Monthly Archives: April 2012

With year-round sunshine and some of the world’s skimpiest bikinis, it’s no wonder Brazil is full of fitness clubs (as well as plastic surgeons and laser hair removal clinics).

But while Brazil has the second highest number of gyms after the US, it is only 10th in terms of revenue. And in the eyes of private equity investors, that means one thing: the potential for consolidation and profit.

It comes as no surprise then that BTG Pactual’s latest investment is in Bodytech, Latin America’s largest fitness chain by revenue with 33 gyms across Brazil. Read more

After a discreet but damaging spat over licensing that saw Saudi Arabia fall out of MSCI’s indices in 2009, the Middle East’s largest economy and the world’s most influential emerging markets index provider appear to have kissed and made up.

MSCI said on Monday that it will reintroduce its Saudi Arabia Domestic Indices and related regional indices – such as the MSCI Arabian Markets – in June, a move that some hope could signal another move by Saudi Arabia to ease foreign investor access to its bourse, the largest and most liquid in the Arab world. Read more

Picture: Raven Russia

Nobody ever said doing business in Russia would be easy, let alone for a London-listed company in the property sector. But when your management, finances and business model are singled out for praise by investors and you still see your share price struggling, it must be doubly tough.

Even in the age of decoupling and the discriminating investor, is seems, it’s still macro economics and the risk-on, risk-off mood of the moment that drive share prices. Even so, Raven Russia is sticking to plan A. Read more

Is geopolitical risk in the eye of the beholder?

Nord Gold, which earlier this year separated from Russian steelmaker Severstal, is among the newest listed gold miners in the world. And with operations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso, and Guinea – and a desire to expand its portfolio of emerging market gold assets further – it is probably not for the faint hearted. Read more

After years of staying out of the 2G scandal, the Indian prime minister seems to be taking a keen interest in the 2G spectrum auction. On Monday, local media reported that he would appoint a minister of state from his office to the committee that will decide the rules of the new auction.

So does that mean the proposed prices might be brought down a bit? Read more

By Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, chief economic adviser to the Polish prime minister

I am honoured to have been nominated as candidate for president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and, I must admit, I did not hesitate long in accepting the challenge of running against several highly-respected contenders.

As a former prime minister of Poland, a former chief executive of a commercial bank, and an ex-director of the EBRD, I believe I am well qualified for the post.

I am also clear about what must be done for the bank to build on its success in supporting the economic modernisation of central and eastern Europe and in promoting democracy  – and to take its mandate into the Middle East. Read more

The news that rating agency Standard &Poor’s has put India on negative watch, with a possible downgrade to come, has caused some alarm.

With favourable demographics and growth at a rate the developed world can only dream of, an Indian downgrade doesn’t fit the EM script. What’s going on? Chart of the week takes a look. Read more

Mild cheers from Taiwan on Monday: figures for the first quarter of 2012 show that the economy crept out of recession after two quarters of contraction.

So – brighter times ahead? Hard to say. HSBC said that GDP had likely bottomed out. But Capital Economics pointed out that “weakness overseas could easily derail the recovery”. Read more

A perennial debate in China – until recently – has been whether Chongqing’s Bo Xilai would prevail in competition with Guangdong’s party secretary Wang Yang. With Bo’s fall from grace in the past couple of months, Wang seems a certainty to make it to the standing committee of China’s Politburo, its highest decision-making body.

But how do the two regions’ economic models stack up? Read more

In a five-star hotel in Ikoyi, the smartest part of Lagos, a few hundred suits tuck into sausages and egg over breakfast. The love flows. Peter Grauer, special guest and Bloomberg chairman, tells them how impressed he is with Nigeria. The head of the Nigerian stock exchange expresses his fondness for Grauer’s terminals.

Nigeria is rising, all seem to agree. There’s a problem though. As Arunma Oteh, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission points out, when people think of Nigeria today, the thing that springs to mind is not opportunity but insecurity. Read more

* Food inflation feared as soya prices soar

* Suu Kyi party agrees to attend parliament

* Adidas raises goals despite investigation

* Exporters unable to rely on China’s growth Read more

Monday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: the US relationship with China and India in the spotlight; Lex on Samsung’s rise; Bo and the rumour machine; why the World Bank made the wrong call; and O’Neill on how Apple is really a China play. Read more

China’s car buyers usually purchase new vehicles. But a market for used cars is starting to develop. The FT’s Patti Waldmeir visits a luxury second hand car market to investigate.

Frederic Neumann, HSBC’s Hong Kong-based economist, has been visiting clients in Europe where the view, apparently, is that Asia is getting dull, offering few obvious risks and little imminent reward. Nobody likes their own patch to be seen as unexciting, of course, but in a note to clients on Monday Neumann presents four reasons why investors should not underestimate Asia’s ability to surprise.  Read more

* Human rights loom over US-China talks

* UN mission chief calls for Syria help

* China to boost imports by tariff cuts

 Read more

A week of purchasing managers data; carmaker earnings; plus India releases March trade balance, and the Asian Development Bank annual meeting takes place in Manila. Read more

This week on beyondbrics:

Apple had a blowout quarter in China but finds less success in India where Android rules; Brazil claims an early victory in the currency war;  Samsung soap opera continues;  S&P says Indonesia is still junk; BP sues Bridas; Amgen bets big on Turkey generics; Dubai re-return to the bond market; Wen visits Poland and rejoice - Chavez is not deadRead more

It’s not a licence to print money, exactly. But Argentina’s habit of shuffling dollars around the public sector to meet its financing needs certainly comes in handy for a government that has few ouside funding options.

Take this week, for example. While the nationalisation of Spanish-controlled oil company YPF was still hogging headlines, Argentina’s economy ministry tapped $3.1bn from the central bank and pensions agency, bringing to some $4.3bn the amount it has borrowed from state bodies so far this year, according to this reportRead more

The centre-right Czech government has no intention of letting up on its fiscal tightening programme, a senior minister tells beyondbrics after several weeks of turmoil caused by the disintegration of one of the parties in the coalition and a vote of confidence set for later on Friday night.

The government of premier Petr Necas looks set to gain a narrow majority in the 200-member parliament after the smallest coalition member – Public Affairs – formed a breakaway grouping with enough votes to allow the two year old government to continue functioning. Read more

Do investors expect too much of emerging markets? Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley Investment Management certainly thinks so, and has written a book to make his case.

He says investors should focus on today’s realities and not “the speculative titillation of futurology” imbedded in long-term forecasts of the Brics taking over the world. Here, taken from the FT, is Stefan Wagstyl’s review of ‘Breakout Nations’. Read more