Ian's Feed
Jun 16, 2011
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Swiss franc becomes the new gold

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

LONDON — The euro’s tumbling — at least until the next expensive bailout — and it’s panic time. Where are the safe havens? There are a few options but they’re mostly bad. That is why the Swiss franc is becoming the new gold. It’s overvalued, too, but perhaps not so much. And you see its appeal when you look at the alternatives.

May 13, 2011

Euro a sell as zone economies diverge further

– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

By Ian Campbell

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – Should you buy the euro for the success of its core, or sell it for the sake of the periphery? Better the latter.

May 11, 2011
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Inflation, not slowdown, remains top global risk

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

LONDON — Has the global economy hit a soft patch? A week after a sell-off skimmed froth from bubbly commodities markets, Chinese inflation figures have come in a fraction lower. But the impression that the global economy is cooling, and the conclusion that monetary tightening can be deferred, is wrong. Inflationary pressures still need to be checked.

May 2, 2011

Demise of Osama bin Laden brings risks as well as relief

– The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own –

By Ian Campbell and Una Galani

LONODN/DUBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) – Osama bin Laden’s death is an important landmark which leaves hope for the Arab spring intact. The initial, obvious, response is to expect celebratory gains and for global equities and commodity prices to advance. But while the medium-term outlook is undoubtedly improved — for the United States and the rest of the world — bin Laden’s death may heighten investors’ sense of risk in the near term, bolstering the dollar and curbing flows into speculative assets.

Apr 20, 2011
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Gold as an each-way bet is fantasy

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

LONDON — Worried about the euro zone? Buy gold. Worried about the U.S. deficit? Buy gold. Fancy a quick speculative punt? Well, you can’t lose with gold…or silver, which has almost trebled in price in just over six months. But precious metals can’t be both safe havens and speculative plays. And with equity markets rightly signalling global recovery and higher interest rates, these speculative bubbles are set to be pricked before long.

Apr 15, 2011
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Overheating China threatens global inflation

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

By Ian Campbell

China’s overheating may soon be the world’s problem. Data released on April 14 showed GDP rising at 9.7 percent in the first quarter, and consumer prices running at a too-fast 5.4 percent. The concern isn’t just that Chinese policy may tighten and growth slow. It is that spiraling Chinese wages, rising inflation and a yuan that needs to rise faster could create a source of global inflation.

Mar 23, 2011
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UK budget deserves 6 out of 10

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

LONDON — George Osborne’s budget deserves 6 out of 10. Faced with a still-daunting fiscal challenge, the UK Chancellor has turned his attention to the factors that will shape the economy’s future. Businesses will welcome lower corporate taxes and the removal of obstacles to healthy, more balanced growth. Populist fiddles, such as raiding oil companies to help cap fuel costs, tarnish Osborne’s message. Nevertheless, his medicine should boost Britain’s growth — though not for a few years.

Mar 11, 2011
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Tragic quake may add to inflation pressures

The full economic impact of the sixth most powerful earthquake ever recorded is not yet known. Many hundreds of lives have been reported lost in Japan. Aftershocks are a danger and other nations fear a tsunami running across the Pacific will spread the damage more widely. Though uncertainty is rife, the earthquake is more likely to add to global growth and attendant inflationary pressures than subtract from them. It also raises concerns about Japan’s long-running fiscal dangers.

The earthquake struck close to a relatively sparsely populated area of Japan. In contrast, the Kobe earthquake in January 1995 struck one of the most populated and industrialized regions, killing 6,434 people and causing damage estimated at around $100 billion. The current quake will leave a large reconstruction bill — but, on current indications, a smaller one than for Kobe.

Mar 8, 2011
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Greek anger at downgrade reflects enormity of task

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

LONDON — It’s hard not to sympathise with Greece following Moody’s latest downgrade of the country. Like Sisyphus, the government has been pushing a heavy rock uphill. It has got somewhere, as Athens asserts. The fiscal deficit is 6 percentage points of GDP lower than it was. But the debt burden will probably prove too heavy and roll Greece back down into a crisis. The market quite rightly views a restructuring as highly likely. But while that would fix Greece’s debt problem, it would not in itself solve the country’s competitiveness and growth challenges.

Feb 24, 2011
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Prolonged oil shock threatens global growth

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
By Ian Campbell

LONDON — Oil still lubricates the global economy and could make it seize up. Prices above $110 a barrel raise the spectre of previous shocks. Judged by fundamental supply and demand, there is no reason for prices to remain so high. But a sustained spike would be a big problem for the global economy.