It was a balmy evening after a sweltering day. But the 300,000 Argentines, by some estimates, who took to the streets of Buenos Aires and other major cities on Thursday evening were not out for a stroll and an ice cream. They were thumping pots and pans, parading anti-government banners and venting their frustrations with the government of Cristina Fernández. Continue reading »
South Africa’s mining industry is again confronted by labour unrest. Production at the Marikana platinum mining complex run by Lonmin PLC, the world’s third largest platinum producer, has been halted since August 10 by 3,000 striking rock drillers demanding higher wages. Continue reading »
Rapid backtracking on a ski development law appears to be the latest incidence of the Bulgarian government’s tendency to make policy on the hoof. The impression that legislation is poorly conceived and executed is frustrating ordinary Bulgarians and investors alike. Continue reading »
Is it 2008 all over again? Argentine farmers are on strike and global crisis is in the air.
Like in 2008, Cristina Fernández was early into her term. And just like in 2008, she faced mid-term elections the following year (in which the government fared poorly). This time, some commentators see her pulling out all the stops to do well in the mid-terms to pave the way for rewriting the constitution to stay on for a third term, despite economic slowdown and hints that she wants a new generation to take over. Continue reading »
The Chilean government has declared a health emergency and temporarily shut down the world’s biggest pig farm.
Why? Locals raised a stink – about the stink. Continue reading »
Bahrain, the Arab spring’s forgotten revolt, had fallen off the radar of the fickle global media. But thanks to Formula 1, the world has been at least been reminded this weekend of Bahrain’s scorched social fabric.
Now, 14 months since the island was rocked by the worst unrest in its history, the future of Bahrain’s economy also remains unclear. Continue reading »
By Sarah Mishkin and Taufan Hidayat
Violent protests this week have pushed Indonesia’s opposition to reject the government’s plan to cut spending on subsidising fuel.
The subsidies accounted for 20 per cent of government total spending last year, and analysts have said that cutting is needed if the government wants to limit its deficit and make room for investing in long-term growth projects. But pushing the cuts though might be less simple than first thought. Continue reading »
Panama City has been transformed in recent years into a “Dubai of the Americas”, complete with a Trump Tower – a real-estate boom fuelled by double-digit growth.
But the go-go economic policy of the nation’s president, Ricardo Martinelli, a supermarket tycoon, has suddenly hit trouble in the face of protests. Continue reading »
There was a whiff of revolution and money in the air on Thursday as foreign investors flocked to the fifth annual Troika Dialog investment forum in Moscow, filling the city’s international house of music to the rafters to hear Vladimir Putin speak.
Just two days before opposition forces plan to take to the streets for a new protest against alleged vote rigging and Putin’s planned return to the presidency, Putin attempted to give his usual command performance, touting the economy’s 4.3 per cent growth and promising an improved legal and regulatory environment for investors. Continue reading »
Wherever it turns, the Romanian government seems to run into trouble. On Friday, it was the constitutional court rejecting plans to delay local elections by a few months and hold them on the same day as parliamentary polls due in November.
Prime minister Emil Boc hoped postponing the local elections might win a bit more time for the benefits of his tough IMF-backed austerity programme to come through, and recent public protests to lose momentum.
But the judges said no. So Boc’s only relief is the distraction generated by the snowstorms that have this week swept Romania, taking the edge off the anti-government demonstrations. But the snows will melt – the anti-government sentiment probably won’t. Continue reading »
It was always going to be controversial. Removing Nigeria’s fuel subsidy sparked the predicted protests, violence and strikes. But what has it cost the country financially?
Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics has released its estimate, and it’s a lot. For six days of strikes: N207.4bn, or $1.3bn, the equivalent of around 0.6 per cent of 2010′s GDP. Continue reading »
Just under a year ago, Vladimir Putin quipped about the resilience of his people noting that Russian tourists continued to head for Egypt even as revolutionary turmoil gripped the country and other foreign nationals fled.
Putin understands how to talk his people up. However, do the numbers bear him out? And how is Egyptian tourism faring? Continue reading »
Argentina is striving to attract foreign investment and its mineral potential – in mining, and energy – offer attractive possibilities. But a social conflict playing out in the northwestern province of La Rioja could have be a taste of things to come as environmentalists and increasingly local communities seek to halt extractive projects that could bring in millions in investment but, they say, at too high a price for their livelihoods. Continue reading »
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday partly reduced the recent fuel price rise (after the subsidy removal) that sparked violent protests across the country and pushed up global oil prices.
But with the cut falling short of trade union leaders’ demands for a full reversal of the increase in government-subsidised prices, the president and the unions were set for further difficult negotiations. Continue reading »
Nigeria’s nationwide strikes are going strong for a fourth day – and as oil workers threaten to shut down production from Sunday, investors in Africa’s most populous country should be wary.
That, at least, is the view of Helima Croft and other analysts at Barclays Capital. Violence is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria, they say – but this time, Nigeria faces twin threats: the mass protests sparked by the withdrawal of a fuel subsidy at the start of the year, and the rise in casualties of religious conflict over the past week. Taken together, doubts must be raised about the country’s political stability. Continue reading »