Monday 28th July 2014
slib33
FRIDAY ANALYSTS TICKER: July 25th 2014 - According to Adam Cordery, global head of European fixed income, Santander Asset Management, and fund manager for the Santander Euro Corporate Short Term and Euro Corporate bond funds, “Pricing of risk assets doesn’t offer much of a margin for error at the moment. And now Europe is starting to go on holiday, market liquidity may get poorer than normal, and any buys today may well have to be holds until September. It is always interesting to note what yields are required to attract clients to financial products. Twenty years ago, bond funds offering yields of 10%+ could generally attract lots of client interest very quickly. However as rates have come down over the years, so the yields clients demand have fallen. Now 4% seems to be the new 10%, he say. Cordery thinks that unfortunately, investors often want today the yield/risk mix that was available last year, so the products that get launched, sold and bought in size may be more risky than people think. “Products with 4% yield will sell well today, but to get to a 4% yield in Euro you need to invest in a portfolio with an average rating of single-B, and that is far from being risk-free. I get the impression the conventional wisdom today is to think that interest rates must surely go up soon and the main risk to bond portfolios is an increase in bund yields. Because of this many investors are buying short-duration products and floating rate notes, perhaps viewing them as a safe choice, almost like cash. It is possible however that these products may yet prove to have a considerable sensitivity to changes in credit market spreads and/or bond market liquidity, and may prove to be no protection at all.” - Commenting on the RBS share price jump, Dr Pete Hahn of Cass Business School, says “It's hard to tell whether the RBS share price jump today is more about relief or optimism. The former is about fewer fines, fewer losses on loans, and fewer costs in a shrinking business and possibly dividends for shareholders. And there's the rub, owning shares (as opposed to interest bearing debt) should be about optimism and long-term growth in dividends. But from a shrinking business? Few would argue that RBS' retail and corporate bank had efficiencies to be gained and cash flow that might be converted to dividends; yet like most banks, RBS' cost of equity remains stubbornly and appropriately above its ability to provide a return on that equity. For shareholders, current improvements should mean dividends in the medium term but a recognition that RBS may lack any merit for new investment and delivering any long-term dividend growth - not good. While many large retail banks are getting safer, in some aspects, and we often speak of them in terms of moving toward utility type models, banks take risks, are cyclical, face competition, have new business challengers, and are simply are not utilities. Investors shouldn't get ahead of themselves here.” - According to the monthly survey held by the central bank of Turkey, the country’s capacity utilization (CU) rate declined slightly to 74.9% in July from 75.3% in June. Meanwhile, seasonally adjusted (SA) CU also declined to 74.3% from 74.7% in June, writes Mehmet Besimoglu at Oyak Yatirim Research. As for manufacturing confidence, the index declined to 109 from 110.7 in May. On SA basis, the index also edged down slightly to 106.4 from 107.2. SA capacity utilisation was broadly stable in 1H14, averaging at 74.7%. This is the same level with the 2013 average. Despite the political turmoil and volatility in financial markets, activity has been relatively resilient. Export recovery & government spending supported production in 1H. Following the elections, public spending relatively decelerated. The turmoil in Iraq also decelerated export recovery from June. Nevertheless, we still expect 3.5% GDP growth in 2014, writes Besimoglu.

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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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