Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Xi Jinping at the helm in Beijing, responsibility looms large

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The carefully orchestrated and much awaited leadership transition in Beijing was formally concluded on Thursday with the elevation of Xi Jinping as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China.

Taking over from Hu Jintao, Xi also assumed chairmanship of the Central Military Commission (CMC). This is a significant departure from the 2002 transition when Hu’s predecessor Jiang Zemin had stayed on as head of the military commission for two years after stepping down as party chief.

The seven-member Politburo Standing Committee was also unveiled, setting at rest speculation about who would occupy the apex of power in Beijing.

Is finance too competitive?

Photo
-

The opinions expressed are his own

Many economists are advocating for regulation that would make banking “boring” and uncompetitive once again. After a crisis, it is not uncommon to hear calls to limit competition. During the Great Depression, the head of the United States National Recovery Administration argued that employers were being forced to lay off workers as a result of “the murderous doctrine of savage and wolfish competition, [of] dog-eat-dog and devil take the hindmost.” He appealed for a more collusive business environment, with the profits made from consumers to be shared between employers and workers.

Concerns about the deleterious effects of competition have always existed, even among those who are not persuaded that government diktat can replace markets, or that intrinsic human goodness is a more powerful motivator than monetary reward and punishment. Where the debate has been most heated, however, concerns the effects of competition on incentives to innovate.

Exit Afghanistan?

Photo
-

The opinions expressed are his own

In his victory speech to a rapturous crowd in Chicago following his re-election, President Barack Obama affirmed that America’s “decade-long conflict” in Afghanistan will now end. The line was greeted with prolonged applause — and understandably so. In fact, this ill-advised war — launched on the basis of a United Nations Security Council resolution — has been grinding on for 11 years, making it the longest in American history.

At the beginning, the war was aimed at eliminating Al Qaeda, vanquishing the Taliban, and transforming Afghanistan into something resembling a Western-style nation-state. With none of these goals fully achieved, America’s intervention — like every other intervention in Afghanistan’s history — is ending unsatisfactorily.

US-India strategic partnership set to grow in second Obama administration

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The re-election of President Barack Obama is likely to be more promising and fruitful for the growing strategic partnership between India and the United States. During the second Obama administration, his India policies are expected to be upgraded further and there would possibly be more tangible outcomes from policy pronouncements made in the last four years.

India Market Weekahead: Trading subdued but markets back on track

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Last week was a volatile one with the stock market poised for a surge but the Nifty eventually closed in the red with a loss of 0.20 percent at 5686.

Higher growth can help lower deficit

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

India’s bloating budget deficit has been a matter of concern. It means more borrowing by the government which results in overcrowding of the debt market and consequently, a higher rate of interest for the private sector. It also raises the rate on borrowings from abroad due to the downgrading by rating agencies which is bound to follow.

India Market Weekahead: Buy on dips with no roadblocks till budget

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

There wasn’t much point-to-point movement on the Nifty but it was not a listless week by any standard.

Life insurance still struggling, non-life continues to grow

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The lean half of the financial year for insurance sales is behind us and the numbers for the life insurance vertical are not impressive. But the general insurance or non-life vertical has shown a healthy growth rate. Highlights are given below.

When will the repo rate be reduced?

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

In his policy review on Oct. 30, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. Subbarao stuck to his position that money cannot be made cheap when commodities are becoming expensive.

Why financial planning is important

Photo
-

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of either Quantum AMC or Reuters)

The unexpected sight of a familiar pair of shoes placed on the shoe rack at home evoked memories of my dad, who died a few months ago.

  • Editors & Key Contributors