Billionaire Sam Zell said he is entering the real estate markets in Colombia and India in the next two weeks as he continues to favor international investments over U.S. property deals.
Zell, chairman of Chicago-based Equity International, will invest in real estate in Colombia and will eventually move on to residential projects, he said in an interview today on Bloomberg Television. In India, he plans to open hotels.
“Colombia is the next star of Latin America,” Zell said on “In the Loop” with Betty Liu. “In India, we’re doing a hotel/motel program like Residence Inn at Marriott and we hope to build a chain across the country.”
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trying to bring more transactions under the purview of the taxman
In India cash still continues to be the predominant payment mode. This can be gauged from the fact that value of bank notes and coins in circulation as a percentage of narrow money is very high at 60.07 percent for the year 2009-10 as compared to 18.51 percent in South Africa, 18.83 percent in China and 39.14 percent in Mexico.
Commerce secretary Rahul Khullar will lead a business delegation of engineering companies to Colombia and Panama on a five-day visit from Monday, “with an eye to explore the possibility of bilateral trade agreements” with the Latin American nations and to encourage India’s trade and investment in the region, a commerce ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
“Colombia and Panama are crucial for us as we are aiming to increase our trade ties with the Andean Community of Latin American countries,” the official said. The Andean Community is a customs union comprising the South American countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
India already has a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the Mercosur bloc comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay that came into effect in 2009 and covers around 900 products. A similar trade pact with Chile has been effective since 2007.
Exports to Latin American countries rose 72.5% in 2010-11 to $10.7 billion (Rs.49,327 crore), according to latest commerce ministry data. However, India shares a trade deficit of $3.2 billion with the continent, with imports growing at 34% to $14 billion during the same year.
Technorati Tags: india, latin america, trade
News from BusinessGreen
The Brazilian authorities have this week confirmed that wind power in the country currently costs less than natural gas, after a series of energy auctions saw wind farm operators undercut other forms of energy generation.
Seventy-eight wind power projects won contracts in last week’s energy auctions held by Brazil’s National Electric Power Agency, totalling 1,928MW and priced at approximately 99.5 reals (£37.4) per MWh.
By comparison, the average price for power generated with natural gas is currently 103 reals (£38.7) per MWh in Brazil, while the average price for energy determined through the auctions was 102.07 reals per MWh. According to Brazil’s Energy Research Company (EPE), wind power is also now trading around 19 per cent cheaper per MWh than the average price in Brazil last year, suggesting the price of the technology is becoming a more competitive.
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Goldman Sachs, in a recent report, estimates the aggregate gap between the BRICs and the G6 in electricity, telecoms, and rails as approximately $10 trillion. This is more than twice the BRIC’s current GDP, and the closing of this gap could last 25 years. The four countries are similar only in their need for increased infrastructure spending. Using World Bank data, India appears to be the least developed, lagging the other three in mobile phones, per capita electricity consumption, and access to sanitation facilities.
In addition to the immense need for increased spending, companies within the sector can rely on a portion of their revenues even during harsh economic times. Since a portion of government spending must be budgeted to maintain sanitation and transportation network, the infrastructure space is somewhat insulated from economic volatility. High barriers to entry and often nationalistic favoritism to domestic companies help to argue the case for investment.
Brazil’s build out to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 could still drive significant gains in the sector within the country. Thus far, bottlenecks and poor planning have plagued the country’s hopes to be ready. Of the estimated $20.9 billion needed in infrastructure spending, only about $3.3 billion has been invested as of April 2011. To help with the drive, the government has begun a process of privatization for three of the 66 state-owned airports. The three airports: Sao Paulo, Campinas, and Brasilia account for approximately 43% of the estimated airport infrastructure spending needed.
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By Lester R. Brown | Foreign Policy
the largest food bubbles are in India and China. In India, where farmers have drilled some 20 million irrigation wells, water tables are falling and the wells are starting to go dry. The World Bank reports that 175 million Indians are being fed with grain produced by overpumping.
IN THIS ERA OF TIGHTENING world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage (DR – an OPEC for foodgrains is not a farfetched possibility), and countries are scrambling to secure their own parochial interests at the expense of the common good.
This January , a new stage in the scramble among importing countries to secure food began to unfold when South Korea, which imports 70 percent of its grain, announced that it was creating a new public-private entity that will be responsible for acquiring part of this grain. With an initial office in Chicago, the plan is to bypass the large international trading firms by buying grain directly from U.S. farmers. As the Koreans acquire their own grain elevators, they may well sign multiyear delivery contracts with farmers, agreeing to buy specified quantities of wheat, corn, or soybeans at a fixed price. [DR - I have talked to large grain buyers in India and the Middle East who are eager to adopt such a model, buying cost-plus from farmers]
Technorati Tags: food, geopolitics, food security
Recent meetings between high-level representatives from India and Uruguay have produced a number of positive results, including plans to increase cooperation in the agriculture, pharmaceuticals, textiles, automobiles, machineries, IT (link). Cooperation is also being negotiated for the renewable energy sector with a focus on wind energy (link).
“For Uruguay in its international insertion strategy, links with India are crucial since it is one of the emerging powers with a growing influence in the global context; this is why it is so important to increase trade, both ways, because currently it is insignificant and negative for Uruguay.” – Vice President of Uruguay, Danilo Astori (link).
Brazil and Argentina will cooperate on the construction of two new hydroelectric dams and two nuclear reactors as part of expanded energy cooperation between the two countries. From Reuters:
“We will continue to work to strengthen Mercosur and consolidate the customs union … and we will keep on fighting protectionism by rich countries and policies that distort foreign trade, including exchange rates,” she said.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed energy cooperation agreements with her Argentine counterpart on Monday during her first official visit abroad since taking office.
South America’s two largest economies are growing briskly and their governments are working to ensure energy supply can keep pace with growing demand from industry and households and sustain long-term growth.
Rousseff and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez pledged to accelerate plans to build two hydroelectric dams on part of the Uruguay River that straddles their border. The Garabi and Panambi dams would have a capacity of 2,200 megawatts.
They also agreed to build two nuclear reactors for investigation purposes and exchange know-how on biofuels. Brazil is one of the world’s biggest ethanol producers and Argentina is a leading exporter of biodiesel made from soyoil.
“I’m sure the accords we’ve signed will prove fruitful,” Rousseff said in a speech at the presidential palace, vowing to boost bilateral ties and the Mercosur regional trade bloc.