Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China's regulatory mega-merger cries out for some significant synergies. A newly simplified organizational chart combines banking and insurance regulation while eliminating and consolidating the work of other ministries. It should reduce fees, red tape and corruption. The benefits will be limited, though, if headcounts aren't slashed, too. The country's 7 million bureaucrats have grown too fond of mindless crackdowns.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China's bank regulator is easing buffers required for problem loans, according to media reports. This is another incremental move to offset a crackdown on shadow banking. More cash for lending will boost bank profits, especially at smaller institutions – or make it easier to bring off-balance-sheet assets back aboard. Even so, Beijing is relaxing too quickly about bad debt.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Delegates at the opening of China's annual political conferences on Monday were invited to apply their well-worn rubber stamps to a retread of 2017's economic plan. Chief economic planner Liu He promised this year’s World Economic Forum that his country would surprise foreigners with the aggressiveness of its reforms. Not so far.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The economic recovery in 2017 is feeding complacency among Chinese officials. Yet while overseas money pours into stocks and bonds, this cash doesn't boost efficiency the way long-term foreign direct investment does - and China remains highly inefficient.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s shared bikes are ready to merge into the car lane. A slew of two-wheeled ventures have exhausted investor cash and municipal patience. Left standing will be market leaders Mobike and Ofo, both valued at over $1 billion. Instead of uniting in 2018, though, they will tie up with the likes of taxi app Didi Chuxing.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A chastened Tianjin-based property developer is laying the foundation to build a better balance sheet. Sunac China Holdings plans to raise $1 billion by selling discounted shares. Thanks to a 380 percent rise in the company's share price over the last 12 months, it's a good time to tap the market for cash. Given how aggressive Chairman Sun Hongbin has been, though, he probably will need to do so again.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jack Ma is pedaling headlong into China's troubled bicycle-sharing sector. Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial just hedged its investment in Ofo with a $300 million stake in Shanghai-listed Youon. That's another 80 million potential users for its Alipay system. The move reflects rising stakes in a cutthroat battle with Mobike, backed by payments rival Tencent.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - U.S. President Donald Trump is back from his China visit, but the afterglow of his bromance with counterpart Xi Jinping has faded fast. Unimpressed with progress on North Korea and market opening, the White House has moved aggressively to target aluminium dumping. This is just an opening salvo in what looks set to be an acrimonious renegotiation of the world's most important trade relationship.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It is time to start worrying about Chinese bonds. Tightening regulation has provoked a sharp selloff in the $9 trillion fixed-income market, with collateral damage to share. If stress is sustained, it could infect China’s giant pile of foreign-currency debt.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - CEFC China Energy will aggravate Western paranoia over Beijing's investment intentions. The private company came out of nowhere to buy a $9.1 billion stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft - the sort of deal once reserved for state energy champions. It has raised eyebrows by trying to invest in U.S. brokerage Cowen. Now Reuters reports the enigmatic firm might bid for Time Warner's stake in a central European media group. The company is acting as if it has a permit to deal issued from President Xi Jinping himself.
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