Daily Archives: Dec 18, 2012

Chile’s latest monetary policy report (IPoM) from the Central Bank (BCCh) paints a rosy picture to end the year on – more inflation and less growth in 2013. That’s nice. 

Having just taken a €2bn hit on investing in Europe, Carlos Slim has signed up for more.

Inmobiliaria Carso, a Spanish unit of the real-estate division of Slim’s empire, has snapped up a portfolio of distressed property assets from Spain’s CaixaBank for €428m. 

Dodgy money is once again leaving emerging markets in large quantities: illicit flows out of 71 developing economies were worth $859bn in 2010, up from $776bn a year earlier. The latest figures is only slightly less than the all time high of $871bn recorded in 2008.

That is the conclusion of a report published this week by Global Financial Integrity and funded by the Ford Foundation 

Florizelle Liser, U.S. assistant trade representative, speaks at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit, in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday, Nov. 16, 2007The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, a US law passed in 2000, was geared to enable African countries to export over 4,000 products quota-free and duty-free to the US.

But a recent paper published by the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University claimed the AGOA had been inadvertently allowing Chinese apparel producers to send products to the US through Africa, gaining free access but with minimal assembly and value-added for the African countries they operated in.

Florie Liser (pictured), assistant US trade representative for African affairs, rejects the researchers’ claim. 

The Hungarian central bank trimmed 25 basis points off the base rate on Tuesday, the fifth such easing in as many months.

The move, which leaves the benchmark rate at 5.75 per cent, raised a chorus of concerns among analysts that the dove-dominated monetary council could be heading towards a cut too far. This particularly given the forint’s weakening in the previous 24 hours, when – spurred by worries over who might take over at the central bank next spring – it lost roughly two per cent, slipped at one point on Tuesday morning to Ft290 to the euro. 

Globalisation isn’t as simple – or as flat – as you might think. It’s uneven and has been knocked by the financial crisis. In some ways, the world is becoming less globally connected and more regionally-orientated, in contrast to most assumptions.

That’s the findings of the global connectivity index created by academics from the IESE Business School, which sheds light on the current state of globalisation with interesting results. 

“If you build it, they will come. ” Those sententious words are often said of big infrastructure projects like sports stadiums and airports – especially ones hoping to make an economic case to attract funding. But there is a corollary: “If you make a hash of it, they will leave.”

And that is what is happening with Warsaw’s Modlin Airport, which has just lost the business of Wizz Air. The Hungarian low-cost carrier said this week it would transfer all its flights back to Warsaw’s nearby Chopin Airport. 

Is this a bubble or not? Housing sales in China are back up in November. Well, sort of.

Caveats abound on China’s economic statistics, including those on the property market. But if there is one thing to remember, it’s this: monthly data look very different from yearly data. And yearly is almost always a better guide. 

Turkey’s central bank has cut its policy interest rate by 25 basis points, from 5.75 per cent a year to 5.5 per cent. It suggests the bank is confident that inflation is under control and is more worried about slowing growth at home and abroad, and was widely expected by economists.

But as is often the case in Turkey, the CBRT’s signals are mixed. Given that the bank is trying to pull off a very tricky balancing act, they could hardly be any other way. 

Hungary’s central bank has cut interest rates by another 25 basis points to 5.75 per cent. This is the fifth cut in a row since August, despite the weakening forint.

As South Koreans prepare to elect a new president, two of the leading candidates are promising greater income equality and stricter controls on big business. The FT’s Simon Mundy reports on one of the most gripping elections in the nation’s 25 years of democracy.

* Apple and Samsung hit by latest US ruling

* Russia expects Obama visit despite “mini-crisis” in ties

* Ramaphosa Wins S. Africa ANC Deputy Post in Boost to Zuma 

ZAR per USD 1 month to Dec 18 2012South African president Jacob Zuma was re-elected as ANC party leader on Tuesday, meaning he will almost certainly win a second term in the 2014 elections. The markets reacted positively to the news, with the rand strengthening 0.8 per cent to the dollar, at around 8.56.

But given that the rand has rallied in recent weeks, how significant is Zuma’s reappointment for the South African currency? 

Tuesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: South Korea’s economic growth has been meteoric, but now voters are calling for economic democracy via restrictions on the power of the chaebols; Can Volvo’s China push make up for Europe? KKR becomes the world’s largest Asia focused private equity fund; plus, a look at the frontline of the China-US accounting clash, and an interview with Mohamed ElBaradei. 

As budget negotiations in Congress drag on towards the end of year deadline, questions are being asked about the global ripple of the US falling off the so-called fiscal cliff.

Should Asia investors be losing sleep over it?