Breakingviews - Market swoon undercuts Chinese consumer tale

The markets just delivered a stinging reminder about Chinese consumption. Fresh threats by President Donald Trump to apply tariffs on another $200 billion of goods from the People’s Republic sent mainland stocks reeling on Tuesday. They are now trading at their lowest in a year. Bond prices also fell and the yuan posted its sharpest single-day decline against the dollar since January 2017. Local demand has not yet decoupled from global trade.

Breakingviews - KPMG wrist-slap shows auditors are too few to fail

By the UK accountancy regulator’s timid standards, criticism that big audit firms “must act swiftly” to improve the quality of their work is a sizeable rebuke. The power to impose larger fines adds extra heft to official censure. Still, it does nothing to solve the fundamental problem in the accounting business: a lack of competition.

Breakingviews - DIY approach weakens Europe’s migration defences

Immigration has once again become the European Union’s top political challenge. Though fewer people are arriving from Africa and elsewhere than a few years ago, the issue will be central when EU leaders meet next week. A unified approach could help prevent a repeat of the crisis of 2015. The danger is that anti-immigrant sentiment pushes countries like Germany and Italy towards ineffective piecemeal solutions.

Breakingviews - ZTE becomes an even cheaper stock option

ZTE is becoming a harder option to price. The Chinese telecommunications equipment maker’s future rests in the hands of American politicians. It lost another $1.4 billion in value on Tuesday morning after the U.S. Senate passed a measure that would yank a lifeline thrown by the Trump administration. The company’s fate isn’t sealed yet, though.

Breakingviews - Virgin Money is cheap bride in UK bank wedding

Virgin Money has turned out to be an acquiescent bride. The UK lender on Monday agreed to wed larger CYBG in a deal worth 1.7 billion pounds. The agreement to create the UK’s sixth-biggest bank by assets comes barely a month after Virgin Money spurned an initial approach. A union may well make sense – but its shareholders are entitled to feel short-changed.

Breakingviews - Review: The other side of Trumpismo

Poor Mexico, the saying goes. So far from God, so close to the United States. Not so, says Andrew Selee in his new book “Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together”. The two countries, which share a 2,000-mile border and a sometimes bloody history, are united by complex, ever-deeper ties that contradict easy prejudice.

Breakingviews - Rolls-Royce investors wisely keep the seat belt on

Rolls-Royce investors are keeping their seat belt fastened despite the promise of an increasingly smooth journey. The British plane engine-maker aims to generate 1 pound of free cash flow per share over the mid-term, quadruple this year’s estimate. Despite the bullish new target, shareholders don’t look to be pricing it in fully. A distant horizon and history of one-off costs suggest why.

Breakingviews - Xiaomi IPO escalates China’s battle of the bourses

Xiaomi's initial public offering escalates the battle of the bourses. The smartphone-maker originally filed to list in Hong Kong. On Thursday, the Beijing-based company said it will sell at least half of its expected $10 billion initial public offering across the border in Shanghai. This is a blow to the former British colony which only recently changed its rules to woo more tech listings.

Breakingviews - The Exchange: Italy's almost premier

Carlo Cottarelli talks about how he nearly led a caretaker government after President Sergio Mattarella last month rejected a euroskeptic finance minister put forward by the parties that won March elections. The former IMF economist has some advice for Italy’s new bosses.  

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