Daily Archives: Jan 10, 2013

India Cairn Vedanta RescourcesAfter five years of legal battles, rumours and empty promises it’s finally happening: Brazil is auctioning off its oil blocks.

The country’s energy minister, Edison Lobão, told reporters on Thursday that the so-called 11th round of 172 onshore and offshore blocks would be held in May, or even earlier if possible. Read more

More good news for the Mexican economy, but a grave warning too from a man who knows.

The indicator of economic activity for October issued on Thursday by the national statistics institute rose 4.3 per cent year on year, up by more than half a percentage point than most analysts had forecast. Read more

Well, the hour came, but the man didn’t. Luckily a subservient judiciary meant that this was not such a problem for Hugo Chávez – his no-show at the start of his new presidential term today doesn’t really seem to matter. Read more

Fresh from receiving a gong that ranks him above his peers, Turkey’s top central banker has received a further vote of quiet confidence for his management of the country’s consumption -hungry economy.

Erdem Basci, recently chosen as Central Banker of the Year by The Banker, the FT’s sister publication, can now also point to a favourable review by Fitch Ratings for one of the complicated mechanisms with which he seeks to slow the economy down. Read more

When US-Hungarian businessman Attila Balogh planned to introduce his latest pet food range, he was wary of expecting too much.

But European pet lovers have taken enthusiastically to the convenient new format – which involves putting food into single-serve pouches and avoids half-eaten tins clogging the fridge. Read more

For the Russian retail sector, 2012 was the tale of two rival grocers. And there is one that clearly prevailed.

Over the past 12 months, Magnit has cemented its position as one of investors’ favourite Russian blue chip thanks to high single-digit earnings margins – leaving little love for competitor X5. Read more

HSBC on Thursday finally responded to the welter of speculation about the planned sale of its $9.4bn stake in Ping An, the Chinese insurer.

And it seemed to dismiss suggestions that the deal might be off because of widely-reported concerns that the Chinese state bank financing the deal might pull out. It said, in short, that it had nothing to add to its December 5 statement announcing the sale. Will this be the last word in this complicated saga? Read more

Rating agency Fitch has downgraded South Africa to BBB from BBB+, staying one notch above investment grade. The country is on a stable outlook, meaning that no further downgrades are imminent.

Fitch joins S&P, which downgraded the country’s debt in October, also to BBB, and Moody’s which in September downgraded the country from A3 to Baa1Read more

Zambia seems determined to keep itself in the frontier debt market headlines. Following its heavily over-subscribed 10-year $750m debut eurobond issue in September, other organisations want in.

December saw state energy company, Zesco, announce plans to tap international markets for up to $2bn. Lusaka city council followed with plans for a $500m municipal bond issue to fund new housing, and this week deputy finance minister Miles Sampa told Bloomberg that the towns of Solwezi and Livingstone would be next. Read more

Could there be a bigger show of bravado? While observers worry that Kenya’s economy could go awry come the March presidential elections, the monetary policy committee is feeling good.

For the fourth time in a row, it gave a vote of confidence to Kenya’s economy by lowering the central bank rate, this time taking it down 150 basis points to 9.50 per cent. This time last year it was 18 per cent. And not only did it lower the rate, but the 150bp reduction beat analyst predictions of 100bp. Read more

The wait is finally over – here are the answers to the beyondbrics quiz of the yearRead more

The balance of power between creditors and countries depends on a court case battle between Argentina and hedge fund Elliot Associates. However, fears that the case could trigger an Argentine default have eased recently, indicating that Buenos Aires could still win the legal battle. John Peta, co-head of emerging market debt at Threadneedle Investments, discusses with capital markets correspondent Robin Wigglesworth whether markets are being overly optimistic.

The Hungarian forint slipped by 0.67 per cent against the euro on Thursday after Gyorgy Matolcsy, the economy minister who has been tipped as the next governor of the central bank, described previous policies such as pursuing a strong currency to suppress inflation as “catastrophic”.

That may well be one word Hungarian businesses, home owners and even some government colleagues are using to describe Matolcsy himself, now that their foreign currency debts are worth that much more. Read more

The eighth in our series of guest posts on the outlook for 2013 is by Bhanu Baweja of UBS

From politics in the US to economics in the developing world, changing demographics will be one of the most powerful forces shaping the future. We can predict with reasonable certainty how the numbers in an overall population, and the various sub groups within it, will change in the coming decades.

It is more difficult to predict the exact configuration these changes will mould society into. That all emerging markets will obtain a demographic dividend is not a given. One ought to be worried by the lazy optimism on this issue. Read more

* UAE expands crackdown to women

* China iron ore imports hit fresh high

* Surge in Chinese exports lifts stocks, ECB awaited Read more

After years of debate, enhanced tobacco controls are finally coming to Indonesia, one of the world’s least regulated and (surprise, surprise) largest tobacco markets.

But analysts reckon big cigarette companies in Indonesia, from local players such as Gudang Garam to the likes of Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco, need not be too worried. Read more

Without wanting to roll out all the driving puns, India’s auto industry is, well… stalling.

Until now, Indian car sales had been able to withstand slowdown in the wider economy. No longer. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the beyondbrics team; the HSBC – Ping An affair highlights the complex web of political connections facing investors in China; Peru booms on the back of Chinese demand for minerals; Heritage Oil looks to take on the majors in Nigeria; plus, Polish drivers, beware. Read more

China’s exports rebounded to 14.1 per cent year on year in December – far higher than expected by economists. Imports were up 6 per cent too, after five slow months. Stocks have ticked upwards in response. Hurrah!

So why do some analysts sound less than cheerful? Read more

By Jake Maxwell Watts and Nguyen Phuong Linh

In both the developing and industrialised worlds, economic growth rates, like bad news, can be entirely relative. Vietnam’s respectable-sounding GDP growth of 5.08 per cent in 2012 was in fact a painful fall from 5.9 per cent in 2011 and marked its slowest pace in 13 years. Will 2013 be any better? Read more