In this week's essential reading guide the prime minister gets a KGB grilling on China, Kohler sees the upside of Australia's ratings threat, Bartholomeusz mulls the Tiger takeover and Gottliebsen calculates Labor's contractor carnage.

KGB Interview: Prime Minister Julia Gillard 
Alan Kohler, Robert Gottliebsen & Stephen Bartholomeusz
The prime minister says Australian restrictions on Chinese state-owned investment were not the only stumbling block to a free trade agreement, while China holds strong opportunities for Australian public policy exports.

Hooray, we might lose the AAA 
Alan Kohler
A lower credit rating would at least get the dollar down as Canberra struggles with growing deficits. Too bad the budget’s in a sorry shape regardless.

The cost of Labor's contractor carnage
Robert Gottliebsen
The government’s sins against the small business community are coming home to roost, with 130,000 independent contracting jobs lost in the last two years.

A crouching Tiger on Qantas turf
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The ACCC's approval of Virgin's controlling stake in Tiger Airways reduces the Australian aviation industry to a duopoly, but should ironically increase competition.

Abbott is the Coalition's sacrificial lamb
Rob Burgess
Tony Abbott looks set to face a storm of discontent when consumer costs rise in the first term of his government. And what will Malcolm Turnbull do then?

Agony in the UK
Stephen Koukoulas
UK growth managed to avoid the worst possibility of a triple-dip recession, but economic performance is still weaker than it was around the Great Depression.

Woodside warmth won't heat mining stocks
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Woodside's special dividend was possible because of its balance sheet particulars but should not be seen as an omen that the likes of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto will start handing out cash.

Much ado about 20 basis points in China
Geoff Raby
Analysts decrying a slowdown in Chinese GDP should look at the bigger picture to get an idea of where the country’s growth is really positioned.

Australia's on track for a decade of deficits
John Daley
Analysis from the Grattan Institute shows Australian governments are heading for budget deficits of around 4 per cent of GDP by 2023, unless they can save $60 billion a year in today’s terms.

Fire and ice on Europe's debt march
Oliver Marc Hartwich
Europe’s average debt to GDP ratio is shrinking but the closer details are devilish. And hardly anyone’s playing by agreed EU Stability and Growth Pact rules anymore.

Special report: Australia's electricity demand collapse
Daniel Palmer
Forecasts for electricity demand in Australia remain way off the mark. In fact, there’s little reason to think we’ll be using more electricity in 2020 than we are now.

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