Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Moscow: The least worst place for your money

   Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital was a big backer of Moscow’s ambition to become a major emerging-markets financial centre, a bridge between European and Asian capital, a rival to Dubai.

    It not only trumpeted the idea, but was one of the first big local firms to take out offices in a sleek glass skyscraper by the Moscow River, surrounded by foundation pits and towers of naked steel girders that were to become Moscow’s Canary Wharf.       Then the financial crisis hit in September 2008, knocking back the city’s ambitions.       Renaissance Capital President Ruben Aganbegyan said, however, that other world financial centres were inadvertently helping Moscow’s case despite its setbacks.       “A lot of people in the world are doing everything they can to help us,” Aganbegyan told the 2009 Reuters Russian Investment Summit. “Like the UK raising taxes.”     Russia instituted a 13 percent flat income tax rate in 2001 to stop rampant tax evasion. Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told the summit that Russia would try to avoid raising taxes to cover budget deficits for at least three years

Enviro-boxer Britain needs to spend more on climate cure

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Scientists may face an uphill battle in trying to warn the world about the looming perils of global warming, but one of Britain’s top academics wouldn’t trade places with the politicians tasked with negotiating a new global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Although the science (of climate change) is difficult and still uncertain, it’s a doddle compared to the politics,” said Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, Britain’s science academy.

Japan eyes UK takeover rules

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Japan’s takeover rules are destined to be shaken up — but probably not for some time.

The government wants to adopt Britain’s takeover rules rather than base policy on the U.S. model.

No more green shoots, but lots of bottoms

From the start, “green shoots of recovery” was not necessarily the British government’s wisest choice of words and after a few months of being on everyone’s lips, has given way to a more lowly metaphor.
Business Minister Baroness Vadera raised the hackles of the political opposition in January when she spotted “a few green shoots” on a day of large-scale job losses and collapsing share prices.
Evidence of economic revival is still elusive, but there are ever louder hints that we have at least seen the worst — or bottomed, to use the mot du jour.
Bottom as a noun and a verb was widely brandished by speakers attending Reuters Global Energy Summit this week, who based on their analysis on a slight increase in available credit, a tentative pick up in energy demand and rising commodity prices.
OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri has an interest in spotting the kind of confidence that has driven oil prices up from a low below $35 a barrel in December to almost double that.
“I have no doubt that the recession has bottomed out, but is it a V shape or a U shape?” he asked during a Reuters summit session.
Others were less convinced and the most bearish of them all was a representative of the very oversupplied tanker market, where freight rates have sunk to their lowest levels in decades, with not a green shoot in sight.
“We have seen lower than the bottom,” said Erik Ranheim, a manager at oil tanker association Intertanko.

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