LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Robert Mugabe will cast a long shadow over Zimbabwe. The 93-year-old ruler, who is refusing to step down after the military seized power five days ago, is likely to be impeached after nearly four decades in power. He bequeaths an economy in dire need of reforms. The most important – luring back foreign investment and restoring trust in a dysfunctional currency system – will happen over years, not weeks.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Good sometimes comes from bad. The collapse of German coalition talks on Monday, after the Free Democrats (FDP) walked out of discussions led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, definitely looks inauspicious. Prolonged political uncertainty in Europe’s biggest economy will delay reforms that would better protect the euro zone against the next downturn or crisis. But a wholesale revamp of the single currency area will in the end be easier if Merkel doesn’t have to pander
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Alibaba's deal suggests grocery stores are queuing up to check out. The e-commerce goliath agreed to buy 36 percent of Chinese supermarket operator Sun Art Retail for $2.9 billion. To land the stake at a massive discount implies brick-and-mortar store owners see the writing on the wall.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The telecom firm’s acquisition of Time Warner, owner of CNN, may hit regulatory hurdles in D.C. President Trump’s caustic tweets against the news network look self-interested, but watchdogs could yet legitimately rethink norms of competition. Plus: GE searches for a way forward.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Latin America has battled dictators and demagogues. Its next adversary is lawlessness. As Michael Reid writes in "Forgotten Continent: A History of the New Latin America," further steps toward prosperity depend on the region's willingness to embrace the rule of law and effective institutions – both of which are still lacking.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Northern Ireland has become Brexit’s Gordian knot. Avoiding a hard border in the region is an aim of all sides in negotiations over Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. The least-worst fix is for Europe to treat Northern Ireland the way it does Norway. That’s only possible if pro-UK politicians in Belfast can be made to see the economic necessity.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Since June, when Amazon.com agreed to buy Whole Foods Market, Kroger, the largest publicly traded U.S. supermarket chain, has seen nearly $8 billion of its market value disappear. That is a testament to the Shiva-like force the e-commerce pioneer led by Jeff Bezos can unleash, threatening to destroy swaths of the retail landscape and many of its jobs.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Honesty is often touted as the best policy. It may be the hardest one for central bankers to adopt. Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane this week told a conference of global rate-setters to speak simply and truthfully to the general public. His advice is laudable but difficult to follow in its entirety.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - An accounting malfunction has thrown a wrench into hopes for GKN’s re-engineering. Chief executive-designate Kevin Cummings is leaving the UK-based car parts and aerospace group with immediate effect after it unearthed more audit problems in the aerospace unit he ran. The mess reinforces the case for breaking the company into two, but also delays any retooling.
NEW YORK/HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Scarcity value was on vivid display on Wednesday night at Christie’s in New York. The auction house sold Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” for $450 million to an unidentified telephone bidder, after hyping the 16th-century work with a weeks-long world tour. That price, more than four times Christie’s roughly $100 million estimate, makes it by far the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction.
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