Daily Archives: Feb 19, 2013

The invasion of Central America by Colombia’s major financial groups rumbled on on Tuesday after Bancolombia, the country’s leading bank, snapped up HSBC’s operations in Panama for $2.1bn. Read more

Last Christmas, you could not have moved on Rua Vinte Cinco de Março, the busy market street in São Paulo, so crowded was it with festive season shoppers. Indeed, it seemed all of Brazil was out shopping last year.

So it may come as a surprise then that retail sales in Brazil in December were below expectations. Instead of the monthly increase of 0.8 per cent forecast by the market compared with November, retail sales rose only 0.5 per centRead more

Turkey’s central bank specialises in Solomonic decisions. Like the Biblical Jewish king, the bank’s approach to thorny monetary and financial questions is to give a bit to both sides in a dispute. The question, is, however, whether it cuts in equal halves. Read more

A stable democracy, rule of law, rapid economic growth and almost all the other tick-boxes, plus new oil discoveries, have won Ghana a lot of fans lately.

So it’s worth paying attention to anything which goes against the sunny narrative (leaving aside its continued under-performance in the Africa Cup of Nations, which can now almost be taken as given). This comes in the form of two recent reports from rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s.
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By Humayun Shahryar of Auvest Capital Management

While the world is focused on the ongoing currency war, not enough attention is being paid to the rise in global protectionism. The number of trade disputes at the World Trade Organization in 2012 is estimated to be more than in 2010 and 2011 combined, with the G20 countries accounting for 80 per cent of the protectionist measures. While the recent stock market rally, resolution of the US fiscal cliff and the perceived easing of the European crisis may have taken attention away from falling global demand and slowing economic growth, a sharp rise in protectionism is on the cards in the coming months as governments react to rising unemployment, growing income inequality and slowing economic growth. Read more

Last September, the Indian government unveiled a reform agenda designed to build investor confidence. Foreign institutional investors have sent Indian stocks soaring in response.

But it seems private equity investors are more difficult to convince. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

Rosneft teamed up with western oil majors to explore in the Russian Arctic last year and is now turning east in the search for more foreign partners. Igor Sechin, chief executive, will hold oil and gas talks in Japan on Tuesday on the final leg of a far eastern tour that has taken him to South Korea and China. Read more

* China military linked to hacking attacks

* Amplats suspends production after clashes

* Mining industry hit by ‘capital strike’ Read more

Belle Grande, the $1bn Manila casino resort to be managed by Melco Crown Entertainment, won’t open its doors until near the end of the year. But the Macau gaming company is already poised to make big gains from a newly acquired, listed vehicle for its Philippine casino. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

Taiwan’s exports in January may have stalled but at least one important source of income has continued to show strong growth: mainland Chinese tourists.

The number Chinese tourists visiting the island during last week’s Lunar New Year, a key holiday in the Chinese world, rose 32 per cent from last year’s new year festival. Those mainland visitors, banned until as recently as 2008, are an important support for Taiwan’s weak economy, even if not everyone is happy with how newly-crowded some of Taiwan’s top tourists sites now are. Read more

Tuesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team, featuring: more reasons to be skeptical of Chinese GDP data; the Turkey-Iran gold-gas trade; Cameron in travelling salesman mode in Mumbai; plus, a business defence of Jacob Zuma. Read more

Despite racking up huge debts, China’s local governments aren’t allowed to issue bonds to help pay them off. Although there is a small trial programme underway, the market is still effectively closed.

However, the ban doesn’t stretch to local government finance vehicles – LGFVs for short – which are technically corporations, even though they do the work of a government body. Bonds issued by LGFVs – called chengtou bonds – have been booming. Read more

In developed economies like the UK “old” has become “vintage”. In emerging India, “old” is still simply “old”. So while single-screen, independent cinemas are the fashionable choice for Londoners, moneyed Mumbaikars prefer a shiny new multiplex.

As in many markets, the rise of the multiplex has pushed many of India’s single-screen theatres into closure. But now in India, too, single-screen cinemas are staging a comeback – but one led by the mass market, not the rarefied few. Read more

* JBS distances itself from horsemeat scandal

* Stake sale marks latest twist in Bumi saga

* Violence breaks out at South African mine Read more