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from MacroScope:

ECB – stick or twist?

 

The European Central Bank meets today with emerging market disorder high on its agenda.

It’s probably  too early to force a policy move – particularly since the next set of ECB economic and inflation forecasts are due in March – but it’s an unwelcome development at a time when inflation is already uncomfortably low, dropping further to just 0.7 percent in January, way below the ECB’s target of close to but below two percent.

If the market turbulence persists and a by-product is to drive the euro higher, which is quite possible, the downward pressure on prices could threaten a deflationary spiral which ECB policymakers have so far insisted will not come to pass.

But what to do? A small interest rate cut from 0.25 percent to somewhere just above zero is hardly going to be a game changer and the ECB has already said it won’t prime banks with long-term cheap money again unless they commit to lend into the real economy.

from The Great Debate:

Democracy emerges in sub-Saharan Africa

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The recent re-election of Zimbabwe’s 89-year old president Robert Mugabe, in office for 33 years, resembled a period not long ago when sham elections were the norm in sub-Saharan Africa. Peaceful transitions of power were almost unheard of.

Though the African Union disappointingly endorsed the elections as “honest and credible,” Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has now faced a spate of resignations and international condemnation over allegations of vote-rigging, intimidation and state media control.

from Global Investing:

The Sub-Saharan frontier: future generations

As growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to post a steady 5-6 percent per annum to 2017 according to IMF estimates,  investors will be taking notes on the region's growth story not least with the financial sector.

Growth projections have rebounded from forecasts of around a 3 percent rise in 2009 after falling commodity prices have hit one of the region's main revenue sources. Yet, according to the World Bank's recent Global Development Finance report, stronger commodities will firm growth prospects in the coming years. In recent weeks, commodities have dipped, dampening the outlook for some resource-rich countries, but as 76 percent of the region's population do not have access to a bank account, lenders are set to grow their presence in the region.

from Global Investing:

New frontiers to outpace emerging markets

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Fund managers searching for yield are increasing exposure to frontier markets (FM) as a diversification from emerging markets (EM), as the latter have been offering negative relative returns since January, according to MSCI data.

Barings Asset Management  said on Monday it plans to launch a frontier markets fund in coming weeks, with a projected 70 percent exposure to frontier markets such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sri Lanka and Ukraine.

from Global Investing:

Ratings more than a piece of paper for Africa

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By Stephen Eisenhammer

Does a sovereign credit rating from a glass tower in London or New York impact life in the country being rated? Apparently in Africa it does.

According to research by the rating agency Fitch, sovereign credit ratings significantly boost foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Wednesday

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SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Now the international period is over we can focus on domestic issues again, or can we?

Tuesday's matches provided plenty of drama, from the battles Spain and the Netherlands had to fight to get through tricky Euro 2012 qualifiers, to Ghana's lighting up of London, to Australia's World Cup revenge against Germany in a friendly.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Tuesday

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SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Spring is here and love should be in the air, but instead all we're left with is bickering managers.

Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho are no strangers to controversy, so it's no surprise to see them at it again, though the timing is odd. Mourinho still has it all to prove at Real Madrid over the next two months, while Capello has yet to truly inspire confidence in England fans.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Reuters World Cup 2010 podcast — quarter-finals (II)

Listen!

Join us for a look back at the extraordinary first two quarter-finals at the World Cup and a look forward to Germany v Argentina and Spain v Paraguay. Paul Radford, Felix Bate, Jon Bramley and Kevin Fylan argue over the merits of penalty goals in soccer and consider Ghana's desperate misfortune.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Did the punishment fit the Suarez crime?

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SOCCER-WORLD

When Uruguay's Luis Suarez handled the ball in the final seconds of extra-time in the World Cup quarter-final against Ghana, the ball was heading across the line for a dramatic winning goal.

The officials did well to spot the offence in a crowded area at the end of what must have been a tiring encounter to be in charge of. But did the punishment of a penalty and a red card for Suarez really fit the crime?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Reuters World Cup podcast — quarter-finals (I)

Join us for an in-depth look at the first two World Cup quarter-finals, Netherlands v Brazil and Uruguay v Ghana, with our soccer experts Paul Radford, Owen Wyatt, Felix Bate, Mark Gleeson, Helen Popper and Kevin Fylan.

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