Round-up of recent business stories

Some recent stories I don’t want to lose.

  • Mercer’s annual cost of living survey for expats has recently been published. Seoul, last year’s number 2, has been pushed to number 3 by London. Moscow stays top of the list. Tokyo is fourth.
  • Korea is also slipping in the GDP rankings. Bank of Korea data shows that in 2005 Brazil overtook Korea in notional GDP terms, while earlier this year it was reported that Russia and India had also overtaken Korea. Latest World Bank statistics are here.
  • As if to rub salt in the wounds, Deutsche Borse has launched the DAX Emerging 11 Index, to track the so-called “Next-11” group of emerging market countries, who, after the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China have “really good chances to play an important role in the world economy in the future”. And who are the Next-11? In no particular order, there are some really Wild West markets here: Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam… Oh, and South Korea. Any hate mail should be sent to Goldman Sachs, who came up with the Next-11 catchy idea, and the list itself.
  • Forbes Magazine has published Korea’s rich-list. Chaebol dynasties dominate, with the Samsung Lees being the clear winners at #1 and #4, with other relatives also featuring later on.
  • As to how Lee, jr, came to be #4, the convictions of two Samsung officers for selling him Samsung group bonds at knock-down prices have recently been upheld.
  • At number 16 on the list, Hanwha’s boss Kim Seung-youn needs to go to the gym more. Lacking the stamina to give his son’s tormentors a proper thrashing, he had to hand over to his goons. Kim got 18 months in jail.
  • Other alleged corporate wrongdoers include some foreign booze companies. Expats in Seoul are worried about their supplies of Guinness, following the news that Diageo (and Pernod Ricard) have had their import licences suspended.
  • And as Seoul markets reach record highs, Lone Star is cutting and running, understandably.
  • Dram_man at the Marmot’s Hole has some cutting commentary on some of these stories. Well worth a read.
  • And finally, as if all this wasn’t bad enough, the Economist says that the Won is 8% undervalued, based on the Big Mac purchasing power parity index.

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