NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The death in December of Paul Volcker, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve and famed inflation-fighter, is a reminder that galloping price increases used to be a problem. In recent years, though, inflation has largely gone missing. Its return in 2020 would be an unexpected bright spot.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - A direct listing is “just an IPO without the O,” says Barry McCarthy, finance chief of music-streaming outfit Spotify Technology. McCarthy’s company, worth $26 billion in early December, used the non-standard method to go public in 2018, and $12 billion workplace-messaging service Slack Technologies followed in 2019. Investors can expect more. Direct listings could start borrowing features from initial public offerings, and the whole notion may jump across the Atlantic.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump may not care about most kinds of soft power, but the U.S. president likes to win. In the latest annual index of countries’ persuasiveness America is a loser: down to fifth from top of the rankings three years ago, and pipped for fourth place by Sweden. One-sided military might and economic heft only go so far.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The We Company’s prospectus for its flotation said its mission was “to elevate the world’s consciousness.” Having now abandoned its stock offering and its shamanic leader, the parent of shared-office provider WeWork has at least understood that self-realization is integral to that calling. But it needs more than greater awareness to ensure its survival.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Federal Reserve has turned. The U.S. central bank on Wednesday cut its target overnight interest cost by a quarter percentage point, to a range of 2% to 2.25%. For some, like U.S. President Donald Trump, that’s surely not enough. For others – and going by most economic statistics – it’s too much. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has found another way to please nobody.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Alan Turing is to feature on the UK’s new 50-pound note. Among many achievements, the mathematician and wartime code-breaker proposed a test for whether a machine can be described as intelligent. The smartest thing might be to scrap high-denomination banknotes rather than renewing them. But the Bank of England’s revamp of the highest value bill in public circulation just about passes its own Turing test.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Perhaps a quarter of the world’s oil is shipped through the Strait of Hormuz. So threats to tankers in the area should worry traders. Yet a couple of attacks on Thursday brought only a 2.5% jump in the price of Brent crude, to just over $61 a barrel. It’s a mild reaction that puts a lot of faith in cool diplomatic heads.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - U.S. hedge-fund boss Ray Dalio is one capitalist who frets about the gap between rich and poor. Yet our planet’s billions of people on average are improving their lot. A report released on Monday shows how land, water and biodiversity, on the other hand, are paying the price.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The U.S. economy isn’t quite allowing President Donald Trump a victory lap. But nor is it providing much fodder for critics. GDP growth slowed in the last quarter of 2018, still almost hitting the administration’s 3 percent target for the full year. The president, the Federal Reserve and market watchers can all take what they want from that.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Andy Purdy, who previously worked in academia and for the U.S. government, talks about the geopolitical edge to allegations about Beijing’s influence at Chinese tech group Huawei, and how communications equipment needs global standards and better testing across the board.