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Jul 10, 2013
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Rate reform will test China’s modernising mettle

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Freeing interest rates is more than a financial test for China. Lifting strict controls on the official cost of money is necessary for the development for the world’s second-largest economy. The question is whether China can avoid the financial problems that other liberalising countries suffered, and relax its grip on banks, companies, and citizens.

Jul 2, 2013
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Bitcoin ETF signals time to make market in cash

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

Exchange-traded funds are taking over the financial world. At last official count, there were nearly 1,200 of them at the end of 2012, compared to about 100 a decade ago, according to the Investment Company Institute trade group. With a new issue now linking to the virtual currency Bitcoin, the $1.3 trillion index tracker industry seems to cover nearly everything. And yet the most important asset class of all has been ignored. Breakingviews stands ready to remedy the situation.

Jun 28, 2013
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Review: Tales from China’s wild lending frontier

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Joe Zhang has impeccable timing. The former investment banker’s book about running a small Chinese microcredit firm, “Inside China’s Shadow Banking”, has hit shelves just as concerns about the country’s runaway credit boom are capturing global headlines. Yet despite the title, it’s China’s state-owned banking system that emerges as the tale’s dysfunctional villain.

Jun 20, 2013
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Lending squeeze tests faith in China’s authorities

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

Forget U.S. talk of monetary “tapering”: to see what it really looks like when liquidity is sucked out of the market, look to China. A standoff between the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the country’s overextended lenders has pushed short-term interbank rates to record highs. China’s closed and state-controlled financial system has a better chance of averting the kind of meltdown that took place in the United States and Europe during the financial crisis. But everything hinges on the authorities’ ability to react quickly and decisively.

Jun 17, 2013
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Singapore’s creative bank penalty may be a one-off

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Singapore has come up with a creative way of penalising rate-rigging banks. Regulators are forcing lenders implicated in manipulating the city-state’s borrowing and currency rates to set aside up to S$12 billion ($9.6 billion) in extra central bank reserves. With rates low, however, the costs will be much lower than recent mega-fines.

Jun 11, 2013
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SoftBank’s bump for Sprint isn’t a knock-out

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

SoftBank’s raised bid for Sprint Nextel is no knock-out blow. The Japanese group has tweaked its offer for a controlling stake in the U.S. telco to give the target’s shareholders more value. But Sprint shareholders would retain a stake in a Sprint that has more debt than first envisaged. That erodes SoftBank’s key advantage as it seeks to combat a rival bid from leveraged counterbidder Dish Network.

Jun 10, 2013
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Fugitive whistleblower puts China on the spot

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

Edward Snowden may have embarrassed the United States by leaking intelligence documents. But by seeking refuge in Hong Kong, the fugitive whistleblower has also put China on the spot. His case could become a high-profile test of Beijing’s policy towards the captive city-state, as well as towards its main geopolitical rival.

Jun 7, 2013
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Wine tariffs won’t end China’s thirst for Bordeaux

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Sorry, wine lovers: tariff threats won’t end China’s thirst for Bordeaux. Talk of restricting imports from Europe has raised hopes elsewhere that fine wines might become more affordable. But French chateaux have more to fear from China’s anti-corruption drive than from trade war.

Jun 5, 2013
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Asian tycoons give LBOs an eastern twist

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Asia’s tycoons are taking a page from the leveraged buyout manual. Shuanghui’s$4.7 billion takeover of U.S. pork producer Smithfield, like recent deals in Thailand and Singapore, combines hefty leverage with limited synergies.

Jun 4, 2013
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Japan e-book: Abe’s Economic Experiment

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Japan’s prime minister has electrified investors with his three-pronged strategy to shock the country out of its economic malaise. Abenomics has profound implications not just for Japan, but for the rest of the world too. Our new book examines the economic phenomenon of the year.

    • 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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