Daily Archives: Aug 7, 2012

Colombia on July shocked the market with an interest rate cut (its first in two years) because of expectations of lower growth ahead. Will Chile follow suit this month?

Bold moves have been something of a hallmark of Chilean central bank monetary policy in the past, but as things stand, the odds are that the bank will sit out on a cut and leave its key policy rate at 5 per cent for a seventh straight month. 

Argentines pride themselves on their ability to come up with creative solutions to tricky problems.

So faced with a need for the country’s biggest company – the now state-owned energy firm YPF – to raise cash to fund an ambitious exploration programme, what about paying interest in fuel? 

For a time it looked as if Statoil got lucky when it entered an agreement with Gazprom to develop the vast Shtokman field in Russia’s Barents Sea.

But the Norwegian company which on Tuesday said it had written off $336.2m of investment at Shtokman and surrendered its share of the project, now appears to have taken up with the wrong partner in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Emerging market bond yields are close to all-time lows as investors search for safe yield. But as the FT’s James Mackintosh warns, beware the politics.

Russia has decided to introduce a vehicle recycling tax that could set the stage for the development of a modern car scrapping industry to clear dangerous, fume spewing clunkers from the nation’s roads.

Flagged as a measure to boost environmental safety, the new tax could also provide the Kremlin with an opportunity to protect domestic carmakers from unwelcome competition. 

In a sport where making profits has taken a back seat to on-pitch results, former French football international Jean-Marc Guillou is bucking the trend.

Players trained at his JMG Academy have contracts at top clubs like Manchester City and Arsenal. And his investors are averaging nominal returns of over €15m – over 200 per cent over a ten year period. And Guillou himself, of course, does well too. But it’s a model that is not without critics. 

With news that Hungary’s central bank will, after all, be exempt from a new financial transactions tax and a bullish note from Morgan Stanley saying agreement on a credit line from the International Monetary Fund is imminent, you might have expected a boost to the forint on Tuesday.

But the forint has already taken a lot of upside from better sentiment on the eurozone and, anyway, investors are far from certain the IMF loan will materialise on schedule. Result: the forint weakened slightly on Tuesday. 

The appointment of a senior party official with an ultranationalist background as the new governor of Serbia’s central bank has heightened concerns about the bank’s independence at a time of great economic sensitivity for the country.

The government has stoutly defended yesterday’s uncontested election of Jorgovanka Tabakovic, deputy leader of the Progressive Party (SNS), pictured, the largest grouping in parliament. Tabakovic was the SNS’s candidate for prime minister at the elections in May and is a close ally of president Tomislav Nikolic. 

Taiwan’s exports accelerated their downward slide last month as worried consumers across the world hold off on upgrading or buying new electronics.

Exports fell 11.6 per cent in July compared with last year, after having fallen 3.2 per cent in June. Imports, many of which are of products used by local manufacturers, also fell. 

* StanChart accused of hiding Iran dealings

* UAE unveils tighter rules for funds

* Syria’s prime minister defects

* India: another 2G auction delay 

It was not exactly a bolt from the blue. In a move that will have surprised nobody, the Indian government is to ask the Supreme Court to give it more time to arrange a repeatedly delayed rerun of its attempt to sell licences allowing telecoms companies to use so-called 2G spectrum. In spite of its predictability, the latest delay could be dire news for those companies, foreign and domestic, whose 122 licenses were cancelled in February

Tuesday’s picks from the BB team: how major international retailers are trying to reach more of Africa’s 1bn inhabitants; what it takes to develop a city in central China – the case of Changsha; the difficulties of hereditary handovers in Asia’s companies; plus, India’s super rich start giving. 

Amid a rocky outlook for the export markets that drive its economy, South Korea’s policy makers might have hoped domestic demand might pick up some of the slack. But the wishful thinking in any such expectations was demonstrated by Tuesday’s ugly news from the retail sector.

Sales in the country’s department stores fell by 0.9 per cent in July, following a 2 per cent fall in June, the ministry of strategy and finance said in its monthly economic report. “A recovery in consumer sentiment has been delayed,” the ministry said, blaming uncertainty about the global and domestic economy, thanks largely to the eurozone debt crisis. 

By Michal Meidan of Eurasia Group 

The South China Sea is first and foremost a question of sovereignty for Beijing. But with economic interests also at play, there are compelling arguments for China to defend its interests aggressively. China’s oil companies want to unlock the sea’s potential oil and gas resources. Civilian maritime authorities seek to defend fishing grounds as coastal waters become depleted. The Chinese navy uses maritime tensions to push for a greater piece of the budget pie. Strategic thinkers and hawks want to send a clear signal to their neighbours – and to domestic public opinion – that China’s interests are not up for negotiation. Indeed, with Manila and Hanoi emboldened by Washington’s “pivot” to Asia, Beijing feels compelled to respond forcefully when its neighbours pull the US even closer into China’s stomping ground. 

* StanChart accused of hiding Iran dealings

* Syria’s prime minister defects

* Spyker sues GM for $3bn over Saab bankruptcy