Breakingviews

Chancellor: UK housing crisis isn’t supply problem

May 17, 2016

British home prices are higher than ever relative to incomes. But nosebleed values aren’t a sign of inadequate supply. It’s all about ultra-low interest rates and foreign capital flows. When Chinese capital flows reverse, the London property bubble will burst.

Brussels O2 veto cements BT’s home advantage

May 11, 2016

The EU’s anti-trust tsar has rejected CK Hutchison’s 10.3 billion pound takeover of O2, because it says it would raise mobile prices. That leaves several UK players figuring out next steps. In an industry moving towards packages of mobile, landline, broadband and TV, the winner is the beefed-up BT.

Brexit advocates: heed the tale of Herb Kelleher

May 6, 2016

The co-founder of U.S. budget airline Southwest took the glamour out of air travel. But the increased connectivity has had unexpected benefits - like more scientific breakthroughs, a new study shows. Those who seek a British exit from the EU may be giving up more than they know.

The Exchange podcast: ‘Europe is a cesspool of deflationary forces’

By Rob Cox
May 4, 2016

Yanis Varoufakis joins Rob Cox, global editor of Breakingviews, to talk about his new book, “And the Weak Suffer What They Must?”, the state of the EU, and the implications of a potential Brexit and Trump presidency.

UK deal veto would be big setback for Li Ka-shing

May 4, 2016

A $15 bln takeover of Telefonica’s O2 unit was key to making the Hong Kong tycoon’s costly bet on European telecoms pay off. If CK Hutchison cannot overturn a likely EU veto, his UK telco will either have to carry on as a disruptive fourth player, or find a fallback deal.

RBS sale delays hit credibility more than finances

April 29, 2016

The part-state owned UK bank says it may miss an EU-mandated timeframe to dispose of 300 branches. Even if it takes another 12 months, RBS’s capital position should be OK. But for investors to believe the path to dividend reinstatement, it needs to avoid any missteps.

Barclays inches forward as rivals inch back

April 27, 2016

The UK lender’s first-quarter investment banking performance was less calamitous than peers’, but group return on equity was a sparse 3.8 pct. It should tick up if boss Jes Staley can keep selling unloved assets. If speed sometimes takes precedence over price, that’s okay.

Finance wakes up to fintech’s systemic dangers

April 19, 2016

The Bank of England’s Andy Haldane and Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan are among 53 financial leaders backing the launch of a new forum to debate financial technology. The abuse of data is a concern. But a bigger risk is how fast and obscurely money can move.

One thing Tesco doesn’t stock is pricing power

April 13, 2016

Same-store sales and operating profit are rising, but prices on the UK grocer’s shelves keep falling. It’s a problem for rivals too. Tesco used to be dominant in a concentrated market; now it’s just plain big. Consumers’ gain will be investors’ loss for the foreseeable future.

The British Museum should ask for more from BP

April 7, 2016

Climate change activists are protesting against the London institution’s sponsorship from the oil group. For the museum, the cost of accepting patronage has risen. More to the point, BP pays less of its annual pre-tax profit in charitable giving than FTSE 100 peers on average.