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December 1996

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  • Korea and Taiwan dominate Euromoney's latest ranking of Asian banks with 21 of the top 50 betweenthem. Australasia has been included in the list for the first time this year, with four Australian banks in the top 10. Japan's banks still suffer from the country's poor economic condition and their performance is improving only slowly,writes Rebecca Dobson
  • US banks still go through contortions to get round the crumbling Glass-Steagall Act, which limits their securities business. But action by the US Federal Reserve will reduce some of the balance-sheet gymnastics required. It will bring one dramatic step nearer the day when banks and securities firms might merge. Michelle Celarier reports
  • What will be the effect of European economic and monetary union (Emu) on the rest of the world? Will the euro be strong or weak? How will Emu affect world trade and global currency coordination? There are plenty of wild guesses. David Shirreff consults a handful of experts
  • 1996 was not a good year for Thailand. Economic problems piled up as thick as Bangkok's legendary traffic and the pundits forecast a Mexico-style accident. But the Big Mango, as Thailand's capital city is known, did not go splat ­ thanks to skilful technocrats who steered the country to safety. It's early days but the worst could be over, reports Gill Baker
  • What sovereigns do, corporates will try to do better. Many have taken advantage of good conditions to stretch maturities and smooth out repayments. Some Mexican issuers have even managed to price tighter than their government, reports David Pilling
  • The pace of development of new derivative products may have slowed since the heady days of the early 1990s, not least because users are more aware of what they are buying and what it ought to cost. But new instruments are still catching on and specific geographical markets are adapting to special local needs. Andy Webb reports
  • Latin America has returned to the debt markets with a vengeance. The momentum might ease but next year still promises a large number of issues, reports David Pilling
  • Ecuador's populist new president came to power on a wave of dissatisfaction with the status quo. He has already developed a reputation for eccentricity, not least for economic policies that threaten to alienate the international community. There is also worrying evidence of cronyism and an authoritarian approach to foreign investors. By Norman Peagam
  • When one of Hong Kong's biggest conglomerates and NatWest Markets got together in 1994 they spoke of a partnership for the long haul. But just a year after Wheelock NatWest wrote its first trading ticket the joint venture has been dissolved amid vague excuses of regulatory difficulties. Just another case of NatWest screwing up in Asia? Or was Wheelock NatWest sacrificed as part of a new strategy in London? Steven Irvine reports
  • Family businesses often fight shy of the exposure required by a stock exchange listing. Yet if family firms need fresh capital for growth or to meet the competition, a public offering needn't spell the end of family control. James Featherstone looks at the state of European private-company flotation and the investment strategies of 13 family-controlled businesses.
  • The flotation of Deutsche Telekom was fenced by a thicket of regulations and employed more lawyers than syndicate staff. So how did Deutsche Morgan Grenfell get away with breaking so many of its own rules? And did the three global coordinators – DMG, Dresdner Bank and Goldman Sachs – allow themselves to be manipulated by a greedy issuer? None of this bodes well for Telekom 2. Laura Covill reports
  • Want to know who your boss will be in five years time? These are Euromoney's picks for the top 50 financial leaders aged 40 and under from around the world. They are already in key positions in leading organizations around the world, and their peers and mentors have marked them out for even greater things. Together they represent a broad church - some coming from financial families but proving their own worth, others making their way up from the bottom. We start with our top 10; the rest are split up according to geographical region.