Daily Archives: Mar 5, 2012

By Iona Teixeira Stevens and Joe Leahy

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff survived a series of corruption scandals last year with alacrity. But now she is facing what could be one of her most difficult clashes yet – this time against her old friends in the military.

The dispute centres on a protest by retired military officers against a hint by a member of Rousseff’s cabinet that the government might end an amnesty for crimes against humanity committed during Brazil’s military dictatorship that ended in 1985.  Read more

Some relief for Egypt’s battered foreign currency reserves, which have plunged 57 per cent since the start of the uprising to overthrow former president Hosni Mubarak last January.

Net reserves fell in February, down by $680m,  but that’s a significant slowdown from the average $1.8bn monthly decline recorded in the five previous months. It raises hopes that the flight of hard currency from the troubled country may be slowing as the prospects rise of a deal with the International Monetary Fund.   Read more

When it comes to investing in Africa, it’s not all about China.

On Monday India’s Tata Power and South Africa’s Exxaro announced the launch of a joint venture to focus on renewable energy projects, to start in April 2012. The deal brings together India’s largest private sector electricity generator and South Africa’s second biggest coal miner. Read more

Investors clearly consider that Vladimir Putin’s resounding victory in the Russian presidential election is good for the Russian economy.

While emerging markets as a whole lost 1.4 per cent on Monday, the $-denominated RTS index gained 1.4 per cent. With the index up nearly 27 per cent this year, investors seem to be betting that the pre-election uncertainty will disappear and the economy will benefit from president-elect Putin’s strong mandate.  They may be disappointed. Read more

By Viktor Szabo of Aberdeen Asset Management

While equity markets in Russia responded well to the news that Vladimir Putin has been elected once again to the office of president, the widespread claims of electoral fraud and the significant social unrest this may cause are only the beginning of the turbulence we are expecting to see this year. Read more

Global Trade Centre, one of central Europe’s leading property developers, endured a miserable Monday as the company posted dismal results and the chairman resigned.

The developer, once worth more than $3bn, has been hammered by the downturn, posting a net loss of €338m. The share price sagged further today, as Eli Alroy, who helped build the company, unexpectedly announced he was leaving as chairman. Read more

The Indian government has, perhaps, no better friend than the Life Insurance Corporation. The 100 per cent state-owned investor is always ready to help out in a tight spot – as it did in last week’s chaotic sale of a stake in ONGC, the country’s largest oil company, counted as a success by the government but almost nobody else.

That was far from the first time the LIC has come to its owner’s rescue. Read more

A sobering note from Luis Costa of Citi’s foreign exchange strategy team on Monday: while still believing Hungary will reach a funding agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union – because it has no choice – he thinks it could be months before negotiations begin. Budapest, he suggests, could be looking for alternatives. Read more

Interpreting purchasing managers’ indices can be tricky, especially with seasonal factors to account for. But February’s services and composite PMIs from Markit / HSBC, released on Monday, have a generally optimistic flavour.

In a nutshell: China – firm; Russia – solid; India – easing; Hong Kong – strong. Read more

Anyone who has ever been to an Indian wedding knows that the subcontinent loves big bright colours. And anyone who has ever walked down a street in Mumbai or Delhi knows that Indian men aren’t afraid of making bold fashion choices, either.

Now LVMH is set to see whether Indians are ready – beyond those wedding outfits – for bold colours in their dress shirt, after Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Brands announced that it had formed a joint venture with the French company to sell its Thomas Pink line of clothing on the subcontinent. Read more

* Russian vote ‘skewed in Putin’s favour’

* China’s Wen warns of slower growth

* India bans all cotton exports

* No need for S.Africa inflation target debate: ANC Read more

The head of Guangdong’s family planning commission created a stir last July when he said the province had applied to the central government to relax the one-child policy. Now, a deputy from Guangdong to the National People’s Congress, Li Xinghao, has come up with an innovative variation on this theme of allowing more Chinese to have more children and wants it discussed at the NPC meetings this monthRead more

Monday’s picks form the beyondbrics team: why it could be the beginning of the end for the Putin era, despite Sunday’s election victory; Moscow back in fashion among foreign investors – but perhaps not for long; a rare glimpse into infighting among the Chinese political elite; and Lex on wind power in China and casinos in Asia. Read more

Russian markets took Vladimir Putin’s 64 per cent victory in their stride on Monday, with the RTS index rising 0.6 per cent and the Micex up 0.4 per cent by lunchtime in Moscow.

Investors are clearly relieved that Russia has avoided the uncertainty of a second round of voting, which would have happened if Putin had secured less than 50 per cent of the vote. Nevertheless, traders will be keeping an eye on a major opposition rally planned in Moscow on Monday night to gauge the threat of political unrest ahead. Read more

With over 99 per cent of Russia reporting, Vladimir Putin appears to have walked away from the Russian election with about 64 per cent of the vote. The news has already angered opposition leaders who point to numerous electoral violations, captured on video throughout the day and reported by monitoring groups, such as the League of Voters.

Much of the election day drama played out minute-by-minute on Twitter. Here is a recap of the day’s most debated topics: Read more

* Tearful Putin claims election victory

* China lowers GDP target to 7.5% as exports slow

* Greek bond swap deal rests on knife-edge

* Ahmadi-Nejad’s critics lead in Iran poll Read more

A roulette wheelThose hoping to gain from currency appreciation while making their forays into emerging market equities and bonds will be interested to hear they may sometimes be barking up the wrong tree, according to a report in Monday’s FTfm.

New research shows that instead of picking a strong currency, such as the Brazilian real, investors might be well advised to scour the bottom of the currencies barrel. Read more