Daily Archives: Feb 20, 2013

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? Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

* Bulgaria: government quits; snap elections likely amid economic gloom

* Foxconn freezes recruitment in China

* Inflation fears spark Indian general strike Read more

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. Read more

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 priceRead more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

The youth of India will rejoice. Their bank accounts will drain. And Zara will mourn.

Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) is coming to India. Read more

Zhou Xiaochan, China's central bank governorEvery indication has been given – short of an actual announcement – that Zhou Xiaochuan’s tenure as Chinese central bank governor will come to an end soon. Last month he turned 65, the official retirement age. A book of his selected speeches has been published. And state-run newspapers have written paeans to his accomplishments.

Zhou (pictured) is the longest-serving governor in the history of the People’s Bank of China and he presided over a decade that produced exceptionally fast growth and low inflation. So, he leaves big shoes to fill. Just who is likely to succeed him? Read more

Renault/Nissan plant, Chennai

India’s current account data for the quarter ending last December do not come out until next month, but plenty of analysts fear they will be even worse than the most recent set, which revealed a record gap of 5.4 per cent of gross domestic product.

As I argue in this morning’s Inside Asia column in the FT, India now needs to find much more foreign direct investment, to fund what seems certain to be a period of historically high current account deficits over the next 5 years.

If anything, the situation is even worse than it looks on the surface, given the type of FDI India now receives isn’t what its economy really needs. Read more

* China’s foreign oil output surges

* Samsung bullish on premium TVs

* China military linked to hacking attacks Read more