2009

Emerging Markets Roundup: Brazil

Brazil's air force is helping finance Embraer's $500 million development program for a new military transport plane Following Brazil’s recent credit boom, banks are starting to face increased customer arrears. A research report from BB Investimentos, a division of Banco ...

Emerging Markets : Africa

Zimbabwe has abandoned its "worthless" currency in favor of other currencies such as the US dollar. After years of trying to defend its near-worthless currency, the Zimbabwean government has abandoned foreign exchange and price controls. Zimbabweans will now be allowed ...

Cover Story : The Party's Over

LATIN AMERICA Once considered relatively immune to the global economic slump, Latin America is facing hard times as commodity prices crumble, trade dwindles and Venezuela’s oil-funded regional largess begins to dry up. On a roller coaster ride: Wild swings in ...

Emerging Markets : Brazil

BRAZIL Revving up: BV stake boosts Banco do Brasil’s auto loan portfolio The Brazilian government returned to international capital markets in January with $1.025 billion in dollar-denominated global bonds maturing in 2019. The 10-year issue, led by Goldman Sachs and ...

Milestones : Slumping Copper Prices Take Shine Off Growth

CHILE Chile's president Bachelet: Stimulating economic growth. While high copper prices had maintained Chile’s economy as Latin America’s strongest, it seems the party is over as prices plummet and demand wanes. The South American country, the world’s largest copper producer, ...

Emerging Markets : Africa

AFRICA Leaving a hole: Foreign firms have shut down Zambian mines as ore prices plummet Guinea’s military leaders chose former banker Kabine Komara as the new prime minister, tasked with coordinating a return to civilian rule after last December’s military ...

Newsmakers : Correa Steps Up Debt Campaign

Ecuador Correa: Buying political capital with debt restructuring. Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has made good on his 2006 presidential campaign promise to default on any foreign debt deemed illegitimate, defaulting on $3.9 billion in global bonds. This marks Ecuador’s seventh ...

Emerging Markets : Nigeria Sets Up Credit Bureau

Africa Africa's airlines are looking to tap new credit lines. The Central Bank of Nigeria issued guidelines for establishing and operating credit bureaus, in a move that will support the development of the country’s credit market by providing greater access ...

Milestones : Ethanol Industry Faces Prospect Of Demand Slump

Brazil Not so sweet: Predicted demand for Brazil's ethanol is falling. Just a year after Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, predicted Brazil would triple its annual ethanol output to around 70 billion liters by 2020, the market appears to be ...

Emerging Markets : Banking Giants Push For Growth

BRAZIL Presidents Medvedev and Lula call for the first-ever BRIC summit. Eager to maintain its status as Latin America’s largest financial institution, Banco do Brasil, Brazil’s largest state-controlled bank, announced the acquisition of Nossa Caixa, a bank owned by the ...

2008

Milestones : Four-Year Fight Ends In Cafta Ratification

COSTA RICA President Arias successfully concludes free trade agreement. Four years after it was first signed, Costa Rican lawmakers in November finally ratified Cafta, the free trade agreement between Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States. The move ...

Emerging Markets : Crisis Starts To Bite Harder

AFRICA Manuel: Rand's slide will help the country balance its books. Johannesburg-based AngloGold Ashanti, Africa’s largest gold producer, hopes to refinance a $1 billion convertible bond before Christmas, despite current market conditions that have all but closed the market for ...

Milestones : Rating Slides As Default Looms

ARGENTINA President Kirchner makes overtures to avoid debt default. After months of analysts’ warnings that Argentina may be facing a new debt default, Standard & Poor’s agreed. The ratings agency lowered Argentina’s sovereign rating on October 31 to B- from ...

Emerging Markets : Banks Continue Consolidation

BRAZIL Brazil’s banks continued their consolidation trend, with the most recent deal in November creating Latin America’s largest financial group. Itaú, Brazil’s second-largest non-state-owned bank, announced its acquisition of Unibanco, the country’s third-largest, in a stock transaction valued at some ...

Features : Brazil Points The Way

LATIN AMERICA President Lula’s bold program of social and economic reform has become a model for economies in Latin America and beyond. Under Lula, Brasilia has focused on growing the economy in a way that benefits people at all levels. ...

Emerging Markets : Disaffected Investors Turn Sights On Africa

AFRICA Kampala in Uganda, where African leaders discussed plans for growing investment. East Africa may benefit from the recent turmoil on global financial markets, as investors seek less risky and higher yielding markets. Speakers at September’s third annual National Competitiveness ...

Emerging Markets : Government Mobilizes Reserves To Boost Liquidity

BRAZIL Oil finds saw Brazil's national petroleum agency ANP reduce new exploration concessions. While Brazilian officials had touted the country’s resilience to the global financial meltdown, they got a disturbing wake-up call in October as the São Paulo Stock Exchange ...

Milestones : Argentina Seeks End To Default Saga

ARGENTINA Seeing off the debt: Kirchner hopes investors will accept deal. In a major policy reversal, the Argentine government is reaching out to holdouts from its $100 billion debt workout in which bondholders received a 70% haircut in 2005. Some ...

Emerging Markets : Infrastructure Fund In Controversy

AFRICA Unemployment and homelessness have risen sharply in Zimbabwe. Following the controversial reelection of president Robert Mugabe in June, Zimbabwe has fallen into even greater economic chaos. Officials said annual inflation leapt to 11.2 million percent in June, fueled by ...

Milestones : IMF Seeks To Buff Up Tarnished Image

UNITED STATES IMF: Many view it as responsible for causing, not reducing, poverty. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not likely to win any popularity contests anywhere in the world these days. Emerging market governments have been particularly harsh in ...

Features : Balancing Act

COUNTRY REPORT / TURKEY Turkey’s Islamist government has narrowly avoided a constitutional crisis, but it is still treading a fine line in its quest for economic progress. When Turkey’s constitutional court dismissed a move in July to outlaw the country’s ...

Emerging Markets : In Olympian Bid For Global Respect

BRAZIL Petrobras head José Sergio Gabrielli: Prefers debt issue to equity. The Brazilian government is grappling with the reality of new offshore oil discoveries that could produce an estimated 50 billion barrels of oil, according to private sector analysts, in ...

Features : World's Best Banks 2008

ANNUAL SURVEY / WORLD’S BEST BANKS 2008 Now more than ever, the world’s best banks deserve recognition for continuing to provide excellent products and high levels of service to their clients, despite the distractions of the global credit crunch and ...

Milestones : Rating Downgrade Bucks Local Trend

ARGENTINA Don't cry for me: Kirchner's woes deepen as inflation accelerates. While Peru and Brazil crossed the investment-grade threshold this year, Argentina is moving in the opposite direction. Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Argentina’s foreign and local long-term ratings ...

Newsmakers : Calderón Aide Takes Top Economy Job

MEXICO Mexico's president Felipe Calderón is hoping Ruiz can help get the economy back on track. Faced with the fallout from the US economic slowdown, Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, appointed former businessman Gerardo Ruiz to the country’s top economic post. ...

Emerging Markets : Zimbabwe’s Zero-Sum Game

AFRICA All change: Zimbabwe's coins have value again. With hyperinflation eroding the nation’s economy, Zimbabwe’s government is taking desperate measures. It lopped off 10 zeros from the Zimbabwe dollar, as inflation is now running at 2.2 million percent per year. ...

Emerging Markets : Banks Seek Growth After Profits Slide

BRAZIL Digging in: Brazilian miner Vale is investing heavily. After several years of steady profit growth, Brazil’s banking sector reported a slowdown in second-quarter 2008. Bradesco, Brazil’s largest non-state bank by assets, posted a 13% drop in second-quarter profits to ...

Emerging Markets : Kenya Calling

AFRICA Kenya's mobile communications industry flourishes following IPO of Safaricom. A June IPO by Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom was oversubscribed by 532%, according to Kenya’s finance minister Amos Kimunya. The government exercised a provision allowing it to reduce the amount ...

Newsmakers : Leaders Line Up Presidential Candidates

URUGUAY Danilo Astori: Businesses' "darling" in presidential race. Unable to seek reelection, Uruguayan president Tabaré Vázquez has tipped his finance and economy minister to be the ruling Frente Amplio (FA) coalition’s candidate in the October 2009 presidential race. Danilo Astori ...

Emerging Markets : Soaring Surplus Channeled Into Wealth Fund

BRAZIL Mantega: Expects wealth fund to grow sharply. The Brazilian government increased its primary budget surplus by 0.5% of GDP, or some $7.9 billion, as part of a plan to finance its new sovereign wealth fund. The government now has ...

Milestones : Copper Giant In Sell-off Talks

CHILE Chile's state-owned copper mine, Codelco, faces opposition over privatization plans. With the long wave of Latin American privatizations seemingly coming to an end, Chile looks like it might be about to jump back in the water. Talk of a ...

Newsmakers : Paraguay Joins The Leftist Club

PARAGUAY Lugo: Promising to improve Paraguay's international standing. Paraguayan president-elect Fernando Lugo, a former Catholic bishop, is the newest member of Latin America’s growing list of left-wing leaders. He faces serious challenges in a country that, until his inauguration on ...

Newsmakers : In The Hot Seat

ARGENTINA Fernandez: His appointment unsettled financial markets. As he slips into the seat occupied by four others in less than a year, Argentina’s new economy minister, Carlos Fernandez, faces the unenviable task of restoring confidence in his government’s economic management. ...

Features: Troubled Giant

COUNTRY REPORT / NIGERIA Despite vast hydrocarbon reserves and a government committed to economic diversification, Nigeria still faces tremendous problems. A resurgence in its banking sector may help accelerate future progress. Oil is Nigeria’s lifeline, accounting for some 80% of ...

Emerging Markets : Brazil Makes The Grade

BRAZIL Mantega: Central bank reserves will not be used for wealth fund. After years of speculation over when and if Brazil would achieve a coveted investment-grade rating, the move finally caught almost everyone by surprise. Standard & Poor’s upgraded Brazil’s ...

Features : Annual Survey: Stars Of The New Russia

ANNUAL REPORT / STARS OF THE NEW RUSSIA Making the most of their newfound spending power, Russia’s consumers are boosting the fortunes of the country’s banks and corporations. With Russia’s economy fueled by petrodollars, Russian consumers are on a spending ...

Newsmakers : Ackermann Proposes Global Overseer

Germany Ackermann: Global watchdog could prevent market bubbles Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann suggests that creating a global financial sector watchdog could prevent an encore of the global market storm unleashed by the US subprime crisis. Analysts say the idea ...

Milestones : Panama Pushes For Investment Grade

Panama Digging in: Work is now under way on the $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal. Although Brazil appears poised to become Latin America’s next investment-grade-rated sovereign, a tiny country may beat the giant to the punch. With Standard ...

Focus: Nafta : Who’s Who In Nafta

Nafta Focus Global Finance names the most influential and important people in Nafta commerce and finance. Gastón Azcárraga Andrade President, Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios, and CEO, Grupo Posadas Mexico Gastón Azcárraga Andrade has been CEO of Grupo Posadas, ...

Milestones : Colombia Gains Ground In Andean Standoff

Colombia/ecuador/venezuela Uribe: Used the standoff to push US-Colombia trade deal After Venezuela and Ecuador sent troops to their borders with Colombia, in response to Colombia’s attack on FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels within Ecuadorian territory on March 1, ...

Emerging Markets : Net Benfits

Brazil President Lula: Basking in Brazil's new net creditor status. After holding its ranking as the world’s largest emerging markets debtor for several decades, Brazil in January became a net foreign creditor for the first time ever, with international reserves ...

Features: Growth interrupted

COUNTRY REPORT: SOUTH AFRICA Flagging global growth, an ongoing energy shortage and increasing wage and inflation pressures are weighing heavily on South Africa’s economy. In a hole: South Africa's mining industry has been badly affected by recent power cuts. South ...

Cover Story : Continental Shift

LATIN AMERICA REGIONAL REPORT Latin American governments’ attempts to gain more control over their countries’ economic fortunes are having far-reaching effects on international corporations doing business in the region. Left in charge: Brazilian president Lula da Silva (top), Chile's Michelle ...

Emerging Markets : Miner Eyes Record-Breaking Deal

BRAZIL Rock solid: Vale is thought to be ready to bid for Xstrata. Brazilian mining giant Vale (formerly CVRD) is in talks to acquire Swiss mining company Xstrata, reportedly for $90 billion. The deal would be the single largest cross-border ...

Cover Story : Mexico

MEXICO Mexico’s recent economic progress could be derailed by turmoil in the US economy and the outcome of the US presidential election. High aspirations: Mexico is hoping its economy can resist a US downturn. The last time the US economy ...

Newsmakers : Taxing Times For A New President

GUATEMALA Colom: Facing challenges on the fiscal front. Just weeks after being sworn in on January 14 as the new Guatemalan president, Álvaro Colom—the Central American country’s first left-of-center leader since Jacobo Árbenz, who was overthrown in a United States-assisted ...

Milestones : Mexico Exchange Prepares For A Sell-Off

MEXICO Mexico's stock exchange: Lining up a $1 billion IPO. After last year’s blowout initial public offering by the São Paulo Stock Exchange (Bovespa), which raised $3.6 billion, the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (BMV), the Bovespa’s Mexican counterpart, is following ...

Milestones : Lima Launches Rmbs Market

Peru Lessons learned? Investors will be looking closely at the assets behind Peru’s mortgage-backed securities. While most global markets are seeking to shield themselves from shockwaves emanating from the US subprime home loan and residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) meltdown, Peru ...

Features : Power Play

COUNTRY REPORT / RUSSIA Having hand picked his successor as Russian president, Vladimir Putin has assured the country there will be a smooth transition of power. How much power he will retain remains in question. Oil has filled Russia's public ...

Milestones : Investors Line Up For A Scalping

Nicaragua Guevara: Deal will put an end to lawsuits. When Nicaragua offered commercial creditors a 95.5% haircut on $1.4 billion in commercial debt as part of a workout, the deal appeared to be more of a scalping. Yet creditors tendered ...