Daily Archives: Oct 4, 2012

The incoming Mexican administration of Enrique Peña Nieto has been providing more details of its plans for reform, both before and after it takes office on December 1.

The labour reform is already winding a slightly laggardly way through the Senate having passed through the Lower House a few days ago. It was initiated by the outgoing president, Felipe Calderón, but with what appears to have been a generous nod and a wink from Peña Nieto. Read more

After comings and goings, Bolivia’s leftist government with an indigenous twist finally ruled out paying compensation to Canada’s South American Silver, two months after their mining licence was revoked.

“The nation has no financial obligation to South American Silver,” mining minister Mario Virreira told reporters, adding there was “never any document establishing that the Bolivian government had a contractual relationship” with the Vancouver-based company. Read more

India’s cabinet on Thursday approved bills to liberalise foreign investment in insurance and pensions in the latest move by prime minister Manmohan Singh to revitalise the economy.

But the reforms, which have been on the agenda for over a decade, will face a difficult time in parliament, given the widespread opposition to financial deregulation in India. Read more

It’s been a good week for African fixed income, which is receiving a profile boost courtesy of a handful of indices.

First, sub-Saharan Africa’s two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, joined leading global government bond indices. Now Kenya’s securities exchange has followed by launching the country’s first government bond index, which it hopes will deepen capital markets. Read more

India’s cabinet on Thursday approved bills to liberalise foreign investment in insurance and pensions in the latest move by prime minister Manmohan Singh to revitalise the economy.

But the reforms, which have been on the agenda for over a decade, will face a difficult time in parliament, given the widespread opposition to financial deregulation in India. Read more

Will Egypt implement much-needed energy reforms to free up government spending? It’s on the agenda given the discussions with the IMF – but Egypt has been here before.

Osama Kamal, Egypt’s oil minister, told Reuters recently that much-awaited energy subsidy cuts were still under review and would only be implemented after the government has conducted a “social dialogue” on the proposed reductions. He gave no time frame for reducing the costly subsidies which swallow up more than twenty per cent of government spending. Read more

PhosAgro, the London-listed Russian phosphate fertiliser maker, completed the purchase of the government’s 26.7 per cent share of Apatit this week, after seeing off rivals at the controversial privatisation of the huge phosphate rock producer.

The $360m deal takes PhosAgro’s stake to 76 per cent, putting it in firm control of one of Russia’s industrial jewels, a company that has had its own exhibition at Moscow’s Polytechnical museum since Soviet times. Read more

Towards the end of 2006, it was widely expected that the Bulgarian Stock Exchange would be taken over by a larger bourse within a year. The BSE’s sale, it was said, would help increase the visibility and accessibility of a small but exciting emerging market preparing to join the EU at the beginning of the following year.

Yet even as a number of suitors lined up, the sale or merger was put on hold. One senior BSE official explained that, as the exchange was doing so well, there seemed to be little immediate need for a foreign owner, and that the Bulgarians could wait a while to weigh up their options. Read more

Promoting its recent World Tobacco Asia conference in Jakarta, UK-based organiser Quartz Business Media was unashamed, noting on its website that “Indonesia is a recognized tobacco-friendly market with no smoking bans or other restrictions and regulations in contrast to neighbouring Asean countries.”

With 61m smokers – that’s 67 per cent of all men and 5 per cent of women – and an average 20-pack costing just Rp12,700 ($1.32), Indonesia is the world’s fourth biggest cigarette market, in addition to being one of the least regulated. Read more

It’s now commonplace to argue that emerging market debt is becoming a mainstream investment for many fund managers.

But Bhanu Baweja of UBS says the consensus “massively understates what’s happening”: not only are flows into EM debt growing, as has been widely reported, but they are also changing in nature. What were once investments bought only by the bulls have become an asset for bears, too. In other words, a haven of safety. Read more

Huge betting on politically-themed small-cap stocks is turning into a disaster for many South Korean retail investors as the bubble starts to pop with the December election nearing.

The country’s financial regulator has warned investors to stay away from such high-risk stocks, pointing up their high volatility and the fact that their rally over the past year has been driven by speculation, not fundamentals. Read more

* China slowdown hits Asian growth hopes

* Russia faces end of petrodollar surplus

* Coffee and sugar combine in Brazilian rally

* Argentine navy ship seized in asset fight Read more

It looks like India’s decision in mid-September to cut subsidies for diesel is starting to curb consumption of the fuel in the price-sensitive nation.

Growth in diesel consumption fell to 5 per cent in September, according to analysis by the Business Standard. That’s down from 10.4 per cent in August, 13 per cent in July and 13.7 per cent in June, according to data provided by the government’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis CellRead more

By Ben Aris of bne

It’s done. After several delays Russia’s National Settlement Depository announced on Thursday that the country’s capital markets have been hooked into the pan-Europe settlement and clearing system Euroclear.

A technical step, yes. But one which makes it a little easier to get in and out of Russian markets. Read more

Pakistan’s equity investors are eagerly awaiting news from the country’s central bank when it reveals its policy on future interest rates on Friday.

On Thursday, the Karachi Stock Exchange’s main index, the KSE-100, reached an all-time high of 15,815 points, comfortably overtaking the previous peak reached in April 2008. In part, the enthusiasm was driven by falling interest rates. But would further cuts finally get the economy moving? Read more

Thursday’s picks from the BB team: Indian aviation lacks legroom; the demographics behind China’s riots; and interest rate-fuelled optimism in Brazil. Plus: clothing in India; Somalia’s Sarajevo; the African character; and sex and cats in Russia.
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By Riccardo Puliti of the EBRD

Every autumn, as the cold weather approaches, Europe remembers the gas wars of 2009 when Russian gas – on which some countries are almost entirely dependent – stopped flowing via Ukraine.

But these days gas is good news. Read more

There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since Argentina’s debt default of 2001 but some creditors haven’t given up the fight to get their money back.

ARA Libertad

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Indian markets hit their highest points in over a year on Thursday on reports that the government was set to enact reforms that would open up the pensions sector to foreign direct investment and raise a cap on foreign ownership in the insurance sector. Read more

Alec Russell, news editor, talks to Helen Zille, leader of South African opposition Democratic Alliance, about the recent social unrest connected with the mining industry and the outlook for the economy as a whole.