By Anders Heede of BDO
Many emerging markets, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, have seen solid GDP growth in the past decade driven mainly by natural resources. But with falling commodity prices and Chinese demand dwindling, those with overly resource-dependent economies are being caught. Companies seeking to invest in emerging markets should be on the lookout for those countries that have invested in diversifying their economies. That will often mean having Ethiopia on their shortlist. Read more
By Hugo Brennan, Verisk Maplecroft
When the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) launches its economic integration project in December this year, it could provide the region with the impetus to become a key emerging market powerhouse. However, the 10 country grouping needs to overcome several significant hurdles if the proposed ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is to succeed in freeing up trade and commerce between member states.
Chief among these is ASEAN’s institutional weakness, which is hampering efforts to bring together diverging national interests and counteract economic protectionist sentiment in key members, such as Indonesia. Many countries in the bloc also face difficult political realities on the domestic front which have the potential to divert attention away from the goal of integration. The success of the AEC will hinge on these factors, but whether it prospers or flounders, foreign businesses in the region will face a changing investment landscape that they need to be prepared for. Read more
If there’s one thing that central banks like, it is being independent. But EM central bankers’ decisions are currently being made with the influence of their developed economy counterparts looming large over them.
Many central banks in emerging markets are still in easing mode. The People’s Bank of China cut rates by 25 basis points, effective March 1, while a few days later India made the second of two cuts this year outside its normal meeting cycle. But with the dollar soaring, the Fed apparently still on track to raise rates for the first time in June, and the market’s attention focusing on the large stock of dollar-denominated corporate debt issued by emerging markets, further cuts are likely to get riskier as time goes on. Read more
A Pemex oil rig ©Getty
International oil companies are “polygamous” by nature, says Iván Sandrea, chief executive of Sierra Oil & Gas, the first Mexican exploration company to be formed since the country’s sweeping reform of the sector to open it to private investment.
So one thing the former Statoil executive is not happy about is the government’s insistence that bidders in the two tenders so far launched can belong to only one consortium. “I’ve never seen this in other countries,” he says. Read more