In this week's essential reading guide Kohler disects the OECD growth forecasts for 2013, Gottliebsen predicts clear skies ahead for the US, Bartholomeusz digs into the big miner's cost-cutting plans and Burgess eyes up Labor's grab for SMEs.

Kicking the can towards a global recession
Alan Kohler
A decline in confidence everywhere has led the OECD to slash its growth forecast for 2013. But politicians remain unwilling, or unable, to do anything to help.

BHP and Rio revert to a volume vision
Stephen Bartholomeusz
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are targeting costs and capital intensity as they set about adapting to the reduction in key commodity prices and permanently high currencies in resource countries.

Wall Street's dormant hopes awake
Robert Gottliebsen
Previously sidelined buying power stepped into Wall Street overnight on optimism over the fiscal cliff. If these investors look ahead, they'll see blue skies for the US.

Will Qantas cop a Tourism backlash?
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Alan Joyce's decision to strip Qantas' support to Tourism Australia risks angering the federal government, which could open the way for an easing of restrictions on its big rivals.

A burning issue behind AWU smoke
Rob Burgess
Behind the fog of the AWU scandal are many policy issues key to the electoral success of the major parties. When, or if, the scandal is settled, voters might just notice Labor's concerted grab for the SME constituency.

Chinese factories fight a wages inferno
Stephen Koukoulas
As fears grow over the end to an era of cheap Chinese goods, Beijing is importing North Korean workers to take the heat off wages. But it's a solution that can't last forever.

The Times, it is a changin'
Oliver Marc Hartwich
Germany's version of the Financial Times had all the backing and fire-power a new publication could possibly ask for. Its dismal failure shows the game is definitely up for the traditional newspaper.

Heartbreak amid Labor's policy flotsam
Alan Kohler
The disastrous outcome of Labor's asylum seeker strategy makes it clear only claims processing in Indonesia or Malaysia will stop a desperate rush of boats – no matter who's in government.

Bank police need to get back on the beat
James Kirby
While APRA basks in the afterglow of its robust regulation over the course of the GFC, investors in Banksia, and other poorly regulated finance companies, are losing money.

Sour senate means Dodd-Frank can wait
Alexander Liddington-Cox
Securities regulation reform in the US is set to remain on the backburner with Elisse Walter's reign at the SEC to be fraught with difficulty, at least until various political stand-offs play out.

'Two strikes' falls foul
Cliona O'Dowd
Shareholders are increasingly comfortable exercising their voice on executive pay. But the 'two strikes' rule is easily manipulated to leave them powerless.

Britain outsources its debt crisis solution
Christopher Mason
Can Britain co-opt solutions from the Canadas and Australias of the world by hiring away Canada's central bank governor?

China hangs tough on a problematic partnership
John Lee
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is viewed in Beijing as an American-led agreement designed to benefit regional allies while containing China’s rise.

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