This week's essential weekend briefing features Kohler on China's copper stockpiles, Gottliebsen on the signs of a recovery and Bartholomeusz on the threats facing last remaining vestiges of competition for the Big Four.

Australia's pole position
Alan Kohler
The Chinese government is shifting from buying up US paper to stockpiling metals, giving the Australian economy the best news it's had in months.

Signs of hope
Robert Gottliebsen
The biggest force underpinning the share market is the fact that fears of a melt-down are rapidly subsiding. World leaders will do whatever it takes to overcome further problems, meaning the worst may well be behind us.

The regional banking handicap
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Punitive capital requirements foisted on the regionals and the bigger non-banks could be responsible for removing one of the sector's key competitive forces.

Babcock reanimated
Tony Boyd
Some of the old Babcock & Brown satellites are showing signs of life as opportunists attempt to salvage something from vehicles once considered beyond repair.

Steering a straight course
Isabelle Oderberg
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce explains his concerns about Middle Eastern airlines, which enjoy strong government backing, and says he doesn't expect a recovery in the aviation sector this year.

A guaranteed disadvantage
Christopher Joye
The government's attempts to shore up the banking system through its funding guarantee has placed smaller banks at a competitive disadvantage.

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