Daily Archives: Aug 9, 2012

Mexico inflation for July took price increases during the last 12 months to a two-year high and well above the central bank’s upper inflation target of 4 per cent, official statistics showed on Thursday. But you would be wrong to think that will send the bank scurrying to hike interest rates.

The increase during the month of 0.56 per cent, which was actually slightly below the consensus forecast of 0.57 per cent, brought inflation during the previous 12 months to 4.42 per cent – up from 4.34 per cent in June. Read more

Pass the pot? That is for legislators in Uruguay and Chile to decide.

Uruguay will become the world’s first country to grow and supply cannabis if parliament approves the legalisation of the drug in a bid to crack down on crime. Read more

When the World Shakespeare Festival invited Dmitry Krymov to stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the UK, the Russian theatre director known for his wildly imaginative visual productions was given free rein with the great bard’s fantastical play.

True to form, Krymov has plucked the story of Pyramus and Thisbe from Shakespeare’s original and left almost everything else out. Even the title, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It) has been adapted to, as Krymov puts it, “blur the boundaries of the work”.

“I want people to leave the theatre wondering which of Shakespeare’s plays they have actually seen.” Read more

Kenya will bid to become the first African nation to host the Olympic Games in 2024, Raila Odinga, the country’s prime minister, has said.

Speaking to the FT in London, Mr Odinga said sub-Saharan Africa’s time to host the games had come. The region’s trillion-dollar economy was set to boom over the next decade, he said, and for Kenya, east Africa’s leading economy, hosting the Olympics would bring a psychological boost as well as “enormous benefits” in terms of investment in infrastructure.

Bulgarians and many of those who have spent time in Bulgaria – including your correspondent – rave about the country’s farm produce and its simple but delicious cuisine. It was enthusiasm for the fresh, flavourful products of her homeland and a heartfelt belief in organic farming that led Magdalena Maleeva, one of Bulgaria’s greatest ever tennis players, to establish Bio Bulgaria in September 2006. The blossoming organic food company is becoming an established name in its home country and is now looking to build exports to take Bulgarian food to the world. Read more

Croats may not know much about Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s most influential founding fathers, but they are certainly getting to know about one of his most famous quotations: “but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

That, at least, is the hope of the Croatian inland revenue, which last week – to the consternation of some, and the delight of many – published lists of 102,000 tax debtors. The list includes construction giants, high-profile business personalities, humble craftsmen and rock stars who, so the authority claims, owe the state some 52bn kuna (€6.9bn) in total. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

After Tata Motors propped up the ailing Jaguar Land Rover – through a 2008 acquisition that was questioned by many – the British automaker is returning the favour, propping up its Indian parent in the quarter ended in June, according to results released on ThursdayRead more

Veritas strikes again. The Canadian investment research firm – known for its scathing criticism of major Indian companies like Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications – has accused real-estate and power group IndiaBulls of poor corporate governance and irregularities in its accounting and financial practices.

The Toronto-based firm released a report last week – titled “Bilking India” – that alleged “select insiders” rather than public shareholders of IndiaBulls benefited from mergers of the group’s infrastructure and power subsidiaries. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

Serbia’s new government faces some harsh realities including a large and growing budget deficit, a shrinking economy and a substantially-depreciated currency. A pledge this week to restart talks with the International Monetary Fund and tackle the budget gap shows a willingness to address them.

But it will be hard to square those promises with other ones made only recently to voters. The nationalist-socialist led ruling coalition has some way to go in reassuring investors and international institutions. Read more

* Chinese data point to sluggish economy

* StanChart seeks advice over countersuit

* India industry contracts in June

* Gu Kailai murder trial starts in Hefei Read more

Few asset classes have benefited more from this year’s market turmoil than emerging markets hard currency debt.

With yields on US and UK bonds hovering near zero and Germany’s 2-year paper offering negative yield, investors on the hunt for better returns have piled into the asset class with gusto.

In the first seven months of this year, investors put a record $18.8bn into funds dedicated to EM hard currency bonds, according to EPFR Global, a data provider. This shatters the previous high of $14.79bn received for the whole of 2010.  Read more

As Seoul wilts in its most ferocious heatwave for years, executives at the national electricity company’s headquarters are sweating more than most.

With air conditioning machines on full blast across South Korea, electricity reserves have fallen to dangerously low levels, prompting the Korea Electric Power Company to issue a shortage warning on Monday. As it happens, this week also brought a long-awaited inflation-busting tariff increase, which should help ease the pressure on Kepco – but it may be bad news for manufacturers. Read more

China’s consumer price inflation fell to a 30-month low of 1.8 per cent in July. Factory-gate inflation was even weaker, with producer prices falling 2.9 per cent. As Simon Rabinovitch wrote in the FT, combined with slowing industrial production and retail sales, it’s a “sluggish start to the second half of the year”.

Will this prompt further monetary easing? Read more

Both Indonesia and South Korea held rates on Thursday. Bank Indonesia kept its policy rate unchanged at 5.75 per cent; Bank of Korea kept its base rate at 3 per cent. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the BB team: as Samsung faces down Apple in the courts, Lex takes a closer look at the South Korean giant; why too much is made of India’s demographic dividend; why a rebalancing China’s economy is unlikely; plus, Bo Xilai’s political career looks over, but how successful was he in Chongqing? Read more

The issue of local government debt in China isn’t new – many analysts have long pointed to this as a major challenge to the stability of the Chinese economy.

Local funding is in a delicate state. With economic growth stalling and more debts due to be repayed, cities and provinces have to balance falling revenue with rising funding costs. Read more

Indian industry continued to disappoint in June, according to data released on Thursday by the ministry of statistics. It doesn’t augur well for the GDP growth print for the quarter ended in June. But those hoping for an interest rate cut will likely need to wait a while longer.

Indian industrial activity contracted 1.8 per cent in June, down from 2.4 per cent growth in May and well below the 1 per cent growth consensus. While there was a base effect (activity grew by 9.5 per cent last June), economists said the data boded ill for the beleaguered Indian economy. For the quarter ended in June, activity contracted 0.1 per cent compared to 6.9 per cent growth during the same period last year. Read more

* Chinese inflation falls to 1.8%

* StanChart seeks advice over countersuit

* Gu Kailai murder trial starts in Hefei Read more