What has Argentina’s holdout saga got to do with Monty Python?
Nothing, of course, but your correspondent could not help being reminded of this classic scene from The Life of Brian during the Second Circuit appeals court hearing in New York on Thursday. Except it wasn’t so much a question of who’s Brian, but who’s the victim here?
Ask anyone with a passing knowledge of Mexico’s oil industry and they will likely tell you that Cantarell, the miracle oil field discovered in 1976 by a local fisherman, was the best thing that ever happened.
Kenya’s two biggest banks by market capitalisation, Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), both reported solid full year earnings on Thursday, underlining strong growth potential for financial services in east Africa’s largest economy.
By Jan Cienski and Neil Buckley
The slowing Polish economy is due for a boost from the stabilisation of the eurozone, which “is no longer a house on the verge of collapse”, Jacek Rostowski, Poland’s finance minister, tells beyondbrics.
Alisher Usmanov, Megafon’s controlling shareholder, must be delighted with the decision to push ahead with the Russian mobile telephone operator’s initial public offering last November. Megafon shares – after reaching a record £28.68 on Thursday on the back of 2012 financial results – are now trading in London more than 44 per cent higher than at the time of the listing.
Western energy majors that are knocking on Ukraine’s door, hoping to profit from a potential shale gas bonanza, would be wise to study the sour experiences of US power giant AES.
The US-based company announced earlier this month that it had agreed to sell two regional electricity distributors – Kyivoblenergo and Rivneoblenergo – to a Russian group called VS Energy.
Slovenia’s political crisis has moved into a new phase after parliament ousted the centre-right government of prime minister Janez Janša and gave Alenka Bratusek (pictured), acting leader of the centre-left Positive Slovenia party, two weeks to win parliamentary approval for a new cabinet.
While the move creates an opportunity for Bratusek to forge the political stability Slovenia needs to tackle its mounting economic difficulties, there’s no guarantee of success. As Citigroup said in a note, “the key game-changer for the current political stalemate will be the formation of a new government.”
Hungary’s next central bank governor is expected to be named on Friday and György Matolcsy, finance minister, is the most hotly-tipped candidate. So Matolcsy’s weekly newspaper column on economics, society and culture attracted more than the usual amount of interest on Thursday when he used it to accuse foreign businesses and banks of orchestrating attacks on Hungary and to assert that a planned loan agreement with the IMF and EU would have destabilised the government and led Hungary into default.
By Saurabh Mukherjea of Ambit Group
When Manmohan Singh launched India’s economic reform programme as finance minister back in 1991, the country had a broken economic model, less than $1bn in foreign exchange reserves, a devalued currency, and a dire need for an IMF bailout.
Now Singh is prime minister and a lot else has changed, not least the economic model. But, as Thursday’s budget showed, the old resistance to structural reform is still very much alive.
This might have been a triumphant year for Croatia. Less than a decade and half after its war of independence, the country will join the EU in July, symbolically returning to the mainstream European fold after decades of authoritarianism and conflict.
But 2013 could well be yet another year in recession for the troubled Croatian economy. A flash estimate published on Thursday suggested that GDP had shrunk 2.0 per cent in the full year 2012 – and prompting forecasts of a grim 2013.
The plan is, in theory, to move from a 10-10-10 economy to a 5-5-5 one.
Not too long ago, Turkish officials were alarmed at an economy growing sometimes by an annual 10 per cent or more, with inflation to match and with a current account deficit at 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. It all looked unsustainable. Hence the push to bring inflation under control and limit the current account deficit, whilst maintaining reasonable GDP growth. Hence rough goal of 5 per cent growth, 5 per cent inflation and a 5 per cent current account deficit.
When news broke over the weekend that Indonesia’s president was proposing to move Agus Martowardojo, the highly regarded finance minister, to the less influential role of central bank governor, most political observers in Jakarta sensed dark forces at play.
Since replacing ousted fellow reformist Sri Mulyani Indrawati in 2010, Martowardojo had clashed on a number of occasions with vested interests in the political and business elite who were unhappy about his desire to keep a tight grip on the national purse-strings.
Shares in Strides Arcolab dropped 6.9 per cent on Thursday to Rs917.25, after the Bangalore-based pharmaceuticals company confirmed it is selling off its injectables unit at a lower-than-expected price.
There have been several rumoured buyers for the subsidiary, Agila Specialities, but it was announced on Wednesday that Mylan, the US generic drug producer, is to pay $1.6bn in cash for the business.
The South African rand plunged by as much as 2 per cent against the dollar on Thursday after the country posted a record trade deficit last month of R24.5bn ($2.8bn) – compared to R2.7bn in December and forecasts of around R10bn.
You know that a country’s tourism industry is really taking off when a Hilton hotel moves in – particularly when that country has faced years of US sanctions. The buzz on the sidelines of Myanmar’s first tourism industry conference this week in Yangon was about Hilton Worldwide’s landmark deal to manage a 300-room hotel in the tallest building in central Yangon: Centrepoint Towers.