Daily Archives: Nov 23, 2012

It was only a matter of time. Take a nation full of shopaholics and retailers desperate to shift stock in a slowing economy and what do you get? Black Friday.

Brazilians have toyed with the US tradition for a couple of years now and even neighbouring Paraguay has proved to be a fan. However, this year Black Friday in Brazil came with a bang. Read more

The ballyhoo over a New York court ruling ordering Argentina to pay $1.3bn to holdout creditors, has raised questions over whether Ecuador could also be dragged to court by so-called vulture funds.

Unfortunately for some bondholders, but luckily for Ecuador’s government, it seems very unlikely, at least according to some commentators consulted by beyondbrics. Read more

After a decade of virtually frozen tariffs that has pushed them to the brink of collapse, and a major power cut earlier this month, electricity and gas companies in Argentina have finally heard the magic words they have been longing for the government to say: higher tariffs.

Unfortunately for them, there’s a catch. They won’t get the money. A special government-administered fund willRead more

There was an old adage during the gold rush that the guy running the grocery shop and the saloon made a killing, while prospectors lost their shirts. It seems that the same principle applies to the humbler world of road building and asphalt supplies.

As the dust settles on Poland’s ambitious road building programme it turns out that somebody did make money on building hundreds of kilometres of new highways. It just wasn’t the people building the roads, but the companies making the asphalt – Poland’s two largest refiners, PKN Orlen and the Lotos Group. Read more

There was a time, not long ago – until Wednesday night, to be exact – when investors would pay a premium on emerging market debt subject to New York law. Not any more.

Judge Thomas Griesa’s ruling that Argentina must pay $1.3bn to holdout creditors has all sorts of implications for sovereign borrowers and lenders. It has also, at a stroke, wiped out the New York law premium, as a chart from Vladimir Werning at JP Morgan illustrates. Read more

One of the strangest recent developments in Turkey has been gold sales to Iran, which have soared, so helping improve the country’s trade and balance of payments figures.

Thanks to this phenomenon, Turkey, traditionally a net importer of the metal, has racked up net gold exports of $5.5bn off the back of total gold exports of some $13bn so far this year, as Gunay Elif Girgin at Oyak Securities in Istanbul pointed out to beyondbrics. Read more

Investors cheered this week when Egypt announced it was ready to sign up to an International Monetary Fund programme that includes extensive fiscal and structural reforms. And they cheered again when newly-elected president Mohamed Morsi made such a significant contribution to the Gaza ceasefire.

But they may stop cheering following a controversial decision to boost his presidential powers that has prompted protests across Egypt. A salutary reminder that however pressing the economic challenges, in Egypt politics comes first. Read more

MMK, Russia’s third largest steel producer, on Friday joined rivals Severstal and NLMK in pinning a gloomy forecast to its third quarter results as the falling price of steel undermines business. Read more

British fashion retailer Topshop has opened its first African store in Johannesburg’s up-market Sandton City mall – a vote of confidence both in South African consumer spending and also the country as a way in to the rest of the continent. Read more

Alisher Usmanov, Russian oligarchWhatever the reason behind Goldman Sachs’ decision to exit as underwriter of Megafon’s forthcoming IPO, the move was a kick in the teeth for the Russian mobile telephone operator run by Alisher Usmanov (pictured) that is now courting potential investors on a road show.

But leaving aside the shock of Goldman’s move, how does Megafon shape up compared to its publicly-listed Russian telecom peers? Read more

Japanese carmakers have had a rough time of it in China for the past two months, hit by plummeting sales due to the Sino-Japanese islands dispute.

But they have not shied away from the Chinese auto industry’s biggest event of the autumn, the 10th China International (Guangzhou) Automobile Exhibition, held in the stronghold of Japanese cars on the mainland, southern China. Read more

By Naguib Sawiris

Most governments in North Africa acknowledge the role of foreign direct investment in relieving poverty and encouraging economic growth – and in helping countries to respond to the challenges raised by the recent political upheavals in the region.

This is why the behaviour of the Algerian government, in threatening to rip up legal commercial agreements and investment treaties and in targeting one of the country’s largest foreign investors with a campaign of harassment and interference, is so damaging. Its actions could have a devastating impact on the business climate in Algeria and cast a shadow over the investment prospects for the whole region. Read more

* Asian stocks outside Japan fall as talks continue on Greek aid

* Walmart suspends India employees

* Argentina angry at hedge fund court win Read more

Not every company would be happy to have a prominent right-wing extremist on its roster of clients. But for Topsgrup, India’s largest private security company, Bal Thackeray – leader of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena political party and one of the most powerful men in Mumbai before he died this month – was just an ordinary Joe. Read more

Friday’s picks from the BB team: China falls back to earth, without a thud; London’s appeal for Asia’s newly rich; and can 1.2bn people be a democracy? Plus: the risk of war in central Africa; Egypt’s role in the ceasefire; and Russia’s reliance on oil and gas revenues. Read more

While average wages in emerging markets have increased in many countries, especially China, they are still well behind those in developed nations.

But not at the top. Over the last decade, senior salaries in EMs have caught up with those in the west, and in many cases surpassed them, according to a report by management consultancy Hay GroupRead more

Shares in Jet Airways, the Indian airline, soared by up to 15 per cent on Friday amid speculation that the company is about to announce a tie-up with a foreign carrier.

Although Jet denied that it had any such plan, its comment had little impact on the Mumbai stock market where investors seem convinced that foreign carriers are about to capitalise on recent government moves to liberalise foreign investment in air travel. Read more

Ikea may have thought its long struggle to enter the Indian market was over. Having waited patiently for the government to push through a series of reforms aimed at opening up the country’s retail sector – to single brand stores at least – victory appeared at hand.

But, having got to the front of the line, the Swedish group appears to have run up against an unexpected foe: the meatball police. Read more

By Ruud Dobber of AstraZeneca

The recent social unrest in Russia has been pervasive and well publicised, resurrecting the western typecast of Russia as a risky place to do business. Even veteran international investors, who should know better, have grown bearish about binding their profits to Russia. This would be a mistake.

The country still has enormous potential and is one of the few growing markets in what is a predominantly barren global economy. There is good cause for foreign businesses in Russia to be optimistic, not least in pharmaceuticals. Read more

Baijiu, the fiery Chinese liquor that has been around for thousands of years and is today a fast-growing multi-billion-dollar industry, has become the focus of China’s latest food and drink health scareRead more