Daily Archives: Nov 8, 2011

Brazilian minister faces corruption scandal over alleged kickbacks on government contracts. Sound familiar?

Six of Brazil’s top ministers have been forced to resign since June, and it looks like it could soon be seven. This time we’re talking about Carlos Lupi, the labour minister (pictured). Read more

President Abdullah Gul of Turkey says his country’s ambitions to join the EU are undimmed – despite the euro’s travails and some EU member states’ distinct lack of enthusiasm about Turkish membership.

The FT recently spoke to Gul against the backdrop of the continuing ructions in the eurozone. He argued that the case for the Turkish bid was stronger than ever – on economic grounds as well as political ones – and insisted that even if the bloc shut the door Ankara would continue with EU-compatible reforms. Read more

India’s trade deficit widened to a 17 year high of $19.6bn in October, according to Rahul Khullar, the country’s commerce secretary.

The record number highlights the underlying problems in India’s economy and represents a dilemma for the Indian central bank, already struggling with inflation, that might force it into another rate hike in the future. Read more

It sounds like asking a teetotaller for advice on how to drink the bar dry. But it has emerged that when Hungary recently passed a controversial law forcing banks to accept their mortgage customers’ foreign exchange losses, Budapest consulted the European Central Bank.

The ECB has now delivered a withering response, blasting Hungary for everything from weakening the banking system and taking risks with the currency to alienating foreign investors. Not to mention failing to consult Frankfurt on time. Read more

Source: Google maps

The Indian real estate market may be going through a bit of a slump lately, but one wealthy property owner who has recently come on hard times is hoping to make big bucks from one of Mumbai’s most exclusive properties. Who’s the lucky seller? Uncle Sam.

The US State Department is set to sell an estimated $300m worth of prime real estate in Mumbai as it moves to a new multimillion dollar, 10-acre complex further north in the city at the end of this month. Read more

Stuart Gulliver, HSBC ceo 2011A clear warning of the threat to Asia from the turmoil in European banking came on Tuesday from Stuart Gulliver.

The HSBC CEO warned that Asia faced the danger of a potential slowdown in the flow of credit to the region, especially from Europe’s beleaguered European lenders.  It’s happened before – European banks cut loans to Asia by around 20 per cent in 2008 – and Gulliver is right to say it could happen again. Read more

The bad news for companies trying to sell their goods online to young Chinese consumers – who are both the world’s most internet savvy and most spendthrift – is that they are increasingly dubious about the credibility of online advertising, according a recent McKinsey study of Chinese consumer attitudes.

The good news, says the report,  is that there has been a “sizeable increase” in the percentage of consumers who trust product information they get on social media. Read more

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and German chancellor Angela Merkel headed the list of leaders participating in the opening ceremony on Tuesday for the controversial Nord Stream gas pipeline linking Germany and Russia.

As the picture below the break shows, representatives of France and the Netherlands also attended. Needless to say, VIPs  from the countries that the new Baltic Sea route by-passes were not invited. It is as, the European Union has said,  “a European project” but it’s not a pan-European one. Read more

Bharti Airtel, India’s largest and the world’s fifth largest mobile phone operator, has its eyes firmly trained on Africa where it has bumped its investment up by some $491m – that’s 586 per cent – over the past year.

The company’s African division has yet to turn a profit but the Indian telecoms giant is clearly placing a large bet on a bright future in a continent where mobile phone use is booming and competition is heating up. Read more

Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, Nov 2011By Stefan Wagstyl and Catherine Belton

The Kremlin is preparing to crank up public spending in advance of parliamentary elections next month and a presidential vote next spring that is almost certain to see prime minister Vladimir Putin return as president.

But opinion polls suggest that, while there’s no doubt about a Putin victory, a spending splurge won’t necessarily be popular with voters. And the payola comes at a serious cost – Alfa Bank estimates the break-even oil price for the 2012 budget will be $126 a barrel. That’s more than three times the 2007 level. Read more

* Berlusconi faces crunch parliament vote

* Repsol announces big shale oil find in Argentina

* Syrian capital flight intensifies

* Ping An wins bid for Shanghai Jahwa Read more

Nursultan NazarbayevGood news for Kazakhstan, with Standard & Poor’s upgrading the sovereign to BBB+, one notch above Russia.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev will be delighted. But the more he is seen as the root of the country’s political and economic stability, the more urgent will be the questions surrounding the eventual succession to the 71-year-old strongman. Read more

Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, South Korea nov 2010South Korea is getting back to business as usual, with prosecutors bursting into the offices of a chaebol (conglomerate) to investigate alleged skullduggery. This time SK, the energy group, had the uninvited visitors.

The investigations hinge on whether Chey Tae-won, the chairman, who has already spent time in jail for corruption, has been improperly tapping company funds for his loss-making investments in futures. SK denies the charge that company money has been misused but says it will co-operate with the prosecutors. Read more

Tuesday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: Lex on BP’s troubles in Argentina and the (newly) systemically important nature of the Bank of China; the growing problem of India’s mega-cities; and why India’s new M&A laws are good news for the telecoms industry. Read more

Three cheers for Taiwan! October exports surged up 11.7 per cent from a year ago, much more than economists had expected. Even better was beating rival South Korea, where export growth slumped to a two-year low in the same month.

So is this the start of Taiwanese manufacturers’ rise to dominance, or just a particularly good month? Unfortunately, it seems that the latter is the case. Read more