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March 2011

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LATEST ARTICLES

  • Banks tap emerging markets growth The rapid expansion of trade within emerging markets is a big opportunity. But Basle III requirements represent a huge risk to trade finance.
  • Over the past year, Euromoney has written often of the generational shifts in the economic and financial balance of power between the old world and the new. Many of the world’s biggest banks are pinning their hopes for growth on such shifts, and express nothing but excitement at their prospect.
  • International investor interest in Latin America has intensified scrutiny of the corporate governance and investor relations of companies in the region. Big companies such as Vale, Petrobras and bank BBVA have responded remarkably well to this scrutiny. Rob Dwyer reports.
  • Range of options mooted; Wind-down on the cards
  • Conditions for expanding the EU’s EFSF are set to be agreed by the end of the month. Even if only some of the Franco-German proposals are implemented, the euro will be greatly strengthened.
  • The expected big bust in US commercial real estate never happened, and investors are starting to move in. That’s good news for US banks that have portfolios under water. But are the loan owners and investors being overly confident? Helen Avery reports.
  • Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext create powerhouse; Competitive playing field not level
  • Euromoney is a great believer in mucking in with the tough jobs. So, in a recent media versus Barclays Capital football challenge in Singapore for the Beyond Social Services children’s charity, your correspondent put up his hand to go in goal. We had expected to be facing a few unfit FX traders. Instead we found ourselves playing a team from EPSN Star Sports who had brought along Steve McMahon, the former Liverpool and England player, renowned as one of the true hard men of the English game through the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • The bank hasn’t pushed too hard into marquee investment banking businesses; Shareholders stand to benefit from a low cost-income ratio and high returns
  • Has Barclays perfected the art of interest rate alchemy? It seems to think it might be close to mastery of the vagaries of interest rate curve management, judging by statements in its recently released annual report for 2010. Barclays said that interest rate hedges of product balances such as deposits had generated a gain of £1.403 billion ($2.28 billion) in 2010, while comparable hedges of group equity brought in £1.788 billion.
  • Goldman Sachs’s Gary Cohn thinks hedge funds, not banks, are likely to cause the next financial crisis. He needs to take a long hard stare in the looking glass.
  • "Fucking well turn that music down. I’ve asked you twice TO TURN THE MUSIC. DOWN"
  • To cricket aficionados, great writers such as EW Swanton and CLR James are as integral a part of the game’s rich tapestry as any player. Now a new name can be added to the list of cricket writers: Anshu Jain, Deutsche Bank’s corporate and investment bank chief.
  • Euromoney: "So will they just pick the four banks that pitch the best?"
  • To Berlin, where film star Kevin Spacey was ruminating on life as a senior bank executive in his new movie Margin Call, which was screened at the city’s film festival in mid-February. Spacey muses that he found it "fascinating to try to humanize" bankers, people who – in his words – "in a lot of cases are just regular people who have regular jobs". According to the New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, the actor researched the role at Citigroup’s Lower Manhattan offices last June, asking employees: "Is it possible to be good at what you do without liking the company you work for?" Presumably not too many people rushed to answer that one. He also wanted to know: "If you knew a security was worthless and wanted to sell it, how would you grapple with the moral implications of doing so?" That must have produced a few furrowed brows as well. The film (which focuses on MBS traders) is directed by JC Chandor, whose father used to work at Merrill Lynch and might have provided some illuminating insights. "The film to me is a tragedy," he says, because these people are "realizing that they have wasted a little bit of their lives, or a lot of their lives." But it can’t be too realistic a portrayal of the sub-prime meltdown: the chief risk officer is... Demi Moore.
  • Morgan Stanley is seeking out the niche in the wealth management business that used to belong to Merrill Lynch.
  • The country should not be held up as a model for other peripheral sovereigns to follow.
  • Takes controlling stake in troubled lender PanAmericano; Investment expected to be treated as private equity
  • Nigeria’s finance minister, Olusegun Aganga, says he has nothing to hide about the pre-election depletion of the country’s Excess Crude Account. But, as he explains to Dominic O’Neill, with a new sovereign wealth fund the government will save more, protecting the economy from shocks and encouraging private and foreign investment in key infrastructure projects.
  • The country’s leaders and financiers are looking to build a unique gateway into Latin America.
  • The merger of the Peruvian and Colombian stock exchanges will transform the equity capital markets of the Andean region and help them to compete with Brazil for investment, say local experts. Jason Mitchell reports.
  • Is equity issuance faltering in Latin America, in particular Brazil, because of overoptimistic expectations from issuers and their lead banks? Might a shift in focus away from Brazil be beneficial? Rob Dwyer finds out.
  • So far Santander Mexico and BBVA Bancomer are the only Mexican banks to issue international bonds. They came to the market at the end of January to each sell Ps5 billion ($413.5 million) of three-year bonds (both deals were self-led, jointly with Banamex) and both priced at 20 basis points over TIIE.
  • Mexico’s banking sector reported a 20.2% increase in earnings in 2010, with an average return on equity of 13.5%. With the country being tipped as the region’s potential star performer this year, Mexican banks should continue to enjoy strong earnings as lending rates recover to pre-crisis levels.
  • EBRD executive highlights overall strengths;
Multilateral returns to profit
  • Issuers/investors baulk at valuation levels; Russia outperforms on the fund inflow front
  • In an attempt to establish an equity investment culture in Kazakhstan, the authorities in Astana have announced plans to launch a series of initial public offerings in state-controlled companies, in the hope of attracting widespread interest from ordinary local citizens.
  • At least three SOEs expected to list; Debate over currency unresolved
  • New Eurobond set to test market sentiment; State sales planned to boost local stock market
  • Investors are learning to price in factors such as autocracy premia and remembering that oil and democracy rarely mix easily.
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