Daily Archives: Jan 17, 2012

Brazilians are generally not big fans of DIY, but when it comes to the economy, the government is always keen to resort to some good old Do-It-Yourself.

And their favourite tool? BNDES – the super-state bank with a loan book about four times bigger than the World Bank’s.

Brazil’s Treasury Secretary Arno Augustin has told the country’s Valor Econômico newspaper that the government is considering pumping cash into BNDES for the fifth straight year. Read more

Hugo Chavez openly said during his nearly ten hour marathon address to congress last week that it’s not “fair play” to change the rules of the game before it is over to your advantage

“It’s as if I were to go and play baseball and say, no, I don’t trust this referee – in which case don’t play, how can you play?” asked the Venezuelan leader, demanding that his opponents accept the results of presidential elections next October, whatever they may be, and not complain that the electoral authority is biased.

However, if that is how Chavez feels about the election game, his take is a bit different when it comes to the investment game. Read more

The flight from emerging markets has not quite gone into reverse. Investors, though, are dipping their toes in again.

Debt issued in dollars by emerging countries, rather than in their local currencies, has enjoyed strong demand since the start of the year. The volume of international bond sales by emerging market issuers reached $13bn last week, the highest weekly volume since the beginning of 2011 according to Dealogic.

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Just under a year ago, Vladimir Putin quipped about the resilience of his people noting that Russian tourists continued to head for Egypt even as revolutionary turmoil gripped the country and other foreign nationals fled.

Putin understands how to talk his people up. However, do the numbers bear him out? And how is Egyptian tourism faring? Read more

Photo: Mace

For months rumours were swirling that a Morgan Stanley real estate fund was interested in Galeria, a swishy five-story shopping mall in the centre of St Petersburg. Now the fund and the seller – Meridian Capital CIS Fund of Kazakhstan – have agreed on a price, people close to the deal tell beyondbrics. And it’s a whopping $1.1bn.

The seven-figure number will make the Galeria sale Russia’s largest commercial property deal ever - and coincides with other possible good signs for the Russian property market. Read more

The United Arab Emirates has become the latest country with which China has signed a currency swap agreement, worth 35bn yuan ($5.5bn), aimed at promoting bilateral trade and that could boost the renminbi’s role in the Middle East.

The agreement will be effective for three years, Reuters reports, and was announced by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) during Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s regional tour amid efforts to secure key energy suppliesRead more

You have to hand it to Shaadi.com, an Indian dating website calling itself “The World’s Largest Matrimonial Service”.

Its latest creation, Angry Brides, is undoubtedly a marketing ploy – and, in terms of video game production values, a pretty cheesy one. But while delivering a slap with a flip-flop (or worse) to dowry-hungry bridegrooms, it also delivers a hefty punch. Its message – slightly garbled in its own blurb – concerns “dowry death”, a gruesome practice under which, if official numbers are correct, 8,391 women died in 2010. That’s one woman immolated an hour, almost every hour of the year. Read more

In a torrid 2011, many equity investors in sub-Saharan Africa were left nursing painful hangovers.

No so, however, traders in brewery stocks. Brewers celebrated stellar returns over the past year – and, according to a research note from Exotix, look set to toast more good news to come. With an eye on burgeoning domestic demand, analyst Andy Gboka was very bullish on a trio of companies in the sector, based in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Read more

EM investors have made a lot of money in the Philippines and Thailand since mid-2009, and lost a lot in China, India and Brazil. In UBS’s chart of the day for Tuesday (reproduced after the break), Jonathan Anderson explains why this has happened and why – in some cases – it may be about to change. Read more

The last thing a man floundering in stormy waters needs is a legal argument with the lifeboat captain. But that’s what Hungary faced on Tuesday with the European Commission seemingly preparing to launch dispute procedures against Budapest over new measures on the central bank, data protection and judicial appointments.

The danger is that if Brussels pushes ahead with legal action, that could delay Hungary’s efforts to start negotiations with the Commission and the International Monetary Fund over a financial rescue programme. Read more

* S&P downgrades eurozone bail-out fund

* China fourth-quarter GDP grows 8.9%

* Egypt asks IMF for $3.2bn standby facility

* Beijing appoints Wukan protest leader as official Read more

While rising wages and tightening credit lines have led some manufacturers to move outside southern China, others are choosing stay and move up the value chain to remain competitive. Josh Noble visits two factories that have been operating in Guangdong for over 30 years to find out how they are shifting up market.

Tuesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: A potential breakthrough in China’s handling of dissent?; hopes for an easing of pressure on Iran’s film industry; Turkey’s souring relations with its neighbours; on the handsome profits direct investing in emerging markets can reap; and the challenges of putting on the West’s first big exhibition of the haj at the British Museum Read more

Wanted: semi-retired international footballers. Minimum salary: a cool $600,000. Job description: play football in West Bengal… for seven weeks.

In a plot line that sits somewhere between Escape to Victory and The Expendables, India is making a fresh bid to bring football to the masses. Read more

So much for a hard landing – in fact, so much for any landing at all. China’s economy grew 8.9 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter, comfortably faster than market expectations, and just a whisker below the third quarter’s 9.1 per cent pace.

But the figure is, of course, for the entire quarter. The finer-grained picture from a monthly breakdown shows that the Chinese economy is indeed on the descent. Read more

* China fourth-quarter GDP grows 8.9%

* Egypt asks IMF for $3.2bn standby facility

* BAE looks abroad to save UK shipyards

* Saudi Arabia targets $100 crude price Read more

China’s economy grew more than expected in the final quarter of the year – expanding at 8.9 per cent year-on-year, compared to forecasts varying from 8.5-8.7 per cent.

The fourth quarter figure – the first sub-9 per cent reading since early 2009 – brings 2011 growth to 9.2 per cent.

The old adage of China using the same word for crisis and opportunity may seem particularly apt when looking at the eurozone. Chinese companies are eager to use Europe’s debt woes to boost their clout in the world’s biggest single market.

That’s the view of PricewaterhouseCoopers which plays down any China growth concerns and the effects of Europe’s economic slowdown. Not only have Chinese companies snapped up well-known brands at bargain prices and acquired cutting-edge technological skills, but are increasingly pinning their growth strategies on overseas markets. Read more

Argentina is striving to attract foreign investment and its mineral potential – in mining, and energy – offer attractive possibilities. But a social conflict playing out in the northwestern province of La Rioja could have be a taste of things to come as environmentalists and increasingly local communities seek to halt extractive projects that could bring in millions in investment but, they say, at too high a price for their livelihoods. Read more

A weak 2011 fourth quarter in emerging economies could be followed by an even weaker 2012 first quarter.

That’s the view of Stephen King, the chief economist at HSBC, which on Tuesday published its quarterly review of the prospects for EMs based on its forward-looking indices. King warns, in particular, that the eurozone crisis could get worse before it gets better. “There’s more bad news to come.” Read more