to hold leaders to account. Greater turmoil may be needed to force a shift.

Spain can’t avoid austerity conundrum

March 30, 2012

A general strike won’t turn back the clock on labour market reform and the coming budget cuts look inevitable. Too much austerity could be self-defeating and even unrealistic, but Prime Minister Rajoy cannot afford to waver after his earlier deficit faux pax.

Chinese reforms could trigger domino effect

November 5, 2012

To sustain growth and make citizens happier, new leaders must tackle three big challenges: financial efficiency, innovation and the environment. But each policy tweak depends partly on others. As before in China’s history, success is based not on intent, but on political capital.

Mortgage finance needs new foundation

August 18, 2010

Fixing up U.S. mortgage finance involves more than just Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the private home loan market. The Obama administration was right to finally put the bailed-out mortgage giants on center stage at a conference convened on Tuesday. But the crisis had a third leg: borrowers got ahead of themselves.

U.S. reforms will nick, not nuke, big banks

May 20, 2010

A sigh of relief is due on Wall Street. The procedural finale for the Senate's debate on financial reform came just in time for banks. The bill got tougher as the talk dragged on. But it could have been worse.

Wall Street’s separation anxiety is misplaced

May 3, 2010

Big U.S. banks are getting separation anxiety.