Daily Archives: Oct 22, 2012

It took a while – over ninety years since the last one and almost nine months since it was first announced. But Bolivia finally took the plunge into the global credit market on Monday, with the launch of a $500m bond issue. Read more

Once and future finance ministers?

Could Guido Mantega, Brazil’s finance minister and the man who coined the term “currency war”, be about to be cast aside?

Yes, if you believe Blog do Vincente at Correio Brasiliense, a Brasília newspaper. President Dilma Rousseff, or so the story goes, is considering replacing the inimitable Mantega (on the left in our picture) with Alexandre Tombini, the central bank governor and hero of Brazil’s recent crusade to lower interest rates. Read more

Set aside the details for the moment and look at the big picture. BP is swapping its 50 per cent in the troubled BP-TNK joint venture for 18.5 per cent of Rosneft plus a mountain of money – $12.3bn.

With its existing 1.25 per cent Rosneft stake, that makes 19.75 per cent. Will that be enough to secure real influence over the state-controlled behemoth? Read more

Morocco’s king arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Monday for the latest leg of a Gulf tour, showing how Arab world revolts have drawn together the region’s monarchs and left poorer countries seeking help from the petrostates.

King Mohammed VI’s five-country trip offers him the prospect of needed investment to help shore up his power, analysts say, while for the Gulf royal families he is a useful example of a leader adapting to regional political change by introducing limited reforms.

 Read more

The economic crisis appears to have finally galvanised Poland to begin trying to untangling some of the red tape that stifles business – as shown by the country’s jump in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking this year. Read more

Turkey is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, says a hard-hitting new report on press freedom.

The report, compiled by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and released on Monday, goes into some detail about each of the cases of 76 journalists – 61 who it says are imprisoned for their work, and 15 others held for reasons the investigators could not determine. Read more

S&P Dow Jones launched its SMIT 40 Index on Monday, covering shares in 40 companies from South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, reflecting growing interest in emerging markets beyond the Brics.

From each of the four countries, the top ten companies by float-adjusted market capitalization will be included, given they meet the eligibility criteria of a three-month average daily value traded above $5m and market capitalisation above $1bn. Read more

On Friday, it became clear that Telenor, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular had, as expected, filed paperwork to join the impending re-auction of 2G telecom spectrum in India. Russia’s Sistema dropped out. But it was the absence of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries (RIL)that had most people talking.

That, and the surprise inclusion of Videocon, a diversified conglomerate with interests including applicances and the world’s biggest natural gas field, in Mozambique. Rumours began to circulate that Ambani, while declining to enter outright, would tie up with Videocon – in a manner similar to the way RIL acquired fourth generation spectrum by buying Infotel Broadband Services in 2010Read more

The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands barely show up on most maps of the world. But the impact of the big row between Japan and China over this tiny chain of islets in the East China Sea could be detected in September’s trade data from Tokyo, published on Monday.

Preliminary numbers from Japan’s finance ministry showed that the headline value of the country’s exports to its biggest trading partner slipped 1.3 per cent from August, on a seasonally-unadjusted basis. Read more

White smoke above BP headquarters. The company on Monday announced that it had a $27bn deal to sell its its stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft.

Rosneft confirmed that, as well as buying out BP, it would acquire the other half of TNK-BP from AAR, a consortium of Russian oligarchs, for $28bn. Read more

The Korean won’s recent strength is causing deepening unease among government officials concerned about its impact on export competitiveness and the appeal of Korean equities to foreign investors. Read more

* BP to sell TNK-BP stake to Rosneft

* Canada blocks Petronas bid for Progress

* Qtel eyes Vivendi’s Maroc Telecom stake Read more

Indonesia continues to defy the global gloom and fears about a deteriorating domestic business environment, reporting record foreign direct investment for the second consecutive quarter.

Although China, India and some other emerging markets are feeling the effects of the slowdown in the west, south-east Asia’s biggest economy seems to be motoring ahead thanks to strong domestic demand and the country’s fast-growing middle class. Read more

Alisher Usmanov, Russian oligarch and key Megafon shareholderBy Jonathan Guthrie

Russian companies remain keen on floating in London at a time when the market is shunned by other potential issuers. The downside is a tendency to cancel transactions, or to postpone them as Megafon did on MondayRead more

In Europe and the US, they are often called “squeezed” or “worried”. In developing markets, they are “booming”, “growing” and, of course, “emerging”.

The middle classes are changing consumption habits around the world. Chart of the week takes a look at some key emerging markets and the level of middle class spending. Read more

Monday’s picks from the BB team: security threats from northern Mali; the killing of “our protector” in Beirut; and the Indian media’s Dickensian age. Plus: the jolliest functionary in the People’s Republic; Mexico’s most wanted drug lords; and why India must strengthen ties with Bangladesh. Read more

Turkey’s banking sector has escaped being put on an international blacklist, but it might yet be turfed out of a club that battles terrorist financing and money laundering.

For the moment, investors buying Turkish bank bonds in record volumes don’t seem to mind. But, given the uncertainty in world financial markets – and Turkey’s location near the crisis-torn Middle East – they might be wise to pay more attention to the dispute between Ankara and the 36-member Financial Action Task Force over Turkey’s failure to enact key anti-terrorist financing laws. Read more

The Tata Group is old school, especially by Indian standards. In a country where the company bosses often live flashy lifestyles and make extravagant purchases, chairman Ratan Tata (pictured) is a paragon of modesty.

So it was perhaps unsurprising that the group made little noise about its most recent milestone – in the fiscal year that ended in March, Tata became the first Indian company to cross the $100bn in revenues mark. So little, in fact, that it was weeks before the Indian media noticed. Read more

Finally, after nearly a week of very well-informed reports, BP on Monday gave word on the oil deal of the year.

Those who expected confirmation that the deal is already done will be a tad disappointed. Monday morning’s statement said:

BP confirms it is in advanced discussions with Rosneft regarding the sale of its 50% interest in TNK-BP. No agreement has yet been reached. A further announcement will be made if and when an agreement is reached.

However, as the FT reports, the two sides are still expected to announce a deal later very soon – perhaps even before the end of business on Monday. Read more

* BP to sell TNK-BP stake to Rosneft

* Canada blocks Petronas bid for Progress

* Qtel eyes Vivendi’s Maroc Telecom stake Read more