Edition:
United Kingdom

Pete Sweeney

Breakingviews - Nissan CEO has overstayed a lukewarm welcome

05 Sep 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hiroto Saikawa has overstayed his welcome at the wheel of Nissan Motor. He and other executives may have padded their pay, Reuters reports. The figures at stake appear small compared to allegations levied against ousted boss Carlos Ghosn, but it hardly matters. Saikawa has neither rebuilt credibility nor fixed performance at the $25 bln carmaker. Investors have no cause to remain patient.

Breakingviews - Capitalist amnesia enables China’s tough line

02 Sep 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Capitalist amnesia is encouraging China’s hard line in Hong Kong. Violence in the financial hub worsened over the weekend. A Reuters report, meanwhile, says Beijing last month rejected a compromise with protesters. Investors have ignored ugly crackdowns before; that feeds cynical expectations that harsh measures will be forgiven again.

Breakingviews - China's big banks feel the bailout pinch

29 Aug 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China's Big Four lenders are feeling the pressure. Beijing, trying to slash a $310 billion pile of officially recognised bad debt, is pushing giants like China Construction Bank to help troubled smaller rivals, or rescue them outright. First-half earnings look healthy enough, but softer credit figures suggest they are already moving to shield their balance sheets.

Breakingviews - China’s car wreckage cries out for consolidation

27 Aug 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chinese carmakers are involved in a slow-motion wreck. Falling sales hit Geely Automobile Holdings and Great Wall Motor harder in the first half than rivals partnered with foreign marques. Both companies have started seeking JVs, too. A better route to recovery would be industry consolidation, and soon.

Breakingviews - Beijing’s Hong Kong hard line threatens everyone

22 Aug 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Beijing's hard line in Hong Kong should worry everyone else. President Xi Jinping had peaceful options to calm protesters. Instead state media accused them of treason and separatism; the army is on standby. That China would even consider sacrificing its only offshore financial centre to pander to nationalists suggests the onset of tragic policy–blindness.

Breakingviews - Twitter deserves a follow for China mute and block

20 Aug 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Twitter deserves a follow for muting and blocking China. The U.S. social network suspended state-backed accounts trying to subvert protests in Hong Kong. It also will stop accepting ads from government-controlled media. Beijing’s wedge issue provides a good opportunity for Facebook, YouTube and others to reconsider profiting from propaganda.

China’s best-case trade deal looks worse and worse

01 Aug 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s best-case scenario for a U.S. trade deal looks worse by the minute. Negotiators on Wednesday evening wrapped up yet another round of negotiations, but made little progress. A tariff ceasefire brokered in June has dragged on, and President Donald Trump no longer seems enthused about a quick deal that could expose him to criticism ahead of a 2020 presidential election. With supply chains already migrating out of the mainland and economic growth slowing, time is not on Beijing's side.

Breakingviews - Review: Fighting the second Cold War, lab by lab

26 Jul 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - In 1949, U.S. President Harry Truman proposed to share the fruits of American scientific primacy with poorer countries. "We must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas," he said during his inaugural address. "The old imperialism - exploitation for foreign profit - has no place in our plans."

Breakingviews - Abe's so-so victory is good for Japan's economy

22 Jul 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Shinzo Abe's so-so victory in Japanese elections over the weekend will keep his focus on the Japanese economy, where it should be. The prime minister's ruling coalition won a majority in Japan’s upper house, but slack turnout denied him enough seats to scrap the country’s constitutional commitment to pacifism. That clears away an unhelpful political distraction.

Breakingviews - The Exchange: Tiananmen 3.0

15 Jul 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Han Dongfang was expelled from China for organising worker protests that were bloodily suppressed in 1989. He founded China Labour Bulletin, which tracks factory protests, strikes and policy. He speaks with Pete Sweeney about the economic stress on workers and college graduates.

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