Daily Archives: Jun 12, 2012

Say what you like about his face looking puffy, perspiry and palid as he registered his candidacy for Venezuela’s October presidential elections on Monday, but at the stump Hugo Chávez looked like his good old tub-thumping self.

After a year’s fight against cancer, Venezuela’s boisterous leader blustered away for almost three hours, which hardly bodes well for those who thought his rival may benefit from a weakened Chávez unable to make the most of his legendary campaigning skills. Read more

Argentina’s attempt to duck a scary subject by trying to introduce an important legal reform in a hush-hush way, seems not to have worked out too well.

The subject is pesification – a word guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of Argentines who remember all too well how their decade-long dollar peg was ditched after the country’s $100bn default in 2001, forcing a return to pesos amid a brutal devaluation. Read more

The ongoing crisis in Greece, and the possibility that the country will abandon the euro, is widely seen as presenting an existential threat to the eurozone. But it is also having an impact on Greece’s southeast European neighbours, which are not in the euro but are closely linked to Greece through Greek foreign investment and the financial sector.

But reports differ on the effect of the deepening Greek crisis on the region, and indeed on what would happen in the case of a “Grexit”. The shape and extent of the regional fallout is one of the many “known unknowns” of the unfolding drama. Read more

Contemplating life as an expat in China? Then take a deep breath, get your renminbi ready and be prepared for some serious spending. China isn’t getting any cheaper. Read more

West Africa’s mobile phone and data markets are often seen as bright spots in otherwise turbulent economies. But a top regulator in the region says there are still many issues to address before declaring victory in modernising the sector.

Governments, operators and investors need to move beyond the “euphoria” of high penetration rates and realise that ICT (information and communications technology) is about more than having a mobile phone, says Nnamdi Nwokike, executive secretary of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (Watra). Read more

Balcerowicz: envious of the neighbours

Poles have long held a fascination with the next-door Czechs as an exemplar of hard-headed economic virtues that their own more romantic country would be wise to follow – something that arch-reformer Leszek Balcerowicz referred to when calling on countrymen to tackle more reforms, pointing out that Czech borrowing costs were lower than Poland’s.

The latest cost of 5-year credit default swaps (the cost of insuring against default) for the Czech Republic is 127.1 basis points, not far above Germany’s 107.1, while Poland is at 239.7bp (albeit far below Spain and Italy and in a different universe from Greece). Read more

That was quick. Citi has confirmed that come October, South Africa’s governments bonds will be part of Citi’s influential World Government Bond Index. It was only April when South Africa’s inclusion was mooted.

South Africa will be the first ever African country and the fourth emerging market to be included in the index. But the promotion is also significant because it can potentially bring down the cost of borrowing for the country. Read more

As the global economic outlook continues to worsen, relatively open emerging markets like Indonesia must strike a balance between supporting growth and maintaining financial stability.

As the eurozone crisis drags on and growth in China and India looks soft, the fear is that all the hot money that flowed into Indonesia over the last few years will just as readily rush back out the door. Read more

To the rising flow of anecdotal evidence suggesting China’s rich are taking their money out of the country, add this: China is now one of the fastest-growing sources of international buyers for US real estate.

According to a report published by the National Association of Realtors this week, buyers from China and Hong Kong made up the second largest group of foreign buyers of homes in the US in the 12 months to March – behind only Canadians – accounting for $9bn of sales. Read more

* Hong Kong urged to review dollar peg

* Emerging Stocks Fall From Two-Week High On Europe Debt Concern

* More nations exempt from Iran sanctions

* US team leaves Pakistan without Nato deal Read more

GDP growth can be tricky to measure – especially in India where, as beyondbrics has reported, data collection leaves quite a bit to be desired – so it should perhaps come as no surprise that there are some doubts about the composition of the latest GDP figure.

That could be good news, considering that the 5.3 per cent the economy clocked in the quarter ending in March was the lowest rate in nine years. Read more

Tuesday’s picks from the BB team: Chinese inspiration, Indian salvation; The end of the Asian miracle? Learning from Latvia; and how Twitter is pushing Cuban boundaries of freedom. Read more

Well, at least it didn’t contract. That’s about the best that could be said about Indian industrial production in April, which grew just 0.1 per cent, according to data released by the ministry of statistics on Tuesday.

Combined with data last month that showed that the economy grew just 5.3 per cent in the quarter ending in March – a 9-year low – the IP figure only bolsters the case for a rate cut at the Reserve Bank of India’s policy review meeting on next week. Read more

* US to exempt India, not China, from Iran sanctions

* US pulls out of talks with Pakistan

* Saudi Arabia set to clash with Opec over output Read more

So Brazil reported its biggest incidence of corporate bankruptcy claims in May since 2009, according to Serasa Experian, the credit bureau.

A cause for panic? No. The absolute numbers are small – 203 companies in all during the month compared with 168 a year earlier and 165 in April. What’s more, the figures fluctuate wildly from month to month, with bankruptcies sometimes falling and sometimes rising year-on-year. Read more