In this week's essential reading guide Kohler surveys RBA motives, Gottliebsen breaks down the reasons for BHP power, Bartholomeusz scrutinises Telstra's result and Maley asks if Merkel can go it alone.

Trouble in a carry trade paradise
Alan Kohler
The RBA can't cut rates to bring down the Australian dollar, so instead it will watch the statistics and try to ignore warnings about hardship in the real world.

How a rate hike could save the banks
Robert Gottliebsen
The big four are clearly betting on a lower cash rate to help fill a funding gap. But if they want to fix the problem permanently, they'll have to lift their own rates.

A boom in BHP's pipeline
Robert Gottliebsen
BHP Billiton's ratio of cash flow to capex and dividend shows strength, but its pipeline of development really underlines the miner's power.

Smoothing out a Telstra transition
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Even with the faster-then-expected decline of Sensis, there are positive trends in Telstra's results which will see the company move to a more nimble and customer-focused organisation.

Capturing Glencore's market intelligence
Stephen Bartholomeusz
While some of Xstrata's shareholders have threatened to vote down the merger with Glencore, the new entity stands to benefit from the companies' combined assets and expertise.

Can Merkel go it alone?
Karen Maley
In a devastating blow for Angela Merkel, French presidential election favourite Francois Hollande's enthusiasm for renegotiating Europe's budget treaty could send her austerity efforts back to square one.

A Greek writedown chain reaction?
Karen Maley
Just as Jean-Claude Juncker's has admitted Greek debt writedown negotiations are "ultra difficult”, investors are becoming increasingly worried Portugal may follow suit.

Bouncing off Labor's rock bottom
Rob Burgess
The Coalition's obsession with a Labor 'stench' carries a whiff of desperation. In contrast, could Labor's fortunes finally be making a turnaround?

The 'real' Julia needs new advisors
Rob Burgess
Julia Gillard had the chance to get on the communications front foot yesterday, but as we've come to expect it was another missed opportunity.

The logic behind a rates surprise
Christopher Joye
The Reserve Bank's decision to hold rates was a no-brainer, and it would take a brave bank to lift its rates under the current circumstances.

A Ponzi by any other name
Oliver Marc Hartwich
Mario Draghi has come up with an ingenious way to print money while calling it something else, but the result is a leveraged ECB that makes Lehman Brothers look conservative.

TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: Self-service makes Sensis
Charis Palmer
It's only a matter of time before more jobs are lost at Sensis, and the question remains whether self-service and better online delivery can curb the process.

Leadership lessons can be poles apart
Christopher J Tipler, Management Insights
The great Antarctic explorers took markedly different approaches to their expeditions, and there's much that modern business leaders can learn from them.

CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Pricing a sustainable future
Paul Burke
A recent UN report into sustainability found that the playing field is heavily slanted against the environment, leaving emissions pricing as the most logical way to slow the pace of climate change.

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