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Breakingviews - Venezuela’s Maduro caught in pincer movement

Venezuela’s inept socialist leader Nicolás Maduro is caught in a pincer movement largely of his own making. Street protesters are demanding his ouster and opposition leader Juan Guaidó has declared himself interim president. The self-inflicted wound of cratering oil output, though, is what will get him in the end.

Breakingviews - Oleg Deripaska’s En+ deal is more sour than sweet

Oleg Deripaska has become a political football. A pre-Christmas deal with the U.S. Treasury to lift sanctions on the Russian oligarch’s power group En+ has riled Democrats worried about the Kremlin’s influence in domestic politics. While the deal contains multiple grey areas, the overall upshot looks sufficiently black and white.

Breakingviews - Toyota JV recharges Panasonic’s battery business

A joint venture with Toyota should help recharge Panasonic’s battery business. The deal unveiled on Tuesday involves pooling resources at factories in Japan and China by the end of 2020. It represents a technological step forward for the $200 billion automaker, whilst reducing Panasonic’s dependence on Tesla.

Breakingviews - White House hopefuls in denial on Wall St donors

White House hopefuls are in denial about Wall Street donors. Some Democratic presidential contenders promise to shun corporate funds. But a large war chest will be handy amid a crowded field of progressives. President Donald Trump has already raised more than $100 million for his 2020 re-election bid.

Breakingviews - Brazil’s Bolsonaro clears low Davos bar

Jair Bolsonaro cleared a low bar at Davos. In his first overseas appearance since taking office, Brazil’s new president on Tuesday made a brief and vague sales pitch for a "new Brazil". Business optimism about the country is running high, and modest changes can help deliver early wins. The longer term, however, is another matter.

Breakingviews - Busy activists navigate tricky currents

Activist investors are bigger and busier, but face tricky currents in 2019. That was the upshot of the debates about cage-rattling shareholders at Breakingviews Predictions events this month. Investors are taking on larger and more high-profile targets – witness recent campaigns against the likes of Pernod Ricard, Barclays, and United Technologies. But big shareholders are becoming more demanding, and private equity may muscle in.

Breakingviews - Cost cuts can help UBS ride market ructions

UBS has sounded the end of an era on a bum note. A quarterly pre-tax loss at the lender’s investment bank coincided with the sudden departure of chief rainmaker Andrea Orcel, while market declines saw wealth management profit fall sharply. Still, as long as Chef Executive Sergio Ermotti can stick to his cost-cutting targets the group should be able to manage volatile conditions better than peers.

Breakingviews - Fewer Chinese babies intensify an old story

Fewer Chinese babies are really an old story. The country’s birth rate fell below 11 for every 1,000 people last year, the lowest level since the People’s Republic started in 1949. It’s a reminder of how pressing it is to redesign a weak pension system.

Breakingviews - Cox: Davos becomes a liability in the populist era

What do Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Narendra Modi and Theresa May have in common? Besides leading the United States, Canada, France, India and United Kingdom, not much – except that all of them are skipping the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. Each of the leaders came to the Swiss Alps last year to deliver their takes on globalisation - or at least flog their nations as the world’s optimal destinations for capital.

Breakingviews - Bold Chinese stimulus will have to wait

Bold Chinese stimulus will have to wait. The country’s gross domestic product grew 6.4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, down from 6.5 percent in the third. Growth is cooling faster than Beijing wants, but not fast enough to warrant the aggressive monetary and fiscal steps some bureaucrats, and many investors, would like to see.

About Breakingviews

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time. Sign up for a free trial of our full service at http://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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