John Foley is Reuters Breakingviews' China editor. Based in Beijing, he writes on China’s economy and financial markets. John established Breakingviews’ Hong Kong bureau in 2009, and previously wrote on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and consumer goods in London. Before joining Breakingviews in 2004, John worked as a copywriter for a London-based advertising agency. John read English Literature at Exeter College, Oxford. Follow John on Twitter @johnsfoley
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Authorities have launched an assault on evasion, extracting $137 mln in taxes from a multinational company. Anonymous offshore havens and convoluted ownership chains make enforcement complex. Without them, innovative Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent might not exist.
Cutting rates, as the central bank just did, is far less simple than when China’s economy was in its pliant infancy. New ways to save, borrow and arbitrage have sprouted, and don’t all respond predictably to orders. It will take more to alleviate private sector growing pains.
The first cut to lending rates since 2012 shows the limits of Beijing’s tolerance of slowdown. It should save some riskier loans from going bad, and breathe some life into a zombified property market. But huge adjustments remain, and long-suffering savers will still be left worse off.
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