By Matt Kennard
Felipe Larraín, Chile’s finance minister, had a big smile on his face Thursday morning as he talked reporters through his country’s successful $1.35bn bond issue at Deutsche Bank’s offices on Wall Street.
He had reason to be cheerful. The Chilean government has just sold $1bn of 10-year dollar-denominated bond, yielding 3.35 per cent, the lowest borrowing costs in Latin American history for a sovereign issuer, according to Larraín. Read more
Last week, Brazilian television featured a local – if bizarre – angle on the Libya story. The ousted Libyan dictator, Colonel Muammer Gaddafi, it seems is one of the more notorious past foreign customers of an industry Brazil is famous for – plastic surgery. Read more
To paraphrase Lady Bracknell, to lose a few hundred million dollars may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose $29bn looks like carelessness.
After hundreds of millions went missing from state oil company PDVSA’s pension fund earlier this year, it emerged last month that no less than $29bn has been mislaid from state development fund Fonden. What is remarkable, in both cases, is the total absence of outrage among the majority of Venezuelans, who no longer seem surprised at levels of “misfortune” or “carelessness” that in other countries would be considered staggering. Read more
On Wednesday, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff took her daughter and grandson to watch the traditional Independence Day parade at the Esplanada dos Ministérios, the main road in Brasília where the federal government’s ministries and the National Congress are located. The president did not acknowledge them but directly on the other side of the Esplanada, thousands of people were gathered to protest against corruption.
Hot on the trail of corruption protests in other emerging markets, such as India, Brazilians are marching in their thousands to voice their opposition against one of the country’s most endemic problems. Read more
Serbia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate, the second highest in Europe after Belarus, in an attempt to boost its sluggish economic growth.
The Balkan central bank, which aspires to become an EU candidate country, is the latest in the emerging markets to shift its focus from inflation to the global slow-down. Read more
Former BP chief Tony Hayward’s new incarnation would hardly have seemed likely a year or so ago. Hayward’s ambition is for Genel, the oil exploration group his Vallares investment vehicle is buying, to be seen as a “Turkish champion”, a company Ankara can be proud of.
The Slough-born Hayward might not seem like the most natural Turkish flag-waver. But he argues that the group’s Turkish identity is particularly relevant, since Genel’s area of activity is Kurdish Northern Iraq and the group has aspirations in the broader Middle East. Read more
By Courtney Weaver in Moscow and Ivana Kottasová in London
The Russian plane crash in which almost the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice-hockey team died, has cast a long shadow over the country’s hopes for developing its all-star Kontinental Hockey League.
The disaster, which killed some of the sport’s top players, has raised some serious questions about the way the KHL is run – and dampened long-held aspirations to overtake the US’s National Hockey League as the world’s premier competition. Read more
It’s a simple romantic tale of a boy, a girl and their triumph over adversity – a story that’s been told a thousand times. But Engeyum Eppothum (“everywhere all the time”), an upcoming film from Fox Star Studios, shows how Hollywood’s invasion of Bollywood is moving into a different dimension as the US film industry targets a new generation of international moviegoers. Read more
For analysts seeking to quantify the costs of this year’s “strike season” in South Africa, an answer, or at least a partial one, may have surfaced.
On Thursday, Statistics South Africa released figures for manufacturing and mining output in July which made for grim reading.
Manufacturing production was down 6 per cent year-on-year, while mining output contracted by 5.1 per cent compared to July last year. Read more
The aftershocks of the 2008 economic crisis are continuing to reverberate through the Polish banking market – with shares of Kredyt Bank up more than 3 per cent on reports that Spain’s Santander is mulling a bid.
KBC, the Polish subsidiary of Belgium’s KBC, survived the crisis thanks to a €7bn cash injection from the Belgian government, and is now flogging its Polish businesses, Kredyt Bank and insurer Warta, in order to repay the aid. Read more
Employers in Russia are not known for compassion – unless they are dealing with drunkenness. A hangover is still seen in many offices and factories as an excuse for skipping work, turning up late or just being grumpy and unproductive. However, as the Kremlin steps up its campaign against alcoholism, experts are counting the economic cost of Russians’ excessive drinking habits. Read more
Becoming China’s Amazon.com sounds like a tantalising prospect. Selling DVDs and books to China’s hundreds of millions of internet users could be about as lucrative as it gets.
Well, that’s likely to be the pitch from 360buy.com if it does indeed seek to raise $4-5bn in an IPO. But the track record of other US-listed Chinese internet companies provides a worrying template. Read more
* OECD cuts global growth forecast
* Libya’s new leaders plan to review $150bn in international contracts
* China to back London as offshore renminbi centre
* Oil producers target Asia as outlook in West bleak Read more
Russia needs to “radically change” civil aviation, president Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday as he visited the site of a plane crash that killed 43 people including several of the country’s top ice-hockey stars.
He called for the number of airlines to be reduced sharply and said the government should help revive the civil aviation fleet, Reuters reported. He added that training for flight crews needed to be improved. Read more
Thursday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: the perils of outsourcing in emerging markets; what to make of ICBC’s record-low valuation; and the energy charter – can it boost EU-Russia relations? Read more
The Bank of Korea held its fire again on Thursday despite the threat posed by inflation to the livelihoods of many South Koreans. The central bank left its key interest rate at 3.25 per cent a year for a third straight month in a bid to protect Asia’s fourth-largest economy from growing external uncertainties.
Following Turkey’s controversial lead last month and Brazil’s surprise interest rate cut last week, the BoK becomes the latest EM rate-setter to shift its focus from inflation to the threat of recession as the global economy weakens. Read more
Over the past week, many Beijing residents have noticed a new kind of uniform in the streets. Large numbers of mostly young men and women in white-and-blue tracksuits have appeared on street corners trying to discourage pedestrians and cyclists from running red lights and going in the wrong direction.
A national civilisation competition is to blame. Read more
By Shelina Janmohamed of Ogilvy Noor
You’ve spent a huge chunk of your annual budget reminding your Muslim consumers that your brand exists. You’ve persuaded them to buy your products during the month of Ramadan and secured sales over Eid. You’re not alone. Your branding peers have been out doing the same.
But now Ramadan is over and Eid is already fading to a distant memory. What do you do keep up the momentum? Do you sit around moping till next year? Do you reminisce about the spike in sales during the month of daylight fasting and the celebrations that follow? Read more