Daily Archives: Feb 14, 2013

Uruguay provides many things to many Argentines but perhaps they can be summed up as follows: beaches, banks and business.

This relationship has long been mutually beneficial – Argentines get access to the dollar and holidays that are this year cheaper than usual as Uruguayans seek to lure Argentines despite foreign exchange controls, while Uruguay gets money flowing in and investment.

But are the ties that bind getting too close for comfort? Read more

No sooner did Venezuela’s government spring a devaluation last week than critics seized on the move as an IMF-style “neoliberal” reform package, of the kind Hugo Chávez had warned the “fascist” opposition would have implemented had they won presidential elections last year.

Well, the socialist government devalued the currency anyway, as everyone knew they would, but it insists that Venezuela’s absurdly generous (some might say wasteful) petrol subsidies will not be cut – not even for citizens of the US “empire”. Read more

Apple’s loss of the right to use its iPhone trademark in Brazil might look unjust.

After all, everyone knows the iPhone is one of the US giant’s most cherished products. But there is much more to the dispute than meets the eye. Read more

Some people slow down when they hit their 70s. Not Jorge Paulo Lemann. Just as Brazil shakes off its hangover from Carnival comes news that the 73-year-old deal-maker, who pulled off the country’s biggest overseas acquisition in the form of Inbev’s $52bn merger with Anheuser Busch, is on the hunt again, this time for Heinz. Read more

Any thoughts that South African mining production might start picking up after the strikes and urest of last year will have to stay on hold.

The figures for December are in, and after the slight improvement in November (a revised fall of 3.8 per cent year-on-year), it’s back down we go. Production fell 7.5 per cent, almost as bad as October’s 8.1 per cent and worse than the 7.3 per cent drop of September. Read more

It may be true that bond investors will buy any old junk in exchange for yields these days but they can at least, it seems, tell one issuer from another.

After Hungary raised $3.25bn on Wednesday, including $2bn in a 10-year bond yielding 5.4 per cent, it was Romania’s turn on Thursday, selling $1.5bn in a 10-year bond yielding 4.5 per cent. Read more

It doesn’t take much familiarity with global property markets to work out that the concept of risk-free real estate development is, well, pure fantasy. Investment risk is like death and taxes: unavoidable, isn’t it?

Perhaps not if the interest in a planned secondary offering and capital expansion by Turkey’s Emlak Konut is anything to go by. The sale is worth noting given that Emalk’s’s unusual business model has to a large extent done the seemingly impossible – eliminated most the risk associated with the development of the mega housing projects required to meet the needs of Turkey’s growing population and booming economy, but not at the expense of profitability. Read more

Gazprom has rejected an appeal by Kiev to renegotiate its gas supply contract, insisting Ukraine must pay it $7bn for unused gas, writes Guy Chazan.

The uncompromising stance will stoke fears that the dispute between Russia’s state controlled energy giant and its biggest foreign customer could escalate into the kind of trade war that disrupted the supply of Russian gas to Europe in 2006 and 2009. Read more

Source: company

Sebastian Mikosz is a man in a hurry.

Only four days after taking over Poland’s Lot Airlines, the new chief executive (who also headed the company in 2009-10) is racing to turn around the loss-making flag carrier as quickly as possible and to put the government-owned airline on the market before the end of this year. Read more

The numbers are in and they’re not pretty.

Growth in central Europe is only at a sluggish 0.8 per cent – lower than any time since the depths of the economic crisis in 2009. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

Oh dear. In spite of all the rousing speeches and upbeat forecasts, the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and strategic agreements between the government and whichever company is prepared to swallow pride and sign up – yes, even in spite of the very real boost to growth from the expanding automotive sector – the harsh results of prime minister Viktor Orban’s revolution at the ballot box in 2010 and subsequent 33 months of unorthodox economic policies are becoming all too apparent. Read more

Inflation is slowing unexpectedly fast in India, according to figures published on Thursday.

The wholesale price index (WPI) – India’s main measure of prices – was just 6.62 per cent year-on-year in January, slowing from the December rate of 7.18 per cent from and 7.23 per cent in January 2012. Read more

* Rio Tinto hit by biggest ever loss

* Teenager killed in Bahrain protest clashes

* Indonesia president’s family tightens grip on stumbling ruling party Read more

As Philipp Hildebrand explained in Tuesday’s FT, there is no such thing as a global currency war. But – as John Paul Rathbone outlined the next day – that hasn’t prevented the spread of currency fears across Latin America.

Policy makers have faced those fears in different ways. Munir Jalil and Jose Vicente Romero of Citi Research argue that Colombia has turned to some fancy accounting. Read more

Thursday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: 12 cents a gallon petrol, $12 hamburgers and Venezuela’s currency politics; the EU should get Turkey’s membership push back on track; Tullow Oil’s identity crisis; Chevron runs into trouble in Argentina; plus, how much of a concern is India’s trade deficit? Read more

China’s economy has grown at 8 per cent and more each year over the last decade, but much of that has been fuelled by debt. Michael Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University and author of ‘The Great Rebalancing’ explains to emerging markets editor Stefan Wagstyl the problems facing China as it rebalances its economy from one driven by state investment.

As expected, the Bank of Korea left its policy interest rate unchanged at 2.75 per cent a year on Thursday, citing the country’s gradual economic recovery, even though South Korean exporters are battling strong headwinds from the weaker Japanese yen.

There had been expectations that the central bank might cut rates to boost economic growth and help curb the won’s appreciation against the dollar and the yen. But Kim Choong-soo, BoK governor, said interest rates were already accommodative and, in any event, there was no clear relationship between interest rates and exchange rates in Korea. Read more

* GDP data reveal Japan mired in recession

* Syria spokesman surfaces after disappearance

* Saudi princes fail to keep court case secret Read more

It is not often in the world of Carlos Slim that things go wrong. The Mexican businessman and the world’s richest man has built his huge fortune on astute decisions, calculated risk-taking and, above all, impeccable timing.

So it is hardly surprising that comments started flying on Wednesday when the share price of América Móvil tanked. The stock ended the day’s trading at 14.16 pesos in Mexico City, a loss of more than 10 per cent and the steepest one-day fall in at least four years. Read more