In theory, inflation should have picked up when central banks cranked up the printing presses. Instead, it’s slowing down. In the U.S., it’s nearly 1 percentage point below target. Policymakers now have to start worrying about their worst enemy – deflation.
Bringing back the former P&G boss won’t ensure the Pampers-to-Scope giant reclaims former glory. His last decision – of a successor – flopped. But unlike the turnaround facing J.C. Penney’s returning ex-CEO, Lafley’s job is somewhat simpler: oversee cost cuts and brand building.
The Bank of Spain says the country’s lenders face up to 10 bln euros of new provisions against ropey restructured loans. They may not need extra euro zone capital, but it will make them better placed to pass rigorous stress tests before they get supervised by the ECB.
Auditors in China can no longer claim that “state secrets” prohibit disclosure to the U.S. watchdog. That should keep Chinese companies from being banned in U.S. markets. There are open questions about sovereignty and state capitalism, but those are fights for another day.
A gas project in Russia’s far north could crack the state giant’s export monopoly. The Kremlin is expected to decide soon whether to allow Yamal LNG’s backers to ship its production abroad. It may only approve sales to Asia. But even limited exports would hurt Gazprom.
Germany’s brewers want to make fracking verboten. In the U.S., the gas drilling technique’s economic benefits trump environmental concerns. Whether it’s the British countryside or German lager, threats to cultural touchstones will hold back a similar boom in Europe.
The software titan has for years been stuck in a piracy trap in China - many use its products, and few pay. Cloud-based services like Windows Azure are less prone to misuse. This time there are new problems: fierce competition, and politicians that favour domestic rivals.
For the first time ever, both teams in Europe’s biggest championship will be German. In 2000, the country was the sick man of the pitch. The sport’s resurgence, like the economic renaissance, relied on the social market economy and the ability to push through structural reforms.
It’s easy to see how Jamie Dimon would consider an independent chairman at JPMorgan a demotion for him. If peers like Lloyd Blankfein hold both top jobs, CEOs only may feel like second-class citizens. U.S. financial regulators could turn the division of labor into a virtue.