More than six weeks have now gone by since Hugo Chávez left for Cuba for his latest cancer surgery, and still very little is really known about how he is.
On Tuesday, information minister Ernesto Villegas announced an “encouraging” report, saying Venezuela’s president was in “good spirits” but that still no date has been fixed for his return. Read more
Hot money is known in Latin America as “swallow” capital, like the migratory birds that arrive in the springtime, build a nest and raise their chicks, only to fly away elsewhere with all their brood.
But, rather than swallows, the dollars that have flooded into Costa Rica in recent months have been “real weapons of mass destruction” for the Central American nation’s economy, according to the president, Laura Chinchilla. Read more
Wiping 20 per cent off the value of the Argentine currency this year “isn’t off the wall”. So says Guillermo Moreno, the internal trade secretary and one of the tough guys in the government of Cristina Fernández.
What is this – rare honesty from an administration that denies the country has a problem with inflation? Read more
Air travellers frustrated at delays in London, Paris and Frankfurt can put their woes in perspective – Warsaw’s suburban Modlin Airport looks like it will be shut for several months, playing havoc with the finances of the low-cost carriers using the new airport.
The reason is that Modlin’s newly-built but already crumbling runway is not fit to accommodate the large airliners that are supposed to land on it. The local building inspector is supposed to issue his verdict by Thursday but indications are that it will be closed until about May. Read more
Turkey cut interest rates and raised reserve requirements on Tuesday. It looks like a stylish balancing act: cut interest rates to make the lira less attractive, raise reserve requirements to compensate for the associated easing, and with luck you’ll get a weaker currency without stoking inflation. An exemplary piece of currency warfare.
If only things were that simple. Read more
Not for no good reason did the Beatles sing: “Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman.” And it looks like the Peruvian government took that seriously. Peru’s tax agency has been saying Spain’s Telefónica, the largest telecom operator in the Andean country, owes over $850m in taxes and accumulated interest from 2000 and 2001.
However, on Monday, after almost a year and a half of negotiations the Peruvian government said it would renew Telefónica’s operating license in the Andean country for another 18 years and ten months. Good timing too: it’s just a few days before the visit of Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Read more
Watch out for the Fed tightening. That’s the message from the Institute of International Finance, the bankers’ club, to investors ploughing funds into emerging markets.
Speaking in Switzerland on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, IIF managing director Charles Dallara warned that investors had “underanticipated” sudden turns in monetary policy in the past – and might do so again. He said: “Are we adequately risk aware? Are we adequately risk sensitive?… I am not at all sure that we are.” Read more
Coming to India
There will be haggling for every last Daim bar and the meatballs will be doused in chutney. There will be queues of people complaining that their furniture has arrived unassembled. And a whole new professional class will emerge – the DIY-wallas.
After months of discussions, on its second attempt, Ikea has received approval from India’s foreign investment board to open fully-stocked stores in the country. Read more
By Clare Nuttall of bne
More and more multinationals are entering the pharmaceuticals sector in Kazakhstan, drawn by steadily growing demand. The government wants to accelerate the process and officials are busy negotiating with foreign companies, urging them to come. But its target of boosting domestic pharmaceutical production to 50 per cent of consumption by 2014 still looks over-ambitious. Read more
Monday’s news that India is to raise taxes on gold imports from 2 to 6 per cent to curb its trade deficit got a welcome as chilly as the weather in Davos, where more than 100 of India’s richest and most influential business men are gathering for the World Economic Forum.
One of the most prominent, Rahul Bajaj, chairman of the Bajaj group, was particularly unimpressed by the measure and made a proposal of his own. “The government should raise taxes to 100 per cent,” he told beyondbrics from his hotel. “Only then you’ll see a real effect on gold imports.” Read more
* Grim outlook for global unemployment
* Most emerging stocks fall, led by energy shares; Vietnam tumbles
* Bad Chinese weather curbs SABMiller lager Read more
With economic nationalism and government interference on the rise in the run up to Indonesia’s elections in 2014, investors keep complaining about the deteriorating investment climate.
But, according to the latest figures from Indonesia’s investment co-ordinating board (BKPM), direct investment by foreigners and Indonesian continues to reach new record levels. Read more
The clang of a bell announced the launch of Kenya’s new small and midcap market segment on Tuesday, but its founders are determined that will be the only old-fashioned thing about it.
The Growth Enterprise Market Segment (GEMS) could be the solution to several constraints on the growth of Kenya’s economy, which relies on small business for 40 per cent of the country’s $36bn GDP, and may provide the route for Kenyans to invest in the country’s nascent natural resource sector. Read more
By Ben Aris of bne
Thanks to non-stop rising incomes, Russians are becoming increasingly more generous. Which means more presents – and more mail. And the Russian postal service has warned that, without investment, it may not be able to cope next year.
Russian Post was expecting twice the volume over the holiday period from a year earlier – and had to cope with 3m registered letters and delivered several million more unregistered letters. Alexander Kiselev, chief executive, says: “This year’s New Year’s Eve may be the last without failure and collapse.” Read more