In your essential guide to the week's big stories, Alan Kohler examines China's slowing economy, Robert Gottliebsen looks at infrastructure spending and Tony Boyd explains the banks rush to raise capital.

China cracks
Alan Kohler
Amid plenty of bad news yesterday, China's November trade data was the worst. It is an unmitigated disaster for Australia and virtually ensures that we will spend much of next year in recession.

Reinventing infrastructure
Robert Gottliebsen
Building infrastructure is a far better way of stimulating the economy than handing people cheques and imploring them to spend. The problem is convincing the vast super funds sitting on the sidelines to join the game.

Consumed with capital
Tony Boyd
In the new banking environment, there is no such thing as too much capital. Which is why some are asking if Westpac's dividend is under threat and others anticipate another capital raising from the Commonwealth Bank.

Throwing down the gauntlet
Q&A by Isabelle Oderberg
Timothy Geithner is not the right choice for the role of US Treasury Secretary due to his lack of relevant experience and his connections to influential factions on Wall Street, says Institutional Risk Analytics boss Christopher Whalen

Beyond the bailout
Peter Morici
Proposals to save the Detroit Three with a black cheque are a waste of time unless they are forced to adopt structural reforms aimed at lifting productivity and reducing carbon emissions


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