Daily Archives: Jan 30, 2013

Enrique Peña Nieto’s clean-cut image is matched by his enthusiasm for transparency, a theme that ran through his election campaign and he has followed through while in power. The Mexican president and his Cabinet recently published audited statements of their personal income, properties and other assets. Read more

Guido Mantega, Brazilian finance ministerTrying to understand what Guido Mantega is up to can be exhausting, especially when it comes to his favourite topic: currency wars.

The real weakened early on Wednesday after Brazil’s finance minister warned the government was ready to correct any excessive moves in the exchange rate, adding that a weaker currency makes domestic industry more competitive. Read more

How much is the US’s expertise in developing shale gas and oil worth?

$1.7bn if you are Sinochem. The Chinese state-controlled oil and chemical conglomerate on Wednesday made its first foray into the US energy sector, snapping up a 40 per cent stake in a Texas shale oil and gas development from Pioneer Natural Resources. Read more

At a tough time for global steel markets, Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) has established itself as Russia’s largest steel producer after bringing on stream the country’s first new blast furnace since Soviet times.

But, with steel prices weak, the extra output isn’t generating as much cash as NLMK might have hoped. The group warned of an 8 per cent drop in fourth quarter revenues and a flat Q1 2013. Read more

“How to spend it?” is the question which bothers many a billionaire (one suspects), but an increasing number are opting to give it away instead. South Africa’s richest black man, Patrice Motsepe, has joined the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in opting to give away a good deal of his money to the cause of philanthropy. Read more

Persistent protests and violence, a state of emergency, an increasing funding crisis: Egypt is having a tough 2013 so far.

It’s not a surprise then, that rating agency Fitch downgraded the country from B+ to B on Wednesday, and kept the country on a negative outlook, meaning further downgrades could follow. Read more

Algeria, with its population of 37m, its energy wealth and growing demand for modern infrastructure and consumer products, could have been a spectacular venue for foreign investment and a great economic player in the southern Mediterranean, writes Borzou Daragahi.

But because of its past and its location, Algeria is one of the toughest places to do business. Its tangled postcolonial history has enthroned a secretive leadership atop a Byzantine bureaucracy resistant to change. Read more

UniCredit’s surprise announcement that it was selling a 9.1 per cent stake in Bank Pekao SA, its Polish subsidiary, went down like a lead balloon Wednesday on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The bank’s share price fell by more than 6 per cent before levelling out at a loss of 5.3 per cent, its worst performance in more than two years. Pekao’s Italian parent hopes to raise about $1.3bn in the sale, which would leave it with a 50.1 per cent stake in the Polish bank, the country’s second largest. Read more

Imagine an app that talks you through your yoga routine. Or an app that allows you to unlock your car, start the engine and turn on the air-conditioning remotely.

These are just two ideas developed by young south Indian entrepreneurs for the new BlackBerry 10, which launches this week.  Read more

Iraqi telecoms firm Asiacell’s $1.3bn initial public offering is the Middle East’s largest in four years.

There are also hopes the issue will mark a turning point in the history of post-Saddam Iraq, with the authorities seeking to broaden public share ownership throughout the country. But the buzz around the landmark event has not travelled far. Read more

As China, India and Indonesia become more wealthy, more of their consumers hard-earned cash could find its way overseas.

This is not about the most wealthy fleeing their homelands or investing their money abroad – but about what the massed ranks of an emerging middle class will buy for fun. Read more

Pioneer computer maker Apple is now most famous for phones and tablets. We may say the same of Lenovo one day, but not yet.

Lenovo may have made in-roads in the mobile phone market, but it is also vying with HP to be the world’s biggest PC maker. The company posted a record quarterly profit, up by a third from a year earlier. Can it really do both? What does it want to be? Read more

* Reliance issues $800m perpetual

* Emerging stocks head for best monthly streak in three years

* French troops enter last Mali rebel town Read more

A Dutch court ruled on Wednesday that a Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary, SPDC, was partly responsible for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, but rejected four of the five charges against the Anglo-Dutch group.

It looks like a victory for multinationals trying to limit their exposure to legal claims in far-off countries, and a setback for emerging market activists attempting to bring foreign parent companies to book. Read more

Reliance Industries has raised $800m via a perpetual bond with no penalty clause, the first Indian company to issue a “for life” perpetual as it seeks to exploit record low interest rates and strong demand for Asian credit.

 Read more

A new skirmish in the currency wars? South Korea is preparing to fight ‘speculative’ investors betting on the won, as the currency’s appreciation against the US dollar and the Japanese yen erodes Korean exporters’ competitiveness.

The won has weakened against the dollar this year, losing 2 per cent. But that was after a 4.6 per cent gain in the last three months of 2012. Against the yen, which is crucial for Korean exporters, the won is up 3.4 per cent this year, following a 16 per cent gain in Q4 2012. No wonder Seoul is sabre-rattling. Read more

Wednesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: Hungary’s possible new central bank governor gives investors the jitters; oil companies in north Africa prepare for troubled times; is the Sensex as good as it looks? Egypt’s Morsi is looking increasingly out of touch; plus, could China lift its ban on video games consoles? Read more

How do you get Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani, Rahul Bajaj of Bajaj Auto (both pictured left) and Infosys’ Kris Gopalakrishnan on the same team?

The answer, it seems, is to bring a little Washington to Delhi. The Brookings Institution, a highly-regarded think-tank, is opening an Indian affiliate, and many of India’s big names have signed up. Read more

Nicholas Watson of bne

John Chambers is true to his word. Just weeks after the Cisco Systems chief executive said he had written a blank cheque to beef up its security business, the US technology giant has acquired the Czech Republic’s little-known but highly promising Cognitive Security.

The deal is further proof of central and eastern Europe’s growing clout in technology, in particular cyber security. Read more

It’s not just the Japanese carmakers that have suffered from their country’s territorial dispute with China.

Canon, the camera and office equipment manufacturer, reported on Wednesday that its sales in China fell by more than 30 per cent last year due, as the company put it, to a “cooling off of demand in China during the latter half of the year”.

The Beijing-Tokyo spat compounded difficulties caused by weak economic growth in Europe, consumers switching from cameras to smartphones, and the strength of the yen. The group’s results – and its 2013 forecast – fell well short of analysts’ forecasts. Read more