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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.

Nov 14, 2013
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QE’s surprising beneficiaries: taxpayers

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Central bank money-printing has produced winners and losers. The biggest beneficiaries may be taxpayers. That’s the conclusion of the McKinsey Global Institute’s new study of who’s up and who’s down after five years of ultra-low interest rates. Though the exercise has its limitations, it’s a welcome antidote to the common idea that quantitative easing has only benefitted the rich.

Nov 11, 2013
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White male banker jabs at finance’s glass ceiling

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A white male banker is trying to tackle the finance industry’s glass ceiling. HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver has spent the past few years trying to cut costs and raise ethical standards. Now he wants the bank to change its culture in order to attract and retain more senior women. Though the insight is hardly new, it’s significant that a male CEO is publicly acknowledging the problem.

Nov 6, 2013
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U.S. investors’ love of tech defeats fear of China

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

For U.S. investors, love of technology has conquered a fear of China. Shareholders are snapping up shares of Chinese internet companies going public stateside. It’s a striking contrast with the recent past, when accounting scams and poor governance prompted many to shun mainland stocks.

Nov 1, 2013
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Sony stumble gives Loeb headache and opportunity

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Sony may have given Dan Loeb a headache – and an opportunity. The Japanese group’s quarterly loss knocked almost 12 percent off its market value by midday on Nov. 1 and raised questions about the company’s revival. Poor results from Sony’s entertainment and electronics arms suggest there’s limited upside from the spinoff that activist investor Loeb proposed earlier this year. However, it may give him a chance to push for more radical restructuring.

Oct 25, 2013
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Carney shows touching faith in financial regulation

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Edward Hadas

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

Mark Carney has made a clean break with his predecessor. Thursday’s unabashedly pro-finance speech from the new governor of the UK central bank was quite different from anything that Mervyn King would have said. King thought larger banks inevitably brought moral hazard. Carney said “it is not for the Bank of England to decide how big the financial sector should be.”

Oct 25, 2013
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HK anti-foreigner property tax hits wrong target

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Hong Kong’s assault on foreign property speculators has hit the wrong target. It’s a year since the territory took aim at non-resident apartment buyers by forcing them to pay an extra 15 percent stamp duty. The drastic move has cooled demand for luxury flats and prompted investors from mainland China to look elsewhere. But the smaller flats that Hong Kong citizens care about most are still getting more expensive.

Oct 8, 2013
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Three taboo-breaking deals offer hope for Japan

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

Japan Inc is breaking some deep-rooted taboos. The country’s corporate establishment has long frowned on companies that succumb to foreign takeovers, offload non-core businesses, or leverage up for acquisitions. Three recent M&A deals suggest these strictures are no longer so tight. A freer form of capitalism may be taking hold in the land of the rising sun.

Sep 27, 2013
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Review: The puzzle of Fred Goodwin’s rise and fall

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Early in 2009, the British government was preparing to bail out Royal Bank of Scotland for the second time in four months. An emergency injection of capital in October 2008 had failed to shore up confidence. Now taxpayers were being asked to cover potential losses on almost 300 billion pounds of toxic RBS assets. Yet as the details of the rescue were finalised, British public opinion was in uproar over a much, much smaller sum: the 700,000 pound a year pension being paid to Fred Goodwin, the bank’s former chief executive.

    • 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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