India’s forthcoming election is often described as a festival of democracy, a reflection of the country’s passion for noisy, rambunctious electioneering. But the contest is less good news for India’s other great love: cricket.
The lucrative but controversial Indian Premier League tournament takes place between April and May each year — slap bang in the middle of the forthcoming polling, which is due to kick off in early April and run for just over a month.
In theory, both events could happily coincide: even the maddest of cricket fans ought to be able to cogitate on their democratic choices during the daytime, before heading out to enjoy the match at night. Continue reading »
Here’s a quick update on emerging market economy growth in February from HSBC – and the news is not great.
The HSBC Emerging Markets Index, a monthly indicator derived from HSBC’s PMI surveys, fell for the third month running to 51.1 in February, from 51.4 in the
first month of 2014. Continue reading »
If electoral success were measured by publicity alone, Arvind Kejriwal could rightly claim victory in the tumultuous first day of the Indian election campaign.
Hours after the Election Commission announced dates and details of the general election to be held in April and May in the world’s biggest democracy, Mr Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party was publicly arrested in Gujarat, the stronghold of his main rival Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Continue reading »
** FT News **
* IBM factory workers strike in China | More than 1,000 workers have gone on strike at factory in China over the transfer terms to Lenovo as part of its $2.3bn acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business
* Asia steadies as sense of calm returns | Bourses stabilise as crisis in Ukraine retreats from view, but mood remains cautious ahead of ECB policy decision and key US monthly jobs report Continue reading »
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This was supposed to be the year when Mexican growth got better, after last year’s dismal 1.1 per cent. Yet economists at Banamex have chopped a half-point off their 2014 forecast. What’s going on?
Let’s blame it on the weather. Literally. Here’s Banamex:
The main factor behind this revision is the effect that the exceptionally adverse weather conditions will have on activity in the US.
Continue reading »
By Saurabh Mukherjea of Ambit Capital.
Why has wage inflation, especially at the bottom of the labour pyramid, kept surging ahead even as India has suffered its sharpest economic downturn in the last 15 years? This puzzle has flummoxed most Indian economists.
A rural wedding 300km from Mumbai offered me some clues to resolve this conundrum. It appears that sharp improvements in transport and communications have contributed to a situation of “labour scarcity” in rural India which is propelling wages at the bottom of the pyramid higher by 15 to 20 per cent per year. Continue reading »
By Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein
Stock markets in emerging markets have gotten off to a rough start this year after a challenging 2013. Valuations have fallen and volatility remains high. So should investors add exposure to emerging markets—or is it better to steer clear?
In our view, it’s probably too early for a large tactical shift towards emerging markets. But we do think the time is right for investors who are underweight EMs—or who lack exposure altogether—to start rebalancing towards their strategic targets in developing-world stocks. While short-term caution is appropriate, we think EM stocks continue to provide a good long-term opportunity—especially for active managers. Continue reading »
A tussle between Mongolia’s authorities and some 60,000 “ninja miners” for control over the country’s gold industry captures in microcosm the broader battles that Ulaanbaatar is waging to shore up its slumping tugrik currency and central bank reserves.
The ninja miners – so named for the green bowls they carry on their backs that resemble the shells of cartoon characters from the 1990s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie – have been wreaking havoc with the nation’s gold production, thus reducing the amount of gold the central bank can buy to bolster its reserves. Continue reading »
Miguel Galuccio has three principal objectives for 2014: “to produce, produce and produce.”
To help achieve that aim, Galuccio, who has run the Argentine energy company YPF since the government expropriated a 51 per cent share from Spain’s Repsol in 2012, is looking for partners. Continue reading »
The Ukraine crisis has entered its “wait and see” phase. Does this mark the beginning of a peaceful resolution or is it the calm before the storm? Have investors embarked on a relief rally, or is the dead cat bouncing?
There were opinions to match all tastes from market analysts on Wednesday. Here is a beyondbrics summary of those views, from “Crisis? What crisis?” to “Cold War 2.0″. Continue reading »
** FT News **
* China sets 7.5% growth target | China is targeting economic growth of 7.5% this year, a dovish goal that could force the government to stimulate the economy in the coming months
* US and Russia to hold Ukraine talks | Sergei Lavrov says Moscow could not give orders to the armed groups in Crimea because they are not Russian troops but local self-defence forces
* European caution follows relief rally | Recovery momentum flags as tension between western powers and Russia over Crimea dissipates Continue reading »
When China’s premier was an up-and-comer in the provinces, he famously told US diplomats that he looked at indicators including electricity consumption and freight transport to gauge the true state of the world’s second largest economy. According to a Wikileaks cable, Li Keqiang said such figures were more reliable than the government’s own official GDP growth number.
Embarrassingly for the then premier, Wen Jiabao, the “Keqiang index” was thus christened and was subsequently used by economists to cross-check the GDP growth numbers revealed every March at the annual session of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress. Continue reading »
Southeast Asian markets have been a far better bet than China in the past few years for portfolio investors. Now the region can claim another victory over its northern neighbour – this time in foreign direct investment.
The Asean-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore) together received more in FDI last year than China, according to research from Bank of American Merrill Lynch released on Wednesday. Continue reading »
** FT News **
* US presses for full Russian withdrawal | Russian president says in a news conference the events in Ukraine that topped Viktor Yanukovich were an ‘unconstitutional seizure of power’
* US considers sanctions on Russian banks | There are signs of friction between the US and Europe over how hard and how quickly Russia should be punished for its actions over Ukraine Continue reading »
By Tamás Pesuth, Head of Economic Research, Nézőpont Institute
“Hungary is a small country, but it looms larger on investors’ screens.” So the Financial Times wrote at the beginning of February this year, while calling the governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) “a maverick.”
As György Matolcsy marked his first year in office today, a more rounded appraisal of his work is required. The FT article looked mainly at the forint exchange rate and the low base rate in reaching its “maverick” judgement. Continue reading »