Daily Archives: Jan 10, 2012

When Mexico released the latest growth data on Tuesday, some media outlets were quick to point out that the figures showed the biggest monthly contraction in almost two years.

The so-called IGAE, which reflects monthly economic growth, contracted 0.6 per cent in October compared with September. That, in turn, pulled down growth over the previous 12 months to 3.7 per cent against the 4.3 per cent that analysts expected. But it would be wrong to get too despondent. 

Remember the heated debate over whether Brazil was heading for a credit bubble?

With the world economy almost in a tailspin and Brazilian growth stalling during the third quarter of 2011, the talk of over-heating in the middle of last year now seems like a distant – almost fond – dream from another lifetime. 

India is hoping to reach $50bn in trade with Latin America by 2014, according to a recent interview with Rengaraj Viswanathan, Indian ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The move would more than double current trade between the markets, which totaled a little more than $24bn in 2010, with India exporting $10.7bn and importing $14bn with LatAm. 

Argentine farmers, their fields parched, are obsessed with just one thing at the moment: rain. When it will rain. How much it will rain. And how much of their production – especially of corn – they can salvage if it does.

Rains did come on  to some affected areas and a large swathe of Argentina’s farming heartland is forecast to get a stormy front late on Tuesday, bringing relief to a sector hard hit by the La Niña phenomenon.  

Ferry on the BosphorusTurkey’s grand infrastructure plans have suffered a big setback, with the failure of a showpiece tender – the $5bn project to build a third bridge over the Bosphorus and an accompanying highway.

The bridge, announced in the run-up to last year’s parliamentaryelections, is one of the “megaprojects” favoured by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister.  But although 18 companies expressed interest in the 414km project, none bid for the tender, which was cancelled as a result. 

It’s Asian hospitality at its best. Taj Resorts and Palaces, owner of Mumbai’s iconic 107-year old Taj Mahal Palace, is set to develop two hotels in the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan, a fast-developing tourist region.

Though the size of the deal remains undisclosed, the joint venture with state-owned Yunnan Tourism is the first such foray into China by an Indian luxury hotel chain, analysts told beyondbrics. 

Chocolate lovers, brace yourselves.

Dry and windy weather across the Ivory Coast is sending the price of cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate, soaring in New York and London. Cocoa to be settled in March has jumped as much as 14 per cent already this week on the ICE Futures US exchange – and sector watchers reckon this could just be the beginning. 

The warning from Eskom, South Africa’s state utility, didn’t beat about the bush.

All customers, big and small, were requested to switch off all non-essential electrical equipment, including air-conditioning, geysers and swimming pool pumps, during the evening peak hours to ensure Eskom can keep the lights on. 

Poland and Hungary both share a past as communist vassals of the Soviet empire, but today the differences between the two countries are much deeper than the similarities – although don’t tell that to the currency traders, who last week pummelled Poland for the sins of Hungary’s populist government.

This week, the Polish currency has recovered – but mainly because Hungary’s has too, on the back of hopes that prime minister Viktor Orban can swallow his pride and strike a financing deal with the IMF and the European Union. Not easy, running Poland’s finances when all this is going on. 

The purchase by China’s state-owned Shandong Heavy Industry Group of Italian luxury yacht builder Ferretti Yachts conjures up images of Chinese glitterati sunbathing on gleaming white vessels and the blossoming of an eastern riviera.

China’s luxury market is booming, with Rolls-Royce reporting record sales and Western fashion designers opening flagship stores across the country. Yet in spite of this obvious appetite for bling, analysts say durable luxury goods are considered sound investments for the wealthy in China, many of whom are young entrepreneurs. 

The crowd was ecstatic as Bayern Munich’s striker Mario Gomez dribbled through India’s sloppy defence and scored. For once, Indian fans weren’t too fussed about seeing their side losing – as indeed it did, 4-0.

After all, Indians are not known for their passion for football. That is what Tuesday’s game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi was all about: winning over the Indian spectator. 

Walmart remains persona non grata on the subcontinent, but Ikea: India welcomes you.

The Congress Party-led government last month proposed revolutionary reform in the form of increased foreign direct investment in retail only to quickly drop the plan in the face of widespread protest.

But on Tuesday the cabinet quietly revived part of the programme – and opened India’s doors to single-brand retailers such as Ikea. 

Has Russia finally licked inflation?  Numbers released on Tuesday suggest that it has. The consumer inflation rate fell last year to 6.1 per cent, down from 8.8 per cent in 2010 and the lowest annual level since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It’s a far cry from the 1992 peak of 2,520 per cent and a tribute to the fact that Moscow has for a decade pursued prudent macro-economic policies, whatever concerns there are about the lack of structural reform, corruption and state interference in the economy. 

Worried about the outlook for 2012? Spare a thought for India’s embattled billionaires (well, half a thought). With economists and even the prime minister predicting a grim year ahead, the super rich are starting to look like an endangered species. 

* China trade surplus falls to two year low

* Nigeria paralysed by strike over fuel costs

* Emerging market stocks at one-month high amid Chinese policy speculation

* China toymakers play domestic market as exports slide