Daily Archives: Oct 19, 2012

Forget Carnaval, Brazil’s championship final or Independence Day – tonight is one of the most important dates in the Brazilian calendar.

Later tonight, millions of viewers around the country will finally find out who killed Max.

It’s the last episode of the hit soap opera, Avenida Brasil, which has gripped about 38m Brazilians over the past few months – that’s about 20 per cent of the population. Continue reading »

By Paulo Sotero of the Wilson Center

Democracy is not for the faint-hearted… It requires hard work, constant attention, takes a lot of time to build and can easily be undermined by political polarization, regressive campaign finance rules and deficient laws on political representation. This month, two major events shed light on both the successes and failings of Brazil’s quarter century old, vibrant democracy. Continue reading »

These are tough times for Angela Merkel, the German chancellor: a nasty welcome in Athens last week, an increasingly contentious conflict with François Hollande, the French president, over banking union, and a fierce attack on her crisis management in the German parliament.

So it must have been nice to get a pat on the back this week, even it if was from an unlikely source: Ricardo Martinelli, president of Panama, who told Merkel on a visit to Berlin he would like to introduce the euro as Panamanian legal tender alongside the US dollar, because he has “full confidence in the euro, full confidence in Europe.” Continue reading »

BP’s board met on Friday to consider Rosneft’s offer for the company’s stake in TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest oil producer, with any deal signalling a major strategic turning point for the UK oil group.

Rosneft has offered BP $26bn-$28bn for its 50 per cent holding in a cash-and-shares deal that would leave the UK oil group with a stake of between 10 and 20 per cent in the Russian national energy champion.

 Continue reading »

A diversified economy with good potential for income growth and increased competitiveness, low government debt ratios and an improving fiscal situation. Not a bad report for one of the EU’s poorest countries, wracked in recent years by first economic and political crises.

These are the conclusions of the annual credit report on Romania published by Moody’s. says the country’s Baa3 government bond rating is supported by the fundamentals – which is reassuring even though Moody’s is keeping Romania on “negative” ratings watch. Continue reading »

‘Gangnam Style’ is not the only South Korean cultural export to achieve international glory this year. Last month Kim Ki-duk, a Seoul-based director known for his gritty, artistic films, picked up the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, confirming the growing foreign interest in South Korean cinema. Continue reading »

South Africa has terminated a bilateral investment treaty with Belgium and Luxembourg in the first of a series of planned shreddings of post apartheid-era agreements which are coming up for renewal.

The move is to ease the path of the Black Economic Empowerment programme, but western investors and trade officials are worried at the government’s decision. Continue reading »

India’s established metropolises are saturated with investment activity. Now, tier-two and tier-three cities are emerging as investment destinations and a new report from Cushman and Wakefield explains how much money is going into what – and where. Continue reading »

Media watchers may be worried but investors this week were thrilled when Jimmy Lai, a rags to riches Hong Kong press baron known for his anti-Beijing views, sold his unprofitable Taiwanese media operations.

Shares in Next Media, his Hong Kong-listed company, are up around 40 per cent this week after Lai left Taiwan in frustration at regulators who, his company said, were stonewalling his efforts to break into the local cable market. Continue reading »

In the runup to Ukraine’s October 28 parliamentary election, polls show that the majority of Ukrainians want change, a break from the autocratic rule of President Viktor Yanukovich. They aren’t alone.

Ukraine is heading into its second recession in four years. Businesses and investors on the ground see the investment climate getting much worse for everyone – except Yanukovich’s billionaire oligarch backers. Continue reading »

Big city Chinese tend to look down on people from anywhere other than Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. But last year nearly 9m Chinese from cities other than those three visited Hong Kong and spent the night, according to the latest Mainland Chinese Visitor Study from Nielsen – up 43 per cent last year over the previous year.

Like their big city brethren, they come to shop – but they don’t necessarily like to buy the same things. Continue reading »

Pakistan appears to have warmed up to the idea of allowing fuel imports from India, following this week’s visit to Delhi by Asim Hussain, the country’s petroleum minister.

The move adds to the growing push in both nuclear armed south Asian countries for closer economic ties. In October 2011, Pakistan announced its intention to grant the most favoured nation status to India, reversing years of resistance from Islamabad on this count, while in April this year, India decided to allow foreign direct investments from PakistanContinue reading »

Economies in north Africa have suffered a sharp drop in direct foreign investment since last year’s Arab uprisings, and they have been hit hard by the eurozone crisis. What can they do to rekindle investors’ interest?

* Mobile groups face India spectrum fee

* Asian techs hit by disappointing US earnings

* ING said near sale of Asian units to Li for $2.2bn

* Walmart probed in India over investment Continue reading »

Rosneft‘s proposed $50bn-plus takeover of TNK-BP, buying out BP and its Russian oligarch partners, will turn the state-run group into one of the world’s largest oil producers controlling nearly half Russia’s output.

For those who believe that bigger is better, including Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin and his political master president Vladimir Putin, this is a triumph. For BP and its partners, the end of a troubled, if profitable, relationship will come as a relief.

But for Russia as a whole – and for the global oil industry – Rosneft’s coup is, at best, a mixed blessing. Continue reading »