China’s big banks: Chinese whispers

China Development Bank’s deal with Barclays Bank, which might involve the state-owned lender investing up to $11.6 billion in the UK bank, and China Investment Corporation’s $3 billion subscription for shares in the IPO of private equity firm Blackstone, have increased speculation as to what moves China’s largest lenders might make next and what the targets might be.

Tuesday August 14 – Out of control

This is a week in which some of the brightest, best educated, most eloquent – who can normally argue three different and contradictory positions at once on the economy, the markets and their own industry – discover that they've somehow lost track of how the new financial markets work.

Indonesia’s equity challenge

Indonesian companies have chosen to fund their businesses in esoteric ways, and that may be at the expense of developing a mature equity market.

Brazil’s FIDC maintains momentum

When the investment trust structure appeared four years ago, the securitization market jerked into action and local banks jumped on a growing opportunity.

Syria looks towards liberalization

Against the background of falling oil revenues and an ambitious five-year plan, Syria is taking its first steps towards a more liberal economy.

Keeping it in the family

Not necessarily the largest or richest, but these are a few of the family-owned groups that dominate the Gulf.

Center-Invest: southern champion with a social conscience

"If Moscow is the centre of Russia, then the south is the pearl." That’s the mantra that Vasily Vysokov, chairman of Bank Center-Invest, likes to chant about the Krasnodar Krai federal district where his bank is the pre-eminent private sector player.

Peru builds on sounder foundations

Peru’s economic miracle has taken it to the threshold of investment-grade status and enthused the country’s local and foreign bankers, who are rapidly broadening their corporate and retail markets.

Chinese banks, global ambitions

With successful IPOs completed and the domestic economy humming, China’s banks have never been in better shape to venture overseas, and there are compelling reasons to do so.

Thursday August 16 – Crescendo of panic

We've got hedge funds who are saying, 'Look, we have been in business for ten years and we've paid $500 million in fees and commissions to Wall Street and you can't give us a couple of days?' We are getting a lot of blunt decisions made by people far away from these markets and some of them are bad decisions.

Carbon markets: Hot times for emissions trading

Banks have come to realize that to make money from emissions trading markets they would do well to tie up with the consultants that understand the technicalities and with the corporates that own Clean Development Mechanism schemes.

Hedge funds: Green trimmings

A growing social conscience about the environment has opened up new technologies and markets that offer hedge funds new areas in which to find alpha.

Amber Shore of Russia: fun and games on the Baltic

To build Las Vegas on the Baltic: that’s the underlying aim of the Amber Shore of Russia resort-recreation complex, which besides the requisite gambling facilities will include sports, spa and therapeutic centres, an aqua park, shopping malls and hotel complexes, and a range of upscale housing developments, alongside the inevitable golf course development.

Japan’s structured credit market holds its breath

Often accused of being unwilling to make use of cutting-edge investment techniques, Japanese institutions are more and more attracted to the heady mix of strong ratings and high yields offered by structured credit.

Green finance: Cleaning up in China

Baffled at first by the unwonted benevolence of the clean development mechanism, Chinese enterprises rapidly jumped on the carbon trading bandwagon.

What price Malaysia’s corporate reconstruction?

Three years ago Khazanah, Malaysia’s state investment body, was instructed to become activist, holding on to most of the state’s corporate holdings rather than privatizing them, and setting tight performance targets.

TXU: Environmentalists at the gates

Lots of people want to claim credit for what happened with TXU – the company itself, the private equity firms that bought it, the banks that advised both of the parties, the NGOs that lobbied intensively against it, and the Texas state regulators that threatened to scupper TXU’s business plan.

Islamic banking set for solid growth

The spate of new privately owned banks will soon be joined by specialist Islamic banks, which by all accounts can look forward to a flying start in the pristine Syrian market.

Arab family business on the brink of change

Families have always dominated the economies of the Gulf, controlling huge amounts of wealth and influence but traditionally unwilling to open up their capital – and their books – to the outside world.

The new colour of money: Caring, not sharing

Most of the world’s largest financial institutions are trying to use their contacts with key stakeholders across business, academic and government lines to brainstorm the best ways that markets can combat climate change.

Syria's insurance sector: Cover opens up

The insurance sector in Syria is emerging from almost half a century of state monopoly and is still in a nascent state that offers both attractions and risks to the first new wave of private firms.

The week Wall Street went into meltdown

In the week of August 13 participants in the financial markets – credit traders, equity investors, heads of repo desks, hedge fund managers, risk controllers, originators and capital markets bankers, credit strategists, treasurers, chief financial officers – began to lose faith in the financial system itself.