Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

China’s U.S. debt holdings make it a powerful negotiator

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Worrying about the power China has over the U.S. as America’s largest foreign creditor has become a national pastime. It’s a bipartisan issue in Congress and a favorite subject among pundits lamenting the decline in U.S. influence around the world. But could China really use its Treasury purchases to shape U.S. policy? Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and obtained by Reuters suggest that has already happened.

Emily Flitter’s special report outlines a diplomatic flare-up between the two superpowers following the U.S. financial crisis. Chinese officials said they were worried about the safety of their U.S. investments. U.S. diplomats worked hard to ease the tensions, but the conflict ultimately led to the request of a personal favor by a top Chinese money manager in a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read the special report in multimedia PDF format click here.

Paul Eckert has another special report out today based on WikiLeaks cables obtained by Reuters. This one sheds light on how the United States views China’s likely next leader, Xi Jinping. See that PDF here.

CHINA-SHANGHAI/CORRUPTION

The hurricane guessing game

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Unpredictable weather is making life difficult for insurers — see today’s special report: ”Extreme weather batters the insurance industry.”

By Ben Berkowitz

Every year forecasters at Colorado State University take their most educated guess as to how the next year’s hurricane season will unfold. It always draws headlines, but as history shows, that initial “best guess” is usually somewhat far off the mark.

Jamie Dimon: Good banker? Bad banker?

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The U.S. mortgage business is a “mess” in need of overhaul, JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon reckons.

(See our special report on Dimon today: “Jamie Dimon wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T”)

Boeing’s extreme outsourcing

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Today’s special report from Kyle Peterson takes an in-depth look at the development of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Boeing went further than ever before in outsourcing much of the work on the plane, upsetting its unionized workers in the Seattle area. This graphic shows why.

So what’s the result?

A revolutionary, light-weight aircraft that is nearly three years behind its delivery schedule.

Somebody’s been making money on Ford

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Here’s a line from our special report on Ford from Detroit today, by Bernie Woodall and Kevin Krolicki, who spent some quality time with Bill Ford earlier this week.

A $100,000 investment in the company’s stock at the bottom in late 2008 — when its cross-town rivals GM and Chrysler were nearing government bailouts — would be worth $1.8 million today.

Congratulations to Murray Waas

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WAASMurray Waas is picking up the prestigious Barlett & Steele award today in Phoenix for his special report on health insurers dropping patients after they were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Reynolds Center is holding a panel discussion with Murray and silver medal winner John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which will be streamed live here.

Full disclosure, or not

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USA/Our latest special report, “For some professors, disclosure is academic,” examines the question of academic independence in the world of economics.

Emily Flitter, Kristina Cooke and Pedro da Costa reviewed 96 testimonies given by 82 academics to the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee between late 2008 and early 2010 — as lawmakers debated the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s — and found no clear standard for disclosure. 

Dumb money on Wall Street

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Jonathan Spicer’s special report on dumb money in the stock market shows how a few powerful financial institutions make money from retail investors, and why the system is coming under scrutiny.

If you’re wondering what “dumb money” is, it basically refers to most trades by amateur investors like you and me.

An economic giant’s Achilles heel

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A year ago, Nick Carey went on a road trip around America for a project called “Route to Recovery” that took him to places hit hardest by the recession. Nick went to Saginaw, Michigan, this time for a follow-up special report on the manufacturing sector and structural unemployment: “Is America the sick man of the globe?”

One of the characters he met was Olen Ham, a retired GM worker and UAW member who is among the last of those who took part in the historic “Sitdown Strike” in 1936 that he says helped create America’s middle class. You can hear from Olen in this video:

Appraisal hell

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USA-HOUSING/APPRAISALSSenior personal finance correspondent Linda Stern has been delving into the housing market for a special report on home appraisals — “What’s a home worth? Pick a number, any number

It turns out a lot of people are in home appraisal hell.

The reasons for this new form of real estate limbo include new and proposed federal rules governing appraisals along with changes in the way appraisals are conducted. Plus, the uncertain housing market is creating price instability. The end result? Borrowers are missing out on low interest rates. And lenders are leery of the appraisals they get.