HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - There's a rush for the exits in thermal coal. Miner BHP has become the latest heavyweight to consider a sale, according to Bloomberg. That's sensible, given weak prices, environmental pressure and a business that is barely material for the world's largest digger. But it shifts the spotlight to Anglo American, for whom the power station fuel matters more.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Rio Tinto has sounded a copper warning from the Mongolian steppe. The $104 billion mining giant says its flagship Oyu Tolgoi expansion in the country's south will be up to 30 months late, and could cost as much as a third more than planned. That's a fresh blow to a project that has been battered by local politics and other troubles for years. It's also a reminder of just how hard it has become to dig up the coveted red metal.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon can afford to indulge in some Southeast Asian shopping. The U.S. e-commerce titan pushed into Singapore in 2017 with two-hour deliveries, but has yet to tackle larger and faster-growing markets in the cutthroat region. Buying Sea’s Shopee arm would be a fast way to establish a presence.
SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Australia's climate-focused election is blowing a lot of hot air. It’s a rare country where green issues sit atop the list of priorities. The $1.3 trillion economy is among the most vulnerable to global warming, but also depends on coal. Unfortunately, neither of the main political parties is tackling the contradiction head-on.
SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Indonesia’s presidential election may change how some investors vote on the country. Early indications are that incumbent Joko Widodo won another term, but with a lead narrow enough to embolden a conservative opposition. There were pockets of populist success, too. That will temper expectations for new policies that warm up growth and attract foreign cash.
SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Joko Widodo can make a final term count. The Indonesian president, known as Jokowi, is on track to win re-election. His first five years had notable successes, including in infrastructure. With a stronger hand this time round, he can tackle pricklier issues that will charge a sluggish economy, and his legacy.
SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Thailand's chaotic electoral result is near investors' worst case scenario. A vote to end direct military rule has slid into confusion, with accusations of cheating and both main rivals claiming they can form a government. A clear outcome may be weeks away, at best. With foreign funds already selling out of shares, that's a poor prospect for a cooling $460 billion economy.
SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Thailand's long-awaited vote may solve just one problem: the poll itself. Sunday's ballot ends five years of direct military rule. For investors, the best outcome is an uncontested one, even if the junta leader stays on as prime minister. A democracy of sorts could well encourage some inward capital flows, and planned infrastructure spending will help growth. Unfortunately, none of the likely winners appear ready to tackle the deeper woes of this sclerotic economy.
SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Barrick's latest gamble looks like fool's gold. The Canadian giant is eyeing a bid for its $19 billion U.S. rival Newmont Mining, the Globe and Mail reported on Friday, a tie-up which has been mooted before and could yield synergies. But the buyer has just acquired Randgold Resources, the target is buying Goldcorp, and investors in the sector are wary of scale for the sake of it.
DAVOS (Reuters Breakingviews) - The China outlook from Davos is a little off-piste. Compared to the unbridled optimism of a year ago, there has been plenty of fretting at the annual World Economic Forum this week. High on the list of concerns is a sharper-than-expected slowdown in the People's Republic. For now, though, growth is cooling at a reasonable pace and Beijing has ammunition left.