Daily Archives: Aug 29, 2012

“They tell me it’s good stuff,” said Felipe Calderón (pictured), brandishing a small phial of murky liquid on Wednesday during a televised announcement of Mexico’s first-ever discovery of oil in deep waters, the Trion 1 well.

The relief was palpable as the Mexican president grinned, recalling how in the early days of his presidency the government’s propaganda machine spoke of a “sunken treasure” to be found in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. Now, at last, the treasure has been foundRead more

Now that’s a nice raise! Or wait, maybe it’s just the rate of inflation.

On Tuesday evening, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that the country’s unions and business associations had agreed on a 25 per cent increase in the minimum wage, to be delivered in two parts. The monthly wage would rise from the current 2,300 pesos (about $494) to 2,670 pesos September 1 and then to 2,875 pesos in February. Read more

For global automakers, the Russian car industry appears to be a bright spot - a very, very bright spot - against a dismal European auto market.

At the Moscow auto show, which kicked off on the outskirts of the Russian capital on Wednesday, brands like General Motors, Volkswagen and BMW were falling over themselves to emphasise the market’s importance to their brands, lay out expansion plans and praise the Russian car buyer. Read more

Gazprom’s decision to shelve the huge Arctic Shtokman project recognises the harsh reality of investing in remote, deepwater gas deposits at a time of considerable uncertainty in energy markets and the world economy.

It can’t have been easy to postpone one of president Vladkimir Putin’s flaship industrial schemes. But, if the numbers don’t add up, it is the right thing to do. While Russia needs economic development, it doesn’t need it at any cost. That was the mistake of the Soviet Union. Read more

When a company’s founder, manager and leading shareholder decides to sell a big chunk of shares, smaller fry head for the exits – which is what happened on Wednesday on the Warsaw Stock Exchange after Luiz Amaral surprised the market with a decision to sell a 7 per cent stake in Eurocash, Poland’s second largest distributor of fast-moving consumer goods. Read more

In a sign of Mozambique’s emergence as a middle-market tourism destination, Britain’s benchmark over-50s package holiday organiser, Saga, is to run tours in the country next year.

It’s a positive development for an industry the government wants to develop as a major foreign exchange earner, but Mozambique has a way to go before it starts squeezing as much money from its visitors as its regional rivals. Read more

At least one Android maker is optimistic right now.

Asus, the Taiwan based company behind Google’s Nexus 7 tab, announced some very ambitious sales goals on Wednesday, predicting that the company will grow leaps and bounds ahead of the overall flat PC market – and could even beat Samsung to become the number one manufacturer of Android tablets.

With the rest of the industry predicting far more modest growth, can Asus really deliver? Read more

By Sergio Pessoa of Brasscom

In 2011, the Brics accounted for 25 per cent of global GDP, 30 per cent of global land area and 45 per cent of global population. According to the IMF, these economies should account for 56 per cent of the global economic expansion in 2012, up from 19 per cent in 2011. The Brics are no longer merely adapting to the world economy, they are helping to shape it.

They are also breaking with the past and becoming a fertile ground for innovation, which requires a complex ecosystem that includes critical factors such as strong educational systems and human capital, deep and efficient capital markets, and open and free competition. Read more

By Mike Collier of bne

Of all the real estate bubbles to go pop in recent years, none did so more spectacularly than the one in the Baltic states during the 2008 financial crisis. Property prices halved in many cases, and some bruised investors swore never to touch Baltic real estate again. But never is a long time when there is money to be made.

The announcement on August 27 that the biggest IPO on the Baltic bourses in five years will come from a real estate company looks set to test whether investors are ready to believe Baltic realty can be anything other than boom-and-bust. Read more

More evidence, if any were needed, of the depressing slowdown in world trade.

According to data published on Wednesday, Thailand’s exports fell 4.46 per cent year-on-year last month, compared to a consensus forecast of 3.75 per cent. The number would have been even worse – 9.2 per cent – had it not been for a revision of the base numbers. Thai officials expect a bit of a boost in the rest of 2012, as the recovery from last year’s floods accelerates. But it won’t be spectacular. Read more

* Chinese banks step up lending in the US

* Iron ore tests the Chinese floor theory

* Most Emerging-Market Stocks Decline Ahead of U.S. Economic Data

* HK regulator files E&Y China secrecy test case Read more

When Korea Inc is found guilty of breaking rules on international technology rights, it makes headlines (see Apple vs Samsung). But in the background, there is a regular – and large – flow of royalty payments from Korean companies to their western counterparts.

Thanks to its exporters’ growing competitiveness, Korea’s current-account surplus totaled $19.85bn in the first seven months of this year. However, it continued to suffer a deficit in the balance of payments for patents and intellectual property rights, rising to $2.5bn in the same period. Read more

Nothing says “downturn” in China quite like the freefall in prices of iron ore, the key steelmaking ingredient.

Prices for the TSI benchmark 62 per cent Fe iron ore stood at $94.8 per tonne on Tuesday, down 19 per cent in the last four weeks. “Watching this market is like watching the Titanic,” wrote commodity broker London Dry Bulk in a research note. Read more

Wednesday’s picks from the BB team: Brazil’s ambitious plans to break its infrastructure bottlenecks; the weaknesses of India’s coal fired electricity system have been exposed, but the future isn’t necessarily bright for solar energy either; a look at wages and working conditions inside South Africa’s mines; Merkel is China’s go-to European leader, but how special is their ‘special relationship? Plus, the significance of the slowing expansion of the People’s Bank of China’s balance sheet.  Read more

Didier Drogba’s football career in China could be coming to an end just two months after it started. According to local media, the former Chelsea striker has been caught in the middle of a financial dispute at Shanghai Shenhua, the club he joined in June, that might force the owners to sell him.

If true, it would be a damaging reversal not only for Shenhua but also for Chinese football more broadly. Drogba was easily the biggest foreign signing ever at any Chinese club, and it was hoped that his exceptional talent would elevate the quality of the country’s corruption-marred league and pave the way for more star arrivals. Read more

By Jeffrey Lau of Barclays

Many Asian bond investors may feel that they are standing at the crossroads. Most bond yields have tightened significantly since the beginning of the year. Typically, for investors who hold little or no Asian bonds in their portfolio, they may ask whether it is too late for them to get into the market now. Investors who have stayed invested in bonds may ask whether it is a good time to exit or trim down their positions. Read more

Pot holes, erratic drivers – why would anyone spend the best part of $1m on a car in India? Mumbai bureau chief James Crabtree takes a test ride of an Aston Martin, the latest luxury car entrant to the Indian market, to find out.

New legislation aimed at updating Indian land acquisition laws from the existing colonial-era rules adopted in 1894 has been kicked into the long grass.

India’s Congress-led ruling coalition had hoped to pass the new regulations in the current Parliamentary session. Many companies, too, had been hoping for speedy passage of new rules to help overcome what is seen as one of the biggest obstacles to the infrastructure and industrial development: conflicts over land. Read more

Galaxy Entertainment Group, which runs one of Macau’s biggest and brashest casino resorts, saw strong demand for its stock when UK private equity firm Permira decided to sell off another big chunk of its holdings on Tuesday.

One big US investor, Waddell & Reed, accounted for the lion’s share of the 7 per cent stake, according to market sources, although the Kansas-based mutual fund company is thought to have bought less than 5 per cent, which means it will not have to declare its stake. Read more

* Chinese banks step up lending in the US

* HK regulator files E&Y China secrecy test case

* Cairn expands Morocco offshore interests Read more