What Abe Can Learn From Japan Inc.’s Mavericks

What Abe Can Learn From Japan Inc.’s Mavericks

There’s no shortage of pundits eager to tell Shinzo Abe how to shake up Japan’s economy. Instead of looking to academics for advice, though, the prime minister should get into the trenches with some of the nation’s more unconventional corporate heads.

Abe talks, for example, about wanting to make Japanese companies worldlier. For pointers, he should study what Tadashi Yanai has already accomplished at Fast Retailing Co., home of the Uniqlo brand. Yanai has become Japan’s richest man — and the only Japanese on Time magazine’s latest 100 most-influential list — largely because of his success at expanding abroad. Read more of this post

Chavez’s 70% Gold Bet Unravels as Reserves Plunge

Chavez’s 70% Gold Bet Unravels as Reserves Plunge: Andes Credit

The bet on gold that former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made in the final years of his life is collapsing at the wrong time for his country.

Chavez, who argued that Venezuela should move away from the “dictatorship of the dollar,” stockpiled more than 70 percent of Venezuela’s foreign reserves in gold by 2012, the highest percentage among all emerging-market countries and more than 50 times that held by neighbors Colombia and Brazil, according to the World Gold Council. Read more of this post

Forget Handouts—India Is Starving for Growth; New Delhi’s decision to increase handouts of subsidized food doesn’t bode well for India’s economy

July 4, 2013, 7:28 a.m. ET

Forget Handouts—India Is Starving for Growth

New Delhi’s decision to increase handouts of subsidized food doesn’t bode well for India’s economy.


New Delhi’s decision to increase handouts of subsidized food doesn’t bode well for India’s economy. The bigger problem, though, is that India is starving for growth. The National Food Security Bill, passed by the government Wednesday, guarantees cheap grain to 800 million Indians. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The new program will cost at least $4 billion a year, according to the government, on top of the roughly $18 billion a year India already spends on food subsidies. Critics say the move is a politically motivated handout meant to garner popular support ahead of next year’s general election, and does nothing to fix India’s woeful food supply infrastructure. Read more of this post

Burned Bond Buyers Re-Evaluate Africa

July 4, 2013, 4:20 p.m. ET

Burned Bond Buyers Re-Evaluate Africa



Just weeks ago, Africa was a hot destination for yield-hungry bond investors. It was a bet that burned many money managers. Prices of government bonds around the world have declined, pushing yields higher, as investors come to terms with the possibility the Federal Reserve could scale back its economic stimulus within months. A flurry of bonds issued by nations in sub-Saharan Africa since September have taken some of the biggest hits, an unpleasant wake-up call for investors who dove into these “frontier” markets in search of fat yields. The selloff has spurred investors to take a closer look at these countries’ finances and re-evaluate the risks that come with investing in Africa. As exuberance turns to trepidation, doubts have surfaced about whether countries with plans to tap international markets this year will proceed. Flagging investor interest has already raised borrowing costs for Nigeria, which sold $1 billion worth of bonds to global money managers Tuesday. Read more of this post

Crocs Wants You to Forget About Its Clogs; Crocs is targeting foreign markets. Half of the 90 stores it will open in 2013 will be in Asia

Crocs Wants You to Forget About Its Clogs

By Matt Townsend on July 03, 2013


Search online for “hate crocs” and you’ll quickly see why Crocs (CROX) is eager to downplay the clunky clogs it unleashed on an unsuspecting world 11 years ago. Bloggers have denounced the rubbery footwear as ugly and an escalator tripping hazard. On YouTube, a woman cuts a yellow pair into pieces and then feeds them to a blender.

The clogs still generate 47 percent of the company’s sales; lots of people like them, especially medical professionals and kids. Yet to hit Chief Executive Officer John McCarvel’s target of doubling sales in five years, the company has to woo consumers with its other footwear. That’s why Crocs-the-company is telling the world all about its foam-bottomed wedges, sneakers, and leopard-print ballet flats—and putting Crocs-the-clogs in the back of stores the way grocers do with milk. “If someone wants them,” McCarvel says, “make them walk through all the new stuff first.” Read more of this post

The Eurobond’s 50th birthday has lessons for governments about how not to regulate finance

The Eurobond’s 50th birthday has lessons for governments about how not to regulate finance

Jul 6th 2013 |From the print edition


FIFTY years ago this week Autostrade, an Italian motorway operator, issued a $15m bond. The first Eurobond was less a piece of clever financial engineering than an elaborate tax dodge. The idea dreamed up by London bankers was to capture some of the dollars that were sloshing around Europe (hence the name Eurodollars) because of America’s Regulation Q, which limited the interest rates paid on deposit accounts. Autostrade was chosen as the first issuer because it had the right to pay interest (in the form of coupons) without deducting Italian tax. The bond was issued in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam to avoid British stamp duty. The coupons were payable in Luxembourg to avoid British income tax. Read more of this post

Mumbai’s hungry high rollers; The fight to fill the stomachs of Mumbai’s rich

Mumbai’s hungry high rollers; The fight to fill the stomachs of Mumbai’s rich

Jul 6th 2013 | MUMBAI |From the print edition


IF YOUR thing is an infinite supply of langoustine and Veuve Clicquot served, to a piercing guitar solo, by a waiter who probably lives in a slum, then head to Mumbai. India’s financial capital has developed a mania for Sunday brunch. The magic formula is a gluttonous amount of food and drink for $40-80 a head, and a background of classic rock. Luxury hotels and restaurants each have their own style and their own clientele. In the Marriott Hotel in Juhu, a filmi suburb where actors live, bandannas and boob-jobs are on display. At the new Shangri-La, bankers boast about how much face-time they get with Mukesh Ambani, an upholstered tycoon, while loading up on tuna nigiri-zushi. The age of the brunch reflects rising numbers of wealthy folk. “People used to entertain at home, but things have become less conservative—money does wonders,” says a catering manager at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, standing by a cheese the size of a car wheel. It also reflects a dearth of things for the well-to-do to do. Mumbai has little green space, few shops and dire transport. The rich would not be seen dead on the foreshore promenades where anglers cast for mullet on the weekends when the council does not release sewage into the sea, or on the beaches where whizzing cricket balls, rubbish and tens of thousands of paddlers vie for space. Read more of this post

P&G Invokes Bollywood in India Toothpaste Battle

P&G Invokes Bollywood in India Toothpaste Battle

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) is betting on one of Bollywood’s most popular actors to help it break the dominance of Colgate Palmolive Co. (CL) and Hindustan Unilever Ltd., which together control 73 percent of India’s toothpaste market.

The world’s biggest maker of consumer products, which started selling its Oral-B Pro-health toothpaste in mainly urban centers in India in June, is using Hindi-movie actor Madhuri Dixit-Nene to endorse the brand. By enlisting mother-of-two Dixit-Nene, 46, P&G is targeting all age groups, said Harish Bijoor, who advises companies on brands. Read more of this post

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