India’s reserves squeezed as investors shun rupee assets

August 27, 2013 7:18 am

India’s reserves squeezed as investors shun rupee assets

By Victor Mallet in New Delhi and Avantika Chilkoti in Mumbai

India’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped by nearly $14bn since the end of March and are set to dwindle further as international investors shun the rupee and other emerging market assets in favour of the US dollar, according to economists and market analysts. India entered the latest emerging market sell-off, which was prompted by fears that the US Federal Reserve would soon “taper” its quantitative easing, in relatively good shape in terms of financial safety. Read more of this post

The ironies of India’s economic crisis; Leaders blame their woes on the receding tide of easy money

August 25, 2013 4:15 pm

The ironies of India’s economic crisis

By Ruchir Sharma

Leaders blame their woes on the receding tide of easy money, writes Ruchir Sharma

Anot so funny thing happened while the world was watching for an emerging markets crisis to erupt in China. The crisis erupted in India instead. Contagion typically attacks weak links first, often exposing vulnerabilities hidden in plain sight. The fall of the rupee exposes India as having the emerging world’s worst fiscal deficit and largest current account deficit in absolute terms. What went wrong? For much of the past decade, India was celebrated as one of the emerging nations destined to rise indefinitely. Even after the global crisis of 2008, like China and others, it kept growth alive by spending heavily, helped by the easy money flowing out of the US. Behind the scenes, though, the picture was deteriorating, with crony capitalism, government subsidies and inflation rising rapidly. Read more of this post

India Dealmaking Could Slump on Central Bank Rule to stem the flight of capital from the country.

August 26, 2013, 1:22 PM ET

India Dealmaking Could Slump on Central Bank Rule

Vipal Monga

Senior Editor

Indian companies have been snapping up foreign targets of late, but that activity could slow because of new regulations being imposed on overseas deals by the Reserve Bank of India. According to a report by the Press Trust of India, India’s central bank will be reviewing a pending $2.4 billion dealbetween Indian’s Apollo Tyres andCooper Tire & Rubber Co. as part of new controls meant to stem the flight of capital from the country. Read more of this post

Is the tycoon era in HK coming to an end?

Is the tycoon era in HK coming to an end?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 – 08:45

The Sunday Times

Hong Kong – When residents of Banyan Garden in Kowloon moved into their new homes built by tycoon Li Ka Shing’s Cheung Kong Holdings 10 years ago, they realised their connection with Asia’s richest man did not stop there. The estate management company they had to use was a Li Ka Shing business. Their phone and broadband services were provided by a Li Ka Shing telecoms operator. Read more of this post

A Painful ‘Recoupling’ for Markets; Korea decouples from emerging markets?

2013-08-26 17:39

Korea decouples from emerging markets

By Kim Rahn
Korea has been moving differently from other emerging Asian nations that have seen economic turmoil in recent weeks. While economic data of countries like India and Indonesia have turned negatively following outflow of foreign capital amid fears of the U.S.’ stimulus cut, those of Korea have shown only little fluctuation. For the past month, Indonesia’s sovereign credit default swap (CDS) premium, a barometer of risk-hedging costs for a country on sovereign or corporate debts, rose from 194.44 basis points (bp) to 286.43 bp. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point. However, Korea rose only 2.66 bp from 82.50 bp to 85.16 bp. Read more of this post

Half of South Korea’s households leased homes through “jeonse” or monthly rental system, and the average jeonse deposit surpassed 100 million won ($89,554) for the first time

Average ‘jeonse’ deposit exceeds $90,000 for first time

2013.08.27 11:26:01

Half of South Korea’s households leased homes through “jeonse” or monthly rental system, and the average jeonse deposit surpassed 100 million won ($89,554) for the first time. Jeonse is a lease system in which a tenant pays a large lump-sum deposit for typically a two-year rental period. Four out of 10 jeonse tenants deposited 100 million won or more to lease homes, with half of jeonse tenants finding it difficult to afford an over five percent increase in deposit. To address the problem, the financial regulator is pondering curbing big jeonse loans and instead increasing jeonse or monthly rental loans for the underprivileged. The numbers are a result of a survey of 5,000 heads of households aged between 20 and 59 conducted and released by the Korea Housing-Finance Corporation Tuesday. Of the polled, 49.6 percent lived in their own housing last year, down one percentage point from 50.6 percent of 2011. This is a steep decline from 63.6 percent of 2007. In contrast, households living in homes rented on a jeonse basis accounted for 25.4 percent of respondents, and those on a monthly payment basis 13.2 percent. Semi-jeonse, a lease system in which jeonse deposit is lowered in exchange for monthly payment, was rare as lately as 2011. But 4.4 percent of respondents were renting housing on a semi-jeonse basis last year, indicating a shift away from jeonse to monthly payment lease. The median jeonse deposit came to 101.8 million won last year, above the 100 million won mark, and surged more than 10 million won from 90.4 million won of 2011. The average jeonse deposit stood at 75.2 million won in 2010.

Startups gain appeal as Japan Inc. names fade

Startups gain appeal as Japan Inc. names fade

BY YURI KAGEYAMA

AP

AUG 27, 2013

In a shabby back-alley office in Shibuya, a Tokyo district known for youth culture and tech ventures, defectors from corporate Japan are hard at work for a little-known company they fervently believe will be the country’s next big manufacturing success. Like a startup anywhere in the world, its bare-bones setup crackles with an optimistic energy and urgent sense of purpose. What’s different, for Japan, is that this startup’s talent is drawn from the ranks of famous companies such as Mitsubishi, Michelin and Nissan. Read more of this post

Japan’s debt-funding costs to hit $257 billion next year

Japan’s debt-funding costs to hit $257 billion next year: document

2:48am EDT

By Takaya Yamaguchi

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan expects to spend a record $257 billion to service its debt during the next fiscal year, a document obtained by Reuters showed, underscoring the huge burden created by the government’s borrowings. The amount to be allocated for debt-servicing for the year that will begin on April 1 is nearly as large as the gross domestic product of Singapore, which the World Bank put at $275 billion at the end of 2012. Read more of this post

Too many entitled entrepreneurs in the Malaysian eco-system

Updated: Thursday August 22, 2013 MYT 8:36:45 AM

Bad-apple problems

GABBERISH BY GABEY GOH

Too many entitled entrepreneurs in the Malaysian eco-system.

I HAVE been hearing quite a bit over the last few weeks how the start-up community in Malaysia is just not up to par. From complaints about entrepreneurs being overly secretive and unwilling to share insights to the dominance of the “give me” mentality, frankly, the picture being painted is not pretty at all. “Rotten apples in the community pull other start-ups back. There is no support system, everybody wants help but nobody contributes,” said an obviously frustrated start-up personality who only wished to be known as Bob. Read more of this post

To Protect Its Empire, ESPN Stays on Offense; Emerging competitors, decreasing cable subscriptions and rising political opposition to bundled channels have created a precarious environment for ESPN, which is fighting back

August 26, 2013

To Protect Its Empire, ESPN Stays on Offense

By RICHARD SANDOMIR, JAMES ANDREW MILLER and STEVE EDER

ESPN likes to call itself the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and by most every measure it is in a league of its own. The network produced 35,000 hours of programming in 2012, including at least half of all live athletic events televised in the United States. It is a prodigious cash machine, regularly generating nearly half of the operating profit of Disney, its parent company. Wielding its wealth, it buys the rights to nearly all it desires: $15.2 billion for “Monday Night Football,” $5.6 billion for Major League Baseball and $7.3 billion for a 12-year deal to broadcast the new college football playoff system, to name just a few. From its sprawling 123-acre campus in Bristol, Conn., ESPN operates seven national channels, an industry-leading Web site, a magazine and international sites like ESPNcricinfo.com, for cricket fans. Read more of this post

Zero Worship: Credit-Card Firms Compete With No-Interest Transfers; Hunt for Customers Pushes Banks to Revive Terms That Were the Rage in the 1990s

Updated August 26, 2013, 6:35 p.m. ET

Zero Worship: Credit-Card Firms Compete With No-Interest Transfers

Hunt for Customers Pushes Banks to Revive Terms That Were the Rage in the 1990s

ROBIN SIDEL

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The goal of the 0% teasers is to reel in new customers with the lure of not paying interest on current balances, and then get them to rack up interest-bearing charges on new purchases.  

U.S. credit-card companies, hungry for new customers as many Americans continue to shun debt, are pumping up a popular promotion that can be risky for both lenders and consumers. Financial companies that issue plastic are flooding mailboxes and email accounts with offers that allow new customers to transfer their existing credit-card balances from other institutions without paying interest for as long as two years. The teasers, known as 0% balance transfers, have been used periodically since the late 1990s. The current offers, however, cover unusually lengthy periods and, in some cases, are being extended to a wider swath of potential customers than in the past, say industry executives and consultants. Those with spotty credit histories, however, still aren’t eligible for the promotions. Read more of this post

U.S. Treasury to Hit Debt Limit in Mid-October

August 26, 2013, 3:48 p.m. ET

U.S. Treasury to Hit Debt Limit in Mid-October

Latest Timeline Could Step Up Pressure on Congress

DAMIAN PALETTA

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Treasury Department will hit its borrowing limit in mid-October and likely will no longer be able to pay all its bills soon after that time, people familiar with the matter said Monday. The timeline could step up pressure on Congress to decide whether to raise the debt ceiling in the coming weeks. Lawmakers remain split over whether to raise it or insist that increase be combined with a large deficit-reduction package. Read more of this post

U.S. equity funds have biggest outflow since June 2008 – BofA

U.S. equity funds have biggest outflow since June 2008 – BofA

Fri, Aug 23 2013

NEW YORK, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Investors worldwide withdrew $14.3 billion from U.S. equity funds in the latest week, marking the biggest weekly outflow from the funds since June 2008, data from a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report showed Friday. Nearly all of the outflows from U.S. equity funds in the week ended Aug. 21 were from exchange-traded funds, the report said, also citing data from fund-tracker EPFR Global. Read more of this post

Junk Debt Exceeds $2 Trillion in Central Bank Repression

Junk Debt Exceeds $2 Trillion in Central Bank Repression

It took three decades for the amount of speculative-grade debt to reach $1 trillion. It took about seven years to reach $2 trillion as investors sought relief from the financial repression brought on by near-zero interest rates. The market for dollar-denominated junk-rated debt has expanded more than eightfold since the end of 1997 from $243 billion, according to Morgan Stanley. That compares with a quadrupling of the investment-grade market to $4.2 trillion as tracked by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. Corporate Index. Read more of this post

Economic Moat Crossing Ahead: Railroads Advance to Wide

Economic Moat Crossing Ahead: Railroads Advance to Wide

By Keith Schoonmaker, CFA | 08-26-13 | 06:00 AM | Email Article

We have upgraded the six North American Class I railroad economic moat ratings to wide from narrow because of our increased confidence that the rails will continue to improve operating ratios, and consequently, returns on invested capital. In the past, we considered the railroads’ excess returns too paltry to warrant assurance of long-run sustainable economic profit, but the railroads have demonstrated strong resilience through trials of recession-weakened freight and the decline in coal volume over the past several years. Based on this performance, we now are confident that rails will leverage their competitive advantages of low cost and efficient scale to generate positive economic profits for the benefit of share owners with near certainty 10 years from now, and more likely than not 20 years from now; by our methodology, this defines a wide economic moat. Read more of this post

“Cheap” emerging markets: Bargain basement or falling knife?

Cheap emerging markets: Bargain basement or falling knife?

Fri, Aug 23 2013

By Sujata Rao

LONDON (Reuters) – Emerging markets are looking very cheap and the beaten-down prices could be a solid base for future returns, but funds should be prepared for more short-term losses if they take the plunge. Stocks, bonds and currencies across the developing world are suffering a rout on a scale not seen for years. Asset price valuations look dirt cheap – versus emerging markets’ own history and also possibly against their future prospects. Read more of this post

America’s Low-Tech Profit Pump Is Wearing Out

August 26, 2013, 11:56 a.m. ET

America’s Low-Tech Profit Pump Is Wearing Out

JUSTIN LAHART

MI-BY101A_CAPEX_G_20130826192705

American companies have spent the past decade investing too little in technology, and they’ve done that for a simple reason: They could get away with it. Now the bill is about to come due. The payoff a company expects when it invests in a piece of tech equipment is that somewhere down the line it won’t have to shell out as much of its sales on paying its workers. If the firm worries that labor costs might shoot higher, it will be minded to invest heavily in labor-saving technology. If, on the other hand, it thinks labor costs will be contained, it will have less of a penchant for tech. Read more of this post

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