Daily Archives: Dec 3, 2012

It’s all about patriotism. Well, and a bit of fishing.

On Monday, Peru and Chile started their oral arguments before the International Court of Justice in The Hague concerning a maritime dispute. Peru filed the case with the ICJ in January 2008, arguing that the maritime border was never established. Chile argues that a fishing agreement from the 1950s works like a treaty and that it already defined the zone. Read more

It’s days like today when it’s hard to take the Brazilian authorities seriously when they say the real is a free-floating currency.

The country’s central bank intervened on four separate occasions on Monday to halt sharp declines in the real against the dollar, calling two currency swap auctions and two dollar auctions in the spot market. Read more

Things are heating up between the US Securities and Exchange Commission and some of the US’s leading accounting firms.

The SEC on Monday charged the Chinese affiliates of Ernst & Young, PwC, KPMG, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and BDO with violating US securities law after the five firms allegedly refused to turn over audit work papers and other documents related to nine Chinese companies that are currently being investigated for potential accounting fraud. Read more

The latest emergency motion in the legal ping-pong that is the fight between Argentina and the “holdouts” reads like a Thesaurus and is another example of sophisticated legal argument. Read more

Alrosa, Russia’s state diamond producer, has held back rough diamond supplies this year in a bid to shore up sagging world prices for luxury sparkling gems. With no end to the downturn in sight, the company is taking a new tack, securing long term diamond sales contracts with global jewellery retailers willing to guarantee purchases even in challenging times. Read more

Russia is famous for freezing winters but it appears to be losing its legendary ability to cope with the snow that blankets the country for at least five months in the year. An epic traffic jam that paralyzed traffic on a major highway between Moscow and St Petersburg for most of the weekend has drawn a stream of complaints from citizens and spurred the authorities to react. But with forecasters warning of more heavy snow ahead, officials will struggle to find a quick fix. Read more

Hank PaulsonHank Paulson knows a thing or two about managing a complex economy. So what does the former Treasury Secretary, who is visiting Beijing this week, make of the current state of China’s economic growth?

Paulson, who now heads the Paulson Institute, a think thank, gave a frank assessment of the world’s second-largest economy in a recent interview in Beijing. If China’s new leadership goes too slow on reform, it could create a “risk to stability”, he said. Read more

Ugandan council workers hang flags just outside KampalaFancy a bit of east African power? Umeme, the Ugandan power company, was successfully floated on Friday by Actis, a private equity group. So far, it’s been a hit, with the IPO oversubscribed and shares jumping 9 per cent on Monday.

But despite the investor thumbs-up, the stock is already rated by one analyst as a sell. Read more

Egyptians are not the only Arabs who are grappling with the place of religion in their emerging democracy. In Tunisia, perhaps even more so than Cairo, the battle between liberals and Islamists has been raging since last year’s ousting of the Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali regime.

In a country where the state has been staunchly secular – there was a time when police would detain women wearing the headscarf – Islamists in all their shades have faced a more determined opposition than in Egypt.

 Read more

Mykola AzarovIt’s not common for news about a government’s resignation to be seen as positive, let alone an opportune moment for a country to tap the Eurobond market. But Ukraine is not your average country.

With a widening budget deficit and the economy sliding into recession, news that President Viktor Yanukovich had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s government is welcome news for investment banks and investors. Read more

Slovenia’s president Danilo Turk has become the latest European politician to be voted out of office amid tension over the handling of the eurozone crisis.

Turk was defeated in Sunday’s presidential election by the opposition candidate Borut Pahor, the former prime minister, who followed his surprising lead in the first round with a sweeping victory in the second, taking 67 per cent of the vote against Turk’s 32 per cent. Read more

* Asian stocks rise on China manufacturing

* Ukrainian government resigns

* Egypt’s constitutional court halts work Read more

It seems late in the year to be changing your mind but that hasn’t stopped the 100 or so economists surveyed each week by Brazil’s central bank sharply reducing their consensus forecast for 2012 GDP growth: just 1.27 per cent, they say on Monday, down from 1.5 per cent a week ago.

Not only that, they expect a weaker economy in 2013 – 3.7 per cent growth, down from 3.94 per cent last week – and a weaker real by the end of this year (in four weeks’ time): R$2.07 against the US dollar, from R$2.03 a week ago. Read more

Monday’s picks from the BB team: the Gulf investment in green energy; regulating China’s murky shadow banking system; and Brazil economic wake-up call. Plus: Mexico’s cabinet of young technocrats and familiar faces; continuity in Chinese politics and the effects on India; and Brazil’s police live cheek by jowl with organised criminals. Read more

Indonesia posted a record trade deficit of US$1.54bn in October as the country continued to struggle with weak demand for its commodities exports and rising fuel imports. Read more

Investors don’t seem to mind North Korea’s missile threat that much. South Korean shares rose to a six-week high on Monday, despite North Korea’s announcement that it will fire a rocket in December for the second time this year.

The latest threat from North Korea may affect the country’s upcoming presidential election by boosting the popularity of the conservative candidate Park Geun-hye – but has failed to make an impact on the country’s financial markets. Read more

Jet Airways shares soared 7 per cent in Mumbai on Monday on a report that the airline was getting close to finalising a proposed tie-up with Etihad Airways, the Gulf carrier.

Mint newspaper said Jet would soon seek regulatory approval to alter its ownership structure to permit a stake sale to Etihad. If it goes ahead, the deal would be India’s first big foreign investment to come from prime minister Manmohan Singh’s recent economic reforms, which include a move allowing foreign carriers to buy 49 per cent of an Indian airline. Read more

Another German Mittelstand has been snapped up by a Chinese manufacturer, this time in textiles.

Hong Kong-based Fong’s Industries has just completed its acquisition of Monforts, based just outside Dusseldorf, in the latest example of how Chinese companies are eager to purchase world-class engineering skills and innovation as well as market share in the developed world. Read more

A strong set of manufacturing outlook numbers from China helped Asian stock markets get the month off to a good start on Monday. But equities didn’t stay in positive territory very long before investors went back to fretting about the US fiscal cliff and the early gains were soon lost.

It’s clear that while China matters to the global economy, the US matters considerable more. Read more

* Asian stocks rise on China manufacturing

* Singapore deportations show strains in work force

* Chinese manufacturing picks up speed Read more