Daily Archives: Oct 8, 2012

It may be 190 years since the end of Portuguese colonialism in Brazil, but there’s nothing Brazilians love more than to have a go at their former masters.

Jokes about the “dumb” Portuguese guy are commonplace and the European country’s recent economic downfall has only added to Brazil’s new sense of superiority.

Brazilian companies are also starting to get the upper hand. Construction group Camargo Corrêa completed its takeover of Portugal’s Cimpor in June and Bloomberg suggests the next coup by the former empire could come in the airline sector: Read more

There was a nice gesture of emerging markets comradeship on Saturday when Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, told listeners to his weekly radio show that his country would advise Tunisia on a possible renegotiation of its debts. Correa, an economist, will be sending a mission to explain what his country did in 2009 when it renegotiated debts for about $3bn. (He made it clear his Tunisian counterpart, president Moncef Marzouki, had asked for, rather than been offered, the advice.)

Tunisia’s economy has been struggling since the sparking of the Arab Spring uprisings about two years ago that ousted then-autocrat president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who Tunisian officials accuse of committing “economic crimes”. Recent protest against a film denigrating the Prophet Mohammed have added to fears about its economic futureRead more

It’s a public holiday in Buenos Aires on Monday. Again.

Argentina is outstanding worldwide not only for having one of the highest rates of inflation (the true rate is anyone’s guess but private estimates are for above 25 per cent this year and next) but also one of the largest numbers of national public holidays: a whopping 19 this year. Read more

More congratulations for Vladimir Putin who after celebrating his 60th birthday at the weekend travelled to north west Russia to launch the second string of the North Stream gas pipeline. Alexei Miller, Gazprom chief executive, said the Russian president should take the credit for the project that will bolster Russian gas exports to Europe and reduce dependence on transit pipelines across Ukraine. Read more

What a difference a political hat makes. Around 20 years ago, Vince Cable as a company economist angered Nigeria’s military rulers by pointing out corruption – but got away with it.

Returning to Nigeria as British business secretary to foster links, he chose somewhat safer topics, discussing areas for improvement for both countries. Read more

Ukraine’s Kredobank is a tiny bank in a fragmented market but its owner, Poland’s PKO BP, hopes to use the experience it gains from trying to turn it around to build its capacity to become a significant regional bank.

PKO BP is central Europe’s biggest bank by market capitalization, worth about €9.1bn, but has no large foreign operations – its only non-Polish investment is Kredobank, with a tiny 0.4 per cent share of the Ukrainian market. Despite being so small, Kredobank has been a source of worry and costs for state-controlled PKO BP ever since it bought it in 2004 from KBC for $54m. Read more

After weeks of political turmoil since the killing of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Libya’s economic prospects received a boost of confidence with news that a Dubai investment bank was buying a local financial services company.

Arqaam Capital, which describes itself as a Dubai investment bank specialising in emerging markets, announced Sunday it had reached an agreement to purchase the entire operations of Libya’s Al Rashad Finance and Management Advisory.

 Read more

So much for the photo finish. Hugo Chávez won Sunday’s presidential election with a 10-point lead, emerging strengthened from what was his (or his movement’s) 16th nationwide election.

Given the ample margin of victory, many Venezuelans are already worrying to what extent Chávez will radicalise his Bolivarian revolution, as he has promised – with all the negative implications for the economy that will bring. Read more

Shares in Reliance Industries closed down 4.5 per cent on Monday on news that the company has dramatically scaled back investment plans for KG-D6, the underperforming natural gas field it co-owns with BP, following the announcement that Morgan Stanley had downgraded the stock to underweight.

The Press Trust of India reports that RIL will cut its investment in KG-D6 by around $3bn. Instead of the $9bn the company had proposed to spend on the block, it now plans to add just $235m to the $5.7bn it has already spent. Read more

Emkay Global, a Mumbai-based brokerage, has spent the weekend apologising after an errant trade set in motion a flash crash that on Friday sent the National Stock Exchange’s Nifty index down 15.6 per cent, briefly wiping $58bn from the market value of some of India’s biggest companies. The NSE, for its part, spent the weekend ensuring everyone understood this was an error by the broker, not the bourse. It says its circuit breaker was tripped when the market fell 10 per cent in a matter of seconds and averted an even bigger disaster.

But analysts and traders are privately wondering whether there were enough safeguards built into the system in the first place. Read more

Who’d want to be in the platinum mining business at the moment? On Monday, Stuart Murray, chief executive of Aquarius Platinum, resigned. While the company statement gave no specific reason and Aquarius denied any connection, it’s hard not to see the violent unrest that has rocked the industry as part of the picture.

Shares in the world’s fourth-biggest platinum miner fell 6 per cent in London, having already been battered for most of 2012. Read more

By Nicholas Watson of bne

Emerging Europe’s luring of film and television productions away from traditional US and west European locations has been one of the region’s success stories over the last two decades.

With one of eastern Europe’s newest film studios, Serbia is now competing head to head with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. But industry players say it needs help from the government in the form of incentives if it wants to attract more big foreign features. Read more

* World Bank cuts China growth forecast

* Taiwan exports recover, sort of

* Chávez wins new term in Venezuela Read more

Korean companies could be forgiven some secret delight at rising sales in China as they benefit from anti-Japan sentiment in the world’s second-largest economy.

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors posted a record combined sales of 127,827 vehicles in China last month, up 9.5 per cent from a year earlier. Hyundai denied that it was benefiting from a wave of anti-Japan protests in the world’s largest auto market, attributing the sales increase instead to the growing popularity of its compact cars such as the Avante and Pride. Read more

The HTC skydivers ad really was a bad idea. The Taiwanese phonemaker is falling to earth pretty quickly, posting third-quarter revenues that are slightly more than half what they were in the same period in 2011. Third-quarter profits fell nearly 80 per cent – from T$18.7bn in 2011 to T$3.9bn ($133m) this year.

The company’s shares are also falling – down 58 per cent in the last year (and dropping slightly, around 1 per cent in line with the market on Monday before the results were announced). The problem is not that HTC has no good phones – it’s just that Apple and Samsung models are far more popular. Read more

Some more good news for the global economy. After Friday’s fall in US unemployment, another key indicator – albeit a far smaller one – swung in positive territory: Taiwanese exports jumped back into double digit growth in September.

The 10.4 per cent increase in year on year overseas shipments was led by electronics, and follows a 4.2 per cent drop in the previous month. Analysts had been expecting an increase, but only around the 3 per cent range. Read more

In 2009, with the global economy in recession, Albania was one of the few countries in Europe to register GDP growth. While some Eastern European countries saw double-digit negative growth, Albania clocked up an impressive plus- 3.3 per cent.

The country’s economic performance since then has been steady, if unspectacular, as an IMF staff team reported at the end of its visit to Albania. The going is getting tougher, however, with external and fiscal pressures building. Read more

Monday’s picks from the BB team: Evangelists on the up in Brazil; sanctions start to bite in Iran; and the rise of Petrobras’ chief executive. Plus: the mayor of Mogadishu transforms the city; Turkey-Syria conflict; and India’s neutrino project. Read more

International fixed income traders are braced for a fall in Venezuelan bonds following president Hugo Chávez’s comfortable victory in Sunday’s election.

Even though the margin was far smaller than in his previous three wins, it was more than enough to see off the challenge from young opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who secured 45 per cent against 54 per cent for the veteran socialist leader.

While investors were divided before the poll about the likely result, there was enough money betting on a Chávez defeat to suggest that Venezuelan assets will now fall, though the full picture may not emerge until Tuesday, since Monday is a public holiday in the US, the largest foreign market for Venezuelan paper. Read more

Does Chinese industry need more inflation?

The question might seem absurd for a fast-growing developing economy but with consumer prices increasing at just two per cent, Gavekal Dragonomics, the China economic research consultancy, is arguing that inflation is “more a friend than a foe.” Read more