April, 2018


Antitrust with Chinese characteristics

GLOBAL deals may be growing at a rapid clip, but they seldom offer instant gratification. Qualcomm, an American chipmaker, first bid for NXP Semiconductors, a Dutch company, in October 2016. The union has since been blessed by eight regulators worldwide, but one hurdle remains: China. With no decision yet from its regulator, the companies, which were expecting to have closed the $44bn deal this week, now hope to conclude it by July. The purchase of the chip unit of Toshiba, a troubled Japanese company, by a consortium led by BainRead More

One of France’s best-known tycoons is arrested

“THIS port is for the Togolese,” says Sherif Tchedre, a mechanic standing among containers that line the shorefront in Lomé, Togo’s capital. “But it is Bolloré who runs everything.” He thinks little of the port’s French operator, Bolloré Group, or the conglomerate’s eponymous owner-boss, Vincent Bolloré. They do “nothing for Togo”, he says, adding that the Frenchman is too cosy with African presidents. The French police seem to think so, too. On April 24th they arrested Mr Bolloré and some of his firm’s senior staff in Paris on suspicion ofRead More

Arizona provides more evidence that the Republicans are in trouble

IT WAS a “big win” tweeted Donald Trump on April 25th, as he congratulated the Republican winner of a special congressional election in Arizona’s eighth district. And yet, he complained: “Press is so silent”. Neither of these claims was true.

The euro area’s economy loses momentum

ECONOMISTS have spent the past decade wringing their hands over the health of the euro area’s economy. Last year, in a welcome respite, it expanded by a robust 2.3%, outstripping forecasts and matching America’s growth rate. But it has appeared less rosy-cheeked since. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. Symptoms include moderation in a number of monthly indicators. Industrial production fell in January and February, as did business confidence; retail-sales growth was disappointing. The purchasing managers’ index (PMI), an output surveyRead More

China’s holy sites list on the stockmarket

BENEATH a lustrous 33-metre bronze statue of Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy, a young monk on Mount Putuo tallies the cash donated by visiting faithful: “Daily, anywhere between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of yuan,” he says (100,000 yuan is a little under $16,000). Over 8m trips are made yearly to the tiny islet in Zhoushan city, about a four-hour drive from Shanghai (11m visited Shanghai Disneyland in its first year, after it opened in 2016). When it comes to temple fundraising, the monk is resolute. “TheRead More

Fearing Brexit, Irish cheesemakers mull a switch to mozzarella

THE herd of water buffalo ambling over rolling hills may look like a scene from southern Italy. In fact the beasts roam in southern Ireland. Johnny Lynch, who owns a 150-acre farm in County Cork, makes plump balls of mozzarella from their milk, and bids customers a cheerful, Irish-accented “Buongiorno!” in online advertisements for his produce. Of the 200,000 tonnes of cheese made each year in Ireland, 90% is cheddar. That could soon become a problem. Apart from America, which has plenty of cheesemakers of its own, the only countryRead More

The Ronny Jackson car crash

IN THE words of Herbert Stein, chairman of Richard Nixon’s Council of Economic Advisors, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” The uncertainty over Ronny Jackson’s future could not go on forever.

A federal judge orders Donald Trump to reinstate DACA

ON APRIL 24th, Donald Trump suffered a third setback to his effort to undo Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The programme, introduced by Barack Obama in 2012, shields undocumented immigrants brought to America as children from deportation.

The best books on finance and economics

THE late Hans Rosling is best known for his Ted talks (here is one on the wonders of the washing machine). Sadly he died last year. But before he did so, he worked with his son and daughter-in-law to write “Factfulness: Ten Reasons Why We’re Wrong About the World—And Why Things Are Better Than You Think.” It is a wonderful book, full of humour and humility, and it paints an optimistic picture of progress. Take his 13-question test and you will probably be surprised. For example, has the proportion ofRead More

Donald Trump’s travel ban heads to the Supreme Court

ORAL arguments at the Supreme Court often make for excellent theatre: an hour of well-prepared lawyers clashing over an issue fundamental to American democracy, lashed by questions from merciless justices sitting a few feet away.