Daily Archives: Sep 29, 2011

Another day, another raft of multi-billion dollar commercial deals between China and an African country.

According to Reuters, China has agreed to $2.5bn in investment projects with South Africa. While details of the investments are sketchy, the move is the latest illustration of China’s ambitions in the continent. Read more

Trevor Manuel, South Africa's National Planning Commission chief June 2011Will it or won’t it be more than a talking shop?

That is the key question facing South Africa’s National Planning Commission as the clock ticks towards the deadline for it to complete a strategic development plan for the country.

The NPC, headed by Trevor Manuel, the national planning minister and former finance chief, was set up last year to develop a long-term vision and tackle some of the ills facing South Africa 17-years after the end of apartheid – from unemployment to corruption to poor education. Read more

Lady Gaga

For the last few years – and for better or worse – it has been nearly impossible to enter a bar, club, gym or salon in India without hearing the auto-tuned stylings of Senagalese-American pop star Akon.

The same is true today. Only now he’s singing in Hindi.

Akon is part of a new crop of Western artists looking to tap the vast Indian market the only way possible: through its movies. Read more

The winner of the Confucius peace prize, 2010

The 2010 winner

The award of the second annual “Confucius Peace Prize” – a Chinese alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize that was inaugurated last year – has been cancelled in a cloud of acrimony this year, no doubt leaving nominees such as Vladimir Putin and Bill Gates bitterly disappointed. Read more

Nokia, RomaniaFor a company that started out selling rubber boots, Nokia is used to change. The announcement on Thursday that it is closing its factory in Cluj, Romania, with the loss of over 2,000 jobs, and is reviewing its operations in Hungary and Mexico, reminds us that some changes are driven more by necessity than choice. Read more

If Dubai’s emergence as a regional trade hub was founded on its creek, its emergence as a global transportation centre is rooted in its busy airport and fast-growing airline, Emirates.

Boston Consulting Group has issued a report arguing that, at its current rate of expansion, Emirates will become the world’s biggest wide-body carrier by 2015. Its regional competitors, Etihad of Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways, won’t be far off the top 20. But BCG warns that turbulence will increase as they boost their long-haul operations in an increasingly competitive international market. Read more

Yakutia, a Russian republic the size of India, is hiding a $3bn treasure beneath its soil and its looking for investors to unlock it.

Yegor Borisov, Yakutia’s president, described his Siberian homeland’s enormous mineral wealth and appealed for the investment to tap it at the London Stock Exchange on Thursday. Read more

By Stefan Wagstyl and Julia Grindell

On a crucial day for the eurozone crisis, a top Chinese official visiting Europe hasn’t missed an opportunity to give EU leaders a stern lecture.

Speaking in London on Thursday, Jin Liqun, chairman of CIC, China’s sovereign wealth fund, indicated that China couldn’t ride to the rescue by buying high-risk bonds unless there was a clear resolution plan. Read more

A gloomy view from three EM specialists at UBS. In EM currencies, bonds and equities the message is stay out – at least until the eurozone crisis is resolved. Read more

Indian villager in paddy in West Bengal Sept 2011Even as India is on track to build up to four new terminals for imported liquid natural gas, two of the country’s biggest exploration and production firms are conducting research into using hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) to access shale oil and gas deposits in India’s remote northeast.

If the deposits prove viable, India may end up able to cover its steadily increasing energy demand and even become a natural gas and oil exporter. But in the face of disappointing production from the Krishna Godavari basin’s D6 field – India’s largest natural gas field – it’s as well to be cautious about shale gas and oil. Read more

Taiwan has joined South Korea in giving monetary tightening a pause, as the outlook for exports continue to worsen amid the European economic crisis.

The Central Bank of Republic of China on Tuesday decided to keep Taiwan’s benchmark interest rate steady at 1.875 per cent. Whilst widely expected beforehand, this is the first time that the CBC has held rates in the last five quarters. Read more

* Dubai to offer rupee options

* Bidders vie for ING’s Brazilian group stake

* China growth seen less than 5 per cent by 2016

* TNK-BP paid $1bn to partner with HRT in Amazon Read more

[UPDATE: Chávez phoned state TV on Thursday morning to say he was fit and well.] The Twittersphere is buzzing with reports that Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president, has been hospitalised in a serious condition with kidney failure.

According to a story in Spanish-language, Miami-based El Nuevo Herald, Chávez was admitted on Wednesday morning to receive emergency treatment. (Click here for an AFP story based on the report.) Read more

By James Clinton Francis of Eurasia Group

On the eve of the September 30 recapitalization deadline for Nigeria’s banking sector, five bailed-out banks – Union, Intercontinental, Finbank, Oceanic and Equatorial Trust – have found outside lenders, while the government has nimbly nationalized the remaining three, Afribank, Bank PHB and Spring Bank. Mustapha Chike-Obi, head of the Asset Management Committee of Nigeria, and Lamido Sanusi, the hard-charging central bank governor, have cleaned up the banking sector from its near collapse in late 2010. But Nigeria’s economy still remains overbanked – it has about twice as many as South Africa, its closest economic peer – and much remains to be done to secure the long-term health of the sector, which provides the anchor for Nigeria’s expected average GDP growth of 6.7 per cent this year and next. Read more

Nokia is to close its plant in Cluj, Romania, at the cost of 2,200 jobs, the company said on Thursday as it struggles to adjust to falling sales and profits.

The world’s biggest mobile phone maker by sales volume said it would cut a further 1,300 jobs at its location and commerce business unit by closing its operations in Bonn, Germany and Malvern, US. Read more

Thursday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: James Lamont analyses India’s Hindu growth rates, Lex picks through ENRC’s corporate governance concerns and South Africa’s joblessness comes under the spotlight.
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These days, as European governments in fiscal distress look to Beijing for rescue and countries from Australia to India brace against China’s challenge to the US’s regional hegemony, it no longer raises eyebrows when you call China a global power.

But this week, China gave a little-noticed demonstration of another kind of global power it longs for: media power. Read more

* Dubai to offer rupee options

* Bidders vie for ING’s Brazilian group stake

* China growth seen less than 5 per cent by 2016

* TNK-BP paid $1bn to partner with HRT in Amazon Read more

Should Hong Kong get a third runway? The business case is compelling – and even environmental considerations point in its favour, argues Caspar Baum of EC Harris, an international construction consultancy. Read more

Getting from A to B in Venezuela can be a testing experience at the best of times – at worst it can be positively harrowing. But who would have thought that this could have anything to do with macroeconomic policy?

In the third close shave for air travelers this week alone, a Boeing 737 on its way from Caracas to Aruba was forced into an emergency landing after just five minutes in the air on Wednesday afternoon when its hydraulic system was discovered to have malfunctioned.

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