Daily Archives: Mar 20, 2012

Now that Colombia’s richest man has clinched a majority stake in the country’s biggest daily newspaper, El Tiempo, speculation about his plans has hit a feverish note.

Luis Carlos Sarmiento (pictured left), whose $10.5bn fortune was built on construction and financial services under the Grupo Aval banner, is buying a 55 per cent stake in El Tiempo from Planeta, of Spain. Read more

WANTED: Sweet-natured Latin American to replace Ricardo Teixeira on FIFA’s executive committee. Must have experience of paying taxes, cooperating with police investigations, resisting kickbacks from advertisers and not selling votes. An ability to organise a multi-billion dollar football tournament in Brazil while overseeing the complete transformation of the country’s airports, public transport networks, and security standards in two years is a plus. Immediate start. Read more

A New York listing looks like being the latest must-have for some Latin corporates of a certain size.

Shares in SACI Falabella, the Chilean retailer, made strong gains on Monday as investors piled into the stock like shoppers at one of its busy department stores at sale time. The enthusiasm, which pushed Falabella stock to its highest in a month – it closed 2.2 percent higher at 4,775.2 pesos, outsripping overall market gains – was sparked by this report in business daily Diario Financiero, which said the company was on the brink of a New York listing and a push into Mexico. Read more

By Rob Minto and Pan Kwan Yuk

What to do when your domestic market is saturated and slow? Go overseas, of course. The question is when and how difficult a market to pick. For clothes retailer Gap, the answers seem to be: ‘now’ and ‘any’.

Gap is opening two stores in South Africa on Tuesday and Wednesday with wholesale partner Stuttafords in Johannesburg and Cape Town. And perhaps more adventurously, it plans to open in Lebanon, Georgia and Azerbaijan this year. Read more

There’s a Polish saying: Your point of view depends on where you sit (it rhymes in Polish), which applies to working out how the various CEE economies are doing, according to a new study by Capital Economics.

Normally, gross domestic product growth numbers provide a fairly reliable snapshot of economic performance. A look at last year’s GDP numbers indicates that Turkey had the fastest growth, followed by the three Baltic minnows, Ukraine and then Poland. But a lot of that growth came from a very low level in economies which were pummelled by the 2009 recession and have not yet regained their pre-recession GDP levels. Read more

Hugo Chávez has warned of attempts on his life – he likes to call this “magnicide” – so many times that most people don’t take him too seriously these days.

Unusually, though, he is now warning of a plan to kill his bitter enemy Henrique Capriles Radonski, the man who wants to wrest the presidency from him in October elections.

Shouldn’t investors take this with a pinch of salt? Almost certainly. That’s not to say it’s completely impossible – in fact only a couple of weeks ago Capriles narrowly dodged a bullet when government loyalists turned up on motorcycles at an opposition rally. Read more

Falling inflation wasn’t enough to twist policy makers’ arms in Nigeria on Tuesday. The central bank’s monetary policy committee left its policy rate at 12 per cent for a third consecutive time.

Although Monday’s inflation figure of 11.9 per cent year on year in February surprised the market, it is still above the central bank target of 10 per cent. Read more

Procter & Gamble is used to navigating Russia’s difficult business environment after selling consumer products in the country for more than 20 years. But the Cincinnati-based multinational is suddenly facing a new kind of challenge as Russians become more politicized. Read more

There have been sharp movements in Brazilian interest rate futures over the past few days as traders absorb the messages buried deep in central bank minutes and other indirect communications with the market.

The latest in a series of conflicting signals is that the bank will keep lowering interest rates at its next meeting on April 18 – and then keep them low for the next two years. Traders don’t believe it. Read more

* Brics to discuss common development bank

* China and IDB set up $1bn Latin American fund

* China increases fuel prices second time in two months

* Saudi Arabia moves to calm oil market Read more

A month ago I wrote that Asian FX was no longer a one-way bet. Central to that argument was China, for macro and micro reasons. Since then, Asian currencies have weakened slightly with the ADXY Index easing from 117.5 to 117. The move may be marginal but it has to be considered against the continuation of the broad global risk rally. Read more

Tuesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: getting a better understanding of China x3; Oleg’s spat; why Putin 2.0 won’t be the great liberaliser; and should Britain be sending aid to India? Read more

Bahrian’s Arcapita bank has thrown creditors a bit of a curve ball. The bank has decided to file for bankruptcy protection in the US after talks over an upcoming bank maturity of $1.1bn on March 28 broke down.

It’s the first time a Gulf company has sought Chapter 11 refuge in US courts, and creates a new level of public scrutiny for the bank – as well as an uncertain outcome for those wanting their money back. Read more

This article has been corrected – see update at the end.

To all those Indians living on more than 57 cents a day: Congratulations! You’re not poor! That was the message from the Indian Planning Commission’s latest survey of poverty in the country, which revealed that the population living below the poverty line had been cut from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 29.8 per cent in 2009-10 – taking 62.5m people out of poverty. Quite an achievement!

But then shifting the equivalent of the population of the UK above the poverty line isn’t that hard if you do if you keep it incredibly low. Read more

Few issues exercise the minds of commodities analysts like China. The world’s biggest consumer of copper, iron ore, coal and other raw materials, China is the single biggest driver for commodities markets – and for the profits of global miners like BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Vale and Xstrata.

But as China’s economy slows and shifts toward “greener” growth, analysts are divided over the outlook for commodities. So divided in fact that Credit Suisse has released which, instead of hewing to a single conclusion, just lays out the conflicting views of its research teams. Read more

* Brics to discuss common development bank

* China and IDB set up $1bn Latin American fund

* China increases fuel prices second time in two months

* Saudi Arabia moves to calm oil market Read more

Goodbaby is considered one of China’s most successful home-grown consumer brands – it dominates the baby stroller and “durable juvenile products” market at home while charging developed market prices for top-end products sold under its own brands.

But, despite having moved up the value chain, the company is still feeling the heat of rising costs. Read more