EDITOR'S PICKS

In this week's round up, Kohler explains why the US may yet avert years of Japan-style deflation, Gottliebsen examines why Australian assets are so attractive to China and Japan, and Bartholomeusz explicates some of the more confusing elements of Rio Tinto's Chinalco deal.

Dodging the deflationary trap
Alan Kohler
One Fed president has warned that Japan's 'persistent year-on-year deflation' may be repeated in the US. The market appears to believe him, despite early signs that the Fed's quantitative easing is working.

The great Australian asset sale
Robert Gottliebsen
The Chinese and the Japanese are not waiting for a global recovery – for them, now is the time to move on Australian assets. For Australia the timing is bad, but in most cases we are forced sellers.

Rio's synthetic riddle
Stephen Bartholomeusz
As Rio Tinto prepares to sell key Australian mining assets to Chinalco, important questions are being asked about why the deal has been structured to include the use of synthetic instruments where conventional equity would suffice.

Bad debts travel fast
Tony Boyd
Westpac's market update has revealed that its bad debts are no longer just confined to corporate basket cases. The inability to repay loans has spread to a number of medium and large businesses across Australia.

Stimulus taboo
Q&A by Isabelle Oderberg
The Japanese economy will get worse before it stabilises, says Nomura Securities chief economist Takahide Kiuchi, but any solution must be partly cultural, including an easing of the public's fear of government investment in infrastructure.

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