Daily Archives: Sep 2, 2010

Petrobras share chartMost Latin American markets saw modest gains today, following Wednesday’s bumper rally, as positive employment and housing data from the US encouraged investors to take on risk.

News that Petrobras agreed a price for its oil-for-shares swap with the Brazilian government lifted shares of the state-controlled oil group, but Brazil’s Bovespa index closed lower as other commodity producers and financials declined. Read more

Civil servants workers protest outside the Natalspruit hospital in JohannesburgSouth Africa’s civil servants’ strike may have thrown the country’s public services into chaos, but it provided one private hospital group with a priceless PR opportunity.

When nurses at the Natalspruit Hospital near Johannesburg joined the strike, they left 53 premature babies unfed and unattended for a full day. Enter Netcare, the country’s biggest private hospital group, whose paramedics garnered an admiring press for spending a night transferring the children to two of its upmarket hospitals. Read more

Hungary’s government sold only two-thirds of its planned debt auction on Thursday, on concerns that the country will raise interest rates.

However, central and eastern European stock markets rose on good global data – with Turkey’s ISE 100 trading a new record high, despite concerns over its economyRead more

Poland’s economy is picking up speed and the proof is not only found in dry statistics; it is also showing up on the plates of local restaurants. The plate in question comes from Krokiecik, a quick-serve restaurant around the corner from the FT’s Warsaw office. In good times the scrambled eggs dish comes with a side of sliced tomatoes.  Read more

Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras said yesterday that it will “pay” the government $8.51 per barrel for the rights to 5bn barrels of oil.

How did the two sides reach the $8.51 figure for the oil lying under the Atlantic ocean? As many investors feared, politics seems to have played a key role – and minority shareholders could be the big losers. Read more

Is Venezuela out of the roughest seas after all? For a while now, the oil-rich country has been ridiculed for being the only country in Latin America still to be caught in recession – or worse still, stagflation – as the rest sail surely into the calm waters of positive growth.

Not true, suspects Mark Weisbrot, a left-leaning economist at the Centre for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, who also co-wrote the script for Oliver Stone’s new film, South of the Border, which portrays Hugo Chavez in a positive light. Read more

By Mark Shapland of mergermarket

China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Argentina – and now deeper into Brazil.

Owens-Illinois, the world biggest maker of glass bottles, is continuing its 2010 expansion into emerging markets, as demand for glass in Europe and the US stalls.

It has announced the $603m purchase of Brazil’s Companhia Industrial de Vidros (CIV), gaining a foothold in the northeast region – where the economy is resurgent and government tax breaks are plentiful. Read more

Buddha-Bar is fighting for survival in Indonesia.

The French lounge chain opened in Jakarta two years ago – its first move into Asia. Yet this week a district court ruled the club offends followers of the faith, and ordered it to close and pay $111,000 in fines. Read more

Success brings its own problems. In Turkey, the strength of domestic demand is fuelling one of the fastest recoveries from recession among emerging economies. But it is also fuelling rapid expansion in the current account deficit, highlighting the return of a persistent imbalance in the Turkish economy. Read more

Real-estate trader Nguyen Xuan Bien is either a very smart guy, or a guy with very well-placed friends, though in Vietnam these days it usually amounts to the same thing.

In July 2009, Bien heard from friends at government agencies that plans were afoot to move the national government’s administrative centre from Hanoi to the neighbouring precinct of Ba Vi. Bien quickly bought 18,000 square metres of land in Ba Vi, at a price of 200,000 dong per square metre, or a total just over $150,000. Read more

* Baidu aims to corral apps users

* India revises its GDP from April to June data to 3.8%

* RIM faces battle over content in Indonesia

* Rosatom launches global charm offensive

* Petrobras to pay Brazil $42.5bn in stock for oil reserves Read more

Optimism spread through Asian markets on Thursday, with the IMF becoming the first major institution to forecast South Korean growth above 6 per cent this year.

There was more good news from China following yesterday’s robust manufacturing survey – car sales in the world’s biggest auto market surged in August. Read more

India is known for its export of talented economists, software engineers, physicists, and others with a bent for numbers. Yet India’s government still struggles to produce reliable, credible data on just about anything it tries to quantify.

As we pointed out on Tuesday – India’s latest buoyant GDP data looked puzzling. And now the Indian government admits it made a mistake. Read more

For South Korea, good news has come with a catch.

The IMF today raised its 2010 growth forecast for the country – to 6.1 per cent from a July estimate of 5.75 per cent. But it added that authorities now have room to raise interest rates again. And that heaps pressure on next week’s rate decision by the central bank, which is already struggling to balance growth and price stability. Read more

By Girija Shivakumar in New Delhi

India’s Commonwealth Games was expected to boost New Delhi’s tourism industry, drawing up to 100,000 foreign spectators to the sports competition – and also to the Indian capital’s restaurants, shops and historic monuments.

Instead, Delhi’s hotels, and other businesses, are worried that instead they’ll suffer a huge drop during what is normally a peak period for their businesses. Read more

From the FT:

From elsewhere:

* India seeks access to Skype and Google data

* Ping An, Shenzhen bank announce merger plan

* Rosatom launches global charm offensive

* China digs for ways to stymie BHP’s Potash Corp bid

* Petrobras to pay Brazil $42.5bn in stock for oil reserves Read more

In a memorable scene from the film The Graduate, a family friend offers the lead character, played by Dustin Hoffman, some simple career advice: “I want to say just one word to you. Just one word. Plastics.”

It has certainly been a lucrative industry for Saudi Basic Materials Corporation (Sabic), the state-controlled giant that has emerged as a global player in plastics, chemicals, fertilisers and metals (which are used to make golf clubs), with operations spanning from the US to China. Read more