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Jan 9, 2014
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Difficult second coming pays off for Chinese IPOs

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By John Foley 

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

Free money, anyone? China’s equity markets have just reopened after a fourteen-month hiatus, starting with a batch of eight companies planning initial public offerings in the week ending Jan. 10. With so much pent-up demand, and rules in place to protect investors from losses, exuberance is inevitable. But better to have frothy IPOs than none at all.

Jan 8, 2014
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China conducts monetary policy in the shadows

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By John Foley 

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

China is engaging in a shadowy version of monetary policy. Recent tinkering by the People’s Bank of China, which has pushed up rates, looks targeted at parts of the “shadow banking” sector. This kind of variegated tightening might just work, simply because China’s financial system is so dysfunctional.

Dec 27, 2013
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China’s banks are coming – this time for real

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By John Foley 

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

China’s banks are racking up foreign assets, driven by trade flows, and the country’s corporate diaspora. Even at the current slow pace, what today looks like “following the client” could soon become “following everyone’s clients”.

Nov 29, 2013
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Australia too mealy-mouthed on protectionism

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By John Foley

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

Australia is being mealy mouthed about protectionism. Treasurer Joe Hockey blocked the A$3.4 billion ($3.1 billion) takeover of agricultural trader GrainCorp by U.S. rival ADM on Nov. 29, on the grounds that Australia’s grain market is only just getting used to competition, five years after the national wheat monopoly was disbanded. For Australia’s foreign investment prospects, the decision itself is less bad than the ambiguity over why it was made.

Nov 28, 2013
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Giant Interactive’s $2.9 bln buyout hard to resist

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By Una Galani

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

Giant Interactive’s $2.9 billion buyout is hard to resist. Chairman Shi Yuzhu is leading a consortium with Baring Private Equity Asia to take the U.S-listed Chinese computer gaming group private. At almost 13 times this year’s earnings, the group’s offer to buy the 53 percent that it doesn’t already own is a chunky premium to peers. Besides, independent investors have few alternatives.

Nov 27, 2013
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How Cinda squares China’s debt triangles

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By John Foley

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

China Cinda has spotted a clever arbitrage. The Chinese “bad bank”, which is revving up for a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), has recently been doing brisk business by borrowing cheaply from other banks and using those funds to buy up companies’ short-term loans to each other. In doing so, it has found a way to square China’s dreaded “debt triangles”.

Nov 20, 2013
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Chinese “fixers” speak to Wall Street weakness

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By John Foley 

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

Wall Street banks used to argue privately that hiring consultants in China was the only way to get ahead. Now their worth is under the spotlight, after the New York Times reported that JPMorgan Chase paid $1.8 million to a two-person consultancy run by the daughter of Wen Jiabao, then China’s premier. The real mystery is why banks that have been in China for so long still need the extra help.

Nov 15, 2013
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China fuels optimists, leaves room for pessimists

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

China’s long-awaited blueprint for reform is epic, ambitious, detailed and vague. A sixty-point document issued by the ruling Communist Party on Nov. 15 covers everything from relaxing the hated one-child policy to opening up the financial sector and squeezing more dividends out of state-owned enterprises. It’s enough to restore investors’ faith, if not yet to help them allocate their assets.

Nov 13, 2013
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Four ways to tell China is serious about markets

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By John Foley 

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

China’s new buzzword is “decisive”. That’s how the ruling party described the role it wants markets to play in the economy. It’s hard to see whether it’s more than just talk. But there are four visible ways to tell whether China means business.

Nov 12, 2013
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China plenum is far cry from what might have been

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By John Foley

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

China’s third plenum was a study in anti-performance. This meeting of the ruling party’s top figures traditionally gives each new generation of leaders an opportunity to make big gestures. What emerged on Nov. 12 was only promising policies wrapped up in bland talk. Yet there is an important message: big economic changes may come, but politics remains a matter for Party insiders only.