After a few weeks of mixed news on the economy, could it be that the government’s “salt bath” (or banho de sal grosso in Portuguese), which in Brazilian superstition is something one does to ward off bad luck, is yielding results?
Mozambique’s hopes of becoming one of the world’s biggest coal producers seem as distant as ever, with fresh reports of the same old problems emerging. Poor transport infrastructure is hitting the operations of multinationals, who have again been grumbling about the problem – which unfortunately doesn’t look like it will be fixed any time soon.
It looks like being a good year for Union Agriculture Group. While the name may not ring too many bells internationally, the Uruguayan agricultural powerhouse is one of the country’s top landowners, with sales posed to more than triple this year.
The company had planned to become the first Uruguayan group to list in New York, but had to scrub its $287.5m IPO in 2011 because of poor market conditions. However, it has now raised $110m to fund its development plans, and is positioning itself as a key company for investors in an attractive sector in Latin America: farming.
Lithuania’s central bank is moving quickly to clear up the country’s latest banking collapse after Ukio Bankas, the country’s sixth-largest lender by assets, was declared insolvent and had its licence terminated.
It is seeking buyers for Ukio’s operations, after its activities were suspended and an interim administrator appointed. Siauliu Bankas, one of Lithuania’s ten biggest banks, is the main contender to take over the assets, rights, transactions and liabilities.
Emerging European economies – particularly the four core central European states of Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – must invest more in education and innovation if they are to bring their living standards closer to those of their west European neighbours.
It’s onwards and upwards for Poland’s finance minister Jacek Rostowski. Prime minister Donald Tusk on Wednesday promoted the London-trained economist to deputy prime minister.
The move came amid a broader government reshuffle which saw Tusk appoint a new chief of staff and a new interior minister. Tusk said the changes reflected his government’s priorities, whatever that may mean. More likely, he wanted to show he was responding to recent signs of decline in his once-high popularity rankings.
Zambia announced on Wednesday that it had revoked the licences for a controversial Chinese-owned coal mine in the south of the country in response to violations of safety and environmental laws and a failure to pay mineral royalties.
Mining minister Yamfwa Mukanga said the government had taken over the mines and would operate them “until a suitable investor is found”. The decision highlights the sometimes troubled relationship between China and Zambia.
How hard is it for a multi-billionaire to donate half of his fortune to charity? Most of us will never know.
But if more rich people took this step, the world could become a “fairer” place, according to Victor Pinchuk (pictured). The billionaire businessman this week became the first Ukrainian to join the Giving Pledge launched by US billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – and promise to give away at least half his money.
A new alliance in the fast-moving world of stock exchange partnerships: the venerable Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has teamed up S&P Dow Jones Indices – and is marking the deal by giving its indices the prefix S&P.
* Bulgaria: government quits; snap elections likely amid economic gloom
* Foxconn freezes recruitment in China
* Inflation fears spark Indian general strike
Source: Tata Sons
JRD Tata (pictured) is known as the man who ran India’s largest conglomerate for 53 years. He was also the first person to qualify as a pilot in India and launched the country’s first carrier in 1932 – Tata Airlines – which was later nationalised.
Now, Tata Sons is going back to aviation.
Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, has imposed a recruitment freeze across almost all of its factories in China as it is cutting production of the iPhone 5.
The suspension in hiring by China’s largest private sector employer and the biggest assembler of Apple products is the first such countrywide move since the 2009 downturn induced by the financial crisis. It underscores the weakening demand for some Apple products, which has put pressure on the American company’s battered share price.
In 11 years as Russia’s central bank governor, Sergey Ignatyev has generally kept a low profile. But he seems to have decided to go out with a bang.
In a Vedomosti newspaper interview on Wednesday, he revealed that nearly $50bn was transferred out of Russia “illegally” in 2012 and more than half the money may have been controlled by a single group of people. That sounds vague. But it isn’t. In Russia, a single group of people could only operate on this scale with the knowledge of those in power. A brave man is Ignatyev.
Wednesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: what Tunisia’s newest airline demonstrates about business after the Arab Spring; why India’s iron ore exports have collapsed; an introduction to Brazilian private equity giants, 3G Capital; time for Beijing and Washington to come clean about cyber warfare; plus, Africa’s anti-Hummer.
The Bulgarian government resigned on Wednesday, throwing the country into political uncertainty and compounding concerns about the faltering economy.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced the move on morning television, after days of street protests, including bloody clashes between police and demonstrators outside parliament on Tuesday night. Borisov said: “Every drop of blood is a shame for us.”
A snap election and change of government are now on the cards.