Pierre's Feed
Mar 25, 2015
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Hermes shares look too glossy

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

Hermes has won many a handbag fight. In the last two years its high-end leather goods found eager buyers in most markets, despite global economic weakness. On the home front the family controlled group has freed itself from the smothering embrace of Louis Vuitton owner LVMH.

Feb 10, 2015
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Greece is creating room for deal with euro zone

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By Pierre Briancon

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

Greece has the choice between a climbdown and a showdown. It may be leaning towards the former. After two weeks of scaring financial markets and raising the hackles of its euro zone partners, the country’s inexperienced leaders go to Brussels this week with proposals that can at least be the basis of a reasonable discussion.

Jan 27, 2015
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ECB, Syriza have broken euro zone’s German spell

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By Pierre Briançon

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

For the euro zone, the victory of the anti-austerity Syriza party in the Greek election is not just a political test. It marks the beginning of a new, more promising phase of the monetary union’s history, the end of a five-month transition period that saw the monetary union break the German spell. Austerity at all costs cannot, will not be at the heart of Europe’s crisis-resolution mechanism, as it has been for the last five years.

Jan 22, 2015
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Fudge on loss-sharing weakens ECB’s massive attack

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Mario Draghi has compromised on principles for the sake of effectiveness. The European Central Bank’s president announced on Jan. 22 a long-expected bond-buying programme that will be massive from the start and will last until euro zone inflation gets back on track. But the euro zone’s version of quantitative easing runs contrary to principles of a currency union.

Jan 8, 2015
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Response to Paris attacks caught between two risks

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By Pierre Briancon

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

It is safe to assume that Charlie Hebdo would not have hesitated to extract satire even from the depths of its own tragedy. Only the murder of its editor and some of its most celebrated cartoonists, in a shooting rampage that left 12 dead in and near the French weekly’s office on Wednesday, will prevent the magazine from doing its job this week – lampooning powers-that-be and all forms of authority, steering clear of anything resembling tact or conventional good taste.

Jan 2, 2015
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Europe returns to Franco-German axis of neurosis

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Europe’s economic stagnation has a lot to do with its political paralysis. In 2014, the emphasis was on what governments should have done – and could still do – to boost the continent’s potential after two years of EU economic contraction. In 2015, the crisis at the heart of Europe’s malaise, the breakdown of the French-German partnership, will take centre stage.

Dec 29, 2014
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Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Western economic sanctions against Russia were expected to have no effect. Yet they have caused much pain. They were also meant to have a clear goal. So far, they don’t.

Dec 16, 2014
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Rouble free fall throws Russia into ugly spiral

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The Central Bank of Russia was successful for about two hours. Its overnight decision to hike the main interest rate from 10.5 percent to 17 percent initially shocked markets enough to arrest the rouble’s fall after the currency sank almost 12 percent on Dec. 15. But the Russian currency quickly resumed its slide, smashing record lows – as if the central bank hadn’t moved at all. That leaves policymakers with few sensible short-term options. Further out, only an end to the Ukrainian stand-off and related Western sanctions or sharply higher oil prices could soothe markets. Neither is likely to happen soon.

The rouble rout was triggered by a central bank forecast that oil prices settling at around $60 a barrel would push Russia into severe recession next year. Shrinking oil revenue, together with the sanctions-induced lack of foreign currency funding, explain why companies have been hoarding dollars to meet some $138 billion worth of debt payments by mid 2016. Individual depositors, who remained remarkably calm throughout the year as the rouble fell, may also have accelerated the conversion of their deposits into dollars in recent days, prompting the central bank’s shock-and-awe approach.

Dec 10, 2014
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French reform bill more talk than walk

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By Pierre Briançon

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

In most Western countries, a lawyers’ strike would just provide fodder for stand-up comics. In France, where strikes are taken seriously, it is a sign that the government must be doing something right – taking on an entrenched interest group.

Dec 3, 2014
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Sinking rouble puts debt squeeze on Russia Inc

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Russia does not have an external debt problem. At around 37 percent of GDP – versus 1.5 to three times GDP, say, for developed European economies – it should be easily manageable. For Russian companies and banks, it’s a different story.

    • About Pierre

      "Pierre Briançon is Reuters Breakingviews' Paris correspondent. He joined Breakingviews.com in 2006, after heading the Dow Jones Newswires Paris Bureau Chief for three years. Previously, he had been: business editor of Libération, then the newspaper's Moscow and Washington correspondent; deputy editor of L’Expansion; and a producer/columnist for French radio and TV. He is also the author of Messier Story (2002), on the fall of Vivendi’s former chief executive, Héritiers du désastre (1992) on the collapse of the Soviet Union, and San Quentin Jazz Band (2008)."
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