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September 2014

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LATEST ARTICLES

  • The security crisis brought on by the rise of Islamic State could turn Iran from pariah to much-needed partner to the west. Financial sanctions have hit both Iran’s economy and its banks hard. Inflation is rampant, NPLs are soaring, while banks lack capital. Corporates can’t get the funding they need. Local bank chiefs are itching to open their doors once again to foreign counterparties. If sanctions are lifted, what will the world’s bankers find in Tehran and beyond?
  • Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan’s tough monetary medicine combatted the storm ravaging the deficit-ridden economy in the recent emerging market crisis. Now, he is battling vested interests to arouse a sleepy financial system for over one billion people.
  • In exclusive interviews, leaders of Indian finance reveal how banks, nursing wounds from the recent credit boom, should be set free from the shackles of state control, as reformists raise hopes of a new dawn for Indian capitalism. A jolt, not a tweak, to the financial system is desperately needed.
  • India needs a litany of reforms to unshackle its stalled capitalist project. Modi’s government should take inspiration from the paradox of Singapore’s activist state and strong private sector.
  • Mexico’s finance minister is the rarest of breeds in the current global economy. He is delivering reform-driven economic growth
  • It has been another torrid month for the rouble, but the possibility of tensions with Ukraine abating in the near term and a package of monetary reforms next year offer hope for more trading opportunities.
  • Asset management company Cinda is a stark example of the implausible nature of China’s financial system. It has transformed its business model from an NPL warehouse to what some call a giant shadow bank. With more AMCs in the pipeline, analysts are beginning to question if China understands the risks it is piling up.
  • Kazakhstan is going all out to achieve its goal of becoming a middle-income state by 2030, forming unique partnerships with development banks. It could be a turning point not just for the central Asia nation, but for the multilaterals too.
  • Incensed by their failure to reform, Brics policymakers have established a flawed rival to the World Bank and IMF. Rhetoric aside, the west dismisses emerging-market dissent over the broken financial architecture at its peril.
  • With a seemingly bottomless pool of cheap bank funding readily available, companies in emerging Europe have tended to shun the international bond markets. A recent spurt of debut deals, however, has prompted speculation that the long-awaited shift might finally be under way.
  • There’s a new buzzword from Ankara to Istanbul in Turkey’s financial markets: sustainability. Not of the environmental kind, but borne of a desire to keep the positive developments of the country’s economy, and its banks, flowing.
  • Regulators have been strident, if rather late, in their concern over the risk that short-term retail money now represents in today’s high yield corporate bond market. So when retail funds began to sell off in late July many braced for the worst. But by the end of August it was as if nothing had happened. The bond market’s ability to adapt may be greater than Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen believes.
  • The M&A market has caught fire with a series of jumbo corporate deals. Bidders claim that these are compelling strategic transactions that will create long-term value. But the real reason may be fear that shareholders are now focused on weak revenue prospects. Buying earnings is a way for companies to prevent share prices that low policy rates have inflated from falling back to earth. But confidence is still surprisingly fragile. A couple more big deal failures could slam the M&A market back into the freezer and take the equity markets with it.
  • Debt capital markets bankers have so far watched the boom in M&A activity with a mixture of envy and anticipation. But they’re increasingly confident that a buyer-led bond boom is on the way.
  • Unless there is an accelerated plan for full political and fiscal union, the next eurozone crisis could prove existential.
  • The big happening in the next 12 months will be the repricing of global capital. It will impact the price of every currency and asset. It’s a complex and exciting story.
  • It’s hard out there for a short, even with a multi-year credit and equity rally looking increasingly fatigued.
  • Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s desperate attempt to push down the stock of nutritional supplement provider Herbalife provides the highest profile recent example of the challenges faced by short sellers.
  • Mexico’s central bank surprised the market in June when it cut its base rate by 50 basis points. Euromoney’s central bank governor of the year in 2013 stresses that the credibility of the bank’s focus on inflation should not be doubted
  • The month of August is supposed to bring peace of mind to busy bankers: the frenetic pace of markets diminishes and the bosses depart for their villas in Tuscany or mansions in the Hamptons.
  • For those of you who were dozing on the beach this summer, with your smart-phones switched off, a leading Portuguese bank was restructured in August and no one, least of all the regulators, seems to have forewarned us of this impending disaster.
  • As bankers prepare to pack their bags for the annual meetings in Washington in October, they’ll be starting to consider what policy initiatives the IMF and World Bank might announce over the busy weekend.
  • Sean Park, one of the bond market’s best-known characters during his time at Paribas and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, is now engaged in disrupting the financial industry he was once at the sharp end of.
  • As regular readers might remember, I have long been worried about the inflationary impact of the extraordinary zero interest-rate policy which central banks have foisted on us.
  • Iran and the west don’t have to be friends, but there will be big benefits from a rapprochement.
  • Lebanon’s economy was already under pressure before the arrival of countless refugees from Syria. The IMF has flagged up serious problems in the public finances and the country itself recognizes the need for reform in many areas. Nevertheless, a stable political base and strong banking sector offer cause for optimism
  • The economic ties between the UAE and India have gone from strength to strength in recent years and are set to deepen further. The UAE not only offers India the promise of investment in its creaking infrastructure, but a compelling investment environment for Indian companies and a staging post for expansion. Conversely, Asia’s third largest economy offers Arab companies growth opportunities
  • The longest-serving central bank governor in the world has seen it all, and even now is keeping the economy growing despite domestic political paralysis and the spillover from Syria.
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