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Sunday, 01 March 2015

Feature

Peter Thal Larsen

Review: Building HSBC's sprawling, flawed empire

27 February 2015

The Hong Kong bank grew into one of the world’s biggest financial institutions. But poor results and a furore over Swiss tax make for an unhappy 150th anniversary. A new history shows how hands-off management and breakneck M&A under former chairman John Bond are partly to blame.

Martin Hutchinson

Cheap oil highlights multifaceted resource curse

24 February 2015

Commodities-dependent nations got more bad news, as BHP warned on iron ore prices. To survive, many will need to turn their economies upside down. Resources prevent long-term strategies, dull the good and bad governance gap and ultimately cloud voters’ views of who’s responsible.

Martin Langfield

Argentina pays price as truth and fiction vie

20 February 2015

The mysterious death of a prosecutor investigating President Cristina Fernandez has the stamp of cheap fiction. It’s emblematic of her rule, which ends later this year. Official data mask a looming recession and rising inflation. She’s leaving a credibility deficit for her successor.

Carol Ryan

Review: Art market's old vices go global

13 February 2015

Georgina Adam’s “Big Bucks” explores how contemporary art, buoyed by billionaires’ cash, has exploded as an asset class. The financial shenanigans are breathtaking but there were plenty in, say, the 1920s, another era of the super-rich. But today, the whole world is joining in.

Martin Langfield

Venezuela's revolution slowly consumes its leader

12 February 2015

President Nicolas Maduro, the hapless successor to Hugo Chavez, is struggling mightily to maintain the late strongman’s leftist Bolivarian movement. Tweaking forex rates may buy time, but falling oil prices work against him. Revolutions, as they say, tend to eat their children.

John Foley

Fake-free China might not be better off

11 February 2015

The People’s Republic is talking a good game on fighting counterfeit goods. Online exchanges like Alibaba’s Taobao are a handy target, and make it easier to find brand thieves. The trouble is that incentives aren’t straightforward. Stamp out fakes and there would be many losers. 

Katrina Hamlin

Review: A cautionary tale for China media moguls

06 February 2015

The tragicomic true story of Mark Kitto’s doomed magazine empire may be a blast from the past, but is nonetheless relevant today. China’s wannabe media magnates – both foreign and homegrown – still walk a tightrope between the overbearing state and their commercial aspirations.

An aircraft takes off from Heathrow airport in west London September 2, 2014

Heathrow upstarts have London's best airport plan

04 February 2015

A new runway may be finally built near the UK capital at a cost of up to $28 billion. The three rival proposals all seem to be financially viable, but the independently conceived scheme that would double the length of one of Heathrow’s existing runways looks best placed.

Hall of Mirrors

Review: What the Great Depression taught the Fed

30 January 2015

Ben Bernanke is an expert on the famous crash. But Barry Eichengreen argues in his new book that the Fed boss during the 2008 crunch hadn’t learnt the lessons of the boom preceding the bust. Bernanke’s knowledge helped with crisis management, but it is too early to say how much. 

Peter Thal Larsen

StanChart's woes stretch far beyond corner office

30 January 2015

Worries about bad debts and a sliding share price have raised doubts about Chief Executive Peter Sands’ future. The main challenge for the emerging market lender is to boost returns and retain capital as growth slows. If Sands leaves, his successor will face the same issues.