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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Asia

A woman walks past a branch of the Australian state-owned health insurer Medibank Private in Sydney October 20, 2014.

Mega Medibank IPO sets tone for Aussie sell-off

23 October 2014

A valuation of up to $4.8 bln for the state-owned private health insurer rests on the potential for cutting costs. But not being too greedy now will make it easier to flog some of the huge pipeline of Australian assets lined up for privatisation to stock market investors.

A statue of a bull is seen next to a Spanish flag hung on a fence.

Ferrovial is back in conquistador mode

22 October 2014

The Spanish group is chasing deals worth 1.8 bln euros in three countries including Australia. The spree echoes its 2006 pursuit of airport operator BAA, which nearly dragged it down. But these acquisitions look less risky. Thanks to savvy sales, Ferrovial has cash to spend.

An umbrella and a security helmet is seen on a main road at the Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong October 6, 2014.

Hong Kong protests' silver lining for umbrella IPO

22 October 2014

Pro-democracy demonstrators are clouding luxury sales in the Chinese territory. Yet the movement’s symbol has cast a light on Jicheng Umbrella’s upcoming listing. International brolly sales are on the up. After the smoke clears, however, the main worry is rising labour costs.

A girl holds a Hong Kong national flag in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong tycoons can be part of protest solution

21 October 2014

The city’s business leaders have outsize influence over local politics. Relaxing their grip on special corporate votes would be a symbolic gesture to pro-democracy activists – and may help preserve the stability that has served tycoons, and their investors, so well for so long.

An employee of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) counts money at one of the bank's branches at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone in Pudong district, in Shanghai September 24, 2014.

China's capital defences have sprung a major leak

22 October 2014

Strict controls should shield China from flighty foreign capital. In practice, investors have snuck in at least $725 billion of short-term money since 2008. That makes the economy vulnerable to outflows. Central bankers are saddled with preventing a trickle becoming a flood.

A Chinese national flag flutters at a construction site for a new residence complex in Beijing November 4, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

China grasps nettle on colossal housing overhang

21 October 2014

Property investment is slowing sharply, dragging GDP and commodity prices with it. So far, China’s planners have mostly stood by. Letting market forces operate could bring financial disruption. But unwinding the massive oversupply of hastily-built housing has to start somewhere.

Indonesia's presidential candidate Joko Widodo smiles during a speech to his supporters in Serang, Indonesia's Banten province, July 16, 2014.

Indonesia's new leader gets a short honeymoon

20 October 2014

Joko Widodo’s inauguration as president lacks the ebullience of his July election win. Investors still expect an early attack on lavish fuel subsidies. But they are right to worry about the surprisingly strong opposition coalition and its nationalistic, anti-democratic rhetoric.   

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