Daily Archives: Sep 19, 2011

Granted, it was always meant to be the jewel in Tata Motors’ crown, but this might be taking it a bit too literally.

Tata Motors on Monday unveiled the Goldplus Nano – a one-off showpiece version that sees “the People’s Car” encased in 80kg of 22 carat gold, 15kg of sliver and 10,000 semi-precious and precious stones. Read more

Last week it was rescuing the eurozone. This week kicks off with Brazil proposing a change to WTO rules that would help escalate the currency war into a full-on trade war.

Guido Mantega, finance minister, floated this one to the FT back in January. Now the country’s diplomats are putting the plan down on paper. As Joe Leahy reports in Tuesday’s FT, Brazil’s development minister believes the time is right for multilateral discussion on the plan – even though it has reportedly met “strong resistance” from the US and China. Read more

Whatever happened to Brazil’s steroid-fuelled currency – the real? On Monday, it hit a one-year low against the dollar, having shed 11 per cent of its strength in September after the central bank last month unexpectedly and aggressively cut interest rates.

The currency fell as low as 1.7994 against the dollar, the lowest since July 20 last year, according to Bloomberg data. Read more

The tottering eurozone may be looking for help from cash-rich emerging markets, but the first country to get a taste of Bric largesse is Belarus, with the ex-Soviet republic getting a $1bn loan from China, according to Belta, the state news agency.

The money prompted Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s authoritarian president, to issue effusive thanks to Wu Bangguo, one of China’s top legislators, who is visiting Minsk, praising China’s “colossal financial and moral” support. Read more

A sharp reminder of the vulnerability of central and eastern Europe to shifts in short-term capital flows comes in a report from UniCredit.

While it doesn’t mention Greece,  it is, in effect, all about Greece as it is looking at which countries could be most vulnerable to sudden capital outflows. Compared to the last crisis in the region in 2008/9,  Russia, Kazkhstan, Latvia and the Czech Republic are in a better position to cope. But Ukraine, Turkey and Poland are worse off. Read more

Poland jumpsWhile the rest of Europe descends into a gloomy funk, amid growing fears that a second recession is just around the corner, the Polish economy continues to surprise on the upside – industrial production roared ahead by an annual 8.1 per cent in August, far above analysts’ consensus of 2.7 per cent. Read more

Yet more noise on Monday about the Brics riding to the rescue of the eurozone: this time in the form of an interview in Valor Econômico, the Brazilian business daily, with the financial director of the European Fiscal Stability Fund, who says he is glad some of the Bric countries have bought EFSF bonds and he hopes they’ll do it again soon.

The first part of that statement is not news. The second part would be but isn’t yet. Read more

PX PragueNew week, old troubles. Central and Eastern European markets and currencies took a fresh hit on Monday, following yet another failed attempt to resolve the eurozone debt crisis.

As the eurozone policy-makers did not reach any decisions on Greece’s possible default, CEE markets, largely dependent on exports to the troubled eurozone, were mostly trading in the red. Read more

Is Belarus a better punt than Greece?

China seems to think so. Just days after Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, called on debt-laden European countries to put their “own houses in order” before asking China for a bail-out, Belarus finds itself on the receiving end of a very generous $1bn loan from China over the weekend. Read more

China’s outbound investment already hit records the first half of the year, and a few mega-IPOs now in the works in greater China suggest the second half could get even more interesting.

Citic Securities, China’s largest publicly traded brokerage, has grabbed most of the headlines but it’s joined by another brokerage, a dam builder and a heavy machinery maker in its efforts to raise money to fund overseas expansion. Read more

As economic growth in the US and Europe has stuttered, the world has looked for a new saviour among China’s consumers.

Trouble is, the share of private consumption in China’s GDP is inordinately low – just about 33 per cent. Moreover it has come down in the past decade or so from about 45 per cent of GDP to 33 per cent today. By contrast, in most economies, including some of China’s East Asian neighbours, private consumption is about 50 per cent of GDP. Read more

At the time that Hong Kong was being handed back to China in 1997, many local pundits worried that China would slay the golden goose. Hong Kong’s days as a liberal and successful international financial centre were numbered, they said.

Instead, certainly in terms of the funds industry, China appears to be trying to protect its golden goose to ensure that it is first in line for the ensuing benefits. Read more

* India struck by 6.8 earthquake

* Reddy to sell $1bn stake in unit to buy Rinehart’s mines

* Mafrig sells fastfood logistics assets for $400m Read more

Kareena KapoorThere was a time, not too long ago, when plumpness signified wealth and health in India. Bollywood starlets were voluptuous and their male leads were, well,  mostly paunchy. But those days are over.

In the last ten years, upper-middle-class Indian disposable incomes and eating habits have inched up toward Western standards, along with the attendant body image issues.  In an April 2010 report, McKinsey projected that average incomes would quadruple by 2030, fuelling the rise of, among other things, fitness centres. Read more

Ghanian flagsWhile the developed world creaks under the burden of debt and threat of recession, there are still countries with high growth prospects – if you know where to look.

Africa on a whole is braced for slowing growth for 2011/12, but a belt of sub-Saharan economies are set to buck the trend. Gold-rich Ghana is forecast to grow this year by 16.3 per cent – the fastest in the world, according to Standard Bank. Read more

Monday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: Martin Wolf’s Economists’ Forum takes a look at global economic recovery, The Moscow Times view on politics and oligarchs, and why RBI Governor is the loneliest job in India. Read more

What do you do if your economy is growing by more than 10 per cent a year? If you’re the Turkish central bank, you cut interest rates. That, at least, is what it did last month, citing fears that turmoil in the EU and elsewhere could trigger a domestic recession.

And it’s unlikely to change its unorthodox approach this week, with many analysts expecting the central bank to keep rates unchanged at 5.75 per cent at Tuesday’s regular monetary policy committee meeting. Read more

The Manila stock market is now Asia’s best performer in 2011 after falls in Jakarta left Indonesia in the number 2 spot. What does it take to be Asia’s champion these days? Just a 2.5 per cent gain since January.

The PSEi crept higher by just 0.4 per cent on Monday, as the rest of the region sold off. Read more

* India struck by 6.8 earthquake

* Reddy to sell $1bn stake in unit to buy Rinehart’s mines

* Mafrig sells fastfood logistics assets for $400m

* Sany defies equities rout with $3.3bn sale

* China Sinohydro confirms launch of $2.7bn IPO Read more

In a country that needs foreign capital not to grow but to survive, Zimbabwe’s indigenisation law defies understanding. Although the recent sale by the state of a 54 per cent stake in the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) to a Mauritian-based Indian company, Essar Africa, shows that some foreign investors – especially from Asia – are more equal than others, mining companies, regardless of size, have since been singled out for special treatment.

They have been given until the end of September not just to submit “empowerment” proposals but to actually give up majority ownership, though the deadline will surely pass as negotiations continue. Read more