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Stefan Wagstyl

Stefan Wagstyl was the FT's emerging markets editor and first beyondbrics editor. He is heading to Berlin as the FT's bureau chief. He has been covering emerging markets for over 20 years, and was previously central and east Europe editor, New Delhi bureau chief, and Tokyo bureau chief for the FT.

Dear readers,

After three years as editor of beyondbrics, I have been appointed the FT’s Berlin bureau chief and am leaving the bb team. I want to thank everyone who has come to our site and read our stories, as well as all those who have contributed comments and guest posts, or sent us reports, links and other material. Read more

Najib Razak, PM of MalaysiaFresh from an election victory, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak (pictured) was full of new-term enthusiasm when he visited the Financial Times this week, speaking of his plans to push his country into the ranks of the developed world by 2020.

He didn’t say it would be easy but it may be harder than he expects, given the slowdown in the world economy: trade figures published on Friday showed a 5.8 per cent drop exports in May, nearly double forecasts of around 3.0 per cent and April’s 3.3 per cent decline. Read more

A drop in the Russian inflation rate could pave the way nicely for an interest rate cut later this month.

Consumer prices grew 6.9 per cent in June, the slowest annual rate this year, down from 7.4 per cent in May, the Federal Statistics Service announced on Thursday. The rouble held firm on the news – rising 0.5 per cent against a weak euro and staying flat against the US dollar. Read more

If you still think that markets move in cycles, this could be a good time to buy emerging market equities.

So says Richard Titherington, Chief Investment Officer for emerging market equities at JPMorgan Asset Management. You may lose money in the next three months, as the turmoil in the market works itself out. But on a one-to-three-year view, emerging market shares look good value. Read more

Thursday’s picks: the silver lining in the EM sell-off, the gold plating on an Indian bus company sale, and hard grind for China’s job-hunting graduates. Also, a tough test for Egypt’s generals and for South African labour union leaders. Read more

A China slowdown, plunging commodity prices and the looming end of QE. A perfect storm, you might think, for Malaysia – a commodity-producing country that exports to China and benefited handsomely from QE-fuelled cash that washed through emerging markets.

But that’s not the view of prime minister Najib Razak, who plays down the threats to growth coming from the world economy. As a leader fresh from an election victory, his confidence is understandable. But is it misplaced? Read more

Kazakhstan seems to have overcome its initial doubts and has decided to increase its stake in the giant Kashagan oil field.

So, ConocoPhillips will not be selling its 8.4 per cent stake in the offshore Caspian Sea project to India’s ONGC Videsh as planned since last year. Instead, as announced on Tuesday, Kazakhstan will use its pre-emption rights and put the stake in the hands of state-controlled KazMunaiGas (KMG). The price? $5bn, same as India would have paid. Read more

Erste Group has raised €660m of capital a week after announcing plans to issue shares to repay the emergency funding it received during the financial crisis.

The Austrian bank placed 35.2m shares with institutional investors on Monday night. The money will be used to pay back the €1.76bn in non-voting participation capital Erste issued to boost its financial strength during the financial crisis in 2009.

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Billionaire Roman Abramovich has resigned as chairman of the legislature of the remote Russian region of Chukotka, to comply with a new law banning officials from owning foreign securities and bank accounts.

But that won’t be the end of his long-standing commitment to the frozen wastes of Chukotka and their population of 50,000. As the state website reported on Tuesday, Abramovich “will continue to participate in the life of the Chukotka Autonomous District. In particular, he will continue to implement a number of major regional business projects that will significantly increase the region’s future tax base.” Having got their oligarch, the good citizens of Chukotka aren’t letting him go. Read more

With violence on the streets of Egypt coming hot on the heels of the public protests in Brazil and Turkey, it takes a brave man to write a report entitled: “EM is not much riskier than DM”.

But Simon Quijano-Evans of Commerzbank has done just that – arguing that while young populations put emerging markets at greater risk of political upheavals they also provide the energy that will power developing economies into the future while the developed world is held by back by the burdens of debt and old age. It’s probably true in the long run, but for a leader like Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi it’s the next few days that matter. Read more

With the MSCI EM index dead flat at the time of writing on Monday, it’s fair to say that a bit of stability has returned to the market.

So, with the index down 13 per cent this year, is it a time to buy? Not necessarily, says Dan Morris, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management: China and other big markets are down for a reason, while sorting the wheat from the chaff in the rest of the big barn of EM equities is as hard as ever. Read more

One effect of the recent turmoil in China’s financial markets is that investors are no longer surprised by gloomy news on the economic outlook.

Chinese equities barely flinched after the announcement of the official purchasing managers’ index for June and the final version of HSBC’s PMI for the same period. Even though both pointed stagnating growth in China’s factories, the often-volatile Chinese stock market was almost unmoved, with the Shanghai Composite index closing 0.8 per cent up. Read more

To nobody’s great surprise, Russia on Thursday revealed that it was cutting in half its target for privatisation revenues for 2014-16.

The government blamed the financial markets. But the truth is that Russian assets are hard to sell at the best of times. The country needs the economic reforms that president Vladimir Putin has often spoken about, including at the recent St Petersburg Economic Forum, but has so far largely failed to deliver. Read more

Top of the world…no more

In the far-off days before the global crisis, there were as many as five Chinese companies in the world’s top ten by market valuation. Now there are none.

Even though the Chinese economy is about 75 per cent larger than it was at the end of 2007, the poor performance of the country’s stock market has held back its companies’ advance in the world rankings. Meanwhile, the surge in US equities has propelled American companies back to global dominance. Despite the continuing emergence of emerging markets, all 10 of the top 10 are American. Read more

Nebuchadnezzar's Lion

After over a decade of endeavour, the grand Nabucco pipeline plan seems doomed. On Wednesday, Austria’s OMV, one of the principal partners, revealed that the consorium has lost the battle to bring Azeri gas from the Caspian Sea to central Europe. Baku is expected to announce on Friday that the contract will go instead to TAP, a modest rival scheme, which will supply southern Europe.

For the EU, which loudly backed Nabucco, it’s a political setback in its wide-ranging effort to reduce EU dependence on imported Russia gas. But it’s not a total defeat – Azeri gas will still come to the EU, only in smaller volumes. So the EU’s energy security will still benefit. Read on for the full story from the FT’s James Shotter.

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