Daily Archives: Mar 9, 2012

The auto fight between Mexico and Brazil is heating up.

Mexican officials on Friday said they had rejected an ultimatum issued by Brazil on a long-standing bilateral auto accord. The terms the Brazilians are seeking would in effect kill the whole deal, they added. Read more

For a country that counts China as its biggest trade partner, Peru is surprisingly sanguine about the impact that a Chinese slowdown could have on its economy.

Even as Brazil – another country that has prospered on the back of the Chinese-led commodities boom – this week revealed a sharp pull back in GDP growth for 2011 and Beijing surprised the market by reducing its annual GDP growth forecast for the first time in eight years, Peru is going the other way, revising upward its growth forecast from 5.4 per cent to 5.7 per cent. Read more

Thursday was International Women’s Day – and a chance to look at various indicators regarding female employment around the world. One such measure is the level of female senior executives and board members. Another is economic opportunity.

Two reports released on Thursday come to seemingly very different conclusions. One showed that the percentage of senior managers who are women was higher in emerging markets than elsewhere – but decreasing. The other showed that women’s economic opportunities were far better in high-income countries. What’s going on? Chart of the week takes a look. Read more

Here’s another financial services company expanding its plans for investing in Africa. As Alistair Gray reports, Old Mutual has a head start with its strong South African heritage.  With operations already established in six African countries, it is now looking at entering underdeveloped markets such as Tanzania and Ghana.

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By Marianna Kozintseva of Morgan Stanley

Investors seem relatively unperturbed about the prospects of opposition protests in Russia following Vladimir Putin’s emergence as the high-margin winner of Russia’s presidential elections, with 63.6 per cent of the vote.

The victory, however, presents a challenge for Russia’s next president to deliver the reforms promised during the election campaign. Read more

After a long, and at times bitter process, Walmart’s $2.4bn acquisition of South African retailer Massmart appears to be in the clear.

On Friday, a South African court dismissed appeals from three government departments and unions to have the deal – which will see the US giant take a 51 per cent stake in Massmart – re-examined. The one victory for those who instigated the court action was the ruling that 500 workers cut from Massmart just before the merger be rehired. Read more

The Reserve Bank of India cut its cash reserve ratio for banks by 75bps on Friday, allowing the release of Rs480bn ($9.63bn) into the economy just as liquidity in the banking system is expected to tighten in coming weeks. Read more

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s administration is bracing itself for the return of Vladimir Putin as president. It’s hoping the powerful Russian leader won’t kick off a third term by flexing his political muscle against its increasingly isolated and vulnerable neighbour.

Putin may not be as strong at home as he was in prior years. He faces the challenge of opposition forces seeking change and reforms. But even his domestic political foes are likely to back his main foreign policy agenda: asserting Moscow’s regional influence. Read more

More good news for EM investors – but also, perhaps, a warning over China – in the latest figures from EPFR, the fund flow monitor.

EM equity funds recorded a 10th straight week of inflows – $907m in EPFR’s sample universe - and once again outperformed their developed market counterparts. But within those numbers, Asia recorded its first week of negative flows in nine – $425m – as investors fretted over China’s lower growth targetRead more

Russian equities have risen 190 per cent in three years, but they are still at a steep discount to other emerging markets. Stefan Wagstyl, emerging markets editor, talks to John Authers about the markets’ on-off love affair with president-elect Vladimir Putin.

* Chinese inflation rate drops to 3.2%

* India revises up trade gap estimate as exports struggle

* South Africa appeal court dismisses case against Wal-Mart’s Massmart deal

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Would Greece have an easier time scrambling out of its economic hole if it returned to the drachma? The evidence from central Europe on the advantage of having your own currency is less than clear cut.

One country in the region, Slovakia, joined the euro in 2009 just as the economic roof fell in, while Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary saw their currencies plunge against the euro and the dollar. Read more

Predicting the growth of the Chinese car market is hard at the best of times, even for companies whose corporate lives depend upon it. Car market watchers either underestimate or overestimate sales: so it is always best to take the automotive crystal ball for what it is – a tool of divination more than science. Read more

China’s low inflation number for February has given the market something to cheer. Price pressures are easing, and so the great Chinese credit taps can heave back into life.

But don’t get too carried away – the data still looks pretty inconclusive.  Read more

Friday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: why China’s next leaders will find it difficult to fulfill the comprehensive pledges promises made by Wen Jiabao; the surprising winners of China’s massive military buildup; and differing attitudes to globablisation in Latin America’s biggest economies.  Read more