December 18th, 2012
04:02 PM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - My cousin Anson Chiou, who lives in Boston, has three passions: Movies, the New England Patriots and wristwatches. I saw him in the U.S. a few weeks ago for the Thanksgiving holiday and we got into a long conversation about two of those passions.

While watching Ben Affleck's new movie "Argo," he noticed something odd in a one-second scene. Ben Affleck's character, (pictured in the image above) was putting on a Rolex in his hotel room. FULL POST

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October 10th, 2012
07:35 AM GMT
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Tokyo (CNN) – As if the world economy didn't have enough bad news, with the ongoing eurozone debt crisis, the slowdown in China and the U.S. teetering on the edge of the "fiscal cliff."

Now the territorial dispute on ownership of East China Sea islands between Beijing and Tokyo is echoing on the global stage, as China's top banker pulled out of the IMF meeting here in a move widely seen as a protest for the Japanese government's purchase of the islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People's Bank of China, was scheduled to deliver the Per Jacobsson lecture, a prestigious speaking spot reserved for financial luminaries such as Alan Greenspan and PIMCO CEO Mohamed A. El-Erian. His deputy, Yi Gang, will give the address instead, but coming after representatives from China’s four largest banks decline en masse to attend the IMF meetings because they are being hosted by Japan.

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September 27th, 2012
11:04 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – After hitting three-and-a-half year lows earlier this week, China stocks bounced 2.6% on Thursday.

What gives? Market rumors, and China prepping for a week-long holiday.

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June 15th, 2012
06:42 PM GMT
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(CNN) – Greece’s financial crisis dates back to December 2009 when its new government came clean about the state of the country’s accounts.

With a deficit more than 4 times the European Union limit and an economy mired in a deep recession, Greece hurtled towards insolvency.

Then-Prime Minister George Papandreou assured the world Greece was determined to confront its fiscal problem.

“We are making deep changes in our economy, our political system, our society, building the conditions for a stable economic environment, a transparent economy, a viable economy,” he said.

But those promises proved futile. FULL POST

May 4th, 2012
06:54 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – As French and Greek voters head to the polls this weekend, some property owners across the Channel will be rubbing their hands with glee.

The reason: a robust real estate market in London's most exclusive areas which have become a safe haven for eurozone investors keen to preserve family fortunes and avoid tightening tax regimes back home.

A favorite to win France's presidential elections on Sunday, Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande once quipped that he didn't like "the rich." Among his key policies: a 75% income tax band for the wealthiest citizens, which experts say will exacerbate an exodus already underway.

London is home to an estimated 300,000 French expatriates, often earning it the nickname “Paris-upon-Thames.”

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Filed under: BusinessFinancial crisisGreece

February 28th, 2012
05:17 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Greece may be known for its tragedies and Iceland famous for its sagas but recent history tells us these stories may turn out to have very different endings–from an economic point of view at least.

In October 2008, Iceland became one of the earliest victims of a credit crunch whose ugly effects many Europeans are still living with today.

The North Atlantic island was the first entire country to almost go under, sunk by the weight of a banking sector whose debts amounted to more than six times Iceland's entire economy.

However, three years on, Iceland is poised to re-emerge from economic purgatory.

January 18th, 2012
01:00 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - Hong Kong is one of the world's richest cities. Almost one in 10 households boasts a millionaire. The government sits on a cash pile of about $80 billion. Yet Hong Kongers are choking, sometimes to death, on their own success.

A bold claim, but the statistics are compelling. The Hong Kong University School of Public Health has just unveiled a new real-time cost of pollution index. According to new research from the university and local think tank Civic Exchange, there are 3,200 avoidable deaths a year in Hong Kong due to air pollution - more than three times higher than previous estimates.

As I write this (at 7:15 p.m. HKT Tuesday) the index reports there has been seven preventable deaths and more than 14,000 preventable doctor's visits in Hong Kong in the 19 hours beginning midnight on Monday. Preventable, because the bad air quality that researchers say was responsible, can be easily improved.


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December 9th, 2011
12:56 AM GMT
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(CNN) - In the words of the chief executive and co-chief investment officer of Pimco, Mohamed El Erian: "This is Europe's moment of truth. For the sake of the region and that of the global economy, its leaders must come up with a solution at a time when, to use Nicolas Sarkozy's phrase, `the euro needs to be refounded’.”

Lest we forget, the problems of the eurozone have developed from a sovereign debt crisis, into a liquidity and – dare I say it – a solvency crisis. It has created all the ingredients for a banking meltdown that could cripple global growth.

So what are the chances of a final solution in Brussels this week? Pretty weak, I would say.

December 2nd, 2011
04:34 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – We are now on Day Two of Olli Rehn’s 10 days to save the euro and the tempo is heating up.

Mario Draghi, the new European Central Bank president, has tantalizingly hinted he will do more to help out provided euro-member countries start the process of economic unification. As he put it, the sequence of events matters. In our language: Don’t put the horse before the cart.

For Europe’s leaders the promise that the ECB will ride to the rescue is sweet music, perhaps even for Germany’s Merkel and the Bundesbank who are demanding a move to fiscal union as the only preferred long-term solution.

If we needed any reminder of how messy this is getting, the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King gave us a hefty dose of reality. He said the euro crises was an “extraordinarily serious and threatening situation” and that Banks should be prepared to withstand the crises. He admitted the Bank of England was preparing contingency plans for what might happen to the euro. (Gulp)

As Day Two comes to an end I paraphrase the famous quote attributed to Otto Von Bismarck: “Saving the Euro is like making sausages. it is best not to watch them being made."

December 2nd, 2011
04:05 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – Just like the credit crunch three years ago, the current eurozone crisis will no doubt spawn endless books and provide many an interesting case study for the world’s future economists. Whether the lessons will be learned and future crises avoided depends largely on whether you believe history repeats itself. And that’s another topic that divides opinion as much as the eurozone itself.

Already academics at Oxford University’s Centre for International Studies have identified 10 key failures of Europe’s leaders in how they have handled the issue, even though the saga is far from over.

Associate Fellow Kirsty Hughes says that the errors are largely political, democratic and economic in nature.

Here’s a list of where Hughes says EU leaders got things so wrong:

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