Daily Archives: Aug 27, 2012

There’s never a good time for what is now being described as one of the world’s deadliest industrial disasters in recent memory, after a gas leak led to a terrifying explosion at Venezuela’s Amuay refinery.

But with presidential elections just six weeks away, the tragedy at the world’s second biggest refinery has taken an unsightly political turn, with mud-slinging and name-calling coming from all sides. Read more

Argentina is perhaps the only country in which an announcement that the government would set prices and profit margins for private electricity sector companies would be greeted enthusiastically by the firms affected.

Then again, Argentina is one of the few countries where energy companies lose money. Read more

The collapse of Amber Gold, a Polish “para-bank” that closed its doors earlier this month, could end up costing its “investors” more than 130m zlotys ($40m), and is now starting to take a toll of among the government officials who could have intervened earlier.

Andrzej Seremet, Poland’s prosecutor general, on Monday called for the head of the regional prosecutor in Gdansk, who had fobbed off several requests from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) to investigate Amber Gold for potentially violating the law by offering banking services without holding a banking license. Read more

ETFs aren’t just for developed market exchanges, as a new listing in Ghana shows.

Absa Capital’s gold-backed NewGold ETF, launched last week, follows its secondary listings in Botswana in 2010 and Nigeria in December 2011 with an initial offering to investors of 400,000 units, with each costing 31 cedis ($16) and representing 0.01 ounces of bullion. Read more

Peter Marsh

In the past decade, the emerging economies have seen a remarkable surge in their share of world factory production, with this trend having intensified over the past five years.

Now, there are some signs that the pace of change is slowing down. There seems every likelihood that in the second decade of the 21st century, the rate at which the so-called poor world catches up with the rich in manufacturing output will be a lot lower than in the first. Read more

Bad news for Indian brides-to-be and those looking to splurge during festival season: gold on Monday hit an all-time high on bullion markets in the subcontinent.

Gold prices rose to Rs93,193 per troy ounce, as the precious metal remained a safe haven amidst the European crisis and slow US economic growth.

High prices bode ill for the current festival season, which lasts until roughly mid-November. The wedding season begins then and stretches into late January – both periods during which Indians purchase a lot of gold. Read more

* S Korea: thumbs up from Moody’s

* Asia’s Android phonemakers fall

* PTT buys control of Sakari for S$1.2bn

* China’s stocks drop to 2009 low as slowdown spurs profit concern Read more

Hardly a week goes by without a depressing bit of economic data from China. Monday’s version is industrial profits, which are down 5.4 per cent in July from 2011, according to national statistics.

Profits were Rmb366.8bn – the fourth straight month of decline. For January to July, the overall drop is 2.7 per cent year-on-year. The Shanghai Composite index closed on Monday at 2055.7, down 1.7 per cent – its lowest close since March 2009. Read more

Monday’s picks from the BB team: why Russia’s wealthy consumers spend today rather than save for tomorrow; pressure grows on Saudi Arabia’s rulers for political reform; farmers and industrialists compete for land in India; the intra-union politics behind the Marikana unrest; plus, Barclays’ big plans for Africa, take three. Read more

Samsung’s legal defeat in California on Friday was a nasty PR moment for the South Korean tech behemoth: the jury ruled that Samsung had wilfully copied elements of Apple’s product design and user interface features, as it awarded a shade over $1bn in damages. Still, the near-7 per cent fall in Samsung’s share price on Monday morning was surprisingly sharp. Read more

South Korea has won a vote of confidence from Moody’s. The international ratings agency on Monday raised the country’s sovereign credit rating to a par with Japan and China, citing the country’s strong fiscal fundamentals and economic resilience.

The country’s sovereign credit rating was raised by one notch to Aa3 from A1. It is the first time that Korea has hit the double A ratings, the fourth-highest. The upgraded rating is two notches higher than the equivalent from Standard & Poor’s and one step above that from Fitch. Read more

Indian students sitting down to take the Common Entrance Exam that may grant them entry to one of the country’s top MBA programmes this autumn will likely find themselves surrounded by far fewer fellow test takers. The number taking the test has fallen nearly 28 per cent since 2008, to around 200,000 this year, according to Mint newspaper.

In 2009, as the global financial crisis caught up with India, and management degrees became less attractive than a steady job, the number of students appearing for the test began dropping, and for the past two years, it has remained just over 200,000. This despite the fact that there are now 13 prestigious Indian Institutes of Management, as opposed to seven. Read more

* China’s stocks drop to 2009 low as slowdown spurs profit concern

* PTT bids S$1.2bn for rest of Sakari to add coal assets

* S Africa probes abuse of miners in custody Read more