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China companies feel the investment hangover

Last updated: August 27, 2013 5:10 pm

China companies feel the investment hangover

By Simon Rabinovitch in Qujing

ChinaInv

Wooden carvings of two elephants and an eagle, meant to symbolise wisdom and prosperity, flank the entrance to the Chinese chemical producer Yunwei. Today, they suggest a very different interpretation: a lumbering debt load and scavengers picking over the company’s scraps. “Lots of Chinese companies rushed to expand, to be the biggest in the world. This was a source of great pride. Now we see it as a headache,” says a soft-spoken Yunwei executive, back from a business trip where he was trying to sell more of the hard black coking coal piled high in the company’s storage facility in Qujing in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Read more of this post

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Bulging bad debts give China a new banking dilemma; If China is to rebalance, savers cannot foot the bill

August 27, 2013 5:15 pm

Bulging bad debts give China a new banking dilemma

By Paul J Davies

If China is to rebalance, savers cannot foot the bill

There are two pieces of received wisdom that open and close almost any conversation about China’s banks. Firstly, they face a looming bad debt problem that will make the 2008 US banking bust seem like a bugle before a foghorn. Secondly, this doesn’t matter because the Chinese do things differently – any bad debts can be simply magicked away. China has form on this front. In the late 1990s a piece of apparently costless circular financing took a big chunk of bad debts from the four largest banks and parked them at their original value in four specially created bad banks, or “asset management companies”. These were funded in full mostly by the banks themselves via the Ministry of Finance. Read more of this post

It’s okay to hate small talk

It’s okay to hate small talk

BY FRANCISCO DAO 
ON AUGUST 27, 2013

Do you hate small talk? If you do, you’re definitely not alone, perhaps not even in the minority, and yet many people feel guilty about disliking meaningless conversation. We are so conditioned to view social behavior as an absolute good that avoiding small talk is considered rude. This is part of something I call “the tyranny of extroverts,” a set of expected behaviors that are assumed to be superior, simply because they are louder or more visible. As someone who despises small talk, I’d like to debunk the myth that it is necessary or even useful. Read more of this post

The One Thing You Need To Know To Be A Great Manager: discover what is unique about each person, and capitalize on it

The One Thing You Need To Know To Be A Great Manager

JENNA GOUDREAU AUG. 27, 2013, 2:53 PM 3,981 3

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Marcus Buckingham aimed in 2005 to boil countless professional insights down to one piece of advice for managers, leaders, and individual contributors. His best-selling book, “The One Thing You Need to Know: …About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success,” pulled this off, and it holds up remarkably well.  For managers, Buckingham says the most important thing is to discover what is unique about each person, and capitalize on it.  Read more of this post

What Happens When Co-Workers Are Nasty to Each Other; Hostile Work Environments Cost Companies in Productivity, Creativity; Using the ‘No Venting’ Rule

August 27, 2013, 8:07 p.m. ET

What Happens When Co-Workers Are Nasty to Each Other

Hostile Work Environments Cost Companies in Productivity, Creativity; Using the ‘No Venting’ Rule

RACHEL FEINTZEIG

Workers have new tasks on their to-do list: Say hello to colleagues. Don’t forget to smile. Companies may be reluctant to admit their offices are anything less than pleasant, but incivility—think belittling barbs or gruff responses—can lead to lost productivity, creativity and talent. As employees who are forced to do more work with fewer resources become more stressed, the rudeness is ramping up. So firms are urging staffers to play nice. Read more of this post

Hedge Funders Are All a Little Nuts; Sleepless nights, minds racing, working out both sides of all arguments, second guessing. Stay sane? No gain.

August 27, 2013, 6:56 p.m. ET

Hedge Funders Are All a Little Nuts

Sleepless nights, minds racing, working out both sides of all arguments, second guessing. Stay sane? No gain.

ANDY KESSLER

Hedge funders are in the news. Carl Icahn tweets about his dinner with Apple‘sAAPL -2.86% Tim Cook. Dan Loeb tussles with George Clooney. Bill Ackman says Herbalife is a pyramid and shorts the stock; George Soros goes long. If you want to understand the guys who run hedge funds, you first have to realize that they—we—are a little nuts. The trick to running a hedge fund is to drink from the fire hose of information, take it all in, figure out what everyone else knows and then position your portfolio to benefit when everyone else is inevitably wrong. This is no simple feat. Sleepless nights, second guessing, minds racing, almost a split personality working out both sides of all arguments. Read more of this post

Oceans Storing Earth’s Excess Heat in Leaked UN Report

Oceans Storing Earth’s Excess Heat in Leaked UN Report

The oceans are becoming a repository for almost all the Earth’s excess heat, driving up sea levels and threatening coastlines, according to a leaked draft of the most comprehensive United Nations report addressing climate science. Temperatures in the shallowest waters rose by more than 0.1 degrees Celsius (0.18 degrees Fahrenheit) a decade for the 40 years through 2010, the study found. Average sea levels have increased worldwide by about 19 centimeters (7.5 inches) since 1901 and researchers said it’s “very likely” the system of ocean currents that includes the Gulf Stream will slow in the coming decades. Read more of this post

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