Daily Archives: Jan 14, 2013

“No hay” (Spanish for “there isn’t any”) is a refrain that has become tiresomely predictable when asking shopkeepers in Venezuela if they have basic things in store – say, sugar for example – something that the Caribbean country ought to be able to produce in vast quantities. Read more

A new year, a new group of Russian companies that are slated for privatisation.

One of the first up looks to be Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, the country’s biggest port operator. Yet so far things haven’t exactly gone as advertised. And the plot is only getting murkier. Read more

Ecuador is on the brink of its biggest budget deficit on record. So there is talk of the Andean country biting the bullet and tapping the international debt markets for the first time since defaulting over four years ago.

Rafael Correa, the leftwing president seeking his second re-election next month, has been driving growth thanks to tax collection and public spending as the price of oil, which is Ecuador’s main source of revenue, has been losing steam. Could it happen? Read more

The strikes which have hobbled the South African mining industry over the past year are starting to show up in company results. Here with some New Year bad news is Anglo American Platinum.

The Johannesburg-listed miner, which is the world’s largest platinum producer with 40 per cent of global supply, released a profit warning on Monday ahead of its year-end results, stating that headline earnings per share are expected to decrease to a 491-628 cents loss. Read more

Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, is known for his jovial demeanour. At African National Congress events, you can count on him to open and close his appearances by leading a boisterous round of singing, accompanied by hip-swinging dancing that belies his 70 years. When he’s delivering a speech, he’ll often break into a chuckle – even at his own expense as he can sometimes labour his way through prepared statements. Read more

The South African retail group Shoprite released half year sales figures on Monday showing growth of 13.8 per cent to R46.7bn ($5.3bn) during the six months to the end of December.

For supermarket groups in places like the UK, these are figures to die for – but for Shoprite, in its fast growing African markets, they come as something of a disappointment. Shares in the retailer had dropped by almost 6 per cent per cent on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange as of 15.00 GMT. Read more

Polish property prices are sagging and investor interest in the Warsaw Stock Exchange is fairly low. But that isn’t stopping the Polish Treasury Ministry from pushing ahead with its plans to sell off a majority stake in PHN, a state-owned real estate holding company.

In an intention to float statement sent to Reuters and Bloomberg on Monday, PHN said the government intends to offer as much as a quarter of its 100-per-cent stake in an initial public offering on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in the first quarter. Later this year another chunk is to be sold to a strategic investor. Read more

How gloomy can you get? The Brazilian central bank’s latest weekly survey of market economists suggests the sky, or rather the ground, is the limit. The survey’s consensus on GDP growth this year is now 3.2 per cent, down from 3.26 per cent a week earlier, 3.3 per cent the week before that, 3.4 before that, 3.5 before that, and so on back in time to late November, when it began falling from the 4 per cent that had been expected for several months.

But while growth is creeping down, inflation is creeping up. The two make a miserable combination. Read more

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s leading IT services group, reported unexpectedly good profits for the quarter ended in December, confirming hopes that the good news from rival Infosys, which kicked off the earnings season on Friday, wasn’t just a one-off surprise. Even after rising 3.8 per cent on Friday on Infosys’s announcement, TCS was up a further 2.1 per cent on Monday. Read more

The Hungarian forint is under increasing pressure on Monday – shedding around 0.25 per cent against the euro to Ft 296.50 after depreciating last week. As website Index playfully put it, “[Economy Minister] Matolcsy has nailed why the forint’s been weakening” – it’s all down to foreign speculators. Or rather, one speculator in particular: Nouriel Roubini (pictured on the chart). Read more

L'Oreal India ad L’Oréal is bullish about the Indian economy – because it’s worth it.

India has become the sixth country in which the French cosmetics group has complete operations – including marketing manufacturing, and research facilities – joining France, the US, Japan, China and Brazil. Read more

A 2012 protest over wages

The battle over factory pay in Indonesia is intensifying, with vocal local trade unions joining hands with a US non-governmental organisation to pressure Nike suppliers into paying minimum wages.

A yawning gap is opening up between employers, who argue that hefty minimum wage increases are destroying their profitability, and trade unions, who argue that wages must rise further and employment conditions be improved. Read more

* S Korea central banker urges immigration reform

* Emerging stocks rise as China equities rally most in four weeks

* Hungary blames Roubini for forint plunge to 7-month low Read more

Worried about capital flight from Russia? Don’t be, says Renaissance Capital. Net outflows, the bane of the Russian economy for years, are dropping, and could turn into a (small) net surplus for 2013, given improving prospects for the global and Russian economy.

Fair enough. But that will still leave Russia far adrift of other emerging markets in terms of attracting foreign money. Investors will want to see radical shifts in the economic plans of the new Putin presidency before they even consider a rethink. Read more

Monday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: why Gramercy, a hedge fund embroiled in the Argentinian debt restructuring litigation battle, is keeping the faith with EMs; David Cameron must seize the opportunity to strengthen Britain’s ties with India; the implications of the Southern Weekend protests for China’s rulers; Baidu teams up with France Telecom in Africa; plus, getting around the murky official air quality data in China. Read more

The New Year bulls are still running, if Monday’s rally in Chinese equities is any guide.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 3.1 per cent, and the Shenzhen Composite 3.6 per cent, led by financial and property shares, which were driven higher by a report that the roll-out of a pilot property tax might be delayed. Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, which have been climbing ahead of the mainland markets in recent months, were up 1.3 per cent. Read more

India’s wholesale price index (WPI), its main inflation indicator, dropped to its lowest level in three years last month, according to data published on Monday. The WPI rose at an annual rate of 7.18 per cent in December, down from 7.24 per cent in November, and below both the 7.4 per cent rise expected by analysts and the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) own estimates. Read more

For some emerging economies, large energy deposits can provide a fast boost to growth. But to move up towards middle income status or beyond, manufacturing has almost always been a necessary step for EMs to build a modern economy.

So what is the picture of the world’s top manufacturers? Who is the biggest, and which EMs have made the biggest strides? Read more

By Sarah Mishkin and Gwen Robinson

HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, is the latest foreign investor lured to Myanmar and the potential of its growing consumer base.

What edge does HTC think it has against Samsung, its much larger competitor that already has big operations in the country? Perhaps the fact that, as it has done most notably in China, HTC’s phones are designed specifically for the local market, with an operating system capable of handling Myanmar’s alphabet, not something supported by most software. Read more

* China now Jaguar Land Rover’s prime market

* Russians protest at adoption law

* Hazardous smog blankets Beijing Read more