Today China factory activity shrinks for fourth month (Reuters)
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The Corner gives you the economic news you need to make investment decisions and understand what’s happening from a collection of voices.

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Real economy

The Long Goodbye

World economy

BEIJING | By Andy Xie via Caixin | What’s important in today’s financial world is perception, not substance. If you check out what important financial figures have proposed in the past, they have been good for forming bubbles, not for growing the real economy.People around the world will only begin to question their economic policymakers when they realize living standards are slowly worsening.

News in Europe

Spain thrives in EU car market rebound

MADRID | By The Corner | A good gauge to measure EU consumer’s confidence, the regional car industry points to its recovery. Car sales increased by 8.4% in 1Q14 to 3.24 million of vehicles, while number plate registrations grew by double digits 10.6% in March to 1.44 million.

car market
Financial markets

Mr Draghi, you’ve failed –the ECB can’t keep financial & monetary markets alive

MADRID | By Luis Arroyo | Something is wrong in the “kingdom of the Euro;” it’s just incomprehensible. The ECB is unable to keep the financial and monetary markets alive, which is a huge failure in view of the forthcoming European elections. The following charts show that the euro holds on just because we are asleep.

Financial markets

Market chatter: well-rested European stocks are back to work

MADRID | By Jaime Santisteban | European markets are happily back from Easter as Wall Street enjoys its highest gains in 6 months. Spanish Ibex 35 keeps last week’s positive mood. Risk premium drops to 155 basis points. Spanish Treasury will sell up to 3 billion euros in 3-month and 9-month bills today.

Financial markets

AQR fails to address banking woes

MADRID | By J.P. Marín Arrese | The ECB is frantically submitting to scrutiny up to 60% of risk-weighted assets from the 128 biggest banks in Europe. This step stands as its last chance to avoid inheriting former shortcomings and mismatches. When it takes over responsibility for supervision later on this year, it will be blamed for any financial blunder. No wonder it wants to ensure that no nasty surprise lies ahead.

News in Europe

Italy: welcome fiscal easing; now for structural reforms

LONDON | By Barclays analysts | The Italian government presented on 12 March an ambitious battery of reforms aimed at boosting domestic demand and enhancing job creation. Prime Minister Renzi pledged to reduce the tax burden for both households and corporates, to take preliminary steps to overhaul the labour markets, accelerate the repayment of state arrears, and launch a public investment plan to renovate public school buildings. 

Italy reforms
World economy

The extinction of an American institution—the shopping mall

WASHINGTON | By Pablo Pardo | America is losing one of its culture icons. Born in the 50s to provide customers with both entertainment and a purchasing experience, shopping malls are no longer attractive nor exclusive. As the middle class -which used to be the malls’ main target- is leaving the suburbs due to gentrification, its members prefer to run their errands online or downtown.

shopping mall
News in Europe

Healthy Spanish banks still have to pay €7.5bn for their peers

MADRID | By Julia Pastor | In the Spanish banks restructuring process, the €100 bn credit line coming from Brussels was crucial. However, Spain’s financial sector also saved itself by transferring €7.5 bn from the banks in better conditions to those that were nationalized, basically via contributions to the Deposit Guarantee Fund and the national bad bank Sareb. [Picture: "Banks should pay for the crisis"]

Rescate banca
Financial markets

Today’s market chatter in Spain

MADRID | By Jaime Santisteban | As European stock markets remain closed today for Easter Monday, attention is focused on Wall Street. Both Europe and the U.S. face a  week full of corporate results. Today, Hasbro, Halliburton and Netflix report for 1Q.

World economy

In lies we trust?

MADRID | By Álex García.