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June 1998

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  • The Annual Euromoney/Fitch IBCA ranking of the World's leading banks by shareholders' equity shows the big Japanese banks continuing to fade. The most dramatic change is the rise of ING to third place. HSBC remains the biggest bank by own funds but, as our table based on market capitalisation shows, the market values Lloyds TSB and Nationsbank more highly.
  • In a Euromoney virtual round table, James Rutter asks 10 borrowers - big and small - to predict the shape of the new market in euros, how they will handle their borrowing, who will they choose to handle their deals.
  • Brazil is still learning to live without inflation. Before the Plano Real, it could sustain a fiscal deficit through monetary expansion. Now it needs to boost exports and cut government borrowing. Marcelo Starec reports
  • The initial membership of Emu is decided, as is the board of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the exchange-rate parities for converting Emu participant currencies into the new euro on 1 January 1999.
  • The English law of security over cashdeposits has finally been clarified to the Financial Law Panel's satisfaction - this has important consequences for documentation. By Christopher Stoakes.
  • This month sees the annual influx of capital markets luminaries to London for Euromoney's Global Borrowers and Investors Forum. Just across the English Channel, it also sees the kick-off of a minor sporting event: soccer's World Cup. Perish the thought that dedicated capital-markets players might regard attending the former as an opportunity to drop in on the odd game or two.
  • When the Asian crisis took hold the notion was that Malaysia was somehow different and could escape the worst effects. There's little room for such optimism now. How hard Malaysia lands may depend on Japanese recovery and the extent to which the government is willing to relax its fiercely nationalist economic policies. Nicholas Bradbury reports.
  • Once upon a time Spain's thoroughbred banks looked down on the cajas de ahorros. But these local savings institutions are no longer the slow beasts of burden they once were. They sell many of the same products as commercial banks; they're opening branches outside their traditional stamping grounds; some are even buying banks. But as Jules Stewart reports, they are protected from takeover themselves.
  • Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong have a habit of surprising investors. The latest issue is whether funds invested in high-interest deposits with Chinese banks are completely safe. The so-called H-shares are more used to reporting to the central planners than to shareholders - their workings can be mysterious. Pauline Loong reports.
  • As our awards show, the world's best borrowers have turned adversity to their advantage.
  • Cedel and Euroclear reckon half the volume they clear annually is repo business - $25 trillion. That includes government and corporate bonds. Add in the growing repo business in equities and there's a huge market - in collateralization, short-trading and securities lending. Katharine Morton reports.
  • Issuer: Tabacalera
  • La Belle Maraichere, Pl. St Catherine/St Katherinapf. 11A, Bruxelles 1000 Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  • The military dictatorships are gone and the civil wars are over. Now, as Central America's governments overcome their suspicion of foreign borrowing, the region is opening up to foreign investment. James Rutter reports.
  • The Philippine Stock Exchange has resisted previous attempts at reform. But this time it's different. A missionary's son is in charge of the clean-up. Tired of brokers' shenanigans, he has threatened to revoke the exchange's licence. So far, he has the upper hand. But for how long? Steven Irvine reports.
  • The two most talked about themes in the capital markets right now are jumbo issuance and the changes that will occur as a result of the introduction of the euro. Many of our readers will be able to quiz issuers directly at our Borrowers and Issuers Conference in mid-June. Victoria Whitenton, treasurer of Freddie Mac, for one will be there hoping that "at the Euromoney conference we will get feedback both from investors who have participated and those who have remained on the sidelines".
  • Suddenly the search for higher yield goes out the window and investors, we are told, are clamouring for greater tradeability. The bond salesman's answer is super-jumbo bonds upward of $4 billion and market-maker commitments to dealing spreads of a few basis points. Big tickets, reversible short positions and hefty benchmarks are the result. Does this mark a sea-change in the bond markets or is it just a fin de siècle fad? The search for greater and greater liquidity hasn't yet been tested in a bear market. Peter Lee kicks off our 82-page report on the biggest, brightest and best of Euromarket names.
  • They had to have the money, but no one bargains like the Koreans. So when the heavily downgraded republic was forced into the bond markets in mid-meltdown, Salomon and Goldman knew lead-managing the deal would be tough ... but not this tough. Steven Irvine reports.
  • Central America has come a long way in a short time. It has developed a surprising degree of political stability, a consensus in favour of economic liberalization and a real thirst for economic progress. Jennifer Tierney reports on a region that is growing in confidence and that may soon become a coherent and outward-looking trade block
  • Doing business with pop stars and TV writers sounds glamorous, but when Hollywood meets Wall Street there's rarely a meeting of minds. Artists may like the jingle of cash up front, but to securitize their future cashflows they need to have a reason investors can identify with - like tax-avoidance. Antony Currie reports.
  • Selling state assets to foreign investors raises popular opposition throughout the region, but privatization is likely to remain the main source of Nordic equity offerings
  • European investors are discovering what their US counterparts have known for years. Technology companies can provide spectacular returns. Venture capitalists and small-cap stock markets are working hard to accommodate the sector. Meanwhile, US investment banks, which honed their hi-tech skills financing the development of Silicon Valley, are making a big push across the Atlantic. Brian Bollen reports.
  • The star performers of Nordic stock markets are not forestry, engineering or shipping companies, they are Internet, biotechnology and service-sector start-ups. But will they stay with the local markets when their capital needs grow?
  • Some issuers seem to have a natural talent for tripping up syndicate banks. In this respect few borrowers rival Germany's Länder, who recently issued their fifth joint Eurobond. No Länder-Jumbo has ever been a notable success, but this deal seems to have made everyone a loser.
  • Hans-Joerg Rudloff, doyen of the Euromarket, has positioned himself perfectly for next year's skyburst of activity in euro debt financing.
  • Greeks have a high tolerance of political risk, which should give them an edge when competing for business with their volatile neighbours. Hoping to enter monetary union in the second wave, Greece is set become a powerhouse in "its natural backyard". Rebecca Bream reports.
  • The Asian Development Bank still has the best balance-sheet of the major multilaterals - on paper. But turmoil in the region and slowness by its major shareholders to pump in fresh capital could change the picture. Steven Irvine reports.