Daily Archives: Sep 6, 2011

Apparently China’s celebrities are overworked.

According to a new report from Ogilvy & Mather China and Millward Brown, Middle Kingdom’s Celebrities-to-be: Faceless People and Unsung Heroes – Imperatives for Celebrity Advertising in China, famous global brands are confusing the poor Chinese consumer by using the same celebrities for a bewildering range of different products. Read more

Nick Stadtmiller, Gulf analystBy Nick Stadtmiller of Emirates NBD

The Gulf credit market is in a comparatively strong position to weather volatility in global markets. The Gulf countries’ rich hydrocarbon resources provide large current account surpluses, making them net exporters of capital, and their external trade patterns are more connected to Asia.

This contrasts with emerging economies in central and eastern Europe, many of which run current account deficits, leaving them dependent on foreign capital to maintain their balance of payments. In addition, their exports are largely dependent on demand from the European Union, where growth is weak and uncertainty is high. Read more

What do Brazil and Switzerland have in common? Very little, except that both have what they regard as severely over-valued currencies.

Switzerland’s franc is a “safe haven” currency that has seen sharp foreign fund inflows from those fleeing the troubles of the eurozone. The Brazilian real, on the other hand, is regarded by markets as a “risk asset” that has been strengthening on the back of a carry trade and the country’s improving economic fundamentals. Read more

Mexico’s IPC stock index may not be immune to the turbulence shaking world stock markets, but the country’s debt market has plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

The decision by BCI, one of Chile’s leading banks, to issue 2bn pesos (about US$170m) of bonds in Mexico this week is a huge coup and could mark the start of a new era for the country as Latin American companies look to raise debt in alternative markets to those of Europe and the US. Read more

When the South African rugby squad gathered in Johannesburg to bid farewell to the nation before heading off to the World Cup, thousands of supporters thronged Nelson Mandela Square wearing the famous green and gold Springbok jersey to give their side a rousing send off.

Given the passion that South Africans have for their rugby – added to the fact that the Springboks are the defending champions – such exuberant scenes last Thursday before an oval ball had even been kicked were not surprising. Read more

Hungary’s forint posted a record gain of nearly 10 per cent against the Swiss franc on Tuesday and other currencies in the region rebounded after a Swiss central bank move to tame the franc gave relief to foreign currency borrowers.

The forint’s gain mirrored the franc’s fall against the euro after the Swiss National Bank’s announcement that it would set a minimum exchange rate of SFr1.20 to the euro sent the franc tumbling as much as 9.9 per cent against the European currency.

But the new limit also set a ceiling on the hopes of those in Hungary and elsewhere burdened with SFr-denominated mortgages and other loans, who would love to see the Swissie fall further. Read more

Sec_sickbricsMany Russians see Alexey Navalny, a campaigning lawyer, as a champion of hopeless causes. But when the blogger turned his guns on Donskoy Tabak, Russia’s leading tobacco maker, he met widespread support even from hardened smokers. Read more

By Ben Aris of business new europe

For many cash-strapped Russians, the global downturn seemed to offer a chance to scrape together enough money to get a mortgage and move house. But those hopes have been dashed as the market has recovered more quickly than expected and prices are already back to pre-crisis levels. Read more

The sight of a bright red Ferrari being delivered in Jakarta is still something that attracts attention. But not for long.

The number of high net worth individuals will triple in Indonesia to nearly 100,000 by 2015, the fastest rise in Asia, due to high economic growth, strong stock market  performance and currency appreciation, a new report says. Read more

Sec_sickbricsAlthough some still remember a Spartan past dominated by drab, under-supplied state-owned stores, Vietnam’s moneyed elite can today buy pretty much anything they want in-country, from a Rolls-Royce to the latest smartphone or designer handbag.

But, if they need a health check-up or a hernia repaired, many wealthy Vietnamese feel compelled to seek treatment overseas because of the dearth of international standard hospitals and clinics. Read more

China confirms Libya arms sale talks

Temasek buys CCB shares for $2.8bn

SFr move: relief for CEE borrowers

Indian IT hiring down 49 per cent in August

 Read more

Sec_sickbricsYou might think that an army would have an obvious answer to a epidemic of obesity in the ranks – extra circuits and assault courses.

Not the Czech military. Faced with the uncomfortable fact that every second Czech serviceman is overweight,  army chiefs decided to take action. But instead of ordering more exercise, they have stocked up on slimming pills and commanded the cooks to start feeding the troops a low-fat diet. Read more

Surprise relief for Hungary’s hard-pressed borrowers with Tuesday’s announcement from the Swiss central bank of a minimum exchange rate of SFr1.20 against the euro.

By setting a floor for Swissie/euro rates, the move also bolstered the floating exchange rates of central and eastern Europe, notably that of Hungary’s volatile forint. Good news for CEE borrowers with SFr loans, especially Hungarians. But it may not last long: given the magnitude of the euro crisis, who knows what lies around the corner in the forex markets? Read more

Tuesday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: what makes China’s growth a puzzle, why the Exxon-Rosneft deal is a double-edged blessing for Russia and the African Union’s strategy over the west’s involvement  in Libya.  Read more

slideThe cash-strapped Belarusian’s government’s decision to stop supporting its currency later this month could see the rouble fall by as much as 50 per cent against the US dollar, according to Moody’s, the rating agency.

With the country already digesting a 35 per cent drop in May, import costs are soaring and forcing Belarusians to tighten their belts. But the move could help Belarus eventually secure renewed support from the International Monetary Fund. Read more