Daily Archives: Dec 20, 2012

Mexico’s national statistics office, known as Inegi, has published its first study of the impact of crime on the nation’s business community. And it makes for hair-raising reading.

The study, which covers 2011, showed that 37 per cent of firms in Mexico were victims of crime that year, about half of them more than once. But that is not all. Read more

After last month’s slap in the face when Brazil released shocking GDP data at only 0.6 per cent, Colombia followed suit on Thursday announcing surprisingly weak third-quarter growth. The Andean country’s economy grew just 2.1 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year.

The drag was caused by an acute slowdown in the construction sector as well as sluggish manufacturing. The growth pace was not only much slower than the 7.5 per cent expansion in the same quarter last year, but it was also the weakest in three yearsRead more

It’s not a rush for the exit. But it’s rather more than a shuffle to the door. A noticeable number of European banks – Austria’s Erste being the latest – are giving up on Ukraine.

Like other European banks that are busy cleaning up troubled balance sheets back home, Erste announced on Thursday that it had agreed to sell its loss-making, 100 branch Ukrainian subsidiary to a domestic businessman. Domestic banker Oleksandr Adarich bought the business for a mere $83m. Read more

After weeks of nods and winks, Hungary on Thursday announced plans to raise €4bn-€4.5bn in foreign currency bonds next year, in a move which suggests that Budapest is dropping plans for a financing programme with the International Monetary Fund any time soon.

Given prime minister Viktor Orban’s reluctance to deal with Fund in the first place, and the recent sharp drop in borrowing costs, the news comes as little surprise. But it will leave Budapest hostage to market sentiment. That could prove very risky. Read more

By Ben Aris of bne

What’s the point of belonging to the emerging middle class if you don’t look good? That’s the idea behind KupiVIP, Russia’s leading online fashion store, which expects annual revenues to reach a billion dollars by the end of the decade. Read more

January 2013 will mark the two year anniversary of the Egyptian uprisings which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Amid the optimism which followed the transition to democracy, few serious analysts expected the path ahead for the country to be smooth, and indeed it has not been. An FT special report on Egypt highlights the challenges faced by the Arab world’s largest democracy. Read more

The EM debt rally is pushing some countries into new territory. Nigeria’s public finances have received a boost on Wednesday with its borrowing costs at auction hitting record lows.

N30bn ($190m) of 10 year government bonds were sold with an 11.9 per cent yield, with investor inflows pushing the naira higher to build upon the strong gains made by the west African oil exporter’s currency this year. Read more

David CreightonBy David Creighton of Cordiant Capital

With record flows into emerging market bonds you could be forgiven for thinking growth economies were awash with credit, and that they had avoided the fallout from the eurozone crisis.

Unfortunately this is not the case. The benefits of the boom in EM bonds have not been evenly spread. Not only is issuing bonds an option available uniquely to the very largest class of emerging market enterprises, but these bond issuers are generally concentrated within limited geographies like Brazil, China and Russia, and in the energy, mining and telecom sectors. Read more

Resource nationalism isn’t just the expropriation of major companies or industries, like YPF in Argentina – it also takes subtler forms. James Smither, associate director at risk consultancy Maplecroft, explains to Rob Minto how shifts in commodity prices can undermine a country’s resource leverage and the more nuanced ways revenue can be retained within domestic borders.

Former Yukos oil company chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands in the defendant's glass cage in a Moscow courtroom on November 2, 2010. Mikhail Khodorkovsky could walk free in 2014 following a decision by a Moscow court to reduce the tycoon’s jail sentence by two years. But Russia’s most famous prisoner is not going to kowtow to the authorities and thank the judiciary for any favours. As far as he’s concerned the charges against him are trumped up and he should not be in jail at all.

At the end of a lengthy appeals process, a Moscow court upheld the guilty verdict handed down at the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2010, but reduced the sentence by two years citing amendments to Russian law. Read more

Pedro Delgado | Source: Flikr, author Presidencia de la República del Ecuador fotospresidenciaIt seems in every family there are secrets and lies.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pedro Delgado, the cousin of Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, and the Andean country’s central bank president, stepped down after confessing that he did not hold a university degree in economics.

“I submit my irrevocable resignation as head of the central bank… and I do it because I made a grave mistake 22 years ago,” Delgado said. Read more

Another cliff hanger in the long-running saga of Russia’s gas dispute with Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovich was expected to sign an agreement in Moscow this week that would have drawn Ukraine closer to the Russia-backed Customs Union in exchange for concessions on gas prices.

But the Ukrainian president backed out at the last minute. Did he get cold feet or is he playing a game? And will the drama affect Gazprom’s gas supplies to the European Union, most of which are piped across Ukraine? Read more

When Slovene partisan fighters needed skis to battle the occupying Nazi forces in World War II, there was but one solution: make them themselves, secretly, from wood. Some 70 years later, as a result of this initial, brave determination, the village of Begunje, nestled in the Alpine foothills about 35 miles north-west of Ljubljana, is the unlikely setting for the world’s largest ski plant.

Elan, the Slovene winter-sports company, produces 500,000 pairs of skis annually in Begunje, roughly one in seven of all skis worldwide – with 300,000, or 8.5 per cent of the global market, under its own name. Read more

* Beijing criticises US ‘political checks’

* Emerging stocks drop from eight-month high on U.S. budget talks

* Police disperse protesters at South Africa Harmony Gold mine Read more

Huge capital outflows have been a glaringly visible sign of Russian business people’s distrust of president Vladimir Putin’s rule. Worried about corruption, property rights and the rule of law, the rich have been funneling their money abroad. Right?

Wrong, actually. So says a study published this week which argues that Russian outflows are only half as big as officially reported, due to peculiarities in Russia’s statistics. The new analysis won’t be the last word on a complex subject – but it’s already prompted Russian officials to consider taking another look at the numbers. Read more

Thursdays picks from the beyondbrics team: despite its image, better times may be on the way for Pakistan – but the new leaders of Japan, South Korea, North Korea and China have a combustible chemistry; the challenging economic situation facing Park Geun-hye; a special report on Egypt; the coming Renminbi moment; plus, India’s internet boom. Read more

South Korean President-elect Park Geun-Hye, of the Ruling Saenuri Party waves to supportersDoes the presidential election matter in South Korea’s stock market? The equity market showed a muted reaction to Wednesday’s election but there were winners and losers – especially in construction and insurance.

Overall, the benchmark Kospi index gained 0.32 per cent to near 2,000 points, but the gains were limited as Park Geun-hye’s election victory was overshadowed by renewed concerns about the US fiscal cliff. Read more

With encouraging November data, what are the possible opportunities for investors in China’s property market? Veronica Kan-Dapaah takes a closer look.

By David Edgerly

Given the endless sovereign debt crisis in Greece, the collapse of the economy, the chaos and corruption of the country’s politics it is perhaps understandable that reasonable investors have lost interest in the Athens Stock Exchange. Index provider MSCI is mulling whether to reclassify Greece as an emerging market.

There’s quite a frontier feel to Greece at the moment. Phone calls to inquire about investing in Greece, in any form, are often met with either stunned silence or gales of laughter. Read more

Riding Bangkok’s elevated rapid transit railway service known as the ‘Skytrain’ makes New York’s Subway and London’s Underground feel antiquated. Now, BTS Group, the company with an exclusive concession to run the service, has confirmed plans for an initial public offering of an infrastructure fund worth at least $1.6bn, which looks likely to be the biggest in Thailand’s history. Read more