Daily Archives: Jan 11, 2012

Another year, another investment in Brazil’s truck industry. Paccar, the US-based truck maker, announced a $200m plant to build its DAF heavy vehicles in Ponta Grossa, in Brazil’s southern Paraná state.

Paccar chairman and CEO Mark Pigott was on the scene for the ground-breaking ceremony this week. Read more

After a brief hiatus, Carlos Slim is back doing what he does best: earning money.

According to Sentido Común, the respected online business publication, the Mexican telecoms tycoon and the world’s richest individual increased his net worth by $2bn in the last quarter of 2011 to end the year with $64bn. Read more

Fiat Argentina usually produces 700 vehicles a day at its plant in Córdoba, most of them destined for exports. That is good for Argentina’s manufacturing sector, which the government wants to stimulate, and good for the economy as the zooming car exports bring valuable dollars flooding into the country.

So you might think the government shot itself in the foot by adopting rules in December which halted the import of car parts and brought Fiat’s factory to a standstill for two days this week. Read more

Debt may have been the drug of choice for western economies – at least before the financial crisis turned leverage into a dirty word – but emerging markets are increasingly starting to dabble in the dangerous stuff.

While global debt issuance, including sovereign, sovereign-linked entities, financial institutions and companies, dipped 6 per cent last year, emerging market debt issuance climbed 11 per cent to a record $849bn last year, according to Dealogic. Developing markets accounted for 15 per cent of the global total – another record. Read more

In the last weeks of December, Russia may have seen millions of dollars leave the country and its stock market tumble on the back of political unrest. But you would never have guessed by the pre-holiday shopping lines.

According to new data from Russian research holding Rosmir, Russian spending in the week leading up to the big New Year’s holiday was 16 per cent higher this year than in 2010, as hot new items like the iPhone4S and iPad2 flew off the shelves, as did more traditional gifts like toys, electronics and jewellery. Read more

Slovakia and Slovenia have a lot of similarities – from names that even the well-informed have a tendency to conflate, to mountainous terrain, EU and euro membership and an ex-communist past.

They also have unique languages – which is what makes them attractive markets for Piano Media, a Slovak company that set up a paywall system for most of that country’s media last year and is now moving into Slovenia. Read more

The “will of the people” is not a phrase you hear very often in government communications about foreign direct investment in Myanmar. But that is the reason the nominally civilian government of president Thein Sein gave for its surprise decision to cancel a multibillion dollar coal-fired power plant project by Thaipower and construction companies on Myanmar’s southeast coast. Read more

Emerging market fund managers like to deploy snappy buzzwords to help attract the attention of increasingly risk-averse investors. So far we have the Brics, the Civets and the Next 11, to name the most popular.

And now, courtesy of Truong Gia Binh, one of Vietnam’s richest businessmen, we have the “chopstick economies”. Read more

The Gulf is seeing a sukuk bonanza this week as several entities announced debut and follow-up Islamic bond sales in an attempt to tap liquidity in the Middle East and Asia.

In Saudi Arabia, the General Authority of Civil Aviation announced a debut sukuk programme, offering a juicy and rarely-spotted government-backed Islamic bond. Equally juicy but for other (high-yield) reasons, Tamweel, the troubled Dubai-based mortgage lender, also revived a $300m sukuk plan. Read more

When a central bank governor speaks on national state radio, you can expect he has something important to say. Important, but not necessarily surprising.

And so it was on Wednesday with Ewald Nowotny, the head of the Austrian central bank, who took to the airwaves to declare that while the situation in neighbouring Hungary was a “challenge” for Austrian banks they faced “no danger” from the financial situation in Budapest. A lot, of course, rests on the difference between a challenge and a danger. Read more

A dearth of rainfall in southern Africa’s “rainy season” threatens a return of high inflation, low growth and social unrest in some of the world’s poorest countries.

That’s the worrying message in a note by Yvonne Mhango, an economist at Renaissance Capital. Mhango warns that Malawi and Mozambique in particular – which derive a hefty proportion of GDP from agriculture – are set to suffer from falling agricultural production and rising food prices as a result of the dry weather. Read more

* Tehran car bomb kills nuclear scientist

* Turkish laws fail to protect accused, report says

* Mosque attacked amid Nigeria fuel strike

* FBI probes hacking of US-China group

* Brazil probes Chinese mobile phone imports

* Chinese premier to bolster Gulf energy ties

* Egypt goes back to the IMF for loan Read more

India’s private airlines were allowed a brief moment of schadenfreude on Wednesday, when the state-owned Air India had a debt restructuring rejected, while their shareprices soared on the growing possibility of foreign investment.

Air India, hardly a stranger to government bailout, was dealt the blow when a consortium of 26 banks put its foot down, rejecting a proposal by the investment arm of State Bank of India. At the same time, the stocks of private carriers SpiceJet, Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways spiked after the civil aviation minister said a government panel has recommend the increase the limit of foreign airline direct investment in the industry. Read more

Wednesday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: Martin Wolf on the surprise downside risks in emerging markets; Lex on China’s trend of robust imports; India’s politics in need of lucky charms; how Russia’s middle class will democratise the country; West and East butt heads over human rights; and Latin America’s best & worst entrepreneurs. Read more

On January 14, Taiwan’s voters must choose between incumbent Ma Ying-jeou and challenger Tsai Ing-wen in a presidential election which has a global impact due to the island’s relationship with both China and the US. The FT’s Robin Kwong investigates.

The Hungarian forint has been recovering modestly this week on hopes that the Hungarian delegation visiting the International Monetary Fund in Washington is making progress in talks on a financing deal.

But many Hungarians remain nervous after the currency last week hit a record low against the euro – and some have decided that enough is enough.   Read more

In case you missed it: the FT’s analysis page on Wednesday is on the Brazilian economy. After a decade of growth, Latin America’s biggest nation has entered a slowdown that will test politicians, writes Joe Leahy. You can read it here on FT.comRead more

It is hard to be a luxury brand these days without a Chinese presence, so Orient-Express – that most romantic of brands de luxe – is in Shanghai this week looking for a hotel to buy or manage.

In a country obsessed with the best things the renminbi can buy, from Chateau Latour to chateaux to live in, Orient-Express ought to have a bright future. The only problem is the train connection. Read more

* FBI probes hacking of US-China group

* Brazil probes Chinese mobile phone imports

* Chinese premier to bolster Gulf energy ties

* Egypt goes back to the IMF for loan Read more