Saturday 23rd August 2014
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South Africa’s central bank has disagreed with a ratings decision by Moody’s to downgrade Capitec Bank Limited (Capitec) by two notches, and place it on review for a further downgrade. The central bank says it respects the independent opinion of rating agencies but that it does not “agree with the rationale given in taking this step”. Two reasons are given for the rating action: a lower likelihood of sovereign systemic support based on decisions recently taken in relation to African Bank Limited (African Bank), and heightened concerns regarding the risk inherent in Capitec’s consumer lending focus. “With regard to the first point, it is important to reiterate that the approach taken by the SARB to any resolution to address systemic risk will always be based on the circumstances and merits of the particular prevailing situation. Decisions will also be informed, as was the case with African Bank, by principles contained in the Key Attributes for Effective Resolution Regimes proposed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which have the objective that a bank should be able to fail without affecting the system,” notes the central bank in an official statement. “This is in keeping with evolving international best practice. In the case of African Bank bond holders and wholesale depositors are taking a 10% haircut, which is generally regarded as being very positive given that the trades following the announcement of African Bank's results were taking place at around 40% of par. Therefore in fact substantial support was provided, not reduced. Moreover, all retail depositors were kept whole and are able to access their accounts fully,” it adds - According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) credit card receivables increased by 2.1% in the second quarter to HKD112, after a reduction of 6.7% in the previous quarter. The total number of credit card accounts edged up by 0.7% to around 16.8m.The rollover amount, which reflects the amount of borrowing by customers using their credit cards, increased by 2.9% during the quarter to HKD19.2bn. The rollover ratio also rose marginally from 17.0% to 17.1% in the same period. The charge-off amount increased to HKD569mduring the quarter from HKD528m in the previous quarter. Correspondingly, the quarterly charge-off ratio rose to 0.51% from 0.46% in the previous quarter. The amount of rescheduled receivables transferred outside the surveyed institutions’ credit card portfolios reduced to HKD94m from HK$109m in the previous quarter. The delinquent amount increased to HKD249m at end-June from HKD239m at end-March. However, the delinquency ratio remained the same at 0.22% because of an increase in total card receivables. The combined delinquent and rescheduled ratio (after taking into account the transfer of rescheduled receivables mentioned above) edged up to 0.29% from 0.28% during the same period - Harkand has been awarded a contract to support Apache with inspection, repair and maintenance work (IRM) as well as light construction (LC) across their assets in the North Sea, following completion of a competitive tender exercise. The award includes the provision of vessels, ROV and diving services for a three-year period, plus two one-year options. The firm will also support offshore marine construction contractor EMAS AMC who have been awarded a separate contract for pipe lay and heavy construction as part of the same tender process. Harkand Europe managing director, David Kerr, said: “This contract is an important step in strengthening our close working relationship and growing our North Sea business with Apache.

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

Countries’ attractiveness measured by business investment

Friday, 08 June 2012 Written by 
Countries’ attractiveness measured by business investment Countries’ attractiveness for companies can be measured indirectly, by looking at trends in cost-competitiveness, export market shares, production capacity and employment. But it can also be measured directly by looking at business investment: what proportion of investment by a country’s companies is carried out in that country or abroad? How much is invested by foreign companies in that country? We compare the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Japan. The two measures of attractiveness rank the countries quite differently. If we measure attractiveness by business investment, the two most attractive countries are the United States and the United Kingdom, the two least attractive countries Italy and France. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Countries’ attractiveness for companies can be measured indirectly, by looking at trends in cost-competitiveness, export market shares, production capacity and employment. But it can also be measured directly by looking at business investment: what proportion of investment by a country’s companies is carried out in that country or abroad? How much is invested by foreign companies in that country? We compare the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Japan.

The two measures of attractiveness rank the countries quite differently. If we measure attractiveness by business investment, the two most attractive countries are the United States and the United Kingdom, the two least attractive countries Italy and France.

Countries’ attractiveness for setting up business

Attractiveness depends on cost-competitiveness, the tax system, the skill level of the labour force, corporate profitability, public infrastructure, etc. So it is a multi-faceted and complex variable.

It can be measured indirectly, by:

  • cost-competitiveness, in light of the trend in exchange rates measured by the real trade-weighted exchange rate. Currently the currencies of the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain are overvalued in real terms;
  • export market shares, in which losses have been very marked in Japan, the United Kingdom, France and Italy;
  • the trend in potential GDP and in production capacity in industry. Potential GDP has grown significantly in the United States, while production capacity has stagnated in the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain and Italy;
  • growth in employment excluding the civil service, which has been the most vigorous in Spain and the weakest in Japan.

If we use these criteria, the most attractive countries for companies are the United States, Sweden, Germany, Spain and France, while the least attractive are the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan.

Attractiveness measured by investment

However, for each country we also look at two direct measures of attractiveness for companies:

  • the proportion of the country’s business investment that is carried out in that country and not abroad. This proportion is low in Sweden, France, Spain and the United Kingdom;
  • the share of investment by foreign companies in GDP. This proportion is high in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Spain.

According to this investment criterion of attractiveness, the most attractive countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain; the least attractive are France and Italy.

Which are the most attractive countries among the large OECD countries?

When you summarise both the indirect and the direct approaches, you realize that the United States tops the ranking, while France and Italy are found at the bottom.

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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