Daily Archives: Nov 19, 2012

gavelBrazil’s national flag proclaims two values – Order and Progress. Now there are signs of movement on both fronts.

Only one week after the Supreme Court handed out tough jail sentences for corruption to a group of senior politicians, breaking the spell of impunity that Brazil’s rulers have enjoyed for five centuries, comes another verdict along a similar bent. 

Argentina’s import restrictions are a headache for many companies. Now it appears that Lan, the Chilean airline that has recently merged with Brazil’s Tam is having trouble importing a new aeroplane from its South American neighbour. The upshot? Lan is talking about having to cut services on certain routes out of Buenos Aires city airport as a result. 

The Central Bank of Chile has announced year-on-year GDP growth of 5.7 per cent in the third quarter, beating consensus forecasts of 5.4 per cent. Domestic demand drove GDP growth despite external factors that are proving to be a drag on the economy. 

It seems like Latin American banks have learnt to look at their European counterparts with a tad of Schadenfreude.

That, at least, appears to be the case for Oscar Rivera, the outgoing president of the Latin American Banking Federation, or Felaban, who spoke to beyondbrics during their 46th annual assembly in Peru’s capital, Lima. “Latin American banks are solid and liquid,” he said. “Most of all, they are stable.” 

Among the groups to benefit from the eurozone crisis, you can now add one more name to to the list: Russian tourists.

A demographic famous for favouring packaged trips to Turkey and Egypt, Russians have been able to use the downturn in advantage, and are choosing the hardest-hit members of the eurozone as their new holiday destinations. 

The Polish government’s junior coalition partner unexpectedly changed its leader over the weekend, resulting in a visibly outraged Waldemar Pawlak on Monday quitting as deputy prime minister and economy minister. However, stocks and the zloty were both strongly up – a sign that politics are not having much of an impact on positive perceptions of the economy, at least for now. 

Photo: Bloomberg

Regulations introduced last week obliging Russian state companies to pay at least 25 per cent of their profits in dividends look like a step in the right direction for long suffering minority shareholders.

But it appears that state utilities are simultaneously taking an even bigger step backwards, launching yet another round of state-funded secondary share issues that raise questions about the government’s commitment to corporate governance. 

Leaders of South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday pledged to try to stabilise labour relations in the troubled industry.

But Frans Baleni, general secretary, and Senzeni Zokwana, president, told beyondbrics they could not give investors “guarantees” that there would be no resurgence of the strikes that caused so much disruption this year. 

Another shudder on the Budapest Stock Exchange on Monday, after the government announced tax plans that will make it harder to agree a loan facility with the International Monetary Fund and the EU.

More surprising than the planned changes, though, is that investors paid them any attention. Few people still believe Hungary is serious about reaching agreement with the IMF and the EU. Indeed, after the initial reaction on Monday morning, stock prices soon went back to where they were before. 

Nigeria’s economy grew 6.5 per cent in the third quarter, slightly up from 6.4 per cent in the previous period. 

Turbulent times for Sina’s shareprice. The Nasdaq-listed Chinese internet company, which runs the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service, was slapped down more than 15 per cent on Friday, after putting out poor forecasts in its third quarter results.

But what’s this? Alibaba, owner of Chinese internet marketplace Taobao among other web properties, is eyeing up a 15-20 per cent stake in Sina Weibo, according to a Chinese media report. Sina was up on Monday in pre-market trading by as much as 10 per cent. 

Thailand’s economy grew at a 3 per cent year on year in the third quarter, a slight decrease from Q2 but in line with analysts’ expectations.

But as data released on Monday show, the pattern of the previous four quarters is now entrenched – Thai GDP is being dragged down by its poor export performance. Chart of the week takes a closer look. 

So, Qatar Airways will appear as the main logo on FC Barcelona’s shirts from next year, replacing the Qatar Foundation.

That means Doha’s state-run carrier will go head-to-head with Dubai’s Emirates, which sponsors Arsenal, and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, which sponsors Manchester City, in yet another battle ground for regional aviation supremacy: football sponsorship. 

* Asian stocks rise, oil climbs on US budget talks

* HSBC in talks over sale of Ping An stake

* Myners joins Megafon board ahead of float 

Can it really happen? Investors are wondering whether South Korea, Japan and China are serious about a proposed trilateral trade pact as their trade ministers prepare to meet in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to discuss launching negotiations. Political tensions will inevitably rear their ugly heads.