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Jul 12, 2013
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The lowdown on China’s slowdown

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By John Foley

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

For China, 2013 is becoming the year of the credible shrinking GDP growth target. Earlier in the year, the old 8 percent norm was shaved down to an official estimate of 7.5 percent. On Thursday, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei moved that to 7 percent – and said an even lower number was possible. What’s going on? Here’s the lowdown on the China slowdown.

Jul 9, 2013
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Japan’s dealmakers deflated by Abe’s arrows

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By John Foley

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

Shinzo Abe may yet revive Japan’s economy, but so far he has done the opposite for the country’s chief executives. The volume of overseas mergers this year has been positively lethargic. The prime minister’s efforts to cheapen the yen, and volatile markets, partly explain the lull, but the case for going abroad remains strong.

Jul 5, 2013
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China’s shipbuilding supertanker will turn slowly

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By John Foley

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

In 1433, China abandoned its costly maritime ambitions, forfeiting for centuries its chances of oceanic dominance. It is unlikely to make the same mistake again. While the tribulations of China Rongsheng show that the country’s modern shipping industry is in trouble, a sector with such strategic and symbolic importance can stay afloat long after its financial appeal has run dry.

Jul 3, 2013
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How to cut the cord on China’s shadow banks

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By John Foley

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

It’s time for some delicate surgery on China’s financial system. The growth of non-bank lending channels – collectively known as “shadow banking” – is basically helpful for the economy. But regular banks are in too deep. China’s financial regulators need to separate the siamese twins.

Jun 28, 2013
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China’s corporate spying is three-cornered problem

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By John Foley

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

American prosecutors have targeted Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel for allegedly stealing secrets from a U.S. rival. The threat of a $4.8 billion fine for a company with total assets of $4.6 billion sounds potent. But it doesn’t address the economic conditions that make China a target for accusations of ideas theft. Call it the corporate espionage triangle.

Jun 26, 2013
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China bank rout favours big lenders over small

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By John Foley

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

A pledge of support for cash-strapped lenders should take the fear out of China’s interbank market. After two weeks of spiking rates, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said on June 25 it had extended liquidity to some lenders, and would stand ready to help others. Its new stance will most benefit those in least need: China’s big banks.

Jun 25, 2013
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Asia’s pain unevenly spread as China slows

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By John Foley

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

Asia’s falling markets reflect the belief that a slowdown in China will take its toll on the region. But things aren’t so straightforward. Look at what proportion of the region’s largest economies goes to China, and how important those exports are to domestic GDP. Despite a decade of rapid growth, the world’s second-largest economy has had a smaller impact on its neighbours than might be expected.

Jun 24, 2013
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China’s bonfire of liquidities claims first victim

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By John Foley

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

China’s bonfire of the liquidities has claimed its first victim: equities. Stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen tumbled more than five percent on June 24 after the central bank published a letter suggesting it’s in no rush to help overstretched lenders continue in their bad habits. This tough new approach could mean a little more chaos will be injected into China’s financial system. For the economy overall, it’s both positive and helpful.

Jun 21, 2013
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China credit squeeze challenges “age of ambiguity”

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By John Foley

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

Silence has been good policy for China. The authorities’ penchant for relying on the unsaid, especially when it comes to financial obligations, has been a useful tool for channeling funding to banks and companies. But recent ructions in the interbank market, where lenders turn for short-term funding, suggest the age of ambiguity may soon have to end.

Jun 19, 2013
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China milk deal leaves small investors whey-faced

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By John Foley

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

Small shareholders in Chinese companies have a new reason to be whey-faced. Big investors in Hong Kong-listed Yashili have agreed to sell out to Chinese dairy giant Mengniu for HK$3.50 a share – a fifth below the price at which the milk powder maker floated just three years ago.