Everybody knows that credit is shrinking in developed economies. Banks are scared to lend and clients are frightened to borrow.
But it’s quite different in emerging markets, as Goldman Sachs points out in a report this week. While credit contracted by 1 per cent in a typical developed country last year, in the typical EM it grew – and by a chunky 11 per cent.
As speculation swirled about the latest action to be taken by rating agencies in the crisis-hit eurozone, South Africa had its own dose of bad news.
Fitch on Friday affirmed the country’s long term foreign and local currency credit ratings at BBB+ and A, respectively, but revised its outlook on Africa’s largest economy to negative from stable. Continue reading »
Vladimir Putin has had a tough week. His new campaign site Putin2012.ru was barraged with negative comments on Thursday within the first hour being launched, with users calling for him to retire, resign and worse. (You can see a cached list of the comments, which were later scrubbed, here.)
Yet all is not bad for Russia’s paramount leader. According to VTsIOM, the Russian polling agency, Putin’s numbers have actually gotten better since when protests first took off in early December. Continue reading »
From a petroleum perspective, 2011 appears to have been a fantastic year for Saudi Arabia. The country’s oil production soared to over 10m bpd, piling up cash reserves and reducing government debt. Proud holder of the world’s largest proven oil reserves, highest exports, and most spare capacity, Saudi Arabia seems guaranteed the pre-eminent position in world oil markets that it has held for decades.
Yet throughout the past year, threats to the Kingdom’s power intensified. Disruptions in Libyan production cast doubt on Saudi Arabia’s spare-capacity reserves. Fractious OPEC meetings highlighted the Saudis’ increasing tensions with nuclear-armed Iran. Arab Spring uprisings stirred emotions among restive Saudi youth. Continue reading »
Carson Block, the man behind research firm Muddy Waters, gained a fearsome reputation by accusing US-listed Chinese companies of fraud and profiting handsomely when their shares plunged. But the notorious short-seller is changing tack. This week he told Bloomberg he was on the hunt for US-listed Chinese companies in which to invest. Continue reading »
That was the implication of a ruling on Thursday from Justice Suresh Kait, of the Delhi High Court, who told lawyers for Facebook India and Google India that unless they develop mechanisms to regulate “offensive and objectionable” material on their web sites, India is prepared to take drastic measures, according to the Hindustan Times. “Like China, we will block all such websites,” Kalit declared. Continue reading »
Has Taiwan’s stock market been benefiting from an election boost? Conventional wisdom suggests that, with a still-uncertain election outcome on Saturday, and continued storm clouds over the eurozone, investors should have been sticking to the sidelines until a clearer picture emerges.
But in fact the Taiwan stock exchange has been one of the best performers in Asia this year, rising 7.8 per cent since December 20 to close at 7181.54 on Friday, the last trading day before the vote on January 14. Continue reading »
Apple ran into trouble with the launch of iPhone 4S in china when violence flared on Friday at at its flagship store in Beijing, which saw similar scenes at the launch of the iPad 2, as this amateur video shows.
Friday’s feast from the beyondbrics team: Lex on India’s lacklustre airline industry; upheaval in Malaysian politics; Georgia’s outdated laws; how US candidates talking tough on foreign policy is dangerous in Chinese eyes; and making culinary chefs out of Masai chiefs. Continue reading »