What to watch for today
Wanted: a successor to Hugo Chávez, must be divinely ordained. Campaigning opens today for Venezuela’s April 14 presidential election. Most observers expect vice president Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s hand-picked successor, to win. Let’s go to Maduro for a comment: ”All of the prophecies of Hugo Chávez, the prophet of Christ on this earth, have come true.” OK, then.
The Korean stand-off continues. North Korea says it will restart its nuclear plant. America seems rather sanguine about the “disconnect between rhetoric and action.”
As does the Cyprus saga. Cypriot officials will talk to the EU and IMF about easier terms for the bailout. Its stock exchange is also due to open for the first time in two weeks, although capital controls will make it tough to get any earnings off the island.
Also today: Germany releases its latest inflation data at 8 am ET.
While you were sleeping
AstraZeneca lost a patent battle. Less than 24 hours after the top Indian court ruled against Novartis, an asthma-drug patent owned by AstraZeneca was nullified by a US court.
The long-promised Glencore-Xstrata deal was delayed again. This time they’re blaming the Chinese. Expect nothing before May 2.
Australia kept interest rates at historic lows. There are plenty of reasons to be dubious about its recovery.
Taiwan allowed greater Chinese investment in its banks. Chinese banks can now own up to 20% of some Taiwanese institutions, signaling closer ties.
Shinzo Abe injected a dose of reality into his 2% inflation target. It’s a priority, the Japanese prime minister said, but it is far from guaranteed: ”The economy is a living thing and we don’t know what will happen around the world.”
No triple-dip recession for Britain. At least that’s what the British Chamber of Commerce forecasts.
Indonesia’s Lion Air revealed audacious expansion plans. It aims to have 1,000 planes within ten years. Vietnam’s airlines, on the other hand, are struggling (paywall) in the face of international competition.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on what Cyprus’ failed banks have in common with the rest of the world: A lack of capital. “‘Here is a sort of “stress test” I would like to run: Can the banks raise new equity? Let them go to the market and see whether investors will give them money in exchange for new shares, not at a price that the banks like, but any price,’ [Stanford University economist Anat] Admati says.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Drop your BRICs. The emerging markets are submerging, so it’s time for a new global investment strategy.
Should China stop standing by rogue North Korea? An influential Chinese journalist was suspended for suggesting as much.
Capitalism can only exist in a government framework. Wait, we’re really debating this?
Should you short bitcoins? Probably not the wisest move, but if you must…
London is still the world’s financial capital. But Hong Kong and Singapore (paywall) are putting pressure on The City and second-place New York.
The New York Times is full of “serendipitous poetry.” Journalism as haiku.
Who runs Karachi’s gambling dens? Wait, a cop?
William Shakespeare would fit right in on Wall Street. He dodged taxes and stockpiled grain to sell at inflated prices.
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