Daily Archives: Oct 2, 2012

When Gol, Brazil’s second-biggest airline, said on Monday it had an “important announcement” to make later in the day, investors were overjoyed.

After a series of job cuts, route reductions and a net loss of R$715m ($354m) in the second quarter of this year, the company surely had only one thing left to say: that it was going to be sold. 

Photo: Bloomberg

Chile has such an open, export-orientated economy, it is well aware of how vulnerable it is to whatever else is going on in the world.

But as Sebastián Claro, a member of the central bank’s board, highlighted in a presentation on Tuesday, things are looking pretty good. Chile’s growth is expected to outstrip that of its trading partners for another year and though fluctuations in the copper price are expected, nothing too drastic looks to be on the cards. 

By Ben Aris of bne

Its back to the drawing board for Russia’s utilities reform.

The Russian government admitted at the end of last week reforms designed to set the regulated tariff rates have been driving badly needed investors away from the sector. 

Mali, Africa’s third biggest gold producer behind South Africa and Ghana, has rapidly ascended the list of Sahelian countries thought to be succumbing to al-Qaida linked militants. The north of the country remains under rebel Tuareg control after the bungled coup in March.

But according to the head of one gold miner, many countries are now issuing clumsy nationwide travel bans that are hurting the mining industry in the peaceful south. 

By Naz Masraff of Eurasia Group

As the dust settles on last month’s controversial sentences for military leaders convicted of plotting a coup, the reaction in Turkish media and society has been surprisingly muted. The judiciary’s harsh sentences mark an end of an era in the country, but the case also raises questions regarding the rule of law that could undermine Turkey’s appeal to investors. 

More iffy news out of South Africa. After the big deterioration in the manufacturing index numbers on Monday – down 4 points – there’s signs that the car industry is going down a gear.

September sales rose 1.4 per cent year-on-year to 55,097 – the slowest percentage growth since December 2009, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa. 

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos’s surprise admission on Monday evening that he has prostate cancer should not be a major scare for the country. The prognosis is good – he says that because it was discovered early, he has a 97 per cent chance of being totally cured. The treatment will take place this week and he will be able to “continue to exercise my functions as president”, albeit with some travel restrictions.

Aside from its own intrinsic importance, though, the news illuminates three other fascinating trends in the region. 

By Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

It doesn’t seem to make sense. Superior macroeconomic fundamentals in emerging countries have not led to stronger (or even positive) equity returns over the last two years.

Since the beginning of 2011, the unhedged return in US dollars of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has been down 10 per cent, while the MSCI World Index has delivered 6.5 per cent. What’s going on? 

As we enter the final quarter of a year that has proved almost disastrous for Serbia’s public finances there are signs that the new government is ready to get a grip on the fiscal situation. But the structural reforms that the IMF and investors seek are still some way off. 

* Saakashvili concedes poll defeat in Georgia

* Kingfisher in ‘partial lockout’ of staff

* Samsung files lawsuit over iPhone 5

* Bakries to sell assets to repay $437m loan 

Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday conceded defeat for his UNM party in the country’s parliamentary election, reports Neil Buckley from Tbilisi.

The result will usher in a new era for Georgian politics with Saakashvili remaining president and opposition leader, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, taking charge of the government. Investors are worried: the London-listed Bank of Georgia was down 6.2 per cent. 

Shares of Taiwanese airlines took off on Tuesday amidst rumours that the US is about to welcome Taiwanese travelers visa-free.

Hilary Clinton is speaking later on Tuesday at a tourism conference in the US, sparking the latest spate of rumours around the long-awaited decision. All in all, it’s been a good year for Taiwan tourism

Are China’s neighbours getting more nervous? On Tuesday, Australia – perhaps the most exposed developed nation to Chinese growth – surprised many economists by cutting interest rates by 25 basis points.

Meanwhile South Korea’s central bank said it was switching tack from price stability to growth. So are more cuts coming across the region? 

ATM Egypt©AFP

Egyptians form an orderly queue at a bank cash dispensing machine

If you are a well-off Egyptian and you need to pay a household bill, you hand over the cash to your driver, office messenger or house porter and send them to queue and pay it on your behalf.

Those not privileged enough to have people they can send on errands – that is, most Egyptians – have to do it themselves every month.

 

Tuesday’s picks from the BB team: women’s rights in Egypt; inequality in Chile; China’s transition politics and Turkish fashion. Plus: foreign investment in India; Chinese trade wars; lights out in Russia; and what Lat Am can learn from Libya.