Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Earlybird, March 3, 2009

Well, after a week or so, there you go:

MARKETS -- German Real Estate Companies Face Heavy Debt Repayment Calendar (click here for link to Bloomberg News' story): Germany’s real estate companies are braced for a heavy debt repayment calendar this year, with short-term maturities that are as much as 18 times their market value amid a declining value of their assets.

BRAZIL -- Lula Condemns MST Killings; Groups Says It Reacted to Violence (click here for link to Estado story): The biggest test for the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration in his first term was posed by the growing unrest of social movements that supported him. But things got out of control, partly because the president and his ruling Workers' Party were too lenient on those groups -- the most prominent of them being the Landless Peasants' Movement (MST.) Here are the consequences of such leniency. We have anticipated growing risk of unrest as the global recession cuts agribusiness revenues, sparks more rural unemployment and deprives farmers of money that would otherwise be funneled to ease demands by the MST and peers.

VENEZUELA -- Crime Gets Out of Control: More Than 400 Deaths Registered in Caracas Last Month (click here for link to El Nacional story): President Hugo Chávez won the first round but not the fight. And his inaction to combat crime and urban violence will at some point erode support for him and his Bolivarian Revolution -- now that oil revenues are dwindling and he is urging Venezuelans to prepare for harder times.

COLOMBIA -- Ingrid Betancourt Was a Pain, According to Late Guerrilla Leader Raúl Reyes (click here for link to Espectador story): Ha! Well, the Americans let the cat out of the bag. Now are the guerrillas, complaining about Betancourt's behaviour in the jungle. Who will be next? Check yesterday's MM posting on the Ingrid Betancourt revelations -- and see that all that glitters ain't gold.

U.S. -- Bad Bank Idea Gets Revamped; Policy Makers Back to the Idea of Buying Bad Assets Jointly With Private Investors (click here for link to WSJ story): The Barack Obama administration may create multiple investment funds to purchase the bad loans and other distressed assets that lie at the heart of the financial crisis, people familiar with the matter told the WSJ. The venture comes from the ''bad bank´´ plan that would have required the government alone to buy up $1 trillion in toxic assets. The government jettisoned that idea after ''running into the thorny issue of pricing,´´ says the WSJ.

LATIN AMERICA -- Investment Funds Are Luring Customers, Fending Off Massive Redemptions (click here for link to Valor Econômico story): Latin American equity funds raised $800 million in the week ended Feb. 26, the only asset class in the emerging markets funds universe that averted net redemptions and withdrawals, according to EFPR. Well, potential for profit? Perhaps. That Latin America is de-coupled from the rest of the world? No way! Brazilian funds lured money for the fifth straight week. And they will probably keep luring more money after the Bovespa yesterday dropped 5 percent.

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