Daily Archives: Feb 7, 2013

According to its vice-president of finance, Fernando González, “2012 was a year of recovery for Cemex”.

It was, but the recovery still faces a long slog, judging by the fourth quarter results reported on Thursday by the Mexican cement and building materials giant. Read more

It is the ultimate in risk versus return. Hunters of investment exotica are heading to Africa, where some of the world’s riskiest markets are enjoying big gains.

After trailing behind more mainstream markets for the better part of a decade, so-called frontier markets as defined by index provider MSCI have climbed more than 8 per cent already this year – outpacing both emerging and developed stock markets.

 Read more

For some months now Cognizant Technology Solutions, the US company which operates mostly in India, has been providing stiff competition for the big names in Hindustani IT services.

But following a string of unexpectedly good earnings reports from the likes of Infosys and Wipro, Cognizant published its figures on Thursday. And this time, it’s not so far ahead. Read more

Californian oil major Chevron has given the go-ahead to a $5.6bn development project of an Angolan offshore oil field which will be the company’s second largest investment in African crude to date after its Agbami field in Nigeria.

The Mafumeira Sul project, run through Chevron’s subsidiary Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, is scheduled to begin production in 2015, and will eventually pump 110,000 barrels of crude oil per day from five new platforms, Chevron said. Read more

The shale revolution has been bad for Gazprom but good for another Russian oil and gas company. TMK has grown into one of the world’s top three steel pipe suppliers as oil majors drill deep into the earth’s crust for non-conventional energy supplies.

Controlled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpansky (pictured), TMK produces about 4m tonnes a year of steel pipe at plants in Russia , North America, Europe and the Middle East. Read more

The US has this week formally complained that India’s national solar programme, which requires developers to use only domestically-produced modules and cells, contravenes global trade rules.

But far away from the emerging trade dispute, Indian companies and their partners are powering ahead with innovative solar schemes, even if the local content rules restrict the import of foreign solar technology. Take for example, solar-powered greenhouse-generators. Read more

Poland doesn’t have many storied companies dating back to the country’s early industrialisation but one of the few is Hipolit Cegielski, a Poznan company focussed on building ship engines, which is now being sold by the treasury ministry. Read more

Is inflation getting out of control in Brazil? The national statistics office said on Thursday that consumer prices rose by 0.86 per cent in January, bringing the annual rate to 6.15 per cent. That’s up from 5.84 per cent in December and heading closer to the upper limit of the government’s tolerance range of 6.5 per cent, two percentage points above its inflation target.

The target, it seems, has been forgotten. And if industrial production figures out this week are any guide, it is unlikely to be remembered any time soon. Read more

Euroclear on Thursday finally started the long-awaited direct settlement of Russian rouble-denominated government bonds.

The launch seemed to go smoothly, though there was no surge in prices or volumes to mark the event. With investors having had months to take positions in anticipation of the happy day, they had little reason to change their views. Read more

* India predicts decade-low growth amid inflation risks

* Nigeria’s opposition merges in bid to unseat ruling party

* Emerging stocks drop to five-week low as China developers slump Read more

In recent years, commentators have cited the strong yen and anaemic domestic growth as key drivers of surging investment by Japanese companies in southeast Asia.

With the yen having weakened by over 10 per cent against the dollar since prime minister Shinzo Abe was elected in December with a mandate to re-inflate the moribund Japanese economy, will the tide of Japanese investment into Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam recede? Read more

Grim news for investors in Korean banks: their profitability has fallen to the lowest level since the 2008/09 global financial crisis.

Korean banks reported Won9tn ($8.2bn) in combined net profits last year, a drop of 23.2 per cent from a year earlier, as their net interest margin – a key measure of banks’ profitability – fell to 2.1 per cent, its lowest level of the past decade apart from the crisis years, according to the country’s financial watchdog. Read more

Just like Christmas in the West, Lunar New Year is a big shopping feast in China. In the race for consumers’ attention, 360buy, the country’s biggest online retailer, has come up with a marketing coup that targets the affluent and the cost-conscious at the same time.

In a special smartphone sales campaign headlined “a thousand reasons to buy a new phone”, the website uses a collage of different consumer products to describe one day in the lives of two very different characters – the man-about-town and the loser. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: how Cyprus became Russia’s offshore haven; the scramble for arctic oil; Foxconn unions show China is no longer cheap, but wages aren’t everything; Singapore’s banks still provide the best access to Asean markets; plus, getting the best out of the EM commodities boom. Read more

After a disappointing 2012, Daimler is predicting a modest sales recovery in 2013, with emerging markets in the driving seat.

The company, which on Thursday unveiled patchy annual results, is hoping that a recent revamp of its Chinese operations, combined with a pick-up in the Chinese car market, will make a big difference in the coming years. It needs to – rivals Audi and BMW have left Daimler trailing in China, the world’s largest single marketRead more

How slow can India’s GDP growth go? On Thursday, the government announced a revised estimate for the fiscal year ending in March of just 5 per cent, the lowest in a decade.

That implies that, after reported growth in the first six months of around 5.4 per cent, the second six months are likely to see an increase of 4.6 per cent. This will increase the pressure on the government for action just as it is preparing for next year’s parliamentary elections. Worse, it will revive old doubts about the deep-rooted barriers to sustainable rapid growth in India. Read more

* Tunisian leader dissolves government

* ISS deals blow to Rothschild over Bumi

* Rebels intensify attack on Damascus Read more

Dollars and yen piling upRemember the yen carry trade? Sure you do: when lots of smart people took advantage of Japan’s low interest rate to borrow and then invest in currencies with higher interest rates? (Ah, that carry trade.)

Well, with Japan’s new aggressive monetary stance, it’s back (in a way). And that should force EM currencies to appreciate, as before, shouldn’t it?

Perhaps not, according to Bhanu Banweja of UBS. Read more