Daily Archives: Nov 28, 2011

There’s nothing like drumming up a bit of good old patriotic fervour to improve one’s prospects at the polls.

It’s something that Hugo Chavez knows how to do particularly well, and is already using to his advantage ahead of the crucial presidential elections due next October. Take his latest ploy to repatriate Venezuela’s gold reservesRead more

Codelco, the Chilean state mining company, is open to a financial deal to try to resolve the ferocious battle that has erupted over a 49 per cent option in Anglo American’s star copper mine and other assets.

But even if this dispute can be settled with a cheque book – and that’s a big if given the political issues at stake – how much could doing a deal cost? Read more

Stock markets across central and eastern Europe regained their footing on Monday, buoyed by strong US retail sales and hopes that the eurozone debt crisis may have seen its nadir – a hope that has been dashed before and may be again.

Nearly every CEE bourse recorded strong gains with Russia out in front – its headline Micex index jumping 3.9 per cent, to 1,466.2 points from 1,410.8 and its dollar denominated RTS Index leapt 4.4 per cent to close at 1,4725.15 points. Read more

On the face of it, it should be a logical tie-up. China, with its burgeoning middle class and shrinking arable farmland, is facing increasing strains in its agricultural sector to meet domestic food demand. Africa, with its vast stretches of fertile but underdeveloped farmland would appear to be a natural partner to help the world’s most populous nation meet its food needs.

Yet for all the polemics surrounding Chinese “land grabs” in Africa the continent remains a bit player in Beijing’s food security strategy – at least according to this new report from Standard Bank.  Read more

Goldman Sachs is bucking the trend by broadening its Middle East and North Africa equity research coverage at a time when other banks in the region have slashed their equity research teams.

The bank said this week that it was initiating coverage on 80 new stocks in the region, taking their total regional coverage to 121 stocks across ten countries, according to a copy of the report sent to clients. Read more

The Hungarian forint and the country’s benchmark equities index gained ground on Monday, recovering somewhat from their battering last week after Moody’s downgraded the country’s sovereign debt late on Thursday and then downgraded seven commercial banks, the Hungarian development bank and, for good measure, the city of Budapest after markets closed on Friday. Read more

On Wednesday, India’s government will release the country’s GDP growth rate for the quarter ending in September, and markets are bracing for the inevitable: a growth rate that’s likely to come in below 7 per cent for the first time in over two years.

While those in the West might celebrate so high a number – indeed, complaining about 7 per cent growth is a bit like whining that you couldn’t afford the wood-grain dashboard on your BMW – for a country that was once forecast to enjoy closer to double-digit growth, it confirms a “new normal” for India. Read more

With inflation still near double digit levels, interest rates remain high, hurting consumers and business alike. The FT’s James Fontanella-Khan explores who is being affected and what needs to be done to get India back on the right path.

Watch the video after the break: Read more

* OECD warns of eurozone contagion risk

* China boost for Osborne growth plans

* Lagarde seeks Latin America help for Europe

* Arab League imposes sanctions on Syria Read more

As the waters recede following the worst floods in Thailand in 50 years and the clean-up operation gets underway at a number of inundated industrial estates, the full scale of the impact is only now coming into full view.

Thailand’s industrial production index slumped by 35.8 per cent in October after several thousand factories were swamped, sending shockwaves through the global supply chains of the hard-disk drive and automotive manufacturing sectors, which have concentrated production in the south-east Asian nation. Read more

Asian markets are having a good Monday on the back of strong US retail results, reports that France and Italy are pushing forward with plans to curb budget overspending – a move that could pave the way for more aggressive intervention in sovereign debt markets by the European Central Bank – and rumours of an International Monetary Fund deal for Italy which was robustly denied after most markets closed.

India’s Sensex index was the day’s biggest mover, up 3 per cent to 16,167 points from a close of 15,695.4 in late afternoon trading. Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s most valuable company, rose 2.5 per cent while the State Bank of India, the country’s biggest lender, rose 3.4 per cent. Read more

Samsung Group’s new businesses appear to be going awry. Samsung Electronics, the group’s flagship company, is considering taking over its light-emitting diode (LED) joint venture with affiliate Samsung Electro-Mechanics as the LED business suffers from slowing demand for TVs. Read more

Monday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: Lex on Reebok’s $1 runner in India; why China is keen to invest in western infrastructure; a look at Jim O’Neill’s new book and what it says about the Brics today; and why it is time to retire the term ‘Arab Spring’. Read more

Even as the US prepares to pull out its last troops from Iraq, well-heeled investment bankers are starting to descend on Baghdad, hoping to capitalise on the strife-torn country’s tentative efforts to rebuild its physical and financial infrastructure.

Safety remains a big concern. Visiting bankers must travel with contingents of security personnel. When in Baghdad, they reside in the heavily guarded “Green Zone”, or in containerised housing units – rudimentary, converted shipping containers – on the outskirts of the city. Read more

Russia is often singled out as the Bric country that doesn’t belong in the Brics.  Critics say that with its ageing population, dependence on oil and gas and widespread corruption, it’s not in the same league as its dynamic rivals – Brazil, India and China.

Jim O’Neill, the Brics’ inventor, disagrees. In The Growth Map, a book marking the 10th anniversary of his coining of the acronym, he rejects suggestions that Russia should be dropped from the team. He argues, in his characteristically forthright way, that in terms of GDP her head, Russia has the potential to beat not just the other Brics but “all other European countries” – and join the European Union. Read more

* China boost for Osborne growth plans

* Lagarde seeks Latin America help for Europe

* Arab League imposes sanctions on Syria

* Donors ‘trying to shirk’ aid commitments Read more

Muddy Waters, the short-selling group famous for triggering the collapse in the share price of Toronto listed Chinese company, Sino-Forest, was at it again last week.

US-listed shares in the Shanghai advertising firm, Focus Media, dived last Monday following the publication of a less than flattering report by Muddy Waters, which alleged it had overstated the size of its advertising network. Read more