Peter Thal Larsen
Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Philip Hammond is struggling with his Brexit straitjacket. Britain’s chancellor announced giveaways to homebuyers and the health service in his autumn budget. But bleak growth forecasts and the economic drag caused by leaving the European Union severely limit his generosity.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In Greek mythology, Cerberus was the three-headed dog that prevented the dead from leaving the underworld. Investors in Deutsche Bank will hope its financial namesake’s arrival as a major shareholder in the troubled lender is a more positive omen. But any hopes of reviving a merger with rival Commerzbank, where Cerberus Capital Management already owns 5 percent, rest with bigger beasts – including the German government.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Raising interest rates is typically a sign of economic strength. The Bank of England’s decision to increase official UK borrowing costs for the first time in a decade has a more dismal logic. Governor Mark Carney and his fellow rate-setters have concluded that leaving the European Union will permanently lower Britain’s growth prospects.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Akzo Nobel has added another ball to an already tricky juggling act. Fresh from deflecting a takeover from one U.S. rival, the Dutch group confirmed on Monday that it is considering merging its paint unit with another, former DuPont subsidiary Axalta. A combination makes sense. But new Chief Executive Thierry Vanlancker is busy grappling with weak results and a chemicals spinoff.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Lloyds Banking Group’s dividend gusher has suffered a regulatory blockage. Britain’s biggest retail lender reported a robust pre-tax profit of close to 2 billion pounds for the three months to September and topped up its already-healthy capital ratios. Shareholders might have hoped that Lloyds will spray some of that cash in their direction. Regulators have other ideas.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ryanair is living down to its cheapskate reputation. The budget airline is facing irate passengers and an angry regulator after cancelling more than 20,000 flights over the coming seven months. This combination could be an existential threat for most companies. For the Irish carrier, however, indifference to customers is an integral part of its discount offering.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The campaign for a euro zone budget is a distraction. French President Emmanuel Macron is among those pushing for a fund, financed by taxpayers, to help counter economic shocks. But comments from European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday show the idea is a stretch. Other less dramatic – and less expensive – reforms might achieve the same result.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The debates that swirl around the Bank of England today have echoed throughout its past. Familiar themes recur in “Till Time’s Last Sand”, David Kynaston’s magisterial history of the 323-year-old institution’s evolution from government lender to modern central bank. Contemporary arguments over independence, the right approach to monetary policy, bank bailouts and the City of London’s future turn out to be as timeworn as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street herself.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - A prime rule of public relations is to not become the subject of the story. Bell Pottinger has broken that maxim in every way imaginable. The UK corporate communications firm is in meltdown following its work on a highly divisive campaign in South Africa. Though poor management is partly to blame, disruptions prompted by the rise of online media also played a role. It’s a red flag for an industry that has so far avoided the woes of traditional publishers.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Neymar da Silva Santos Junior achieved several milestones this week. The Brazilian forward became the world’s most expensive footballer following his 222 million euro ($263 million) move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. He also entered the mergers and acquisitions league tables. His transfer ranks among the 30 largest ever purchases of a Brazilian asset by a French buyer, according to Thomson Reuters data. Both feats are a sign soccer M&A has reached a new peak.