Daily Archives: Jan 9, 2012

Brazil’s unwieldy tax system never ceases to amaze.

A new study by the Brazilian Institute for Tax Planning (IBPT) has worked out exactly how much parents and schools have to pay in tax for the basic stationary kids need at school. And the results aren’t pretty. Read more

If, as Hugo Chávez has maintained, the rash of cancers affecting leftist Latin American leaders is all a CIA plot, it has failed in the case of Cristina Fernández of Argentina.

In the space of a fortnight, doctors had diagnosed her with thyroid cancer during a routine medical exam and whipped out the offending thyroid gland. But then it turned out at the weekend that the populist president, who won a second term in October propelled by her free-spending government ways, never had cancer after all. Read more

In a year when consumers were confronted by fears of another recession and retirement pots were undermined by plunging stockmarkets, Volkswagen’s ability to sell 8m vehicles is impressive by any measure.

A substantial chunk of its 14 per cent sales increase last year came, of course, from China, where sales rose by 17 per cent to 2.25m units. But as chief executive Martin Winterkorn glanced over the figures at the Detroit motor show, he will not have failed to notice the perfomance of a market where the German carmaker has traditionally struggled: India. Read more

Some investors are eyeing Polkomtel’s announcement last week to sell €900m of junk debt as a modest signal that central and eastern Europe can build up its domestic bond markets and attract more investors seeking high-yield returns.

The size of the deal — the first high-yield or junk issue in Europe in more than two months — has even boosted hopes among some emerging market investors that bond issues can perhaps fill some of the gap that will be left by western banks as they reduce exposure to CEE. Read more

The US might be the word’s fastest growing car market – but in the luxury arena, no country can keep pace with China.

Rolls-Royce, the British-based carmaker owned by German giant BMW, revealed that in 2011, for the first time ever, China over took the US as its biggest market. Of a record 3,538 car sales over the year, 31 per cent were to Chinese buyers – more than a hundred vehicles more than were bought in the US. Read more

Kazakhstan’s state-controlled BTA bank can expect a hostile reception when it meets creditors in London this week to discuss ways to dig itself out of yet another financial hole.

The bank, Kazakhstan’s third largest in terms of assets, admitted it was on the brink of default last month and invited shareholders to gather on January 26th to vote on a proposed debt restructuring – the second in less than two years. Read more

The word Saab did not pass the sahib’s lips.

Yet Anand Mahindra, managing director of Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra, is not one to overlook a distressed asset, European or otherwise, in his desire to build a global car marque. Read more

India doesn’t have enough bureaucrats.

That’s the message one of the infrastructure industry’s top executives delivered at a conference Monday, defying conventional wisdom by saying that what the Indian government really needs is one more ministry. Read more

This is the 10th in a series - 12 for 2012 – on key emerging market topics for the new year.

By Jorge Zepeda Patterson

After losing power in 2000 there is a very real possibility that Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, will return to the presidency in 2012’s elections. Opinion polls suggest that Enrique Peña Nieto, the candidate of the “old party”, commands a 20-point lead over his rivals and, with a little more than six months to go, there is no sign yet that his opponents are closing the gap.

Against that backdrop, the question on everyone’s minds is whether a return of the PRI would mean going back to the old regime following 12 years of a fragile and defective democracy. It is an important question – not least because the PRI has changed very little or not at all. Read more

Russia’s winter holidays are a sacred ritual in Russia, two weeks starting at New Year’s eve when green bottles of Sovetskoe champagne become ubiquitous and the people go en masse to their dachas.

Government offices, banks, and most of the private sector completely shuts down. But this year there is an important exception: Moscow’s stock market has remained open in an effort to advertise its increasingly global ambitions. Read more

Peter Tasker, a veteran of Japan’s bubble economy, warns that emerging markets are now facing bubbles of their own.  But, he says, there is a way around the minefield for investors – go for multinationals doing business in EMs.

 Read more

Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad is assured, quite literally, a warm Latin American welcome during his tour of the region this week. When Iran’s president left Tehran, the temperature was in single digits. In Caracas, Havana and Managua, by contrast, it will be in the balmy high teens (although Andean Quito is a chilly 10). Read more

Dolce & Gabbana has fallen out of fashion in Hong Kong. It’s not that the Italian fashion house has failed to impress with its Fall/Winter collection. The company just happens to have touched a very sore point with local people:  the favour allegedly shown to mainland Chinese tourists.

It all started when a local tabloid newspaper reported last week that security guards stopped people from snapping pictures outside its flagship Hong Kong store in Canton Road. Read more

* Cameron risks ire over extra IMF cash

* Anwar acquitted by Malaysian court

* Zuma pledges to restore ANC values

* Iran to extend nuclear enrichment Read more

Last time around: 2008

Is Hyundai Motor facing a return of labour unrest this year? The company has suffered no major strike for the past three years but recent signs are ominous. Unionised workers elected a more militant leader late last year. And on Sunday an employee set himself on fire on in protest at the company’s alleged “suppression” of workers’ freedoms. Read more

Carmakers have had a pretty torrid time since 2009 – GM’s bail-out and Toyota’s product recalls come to mind. So another global slowdown is hardly what the industry needs.

Should the industry pin its hopes on emerging markets? Where are the car sales coming from? Chart of the week takes a look. Read more

Monday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: Nigeria grapples with a nation-wide strike against rising fuel prices; Russia’s new breed of Internet activists; and why China’s farmer-workers need equal treatment as urban residents.    Read more

His hair is growing back, he is as talkative as ever and he has clearly lost none of his combative spirit since being diagnosed with cancer last June.

Among the more provocative statements that Hugo Chávez made during his characteristically lengthy Sunday television show, Aló Presidente, was a refusal to pay US oil giant ExxonMobil whatever is decided it should by the World Bank’s investment disputes tribunal, ICSID. Read more

Chinese banks lent more money in the last month of 2011 than people had been expecting – that’s the simple fact that caused Chinese equities to bounce on Monday.

With loan-growth largely directed by Beijing, the figures represent another clear sign that the government is easing monetary policy to keep the Chinese engine running. Read more

* UK leaves door open for cash to IMF

* US regulators eye new futures rules

* Iran to extend nuclear enrichment

* Shrinking China surplus may help Wen on yuan Read more