Markets

Here’s what you need to know about emerging markets this week, from the WSJ

Tanzania’s demand for $190 billion in taxes from gold-miner Acacia is hurting the country’s prospects for attracting investment, Rory Gallivan reports. The country’s authorities accused Acacia of understating its revenues and demanded $40 billion in unpaid taxes and $150 billion in interest and penalties. The tax demand dwarfs the company’s annual revenue of just over $1 billion, analysts at Shore Capital said, adding that copies of the reports on which the demand is based have yet to be shared with Acacia. The lack of transparency is “not conducive towards investment in the country” they added.

Jordan’s economic prospects are brightening slightly as the Middle Eastern nation emerges from a spell of declining growth and accelerating inflation, the IMF said this week. Growth, which slowed to 2% last year from 2.4%, is set to increase to 2.5% this year and inflation, which reached 4.6% earlier this year is expected to stabilise at around 2.5% by the end of 2017, the multilateral said. While the outlook remains “challenging” the country is benefitting from improved exports, tourism and remittances, but the labor market remains a problem with unemployment approaching 20%.

China Merchants Port Holdings is investing $1.12 billion for a majority stake and for exclusive rights to develop and operate Hambantota port on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, the Journal’s Saurabh Chaturvedi reports. The deal gives the Hong Kong-listed company rights to operate the strategically located port for 99 years. The Hambantota port lies along an important trade route linking Asia and Europe.

Moody’s said this week that Bulgaria’s banks are in a strong position, despite relatively high risks stemming from corporate lending and from non-performing loans. The banks have been notching up steady profit growth, which the ratings firm expects to continue, albeit at a slower pace. The banks are benefitting from “increased business opportunities and credit growth [that] will support both interest and non-interest income,” Constantinos Kypreos, a senior vice president at Moody’s said. They also benefit from stable funding and high liquidity, he said.

Argentina’s economy gained momentum in May, growing 3.3% from the same month a year ago, Taos Turner reports. It also grew 0.6% from the previous month, the national statistics agency said. Twelve out of 15 sectors measured by the government expanded in May with significant growth coming from agriculture, construction, retail, fishing, hotels, restaurants and transportation. “Going forward, we expect the cyclical economic recovery to strengthen and broaden with private consumption supported by rising real wages and public investment adding a significant impulse to growth,” Goldman Sachs said.

Venezuelan bond prices tumbled to their lowest levels of the year as default fears grew following US President Donald Trump’s threat to impose sanctions on the country, Carolyn Cui reports. State-owned oil producer Petróleos de Venezuela SA’s bonds due in November and the government’s bonds due in 2038 both fell heavily. A selloff in the country’s debt has accelerated since Trump’s statement a week ago, which followed a referendum by millions of Venezuelans that rejected President Nicolás Maduro’s plan to rewrite the country’s constitution.

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