Friday 27th February 2015
NEWS TICKER, FEBRUARY 26TH 2015: The CME Group says that the volume in the Mexican peso interest rate clearing in the opening weeks of 2015 has outstripped the volume recorded in the whole of 2014. January was a particularly good month, with record volume m with $50bn cleared (MXN760bn), and $163bn cleared since launch. Meanwhile open Interest has grown to over $139.5bn (MXN2trn) – doubling since the start of the year - Italy’s payment systems specialist SIA reports operating margin up 22.5% at €81.9m and revenues up 7% at €336.9m over the 2014 financial year. The firm says it has proposed an ordinary dividend of €0.21 per share, with a total value of €35.68m. The firm reports a substantive 146% growth in the number of payment transactions processed through 2014 (touching 12bn over the year, with 9.2bn of those related to credit transfers (up 316%) and 3bn via cards (up 9%). The firm also reports a 5% increase in trading and post-trading operations, with service levels of 100%. The firm notes the success of its “Jiffy” service launch in the year, the new “Person to Person” (P2P) payments service, an App permitting money transfer in real time by Smartphone to a user’s contacts, associating the IBAN code of the account with the phone number included - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended -14.65 points lower or -0.43% to 3426.18, taking the year-to-date performance to +1.81%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined -0.31% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.29%. The top active stocks were SingTel (-0.47%), DBS (-0.66%), Global Logistic (+1.17%), UOB (-0.26%) and OCBC Bank (-0.38%). The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Consumer Goods Index (+0.77%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Consumer Goods Index are Wilmar International (+1.85%) and Thai Beverage (+0.71%). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Basic Materials Index, which declined -1.28% with Midas Holdings’s share price declining 3.08% and Geo Energy Resources’s share price unchanged. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the IS MSCI India (-0.12%), STI ETF (-0.87%), SPDR Gold Shares (+0.50%). The three most active Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by value were CapitaMall Trust (unchanged), Ascendas REIT (-1.59%), Suntec REIT (-0.51%). The most active index warrants by value today were HSI25000MBeCW150330 (+5.50%), HSI25000MBeCW150429 (+7.38%), HSI24400MBePW150330 (-10.11%). The most active stock warrants by value today were OCBC Bk MBeCW150803 (-5.74%), SGX MB eCW150803 (-1.16%), DBS MB eCW150915 (-5.33%) -World Bank today called for more transparency in India's power subsidy regime and suggested re-identification of the target population to improve the balance-sheets of losses-stricken distribution companies. The global development finance body says the sector should be allowed to operate in a commercially viable manner by ensuring that those firms that are not eligible for subsidy pay for what they consume - The country witnessed a decline of 12 per cent in solar power generation at a total 883 MW last year, according to energy consulting firm Mercom Capital Group. Total solar energy installations in 2013 stood at 1,004 MW, it said. However, its 2015 forecast remained unchanged at an approximately 1,800 MW with some upside - BNP Paribas Securities Services has appointed Andrea Cattaneo as head of Brazil. "We have expanded our custody offering in Brazil and across Latin America in recent years with great success," says Alvaro Camuñas, head of Spain and Latin America at BNP Paribas SS - A new draft text on an EU system for the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, tabled by lead MEP Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), was discussed in the civil liberties committee on Thursday morning. An evaluation of the necessity and proportionality of the proposal in the face of current security threats, its scope (list of offences covered), retention periods, the inclusion or exclusion of intra-EU flights, the connection with the on-going data protection reform, as well as the consequences of the EU Court of Justice judgement annulling the 2006 data retention directive, were among the issues discussed by MEPs. The 2011 Commission proposal would require more systematic collection, use and retention of PNR data on passengers taking “international” flights (those entering the EU from, or leaving it for, a third country), and would therefore have an impact on the rights to privacy and data protection.

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

Avoid investing in German financial assets

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 Written by 
Avoid investing in German financial assets It may seem tempting to invest in German financial or property assets: Germany's economic and financial situation is at present far better than that of the other euro-zone countries, and German assets have outperformed those of the other euro-zone countries. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

It may seem tempting to invest in German financial or property assets: Germany's economic and financial situation is at present far better than that of the other euro-zone countries, and German assets have outperformed those of the other euro-zone countries.

But it should be realised that: German assets are overvalued because the euro zone's monetary policy is too expansionary for Germany and because German investors have a very significant domestic bias while the supply of assets is small and Germany risks economic and financial overheating which could lead to a correction in asset prices in the medium term.

German financial assets might seem attractive
German financial and property assets might seem attractive for two reasons. First, because the present economic and financial situation in Germany is far better than in other euro-zone countries. This is reflected in its public finances, current-account balance, the size of its industry and export capacity, its cost-competitiveness, corporate profitability and investment drive, and in its labour market - which is now experiencing rises in real wages, compared to falling real wages in the rest of the euro zone. All in all, given that Germany does not need to reduce its fiscal deficit, and given the rise in real wages, better export performance, increasing business investment and job creation, the growth outlook is at present far better in Germany than in the other euro-zone countries.



The second reason why German assets could seem attractive is that their recent performance has been strong. This is true for government bonds, equities, corporate bonds, bank debts and residential real estate (but not commercial real estate), since 2008.

But in reality, investment in German assets should be avoided, because they are too expensive and Germany could start overheating

German assets are too expensive
Since 2006, Germany has witnessed and will continue to maintain stronger growth than the euro zone as a whole. This means that the euro zone's current monetary policy is too expansionary for Germany, as it was for the rest of the euro zone from 2002 to 2007. This of course tends to cause a rise in asset prices.

Also, Germany has excess savings (by households and companies, as shown by its external surplus) with an increasing bias for investing domestically, while at the same time the supply of assets is small: meaning the fiscal deficit has almost disappeared, companies are self-financed and issue few bonds and residential construction is at a low level. There is therefore ex ante excess demand for German assets, which has driven up asset prices, especially for safe-haven government bonds.

Germany could start overheating in the medium term
Germany is practically in a situation of full employment, and since its companies are very profitable, wage growth is accelerating. In 2012-2013 an increase in the unit wage cost approaching 3% can be expected, with productivity gains that are fairly low. This will probably lead to a rise in underlying inflation towards 2%, and hence to even more abnormally low long-term interest rates, which will continue to push up the prices of other assets.

It is well known that such a situation of overheating (full employment and interest rates that are too low relative to growth) is potentially unstable and can lead to a downward correction in asset prices (as it occurred in Spain, Ireland and the United States, for example).

Patrick Artus

A graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, of Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Adminstration Economique and of Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Patrick Artus is today the Chief Economist at Natixis. He began his career in 1975 where his work included economic forecasting and modelisation. He then worked at the Economics Department of the OECD (1980), before becoming Head of Research at the ENSAE. Thereafter, Patrick taught seminars on research at Paris Dauphine (1982) and was Professor at a number of Universities (including Dauphine, ENSAE, Centre des Hautes Etudes de l'Armement, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and HEC Lausanne).

Patrick is now Professor of Economics at University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. He combines these responsibilities with his research work at Natixis. Patrick was awarded "Best Economist of the year 1996" by the "Nouvel Economiste", and today is a member of the council of economic advisors to the French Prime Minister. He is also a board member at Total and Ipsos.

Website: cib.natixis.com/research/economic.aspx

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