Daily Archives: Sep 30, 2011

The white sand beaches and cerulean waters of Mexico’s Riviera Maya are not the sort of backdrop you would automatically associate with a revolution.

But that is what central bankers and financial regulators from emerging-market countries are talking about this week as they gather to share, refine and develop tools to roll out banking services to the poor. Read more

Ritz Carlton Hotel, Moscow, opening of roof top bar 2007Sergey Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, has announced plans to build 180 new hotels to attract more businessmen and tourists to the Russian capital.

But property experts are doubtful the plan will happen, given the fraught disputes involving land rights and utility connections plaguing existing hotel projects. Read more

In order to overcome regulatory uncertainty and reluctant lenders – obstacles which have hampered the real estate business and contributed to its current slump – some Indian property developers are turning toward low-income housing.

Low-income projects mean purchasers are less likely to have to apply for loans from recalcitrant banks and so are more likely to buy. Given India’s acute housing shortage – which the World Bank estimates at up to 70m units (housing 370m people)  – the government is more likely to clear permits and permissions that otherwise might take years and years. Read more

Saudi Arabia has been in the news this week as King Abdullah announced that women will finally be allowed to vote – a move celebrated by activists and campaigners. But how does the Kingdom compare on gender equality to other countries?

The chart below plots gender inequality against GDP per capita. Read more

Less than a year after Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III launched an ambitious private-public partnership (PPP) programme hoping to tap investors to build key infrastructures quickly, his officials are shifting gears. Finding that private money is neither cheap nor readily available for some key projects, they are rediscovering the merits of official development assistance.

Two light rail systems due for upgrading in Manila, with a combined cost of $1.8bn, will now be likely built by the government itself. It will use low-cost and long-term loans from multilateral lenders or countries such as Japan or Korea, according to Manuel Roxas II, the transport and communications secretary. Read more

Vietcombank headquarters in Hanoi July 2011With soaring inflation, a weak currency and rising bad debts, Vietnam’s banking sector is in a precarious position.

But that’s not deterred Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group (8411:TYO) from snapping up a 15 per cent stake in Vietcombank, one of the country’s biggest state-owned banks, for $567m in what is possibly Vietnam’s largest ever inbound acquisition. Read more

The tide turned last week and then the floodgates were swept away. Investors withdrew a massive $3.2bn from EM bond funds and $2.6bn from EM equity funds in the week to Wednesday according to EPFR, the fund watcher. It was the biggest weekly outflow from EM funds since EPFR began monitoring fund flows in January 2004.

No prizes for guessing why investors are losing their collective nerve. But the shift is seismic: until a fortnight ago, flows to EM local currency bond funds had been positive for 25 straight weeks, even as the eurozone crisis and fears over the global economy reached fever pitch. Then $464m went in a week; now another $1.68bn has gone – overturning the previous two months’ gains [CORRECTED - the previous version had year to date gains]. Read more

* Accounts probe dents Chinese stocks in US

* China pullout deals blow to Pakistan

* Russia’s Polymetal seeks London listing Read more

Dr Mirza Shan’s dental clinic in downtown Jakarta has never been fuller. The number of new patients asking for braces is so great he hired two orthodontists and three nurses to ease the workload.

It’s the latest sign of rapidly rising prosperity in Indonesia, an emerging democracy of 240m, where the number of registered orthodontists quadrupled to 160 this year, according to the Indonesian Medical Council. Read more

By Matt Kennard and Ajay Makan

If you feel sorry for Ben Bernanke (chairman of the US Federal Reserve), who is fast running out of options to save his country’s economy, spare a thought for Jihad al-Wazir. Despite being governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, al-Wazir has no control over interest rates or money supply. Read more

Polymetal, a Russian gold and silver miner worth $7bn, is pursuing a premium listing in London with an eye on a spot in the FTSE 100 index.

On Friday the Moscow-listed miner – which has traded depository receipts in London since 2007 – announced a one-for-one share swap to transfer its Russian and UK securities in to London-listed shares. Fifty-two per cent of shareholders have agreed to swap. Read more

Friday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: China’s military and its influence over foreign policy; Kenya’s exploding population; and Mexico’s social divide is exposed by a Supreme Court decision on anti-abortion laws. Read more


Mongolia may be one of the most popular investment destinations for resources funds and miners today. But this year the Mongolian Stock Exchange index has tanked – plummeting 40 per cent from a high in February – even as investors continue to bet on the growth of this largely nomadic, resource-rich country. Read more

* Accounts probe dents Chinese stocks in US

* China pullout deals blow to Pakistan

* Brazil’s $12bn iPad deal is in trouble Read more