Asking Chinese banks to roll over loans to local governments is reminiscent of 1990s Japan, where lenders choked good borrowers to keep zombies alive. The real mistake wasn’t extending losses into the future, but pretending banks could lend to everyone else without more capital.
Two Mexicos coexist, one an insular land of hard-to-kill monopolies in politics and business, the other more outward-looking, embracing modernity and even the United States. In “Amarres perros” pundit-politician Jorge Castañeda recalls a life of trying to change the balance.
The digital currency fits well in the inglorious history of finance. Nathaniel Popper tells the story in “Digital Gold”. Bitcoin’s hot idea, limited supply and uncertain value helped spawn a price explosion. After the bust, the underlying technology may still have a future.
Moving its head office to Shanghai marks a new era for the bank, writes chairman Hank Paulson in a make-believe memo. However, despite escaping hostile regulators in the aftermath of Britain’s divorce from the European Union, HSBC faces many challenges, both familiar and new.
Investors are pouring money into the country searching for the next Alibaba or Amazon. Though India’s e-commerce opportunity is huge, low barriers to entry mean it is easy for anyone with deep pockets to spoil the party.
Trading scandals and losses from the Swiss franc’s dramatic January rise have made currency traders more cautious. The result is a market where fewer dealers will challenge trends. It’s like a train with faulty brakes. A little momentum can take exchange rates on a long journey.
Alternative lender Affirm has raised $275 mln for a model that rates creditworthiness using social media data alongside other old-school indicators. Breakingviews columnists debate whether info gleaned from Facebook and its ilk could supplant traditional credit-scoring methods.
The rules of the euro zone central bank’s debt-buying encouraged investors to pile into relatively scarce Bunds. But a small market shift spurred a rush to sell. Rational trading in this irrational QE game led to non-linear – that means big – price changes. More can be expected.
Outdated immigration policies are again preventing the supply of coveted visas from matching the demand from American companies, says former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin. Reforming the H-1B visa program would dramatically lift economic growth and deserves bipartisan support.
The tussle with ex-Chairman Ferdinand Piech is a reminder of the drawbacks of the carmaker’s convoluted ownership and board structure. Volkswagen could use the recent overhaul at Airbus, the European planemaker, as a roadmap for better operational and share price performance.