Daily Archives: Jan 29, 2013

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto and his economic team must be chuffed. Barclays is the latest to sing the praises for the country’s resurgent economy.

The bank’s most recent analysis believes that the prospect for political reform – seen as a key by many commentators – as well as the improvement of competitiveness in manufacturing will maintain a healthy degree of dynamism this year. Read more

In an interview with the Financial Times, Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s finance minister, spoke of his determination to control pre-election public spending, support for foreign investment and plans for further financial liberalisation.

He also told Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, and James Blitz, diplomatic editor, of his political ambitions. Here is a transcript of the interview that took place on Tuesday in London during a tour to promote India among investors. Read more

“I thought that if one wanted to be a writer, one has to go to Paris. Instead, what I discovered there, was Latin America,” said Nobel Prize laureate, Mario Vargas Llosa (pictured below), at the eighth edition of the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia – a spin-off from the UK’s largest literary gathering that turns 25 in 2013.

Now, it seems Latin America has a lot to show to the world when it comes to culture. Read more

Eva Geller’ parents, Holocaust survivors from Germany and Austria, always taught her that two things were important in life: education and savings.

“Every penny I got from my grandparents, I put in my piggy bank. I saved all my life,” said Geller, who was born in Uruguay where her parents moved after the war. Having been advised that Argentina was a “very strong government with a very firm government” Geller not only poured her life savings into Argentine bonds, but also advised her Austrian mother, now 90, to buy them too. The rest is history. Read more

The Reserve Bank of India has cut rates by 25 basis points to encourage growth. Lex’s Stuart Kirk and Julia Grindell discuss whether this is enough, and the impact on equities.

Is the honeymoon of the unofficial Africa-China wedding over?

Last week, the Nigerian Central Bank voiced its discontent about the unfavorable trade balance with China – and made it clear Nigeria was already looking elsewhere for friendship (and maybe more). Read more

The growth in sub-Saharan Africa’s telecoms industry has created global stars in the likes of M-Pesa and MTN, but its continued success rests upon having the right infrastructure to back them up.

So the acquisition of Altech Group’s east African telecoms assets by Liquid Telecom is worth noting. If it gets the nod from regulators, the deal will give Liquid access to the potentially lucrative Kenyan broadband market and a base to expand into other fast-growing data markets in the region. Read more

The deadly fire at a clothing factory in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka in November, in which 117 workers died, could have consequences for the country’s exports as well as for its tarnished reputation as a manufacturing power. Read more

Shares in Axis Bank jumped 4.4 per cent in Mumbai on Tuesday, after the Indian private-sector bank announced plans to raise raise funds via a share sale, which reports put at $1bn.

 Read more

By Tarik Kurbegović, chief executive, Sarajevo Stock Exchange

On the walls of the conference hall of the Sarajevo Stock Exchange hang copies of shares from the era when Bosnia was ruled by the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. While this suggests a long tradition of capital markets culture, it does not, alas, reflect the true state of awareness among Bosnian citizens. We have started to work on improving the country’s financial literacy. But it will take time. Read more

Hungary’s central bank cut its benchmark rate on Tuesday by 25 basis points to 5.5 per cent, in its sixth monthly cut in a row, amid concern about the recession-hit economy.

The bank acted despite recent weakness in the forint, which has this week touched the psychologically-important level of HUF300 to the euro for the first time since last June. Andras Simor, the governor whose term ends in March, has been under persistent government pressure to do more to simulate growth. Read more

Kazakhstan will issue 150bn Tenge ($996m) of eurobonds this year in its first venture onto international capital markets in over a decade.

The oil-rich central Asian country said it would take advantage of historically low foreign borrowing costs to help plug a budget deficit and set a benchmark for Kazakh corporates hoping to raise funds in 2013. Read more

* India’s central bank cuts interest rates

* Military chief warns of Egypt’s collapse

* Anglo takes $4bn hit on Brazil iron ore Read more

The great outsourcing story used to be from Europe to India (IT) and China (manufacturing). But now southeast Asian countries are the preferred destination, and not just for western companies. India and China are outsourcing to their Asean neighbours too.

That’s according to Adecco, the world’s largest provider of HR services, which says its clients increasingly want to hire in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Read more

A toxic chemical leak at a Samsung plant in South Korea killed one worker and injured others, renewing concerns about safety at the technology giant.

Much like many of its manufacturing peers, the South Korean chaebol has already faced a series of accusations that it has failed to protect workers both at home in South Korea and abroad at its China factories. Read more

The hoardes of tourists flocking to Bangkok’s temples and bars and to island resorts beyond tell the story of Thailand’s remarkable comeback from the impact of devastating floods in 2011 and violent street clashes in 2010.

So, too, does the charmed performance of Thailand’s stock market, among the best performing markets in Asia last year, as well as record inward foreign investment, roaring bond market and robust economic growth after a miserable zero per cent growth in 2011. Read more

China has approved the first batch of cross-border renminbi loans with Hong-Kong-based banks lending a total of Rmb2bn ($320m) to companies in the ultra-modern Qianhai district of Shenzhen.

The scheme is part of Beijing’s programme to gradually liberalise the currency and China’s financial system. As China Daily reported on Tuesday, “Qianhai is a $45 billion ‘mini-Hong Kong’ project approved in June to test, among other things, freer yuan use and capital account convertibility.” Read more

Tuesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: as Brazil tools-up its military, western arms companies seek to cash in; Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan softens his tone; Gazprom’s strong-arm tactics towards the Ukraine may backfire; plus, Chinese crony capitalism’s lethal consequences. Read more

Poland’s economy grew by 2 per cent last year, the government’s statistical agency reported on Tuesday morning, a dramatic slowdown from the 4.3 per cent growth noted in 2011, but slightly better than the 1.9 per cent consensus estimate.

The largest factor in eking out even that small rate of growth came from exports, with domestic demand essentially flatlining, and investments in durable goods rising by only 0.6 per cent compared to a 9 per cent increase the year before. Read more

Another day, another big writedown on a mega mining project. On Tuesday it was the turn of Anglo American, which announced a $4bn charge on Minas Rio, its troubled Brazilian iron ore scheme.

With group having signalled its intentions well in advance, the shares barely moved in early trading in Johannesburg. But the lack of shock won’t necessarily make the shareholders feel better about the money they’ve lost. It’s an expensive reminder of the challenges that will face Mark Cutifani when he takes over as chief executive from the departing Cynthia Carroll. Read more