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Jan 16, 2014
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Hong Kong can’t build away high house prices

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Hong Kong’s plan to cool an overheated housing market by increasing supply sounds like repeating past mistakes. Even if the territory is able to boost construction as much as it intends, the expansion is modest. Property prices remain at the mercy of external forces.

Jan 13, 2014
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Hong Kong power IPO less generous than it looks

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Li Ka-shing is betting that a generous dividend will lure investors into the spin-off of his Hong Kong power utility. The tycoon has lowered the price range for HK Electric to ensure buyers of the investment trust get a yield of more than 6 percent. But the possibility of market-wide higher interest rates makes that look less than electrifying.

Jan 7, 2014
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Samsung woes strengthen case for cash handout

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Samsung may just have strengthened the case for handing more of its cash to investors. The South Korean electronics giant’s fourth-quarter operating profit came in lower than expected after it paid employees a one-off bonus. Though a strengthening home currency and competition from arch-rival Apple remain a concern, Samsung can afford to show shareholders some generosity too.

Dec 31, 2013
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Local audit highlights China’s debt dilemma

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By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

China is being a bit more precise about its debt problem. A long-awaited audit of local government borrowing shows that provinces, towns and villages collectively owed 17.9 trillion yuan ($2.96 trillion) at the end of June, including contingent liabilities. The state will now have to decide which of those debts it wants to stand behind. Its approach will offer some hints about the importance of leverage for China’s economic growth.

Dec 20, 2013
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China is moving closer to its “Dubai moment”

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

China’s reform drive is getting closer to its “Dubai moment”. The emirate’s 2009 refusal to bail out its flagship holding company shocked lenders who had assumed all debt carried an implicit state guarantee. As China introduces market forces to its financial system, it will also have to draw a clearer line between public and private lending.

Dec 16, 2013
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U.S. and China will set global growth pace in 2014

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Robyn Mak 

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The United States and China will determine the pace of global growth in 2014. Though America accounts for a quarter of the world economy and China less than a tenth, the two countries will generate roughly half the expansion in overall GDP next year. With Europe in the doldrums, Japan still recovering and emerging markets subdued, the planet heavily depends on its twin engines.

Dec 13, 2013
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HK inside-trade payout more deterrent than portent

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A group of nearly 300 Hong Kong investors are about to share an early $3 million Christmas present. That’s the amount former Morgan Stanley banker Du Jun has been told to pay the unwitting victims of his insider trading in 2007. White collar criminals should beware, but investors shouldn’t expect a rush of future payments.

Dec 6, 2013
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Benefits of being “G-SIFI” seem to outweigh costs

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

The benefits of being labeled “too big to fail” may just outweigh the costs. Since regulators first published their list of global systemically important financial institutions, or G-SIFIs, the banks concerned have boosted capital and tamped down balance sheets. But smaller lenders, particularly in Europe, have done the same without joining the club. And shareholders seem not to notice much of a difference.

Dec 5, 2013
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China anti-bitcoin ruling will shake believers

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

So much for China’s willingness to tolerate financial innovation. Regulators have barred the country’s banks from trading bitcoin, while denying the pseudo-money legal status and cracking down on anonymous users. Though China has stopped short of an outright ban, the move dashes hopes the country might allow start-up currencies to exist alongside the official renminbi.

Nov 18, 2013
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The ‘Abe put’ will keep Japanese equities buoyed

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Say sayonara to the “Bernanke put” and hello to Shinzo Abe’s alternative. While the Federal Reserve chairman developed a reputation for supporting the price of bonds, the Japanese prime minister’s reforms are designed to push up stock prices.

    • 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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