Daily Archives: Sep 28, 2010

A Chinese tourist plays the drum along Rio Branco avenue, in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during a parade of the Cordao do Boitata carnival street bandChinese visitors are still a rare sight on the streets of Brazilian cities – but not for much longer. And when they come, they’ll know where to get their cash.

Here is a statement put out on Tuesday evening by Itaú Unibanco, Brazil’s biggest private-sector bank:

Itaú Unibanco signed yesterday a trade and cooperation agreement with CHINA UNIONPAY CO. LTD (CUP). By this contract, CUP clients with their 2.2 billion credit and debit cards will be able to withdraw at over 30,000 Itaú ATMs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Brazilian presidential candidate for the Green Party Marina Silva is greeted by supporters as she campaigns in downtown GuarulhosThe FT reported on Tuesday that, with less than a week to go before the election on October 3, Marina Silva, candidate for the green party (pictured), was emerging as a third force in Brazil’s presidential race. Also on Tuesday, Datafolha, one of the country’s biggest polling agencies, published an opinion poll showing she had edged forward a bit more.

A glance at the poll suggests Dilma Rousseff, candidate for the leftwing ruling PT and chosen successor of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is still on course for victory in the first round on Sunday. But in a note to clients on Tuesday, Alberto Almeida, a political scientist in São Paulo, argued the presidential race could go to a second round after all. Read more

Mexico's peso against US dollarLatin American markets gained today as disappointing US consumer confidence figures raised hopes of more action from the Fed, while metals prices boosted Brazilian steelmakers. Mexico’s peso rallied to its strongest point since June 21 as the dollar fell to its weakest level since February. Read more

Purple posters with a drawing of candles on them have gone up on billboards around Buenos Aires. Their message is simple: Most residents have got used to paying less over the past decade for their electricity than the cost of a couple of candles.

Campaigns to educate Argentines to use energy rationally have been largely absent in a country where, since the economy crashed into a historic sovereign debt default in 2001, tariffs have remained largely frozen. There is so little incentive to use energy wisely that, the joke used to go, if in winter you were hot, you kept the heating on and simply opened the window. Read more

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao toastDmitry Medvedev, the president of Russia, is in China this week for talks aimed at cementing a new partnership between the world’s biggest energy producer and consumer.

But China, despite its hunger for new oil and gas supplies, is playing hard to get. Read more

Poland’s WIG20 was the worst performing index in central and eastern Europe on Tuesday, falling 1.2 per cent. However, Turkey’s equities set a new record, led by Turkish Airlines, which rose almost 5 per cent on news of planned expansion and acquisitions.

After Russia’s president sacked the defiant mayor of Moscow, the Micex index continued Monday’s downward trend. The rouble was weaker against the euro, but extended its one-month high against the dollar. Read more

More fuel on the flames of the “currency war” from Brazil: Henrique Meirelles, its central bank governor, warned on Tuesday that his country “is not going to pay the price” for economic imbalances driving forex markets.

Those imbalances – in large part to do with the sickly US economy – are weakening the dollar and strengthening emerging market currencies. Increasingly urgent efforts by Asian and Latin American governments to hold down their own currencies have led to an “international currency war”, Brazil’s finance minister said on Monday. Read more

What is the relationship between government debt and local traffic fines? In Dubai, a lot. This morning yours truly received a text message from Dubai police: the family car has incurred yet another $165 traffic fine. And of course those breaking traffic regulations should pay up.

But the authorities aren’t just concerned with reducing road accidents. In a twist familiar to disciples of Jeremy Clarkson, it seems that the traffic fines are a roundabout route to trimming Dubai’s budget deficit. Read more

By Mai Mizuta of mergermarket

As Asia’s race for resources accelerates, Japanese companies are turning to Latin America. In the latest move, Sumitomo Corp – a conglomerate whose activities include metal trading – has paid nearly $2bn for a stake in a Brazilian iron-ore miner.

“Previously, our only other iron ore asset was in South Africa, so this deal will allow us to increase our access to iron ore,” said a Sumitomo spokesman, pointing out the company hopes to quadruple its supply of the ore to steel-makers by 2015. Read more

Rising investment in Peruvian agriculture is increasing tensions over one of the Andean country’s most precious resources: water. Peru is home to 70 per cent of the world’s tropical ice fields; but they are shrinking: 22 per cent of its glaciers – equivalent to 10 years’ water supply for Lima, the world’s second driest city – have been lost over the past 30 years.

That is a symbol of Peru’s vulnerability to climate change, a phenomenon that is challenging farmers in several emerging markets, just as the world food system is being challenged by rising food demand from those same countries. Read more

The recent dust-up between China and Japan suggested how neighbours can have incompatible interests. But in business, things are often rather different. In one example, China’s emergence as a producer of sophisticated technology is helping strengthen one of the few big microchip businesses left in Japan.

Renesas, which was created in April in a merger of two loss-making chipmakers, says it expects to increase sales to China by 50 per cent by fiscal year 2012 and to double its Chinese staff in the same period. Read more

* Medvedev sacks Moscow mayor

* DHL Express set to beef up Chinese presence

* US business fears ‘downward spiral’ in China trade

* Time Warner to focus on emerging markets

* Russia hails oil pipe as first step towards China Read more

South Korea plans to speed up the privatisation of state-run companies such as Incheon International Airport and Industrial Bank of Korea in order to finance its fiscal 2011 budget. But seeing is believing, and investors had better not make big bets on the privatisation plans until they actually happen. Read more

Asian stocks lost ground on Tuesday, paring Monday’s gains, despite an upbeat assessment of the region’s recovery published by the Asian Development Bank. Vietnam’s VN index did rise, after growth accelerated to over 7 per cent in the third quarter.

Asian currencies mostly fell against the dollar, led by the Philippine peso after the country’s imports rose 16 per cent in July. Read more

From the FT:

From elsewhere:

Suddenly, it’s IPO time in Hong Kong. Aside from the mega-flotation of AIA, the Asian arm of AIG, the US insurer, there is a queue of companies hoping to take advantage of a recovery in investors’ risk appetites.

The 12 or so groups planning listings in the next few weeks include Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology, a Chinese wind-turbine generator maker, which is returning to the market after postponing its IPO in June because of poor investment conditions.

But they had better be quick. Local retail investors, who are avid buyers of new issues, are notoriously fickle. Given the uncertainties still swirling around global markets, it would not take much to send the would-be issuers scurrying for cover. Read more

Russian agriculture is as vulnerable to the weather as anywhere, but this year it has had unbelievably bad luck. A record breaking heat wave and drought devastated the country’s farms – and in the sugar sector the setback was felt especially hard.

The Kremlin has set a goal of modernising agriculture and ensuring Russia becomes self sufficient in food. Modernization efforts were beginning to pay off in the sugar fields, but the drought has brought a run of improving harvests to a sudden halt. Read more

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has phoned in orders from China to dump Yuri Luzhkov, the long-time Moscow mayor who had recently appeared to challenge the president’s authority. Read more

TajIn the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, set to start on Saturday in New Delhi, many hotels had expressed anguish over a lack of bookings as a promised flood of foreign spectators showed no signs of materialising.

But over the last few days, India’s top hotels received an unexpected boon: last minute bookings from Commonwealth athletes unhappy with conditions at the blighted new athletes’ village. Read more

* Indian leaders warm to Mandarin

* DHL Express set to beef up Chinese presence

* Wal-Mart Offers to buy South Africa’s Massmart for $4.2bn

* US business fears ‘downward spiral’ in China trade

* Time Warner to focus on emerging markets Read more