Thursday, June 25, 2015
Wave of IPOs depress Chinese shares; The Greek tragedy; What competitive sport teaches women about business success
1 Wave of IPOs depress Chinese shares (BBC) Mainland Chinese shares saw sharp losses on Friday as investors began to worry about another wave of new listings drawing up liquidity in the market. Shares of Guotai Junan Securities - China's third-largest brokerage - jumped 44% on its debut after raising $4.8bn in the country's biggest initial public offering since 2010. The Shanghai Composite was down 2.5% to 4,415.25 after falling over 4% earlier. The Hang Seng fell 1.1% to 26,853.04.
Investor sentiment was also weighed on by concerns on whether the government and central bank would continue to ease policy in order to boost growth in a slowing economy. However, Bernard Aw, market strategist at trading firm IG said the "correction" in the market was healthy in the longer term and it is what the central bank wants to see.
2 The Greek tragedy (Christian Science Monitor/Khaleej Times) Will Greece be able to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and wealthier European nations before it defaults on a $1.8 billion IMF loan due on June 30? And what happens if it can’t?
The history of sovereign debt negotiations is filled with deadlines and warnings by creditors of imminent cataclysm – and defiant vows by debtors to protect national sovereignty. Yet usually an accommodation is reached. But Greece’s financial position is indeed dire, and prolonged and testy negotiations with its creditors have only exacerbated its plight.
What are they arguing about? The socialist government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras doesn’t want further cuts in government spending and tax increases, which the IMF and Europe are demanding. Official Greek unemployment is now at about 25 per cent and government employment has been cut by 50 per cent in the past few years. Tsipras says his people have suffered enough.
What could happen? While a formal default on July 1 seems unlikely, there are enormous risks to Greece’s enfeebled banks, particularly as panic spreads in credit markets. Greek banks experienced a wave of withdrawals last week. Money draining out of banks often begets more money following, and bank runs can undermine an entire system. And then there’s the problem of the government paying its accountants and firemen and teachers. Printing money, since Greece belongs to the euro, isn’t an option. The risks are real for Athens.
What are the odds of a deal? Hard to predict. The atmosphere is rancorous. EU President Donald Tusk was measured in his words and uncompromising. “The game of chicken needs to end and so does the blame game. We are close to the point where the Greek government will have to choose between accepting what I believe is a good offer of continued support or to head towards default,” he said.
Greece could yet end up out of the euro. The country’s financial problems are deep and wide. But the one thing all sides have in common is fear of a terrifying unknown, namely the first crack in a currency union that began 15 years ago. If a rupture is really coming, both sides will probably delay that moment as long as possible.
3 What competitive sport teaches women about business success (Sarah Kiefer in The Guardian) This year, the women’s boat race got equal billing with the men’s race for the first time and 2 million people in the UK tuned in to watch the England v France match in the women’s football World Cup. I participated in that race in 2005 and competitive rowing played a significant part in my life through school, university and full-time employment. There are a number of lessons competitive sport has taught me that have served me well in the workplace.
It’s OK to fail. It often seems that society is sending a message to women that in a competitive work environment failure is too risky and that sometimes it is better just not to try. Sport can impart a different mindset: one that teaches you to enjoy not fear it. In my case, sport has made me more likely to ask for a promotion, apply for a job for which I’m not qualified and speak up in a meeting when I disagree.
Learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. I am unusually tall and broad, which led me to feel uncomfortable and unfeminine as a teenager. Rowing totally changed my relationship with my body, allowing me to see my height and broad shoulders as an advantage. Body confidence undoubtedly makes me happier to take part in an industry panel or comfortable when presenting to important clients.
You have the power to drive your own success. Sport teaches women that hard work leads to tangible results. Although the business world is hardly a perfect meritocracy, my experience of training hard and preparing for big races has given me more confidence and a belief that success is in my control.
Understand the true value of teamwork. Finally, sport teaches women the meaning of teamwork. In sport, as in business, teamwork is not just that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from pulling together for a common goal. It’s about being self-aware of your weaknesses, appreciating others’ strengths and being able to have tough conversations when team dynamics are not working out.