Daily Archives: Oct 18, 2012

Now that peace talks aimed at ending Colombia’s conflict are underway, beyondbrics travelled to the country’s boondocks, to an area where local peasants have been caught in crossfire for over fifty years.

One of the many striking features found in these backwater lands – known for being the cradle of the Farc guerrilla insurgency – is how well Colombian food and beverage companies have been able to distribute their products despite the lack of road infrastructure. Alongside products from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, one could find an abundance of processed food products from the country’s leading food manufacturer, Grupo Nutresa. Read more

Oh, how the (NY) times are a-changin’…It was not so long ago that The New York Times, like many other global news outlets, would only dedicate a few column inches to Brazil. This week, the newspaper announced that it will create an entire Portuguese-language website for the country. Read more

What’s the fastest way to upset Argentina these days? Just mention the C word.

In a guest post on beyondbrics this week, Juan Carlos Echeverry, Colombia’s former finance minister and Luis Fernando Mejía, head of macroeconomic policies at Colombia’s finance ministry, recounted how technical staff “crunched some numbers” and came to the conclusion that Argentina’s status as the region’s third-biggest economy was under threat. Read more

One of the signs of approaching economic troubles is when blue chips start getting battered, which is what makes the travails of Orange Polska, Poland’s leading telephone operator and a unit of France Telecom, particularly worrying.

Growth in Poland’s economy is expected to slow to 2.2 per cent this year and some bears such as Neil Shearing of Capital Economics have pencilled in growth of only 1.5 per cent for next year. Read more

Victoria Falls

Having survived a decade of national economic meltdown, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is working at getting back on the world map. On Thursday its premier travel and tourism event Sanganai/Hlanganani kicks off in Harare, with officials reporting an increase in the number of foreign exhibitors from 24 in 2011 to 85 this year.

The big boost is from Chinese exhibitors, reflecting the marketing push to attract vistors from Asia. But will adding Robert Mugabe’s old residence to the tourist trail help? Read more

Deputy emerging markets editor Jonathan Wheatley talks to David Rees of Capital Economics about his prediction of a 15-20 per cent fall in commodity prices in 2013. He says oil-producing countries will be hit much harder than other emerging markets such as Brazil and Chile.

Three legal challenges against Shell for pollution charges in the Niger Delta could set precedents for how multinational companies are sued for environmental damages in developing countries. All three inquiries – in the UK, the Netherlands and the US – are being judged in countries other than the one in which damages are said to have occurred.

Shell’s trial in the Netherlands, for which evidence was submitted last week, is thought to be the first time a Dutch company has been brought before a home court to answer charges of environmental damage caused abroad. Read more

A 50 basis point cut in Turkey’s lending rate announced on Thursday was widely expected and was received as neutral in its effect by many analysts.

But the move also continues a shift towards more orthodox monetary policy and could even contribute to an improvement in Turkey’s credit ratings. Read more

Looks like Walmart’s emerging markets troubles are not limited to Mexico.

The FT reported on Thursday that the Indian government was investigating accusations that Walmart had secretly invested in local supermarkets, flouting a ban on foreign direct investment in the sector. Read more

It’s hard to know which was worse: Nokia’s third quarter overall, or its results in China. Let’s say… China.

Why? Well, the Finnish mobile company has made a big effort in the country, but it’s Q3 results show that it’s far from paying off. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

By Jamil Anderlini and Gu Yu

Everyone in China knows that Communist Party officials are some of the biggest buyers of western luxury products.

But in southern China’s Guangdong province, a couple of ambitious cadres decided to go one step further and produce those products themselves. Read more

Ah, to be a Gandhi in Delhi. Even if you don’t go into the family business of running the country, you can plough your own furrow and do quite nicely for yourself.

Just ask Robert Vadra, pictured left with his wife Priyanka Gandhi, whose mother is Sonia Gandhi, head of the Congress Party. His personal wealth has multiplied rapidly in a few short years. But now his good fortune is at risk of getting caught up in property scandal. Read more

* Rosneft offers $28bn for TNK-BP stake

* Silver lining seen as China growth slows

* Putin defiant over weapons sales

* ‘Gangnam Style’ Father-Son Link Spurs DI Surge Read more

In most lines of work, being fired means just that. In South African mining, it can be just part of the negotiations.

Thursday is shaping up to be a big day in the mining stand-off that has rocked the industry following the deaths of platinum miners in Lonmin’s Marikana complex back in August. Read more

BP received a formal offer from Rosneft for its 50 per cent share in TNK-BP, in a cash and shares deal worth around $28bn, the FT reported on ThursdayRead more

South Korean banks have won a vote of confidence from Moody’s Investors Service, which said they had become more resilient to foreign currency liquidity risks and high levels of household debt default.

It is welcome news for the Korean government as well, as concerns over the vulnerability of Korean banks sharply drove down the won’s value during the 2008-09 financial crisis, stoking a sense of vulnerability in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the BB team: repression is a daily presence in Bahrain; the ripples of China’s slowdown; and political sparring in Ukraine. Plus: Russia no longer co-operates on nuclear clean-up; a spring for Kuwait and Jordan; and Cuba’s travel restrictions lifted. Read more

In many Asian countries people have been getting around for years on second- or third-hand Japanese and South Korean buses.

But take a road trip in some of those countries today, and there’s an increasingly good chance you’ll be sitting in a brand new Chinese vehicle made by Zhengzhou Yutong. Read more

Huawei has not yet digested the last US public relations crisis as the next challenge is hitting.

Just ten days after a US Congress report called the Chinese telecom gear maker – and its smaller Chinese peer ZTE – security risks and proposed barring them even more strictly from the US market, Reuters reports another probe. Read more

So is the worst over for the Chinese economy? Figures on Thursday morning showed GDP grew 7.4 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier – the seventh consecutive quarter of slowing annual growth.

But premier Wen Jiabao cheered the markets when he said, shortly before the figures were published, that the Chinese economy had started to stabilise and predicted it would meet Beijing’s full-year growth target of 7.5 per cent. That helped push the Shanghai stocks up by nearly 1.5 per cent and the MSCI Asia Ex-Japan index by 0.7 per cent. Read more