Daily Archives: Dec 24, 2012

Trivial Pursuit not doing it for you? Test your knowledge of emerging markets with the beyondbrics quiz of 2012. Ten questions, with the results to be published in January. Answers to be left in the comments below – or you can email us. The prize will be something useful or drinkable. Probably. But have fun! 

This year, the Christmas tale from beyondbrics takes us to the up-and-coming area of Brics-ton, where Roussolph the Brazilian reindeer has been unceremoniously dumped from Santa Capital’s portfolio.

Read on… 

If you had $100 at the start of 2012, and took a punt on a few emerging market exchanges, which ones would have made you a fast buck, and which would have reduced you to tears?

Chart of the week takes a look at the 10 top and bottom performers in 2012. 

Thou shalt lend. At subsidised rates. To small businesses. Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s president, has again recently exhorted the country’s banks to direct some five per cent of their deposits to providing corporate loans.

That will create a pool of around 17bn pesos to be lent at rates expected to be around 15 per cent – well under the annual rate of inflation, which private economists estimate at around 25 per cent (official price data have lost all credibility amid six years of suspected manipulation). 

* Egyptian judges review ballot on contentious constitution

* KBC to sell Russian bank subsidiary for 300 million euros

* US budget fears curtail Asian markets 

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) talks with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a signing ceremony in New Delhi December 24, 2012.

Photo: Reuters

Ah, the value of state visits. Russian President Vladimir Putin is in India for a few days, and the trip is certainly proving a profitable one. Deals so far include Russian helicopters to India, and a $2bn joint project financing deal between Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and State Bank of India. 

The Panama Canal was once christened “one of the world’s greatest labour mobilisations.” Almost a hundred years after its inauguration, that monumental public work is still boosting the country’s economy.

The narrow nation will grow three times Latin America’s average of 3.1 per cent this year. According to the latest report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, or ECLAC, Panama’s economy is expected to expand by 10.5 per cent in 2012. Last year, the country grew 10.8 per cent. 

Poland’s banks are generally well financed and solid, but one of their biggest problems is a mismatch between short-term deposits and long-term loans, many of which are denominated in foreign currency – largely Swiss francs. The mismatch has been a concern for regulators, who have pushed banks to make their asset structure less vulnerable to sudden changes in sentiment and to any turmoil in the eurozone.

Now Getin Noble Bank, one of the most aggressive forex lenders during the real estate boom which ended in 2008, has taken a step towards better balancing its assets by securitising a 1bn zlotys ($325m) portfolio of 33,000 car loans last week. 

Monday’s picks from the beyondbrics team; why equities in the smaller southeast Asian markets may be overpriced; the way China teaches history has a knock-on effect on regional security; young entrepreneurs seize the moment in Myanmar; Russia’s demography challenge; plus, what’s Brazil up to in Africa? 

 Vusi MabenaVusi Mabena of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa

The long, drawn-out debate about mine nationalisation that led to South Africa’s governing African National Congress commissioning a research report on state intervention in mines created the feeling of policy uncertainty around mining in the country.

This has resulted in investors being hesitant about investing in the mining industry, even though the government has given assurance that nationalisation is not policy in South Africa. The Chamber of Mines of South Africa therefore welcomes the ANC resolution that wholesale nationalisation is not a sustainable option and that it has now firmly ruled out nationalisation of the mining industry. This resolution by the ANC puts the debate to rest and creates certainty amongst investors and should encourage investment in the country’s mining sector. 

* Asian shares mixed in pre-holiday trade

* Syrian bank directors resign

* Argentina to keep dollar limits

* Markets: up