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, WASHINGTON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Enter the trade war corporate welfare state. As China and the United States ratchet up tariffs, politicians are trying to reassure anxious executives with talk of targeted exemptions and subsidies. That just leads to unhealthy and lasting government influence over industry.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The tech hub is getting squeezed by new policy restrictions amid a looming trade war between the U.S. and China. How is the Valley holding up? Plus: India's state lenders are losing CEOs. Is running these banks into the ground part of the plan?
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chinese markets have much to fear from fear itself. Global angst mostly accounts for a recent 6 percent fall in the yuan against the U.S. dollar. There’s little to dread about tumbling Chinese stocks or an uptick in bond defaults. Patience is not one of President Xi Jinping’s virtues, though, and panicked intervention by frightened officials is a risk.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A U.S. setback for China Mobile could set a precedent. The Chinese telecoms operator’s application to offer international calls from America is likely to be rejected, after seven years mouldering in the Federal Communications Commission's inbox. With a unit of the Commerce Department recommending an FCC veto based on security concerns, a campaign to cramp Beijing's ability to monitor overseas traffic from Chinese companies and individuals could be getting underway.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Baidu's planned $1 billion share buyback appears neither generous nor wise. Stock markets have been looking a bit rough recently but the internet giant's shares have still outperformed the S&P 500 since the start of the year, and it could have afforded more munificence. At the same time, the clunky search engine wants to reinvent itself as a leader in artificial intelligence and quantum computing, both of which are expensive endeavours. The $85 billion company has better things to do with its money.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Washington’s trade threats are giving Beijing an excuse to slide back into state bailouts. The latest easing move from the People's Bank of China reduces the amount of funds banks must hold in reserve, effectively releasing $108 billion into the financial system. The liquidity will buttress rattled markets, and should also bring borrowing costs down. Unfortunately, regulators want most of the funds to go towards supporting the conversion of debt owed by rickety state-owned steel and coal companies into equity. That will prop up state zombies, while private sector profit margins shrink.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sino-American trade tensions could hit U.S. stocks from another angle. Chinese state media published commentary this week suggesting that heavyweights doing business in the People’s Republic, including Intel and Caterpillar, may be targeted for retaliation. The ability to flog them financially is constrained by domestic economic realities, but expansion plans could be curbed.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The markets just delivered a stinging reminder about Chinese consumption. Fresh threats by President Donald Trump to apply tariffs on another $200 billion of goods from the People’s Republic sent mainland stocks reeling on Tuesday. They are now trading at their lowest in a year. Bond prices also fell and the yuan posted its sharpest single-day decline against the dollar since January 2017. Local demand has not yet decoupled from global trade.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chinese airlines are ready to rumble. Having freed local carriers to hike fees at home, Beijing will now let them compete on long-hauls to overseas destinations. A price war to serve popular destinations is in the offing, as the Big Three - China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Air China - fight it out. That will come at foreign rivals' expense.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Trump administration’s decision to ban U.S. companies from selling to the Chinese telecom giant is seriously hurting the company's business. And there’s no easy plan B for ZTE. Also: China has a new way to measure unemployment. Should investors take it seriously?
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