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June 2003

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  • Karlheinz Muhr is full of colourful ways to describe his business. He is chairman and founding partner of Volaris Advisors, which dubs itself an equity-options strategy firm. Essentially what it offers is the ability, as Muhr puts it, "to harvest the volatility of stocks which you already own".
  • In its 10 years' existence, EBS had never made a more significant announcement. At the end of last month, the bank-backed forex trading network, whose interdealer platform transformed price transparency in its market, said it would begin offering dealer-to-client forex trading on Bloomberg.
  • When Kevin Gould was head of European fixed income at TD Securities, he would look around for daily market-wide data on credit prices. None existed. So he and a few colleagues left the bank to set up a company to produce it.
  • Euromoney's Jules Stewart talks to Jorge Jardim Gonçalves, chairman and chief executive of Banco Comercial Português, Portugal's largest bank, about how he intends to move it forward following recapitalization.
  • Juan Ramón Quintás, Chairman of the Spanish Savings Banks Confederation (CECA), talks to Euromoney's Jules Stewart about the effects of the new finance law on the cajas
  • The Olympics will boost the Greek economy but it needs structural reform and debt reduction. Looming elections may delay both.
  • After several phases of consolidation, Portuguese banks are facing up to a recession that might provide incentive for acquisitions by foreign banks.
  • Spain's savings banks have built a solid market share and reputation. And the new finance law looks set to strengthen their position yet further.
  • An inflation rate of only 2%, a stable currency and reserves at $3.5 billion demonstrate the stress Jordan has put on having a tight and rigorously enforced monetary policy.
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin fired the first salvo of his re-election campaign in his state of the nation speech on May 16 and used it to report on his first three years in office.
  • Convertibles grabbed centre stage last month as European and US issuers took advantage of strong investor demand and the attractive combination of rallying share prices and tightening credit spreads.
  • Bank Atlas - Top 200
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Some bestsellers are expected. Number one on's list of the top-selling books in Latin America is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Some are more of a surprise. At number five you'll find an anthology of dry economic prose entitled After the Washington Consensus: Restarting Growth and Reform in Latin America.
  • The successful privatizations of banks taken under the wing of the state after the 1997-98 crisis and well-received bonds have boosted investor sentiment about Indonesia.
  • European and US borrowers have raised more than $20 billion in the domestic Japanese bond market so far in 2003. Issuance is expected to rise further this year as demand increases.
  • Kenichiro Shiozawa, the director of the capital markets division of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, tells Euromoney's Charles Olivier that JBIC paper is undervalued but that when conditions improve a euro issue will be considered.
  • Japan's small band of government guaranteed borrowers are planning to increase international debt issuance if the price is right.
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • US banks are starting to make big investments in Russia again, and it could be a sign of a looming economic crash for the former superpower. That's the verdict that consultant Ray Soifer is drawing from the most recent set of figures from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
  • Investors are reluctant to buy European high-yield bonds. Rob Mannix reports on how lawyers might just change that
  • The Russian government's long-term energy strategy to 2020 was sent to the Cabinet for discussion last month and should be approved before the summer holidays. The development of the energy sector remains a priority for the Kremlin, accounting for half the economy and just over three-quarters of stock market capitalization.
  • Searching through emerging-market currencies for investment opportunities is a tricky job - a delicate combination of subjective judgement and fundamental analysis. Luckily, plenty of currency pundits were on hand at Euromoney's forex forum last month to help investors and corporate hedgers choose a strategy.
  • President of Mercer Oliver Wyman & Co
  • At the start of the year the prospect of a rapidly appreciating rouble and higher than expected inflation were seen as the biggest dangers facing Russia's economy. Both have come to pass but the economy continues to roar ahead regardless. The combination of cheap money from abroad and rising productivity has offset these dangers and is driving Russia's impressive growth.
  • As an environment of global deflation persists, money looking for yield continues to flow into emerging-market bond funds. Funds that have never invested in central and eastern European debt are now queuing up to do so. One banker in Poland says even Australian investors now hold Polish debt.
  • Aberdeen Asset Management, the hard-hit UK fund manager, has sold its Guernsey-based exotic debt and emerging-market debt funds to the fund managers for an undisclosed sum. The fund is the only one in the UK to specialize in so-called pariah debt issued by countries such as Iraq and North Korea.
  • Chairman, Transparency International
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  • Brazil's decision to use 85% collective action clauses in its recent highly successful bond issue has raised questions about slightly off-colour investor pressure. What's more, the republic may have made it harder for itself to handle a restructuring should one be needed.