Daily Archives: Nov 7, 2011

World economic slowdown – in Brazil above all – has slammed the brakes on Argentina’s car industry, the country’s biggest manufacturing activity.

Until August, car makers had been zooming along with the wind in their hair: production was up 25 per cent in the first eight months versus the same period last year; exports rose nearly 29 per cent to a new record (Brazil buys four fifths of Argentine car exports); sales to domestic concessionaires rose nearly 24 per cent and the number of new registrations jumped 32 per cent. Read more

A consensus is building that Mexico is preparing to follow Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey and cut interest rates in readiness for a global economic slowdown.

Some economists expected the central bank to cut its policy rate – unchanged for more than two years – at its last monetary policy meeting on October 14. It didn’t – and now they expect it to do so on December 2. HSBC is among those who disagree. Read more

Polish savers are going to have to work a little harder to squeeze a higher return out of their money – as the finance ministry moves to close a loophole that has allowed an increasing number of people to avoid a capital gains tax.

Named “anti-Belka” accounts after the former finance minister and current central bank governor Marek Belka who brought in the tax in 2001, banks have been using them to do an end-run around the 19 per cent tax for the last three years. Read more

Nord Stream pipe-laying September 2011Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, pressed the start button on gas supplies from Russia to Germany through the controversial $10bn Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea.  Two months later, president Dmitry Medvedev will travel to Germany for a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the arrival of the first shipment.

Medvedev will meet German chancellor Angela Merkel, French prime minister Francois Fillon and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in a gathering that  emphasises the political importance of Europe’s newest energy link. Read more

Indonesian shoppers buy delicacies and souvenirs for the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations to welcome the Year of the Rabbit in Glodok, Chinatown district in Jakarta on February 1, 2011Consumers are buying cars and motorbikes by the million, exports have jumped 18.5 per cent and fixed capital investment are up 7 per cent from July to September. It was the fourth consecutive quarter of GDP growth above 6 per cent. Indonesia is doing well, and people have noticed.

But can the country keep it up? Read more

Traders aren’t ready to bust out the champagne just yet, but over the course of the past three months, Indian stocks have quietly staged a comeback, outpacing most of their Asian peers. Read more

Bank of China’s inclusion on the inaugural list of 29 “G-SIFIs” – global systemically important financial institutions – may have caused some raised eyebrows around the world. Sure, BoC is big, with Rmb11,530bn ($1,816bn) of assets. But ICBC and CCB (not on the list) are bigger, by that measure. Neither does BoC seem to fit the Financial Stability Board’s requirement for “complexity.” Like most of China’s state-owned lenders, it pursues a pretty unexciting mix of corporate, personal and trade finance. And as for “systemic interconnectedness,” with 95 per cent of its assets in greater China, BoC is easily the most insular on the list.

Continue reading: “Lex: Bank of China: a very iffy Sifi

This year’s Hajj, the Muslim religion’s most important event of the year, saw up to 3m devout, roughly 2m of whom come from abroad, worshipping in Saudi Arabia. The Arab world’s largest economy faced a huge logistical task to cater and care for this mass of humanity.

Happily, the economic benefits those pilgrims brought with them were just as a big. According to some estimates, the Saudi economy enjoyed an injection of more than $30bn from the  five-day holiday which ended on Sunday. Read more

* Greece to form coalition government

* Stocks soar on reports of Berlusconi exit

* G20 seeks more talks on eurozone crisis

* BP’s $7bn Argentina disposal collapses Read more

It is thanks to the seemingly seamless international shipping network that Americans can buy computers made in China, Europeans can enjoy Argentine steak and people from all over the world can sustain themselves with rice, fish and coffee produced in Vietnam.

But the ease of transporting the humble twenty-foot container around the world means that problematic cargo in one port can swiftly become a global problem, as with a recent spate of exploding refrigerated containers traced to Vietnam. Read more

Poland - a cold winterCommerzbank is Germany’s leading bank in central and eastern Europe. So its move on Friday to freeze new loans outside Germany or Poland will have sent a chill through the region.

Banks have trimmed their balance sheets in the more vulnerable CEE countries before, notably in 2008-09. But Commerzbank’s public announcement of a “temporary suspension of new loan business without connectivity to Germany or Poland… with immediate effect” will multiply fears of a coming credit crunch. Read more

Like equities and bonds, emerging market currencies had a pretty miserable summer. All of them – bar the renminbi and Peru’s sol – gave up the year’s gains, and many of them sank deeply into the red as Greek convulsions traveled far and wide.

But in the last month, EM currencies have roared back. Compared to the start of 2010, many are comfortably back into positive territory. So what next? Read more

Monday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: the end of Cuba’s revolution; a stark reminder of Iran’s growing nuclear threat; why Russia doesn’t have its own Occupy movement; and the financial black hole of India’s national carrier. Read more

By Sergei Guriev of the New Economic School in Moscow

The last week brought long-awaited news: Russia has completed its negotiations with all the members of the World Trade Organization. Russia is expected to sign the documents by mid-December and finally join WTO – after almost 18 years of talks. Why is this news so important and if it is, why has it taken so long? Read more

* Greece to form coalition government

* G20 seeks more talks on eurozone crisis

* BP’s $7bn Argentina disposal collapses Read more

Investing in Africa, agrees Graham Stock of Insparo Asset Management, is risky, but he insists the risk is better priced than the risk of investing in most developed markets these days. The important thing, he explains in a report in Monday’s FTfm, is to think long term. Read more