Breakingviews

The Economist’s elite owners seek elite print run

July 28, 2015

The Agnellis, the Rothschilds, et al may buy more as Pearson sells. A 6 pct dividend yield has appeal. If the valuation – recently 730 mln stg – and payout are to keep rising, however, the weekly has to succeed where other publications have failed and turn its top line around.

BP is making the best of a bad situation

July 28, 2015

Underlying profit at the UK oil major fell 64 percent. The lower oil price is the main culprit. Costs and capital expenditure are coming down, and operating cashflow remains resilient. But with the oil price falling again, BP has more challenges than opportunities.

Tide flows against UK’s pro-EU campaigners

July 24, 2015

Polls right now suggest Brits want to stay in Europe. Yet the rough handling of Greece and a proposed transatlantic trade deal are alienating left-leaning voters. Meanwhile, potential sops to those worried by immigration are very unlikely to placate eurosceptics on the right.

BBC needs good pruning, not root-and-branch change

July 16, 2015

UK lawmakers are questioning the broadcaster's remit. Its 3.7 bln stg pseudo-state funding is anticompetitive. But while the BBC, like the monarchy and NHS, comes from another era, reformers need to be careful. A "bonsai" BBC – smaller and stronger – might be worth cultivating.

Rob Cox: The world’s hardest central bank job

July 16, 2015

It’s not Yellen’s, Draghi’s or Kuroda’s. Russian central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina faces a unique bouquet of challenges. On top of a weak oil price and ruble, nettlesome inflation and Western sanctions, there’s Vladimir Putin. Under the circumstances, she deserves a medal.

Rob Cox: The (bank) resolution will be televised

July 9, 2015

Global regulators have made great progress preparing for the technical aspects of a collapse, and resurrection, of a major financial institution. What they need to spend more time on is ensuring they can effectively communicate the process to a world consumed by financial panic.

Heathrow offers quaint lessons in infrastructure

July 1, 2015

After at least six years of heated debate, a British government-appointed panel has backed the idea of a third runway for London’s largest airport. China has built 44 new airports in that time. The UK’s deliberative approach has advantages, but now it’s time to start building.

Subject financial fiefs to modern Magna Carta

June 15, 2015

Companies in the 21st century can learn from 13th century England. Overmighty, overpaid CEOs are the new King Johns. They are held to account, sort of, by the barons of fund management. What’s needed is more respect for finance’s neglected yeomanry: ordinary savers.

UK blithely signs up to Germany’s worst idea

June 10, 2015

Chancellor George Osborne is to enshrine budget surpluses in state legislation. For a nation with low interest rates and sagging productivity, aping German deficit-phobia is nuts. But plain thinking wins votes because the public has learned to mistrust the wisdom of economists.

HSBC continues to wind back the clock

June 9, 2015

Four years since he started pruning the bank, CEO Stuart Gulliver is cutting risk-weighted assets by a quarter and shedding 50,000 employees. HSBC is returning to its roots as an Asia-focussed trade lender, though investors will have to wait almost three years to feel the effect.