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Breakingviews

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time. Sign up for a free trial of our full service at http://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

Breakingviews - Uber's taxi U-turn sets better Southeast Asia path

Uber's entire business has been predicated on flooring it right at the establishment. Co-founder Travis Kalanick once said his company was in a campaign where "the incumbent is an asshole called taxi." New boss Dara Khosrowshahi just pulled a U-turn in Singapore by striking a deal with ComfortDelGro, the powerful local cab operator.

Breakingviews - Crude-backed crypto-coin is mostly snake oil

Bart Chilton wants to marry digital dreams with regulated reality. The former commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is teaming with a group including a former TPG executive to launch a crypto-currency backed by oil. His promise of stable value sits oddly against bitcoin’s wild ride. While the vehicle offers a tax edge over oil-backed exchange-traded funds, it’s hard to imagine this coin existing if not for the wider craze.

Breakingviews - Exchange Podcast: Marcus Ruiz Evans

The president of Yes California leads a campaign arguing that the Golden State should become an independent country - an idea increasingly referred to as Calexit. He explains why secession would be good for the state’s economy and how he’ll get the rest of the nation to buy in.

Breakingviews - Britain heads for Brexit in name only

Brexit is rapidly becoming a symbol without substance. Prime Minister Theresa May’s last-minute deal with the European Union reduces the chances of a chaotic divorce but exposes the difficulty of preserving trade flows after the separation. A lengthy transition period will create further scope for May – or another Prime Minister – to make concessions.

Breakingviews - Seoul's contrarian tax hike makes for good start

South Korea’s corporate tax increase is a contrarian one. The consensus from Washington to Tokyo is that lower levies stimulate innovation and job growth. Yet President Moon Jae-in’s move to crank up taxes on the highest-earning companies makes eminent sense. Asia’s fourth-largest economy is so unbalanced, it needs socialist redistribution to transform its capitalism.

Breakingviews - Bitcoin looks like speeded-up unicorn hype

Bitcoin’s meteoric rise is looking like speeded-up unicorn hype. A sheen of futurism, fear of missing out, a lack of fundamental value, and an inability of big backers to sell without crashing the market are factors pumping up the digital currency’s price.

Breakingviews - Fossil-fuel slowdown spreads pain at GE and beyond

The ebbing of fossil fuels is sapping energy from GE - and beyond. The conglomerate is laying off 12,000 people in a power division that lights up 30 percent of the world. It blamed overcapacity amid a shift from coal and gas to renewable energy. But other divisions are closely tied to fossil fuels, too. Its troubles suggest a wider shakeout is in the offing.

Breakingviews - Citi's $20 bln writedown would be just the ticket

A $20 billion accounting loss can be a good thing, when the company in question is Citigroup. The mega-lender’s woes during last decade's financial crisis helped make "writedown" a household word. Now the $200 billion colossus may take another whopping great hit. This time the potential loss, sparked by planned U.S. tax cuts, is actually pretty helpful.

Breakingviews - France and Germany look too alike to bond markets

In some parts of the financial market, it’s as if the euro zone debt crisis never happened. The gap between benchmark French and German bond yields this week shrank to its smallest since 2009, before the countries that share the single currency were hit by financial shocks that threatened monetary union itself. Such indiscrimination is premature, and stores up fresh problems.