Daily Archives: Aug 1, 2012

Brazil’s industrial production rose less than expected by 0.2 per cent in June from May. Not exactly a reason to celebrate you might think…

However, the country’s finance minister Guido Mantega heralded the data on Wednesday as the “turning point” for the country – proof that the economy was beginning to gain momentum.

If anything though, Mantega’s response is a sign of just how bad things have got for the world’s second-biggest emerging market economy. June’s data was in fact the first rebound after three straight months of declining output. Read more

In Brazil’s second quarter corporate earnings season this year, the gold medals are few and far between. Indeed, even bronze is looking like a victory in this race to the bottom among what were once some of the most elite performers of the emerging market world. Read more

The US economy shows signs of having wobbly legs after a second straight month of a decline in manufacturing. But other legs appear to be stomping a Mexican folk dance.

Mexican emigrants, overwhelmingly based in the United States, sent home $11.85bn in the first half of the year, a 6 per cent increase on the same period of 2011, the Mexican central bank reported Wednesday. Read more

After rising pretty much in tandem Brazil and Mexico’s stock markets have diverged in recent months. Jonathan Wheatley, deputy emerging markets editor, analyses why Mexico has out performed and whether Brazil’s will rediscover its wings.

By Jakub Parusinski

Watching some top-level international football is a great way to forget your problems for a while. The same holds true for Ukraine’s economy, which caught a breather in past months, but is once again facing fundamental weaknesses.

Ukraine’s economy grew 3.0 per cent in the second quarter, exceeding expectations and offsetting relatively weak performance in the first three months of the year. In seasonally adjusted terms, the country escaped technical recession with 0.8 per cent growth quarter-on-quarter, following a contraction of 0.3 per cent in the previous quarter. Read more

Mozambique’s are the gas fields that just keep giving. Eni, the Italian state-controlled energy group, said on Wednesday it had made a significant find of gas in the Mamba offshore exploration block – an extra 10tn cubic feet to its previous finds.

The discovery confirms Mozambique as one of the key areas for LNG in Africa and one of the most exciting prospects for the world’s major energy companies. Read more

In real life, as in the Olympic Games, Colombians seem to be aiming for the second step of the podium. This week, as Colombian weightlifter Oscar Albeiro Figueroa stepped up for a silver medal, comes fresh confirmation that more and more Colombians are being lifted from poverty into the middle class.

According to a study conducted at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia’s middle class doubled in the past ten years, from 15 per cent of the population in 2002 to 30 per cent in 2012. Read more

Standard Chartered posted a 9 per cent increase in first-half pre-tax profit on Wednesday and said it was accelerating investment to exploit “opportunities we see arising from the turbulence and the disarray of our competitors”.

The emerging markets focused bank said pre-tax profit for the first six months of the year was $3.95bn, up from $3.64bn a year earlier and better than the $3.7bn predicted on average by analysts polled by Reuters. Read more

After the crisis of 2009, Nigeria’s banking system has been cleaned up, with the sector performing impressively this year. So everything’s fine?

Not quite, according to a new report by the ratings agency Fitch. Rapid credit growth in Africa’s most populous country could carry the risk of weakening bank asset quality. Read more

Not a pretty picture is painted by purchasing managers’ indices from Markit and HSBC published on Wednesday for the Czech Republic, Turkey, Poland and Russia.

Neil Shearing at Capital Economics sums it up: “The authorities will become increasingly focused on reviving growth, but in truth only Polish policymakers have much room for manoeuvre.” Read more

* Global slowdown bites across Asia

* Power restored across northern India

* South America readies record crop amid US drought Read more

When the Philippine department of energy told reporters this week it had received four proposals to explore oil and gas blocks off Palawan, the country’s westernmost island facing disputed waters in the South China Sea, many of the journalists’ questions focused on how Manila’s tiny navy could protect research vessels and drilling ships against possible harassment by Chinese vessels.

To be sure, the danger of being confronted by a Chinese warship in the open sea is perhaps one of the greatest operating risks an energy company is likely to face. But for many engaged in exploration and production, it is not necessarily the most pressing worry in the Philippines, nor even the most bothersome. Read more

Wednesday’s picks from the BB team: the flaws in the economics of India’s energy system; what the Pussy Riot trial says about the state of Russian democracy; why the effects of the recent food price spike have barely begun to bite; India’s IT outsourcing industry under threat; a special issue on global health – will the world get a health insurance safety net? Plus, in the search for yield, the Chinese central bank turns to… Australia. Read more

“Going for the kill.” That’s how one analyst described the entry of high street retailer Topshop into South Africa. Other big beast metaphors come to mind, too.

Sir Phillip Green’s Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop and Topman, is partnering with Edcon, one of the South Africa’s biggest clothing retailers, and House of Busby, which sources goods and sets up and runs stores in South Africa for brands including Gap, Mango and Guess. Read more

China’s official PMI is in positive territory: economic growth ahead! But wait, HSBC’s widely read unofficial one is in negative territory, indicating contraction ahead. As Business Insider notes, there’s a good chance both sets of numbers are inflated by the Chinese government. And regardless of that, there’s not much doubt of the big picture: the region’s economies are slowing.

After the break, the HSBC PMIs published on Wednesday for China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

If your aim is to “truly prevent a rebound in housing prices” – as China’s Politburo promised recently – you won’t necessarily welcome news from a big property developer that it’s on track to release residential units at projects dubbed “The Loft” in Chengdu and “Dolce Vita” in Guangzhou.

Yet that is what CapitaLand, a Singapore-based property developer, said on Wednesday, noting that the “underlying fundamentals” of China’s housing sector “remain sound”. Read more

While China’s official PMI reading came in weaker than last month – and only a whisker above the key 50 level – the alternative manufacturing gauge, put together by Markit and HSBC, showed continued contraction.

While the headline number of 49.3  is the closest the measure has come to the 50 mark in months, the index was actually revised down from the flash estimate earlier in the month. Read more

* Chinese manufacturing growth slows

* Asian stocks retreat as optimism wanes

* US imposes sanctions on Iran oil industry

* S Korean exports drop on weak global demand Read more

The US Commerce Department on Monday proposed to impose anti-dumping tariffs of up to 72 per cent on washing machines made by Samsung in Mexico.

But though Mexican officials refused to get into a lather about the threat, they ruffled US feathers on Tuesday by announcing that a Mexican inquiry has found that the US has been dumping some of the 250,000 metric tons a year of chicken legs and backs that it sends south of the border. Read more