Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

Club Fed: the ties that bind at the Fed

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USA-FED/BERNANKE We’re getting a lot of good feedback on our special report on cozy ties between Wall Street and the Fed. As one Wall Street economist put it: “I’ve never seen the ‘Fed Alumni Association’ used more extensively for back-channel communications with the Street than has been the case since June.”

The story pulls back the veil on the privileged access that Federal Reserve officials give to big investors, former Fed officials, money market advisers and hedge funds.

Another economist from a European bank thanked us for the report, saying: “I hate the idea that monetary policy is communicated through non-official channels, be it old friends or newsprint.”

Personally, I’d argue that if it comes via the press, at least the information is available to everybody in the market at the same time, but then a journalist would say that.

Singapore Swing: Nanny state loosens up to attract wealth

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MOTOR-RACING/PRIX

Some assignments are tough in this business. Getting embedded in a U.S. tank in an Iraqi desert. Gulping tear gas during a  riot. Spending hours at an APEC conference desperately seeking news in the snooze-fest.

This one was fairly enjoyable to tell you the truth. Reuters Singapore Bureau Chief Raju Gopalkrishnan set out to tell the tale of how Singapore, the Southeast Asian city better known for things like banning chewing gum and canning juveniles, has been undergoing something of a transformation of late. From “nanny state” to Singapore swing.

Dubai comeback already?

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UAE

We went behind the scenes of Dubai’s debt debacle last November and found a much more sober city-state starting to rebuild itself from the $59 billion hole that was dug by the whizz kids who had powered its transformation. Loans don’t come as easy — particularly the nod and the wink of association with the royal family isn’t cutting it like it used to.

Some people see a connection between the crisis and the fact that Dubai has also started to tighten up on its trade with Iran, in line with broader international sanctions, but we’re not so sure about that.

Morbid money-spinners

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If the life settlements market seems ghoulish, here’s a British scandal which isn’t doing the image of the business any favours. It’s one of the worst the country’s seen.

Around 30,000 mainly elderly investors in the UK put their money into a company called Keydata, hoping to make a little extra cash to fund their own retirement with the promise of a healthy return.

Have Europe’s unions had their day?

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Here in Europe, as spending cuts bite ever deeper, you might expect people to have taken to the streets in their thousands and be up in arms, in defence of the hard-won rights that this round of austerity is threatening. Some are, but not in anything like the numbers they have been in the past. With a Europe-wide day of action coming up on Sept 29 that may change…

But, so far at least, the most remarkable thing has been just how tame the strikes have been, how ineffective the unions look. Why is it that? Are Europe’s unions less powerful? Or less relevant? Sarah Morris in Spain and Gavin Jones in Italy found a host of reasons why young and old today are not rallying to the cause — and not just that they’re scared of losing their jobs.

Winning the popular vote in Venezuela

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The results of Venezuela’s parliamentary election are in and, as we said in last week’s special report, it’s not enough to win the popular vote. The opposition to President Hugo Chavez say they have won 52 percent of the vote, but that gives them only a third of the seats in parliament. Read our latest story here.

Still, it was a major blow to Chavez and raises opposition hopes of defeating him at the next presidential election in 2012.

It’s all Brazil, all the time

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BRAZIL-ECONOMY/CHINAAnother day, another Brazil story. No, not Petrobras, though that is worth reading too.

Luciana Lopez has a story about soy and shoes. It might seem like an odd combination but the two are important industries in Brazil which is undergoing an economic transformation as it comes to terms with China’s growing global clout.

In case you missed them

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Just because it was summer, doesn’t mean we weren’t busy here at Reuters. Here are a few of our recent special reports that you might have missed.

IRAN-OBAMA/ECOMOMYTracking Iran’s nuclear money trail to Turkey. U.N. correspondent Lou Charbonneau – who used to cover the IAEA for Reuters –  followed the money to Turkey where an Iranian bank under U.S. and EU sanctions is operating freely. Nice to see the New York Times follow up on this today, and the Washington Post also quizzed Turkey’s president about it.

Enter stage left — Brazil’s next president?

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BRAZIL-ELECTION/ROUSSEFFNot every president has a police mugshot, but it’s not so surprising in Latin America.

A special report out of Brazil today sheds new light on Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla leader who is likely to be elected the booming country’s next president. She spent nearly three years in jail in the early 1970s and was tortured by her military captors. She’s come a long way since then.

Dive in, the water’s fine

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Special reports are the best of the best from Reuters, and this is the place to find them. We’ll be featuring investigative stories, in-depth profiles and long-form narrative stories here.

Reuters has a global Enteprise Reporting team with editors in New York, London and Singapore, drawing on the work of some 2,900 journalists in 200 bureaus around the world.