Daily Archives: Feb 5, 2013

So will Carlos Slim write off the €1.7bn that he has spent by taking a 28 per cent stake last year in KPN, the now troubled Dutch telecoms group?

KPN’s decision to stage a €4bn rights issue puts Slim’s América Móvil in a quandary. Should it put up more money to maintain its percentage stake or stay put and swallow its pride as well as its losses? Read more

Venezuela, the birthplace of “21st century socialism”, is a land of anomalies. Here’s a great example: on Monday we learned that the capital of the socialist state, Caracas, is the most expensive city in the Americas, and the ninth priciest in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)Read more

Source: Jockey Plaza

Millionaires might seem like chump change in this age of trillion-dollar deficits and billion-dollar bailouts.

But in Peru, new millionaires are just another indicator of the kind of strong economic growth that prompted the International Monetary Fund to brand the Andean economy shock-resistant. A reverse canary-down-the-mine, if you will. Read more

Jim O'NeillIt’s the end of an era. Jim O’Neill, aka Mr Bric, is retiring from Goldman Sachs later this year, the bank said in a surprise announcement on Tuesday.

A larger-than-life figure who made a big impression wherever he went, be it in the foreign exchange trading room where he started his financial career or at Manchester United, the football club he has long supported and once tried to buy. Professionally, he will always be associated with Goldman Sachs, where he rose to be chief economist and later chairman of its asset management arm. Read more

By Ben Aris of bne

The management of Russia’s MICEX exchange arrived in London on Tuesday on a roadshow ahead of its IPO on Feburary 15. What they are selling is not just a stock exchange but a diversified business that is in many ways unique.

Widely seen as Russia’s leading stock exchange, MICEX is actually a unusually diversified business for an exchange, which means it has managed to earn steadily increasing profits that have been largely unaffected by the 2008 crisis, let alone the notorious volatility that plagues portfolio investors into Russian stocks. Read more

It’s been a messy fight with violent protests and hostile exchanges between the parties. Monday’s announcement of a farmworkers wage hike may cool some temperatures for now, but the battle is far from over.

Labour minister Mildred Oliphant said the new minimum wage level will increase to R105 per day, up from the current R69. Some workers welcomed the news, but made it clear they still want to put up a fight for their initial demand of R150 per day. Read more

The hunt for a new chief for Poland’s troubled Lot airlines has put two jobs on the line – one being the prospective CEO, the other being that of Mikolaj Budzanowski, the embattled treasury minister who is under fierce political pressure to stop Lot’s losses.

The airline’s previous boss, Marcin Pirog, was fired in December after the airline revealed unexpected losses and had to turn to the government for a 400m zlotys ($130m) bailout. In all, the airline may need as much as 1bn zlotys in help to survive. Read more

Randgold chief executive Mark Bristow has criticised a “disturbing” tendency among African governments to increase taxes and regulations on mining investors, as the company disputes its tax bill with the Malian government.

The chief executive of the FTSE 100 gold mining company, which has operations in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast made his statement at the Mining Indaba conference currently taking place in Cape Town. He claimed that revisions to mining laws risked deterring investment on the continent. Read more

Russia’s inflation rate climbed above 7 per cent in January dimming the prospects of an early interest rate reduction despite pressure from the Kremlin for cuts.

The consumer price index rose by 7.1 per cent year-on-year, from 6.6 per cent in December, due to increases in food and public transport prices, and in sales taxes. Read more

What kind of financial results would you expect from a grounded airline with piles of debt and a fuming workforce? Grisly ones, of course.

So Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant billionaire tycoon behind India’s Kingfisher Airlines, must have hoped investors would assume he was taking one manfully on the chin when the company announced an after-tax loss of Rs7.55bn ($140m) for the quarter ending on December 31, 2012. Not manfully enough, according to his auditors. They say the real loss should have been Rs10.9bn. Read more

Picture: Katrina Manson

Pupils at a school on the green slopes of Mount Kenya no longer have eyes for the blackboard. Instead they are transfixed by a $500 tablet.

Belinda, 19, touches the screen gingerly and is amazed to discover an icon that allows her to film herself within seconds of her first touch of a computer. So speedy is the take-up of tech know-how in Kenya’s first “white space” rural broadband pilot scheme, its backers hope the idea could one day be copied throughout the continent. Read more

While Chinese filmmakers, bloggers and government officials are pondering how a low-budget comedy dismissed by many as senseless hullabaloo could end up as the country’s best-ever grossing movie, the film itself is on its way into US cinemas.

‘Lost in Thailand’ will start showing on Friday in 29 theatres of AMC, the second-largest cinema company in America. Read more

China consumes 43 per cent of the world’s instant noodles, runs 61 per cent of its toll roads and produces 90 per cent of its PCs. But with 19 per cent of the global population, its share of health spending is only 6 per cent.

These and other fascinating facts are collated in a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report out this week. And behind the gee-whiz numbers, there’s a serious purpose: to see how China might change over the next decade or so. Read more

* Indonesia’s 2012 growth hits 6.2%

* China pumps $72bn into money markets

* India’s central bank tightens rules on banks’ low-coupon bond buys Read more

Foreign investors are selling out of South Korea as the stronger won threatens to cut earnings of major exporters. Although global funds are flowing into emerging markets amid higher risk appetite triggered by signs of economic recovery in the US and China, South Korea is bucking the trend as the won’s strength allows foreign investors to take profits from Korean securities.

Overall, foreign investors sold a net Won2.84tn ($2.6bn) of Korean securities last month, the biggest monthly figure since December 2011. Read more

Ukraine’s financially-stretched government has capitalised on high global liquidity, raising an additional $1bn to a 10-year eurobond that it sold last November.

Kiev bought time as talks with the International Monetary Fund on $15bn bailout programme appear set to drag on for weeks, possibly longer. Read more

Tuesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: shareholders are justifiably wary of Yum! Brands; concerns about an EM debt bubble grow; Foxconn’s union vote will help the Communist party ease social tensions; the bad timing of the general elections for Kenya’s flower farms; the scale of Rio’s pre-Olympics crime challenge; plus, Papua New Guinea’s mining boom. Read more

What’s driving the Russian economy? If you believe it’s just oil and gas, think again. There’s a big consumer story going on, and it’s being overlooked.

That’s the message of a new report by Sberbank, a Russian bank, which argues that the extractive industries are overshadowing a sizable middle-class spending story that will make Russia Europe’s biggest consumer market and the fourth biggest in the world by 2020. Read more

The top line in Indonesia 2012 gross domestic product figures published on Tuesday is clearly positive - GDP rose by 6.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year and by 6.2 per cent in the year as a whole.

That was down on 2011’s 6.5 per cent but only slightly, with strong domestic consumption offsetting weaker commodity exports. But there was a worrying drop in investment growth. If that continues as the 2014 presidential election approaches there could be trouble. Read more

By Julian Dierkes of University of British Columbia

With the increased level of interest the world has taken in Mongolia given its blistering economic growth rate, resource nationalism is mentioned more and more often as a threat. But what exactly is this resource nationalism?

In Mongolia there is a parade of ideologies and slogans that are being lumped into the category of resource nationalism. They range from the obscure fringes of blood-line focused nationalism to the concerns of dedicated and serious politicians who are genuinely grappling with the challenges that rapid, almost instant, economic growth on the basis of a resource boom is bringing with it. Lumping these different streams together into a single category suggests that there is a coherent ideology that unites them. This is not the case. Read more