Pink picks | FT Alphaville

Pink picks

Comment, analysis and other offerings from Thursday’s FT,

John Gapper: Two chiefs can be wiser than one
Goldman Sachs publicly pooh-poohs the idea but thoughts are turning to who will succeed Lloyd Blankfein as its chief executive, writes the FT columnist. The bank, which this week reported a 7 per cent fall in first-quarter revenues, is in sound enough shape despite its reputational pasting that he can respectably cede control within a year or two. His successor could be Gary Cohn, its president, one of the two other candidates mentioned in a New York Times article this week, or someone else.

Trevor Greetham: Common debt problem may need joint solution
It is sometimes said the US and the UK are two nations divided by a common language. Today they look like two nations divided by a common problem, writes Greetham, asset allocation director at Fidelity International. Both suffered a financial bust after a housing boom fuelled by lax lending standards and an over-leveraged banking system. Their response to the crisis was identical. Two years on, their approaches have completely diverged.

David Pilling: Thrift lessons from Japan’s cherry tree wars
The cherry blossom wars are over, the FT columnist says, but the question of whether to spend or save in the greater interest of Japan’s long-term recovery is rather less fleeting than the delicate petals, now mostly scattered to the winds. For those who missed the ideological skirmish over cherry-blossom viewing, Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, told Tokyoites it was wrong to be enjoying themselves so soon after the devastating earthquake. One suspects the impulse to live less extravagant lives will not quite vanish as the country recovers.

Editorial Comment: Europe must use borrowed time well
Extraordinary as the eurozone’s efforts to fight the sovereign debt crisis have been, all they have so far achieved is to postpone a resolution, says the FT. Events will soon impose their own solutions if policymakers do not act more decisively than they have yet been able to contemplate. They can still buy some time – but it must be wisely used.

Analysis: Japan — More than a moment
When a magnitude 9 earthquake struck off north-eastern Japan at 2.46pm on Friday March 11, it changed everything – and nothing, the FT’s Mure Dickie reports. The disaster and the trouble at the radiation-leaking Fuku­shima Daiichi atomic plant in themselves do nothing to resolve – and could even exacerbate – some of Japan’s most pressing problems: fragile government, unproductive politics, anaemic growth and spiralling state debt.

Lex on gold and the dollar
As of this week, one troy ounce of gold will cost you more than $1,500, notes Lex. Meanwhile, the US dollar, on a trade-weighted basis, is back to a post-crisis low. These facts are not coincidental, and reflect well-embedded trading trends that could persist for a while longer. They do not, however, cohere with events in the real economy, says Lex.

FT Tilt: Post-revolution MENA — A new narrative for economic reform
Unlike the aftermath of the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union, which were accompanied by a broad acceptance of the need for economic reform, many MENA countries have been adhering to economic liberalisation agendas for years, writes Ann Wyman, Nomura’s Head of Emerging Markets Research in Europe. But as democracy takes hold, it will become increasingly important to find a novel, and broadly acceptable, narrative around economic reform.