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Monday, 02 February 2015

Asia

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.

Labourers rest as a boy playfully shovels coal at a yard in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 20, 2014

Modi market mania faces test in $3.7 bln coal sale

30 January 2015

The government is selling a 10 percent stake in the lumbering monopoly to meet its deficit target. A pledge to ramp up domestic production makes it easier to lure buyers. Still, investor enthusiasm for Coal India shares will set the tone for a big pipeline of chunky deals.

Chairman and chief executive of Alibaba Group Jack Ma attends a news conference in Beijing

Alibaba gives crash course on government relations

29 January 2015

The e-commerce group’s shares fell after a Chinese regulator lambasted its sales habits. Alibaba must convince investors it was blindsided, and prevent its beef with the watchdog escalating. It’s an insight into how contradictory and value-destructive the Chinese state can be.

China

China political investment bubble has new antihero

28 January 2015

Newly merged brokerage Shenwan Hongyuan is worth $41 bln – more than Charles Schwab. Its peers trade at triple the valuations of most global securities houses. The mania is part excitement over China’s stock markets, and part misguided belief the state can keep things afloat.

Alibaba

Say "ni hao" to Jack Ma's Amazon-style volatility

29 January 2015

Alibaba’s boss, like the U.S. group’s Jeff Bezos, has built online retail dominance. But there are downsides. Unpredictable earnings are Exhibit A. The Chinese group also has fickle regulators. It may not be the last time investors suffer nearly $40 bln of losses in two days.

China

Workplace zombies stalk China's growth

29 January 2015

For a country that says employment is its top priority, China’s jobs data is surprisingly unhelpful. Besides the 47 million or so official unemployed, many more are stranded in unproductive or unnecessary posts. That’s bad for growth. Fixing it requires reformist elbow grease.

Andy Mukherjee

India in depth: Relaxing the budget squeeze

28 January 2015

The states of India need a break. They have lived with spending curbs that New Delhi has never accepted for itself. But this has bred angst. The upcoming budget is a chance to boost regional spending even as the federal government cuts back. The rebalancing will spur GDP growth.

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