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Jan 9, 2013
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Ping An flop could leave HSBC red-faced but richer

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A failed Ping An sale could leave HSBC red-faced, but richer. If regulators veto the UK bank’s $9.4 billion plan to offload its near-16 percent stake in the Chinese insurer, HSBC’s reputation will take a knock. But it could still end up financially better off.

Nov 30, 2012
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HK exchange plays it safe with equity finance

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Hong Kong’s stock exchange is playing it safe. The bourse’s $1 billion share placing will allow it to repay more than half the debt it took on to buy the London Metals Exchange earlier this year. Ultra-low yields might make bonds look tempting. But a recent share rebound, and HKEx’s hefty dividend payout, justifies its cautious approach.

Nov 19, 2012
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HSBC needs to put numbers on China ambition

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

HSBC’s global strategy overhaul has reached China: the emerging market lender is in talks about offloading its 16 percent stake in Ping An, the Chinese insurer. Chief executive Stuart Gulliver could go further, by putting some numbers on his ambitions for the bank’s other Chinese assets – particularly its even-larger shareholding in Bank of Communications.

Nov 5, 2012
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HSBC still aiming at its moving targets

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Stuart Gulliver is sticking to his targets. That makes him stick out. While many bank chiefs have scaled back their financial ambitions, HSBC’s chief executive is persisting with the goals he set for the lender 18 months ago. But if one-off charges for UK mis-selling and U.S. money-laundering keep repeating, HSBC may yet need to lower its sights.

Nov 2, 2012
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Japan risks consumer electronics death spiral

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

“We are among the losers in consumer electronics.” That frank assessment by Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga sums up the state of Japan’s once world-beating electronics industry. The economy is partly to blame for slumping demand for Japanese gadgets, but so are rivals like Apple and Samsung. The worry is that the financial squeeze undermines product development, leaving Japan ever further behind.

Oct 29, 2012
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Hong Kong’s anti-foreigner property tax may spread

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Hong Kong’s new anti-foreigner property tax may catch on elsewhere. Battling the effects of cheap money and capital flight, the territory’s authorities have slapped a 15 percent stamp duty on buyers without a permanent residents’ card. Though the move will have unintended side effects, its political logic could prove appealing in other urban hotspots.

Sep 13, 2012
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Dutch politics returns to centre – and Europe

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Dutch politics has reverted to its centrist, pro-European norm. After an extended flirtation with anti-austerity and anti-euro groups, voters have overwhelmingly backed parties from the country’s political mainstream. That’s a relief for euro zone leaders who feared that a radical government might end up ruling a core country of the monetary union. But the noisy campaign will complicate efforts to form a coalition, while fringe voices remain ready to exploit any future unease.

Sep 7, 2012
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Asia’s crowded IPOs keep banks busy but poor

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Asia’s scarce IPOs are attracting a crowd. Amid a dearth of listings, underwriters are jostling for a role on new equity offerings. Bankers get league table credit, while companies can claim safety in numbers. But there’s no future in scrapping over a dwindling fee pool. Banks must justify their existence in other ways – or shrink.

Sep 4, 2012
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Urban real estate may not be such a safe haven

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By Peter Thal Larsen
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

 

Urban real estate may prove a deceptive safe haven. Investors seeking refuge from economic turmoil in the euro zone and mainland China are snapping up prime houses and apartments in the likes of London and Hong Kong. That risks crowding out locals. If the onslaught continues, cities may start to raise defenses.

Aug 8, 2012
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Standard Chartered selloff has gone far enough

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Standard Chartered’s share price plunge has gone far enough. A New York regulator’s allegations of sanctions busting and threats to remove its Wall Street licence wiped almost a quarter off the bank’s market value. StanChart’s reputation as a haven from economic and regulatory storms will be hard to rebuild. But its position in emerging markets – and persistent takeover speculation – should support the shares.

    • About Peter

      "Peter is Assistant Editor of Reuters Breakingviews, based in London. He oversees coverage of financial services and regulation. Prior to joining Reuters, Peter spent 10 years at the Financial Times. From 2004 to 2009 he was the FT’s banking editor, leading the paper’s award-winning coverage of global banking during the credit crunch. Between 2000 and 2004 Peter reported for the FT from New York. He played a leading role in the paper’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. A Dutch national, Peter has degrees from Bristol University and the London School of Economics."
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