Daily Archives: Mar 15, 2012

Ask football players on opposing teams to explain the final score of the match they have just played and they will surely give different explanations for the same result.

It is worth bearing in mind this logic when reading Brazil’s latest and somewhat confusing central bank minutes. Read more

As Hugo Chávez continues to languish in Cuba, recovering from an operation to remove a cancerous lesion, things are getting increasingly fraught amongst his followers back home.

This is good news for Henrique Capriles Radonski, the man who has been chosen to face him in the presidential elections due in October. Read more

Argentina considers the issue of its payments to so-called “holdouts” closed and says those investors with bonds on which the country defaulted in its 2001 crash, and who did not participate in its 2005 and 2010 debt swaps, missed the boat. Tough.

It has even less time for the distressed-debt specialist “vulture funds”, even though Argentina has been ordered by court rulings in the US to pay out millions of dollars. One, Elliott Managemetn Corp’s NML Capital Fund, has amassed court rulings ordering Argentina to pay up $1.6bn. Argentina has not, and says it will not. But will it be able to? Read more

By Vikas Khemani of Edelweiss Financial Services

The Reserve Bank of India maintained the status quo on lending rates on Thursday, holding them at 8.5 per cent. While the country’s central bank has continued to highlight inflation risks, this time its concerns arise more from the supply-side: from rising crude prices and the crutch of government subsidies. Clearly, the RBI has acknowledged that demand-side pressures have receded and the ability of businesses to pass on higher input prices to consumers is now limited. Yet, when it comes to inflation, the RBI isn’t entirely out of the red zone. Read more

The Libyan Stock Market reopened on Thursday after being closed since February 2011 when forces loyal to Muammer Gaddafi took over its building.

The market is open to foreign investors, with 10 companies trading, with a combined market cap of $3.1bn. But with Libya still getting back on its feet after a protracted war, it might still be a little soon to jump in. Read more

The Children’s Investment Fund wants to raise electricity bills for the 67 per cent of Indians with access to electricity.

Not that TCI doesn’t have a good reason. Coal India, the 90 per cent state-owned giant, sells coal at prices 40 to 70 per cent lower than international ones, and TCI is the company’s biggest minority shareholder. Read more

With Russia’s presidential election now done and dusted, a fresh window is opening for Russian initial public offerings – and Sberbank is once again planning a secondary share sale worth around $6bn.

The long-awaited second public offering (SPO),  the crown jewel of the Russian government’s privatisation programme, may now go ahead as soon as mid-April. Read more

Brent crude oil for April delivery fell by $2 on Thursday as the UK appeared ready to agree to a request from the US to release oil from its emergency stocks.

By Shriram Subramanian of InGovern

The letter sent by The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI) to Coal India is a wakeup call for the Indian government, companies and institutional investors to take corporate governance issues seriously. Probably for the first time in Indian corporate history, an institutional investor has threatened to sue individual board members of a listed entity. Read more

By Varun Bhandari

India’s energy sector is attracting the eyes of one of the world’s largest energy consultancies.

Wood Mackenzie, the UK-based company, will open up shop in India by May this year, in a move that reflects the growing importance of India in the global coal market, it announced at a coal conference in Delhi this week. Read more

For two years Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF has been ratcheting up the pressure on foreign-owned firms demanding that they dispose of a minimum of 51 per cent of their shares to indigenous Zimbabweans. This week’s agreement (in principle) for the localisation of majority ownership of Zimbabwe’s largest exporter Zimplats has the potential to be a gamechanger, economically and politically.

With elections due in the next 18 months, the Zanu-PF will be keen to push on with the programme. So which companies are next in line? Read more

Good news from Nigeria, if growth is your thing. The economy grew by 7.68 per cent in the last quarter of 2011, according to the national bureau of statistics. Of the 46 countries that have published Q4 GDP figures to date, only two, Mongolia and China, reported higher growth, says the NBS report. It concluded that Africa’s most populous country remains on track to be among the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020.

So how do ordinary Nigerians feel about this? Perplexed, most likely. For while the economy is growing, so too is poverty. Read more

It’s a brave analyst who tries to guess the investment implications of the dismissal of Chongqing boss Bo Xilai.

But Jeremy Stevens, a Standard Bank economist, is ready to stick his neck out – sort of. Read more

* Bo Xilai purged after Wen attack

* India keeps interest rates at 8.50 per cent

* StanChart banker detained in China

* China’s BoCom raises $8.9 billion in private placement Read more

Algeria is Africa’s third biggest economy – yet the Bourse D’Alger is among the smallest stock exchanges in the world, with only a handful of listed companies.

Now, for the first time, the country plans to allow foreign investors to buy stocks on the exchange, though only in partnership with domestic investors. Will they bite? Read more

Myanmar’s “coming in from the cold” took another baby step forward this week – though you may not have spotted it.

Tucked in the beyondbrics inbox on Thursday morning was the most rare type of email: a Myanmar research note. In fact, it was Nomura’s debut note on the southeast Asian country. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: why China’s claim that it cannot play a leading role in global development is implausible; a bleak and alarming message by outgoing premier Wen Jiabao; India cannot allow politics to stymie investor confidence at such a critical time for its economy; and how a two-party system in Russia could squeeze out the amorphous center now occupied by the pro-Putin United Russia. Read more

The dismissal of Bo Xilai, the controversial Chongqing party boss, announced in Beijing on Thursday, was hardly unexpected. But given the secrecy surrounding the inner workings of the Chinese communist party, it still came as a shock to see the public washing of the dirty linen.

Investors largely took the news in their stride, with the Shanghai Composite index falling 0.73 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.2 per cent. But shares in leading Chongqing companies fell by up to 10 per cent as investors worried about the impact of Bo’s sacking on one of China’s industrial powerhouses. Read more

Even as sharply rising wages push some manufacturers to expand outside of China, it is unlikely to lose its reputation as the world’s workshop any time soon. The country’s vast scale and superior infrastructure and supporting industries see to that.

Yet big is not always best. In addition to offering lower wages, countries like Vietnam can capitalise on their smaller size to win new manufacturing business at a time of global economic uncertainty. Read more

When Chinese leaders met this week, the question of what to do about Europe was the elephant in the Great Hall of the People. The FT’s Simon Rabinovitch tries to gauge the likelihood of China making a clear commitment to buy more European debt by talking to academics and researchers close to Beijing policy-making circles.