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Friday, 13 September 2013

The week ahead: Billion-pound blockbuster

Hungary: wine festival stumbles upon success | beyondbrics

Hungary: wine festival stumbles upon success | beyondbrics:

Hungarian vintners will be hoping for sun this weekend – not because of any harvest considerations, but because it’s the Budapest Wine Festival – a five-day extravaganza of wine, food, music and dance which started quietly on Wednesday but which will be revving up from Friday afternoon, if the skies stay clear.

“The record was two years ago, when we got 55,000 visitors, but it all depends on the weather,” says festival spokesperson Rita Olah.

Now in its 22nd year, the festival, which started off as a modest down town affair designed primarily as a marketing event for professionals, moved up into the spacious – and prestigious – Buda Castle too long ago for most to remember."

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Turkey issues first licence to import northern Iraq gas | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Turkey issues first licence to import northern Iraq gas | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR:

"Turkey's energy watchdog has issued its first licence to import natural gas from northern Iraq to a Turkish company, paving the way for increased energy imports from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Istanbul-based Siyahkalem Engineering Construction Industry and Trade was issued a licence, valid for 26 years, to import natural gas from northern Iraq, energy officials said.

Imports are set to start next year.

The company will start importing 700 million cubic metres of natural gas in 2014 and will aim to increase the amount to 3.2 billion cubic metres annually by 2033, an energy official said, citing plans submitted by the company."

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TNK-BP minorities vs Igor Sechin: fair fight? | beyondbrics

TNK-BP minorities vs Igor Sechin: fair fight? | beyondbrics:

Minority shareholders in TNK-BP got a raw deal when Rosneft took over the Anglo-Russian oil major this year.

But even if the odds are stacked against them, they’re not yet ready to give up the fight. Having failed to persuade Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s chief executive, to offer a fair price for their shares, the minorities have taken the bold step of launching a personal attack on the close associate of president Vladimir Putin.

A group of TNK-BP minority shareholders has filed a written complaint against Sechin (pictured) with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, an independent business lobby group, Vedomosti reported on Friday. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Russian business daily, accuses Sechin of breaching “corporate and business etiquette”."

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Whatever happened to the EM rout? | beyondbrics

Whatever happened to the EM rout? | beyondbrics:

When Ben Bernanke raised the prospect of a tapering of the US Federal Reserve’s monthly bond purchases in May, the impact on EM currencies was immediate: they slumped. By August, their decline in some instances was looking like a rout – the Indian rupee, especially, seemed on the brink of an all-out crisis.

But then something changed. Currencies around the emerging world began to recover. EM borrowers are once again tapping eurobond markets at low yields. Big EM central banks, it seems, have seen off speculators: Brazil’s by intervening in currency markets, for example, Indonesia’s by raising rates. Has the EM story entered yet another new chapter? The answer, almost certainly, is “No”.

Analysts have had no difficulty explaining the collapse of EM currencies since taper talk began. QE inflows had driven EM currencies up; QE outflows would naturally drive them down."

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After Lehman, which did better: $100 in EMs or in the S&P? | beyondbrics

After Lehman, which did better: $100 in EMs or in the S&P? | beyondbrics:

"Suppose you had decided to put your money into equities just as the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered the biggest global financial crisis since the Great Depression. Would you have done better in emerging market stocks, or the S&P 500?

The answer is: the S&P 500, just. The S&P is up 73.77 per cent in the last 5 years, while the MSCI Emerging Markets index is up a fraction less, at 72.91 per cent.

Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story. For much of 2009-2011, the difference was huge, as the emerging markets rode a wave of investor optimism buoyed up by oceans of cheap money. That story has turned out not to have very long legs.


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The Lehman anniversary: Five years in charts | The Economist

The Lehman anniversary: Five years in charts | The Economist: "The world of banking has changed dramatically, if not radically, in the five years since September 15th 2008, the day Lehman Brothers went bust. American and European banks used to dominate the list of the world’s biggest banks (see chart 1); the Chinese have since scaled the charts. The balance-sheets of Europe’s behemoths have got quite a bit smaller (chart 2); consolidation has made America’s giants bigger than ever. Western banks are generating much lower returns on equity than they did in the years before the crisis (chart 3), in part because the industry is being forced to fund itself with higher levels of equity than in the past (chart 4). So cost-cutting is much more important than it was: compensation ratios at investment banks have fallen (chart 5). But those who want a complete reshaping of finance can still argue that change has not gone far enough: more people work in finance in London in 2013 than did in December 2007 (chart 6).

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Guest post: Egypt’s biggest problem is economic | beyondbrics

Guest post: Egypt’s biggest problem is economic | beyondbrics:

By Dalibor Rohac of the Cato Institute

In Egypt, violent Islam is on the rise. This week, two bomb blasts in Sinai killed six military officers. Last week, the convoy of the interior minister was hit by a bomb attack in Cairo. Besides political violence by fringe Islamist groups, Egyptians are bracing for more repression from the government. Two and half years since the Arab Spring, Egypt’s ‘deep state’ is back in full form, arresting the opposition and cracking down on independent media.

Although many competing accounts exist of why Egypt’s transition has failed – ranging from the country’s religious divisions to its authoritarian legacies – one should not underestimate the power of the simplest one. What if it’s all about the economy?"

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Russia awaits orders on $7 billion in Eurobonds | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russia awaits orders on $7 billion in Eurobonds | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

"The Ministry of Finance has placed four Eurobond tranches for a total of $7 billion. These include 5-year U.S. dollar denominated bonds for $1.5 billion at 3.7 percent per annum, 10-year bonds for $3 billion at 5.1 percent, 30-year bonds for $1.5 billion at 6.05 percent, and 7-year euro denominated bonds for €725 million ($961.1 million) at 3.7 percent.
Investors had been waiting for this offering since last spring. The Ministry of Finance was dragging its feet, trying to pick the best time, but the market took a turn for the worse when the Fed warned of a forthcoming end to its super accommodative monetary policy.
The Ministry of Finance was right to have waited: Demand for its debt outstripped supply almost three-to-one ($20 billion vs. $7 billion), employees of two underwriting banks said. One said that investors from all over the world had sent in bids."

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Global foreign-exchange turnover | The Economist

Global foreign-exchange turnover | The Economist:

Trading in foreign-exchange markets averaged $5.3 trillion a day in April 2013, reports the BIS in its latest “Triennial Central Bank Survey”. This was up from $4 trillion in 2010 and $3.3 trillion in 2007. The US dollar was the dominant currency: 87% of deals contained the dollar on one side. The euro, the second-most-traded currency, was involved in 33% of deals, down from 39% in April 2010. The third-most-traded currency, featuring in 23% of all trades, was the Japanese yen; its market share has risen by four percentage points since the previous survey. Several emerging-market currencies rose sharply in global importance. The Mexican peso and Chinese renminbi made it into the top ten for the first time."

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Gazprom to boost gas transit via Ukraine, says Firtash

Gazprom to boost gas transit via Ukraine, says Firtash:

Russia's Gazprom is to boost natural gas transit shipments via Ukraine due to the settlement of the issue related to filling Ukraine's underground storage facilities with gas and other compromise decisions taken by the Ukrainian side, according to businessman Dmytro Firtash.

"It's due to NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy that along [with agreements to pump gas into the underground storage facilities] it has agreed that Gazprom will boost transit shipments," he said in Kyiv on Thursday.

According to Firtash, the additional amount of gas transit supplies will be redirected by Russia from another route."

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Compliant Twits, or… | FT Alphaville

Compliant Twits, or… | FT Alphaville:


Reg X, to invent a generic international securities rule, says that if your price-sensitive news leaks, you need to tell everyone you can reach ASAP. Hence the tweet above from Twitter in response to educated stories that the company plans to float, SEC permitting?

Well, either that or Twitter just decided upon a stylised news announcement, which is just as likely.

Whatever. Snap Alphaville investment advice: Buy then Sell."

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Serbia seeks to borrow up to $3 billion from UAE: official | Reuters

Serbia seeks to borrow up to $3 billion from UAE: official | Reuters:

"A top Serbian official said on Thursday he had asked the United Arab Emirates for a low-interest, long-term loan to repay some of the country's debts and invest in its ailing economy.

Serbia's economy is expected to grow about 2.5 percent this year, but is weighed down by a rising deficit of 4.7 percent of GDP and debt at 65 percent.

Belgrade is planning to tap markets with a $1 billion Eurobond this year and borrowing on the domestic market. It has also sought sovereign creditors including China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates."

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Saudis raise stakes in UAE ventures | Arab News

Saudis raise stakes in UAE ventures | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.:

"Saudi nationals received the highest rates of licenses to do business in the UAE last year, local media said, citing a report released by the UAE Ministry of Finance.
It said Saudi received 43.2 percent of the total licenses granted to GCC nationals.
According to the report, property ownership in Dubai by Saudi and GCC nationals registered a considerable growth. The number of Saudi-owned properties alone stood at 30,094 in the UAE by the end of 2012."

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Petronet in talks with Qatar, Oman, Kuwait over minority sta..

Petronet in talks with Qatar, Oman, Kuwait over minority sta..:

"India’s largest importer of natural gas Petronet LNG is in talks with Qatar, Oman and Kuwait to sell a minority stake in itself that’s owned by the Asian Development Bank, its chief executive officer said yesterday.
“We welcome any credible player who has experience in the oil and gas business that can add value to the company,” said chief executive A K Balyan, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of energy ministers in Seoul.
The investment authorities of the three Middle Eastern countries are interested but there is no clear frontrunner, Mr Balyan said. He expected a deal in two to three months, he said."

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Oil Vultures - OpEd Eurasia Review

Oil Vultures - OpEd Eurasia Review:

"While global debate is going on regarding the United States threat to attack Syria and the entire world is concerned about the potential fallout of this attack, oil vultures are concerned about movement of crude price, in the event the US undertakes this assault.

US President Barack Obama faced stiff resistance at the G-20 summit against attacking Syria without the UN Security Council’s endorsement — which is confusing these vultures. They still believe that the US strike on Syria would spread unrest and further disrupt Middle East crude supplies that would lead to a hike in oil prices.

While, Syria is not a major oil producer, any regional contagion has kept the markets on a tight leash. Many analysts are sitting with crossed fingers and exploring what will happen if a military action against Damascus ultimately gets underway — despite the odds. Pundits seem divided; some are deeply concerned about the long-term impact on oil markets and the instability that it might cause in the region. They are of the view that prices per barrel could easily go up to US$130 or even beyond."

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Serco to create 100-plus jobs for UAE nationals | The National

Serco to create 100-plus jobs for UAE nationals | The National:

"Serco has pledged to create more than 100 jobs for UAE nationals after winning a contract to provide shared services to government departments.

The UK outsourcing major won a four year deal from the Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre to provide shared services to more than 50 government departments.

A delivery facility has been constructed in Al Ain that will be used to provide “contact centre and support services, including voice, email and webchat”, Serco said in a regulatory filing to the London bourse."

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European shale oil boom won’t affect global energy markets | The National

European shale oil boom won’t affect global energy markets | The National:

"If the United Kingdom is sitting on huge new resources of domestic energy, it is probably not the only country in Europe.

The question for the oil-rich Middle East nations is to what extent its wealth, global importance and industry is affected by the discovery of new sources of gas in the United States, China and Europe.

Eastern Europe looks set to become the next hotbed of shale gas exploration as oil and gas majors, such as Chevron, hunt opportunities in countries that want to establish their energy independence from Russia."

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UAE banks poised to reap benefits of rising developing market trade flows | The National

UAE banks poised to reap benefits of rising developing market trade flows | The National:

"The UAE’s banking sector is poised to reap the benefits of increasing trade flows with Asia and other developing markets, said Haytham El Maayergi, Standard Chartered’s head of transaction banking for the UAE.

Standard Chartered forecasts emerging market trade to account for more than 30 per cent of global trade volumes by 2030. Emerging market trade corridors are expected to account for 40 per cent of global trade by 2030, up from 18 per cent last year.

“Flows both within and from emerging markets will continue to grow, and the UAE … is well positioned to tap this shift from West to East,” said Mr El Maayergi."

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Influx of overseas job seekers to keep lid on UAE wage increases | The National

Influx of overseas job seekers to keep lid on UAE wage increases | The National:

"An influx of overseas job seekers has kept the lid on wage increases this year as inflationary pressures hit people in the pocket.

The findings in a survey released yesterday by Hay Group highlight a competitive jobs market and rising costs for housing, school fees and health care.

That will lead to slower growth in purchasing power as pay struggles to keep pace with costs, the global management consultancy said."

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Few UAE banks score high for customer service |

Few UAE banks score high for customer service |

"The overall level of customer service provided by banks in the UAE has improved slightly since last year, but a lot has to be done to meet consumer expectations, a new benchmarking index showed.
Ethos consultancy’s latest Bank Benchmarking Index (BBI) revealed that the number of banks that scored high, or more than 80 per cent, this year has dropped from 12 to 7. The banks’ overall average score has improved by only .65 per cent.
According to the report, furnished to Gulf News ahead of the announcement of the full results, the banking industry still needs to work more on several areas, such as cross-selling of products, providing further assistance and contacting customers within 48 hours of submitting a query on the bank’s website."

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Ukraine shopping mall developer Arricano Real Estate joins AIM | Digital Look

Ukraine shopping mall developer Arricano Real Estate joins AIM | Digital Look:

"Ukrainian shopping centre developer and operator Arricano Real Estate has joined AIM in a 241m-pound initial public offering (IPO) to increase the pace of expansion in the under-developed market in the country.

Joint brokers Smith & Williamson and Whitman Howard drummed up $24m of new cash for the company at $2.33 a share, with the shares opening at $2.50 on Thursday to give Arricano a market capitalisation of $241m.

The company, which is incorporated in Cyprus, currently owns and operates five shopping centres in Ukraine, including two in the capital Kyiv.

On flotation it used its shares to acquire four development properties, three in Kyiv and one in Odessa, for $66m worth of new shares plus a further deferred $20m on one property. "

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COMMENT: Red lights are flashing for the Ukrainian hryvnia - BUSINESS NEW EUROPE

COMMENT: Red lights are flashing for the Ukrainian hryvnia - BUSINESS NEW EUROPE:

"Timothy Ash of Standard Bank
September 13, 2013

Suffice to say I am getting very worried now about Ukraine - I think the Rubicon has been crossed. The Ukrainian hryvnia has always benefited from being a "boy that cried wolf" from most EMEA analysts, but the news flow/mood music is just getting really ugly, and all the local press coverage is talking down the hryvnia – the sense is that the administration is now giving up the ghost, and recognises that it can now longer support/defend the hryvnia.

Red lights have been signalling for investors in Ukraine for some years now, a reflection of difficult fundamentals. Herein we would identify: "

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