The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Time for China’s banks to think local

wei_gu_debate-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

When foreign strategic investors were invited to take stakes in Chinese banks, the word "strategic" had a clear meaning for their hosts.

The banks were supposed to stay in for the long term, and that's why they had the chance to buy big stakes at bargain prices. Yet many have behaved like "foreign speculative investors", as they are now called in China -- they took the cheap deal and then flipped the shares for a fast profit.

Chinese banks looked to the West for access to capital, risk management and exposure to fast growing and sexy new products. But now China no longer needs as much foreign investment.

Meanwhile some of the fancy new financial products China once craved have turned out to be toxic, and the risk management skills of the so-called teachers from the West look tarnished in the wake of the credit crunch.

from The Great Debate:

After Sun, expect new Oracle hardware deals

ericauchard1-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Larry Ellison, Oracle Corp's chief executive, is famous for making outrageous predictions about the future of the computer industry and being mocked by rivals and pundits.

But don't underestimate the software maker's latest moves into the hardware business.

from The Great Debate:

Bond markets give stress test thumbs down

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The most revealing verdict on the results of the U.S. banking stress test was delivered not by shareholders but by the vigilantes of the bond market, who shunned an auction of 30-year government debt.

This makes sense: if the U.S. is letting banks off too lightly it will be taxpayers and the people who lend the U.S. money who will have to pick up the bill.

from The Great Debate:

3i in distress, please give generously

REUTERS-- Neil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Were 3i a normal investment company, its directors would be laughed off the board if they proposed raising new equity at a whacking great discount to net asset value.

Upbeat noises about a strengthened balance sheet, future access to the debt markets (sic) or the glittering new investment prospects ahead wouldn't make a blind bit of difference. The board would have to go.

from The Great Debate:

Get ready for the “Great Immoderation”

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The recession will soon be dead, laid to rest alongside the idea of the "Great Moderation", a set of hopeful assumptions that underpins expectations about economic growth and asset valuations.

This, when investors, bankers and executives ultimately realise it will cause them to pull in their horns, take less risks and be less willing to pay high prices for assets.

from The Great Debate:

Iran sanctions and wishful thinking

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate
-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

So what's so difficult in getting Iran to drop its nuclear program? All it needs is a great American leader who uses sanctions to break the Iranian economy so badly that popular discontent sweeps away the leadership. It is replaced without a shot being fired.

from The Great Debate:

China economic forecasts: go herbal or Western?

wei_gu_debate --Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own--

Which would you believe when it comes to diagnosing the health of China's economy -- the pulse-taking of the herbal doctor or the lab tests of Western medicine?

Beijing's leaders are like the herbal doctors, using creative metrics such as power output and shipping indexes that can give a relatively accurate snapshot of manufacturing activity.

from The Great Debate:

Two cheers for the walking wounded

ws2-- Mark Hannam is a guest columnist, the views expressed are his own. He formerly worked at the Bank of England and Barclays. He is currently chairman of Fair Finance, a microfinance company --

Some banks have come out of the financial crisis in better shape than others. We should encourage them rather than lump them together with the failures.

from The Great Debate:

President Obama’s three percent solution

Jonathan Hoganson-- Jonathan R. Hoganson is the deputy executive director of the Technology CEO Council, a public policy advocacy group that includes the CEOs of Intel, HP, Dell, Applied Materials, EMC, Motorola, Micron Technology and IBM. He previously was the legislative director for Rep. Rahm Emanuel and policy director for the House Democratic Caucus. The views expressed are his own. --

A few years from now, when our economy has regained its stride, we may look back to a little-noticed announcement last Monday that spurred the resurgence. Amid swine-flu hysteria and First 100 Days hoopla, President Obama quietly announced a commitment to spending three percent of the U.S. GDP on science research and development.

from The Great Debate:

New BofA chairman must prove independence

bofa-- Jonathan Ford is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Shareholders in Bank of America must be hugging themselves at their sheer audacity. They have plucked up the courage to say boo to Ken Lewis, the bank's all-powerful chairman and chief executive.

A shareholder vote on April 29 forced Lewis to relinquish the first of those roles to an "independent chairman". This role will now be taken by Walter Massey.