Obama says the chairman has done enough. If so, his successor will face the task of rolling back years of ultra-easy policies. Jittery markets make that tricky even for a known Fed boss. After Wednesday, Bernanke may have only five FOMC meetings left to help set a new direction.
Brazil’s state-controlled oil company is being forced to sell fuel at a loss to restrain inflation. The government also wants Petrobras to pump $65 bln into the economy by investing in refineries. Involving China’s Sinopec as a partner may help but such aid can’t be coming cheap.
A controversial $40 bln project to rival Panama’s passage doesn’t seem to make financial sense. But if its Chinese sponsor is any kind of proxy for Beijing, the idea of one day balancing U.S. influence in Central America isn’t far-fetched. And for that, the price could be right.
A long-awaited mining bill reflects weakening commodities prices. Instead of a windfall tax, royalties may double. The market expected worse, but a levy on mine revenue rather than profit will still make future projects less viable. The new law could dent investment – and Vale.
The Italian oil major probably wishes it didn’t own 43 pct of Saipem, the struggling oilfield contractor. Ditching the unit was politically tricky before a string of profit warnings. Now, with investor faith in Saipem crumbling, Eni’s least-bad option may be to keep it.
A Carlyle-led group bought the retailer’s wholesale arm for $8.5 bln just before the real estate bubble burst. The firms should recoup on paper their HD Supply investment in the IPO. Home Depot fared better. With the proceeds, it bought back shares – which have since doubled.
The satellite TV company won’t up its bid for Sprint, paving the way for SoftBank to buy the U.S. telecom provider. Instead it’s focusing on winning a chunk of Sprint’s subsidiary, Clearwire. Dish’s switch in tactics may yet be enough to force SoftBank to sign a peace agreement.
The long-awaited parliamentary report on UK banks is underwhelming. A “Fred Goodwin” law that could put the reckless in prison is a bold idea. A call for an inquiry into banking competition is right but hardly novel. Ultimately, the work is long on words and short on deeds.
After leading an impressive turnaround, Ian Livingston is leaving the UK telco. The timing is surprising: BT is embarking on a big push in TV. But it’s hard to make the boss say no to a government job. And BT has plumped for a strong internal candidate who signals continuity.