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Global Investing

China Trade Surplus Reignites Tensions Over the Yuan

China in August posted its third straight trade surplus of more than $20 billion, putting friction with the United States over the nation's currency back in the spotlight.

Exports rose 34.4% in August and imports climbed a greater-than-expected 35.2%, leaving the country with a $20.03 billion surplus, a customs bureau report showed Friday.

But a sustained trade gap with the United States could embolden American lawmakers who are pushing to penalize China for what they consider unfair trade practices.

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Investing in Canada: The World's Safest Economy

I've said it once, and I'll doubtless say it a few dozen more times before the U.S. economy returns to health: Just because you have to endure recessionary conditions doesn't mean that your money has to.

That's the argument I make when I urge Americans to search for investments outside U.S. borders. Ironically, your money doesn't have to travel all that far: What's arguably the world's "safest economy" is actually located just north of the border.

I'm talking, of course, about investing in Canada.

For the five ways to profit from Canada, please read on...

Brazil's Shifting Fortunes: This BRIC Economy is Ready to Fall Out of Fashion

Batten down the hatches. Brazil, the media-darling of the world financial press and the poster child for emerging-markets investing, is heading directly into the eye of the storm.

Until now, Brazil has provided investors with a thoroughly rewarding run. Investors who followed Money Morning's October 2008 call to buy the iShares MSCI Brazil Index (NYSE: EWZ) have notched a 160% return.

But with this BRIC country now clearly running into trouble, it's time to trim any holdings you may have.

Here's why…

To see how Brazil is setting itself up for a fall, please read on...

Two Asian Economies Flying Under the Radar

You know about China, India, and maybe even Korea, but there are two other Asian economies making waves in the South China Sea.

I'm talking about Singapore and Thailand.

While the U.S. economy would be really lucky to poke along at a 3% annualized rate this year and next, the fast-growing countries on the other side of the globe are ripping higher.

Regional analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News survey said they see Singapore expanding at a record pace this year of 14.9% due to improving demand for the city-state's exports. That's up from an estimate of 9% published three months ago. Singapore's economy relies on trade, finance and tourism. Its central bank said the surge would be led by a 29% expansion of manufacturing.

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Russia: Is it Time to Invest in One of the Coldest Countries on Earth?

Of all the unpleasant societies in which to live, Vladimir Putin's Russia is among the nastiest. Journalists and businessmen disappear, a knock on the door at 3:00am can prove fatal, and nothing gets done without endless side-payments to obscure fixers.

Still, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) in 2001 identified Russia as one of the four great "BRIC" growth economies. And while much of its gilt has been worn off, Russia still has many supporters in the investment world. So the question is: Provided you don't have to live there, is it worth devoting a few of your investment dollars to the country?

To find out if Russia is worth the investment continue reading...

Buy, Sell or Hold: BCE Inc. (NYSE: BCE) Has Canada Covered

The market right now is torn between data that suggests the U.S. is waning and reports that many companies are increasing guidance and beating earnings estimates.

This has created a lot of volatility, and if you already have enough strong growth plays in your portfolio, adding some large, established companies with stable cashflows and hefty dividend yields could ease some of the anxiety you may be feeling.

Such an approach in my opinion is superior to bonds, since bond yields are just too low at these levels. That means you actually risk capital losses if they go up. In addition, safe dividends paid by leading companies are higher than bond yields. And unlike bonds, big companies usually can adjust prices in accordance with inflation.

There are a lot of companies for an investor to choose from, but BCE Inc. (NYSE: BCE) jumps out at me immediately. It is a dominant, well-managed company, and it has strong upside potential.

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South Korea Moves on U.K. Energy Assets as Competition with China Increases

Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) on Friday made a hostile bid for the United Kingdom's Dana Petroleum PLC, marking the first time a state-owned Asian company has gone directly to shareholders.

The move underscores South Korea's determination to double its oil output by 2012 and increase its energy security. It also shows that South Korea will not be denied energy assets, despite being outbid by Chinese companies in several instances.

KNOC took the $2.9 billion (1.87 billion pound) bid to Dana's shareholders after the oil explorer rejected KNOC's previous offer of 1,800 pence a share offer. In a filing with the London Stock Exchange, KNOC said it had support from 48.62% of shareholders, putting the needed 50% approval target within close reach.

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Germany's Export Reliance Edges Out European Neighbors

By relying on exports and not promoting domestic demand, Germany is creating a lopsided recovery that is hurting retailers and foreign exporters.

While Germany's exports continue to surge, its consumers are refusing to spend. The government has failed to raise wages or encourage consumption and says it has few plans to do so.

"By cutting its budget deficit and resisting a rise in wages to compensate for a decline in the purchasing power of the euro, Germany is actually making it more difficult for other countries to regain competitiveness," billionaire investor and cofounder of the Quantum Fund George Soros said in a speech on June 23 in Berlin. Germany is "the main protagonist" for Europe's debt crisis, he added.

Germany's economy – four times more reliant on exports than is the United States – posted the highest second-quarter growth in the Eurozone, growing by 2.2% in the second quarter from the first. The country is headed for about 9% growth this year.

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This China Province Will Become a Global Oil-and-Gas Market Powerhouse

Like everything else, the balance of power in the global energy market is shifting toward China, where a little-known province is perfectly situated to become a global oil-and-gas market powerhouse.

Nestled in the far northwest of China, Xinjiang is the country's largest province and the primary domestic source for oil and gas. It is sparsely populated and as big as Western Europe. The name, Xinjiang, literally means "New Frontier." And recent decisions in Beijing are going to give that translation even more meaning – transforming this province into a "new frontier" for the global energy sector.

To understand how to profit from this development, please read on...

It's Time to Invest in Chile and Colombia – Latin America's Reigning 'Good Guys'

Looking for the next emerging markets set to skyrocket? Look no further than Chile and Colombia. That's right, thanks to recent elections, these two countries are ready to lead growth in Latin America. Read this report to find out exactly where to invest…

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