Daily Archives: Aug 2, 2012

Polo (the game) is an Argentine staple. But Polo (the brand) is taking a break from Argentina.

Joining a growing list of luxury brands fleeing Argentina, Ralph Lauren has announced that it is closing its stores in the country, at least for now. Read more

Serbia’s new government faces a flurry of international condemnation on Thursday night after the resignation of the central bank governor under political pressure.

National Bank of Serbia (NBS) chief Dejan Soskic (pictured) said he hoped that his departure would stall the passage of a draft law which he, the EU and the IMF believe could seriously compromise the bank’s independence. Read more

Impeccable timing. That’s the only phrase that can describe this week’s announcement that Tanzania is to set up a sovereign wealth fund – just hours before another significant gas discovery was unveiled.

Sovereign wealth funds have been used by countries such as Norway, China and Libya as a way of putting excess reserves to better use than sitting in government coffers. Now, with oil and gas finds building up, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa are looking to set up SWFs as well. Read more

As widely expected, the Czech National Bank (CNB) on Thursday kept its policy interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.5 per cent a year. But with the economy continuing to weaken, the odds are growing that the bank will make one further cut of 0.25 percentage points before the year is out.

The CNB said there had been “a marked slowdown in external demand and subdued domestic demand against the background of fiscal consolidation”. Read more

First the good news: Russia’s population has stopped shrinking after a two-decade decline. Now the bad: the lull will only be temporary and will be followed by another precipitous fall.

But that gloomy demographic outlook does not have to spell economic disaster. So says Make Love Not Oil, a report published this week by Aton, a Moscow-based investment bank. Read more

Acer is an official sponsor of the Olympic Games. It provides the computers and servers that back up the whole operation and its advertising proudly features the coveted and heavily trademarked Olympic rings.

But what does the Olympic movement think of Acer’s home country, Taiwan? According to the International Olympic Committee, it doesn’t really exist. Read more

Fears of a credit bubble in Brazil have been receding recently and figures published on Thursday give further reason to breath easy.

Serasa Experian, a credit analysis company, said its consumer credit outlook index fell to 98.6 in June, its third contraction in a row. That, says the company, means the volume of consumer credit in Brazil will continue to rise only slowly during the second half of this year. Read more

Vujanovic: polls time

When Montenegro’s government called an early election this week, it was seen as an attempt to cash in on the country’s progress towards EU membership. But the leadership, effectively in control for more than two decades, may not have things all its own way.

A troubled economy and allegations of corruption could give a boost to a previously disunited opposition. Read more

* China bans religious activities in Xinxiang

* Emerging stocks fall from 4 week high before ECB meeting

* South Korea diversifies further into gold Read more

If you look at Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, South Korean companies do not appear to be feeling the pinch of Europe’s debt crisis and the slowing global economy. But a deeper look at the rest of corporate Korea tells a different story.

Despite the global economic slowdown, Samsung’s operating profit surged 79 per cent to $5.9bn in the second quarter on the back of booming sales of its smartphones while Hyundai Motor reported an 18 per cent jump in second-quarter operating profit to Won2.5tn. But excluding the two companies, combined operating profits of 129 listed Korean companies plunged 44.6 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier and their combined net profits shrank 59.2 per cent, according to market researcher FnGuide. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: US fast food groups expand in Russia; The Children’s Investment Fund takes on Coal India, demanding it raise prices; the board of Fraser and Neave meet to discuss the future of Asia Pacific Breweries; plus, a look inside the grueling lives of China’s next generation of athletes. Read more

As electricity supplies go back online, advocates of energy reform in India are hoping that this week’s power outages will provide an opening to press for far-reaching changes. However, the desire for reform will as ever come up against the politically possible. Read more

By Ben Simpfendorfer of Silk Road Associates

The fate of China and the world’s multinationals are bound tightly together, both having benefited from the spectacular growth in global trade and investment over the past two decades.

So it’s no surprise then that the global crisis has challenged that once cozy relationship: China is rethinking its open-door policy to foreign firms, while the world’s multinationals are equally discovering opportunities in India, Brazil, and other fast growing emerging markets. Read more

* Inter Milan sells stake to Chinese group

* Brazil and Mexico swap divergent fortunes

* World Bank to help Myanmar clear arrears

* Sinovel sued in Brazil over software codes Read more