Monthly Archives: May 2012

From Mexico City to Sao Paolo, multilatinas such as Grupo Sura of Colombia and LAN of Chile are bursting out of their traditional boundaries in a bid for growth.

So it’s worth noting Grupo Gloria of Peru’s acquisition of a 55 per cent stake in Uruguay’s second biggest dairy group, Ecolat this week. Read more

To judge by Thursday’s sell-off of the Mexican peso, investors are more than a little worried about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the country’s leftwing presidential candidate.

The scare came after a poll, published by Reforma newspaper, showed that López Obrador was now just four percentage points behind Enrique Peña Nieto, current front runner and candidate of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Read more

Is the love affair between foreign investors and Brazilian equities on the wane? While the flight to safety has affected equity markets around the world, Brazil has been taking it to the chin more than others.

Equity funds pulled $1.03bn out of Brazil this May, according to data from EPFR Global. That is more than 1 per cent of the funds’ Brazilian equity holdings at the beginning of the month and is the biggest monthly outflow since August 2011. Read more

Hamstrung by structural weaknesses and battered by the eurozone crisis, Croatia’s economy looks set to shrink further in 2012, the fourth successive year without meaningful growth.

The economy contracted by 1.3 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2012, according to a flash estimate released by the Croatian statistics office on Thursday. Read more

It is common wisdom that well-off Russians like to buy property in the poshest London neighbourhoods. But just how much they like it is underscored by eye-popping numbers unveiled in a new report on Thursday by Fathom Financial Consulting, an economics advisory firm. It looks at house price trends in nine central London post codes including Chelsea, Kensington and Notting Hill where the most up-market properties are found. Read more

Hours after the Philippines announced that its economy grew by 6.4 per cent in the first quarter, beating expectations of much slower growth, the skies darkened and heavy rains fell. In an instant, Manila’s narrow, dirty streets were flooded, jamming traffic hours ahead of evening rush hour. In some districts, thunderstorms tripped power lines and triggered blackouts.

The sequence of events may be coincidental but it points to a big question facing president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and his economic planners. Can the government handle things if the economy grows any faster given the inadequate state of infrastructure? Read more

Running a vast archipelagic nation like Indonesia is far from easy, with 6,000 inhabited islands dotted throughout an area stretching more than 3,000 miles from east to west. But the government’s latest initiative to bring the nation closer together and drive economic growth has left some influential commentators scratching their heads.

Gita Wirjawan, the trade minister, announced on Wednesday that the government was planning to merge the country’s three timezones on October 28, following in the footsteps of the Chinese Communist Party which unified five timezones after it won power in 1949. Read more

It was perhaps fitting that Kingfisher Airlines released its worst ever quarterly results on the same day Indian opposition politicians called a nationwide strike to protest a petrol price hike. Kingfisher knows a thing or two about high fuel prices and it is no stranger to strikes. Read more

Poland’s economy continues to outperform most of the rest of the EU, although there are some signs that the eurozone crisis is starting to have some impact.

Data released on Thursday show that the country’s GDP grew by an annual 3.5 per cent in the first quarter. The result was broadly in line with analysts’ expectations, and down from the the final quarter of 2011, when the economy was growing at an annual pace of 4.3 per cent. Read more

* Indian GDP growth slides to 5.3%.

* Brazil cuts interest rate to record low

* U.S. Envoy Paints Dire Syria Scenario Read more

An apparent victory for Whirlpool, the US appliance manufacturer, over South Korean rivals on Wednesday.

In a preliminary finding announced on Wednesday by the US Commerce Department, Whirlpool’s claim that its South Korean rivals were selling washers in the US for less than production costs was accepted. The company argued that Korean manufacturers have benefited from unfair government subsidies. Read more

Thursday’s top reads from the BB team: Putin’s people and the US ambassador; Brazil’s low rates and India’s low growth; Luxury brands come but FDI goes in China; and Mongolia is not Qatar. Plus: will Mexico’s youth decide the presidential race?  Read more

Last time it was supposed to be hitting bottom – but it turns out the Indian economy had lower depths to plumb. It grew just 5.3 per cent in the quarter ending in March, well below expectations and the 6.1 per cent growth rate for the previous quarter. It was the lowest quarterly growth in 9 years, far below the same quarter in 2011, which registered 9.2 per cent growth.

GDP growth for the fiscal year ending in March fell to 6.5 per cent – below the 6.7 per cent that had been expected – highlighting the dire state of the Indian economy, according to data released by the ministry of statistics on Thursday. The rupee reached a new all-time low of Rs56.52 against the dollar. Read more

India’s GDP growth fell to 5.3 per cent in the quarter that ended in March – and 6.5 per cent in the fiscal year that ended in March – well below expectations of 6-6.1 per cent, according to data released by the ministry of statistics.

The sub-6 per cent figure further highlighted the dire state of the Indian economy – on Thursday the rupee hit yet another life low, at Rs56.52 against the dollar in early trading.

One IPO bites the dust, while plans for an even bigger one are dusted off.

Hours after Graff Diamonds, purveyor of high-end jewellery, pulled its $1bn IPO from the Hong Kong market, Malaysia’s prime minister was unveiling the prospectus for a blockbuster 10.2bn ringgit ($3.2bn) on Bursa Malaysia. This time the issuer is the biggest company you’ve never heard of: Felda, one of the world’s largest palm oil producers. Read more

* Brazil cuts interest rate to record low

* Chevron sued in Canada over Ecuador case

* India to seek $7bn in taxes for past deals Read more

The Philippine economy beat expectations in the first quarter, growing 6.4 per cent compared to forecasts of 4.5-5 per cent. That means the Philippines grew faster than Indonesia.

Investors are already piling in, making the Manila equity market the second best performer in Asia after Vietnam this year. Read our story on predictions of an investment boom in the country here.

The Brazilian central bank’s 50 basis point reduction in its benchmark Selic interest rate on Wednesday night, taking it to a record low of 8.5 per cent, could hardly have been more widely anticipated by economists.

In a unanimous vote, the bank’s monetary policy committee cited the limitations to the upward trajectory of inflation domestically and the disinflationary winds sweeping in from a weak global economy. Read more

Argentina seems to have developed a new export line: futures markets know-how.

After a deal earlier this year to set up a futures exchange in Uruguay (a joint venture between Argentina’s commodity derivatives exchange MATBa and the Uruguayan bourse), Argentina’s futures and options exchange Rofex is now helping Paraguay establish its first futures marketRead more

When the Brazilian government was faced with the financial crisis of 2009, it used a potent recipe to reignite the economy, one of whose main ingredients was credit growth. This year, however, credit seems to have gone into hiding. Read more