It’s hard to imagine the scale of destruction following the typhoon that hit the Philippines on Friday, killing an estimated 10,000 people and leaving a trail of devastation.

However, despite Haiyan being one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, the impact on the Philippines economy may be relatively slight, and the reconstruction effort may even boost GDP. While that is hardly a comfort to people without homes or in mourning, an economic slump would be a double whammy better avoided. Read more

That's the easy part

Africa’s mobile revolution has become synonymous with its improving economic performance, but the sector is hitting some serious road bumps along the way.

After five years posting the highest growth rates in the world, the uptake of new mobile subscriptions across the sub-Saharan region is set to slow, by the reckoning of a report from GSMA, an association of mobile operators. Read more

It was not exactly spying on presidents, but revelations in Folha de S. Paulo, a Brazilian newspaper, that Brasília spied on the diplomats of some would-be close friends are a bit embarrassing. Of course everyone does it and of course, the Russians, Iranians and Iraqis – the alleged victims of Brazilian spying in the Folha report – were probably doing it to Brazil at the time when the incidents occurred back in 2003 and 2004.

But the problem here is that Brazil has been taking pains to appear shocked and violated by accusations this year that the US was spying not only on Petrobras and other state-owned companies but on President Dilma Rousseff and her staff. Read more

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook caused a bit of a stir this week, given the gloomy outlook for emerging economies.

But within the Fund’s number crunching a few things were a little overlooked. Such as the rather drastic revisions to some GDP forecasts from the previous April outlook. Look away Libya, hello Turkmenistan. Even some major EMs got a significant downward shift. Chart of the week takes a look at the difference 6 months can make. Read more

It was only two paragraphs long. But the fallout from a surprise sales warning issued by Unilever last week was anything but minor.

Shares in consumer goods companies across Europe and the US all fell after Unilever warned that weak growth in emerging markets, exacerbated by currency weakness in countries from India to Indonesia and Brazil, would result in underlying sales growth of 3 to 3.5 per cent for the third-quarter. This compares with growth of 5 per cent reported during the first two quarters of the year. Read more

As Twitter’s IPO cranks into action, there is one big question that is puzzling beyondbrics and many others: where are the non-US users based?

In its SEC filing, Twitter admitted that “users outside the US constituted 77 per cent of our average MAUs [monthly active users] in the three months ended June 30, 2013″. Just who are the 77 per cent? Read more

Beijing is China’s seat of government, home to its busiest airport, its major sporting events and some of the country’s biggest companies. As China grows in size and wealth over the coming years, will the capital keep its grip on business – or will it see its influence slowly slip away? Read more

The door is not exactly being kicked wide open. But after two years of accounting scandals and critical reports from short-sellers, Chinese companies are slowly making their way back to Wall Street again – and it’s not just Alibaba eyeing up New York.

On Monday, Qunar, a popular travel website in China, filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $125m in an initial public offering.

The move comes just three days after 58.com, China’s answer to Craigslist, filed to list on the New York Stock Exchange with an offer to sell $150m of ordinary shares in the form of American Depository Shares (ADSs). A day earlier, Montage Technology Group, a Shanghai-based computer chip maker, raised $71m in its public debut. Read more

When Ben Bernanke raised the prospect of a tapering of the US Federal Reserve’s monthly bond purchases in May, the impact on EM currencies was immediate: they slumped. By August, their decline in some instances was looking like a rout – the Indian rupee, especially, seemed on the brink of an all-out crisis.

But then something changed. Currencies around the emerging world began to recover. EM borrowers are once again tapping the hard currency bond markets. Big EM central banks, it seems, have seen off speculators: Brazil’s by intervening in currency markets, for example, Indonesia’s by raising rates. Has the EM story entered yet another new chapter? The answer, almost certainly, is “No”. Read more

When we think of Groupon, the US-based daily deals website, it’s usually for cut-price getaways, budget fine dining or an affordable day of paragliding – and the sacking of its 32-year-old founder.

But what about onions? Read more

By Gerardo Rodriguez of BlackRock

Investing in emerging markets has never been boring. Recent market volatility has spawned various comments on the future of the asset class as a whole. Stronger fundamentals have made emerging markets more resilient and safer places to invest. But the challenging external environment and imminent tapering by the Fed is exposing some of the weak spots of EMs. The adjustment of relative prices is a necessary condition for the rebalancing that is required. However, there are risks that the correction goes too far and the asset class falls into a vicious cycle. Read more

If anyone asks what the hottest economic concept is in China at the moment, the answer must be: Likonomics, a term coined by Barclays in late June to refer to Premier Li Keqiang’s economic policies as he completed 100 days in office.

Likonomics apparently has three key pillars: no stimulus, deleveraging and structural reform, and it stands for trading the economy’s short-term pain for long-term gain. But not everyone is happy with the new phrase. Read more

Quantitative easing was a big factor behind growth in emerging markets after the 2008-09 crisis. And when Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, suggested last month it may be about to end, he triggered a big sell-off in EM assets.

So when Bernanke declared on Wednesday evening that “highly accommodative monetary policy” was here for the foreseeable future, it was no surprise that his comments delivered a bounce in EM markets.

But it is unlikely that EM central bankers are heaving a collective sigh of relief. Monetary policy in emerging markets has become much less dependent on Fed policy than you might think. Read more

Now everyone can see the true colour of China’s exports. The decline of both exports and imports in June surprised the market, but to some observers, the news perhaps is perhaps less shocking: it’s been a bad year for quite a while after all.

The 3.1 per cent fell in exports in June from a year earlier, the worst data since October 2009, has worsened the export growth collapse that started in May. After the regulatory changes towards hot money inflows through fake trading and over-invoicing, exports growth in May slumped to 1 per cent from 14.7 per cent in April. Read more

There are several things you might associate with Bitcoin: freedom from central banks; criminal activity; boom and bust; the Winklevii. How about China?

Although most Bitcoin enthusiasts and pioneers are US based, China has emerged as a big centre of Bitcoin users. The question is: why, and will the authorities allow it to flourish? Read more

After the Arab Spring swept Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak from power, there would be a tough transition, followed by economic recovery. That was the theory, at least.

The reality is that under now-former president Mohamed Morsi, ousted from power this week, Egypt’s economy has deteriorated. Political impasse may have forced the army’s hand, but the economic problems are arguably as much a factor in Morsi’s removal.

Beyondbrics looks at some of the key economic indicators under Morsi – and at where Egypt goes from here. Read more

Brazil’s government will not come to the aid of Eike Batista, the would-be world’s richest man whose fortune has evaporated and whose natural resource companies are raising alarm bells about their ability to meet their obligations.

Edison Lobão, mines and energy minister (pictured), told journalists late on Wednesday the government had no plans to offer help to Batista’s EBX Group. Asked if any such aid might emerge, he said succinctly, “No.” Read more

When you think of piracy (aside from the digital kind), what comes to mind? The answer is probably “Somalia”.

But a new report reveals that it is an outdated assumption. Piracy around the Horn of Africa is declining. Instead, it is increasing on the other side of the continent, in the Gulf of Guinea. Read more

It’s hard to quantify an authoritarian crackdown. How do you measure curbs on free speech? And when a protest movement has many facets and disparate aims, they can be even harder to gauge, let alone put in numbers.

However, when it comes to the internet, there is one source that shows how keen authorities in different countries are on stifling criticism and controlling the debate. And if anyone had been paying attention back in 2012, the current protests in Turkey might have been less of a surprise. Chart of the week takes a look. Read more

Rat meat disguised as mutton, fake pharmaceuticals, entire replica Apple stores – China has seen almost every scam imaginable. But in the latest scandal unearthed by Chinese police the pirates have started to intrude into people’s love lives.

In a nationwide crackdown the authorities have arrested 37 people on suspicion of manufacturing nearly 5m fake brand-name condoms and selling them to unwitting consumers through supermarkets, pharmacies and sex shops across the country. Read more