By Rodrigo Tavares of the São Paulo State Government
Although France was the first European country to recognize the independence of Brazil, in 1825, only three French presidents have since visited the country – de Gaulle, Chirac and Sarkozy. François Hollande’s visit to Brazil on December 12 and 13 aims to fill some of the empty space and to capitalise on a relationship that has brought good results recently on trade and investment, military contracts and education. But the most innovative outcome from his visit will be something to which few people are likely to pay attention. Continue reading »
By Kevin Daly of Aberdeen Asset Management
Kenya’s path from uhuru – the word given to independence from the Swahili for freedom – 50 years ago to the day hasn’t been easy but the future augurs well if it can deliver on its promise.
More immediately, Kenya will face political and security challenges amid reverberations from last year’s election and the Westgate Mall tragedy. Looking ahead, however, Kenya is well placed to benefit from the unfolding hydrocarbons story in east Africa, where it enjoys the status as the commercial and infrastructure hub of the region. Kenyan officials will no doubt be spreading the good word, while also deflecting the recent headline risk, as it looks to tap into the growing demand for frontier market bonds with the launch of its debut eurobond in early 2014. Continue reading »
By Richard Dobbs and Fraser Thompson of the McKinsey Global Institute
By 2030, nearly half of the world’s economies could be resource rich countries. It is vital for the future economic prospects of these countries – and to satisfy the world’s need for their resources – that they do better than many have done in the past in translating their sub-soil wealth into long-term prosperity. Continue reading »
By Felipe Pérez Martí
In a recent article published in The Guardian, American economist Mark Weisbrot argues that concerns expressed by economists about the condition of the Venezuelan economy are unfounded. He claims that the Venezuelan economy is not headed for collapse, and describes those who say this is so as “Venezuela haters” allied to the opposition.
I served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Planning and Head of the Economics Cabinet between 2002 and 2003. I deeply believe in the ideals of the Bolivarian Revolution of creating a just, egalitarian and democratic society in Venezuela, and in Chávez’s commitment to turn these ideals into reality. Continue reading »
By Elżbieta Kaca and Ievgen Vorobiov of PISM
The crisis in Ukraine shows no sign of abating. As the authorities have deployed massive police force to clear the barricades around Kiev’s government quarter and on the Maidan, the protesters have no intention of leaving the streets. The opposition’s rigid conditions for further negotiations – punishing the perpetrators of a violent police clampdown, releasing the arrested protesters and sacking the government – have fallen on deaf ears. Despite the presence of foreign mediators, early on Wednesday police moved in to try to disperse the protests in the heart of Kiev. Continue reading »
By Chris Webster of eBay
Parul Arora always knew her mother had immaculate taste in jewellery – taste so good it appealed to both her younger friends and an older generation at the same time. Together with her mother, she decided to go into business and started selling locally-sourced, handmade jewellery on eBay from their home in New Delhi.
In doing so, Parul tapped into what is evolving to be one of the most virile online marketplaces in the world. The Indian retail environment is going from strength to strength, and not just for local businesses – this is a two-way virtual high street. Continue reading »
For much of their history, the economies of Latin America have been isolated not only from the rest of the world but also form each other. Over the past quarter century, this has changed and the region now has the opportunity to embark on a virtual circle of development. But to realise this potential, governments must still deal with daunting challenges, writes Juan Carlos Echeverry of the Inter-American Development Bank. Continue reading »
By Ifty Islam of AT Capital
The debate continues on the motivations and risks of China’s decision on November 23 to announce an East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) which critically includes the disputed Senkaku Islands (know in China as Daioyu). There is little dispute that the standoff between China, Japan and the US has the capacity to escalate into something much more dangerous unless US Vice-President Joe Biden’s recent Asia trip is effective in ratcheting down tensions. Continue reading »
By Kevin Lings of Stanlib
Nelson Mandela has had an unprecedented calming and positive influence on South Africa’s political, economic and social environment for almost 25 years. His life-long quest for peace and reconciliation disarmed even the staunchest opponent, allowing diverse groups of people to work together in a way that seemed unimaginable prior to the ending of apartheid. It is time for the political, business and labour leadership of South Africa to honour his legacy and move this country forward to the benefit of all. Continue reading »
By Charles Okeahalam of AGH Capital
Tom Hank’s portrayal of Captain Richard Phillips’ encounter with the pirate Abduwali Muse aboard the MV Maersk Alabama has focused public attention on an issue threatening an industry that, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), handles more than 90 per cent of global trade. Continue reading »
By Susmita Mohanty of Earth2Orbit
India’s Mangalyaan spacecraft has made its slingshot from the Earth’s orbit and is on its way to Mars. No doubt we will again hear the familiar refrain: why would a country struggling to ensure a fifth of its population gets a square meal a day want to go to Mars? It is not very different from asking why would NASA spend nearly $18bn on its space programme when nearly a fifth of the US population lacks decent healthcare. That kind of reasoning is myopic. A nation needs to do both – ensure basic human necessities and niceties, and also inspire its people to reach for the stars. Continue reading »
By Michael Pettis
In October two Chinese academics presented research proposing that China’s National Bureau of Statistics under-reports the Chinese household consumption share of GDP, officially at 36 per cent, by ten to twelve percentage points. There have been other studies suggesting that consumption is understated in the official data (although by much lower amounts). Analysts who still doubt China’s need for significant economic reform have often claimed that consumption in China is much higher than the official data reports. These upward revisions show, they argue, that the consumption imbalance in China’s economy is not as bad as is often supposed, and so will not require a sharp slowdown in economic growth as China rebalances its economy.
There are at least three reasons to be sceptical about this argument. Continue reading »
By Sujoyini Mandal and Marika Semerdzhian
Gazprom’s traditional economic and strategic business models are coming under tremendous pressure. Shifting LNG trade patterns are impacting spot markets in Europe and Asia, partly as a result of the shale gas boom in the US; lack of investment in new fields is depleting Russia’s gas reserves; and Russia’s domestic gas market is facing market pressures from liberalisation.
There is no doubt that Russia remains a central player in the global energy sector. Vertically integrated, Gazprom controls about half of the country’s proved reserves of natural gas and its export monopoly is enshrined in law. This could change very soon. Gazprom experienced a difficult 2012, with net profits falling by a third in the first half of the year. This comes in the wake of a weaker demand from Europe caused by the economic crisis and perhaps unwillingness to put up with the gas giant. In spite of these challenges, we believe Gazprom is actually positioned to take advantage of, rather than suffer from, rapid changes in the energy industry, both at home and abroad. Here is why. Continue reading »
By Brian Marrs and Agata Hinc
Can the European Union regain the global lead on climate policy? Yes, but not without natural gas. The EU’s credibility as an international leader on climate change hinges on successfully realising its grand visions of a renewables-centric society beyond coal. This vision is simply Euro-dreaming without natural gas, a critical fuel for challenging coal today and supporting renewables tomorrow. Those who are sceptical should just look across the Atlantic, where a natural gas boom has boosted the US economy, bypassed coal-fired generation, and allowed states like California to more cost-effectively assimilate renewables. Continue reading »
By Ken Peng of Citi Private Bank
China must rebalance! Yes, everyone from President Barack Obama to your average Beijing taxi driver knows that. Around 48 per cent of China’s GDP is investment, just 36 per cent is household consumption, with government spending a bloated 13 per cent and net exports, 2 per cent. Whether through timely and painful reforms now or delayed reforms and disaster later, investment growth is expected to falter and consumption to be unable to pick up the slack.
But what if these basic assumptions are wrong? Continue reading »