Daily Archives: Oct 16, 2012

Uruguay is a little country with more cows than people (by a ratio of more than three-to-one).

Yet it is a dairy export powerhouse, now increasingly looking to compete in New Zealand’s backyard – Asia. Read more

After years of being labelled high risk, emerging market bonds are shedding their reputation for poor creditworthiness. Some strategists are even according them “haven” status. Is this deserved?

Historically, the debts of the developing world have been prone to default. Most of the 600-plus sovereign debt restructurings since 1950 were in emerging markets , according to a recent International Monetary Fund paper.

 Read more

Take one look at Mexico’s corporate landscape, and one of the first conclusions is that each of the business sectors is dominated by one or, more commonly, two groups.

The resulting lack of competition is a constant theme in discussions on why the economy has not performed better during the last decade or more. But Tuesday brought a small but important sign that things may slowly be changing: Elementia, an industrial conglomerate partly owned by Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire, announced that it would enter the country’s cement marketRead more

Is Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, a left-wing ideologue, bent on boosting the role of the state, erecting barriers to free trade and treating financial market investors with disdain? Or is she a centre-right liberal, determined to lower interest rates, privatise roads and airports and keep a bloated public sector in check?

Neither, says Ilan Goldfajn, chief economist at Itaú BBA, a Brazilian investment bank. She is a pragmatist, concerned above all with investment, growth and jobs, who has listened to business groups and is acting on their concerns. But will it work? Read more

Turkish banks are a point of pride for the country’s government, which points to their high levels of capital adequacy (about 16 per cent) as one of the bulwarks of the economy in contrast with more brittle institutions in Europe and elsewhere.

They may also be a valuable source of revenue at a time when Turkey’s still slender fiscal deficit is growing more than the country’s government had reckoned on. Read more

Who will blink first in the South African mining standoff? On Tuesday, Gold Fields, the gold miner, delivered a “final ultimatum” to the workers still on strike at two of its mines, who face dismissal if they aren’t back at work by Thursday.

But one of the main unions said dismissals were “not the way to go” and urged mine bosses to withdraw the threat. Read more

Small companies in Nigeria rejoice! A formal exchange for over-the-counter (OTC) trading is set to open in the country next month, a move that should create greater liquidity for small companies and more transparency for investors looking to invest in unlisted securities. The National Association of Security Dealers (NASD), initially set up as an association of stockbrokers, is behind the new platform.

OTC trades are those conducted through dealer networks rather than central exchanges, a route usually used by smaller companies and those that don’t meet listing requirements. Read more

Russia is finally getting tough on tobacco with a new law that will ban smoking in public places by January 1, 2015 and increase taxes on cigarettes by as much as eight times over the same period.

In a video blog released on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the government would go ahead with the measures despite complaints from foreign tobacco producers, who managed to carve out a niche in Russia at a time when European and US sales were plummeting. Read more

The FT’s bureau chief Jamil Anderlini has just concluded a lively online debate on Google+ about China’s forthcoming leadership change and the implications of the Bo Xilai scandal, the subject of his new ebook.

Beyondbrics presents highlights from the debate. Read more

Investors in Georgia are watching and waiting. After being taken by surprise by the opposition’s election victory earlier this month, they are giving prime minister-elect Bidzina Ivanishvili a bit of time to show what he means to do for the economy.

That, at least, is the implication of the recent movements in the shares of the Bank of Georgia, the country’s only international blue-chip. The stock rose 20 per cent in advance of the polls on hopes of president Mikheil Saakashvili’s supporters retaining power. It then plunged 10.6 per cent in the nine days after the vote, before settling down and moving sideways. Read more

A tug of war between the United Arab Emirates’ two telecommunications companies and their regulator over sim card security is baffling customers and doing little to enhance the image of a growing and internationally ambitious industry.

Fears are growing that the state-controlled operators might start cutting off customers who don’t re-register their sim cards, hobbling communications and business in a country that is a leading oil producer and an important hub for world trade. Read more

Nuclear power has long held the possibility of energy independence for central Europe, freeing it from its heavy reliance on imports of Russian natural gas. But a series of political and corporate decision across the region in the last few days leaves the future of atomic power murkier than ever. Read more

* Asian stocks rise as exporters gain on US retail sales

* China slowdown could be nearing end

* Rothschild resigns from Bumi Plc board

* Promsvyazbank pulls London-Moscow IPO Read more

By Camilla Hall and Simeon Kerr

The United Arab Emirates has clamped down on meetings between foreign diplomats and local financial institutions, highlighting rising sensitivities in a country that is both a major global investor and central to western economic pressure on Iran.

A directive sent to embassies by the ministry of foreign affairs warned that direct talks between envoys and local banks, exchanges and investment companies were “contrary to international norms” and that the ministry itself was the only approved point of contact. The central bank issued a similar warning to lenders in a separate circular. Read more

Investors haven’t loved Malaysia this year, but they’ve liked it enough. The ringgit is one of the better performing currencies in the region, while bankers have been able to get away a number of big ticket IPOs – albeit with some help from the country’s pension funds.

But, with an election a maximum of six months away, is the market showing complacency? Read more

Tuesday’s picks from the BB team: relations between South Korea and Japan sour; Narendra Modi and the 2002 riots; and the FT’s forex report. Plus: Russia’s schemes for job creation; Mo Yan failed to speak out; and where is the state in Egypt?  Read more

So MD Medical Group got away. But Promsvyazbank has not. The latest Russian London IPO has bit the dust after the shareholders decided they couldn’t get a decent price.

As the FT reported, the planned $400m offer was pulled late on Monday after a difficult month for Russian shares, which has seen the Micex index fall 5 per cent from its recent mid-September peak. Read more

When is $135,000 a “very small amount”? When you are an Indian politician, apparently.

That was the message from India’s steel minister, Beni Prasad Verma (left), who on Monday defended Salman Kurshid, law minister, from allegations that he and his wife had bilked a charity for the poor and disabled they had founded out of nearly $135,000.

Kurshid denies the allegations. Read more

Amid all the talk about Taiwan and China’s improving relationship, not much thought is given to a third party that could lose out on business — Hong Kong, historically the back door for Taiwan’s business dealings with the mainland.

As Schive Chi, head of the Taiwan stock exchange, points out, his own efforts to get companies to list in Taiwan – plus the recent news that Taiwan can begin clearing renminbi itself - will help the island reclaim a slice of Hong Kong’s pie. Read more

By Guo Yu of Maplecroft

As China prepares for its once-in-a-decade leadership transition at the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on November 8, the country faces a crucial set of domestic challenges.

The identities of most members of the new regime remain unknown and only vice president and president-in-waiting Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, the current first vice-premier, look set to stay in the politburo standing committee, the hub of political power. But despite the lack of transparency and the uncertainty surrounding the new leadership, radical domestic policy changes are unlikely. Read more