Economic History

Buying a little more time

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has staked his own reputation and that of the bank on an audacious plan to buy vast tracts of bonds.Photo: Reuters

Doing whatever it takes has become something of a mantra when it comes to dealing with the euro-zone crisis.

"We want to do everything we can to save the currency," says the head of the European Central Bank.

Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 10:19am

Safe havens are now risky

Spain has the ability and willingness to undertake the needed reforms and also benefits by starting from a more favourable public debt position, but it has to limit the expansion in its debt over the next few years as the economy works through a serious recession.Photo: Bloomberg

Sovereign debt forms, or sovereign bonds, are one of the oldest types of investments and are considered one of the safest.

This type of investment is divided into two categories. Developed countries that carry very high credit ratings are viewed as safe options. However, they offer comparatively lower yields.

23 Sep 2012 - 10:22am

Euro break-up could be cure

Seminar participants included (from left) Water Cheung of StormHarbour Securities, Wendy Guo of the CFA Institute, Bruno Solnik of HKUST's Finance Department, Kenneth Howe of SCMP Publishers, and HKSFA's Jimmy Jim. Photo: Dickson Lee

After a lengthy period of delay, confusion and behind-the-scenes bargaining, the 17 members of the euro zone appear no closer to resolving their most pressing issue: what to do with their currency.

It may turn out, as many seem to hope, that given enough time, the problems will simply go away, and short-term fixes will eventually right the ship.

21 Sep 2012 - 10:24am

Explaining why so many forecasts fail

Explaining why so many forecasts fail

Why did economists fail to predict the 2008-09 financial crisis? Why didn't seismologists see last year's Japanese earthquake coming? Why did US intelligence miss both September 11 and Pearl Harbour?

This clever book, written by a political and sports predictions expert, looks at the techniques behind predictions and explains why they generally fail. It's a neatly written work that is better researched and argued than its chatty, off-the-cuff style suggests.

10 Sep 2012 - 9:41am

Wen gives Merkel straight talk on euro crisis: Frankly, I'm worried

Eyes right: Chancellor Angela Merkel and Premier Wen Jiabao at the welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: AFP

Premier Wen Jiabao voiced his fears about the European debt crisis yesterday after a meeting with visiting German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel.

"The European debt crisis has continued to worsen, giving rise to serious concerns in the international community. Frankly speaking, I am also worried," Wen said.

31 Aug 2012 - 8:37am

New loans weaker than expected

New loans advanced by banks on the mainland came in weaker than expected last month, suggesting a need for more effective stimulus policies to revive lacklustre demand in the economy, analysts say.

15 Aug 2012 - 11:29pm

Home prices rise across mainland in July

Beijing's relaxation of monetary policy and its encouragement of flat purchases by first-time buyers lifted average property prices across 100 major mainland cities for a second month.

29 Aug 2012 - 2:43pm

The real life lessons to teach about China's economic model

We don't yet know exactly what Hong Kong's new textbooks on national and moral education will try to teach the city's schoolchildren about the superiority of China's economic model.

But I bet the line they take will run something like this:

'Over the last 30 years, China has achieved an unparalled economic revolution.

15 Aug 2012 - 10:47pm

Beijing is going backwards in pursuit of growth

The news last Friday that China's economy slowed to its lowest growth rate in three years caused anxiety around the world.

With much of Europe in recession, and the United States struggling to escape its own downturn, a whole legion of commentators promptly warned that the only remaining engine of global growth is now in danger of stalling.

16 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

No better time for economic reform

Just a few months ago, financial markets fell after Beijing cut the economy's growth target for this year to an eight-year low of 7.5 per cent. On Friday second-quarter growth came in at 7.6 per cent, a shade lower than expected, and markets rose. That says something about how much major Western economies now look to China to sustain global growth.

15 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Wen pledge to keep property market curbs

Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed the need for government measures to restrain the mainland's property market yesterday.

He spoke amid expectations that back-to-back interest rate cuts could signal a policy shift.

8 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

New homes on mainland reverse 9-month decline

Prices of new homes on the mainland in June rose for the first time in 10 months as a cut in interest rates buoyed buyer sentiment.

New homes edged up 0.05 per cent more from May to 8,688 yuan (HK$10,632) per square metre, according to a survey of 100 cities by the China Real Estate Index System (Creis), an affiliate of SouFun, the nation's biggest real estate website.

3 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Mixed picture on accuracy of China's economic data

The true depth of the economic slowdown on the mainland has come under the spotlight following a report in the New York Times claiming that China had falsified data to understate the severity of the downturn.

Economists at major investment banks said the June 22 report generated a flood of questions from concerned investors last week.

2 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Brave new world

China equities experienced another big sell-off last Monday. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks Hong Kong-listed China stocks, dropped 2.5 per cent. The index has shed about one-quarter of its value over the past year.

Steven Sun, head of China equity strategy for HSBC, says investors' concerns can be summed up as the three Gs: Greece, governance and growth.

11 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Turning Japanese?

Will the gravity-denying Chinese economic and equities boom finally end with a dramatic bust? This question is being asked with increasing urgency, although there is a lingering belief that somehow the party is not over and China can achieve a soft landing.

11 Jun 2012 - 12:00am