Reuters blog archive
from Global Investing:
(corrects name of hedge fund in para 3 to Symphony Financial Partners)
Any doubt about the importance of a weaker yen in thawing the frozen Japanese economy will have been dispelled by the Nikkei's surge to 32-month highs this week. Since early December, when it became clear an incoming Shinzo Abe administration would do its best to weaken the yen, the equity index has surged as the yen has fallen.
Those moves are giving sleepless nights to Japan's neighbours who are watching their own currencies appreciate versus the yen. South Korean companies, in particular, from auto to electronics manufacturers, must be especially worried. They had a fine time in recent years as the yen's strength since 2008 allowed them to gain market share overseas. But since mid-2012, the won has appreciated 22 percent versus the yen. In this period, MSCI Korea has lagged the performance of MSCI Japan by 20 percent. Check out the following graphic from my colleague Vincent Flasseur (@ReutersFlasseur)
David Baran, co-founder of Tokyo-based Symphony Financial Partners, notes the relative performance of Hyundai and Toyota (Hyundai shares have fallen 2.5 percent this year adding to 13.5 percent loss in the last quarter of 2012. Toyota on the other hand is up 5 percent so far in 2013 after gaining 31 percent in Oct-Dec last year). Baran says he has gone long the Nikkei and short the Seoul index (the Kospi) and (Hong Kong's) Hang Seng, while taking a short position on the yen. He says:
Dollar/yen went from 125 to 77 at the exporters' expense and the Koreans benefited massively from this. Now, if we get a situation where the yen goes into the mid-90s or lower, Japanese corporates will be fantastically profitable and that's what people are starting to build into equity allocations. The feeling is that greater damage will be towards Korean exporters in favour of the Japanese.
from Fan Fare:
Another day. Another pricey Charlie Sheen car ends up wrecked at the bottom of a Los Angeles canyon. And another mystery heist.
It's the second time in five months that one of the "Two and a Half Men" star's luxury cars has been driven out of the actor's gated community in the middle of the night (without anyone apparently seeing anything suspicious) and been driven off the side of famed Mulholland Drive.
from India Insight:
No. 1 Indian carmaker Maruti Suzuki's recall of its best-selling A-Star vehicles may not cost the company much financially, but sure raises questions about the procedures followed by the company for disclosing such information to investors.
The company says the recall of 100,000 cars began in November, but did not disclose the move until late February.
from Changing China:
As Copenhagen's climate talks draw near, more and more critics are turning to the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and asking how much damage has been done and what is being done about it?
China's booming double-digit growth came with a price. Coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels produces 80 percent of the country's energy. But China says change is already well underway. The government recently announced that it aims to cut 2005 carbon intensity levels by 40-45 percent by 2020.
from India Insight:
Honda's premium hatchback Jazz has just added to the flurry of four-wheelers crowding the ramp in the compact car segment.Indian market leader Maruti has been in the forefront here, following up its launch of the A-Star in 2008 with the Ritz (see photo) this year.This week, Fiat launched the Grande Punto, another compact car.This segment already has cars such as the hugely popular Swift, Swift D'Zire (all from the Maruti stable), the i10, i20 and Getz from Hyundai, Chevrolet's Spark, etc.There are more in the pipeline with Skoda Auto's new Fabia expected later this year and Volkswagen's Polo in early 2010.And there is room for more.Auto expert Hormazd Sorabjee thinks this segment is fairly elastic and has the scope to absorb the supply."Of course there will be a lot of competition…they will eat into each other's share, but it will help to expand the market. And the competition is good."Around 75-80 percent of the cars sold in India are in the compact segment - where the price varies from about 350,000 rupees to about 700,000 rupees (the super-premium compact).Within this elastic price range, the category has the cars to suit all budgets.Maruti dominates the segment because of the number of brands it has.It would be difficult for other players to dethrone it mainly because the company has got a clear head start over the others and it has identified itself as more of an "Indian" company compared to them.Few people think about its Japanese parentage. It also has the advantage of having a wider service network than the other relatively recent entrants.What do you think? Which car can end Maruti's domination over the compact car segment in India?
from Fan Fare:
But he has now has leased a new car and moved on from his 20 year-old convertible BMW, whose dashboard had reportedly once caught fire while Pattinson was driving.
from India Insight:
I was stuck in a traffic jam on one of New Delhi's busiest roads, taking in the sights and smells of vehicles idling in all directions, when my cab driver turned to me and asked -- "Are you going to buy the Tata Nano?"
It's a question thrown at me several times over the past few months and each time the answer has been "No".
from The Great Debate (India):
Tata Motors is launching the Nano, the world’s cheapest car, on March 23. Bookings open in the second week of April and the 100,000-rupee car is slated to hit Indian roads before July.
from Global News Journal:
Kenya's power-sharing government was only born after weeks of election violence that killed 1,300 people. Zimbabwe's power sharing agreement is yet to bear fruit as southern Africa's former breadbasket crumbles into economic ruin.
So will power sharing in Central African Republic, where one of Africa's most forgotten conflicts has been simmering for more than half a decade, fare any better?