Daily Archives: Nov 11, 2011

Getting Chile’s salmon, Ecuador’s bananas and Peru’s asparagus to market poses a huge logistical problem. All of the refrigerated containers needed to transport such produce from Latin America are made in China, and tens of thousands have to be shipped empty halfway round the world first every year, jacking up costs.

Seeing that gap, Denmark’s Maersk Container Industry (MCI), the world’s No. 2 player in the refrigerated container, or “reefer”, market, has announced it is building a $170m plant in San Antonio on Chile’s Pacific coast, close to the capital, Santiago.

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It is hard to say no to a trillionaire. That is what Brazil and its oil industry partners are finding as China continually steps up to the plate to provide much-needed capital for the development of giant ultra-deepwater discoveries near Rio de Janeiro.

China’s second largest state-controlled oil major Sinopec has signed a $5.2bn deal to buy 30 per cent of the Brazilian assets of Galp Energia, which include operations in the pre-salt fields, so-called because they lie under two kilometres of the stuff. Read more

Back in August, the central bank started slashing interest rates even though annual inflation was above the already generous inflation target of 4.5 per cent, plus or minus 2 percentage points.

When asked if the central bank will manage to push prices back within range by December (the official deadline to the meet the target), Central Bank President Alexandre Tombini (pictured) now tends to avoid the question by saying inflation will converge with the centre of the target in 2012. Read more

The special court in New Delhi hosting one of India’s biggest corruption trials has the feel of a cramped departure lounge in a grubby airport that would give sub-Saharan Africa a bad name.

Outside the “lock-up” courts of the Patiala House complex is the sulphurous smell of public toilets and khaki-dressed police commandos with rifles; inside is a hubbub that gives new meaning to the aphorism that “justice must be seen to be done”. Read more

Mexico’s secretary of the interior Francisco Blake Mora, the highest ranking official in the country after the president, died in a helicopter crash on Friday, according to Reuters.

Blake Mora died on the way to a meeting of prosecutors in Morelos state, just outside Mexico City. He was appointed secretary in July 2010 and oversaw internal political affairs and security.

“Recession? What recession?” asked Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune at the newspaper’s annual Hot Luxury conference in São Paulo this week. “You don’t see too many closed stores (here) as you see in Europe and America.” Read more

It’s been a very bad week for central and eastern European markets and next week is unlikely to bring much respite.

Italy’s problems have roiled the region and its effects have been varied and brutal. On Friday, Slovenia’s 10 year bond yields hit 7 per cent; Hungary’s ratings outlook was revised to negative by Fitch; and the Czech koruna completed a week-long dive against the euro. Read more

Our occasional series continues with Anjli Raval’s observations on the changing nature of Indian radio stations in New York.

If you want to hear how life has changed for the Indian population of New York City, turn on the radio. Read more

It’s easy to think of China as the world’s leading exporter. But its leading importer, too?

Yes, according to president Hu Jintao, who in a statement on the foreign ministry website on Friday said China’s total imports might exceed $8,000bn in five years. But where are global import levels now? Chart of the week finds out… Read more

There’s no escaping the spectre of Europe, not even in India.

Tata Steel, India’s largest and Europe’s second-largest steel producer, was hit hard in the quarter ending in September, sending its share price down 4.19 per cent on Friday as markets reacted to the company’s results announcement on Thursday. Read more

At a leafy Nairobi private members club that so delights in a bygone era it bans telephones, Michael Joseph, former chief executive of Safaricom, is telling his well-to-do audience they don’t understand mobile money.

“Our target market was actually the guy standing outside there waiting to serve you dinner or drinks…we didn’t aim for you,” says the current strategy advisor to the World Bank and Vodafone. The UK company owns 40 per cent of Safaricom, the telephone company that launched a mobile money transfer service so successful it speedily took over Kenya’s economy and business school syllabuses worldwide. Read more

The eurozone storm is spreading fast and Slovenia has become the latest country to be battered by its winds. Its 10 year bond yields have jumped dramatically since the start of November and are now sitting dangerously close to 7 per cent.

Slovenia’s spread over German debt also reached a record high of 535 basis points. Such yields haven’t been seen in Slovenia since it joined the eurozone in 2007 and their slide can be traced straight to Italy’s ongoing crisis. Read more

Malaysia’s central bank kept interest rates on hold at its policy meeting on Friday, but the muted tone of its official statement suggests that governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz and her colleagues are becoming more worried about the wobbly global economy. Read more

The Valdai Discussion Club, the annual conference of academics and journalists specialising in Russia, has sometimes been dismissed by critics as a Kremlin-sponsored propaganda-fest. Not this year.

Debates at the event, held this week in provincial Kaluga, 200km from Moscow, and in the capital itself, have reflected deep unease among both Russian and international observers about the country’s political and economic outlook. Read more

* Market spikes eurozone rescue guns

* Sinopec buys stake in Galp’s Brazil assets

* Sinochem plans China’s biggest IPO this year

* Siberian court rejects claim against BP Read more

It’s the money, stupid.

For anyone trying to take the pulse of China’s economy at what appears to be a turning point from tight policy settings to something a little bit looser, that would be the best advice. Read more

Last month it was “wait and see”. This month, it’s more “see what you mean”.

In September, India’s industrial output grew just 1.9 per cent from the same month a year earlier – the slowest pace in two years – and down from 3.6 per cent in August, according to data released Friday by the Central Statistics OfficeRead more

Friday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: the military threat facing Egypt’s post-revolution future;  why Chinese credit is drying up; Malema’s suspension and Zuma’s opportunity in South Africa; and the problem of omerta in Russian politics. Read more

As the eurozone crisis spreads from Greece to Italy, countries far afield are being sucked into the maelstorm. The world’s emerging markets, which led the way out of global recession in 2009, are now suffering because of their ties to the Old Continent. And they may not be as well placed as three years ago to again help pull the world back from the brink.

Follow the link below for the full story, and a video analysis with Stefan Wagstyl, beyondbrics editor, and John Authers, editor of Lex. Read more

Faced with record household debt, high inflation, and faltering growth – what’s an Asian central bank to do? Nothing, at least not in South Korea.

The Bank of Korea held interest rates steady at 3.25 per cent for the 5th month in a row on Friday in a widely-expected move, despite Europe’s protracted debt woes that are threatening to derail growth in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Read more