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October 2001

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  • The need for timely and accurate corporate reporting is a universal concern, but there is no globally consistent evaluation of the levels of disclosure. Recognizing this gap, Standard & Poor’s has conducted a survey of 1,600 companies worldwide to complement its corporate governance scores. In this first release, over 350 liquid and large Latin American and Asian companies taken from the Standard & Poor’s/IFCI Index are analyzed
  • Normally in the aftermath of disasters it is not long before jokes start doing the rounds.
  • Vodafone announces its plans to take control of Japan Telecom, Japan's third-largest telecom operator.
  • UK proposals on the reform of insolvency procedures take account of the special needs of securitizations. There is, though, uncertainty that all types of such deals are covered.
  • Francois Pinault, chairman of retail group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) and Bernard Arnault, chief executive of luxury products company LVMH-Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton are sparring again.
  • Axion4gstp, established in March 2000 to develop the global straight-through processing initiative, is now in its pilot testing phase.
  • The smoke clears around BSCH, and Emilio Botin emerges in front after his swift and successful coup de grace.
  • The Caspian region has begun to boom because of its oil potential. Now the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the US will transform the politics of the region. Bad news for the Afghans could in the long-run be good news for the countries around the Caspian if it gives them more bargaining power.
  • In times of financial uncertainty, it is always tempting for banks to retreat to the business they know best. In the Netherlands, this means pulling back from international expansion and focusing on the domestic retail market. But there is always going to be one bank looking abroad for new opportunities.
  • The response of private-sector financial institutions, central banks, regulators and governments to the murderous attacks on New York and Washington has been one of remarkable resilience and impressive solidarity. Governments have forged their diplomatic coalition against terrorists, central banks have coordinated injections of liquidity and interest rate cuts to prevent systemic crisis, regulators have been flexible enough to relax - temporarily - certain capital standards, banks have lent each other space and carefully rebooted the financial markets.
  • Global finance is in the front line of the campaign against terrorism. The markets have so far proved resilient, thanks to a massive injection of liquidity by central banks and a brief interlude when a spirit of cooperation broke out among Wall Street rivals. Shoring up global confidence and leaning on international banks to line up for an economic war to starve terrorists of funds are now Washington's financial priorities. Broker-dealers made hay in the flurry of securities selling. But nothing can disguise the fact that the world economy and investment banking were in a parlous state even before September 11. The fog that surrounds the political and military outcome has added new uncertainty to recovery prospects.
  • Author: Julie Dalla-Costa
  • Author: Kala Rao
  • The autocratic president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenka, was re-elected with a big majority last month on a vague platform of economic liberalization. But few expect a wave of privatization or reform. Since the collapse of the USSR a decade ago, Belarus has forged a bizarre model of economic management that defies conventional categorization. Part Soviet-style command economy, part crony capitalism, the system has given a few years of relative prosperity. Now though, amid claims that opponents have been assassinated and signs that the economy is crumbling, Lukashenka faces a reckoning. Erik D’Amato assesses the prospects for a country that will be an immediate neighbour to the EU when Poland accedes to the economic community
  • The 31 states of Mexico are bonding again. But unlike independence in 1821 this time it is purely financial.
  • When markets were at dizzy heights and volumes were burgeoning the rapid implementation of straight-through processing looked to be a necessity. Now, though, developers and potential customers are taking a more sober view, not least because some markets don’t yet seem ready for T+1 settlement.
  • "For every complicated problem," the American journalist HL Mencken wrote, "there is a solution that is short, simple - and wrong." The foreign exchange market's view of the much-mocked, formerly dismissed but now resurrected Tobin tax follows the Mencken line. The idea of a tax on foreign exchange transactions is misconceived, most commentators and market participants agree.
  • Having bailed out loss-making companies, Japanese banks are bereft of capital. Their losses will become even more glaring now that they have to implement mark-to-market rules. And though the latest Nikkei slump was prompted by the attacks on the US, the adjustment is widely seen as fully justified. Selling out to foreign predators is one way out for ailing Japanese corporates but few buyers will be willing to pounce until targets are on their knees. Vodafone’s move to capture Japan Telecom has proved an interesting exception.
  • Jersey City used to be good for three things: it was a good place to park the car before getting on the ferry to New York, it served as the butt of many a poor joke by Manhattanites, and offered a fantastic view of the skyline across the Hudson. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre destroyed the latter, at least for the time being. Though not the prettiest buildings to many, for 25 years the twin towers dominated and defined Manhattan. They were usually the first buildings you would see as you neared the island, and also served as a useful reference point if you got lost when walking downtown.
  • In times of crisis, maintaining stability is crucial. Not at Merrill Lynch, it seems. Two weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Centre which forced Merrill to evacuate its headquarters for the foreseeable future, the new regime has seen fit to dispose of Jeff Peek, president of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.
  • With Pakistan once again becoming a frontline state, the financial community is preparing for the worst. Despite this, Pakistan's move to support the US has brought comfort to the market.
  • Alrosa is by far the biggest gem diamond producer in Russia and supplies about 20% of world production. Now it is seeking new funding to develop its existing mines, open up new prospects in Russia and Africa, and expand the production of cut diamonds.
  • Although deeper and more liquid than anyone had dared predict, the nascent euro-denominated bond market in 1999 had one weakness: it was failing to secure may US issuers. However, during the first eight months of this year the costs of issuing in euros narrowed for a great many US borrowers, and increasing numbers of them began to recognize the attraction of the euro market.
  • I am convinced that the outcome of the human tragedy of September 11 will be a gutsy renewal of solidarity and confidence, recently lacking in the US, on the part of Americans and foreigners.
  • Salomon Smith Barney moves back to lower Manhattan. Will other investment banking firms follow?
  • The new era of a diminishing treasury debt has been shattered with the events of September 11. Now, the US government appears to be preparing for a vast expansion of public spending, heavily affecting dollar-denominated debt markets.
  • In the August edition of Euromoney the Emerging Markets table of banks ranked by shareholders equity gave incorrect figures for total assets and asset growth for the Shanghai Pudong Development bank. The correct figures are $15,569 million and 28.67% respectively.
  • Two weeks after September 11, the sell-off in the Asian equity markets was unabated. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 10.9%, Korea had dropped 10.8%, and Singapore had plunged 18.1%. And Japan’s Nikkei fell through the psychological 10,000 barrier. Chris Cockerill reports on what comes next
  • In the Netherlands, bankers anticipate that the final stage of the introduction of the euro will pass into history without a hitch.
  • Russia has been trying to climb out of economic isolation for the last two years. Now that economic isolation will act as a shield from recession caused by America's war in Russia's own backyard.