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Daily Archives: Nov 2, 2012
Such is the shock at the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the US that it has gone largely unnoticed that long-suffering Haiti was hit very badly too.
Not only is Haiti’s death toll of 54 much higher given that only 10m people live in the impoverished Caribbean nation, but Sandy destroyed thousands of hectares of crops, making the import-dependent country even more reliant on expensive foreign food.
Hungarians took a holiday on Friday, a bridge day between an official break, November 1, All Saints’ Day, and the weekend – making this past week the second consecutive, three-day working affair. It may not yet be France – civil servants at least make up for the bridge day by working a Saturday – but it doesn’t do much for GDP growth.
But Viktor Orban, the prime minister, was doing his bit for local industry by signing a “strategic cooperation agreement” between the government and Gedeon Richter, the country’s largest drugs producer.
Gazprom tends to come in for harsh criticism from equity analysts for extravagant and inefficient capital expenditure. So when the Russian gas monopoly pledged to invest $40bn in a project to produce and export east Siberian gas to the Asia-Pacific region this week, there was the usual chorus of complaint.
How much higher can Turkish stocks go? The Istanbul market slipped 1.6 per cent in profit-taking on Friday. But that still leaves it within a whisker of the all-time high hit on Thursday, when the ISE 100 index closed at 72,552.
Turkish stocks have gained 46 per cent this year, making Turkey the third-best equity market in the world, behind only Venezuela and Egypt. The bulls put a lot of weight on hopes that Fitch might next week become the first international credit agency to raise Turkey to investment grade. But the bears aren’t convinced that this will happen – or that, even if Fitch delivers, that there’s much scope for further advances in equities.
When it comes to trade, sub-Sarahan Africa is highly exposed to the eurozone, isn’t it? You would think so, given the warnings from the IMF to that effect.
Things are going from bad to worse for Interbolsa, Colombia’s largest stock broker which on Thursday saw its shares plummet 30 per cent after it warned that it was suffering “a temporary liquidity constraint.”
Portfolio investors’ 2012 advance into emerging markets goes on. Data from EPFR, the funds research company, provided to banks indicate that in the seven days to Wednesday, EM bond funds recorded an overall inflow for the 21st week in succession. EM equities posted an inflow for the eighth week in a row.
With the developed world’s central banks pouring easy money into the market, the global financial tide shows little sign of turning.
Shares in Bumi soared over 12 per cent on Friday on a Reuters report that financier Nat Rothschild was establishing a consortium to launch a counter bid for the troubled mining company.
Such a move would pit Rothschild against the billionaire Indonesian Bakrie family, which set up Bumi in a partnership with Rothschild that has since collapsed in acrimony.
It would also add political spice to the financial arguments, as the people Rothschild has reportedly approached with his plan include Prabowo Subianto, an Indonesian presidential election candidate, whose rivals in the 2014 will include Aburizal Bakrie, the Bakrie family head.
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of baths vs showers, it might also be worth looking at what’s in your shampoo or bath soap. What about the palm oil?
In a few days many heads of state and government will take part in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Vientiane, Laos. This forum is unique. Established in 1996, it brings together countries from Europe, South Asia and the Pacific region to debate our increasing global interdependence, including the need for deeper regional integration.
When Russia joined ASEM in 2010 it was of great importance, not only for us and the organisation itself, but for the entire system of international relations. It allowed us to literally “connect” two influential political and economic centres in the world. And it is increasingly clear that sustainable global development requires a system of interconnected yet independent regional integration mechanisms.