Daily Archives: Jan 6, 2011

By Ronald Buchanan in Mexico City

Carlos Slim HeluThe most recent spin-offs launched by Grupo Carso, controlled by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, had a mixed day when their shares were first traded on Thursday on Mexico City’s stock market.

The mining spin-off, Frisco, rose by 26 per cent more than its predetermined value, but the real-estate company, Inmuebles Carso, fell by 16 per cent. Read more

Brazilian real against US dollarBrazilian banks slumped and the real fell sharply on Brazil’s new capital controls, aimed at cooling off short-term inflows.

The Bovespa fell for the first time this week, led by financial firms. Itau Unibanco and Bradesco both slumped more than 2 per cent, while Santander’s Brazilian arm fell 1.8 per cent. Retailers including cosmetics maker Natura and discounter Lojas Renner also declined on worries over interest rate hikes. Read more

Central and eastern European stocks continued their ascent on Thursday, lifted by strong US employment data and record commodity prices. On a quiet day for markets – the Russian and Polish bourses were closed for national holidays – most CEE currencies slipped against the dollar. Read more

Turkey’s government has set its sights on winning an investment grade rating for sovereign debt – something it could achieve in 2011, judging by the signals sent by at least one ratings agency.

But investors do not seem to feel the need to wait. This week, they piled into the Treasury’s auction of a dollar-denominated Eurobond, buying $1bn of an issue with a 30 year maturity. Read more

By Hairul Borhan of mergermarket

Malayan Banking (Maybank) of Malaysia brought in the new year in celebratory fashion by tabling a $1.4 billion bid to acquire Singapore brokerage Kim Eng Holdings. The offer, which was announced on Thursday, would give Malaysia’s biggest lender by assets instant access to investment operations in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Under the proposed deal, Maybank would pay S$798m ($617m) for a 44.6 per cent stake in Kim Eng Holdings from its chairman, Ronald Anthony Oii Thean Yat, and Taiwan’s Yuanta Securities Asia Financial Services at S$3.10 a share. The offer represents a 14.8 per cent premium. Read more

Beijing to the rescue! China is prepared to buy €6bn of Spanish government bonds as part of its commitment to help the eurozone out of its sovereign debt crisis, according to Spanish government sources quoted by El País, the pro-government newspaper.

The report was published as Li Keqiang, China’s deputy premier, is on a visit to Spain, Germany and the UK. There was no official confirmation of the figure, but Victor Mallet, the FT’s Madrid bureau chief, says that Spanish media have likened the bond buying to the Marshall Plan, through which the US financed the rebuilding of Europe after the second world war. His full story is here.

The continued rise in food prices in India – underlined earlier on Thursday by the most recent inflation figures – has been described as an onion crisis. Crop failures in the main onion growing regions have been strangling supply, which is one reason why the latest December figures showed food prices up 18 per cent from the previous year.

India’s government has taken short-term steps to manage the onion crisis, but at least one industry leader says this is not enough to arrest the sharp spike in food inflation. Read more

A stronger peso, buoyed by rising remittances from more than 9m Filipinos working overseas, continues to do wonders for the Philippine economy.

On Thursday, Moody’s changed the outlook on the Philippines’ foreign and local-currency bond ratings to positive from stable on the country’s stronger external payments position, after Manila sold. The move could lead to a possible upgrade of Manila’s credit rating currently set at Ba3, which is two notches below investment grade. Read more

During the last four years Mexico has suffered a new and worrying wave of violence. True, the murder rate continues to be well below that of other nations in the region such as Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. Read more

Asian markets were largely mixed on Thursday, as stocks swung between large gains and losses. Concern that central banks of the region will need to raise interest rates to curb inflation was countered by optimism about US economic recovery.

Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite index fell the most in Asia, retreating from record highs, while Malaysia’s FTSE Bursa rose to a new record. Read more

Brazil’s new government has said it will do everything it can to stem the appreciation of its currency, the real, and it’s just taken another step by moving to discourage short selling of the dollar.

In a statement (in Portuguese) on its website, the central bank said on Thursday that it would introduce reserve requirements for financial institutions with dollar short positions. Read more

* Brazil imposes tax to curb forex short-selling

* China to buy 6 billion euros of Spanish debt: report

* Maybank bids $1.4bn for Singapore brokerage

* India needs more tightening to tame inflation – IMF

* Walmart in global online sales expansion Read more

From the FT:

From elsewhere:

One of the big reasons for the success of Taiwan’s technology industry, which manufactures more than nine of out every ten notebook computers in the world, has long been the ready availability of well-educated, talented workers.

That advantage, however, is now coming under threat, according to a new survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei. Read more

Food prices in India are rocketing ever higher by the day: the latest figures out on Thursday show them up by the largest amount in more than a year – over 18 per cent – toward the end of December. This can only add to pressure on the central bank to tighten monetary policy.

The price of food in the week to December 25 was up 18.32 per cent from a year ago, compared to a 14.44 per cent rise in the previous week. The news pushed up bond yields as investors raised their expectations of an interest rate hike. Read more

* Ankara pledges to speed up criminal trials

* India needs more tightening to tame inflation – IMF

* Walmart in global online sales expansion

* China aims to ensure intellectual-property protection

* Kuwait and Iran stand firm on oil output Read more

In stark contrast to developed economies, where the printing of words on dead wood is a sunset industry and print journalists are a dying breed, the Chinese newspaper industry is in rude health.

Total newspaper circulation in China in 2010 was expected to rise 14 per cent from the year earlier to more than 50bn – the highest in the world – according to figures from the General Administration of Press and Publication. That contrasted with a slight decrease in newspaper circulation in Britain and a five per cent drop in the US between March 2010 and September 2010, the Chinese state media reported. Read more