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June 2002

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  • Issuer: Petronas Capital Limited Amount: $2.675 billion Launched: May 14 2002 Bookrunners: Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Barclays Capital, HSBC
  • "In a world of free trade and global economy, Americans are suffering severely. We have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to our own people as we struggle to compete in the New World." This battle cry for US self-help comes from an unexpected source - a dispute between US bondholders and the Chinese government over unpaid debt.
  • Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to fund in orthodox markets. So despite essentially misguided comparisons with the sort of special purpose vehicles put together by Enron, securitization programmes are becoming increasingly popular with borrowers and investors.
  • As the ratings agencies threaten further sovereign downgrades, Japan’s government guaranteed issuers face new challenges. Their government funding is being cut and they must borrow more in their own right. That may bring surprising advantages.
  • The drive to make the murky world of credit derivatives more transparent to end-users is taking a leap forward with the launch of two developments linked to RiskMetrics Group.
  • Talk of an exchange for foreign exchange has been around for almost as long as e-trading platforms but none of them has so far have precipitated a move in that direction. Instinet FX Cross, a joint venture between Instinet and CitiFX, may prove to be different.
  • It's been a long time since the chief executives of financial institutions faced anything like this degree of uncertainty - over the global economy, the direction of financial markets and the very future of the banking and investment banking business.
  • While football's World Cup tries its best to take over everyone's lives for a month, banks can't resist getting in on the action.
  • Sovereign issuers are back in fashion. But bond investors worry about deteriorating government finances and rising interest rates as well as corporate credit quality. So sovereigns must work harder than ever on new-issue and liability management programmes.
  • Borrowers have rarely been under such pressure. With credit markets volatile and investors jittery, issuing windows are short lived and the penalties for getting timing wrong can be severe. Entering the capital markets has become a lottery. One week they seem stable; the next they seem to be falling apart. And just when it seems that things can't get worse ... they get worse. So who have been the winners and the losers in this daunting new-issue environment?
  • At some point in the next two quarters, the global backdrop for emerging market bonds will turn increasingly gloomy.
  • This might be the year of the thwarted private-equity IPO. Since January, venture capitalists have been parading their most eligible assets before investors, who so far don't seem over-impressed by what they've seen.
  • Morale in the equity division won't have been high at JPMorgan's London offices following the news of Geoffrey Boisi's departure. Its recovery won't have been helped by the departure in quick succession of three of the bank's top-ranked research analysts.
  • A popular statistic in the UK is that you are more likely to get a divorce than to change your bank account. It's probably fictitious, but Merrill Lynch executives must be hoping that there's some truth to it.
  • The closed world of hedge funds is taking another step towards the mainstream with the arrival of a new index and greater availability of independent research.
  • Russia put the last of the Cold War animosities behind it when in one week it joined a new Nato-Russia cooperation council and a day later was recognized by the European Union as an important trade partner and as a market economy.
  • US and UK law firms are collaborating and competing with domestic peers to reap the benefits of the Japanese securitization boom.
  • As the threat of war clouded the horizon on the Indian subcontinent, India's government clinched two important privatization sales. Maruti, India's biggest car-maker, was sold to Suzuki - the first foreign company to win a major privatization deal - and Indian Petrochemical Corporation (IPCL) went to Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.
  • Portugal’s new Social Democrat government is committed to reducing to zero the public deficit, now perilously close to the EU’s 3% ceiling, and increasing GDP growth by at least 50%. But do the figures add up, and can investors be persuaded to bankroll economic growth?
  • The Croatian banking market is small and the experience of foreign investors in it has so far not been entirely happy. Nevertheless some foreign banks – notably from Austria, Germany and Italy – see it as crucial to their growth and a core part of their regional strategy.
  • Laksamana Sukardi, Indonesia's state enterprises minister, spoke to Euromoney's Chris Cockerill about progress and problems in the country's bank restructuring.
  • The five-year battle between Nasdaq and ECNs is heating up. Nasdaq launches SuperMontage in July, a worthy rival to the ECNs’ trading systems that could win back dealflow. Meanwhile ECNs are depriving Nasdaq of crucial revenue. Is this the start of the trading endgame?
  • Football teams and their supporters can expect a warm welcome this month from their World Cup hosts in Japan. Most foreign borrowers will find it hard to milk this enthusiasm – the Japanese have been too badly burnt in recent months to want to invest in run-of-the-mill foreign companies seeking yen funding.
  • The administration of George W Bush is well known for being awash with former petroleum industry executives. That's fitting, some say, for a country that slurps up more oil than any other. So perhaps it is appropriate that one of the most overbanked countries in Europe - Hungary - should get a banker as its new prime minister.
  • There's nothing like a good piece of news management. UBS had the chance to show its skills with its handling of Markus Granziol's departure.
  • It's often the smaller deeds that prove most important in the long run, and that is what Goldman Sachs is hoping will be the case with a new data service it is launching.
  • Over the past few years, investors have learnt to take privatization promises by the Croatian government with a pinch of salt. Despite the rapid sales this year of Rijecka banka and other successes, many assets pledged to the market have been yanked from the selling block or otherwise left in state hands.
  • People often talk metaphorically about a glass ceiling being an obstacle to career progression but at the Citigroup tower in Canary Wharf the threat from above is all too real.
  • Two months after declaring the Philippines a country unable to support institutional investment, Californian pension fund Calpers, one of the world's biggest investors, announced that it had made a mistake and that it did in fact consider the country a "recommended permissible market".
  • At the end of last month, William Harrison, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, announced sweeping changes to the senior management of the group's investment banking division.
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