By Ben Simpfendorfer of Silk Road Associates
The rise in China’s outbound investment is a divisive subject. On the one hand, some worry that Chinese multinationals will emerge as powerful competitors by leveraging their economies of scale and cheap funding. On the other hand, many firms are excited about the opportunities to collaborate with Chinese partners in their home markets.
For the most part, however, the hype is still greater than reality, and subsequent waves of investment will be very different to the one the world is currently witnessing. Continue reading »
By Qazi Arif of Envision Architects
Nearly two weeks have passed since the disaster at Rana Plaza in Savar, Dhaka, which is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, and the deadliest structural failure in modern times.
It is easy to simply say the building was poorly constructed. How and why is harder to understand, given the confusion and and buck-passing surrounding building permits and construction regulation. How can this be prevented in future? Continue reading »
By Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas, Washington
Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America. Along with Haiti and Nicaragua, it is one of the poorest in all of the western hemisphere. So what’s President Evo Morales’ latest strategy to improve social indicators? Expel USAID, the US government aid agency that spent some $28m last year promoting healthcare among poor Bolivians and working to protect the environment. Continue reading »
By Craig Baker and Andy Ratcliffe
The arguments over whether South Africa should still receive aid from Britain, following Justine Greening’s announcement that there would be no new DFID projects in South Africa, show how the global debate about the continent is shifting.
Africa was once viewed as a region that had stalled, making little or no progress. Now, the world is starting to notice the pace of economic change. Headlines on the theme of ‘Africa rising‘ are appearing more and more in international newspapers. But many doubt that this economic growth is actually improving living standards for the average African citizens. Continue reading »
By Nupur Pavan Bang and Saumya Rastogi of the Indian School of Business
When gold prices fell below $1400 in mid-April, investors across the globe panicked and tried to exit their gold-based investments. Yet the scene was quite different driving through the Somajiguda area of Hyderabad, in India.
Both sides of the road, which is lined with jewellery shops, were overflowing with customers. As a valet at one of the largest shops put it: “People have been buying like gold is being distributed for free.” Continue reading »
By Pavida Pananond and Thitinan Pongsudhirak
Just when Thailand’s corporate footprints in the global marketplace are gaining visibility with recent high-profile takeovers of foreign companies by local titans such as ThaiBev and CP Group, its largest-ever domestic takeover deal is generating the wrong kind of publicity.
Following some unusual share price movements, the Thai authorities have belatedly launched an investigation of CP All’s $6.6bn purchase of the cash-and-carry Siam Makro, 64-per-cent owned by Dutch conglomerate SHV Holdings.
Officials need to make sure the case is handled properly, given the country’s poor record with such investigations. If Thailand wants to join the big league of capital markets, alongside Hong Kong and Singapore, its financial regulators need a stiff upgrading. Continue reading »
By Daniel Kurtz-Phelan of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
In 2003, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva found himself with his counterparts from India and South Africa on the sidelines of a G-8 Summit in France. They had been invited to the summit as observers but the invitation served mostly to underscore a common frustration. “What is the use of being invited for dessert at the banquet of the powerful?” as Lula later put it. “We do not want to participate only to eat the dessert; we want to eat the main course, dessert and then coffee.” Continue reading »
By Jamie Scudder of Maplecroft
The European Parliament’s decision on April 18 to extend its monitoring mission to Ukraine is a crucial step for the country in the context of its European aspirations. The mission, which has acted as an informal platform to promote dialogue between the European Union and Ukraine, was one factor behind the government’s decision a week earlier to pardon a number of former opposition politicians. They include former ministers for the interior and the environment, Yuri Lutsenko and HeorhyFilichuk, and four others convicted of corruption. The pardons create renewed hope for stronger trade relations between Ukraine and the EU and have already defused tensions between Kiev and the 27-member bloc. Continue reading »
By Julian Dierkes of the University of British Colombia
Over the weekend Mongolia will host the seventh ministerial conference of the Community of Democracies, a global caucus of democratic nations formed with the intention of fostering democracy around the world. For Mongolia, holding the chairmanship and hosting the ministerial conference are confirmation of its achievements in democratic development. Continue reading »
By Otilia Simkova of Eurasia Group
In the midst of the mayhem over Cyprus, some observers of Europe’s banking crisis noticed another small country – Latvia.
The Baltic country made headlines when it applied to join the eurozone by January 2014, pushing ahead despite doubts about the benefits of accession. Now it risks making news again for another reason: non-resident deposits. Foreign money, especially from Russia, has been trickling in. Continue reading »
By Natalia Orlova of Alfa Bank
Russia’s GDP grew 1.1 per cent year on year in the first quarter of 2013, the slowest pace since 2009 when the global crisis hit. This may look decent when compared with developed countries but it is anything but impressive when looked at next to other emerging markets, particularly China and India. And while the dismal growth in 2009 was a result of the global crisis and capital flight to safety, international financial markets have recently seen an increase in risk appetite. This raises the question of why the Russian economy in particular has slowed so sharply. Continue reading »
By Tassos Stassopoulos of AllianceBernstein
Evolving trends in emerging markets are not always driven by macro-economic policies or demographics. Sometimes, something as simple as a fridge can change millions of people’s lives and re-define an entire industry.
This is exactly what’s happening in India’s milk market. The world’s second most-populous nation is also the world’s largest market for milk, yet less than 20 per cent of households own a fridge. The popularity of the white stuff in India, combined with the proliferation of refrigerators from a very low base, are perfect conditions for a milk boom, driving by the unique consumer situation in this market. Continue reading »
By Tony Elumelu
Africa’s growth continues to make headlines at home and abroad. But while the continent has made impressive gains at a macro level, those gains have been slow in creating jobs and wealth at a local level.
More needs to be done, and soon, if Africa’s growth is to be sustained, and Africa is to reach its true economic potential. Talk of a demographic dividend, is in reality a wake up call for politicians and the private sector, bringing with it considerable social, economic and environmental challenges. Continue reading »
By Saurabh Mukherjea and Ritika Mankar-Mukherjee of Ambit Capital
Indian newspapers paint a gloomy picture of the state of the nation. They point to the 5 percentage-point drop over the last five years in the country’s once-feted economic growth rate. They bemoan the depressed stock market which has delivered negative returns over the last five years. And they point to the stagnant incomes of their readers who are, generally, white-collar workers and businessmen.
What the newspapers don’t do is discuss the remarkable surge over the last five years in the fortunes of less privileged workers – wages for blue-collar workers have been growing at a staggering 15 per cent or more annually. Continue reading »
By Eswar Prasad and Karim Foda
Last year was a calm one for the renminbi. China’s trade and current account surpluses fell below 3 per cent of GDP in 2012, suggesting that the economy was on its way to resolving its protracted external imbalances. Capital inflows eased off and capital outflows rose as the government liberalised controls on outflows. Net accumulation of foreign exchange reserves was just over $130bn, compared to $330bn in 2011 and an average of nearly $450bn per year in the four years preceding that.
But the surge in reserves in the first quarter of 2013 has put the renminbi is back in the spotlight. Rising capital inflows have led to a surge in accumulation of reserves as China’s central bank has attempted to fend off pressures for the renminbi to appreciate. Continue reading »