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Jul 19, 2012
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U.S. housing poised to boost economy

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

The U.S. housing sector is poised to boost economic growth. While existing home sales fell 5.4 percent in June from May, other indicators suggest a recovery is under way. A flip to a positive impact after dragging on GDP for five years will give lawmakers a chance to change distorting housing market policies.

Jul 17, 2012
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U.S. senators show manipulation double standards

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

Not for the first time, there are double standards on display in the U.S. Senate. During Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony on Tuesday, lawmakers loudly denounced bank skullduggery to fix Libor rates. Then came demands for Fed action to create U.S. jobs. The latter is at least clearly legal, but it’s still manipulation – and it has far more potential to damage markets for the long term.

Jul 6, 2012
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China grows faster but most Cubans are better off

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

Raul Castro could use his visit to China to pick up a few tips. True, the Caribbean nation hasn’t done so badly despite being isolated by U.S. trade sanctions. It is still richer than China, less unequal and less corrupt. Still, a smattering of China-style reforms, particularly allowing freer movement of prices, could produce a useful boost to growth and prosperity.

Jul 5, 2012
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Mongolia’s task: avoid Nigerian resource curse

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

In much of the developing world, natural resources seem to offer a handy way out of poverty. But they also present a curse. Mongolia, where the center-right Democratic Party led last week’s elections on a wave of resource nationalism, would be wise to avoid the mistakes of Nigeria and other nations. Government and private fingers can get sticky, the bonanza wasted and non-resource activity burdened and disincentivized.

Jun 27, 2012
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Wall Street defeated by Ivory Tower in Virginia

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By Martin Hutchinson and Megan Miller
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Wall Street’s latest defeat has taken place far from the canyons of downtown Manhattan on the Palladian campus of the University of Virginia, and by an unlikely adversary – the ivory tower. The school founded by Thomas Jefferson reinstated Teresa Sullivan as president on Tuesday, overturning an ouster supported by hedge fund titan Paul Tudor Jones and former Goldman Sachs executive Peter Kiernan. But victory may be pyrrhic. For UVA to thrive in a bleaker fiscal world, the paradigm shifts Sullivan resisted look unavoidable.

Jun 22, 2012

Bank regulators should get heavy on risk-weighting

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

By Martin Hutchinson

NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) – It’s time for
bank regulators to get heavy on risk weighting. The financial
and euro zone crises have shown the drawbacks of using banks’
home-grown models to weigh different risks. These encourage
unhealthy arbitrage by favoring assets that enjoy favorable
treatment. A tougher cap on the ratio of equity to total assets
would limit abuse. So would banning risk measures that ignore
extreme events.

Jun 22, 2012

BREAKINGVIEWS:Bank regulators should get heavy on risk-weighting

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

By Martin Hutchinson

NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) – It’s time for
bank regulators to get heavy on risk weighting. The financial
and euro zone crises have shown the drawbacks of using banks’
home-grown models to weigh different risks. These encourage
unhealthy arbitrage by favoring assets that enjoy favorable
treatment. A tougher cap on the ratio of equity to total assets
would limit abuse. So would banning risk measures that ignore
extreme events.

Jun 18, 2012
via Breakingviews

NYC plan needs Financier Bloomberg not Mayor Mike

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

New York City needs Mayor Michael Bloomberg to seek counsel from the billionaire financier Michael Bloomberg. Privatizing some 90,000 parking spaces, an idea the city is considering, could raise billions of dollars to head off looming budget deficits. But other similar deals have sacrificed long-term revenue for short-term relief. Political expediency should take a backseat in the Big Apple. A joint venture would work better.

Quick fixes can be hazardous. Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley, for example, sold 75 years worth of parking revenue for almost $1.2 billion in 2008. Though the city has retained the right to set rates, annual revenue has nearly quadrupled, to $80 million, mostly under new management, between 2007 and 2011. The arrangement balanced the city’s budget in Daley’s last year in office but has been very unpopular because of the results.

Jun 14, 2012
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Middle-class American dream needs less real estate

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

The middle-class American dream has taken a hit from real estate. According to the Federal Reserve’s new triennial survey of family finances, U.S. families in the middle income bracket lost 29 percent of their net worth between 2007 and 2010 in real terms, with the median household left with $65,900 of net assets. The plunge in home values was largely to blame. Yet the rich got richer, helped by tax deductions for retirement accounts and mortgage interest that make it cheaper for them to save. Policy can help redress the balance.

Jun 13, 2012
via Breakingviews

National breakups don’t work like corporate ones

By Martin Hutchinson

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

The recent attempt by Malian rebels to split their country is not wrong in principle. With good will and support from the rest of the world, some national partitions – not unlike corporate breakups – produce smaller, better-governed and more prosperous nations. But military force makes such results rare and disasters all too common.

    • About Martin

      "Martin Hutchinson is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist and writes about emerging markets, particularly in Latin America, and monetary and macroeconomic issues. He is a former merchant/investment banker with 27 years of experience."
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