Global

Russia’s economy is heading for a deep recession this year. Brazil is stagnating and China’s dynamism is dissipating, helping to depress the prices of commodities that many developing countries produce. But in spite of such afflictions, analysts caution against thinking that a multi-year consumer bonanza in emerging markets (EM) is running out of steam.

The “biggest growth opportunity in the history of capitalism”, as McKinsey called EM consumer spending in a 2012 report, may suffer setbacks in some key markets this year, but overall the narrative is set to flourish as disinflation triggers interest rate cuts and low oil prices put more money into EM consumers’ pockets, analysts said. Read more

** FT News **

* Yahoo to spin off $40bn Alibaba stake | Marissa Mayer says split in fourth quarter of 2015 will be tax free

* Greeks rebuff EU call for more Russia sanctions | Fears growing that new ruling coalition in Athens is seeking closer ties with Moscow Read more

** FT News **

* China seeks end to gold medal fixation | ‘Blind pursuit’ of success condemned as sports administrator scraps rewards for victory

* EU threatens Russia with more sanctions | Call comes as violence in eastern Ukraine escalates Read more

** FT News **

* Russia downgraded to ‘junk’ by S&P | Shift underscores dramatic economic deterioration

* Kurds claim victory over Isis in Kobani | Forces claim to have wrested back control of Syrian border city after four-month battle Read more

Pemex, the Mexican state oil company, is being forced to sharpen up its act.

Not only are costs under pressure, so is its reputation. Read more

** FT News **

* Syriza ‘agrees’ deal to form coalition | Leader of rightwing anti-bailout party says new government likely by Monday

* Equities find poise after Greece vote | Euro bounces off 11-year low but Greek bank stocks hit hard Read more

January is normally a quiet month for dealmaking in Brazil as executives collapse on a beach somewhere for their long summer holiday between Christmas and Carnival. However, that could all change this year as bankers push ahead with the next stage of the telecoms market’s consolidation.

Late on Thursday, the Brazilian mobile phone operator Oi finally got approval from its merger partner Portugal Telecom to sell the Portuguese company’s assets to France’s Altice. (Altice agreed to the €7.4bn acquisition in November but minority shareholders had threatened to sabotage the deal.) Read more

By Tony Elumelu of Heirs Holdings

This week, world leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia are gathered at Davos to discuss a “new global context” – the theme of the World Economic Forum’s 2015 annual meeting. In this new context, the WEF fears that profound transformations – social, economic, political and technological – are hastening the end of “economic integration and international partnership”. Read more

** FT News **

* Euro falls to fresh 11-year lows | European stocks also open higher a day after the ECB unleashes QE

* Brazil minister warns of austerity | Joaquim Levy says cuts need to be made to get government finances in order Read more

Timothy AshBy Timothy Ash of Standard Bank

While we all enjoy the ECB-inspired feeding frenzy across all risk assets this week it might be well to remember why Mario Draghi opted for yet another extraordinary measure in line with the message that he will do “whatever it takes”. Indeed, it is perhaps a reflection of the immense challenges facing Europe that he is betting the bank and, especially, other peoples’ (Germans’) money. Europe is in the worst state it has been in at any point in the entire post WWII era. Read more

** FT News **

* King Abdullah dies and Salman ascends | Continuity assured as Crown Prince succeeds brother to the throne

* Oil drop ‘disastrous’ for anti-Isis fight | West offers military aid at UK talks to help Iraq combat jihadis and budget crisis Read more

Investors are often known to buy on the rumour and sell on the fact but on Thursday, following the announcement of the European Central Bank’s €60bn-a-month asset-buying programme, they carried right on buying.

That’s true, at least, of central and eastern European currencies, if you measure them against the freshly-weakened euro. Read more

** FT News **

* Stocks supported by ECB QE optimism | Gold and bond prices fall as haven demand wanes

* Tensions build ahead of ECB launch | French finance minister expresses frustration at Germany Read more

After building expectations for so long, it will come as a disappointment today if the Eureopean Central Bank does not promise to buy (or have others buy) €50bn’s worth of assets every month for at least the next year.

Assuming Mario Draghi delivers as hoped, what will it mean for EM? Will ECB QE pick up where the US Federal Reserve’s variety left off, floating EM asset prices once again? Beyondbrics has been asking around. Read more

** FT News **

* Brazil benchmark rate at three-year high | Central bank’s move comes as government struggles to rebuild trust in stagnant economy

* Ukraine seeks larger IMF bailout deal | Country to launch consultations with sovereign bond holders as it hints at debt restructuring Read more

There are very few things on which economists overwhelmingly agree: free trade and apple pie are about it. But almost all of them will say that across-the-board subsidies for households and companies to lower the price of fuel are a terrible idea.

While advanced economies in general tax fossil fuels – or the carbon emissions that emanate from its use – emerging markets are still big users of subsidies and price caps. The IMF estimates that consumption of petroleum, electricity, natural gas and coal were subsidised by about 2 per cent of total government revenue in 2011 – and much more if compared to a hypothetical efficient tax system. Hydrocarbon exporters accounted for about two-thirds of the total. The subsidy of fossil fuels by oil producers and particularly within the Middle East and North Africa is extreme.  Read more

** FT News **

* Turkey cuts benchmark rate by 50 points | Move seen as concession to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan

* Gold rises to $1,300 on haven demand | Market expects ECB package of bond-buying to lower yields Read more

By Costanza Gallo, TEDxRoma

Internet penetration in Africa is transforming business and society – as well as enabling the fight against diseases such as Ebola – at vastly different speeds across the continent. The infographic below provides an at-a-glance view of which countries are making the biggest strides.

In the three years from 2010 to 2013, there has been a marked rise in the number of people who enjoy access to the cybersphere, according to data compiled by the World Bank. South Africa’s Internet penetration, for instance, increased from 24 per cent to 49 per cent, ranking 3rd in Africa after Morocco and Egypt. Read more

** FT News **

* ‘Leviathan’ polarises Russians | Award-winning film portraying a man’s plight against the state sparks debate

* Argentines protest over Nisman’s death | Questions remain over ‘suicide’ of prosecutor at peak of career Read more