An Indonesian smelter. More to come?

Many mining companies in Indonesia have warned that a ban on the export of some unprocessed mineral ores, brought into force this month, will deter foreign investment in the sector.

But Mahendra Siregar, the ambitious technocrat who heads Indonesia’s investment co-ordinating board (BKPM), believes that investment will in fact be boosted by the new rule as three metal smelters come on stream this year and 25 more are built over the next three years. Continue reading »

Imagine you are bidding for an item on eBay, and the lowest bid wins while the highest bid loses. Impossible? That is what is happening in the world of Chinese initial public offerings. Continue reading »

The 12th in our series of guest posts on the outlook for 2014 is by Saurabh Mukherjea and Ritika Mankar Mukherjee of Ambit Capital

In the stockbroking profession, the norm is to view a country through the lens of economic growth and political management. So a lot of effort is currently being expended on analysing when India’s economy will recover, who will win this year’s general elections and what the victorious candidate will do for the country. While such analysis is interesting to perform and sometimes stimulating to read, its ultimate impact on share prices is tenuous at best. Continue reading »

Pot smokers all over the world may be lighting up joints to celebrate the fact that Uruguay on Tuesday became the first country in the world to legalise cannabis completely – from planting the seed to getting high.

But is what President José “Pepe” Mujica openly admits is an experiment going to work? Will Uruguay succeed in reversing rising crime rates, which were the initial impetus and justification for the new law? Continue reading »

Over the weekend Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s president, announced further measures to reinforce his “economic offensive” against “capitalist parasites”. At the same time, your correspondent was on his way to cross the border from Colombia into Venezuela – overland, listening to loud vallenato and merengue in a rusted 1984 Chevrolet Caprice.

And while waiting hours on end to get his passport stamped in the sweltering heat of Paraguachón, he witnessed one of the unwanted consequences of the president’s war on free enterprise. Continue reading »

In the eyes of many, when it comes to business, Colombia is a beacon of judicial security and transparent regulation, sometimes to the point of being overly legalistic. For better or worse, that view was reinforced on Thursday.

The country’s ‘grand inspector general’ sacked the financial regulator and banned him from holding public office for more than a decade over last year’s debacle surrounding Interbolsa, until then Colombia’s biggest brokerage. Continue reading »

Poland has some of the worst roads and most dire traffic death statistics in the European Union – which is why a recent decision pressing Polish authorities to allow for the registration of right-hand-drive cars is causing consternation.

According to the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, Niilo Jaaskinen, advocate general of the European Court of Justice, said that Poland has been too restrictive in refusing to register cars from the UK and Ireland to drive on Polish roads. The European Commission filed a complaint against Poland over the issue in 2011. Continue reading »

By Pavel Morozov of State Solutions

Russia’s heavily trailed privatisation programme, the scale of which has not been seen since the controversial loans-for-shares privatisations of the 1990s, has so far not delivered on expectations. Assets worth $13bn were set to be sold in this year alone, but now it looks like the Federal Treasury will be receiving $1bn at most. And according to treasury figures, just 4 per cent of privatisations planned for the first half of 2013 were implemented, with only $500m in assets sold.

Officials have blamed recent global market conditions. But the reality is more complex. Continue reading »

By Roman Khodykin of Berwin Leighton Paisner

Last week, following the announcement of president Vladimir Putin’s decision to liquidate the Supreme Arbitration Court and subordinate all commercial courts to another branch of the judiciary, about one in eight Supreme Arbitration Court judges and a number from other commercial courts immediately tendered their resignations in protest. Are they right to be so concerned about the impact of the reforms? Continue reading »

By Nguyen Van Phu of the Saigon Economic Times

Activists in Vietnam fight tenaciously for many things. They’ve advocated land ownership for farmers, equal footing for the state-owned and private sectors and the suspension of a costly bauxite project that is neither financially viable nor environmentally friendly. And yet, they have never raised their voices against the dark sides of free trade agreements as have their peers in other developing countries. Continue reading »

Ukraine stands a chance to achieve much more than a pivotal westward shift away from Moscow’s grip by signing historic association and free trade agreements with the EU at a Vilnius-based summit in late November.

In setting course for EU convergence, it could rise up on the global investment radar, portraying itself as following Poland’s economic success, and in turn luring in much needed FDI. At least, that’s the theory. Continue reading »

You are on national television in a country known for censorship. You are talking to one of that country’s most influential policy makers. What do you tell him? That the country’s companies have serious problems with transparency, ethical practices and treatment of employees. Are you dreaming?

Not if your name is Richard Edelman, head the world’s largest independent public relations company. It has just happened to you at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China. Continue reading »

By Steve Phillips of Nasdaq OMX

At the end of 2012, foreign direct investment in Colombia was at an all-time high of nearly $16.7bn, up 12-fold from 2003. In the first six months of this year FDI was at $8.75bn, a clear indication that the Colombia marketplace, and much of Latin America, continues to draw a significant swath of foreign capital to fuel its economies and markets.

This new activity is positive for the markets. However, as new liquidity flows continue to build in the region, market complexity increases. Continue reading »

Thailand’s central bank has squashed plans to launch a local Bitcoin operator, making it the first state to ban trading in the virtual currency.

Bitcoin Co Ltd of Thailand said it had initially been given the go-ahead to set up operations without a money exchange licence on the grounds that the digital currency was not properly a currency. Continue reading »

Indian bank stocks fell heavily again on Wednesday in the aftermath of moves by the Reserve Bank of India to tighten liquidity, hit by concerns about a rise in the cost of funding, writes James Crabtree.

Private institution Yes Bank was the hardest hit by plans announced late on Tuesday by the central bank to augment last week’s measures aimed at siphoning money from India’s economy to underpin the rupee, which has fallen to record lows.

 Continue reading »