Daily Archives: Jan 31, 2013

The brawl that broke out among opposition politicians in the Dominican Republic earlier this week may make for compelling video footage, as they hurl plastic chairs at each other and the occasional shot is fired.

But perhaps it’s a good thing these aren’t the people in charge of the Caribbean’s biggest economy. Even so, the market may be starting to re-evaluate its mild preference for the ruling party after the taste it seemed to show for resource nationalism this week. Read more

The US Department of Justice suit that aims to block the acquisition of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo by AB InBev, because it could deter competition, will strike a chord in Mexican drinkers’ thirsty throats.

Over the years, small regional breweries have been swallowed up in Mexico, until a duopoly controls 90 per cent of the market – Modelo on the one hand and, on the other, Cuauhtemoc-Moctezuma, which Heineken acquired a couple of years ago from the Monterrey-based bottling and retail group Femsa. Read more

Argentina’s unofficial foreign exchange rate – now nudging 8 pesos per dollar, a whopping 59 per cent higher than the official rate of close to 5, is not the only thing going up. Argentine equities are on a roll. Read more

General Electric on Thursday announced plans to invest close to $1bn in factories for the energy industry in Nigeria. Speaking at a ceremony in Abuja, GE chairman Jeff Immelt claimed it would create 2,300 jobs in the local economy and make Nigeria a regional manufacturing hub. Read more

What does Milos Zeman mean for business?

The Czech president-elect does not have much direct power over his country’s economic policy – except for nominating members of the Czech National bank responsible for setting interest rates (the first seat there comes free only in 2014) – but his victory in last weekend’s elections does have implications for business. Read more

It’s not often a story links Mexico and Azerbaijan. But here’s a hilarious tale of what went wrong when Baku put up a statue in Mexico City to its late lamented president, the former KGB boss Heydar Aliyev.

It comes courtesy of Slate. To read on, click hereRead more

The Nigerian oil industry faces a difficult 2013 as shale oil in the US takes an increasing share of the north American market. Togo-based Ecobank has said that Nigerian crude oil exports to the US could fall by over a quarter this year, from 800,000bpd in 2012 to as low as 580,000bpd in 2013. Read more

The online retail revolution that has sent Blockbuster, HMV and Comet to the wall in the UK is nowhere near as pronounced in Russia where digital shoppers account for only 2 per cent of total retail sales. But as increasing numbers of Russian consumers hook up to the internet, online sales are soaring and are expected to reach $25bn by 2014, according to McKinsey, the consulting company. Read more

By Andrey Kostin, CEO of VTB Bank

The risks and imbalances highlighted by the financial crisis prompted the introduction of Basel III. But as in Europe, in Russia this must be a gradual process.

Stricter regulation, even while constraining the “old” risks of imprudent lending, often creates new risks. Regulators must take care. Read more

The slowdown in Russia’s economy has been even greater than was feared. GDP data published on Thursday show the economy grew at just 3.4 per cent in 2012, down from 4.3 per cent a year earlier, and well short of forecasts of around 3.6 per cent.

It’s the lowest rate recorded since Vladimir Putin (pictured, right) first became prime minister in 1999, except for the global crisis year of 2009. Russia has grown much richer in the past decade, but sustained broad-based economic development remain elusive, as even prime minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) admitted. Read more

With confidence tanking across western economies, it’s no surprise that the world’s biggest consumer-facing industries have been looking elsewhere for growth. And it was more of the same for Diageo on Thursday, as it announced that its strongest sales and profits increases for the last half year came from developing countries.

The maker of Baileys and Guinness saw global sales grow 5 per cent to £6.04bn over the second half of 2012, with operating profits up 11 per cent to £2.05bn. But its fastest growth rates came from Africa and Latin America, as emerging consumers pour back its international spirit and local beer brands. Read more

Latin America has just got three more reasons to beat its chest. Unemployment has fallen to new or near-record lows in Brazil (4.6 per cent), Chile (6 per cent) and Colombia (10 per cent). No wonder the region’s domestic economies are powering along: have job, will spend. No wonder, also, that so many Europeans are beating a path to the new world in search of a job. Unemployment levels in Spain and Portugal are 26 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. Eat your heart out former “colonial masters”! Read more

By Justin Vela

With 4 per cent growth likely in 2013 and a young, educated population powering the economy forward, Turkey makes an attractive prospect for those seeking new horizons.

But entrepreneurs coming from abroad who don’t know how to navigate the market are likely to be frustrated. Two such arrivals tell beyondbrics their stories. Read more

* S Korea court jails prominent tycoon

* Chinese steel mills face tax pressure

* Thai billionaire weighs options for F&N Read more

A missed call from a friend is a coded request for you to ring back. From a daughter, a missed call could be an agreed signal that she is home safely. From a dabbawalla it means he’s arrived with your lunch.

This costless method of communication is used like a modern day Morse Code in India. And businesses are catching on – by some estimates, India’s missed call business is worth Rs5bn ($94m). Read more

Mining hasn’t been the flavour of the month for investors, with big writedowns from Rio Tinto and Anglo American. But it’s still a shock to witness the poor stock market debut of Chinalco Mining Corporation International, the copper company spun out of state-run Chinalco, China’s biggest aluminium group.

The shares slumped by up to 11 per cent in Hong Kong on Thursday, even though the IPO was priced in the middle of the indicative range and cornerstone investors bought nearly half the $400m offer. The stock later recovered but still closed 6.3 per cent down. Clearly the recent equities rally has not restored investors’ appetites for IPOs. Read more

For big emerging market companies, issuing perpetuals – bonds with no expiry – is rather trendy at the moment. Earlier this week, Reliance Industries became the first Indian company to raise capital this way, with a bond yielding under 6 per cent… forever.

But, a day later and markets seem not to like it much, suggesting that the unlove for Asian perpetuals may not be confined to Chinese property issuers. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: Mexico emerges from Brazil’s shadow as a LatAm economic powerhouse; India needs structural reforms to get back on track; China gains a western seaboard; Brazilian coffee farmers tame the market; plus, can Turkey grow green? Read more

As beyondbrics reported recently, Asian gaming keeps on rolling the dice, with rapid expansion of casinos on Macau’s Cotai strip, as well as in Manila.

Now Sands China, the Macau casino operator owned by US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has just released good numbers: The company saw a 52 per cent increase in fourth-quarter net profit as it benefited from an increase in visitors to its newest property in the territory. Read more

It’s always nice to finish the year on a high note. Taiwan’s GDP turned back up in the fourth quarter of 2012, registering 3.4 per cent growth and pulling up a lacklustre year to 1.25 per cent.

It’s a complete reversal from a year ago, when Q4 GDP was something of a sour note after a good year. So what does 2013 have in store? Read more