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May 2009

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  • The top-five banks in the 2009 Euromoney FX poll remain the same as in 2008 despite big sub-prime losses. As senior FX bankers make clear, a leading position in the market reflects an established set of relationships that aspirant banks find hard to build, whatever their creditworthiness. Lee Oliver reports.
  • The impact of the wider financial crisis has forced firms and their corporate clients to re-examine the way they approach their foreign exchange business. A strong sense of realism bodes well for the market. Lee Oliver reports.
  • Tarp, Talf, PPIP – what’s an investor to make of it?
  • With a stable democracy and a business-friendly economic environment, Honduras is making the most of its central location in the Americas.
  • Losses in RBS’s investment banking division almost brought down the entire group. Many called for it to be shut down. But John Hourican, the firm’s new head of global banking and markets, believes he is positioning a new-look business to thrive in post-credit crunch markets. Could the cause of RBS’s ills be the hope for its recovery?
  • Foreign exchange, money markets and rates have returned Deutsche Bank to profitability. Anshu Jain, the firm’s global head of markets, says it’s all down to applying smart solutions to relatively simple products. But don’t be fooled into thinking he’s given up on more complex business. Clive Horwood reports.
  • David Ricardo’s counsel of despair on the fate of the working man should also give investors food for thought, writes Lincoln Rathnam.
  • [Sing this to Natasha Bedingfield’s "Pocketful of Sunshine"]
  • Following the announcement that it intends to raise a jaw-dropping $220 billion from gilt sales to fund the UK’s budget deficit, the Debt Management Office said it would use new methods to distribute bonds to investors. These are the regular use of syndications and the continued use of mini-tenders. We at Euromoney thought it might be helpful to have a visual representation of one innovative suggestion from a reader.
  • "I don’t see why any bank should be allowed to pay it back faster than we do"
  • "It’s not the quantum of what we pay people that’s changed. It’s the shape of the payments"
  • Governments are committed to boosting infrastructure spending, but they must take care on how they do it. Louise Bowman reports.
  • Two months in and only $6.4 billion in Talf loans from the $200 billion programme have been taken up. The number of investors lined up to participate is increasing and Ben Bernanke could end up with his $1trillion dream of Talf issuance and a revival of US consumer lending. Issuers need to get on board. But will they?
  • Consider the risks of personal injury if shoe throwing catches on.
  • A stabilized currency and higher oil prices have given a welcome fillip to the Russian capital markets. But could slumping economic growth and soaring non-performing loans undermine the recovery? Guy Norton reports from Moscow.
  • Bahrain is trying to capitalise on Dubai’s demise and reassert its former status as the regional financial hub. The island’s infrastructure may not be sufficient, however.
  • Never in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s history has central and eastern Europe needed its support so much. President Thomas Mirow explains its plans to head off the threat of depression to Sudip Roy.
  • Higher-cost hydrocarbons and falling exports are separating the state from the economy and destroying its Soviet relics, starting with the banks. Dominic O’Neill reports from Minsk.
  • "This is my first overseas trip since I ended my presidency," said George W Bush to applause as he began his speech on the future of US-Asian relations at a dinner session on April 18 at the annual Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province, China.
  • Poland has followed Mexico in seeking a precautionary credit line from the IMF. Prime minister Donald Tusk said that the country was interested in a one-year facility for $20.5 billion. The line was created as part of a revamp of the IMF’s lending facilities announced in March. It is a type of insurance policy for strong developing countries. Access is restricted to countries that meet strict criteria. Colombia is also hoping to gain access to the line for $10.4 billion. Mexico’s credit line is for $47 billion.
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has launched its first domestic rouble bond in three years. The proceeds of the Rbl5 billion ($439 million) five-year floating-rate issue will finance the EBRD’s existing rouble loan portfolio. In May 2005, the EBRD was the first supranational to tap the Russian domestic bond market.
  • Gazprom has reopened the Eurobond markets for Russia with a $2.25 billion issue. The 10-year deal, which features a put option after three years, is the largest ever corporate debt offering from the country (although Gazprom should be deemed a quasi-sovereign) and the first public issue since July 2008. The dollar transaction follows a SFr500 million ($429 million) private placement in early April.
  • There are limited IMF funds for ailing emerging economies, available only on stiff terms, and that means serious consequences for those that have lent to them.
  • Angola is to issue $8 billion of government bonds this year in the local currency, the kwanza, finance minister Severim de Morais has announced. The bonds, which will have maturities of between one and four years, will be used to finance the country’s reconstruction effort as revenue from oil and diamond exports plunges thanks to lower global prices. Sales will be to banks and to the general public, but it has not been made clear whether foreign banks will be able to buy the paper.
  • Herbert Stepic, chief executive of Raiffeisen International, the second-biggest lender in central and eastern Europe, remains confident that despite the short-term effects of the global credit crunch and the associated economic slowdown, central and eastern Europe will continue to offer profitable opportunities for those institutions that display a long-term commitment to the region.
  • At least two of Kazakhstan’s leading banks are likely to seek a restructuring of their foreign debts in the near future. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has requested that the Kazakh government come up with a plan to help banks resolve their debt repayment problems by the middle of May.
  • Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi state investment fund, is considering launching its debut bond soon following a successful deal by the government last month. Details are scarce but the company has hired Citi, Goldman Sachs and RBS to arrange meetings with investors in the US and Europe.
  • Euromoney has made it to the big screen!
  • In the second part of Euromoney’s emerging market equity fund manager profiles, Chloe Hayward talks to seven managers and hears what history has taught them and how they plan to find their way through the minefield of commodity-linked stock markets, notably in eastern Europe.
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