Opinion | Danger signals from an esoteric corner of finance

King dollar is rising. Other currencies are falling like ninepins. But to gauge the impact of this surge on Asia, you have to move beyond spot exchange rates and into an esoteric corner where tens of trillions of dollars of off-balance-sheet debt lives in the accounting footnotes of banks, investors and even central banks. That corner is currency swaps. These are deals in which parties exchange funds from one currency into another and reverse the trade, say, five years later. Every three or six months, each earns a benchmark money-market…

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Opinion | Printing currency isn’t a good way to finance deficit

On 10 February, wire services reported that the then interim finance minister Piyush Goyal favoured “printing currency” as a mode of deficit finance, approvingly citing the example of the US. “As finance ministers we are always in need of money,” Goyal said. He added, “I have heard that the US does deficit financing only by printing currency,” a canard that has been repeated by luminaries of the “Indic” ecosystem enveloping this government in its latter days. By “printing currency”, Goyal is referring to what traditionally was called money finance or…

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Opinion: Amazing gene-editing technology needs a pass on patent minefields

A breakthrough gene editing technology known as CRISPR is poised to deliver new medical therapies and agricultural and industrial advancements. Although recent reports of its success in the laboratory are promising, the larger challenge confronting CRISPR may be access to the underlying patent rights. To develop CRISPR technologies, commercial developers must fight or license their way through an intellectual property labyrinth that is the definition of inefficiency. The situation looks like an invitation to litigation or government intervention, either of which would put the technology’s vast potential at risk. There…

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