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March 2003

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  • Malaysia
  • UK prime minister Tony Blair is facing the biggest test of his political career as he tries to persuade the British public to support military action against Iraq in alliance with the US. But his government is not just dealing with a major foreign policy problem. The UK economy is also under scrutiny.
  • The new euro-denominated 30-year bond market found natural buyers in insurers with long-term liabilities. But when the market broadened into a rush, things rapidly went wrong.
  • Roberto Lavagna is that rarest of breeds in Argentina: a popular politician. As finance minister he has put the economy on a steady growth course as elections approach.
  • IT WAS THE kind of grouping that could only happen at Davos. Five Latin American presidents were assembled in one place in February, for a panel discussion: Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, Eduardo Duhalde of Argentina, Alejandro Toledo of Peru, Vicente Fox of Mexico, and Lula of Brazil. Uribe explained the economic reforms that he had managed to push through with the aid of his finance minister, Roberto Junguito, who was sitting next to Francisco Gil Diaz, his Mexican counterpart.
  • John R Taylor Jr is the CEO and founder of FXConcepts, a global investment management and research firm specializing in currency risk ( Uncontrollable major disruptions in financial markets are a distant memory. That's about to change.
  • Credit derivatives
  • Germany's banking elite struggles to keep a secret, it seems. Confidential talks between executives from the country's largest banks and government officials wound up being anything but.
  • There's a war that's always being fought in financial markets - sometimes beneath the surface, sometimes in plain view - between the interests of debt holders and shareholders.
  • The focus of consolidation of European equity exchanges lies in the triangle of Deutsche Börse, Euronext and the London Stock Exchange. To the impartial, dispassionate observer, there might seem little problem with any tie-up between London and a continental European player. But to those who work and live in the markets, exchanges, like national airlines, are a mark of a country's honour and something to be fought for.
  • Portugal
  • Pity small investors. After three years of being kicked around by the markets, now they're being kicked by the people who encouraged them to have a punt in the first place.
  • Bankers have long been fond of jargon and they do a good line in euphemisms too. As we reported in December, some will do anything to avoid actually saying that the economy is in tatters and people are being sacked.
  • CEO, Epic Investment Consulting
  • Few people would want Michael Conolly's job. As the chief financial officer of Portugal's state-owned carrier TAP, he faces all the problems his airline peers are struggling with, plus a few that are specific to his own company.
  • Jochen Friedrich arrived at DZ Bank last year to become head of fixed income. This bank, along with WGZ Bank, is one of the two central institutions linking Germany's mutual banking network. Consolidation is under way among the cooperatives as well as the Landesbanken. DZ itself is the product of a difficult merger between DG Bank and GZ Bank, and expects the total number of German cooperative banks to fall from about 1,600 today to roughly 800 by 2008.
  • Not so long ago, a large stake in Deutsche Telekom would have been a nice asset for any company to have on the balance sheet. When telecom companies were all the rage, such holdings could be sold for a healthy profit. By last year, however, such a block of shares was far more of a millstone than a jewel.
  • Issuer: Deutsche Telekom
  • Paul Myners' address at Institutional Investor's European equity research awards' dinner was a neat second act to New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer's attack on US equity research analysts at the magazine's awards dinner in New York in November.
  • With so many corporates under pressure to raise cash, and understandably loath to sell off holdings at depressed prices in a weak market, the hunt for higher valuations is driving a wave of complex structured equity deals.
  • For someone who lists the presidency of the Institute for the Development of Eucalyptus Applications on his CV, Jorge Armindo Teixera is remarkably personable. The main achievement listed on that CV is his position as the president and CEO of Portucel - Portugal's leading pulp and paper manufacturer and the country's best hope for a privatization in 2003.
  • A series of problems for other retailers seemed set to spoil the show for Metro when it issued in January. In the event it attracted e11.1 billion of support from euro investors. Then came Ahold.
  • Privatization looked to be the answer to Portugal's widening budget deficit but poor market conditions have stymied it. The government, though, has cut costs and boosted revenues, with favourable capital market effects.
  • Jose Isidro Camacho, secretary of finance of the Philippines, is a former investment banker - he was Deutsche Bank's country head in the Philippines from 1999-2001. He talks to Euromoney's Chris Cockerill about what the Philippine government must do to regain the market's trust.
  • Pension fund shortfalls have come to the fore as new accounting requirements and credit rating agencies factor them in to assessments of corporate health.
  • Oil prices have helped cushion the effects of slack global growth for many energy exporters. Asian and European growth is accelerating but there are wide regional variations and the World Bank warns that the world economy may well slide into recession.
  • Financial markets seem to be assuming a short, sharp US assault on Iraq with finite post-war costs. But there's well-documented evidence that Iraq is only the first step in a strategy of total war that could undermine both the US and global economy.