Tuesday 28th July 2015
NEWS TICKER, Tuesday July 28th: The Spanish Mercado Alternativo Bursátil (MAB) has admitted INCLAM to list on the market’s growth company segment. The company will trade from July 29th this year. Its trading code will be INC and trading will be through a price setting mechanism which will match buy and sell orders by means of two daily auction periods or “fixings”, at 12 hrs and at 16 hrs. Stratelis Advisors is acting as registered adviser and MG Valores SV as liquidity provider. - Moody's: Al Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji) Q.S.C.'s asset quality and capital strengths moderated by high reliance on market funding. Al Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji) Q.S.C. (AKB) benefits from a solid overall financial profile which is moderated by high reliance on market funding and concentration risks, says Moody's Investors Service in the report "Al Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji) Q.S.C: asset quality and capital strengths are moderated by high reliance on market funding" - While German SME’s continue to be plagued by recruiting problems, according to a new KfW survey fewer are bothered about filling employment vacancies than they were back in 2010. More women and older people in the working population, increasing labour mobility and the rise in skilled labour from other EU countries is helping filling the employment gap. Even so, the survey suggests that over the longer term, skilled labour shortages could be the order of the day – In a filing with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten has given notice of amended final terms to the holders of TRY77.5m notes at 10.01% due June 17th 2025 (ISIN Code: XS1247665836 and Series no. 1214) issued under the bank’s €80bn debt issuance programme. The amendment includes provision that the issuer may settlement any payment due in respect of the notes in a currency other than that specified on the due date subject to pre-agreed conditions. Deutsche Bank London is the issuing and paying agent, while Deutsche Bank Luxembourg is listing agent, paying agent and transfer agent. The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 8.5% at 3725.56, its second-straight day of losses and worst daily percentage fall since February 27th, 2007. China's main index is up 6% from its recent low on July 8, but still off 28% from its high in June. The smaller Shenzhen Composite fell 7% to 2160.09 and the small-cap ChiNext Closed 7.4%. Lower at 2683.45. The drop comes as investors wonder how long the government’s buying of blue chip stocks can last. Clearly, the government can’t be seen to be pouring good money after bad to prop up what looks to be a failed strategy of propping up the market. Disappointing corporate earnings data across the globe has affected Asia’s main indices in today’s trading. The Hang Seng Index fell 2.7%. Australia's S&PASX 200 was down 0.2%, the Nikkei Stock Average fell 1% and South Korea's Kospi was off 0.4%. Turnover also remains depressed on Chinese exchanges, with around RMB1.2trn the average volume traded, compared to more than RMB2trn before this current downturn – In other news from the Asia Pacific, New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has issued a Stop Order against Green Gardens Finance Trust Limited (GGFT) and warns the public to be wary of doing business or depositing money with this company. The Stop Order prohibits GGFT from offering, issuing, accepting applications for or advertising debt securities and/or accepting further contributions, investments or deposits for debt securities – Meantime, in Australia, the Federal Court has found that Astra Resources PLC (Astra Resources) and its subsidiary, Astra Consolidated Nominees Pty Ltd (Astra Nominees), breached the fundraising provisions of the Corporations Act, as part of civil proceedings brought by ASIC. In his judgment, Justice White upheld ASIC's claims that Astra Resources and Astra Nominees breached the Corporations Act by raising funds from investors without a prospectus or similar disclosure document, as required under the law.

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

ECB bond purchases: the case for Spain and Italy

Monday, 13 August 2012 Written by 
ECB bond purchases: the case for Spain and Italy The European Central Bank (ECB) is feeling the pressure to add to its balance sheet massive amounts of sovereign debt from eurozone countries that are in distress. Assuming that the bank was to do so, with the clear objective of sharply reducing those countries' long-term interest rates, it begs the question, would the eurozone crisis then be solved? If we were to consider this in the context of Spain and Italy, we would argue that it could only happen if the bank’s intervention not only restored the fiscal and external solvency of the countries in distress, but also revived growth. While these objectives would be fairly easily achieved in Italy, they would not rescue Spain. In fact, even a massive intervention by the ECB in government bond markets would not pull Spain out of its crisis. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The European Central Bank (ECB) is feeling the pressure to add to its balance sheet massive amounts of sovereign debt from eurozone countries that are in distress. Assuming that the bank was to do so, with the clear objective of sharply reducing those countries' long-term interest rates, it begs the question, would the eurozone crisis then be solved?

If we were to consider this in the context of Spain and Italy, we would argue that it could only happen if the bank’s intervention not only restored the fiscal and external solvency of the countries in distress, but also revived growth. While these objectives would be fairly easily achieved in Italy, they would not rescue Spain. In fact, even a massive intervention by the ECB in government bond markets would not pull Spain out of its crisis.

Strong pressure on the ECB

The high level of long-term interest rates in Spain and Italy is stifling their economies. Strong pressure is therefore being put on the ECB to buy large quantities of government bonds issued by these countries, in the hope it will sharply reduce their long-term interest rates. This could be done directly or indirectly, perhaps by transforming the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a bank with funding provided by the ECB.



Massive purchases of government bonds by the ECB: Would the eurozone crisis be ended?

If massive purchases of government bonds by the ECB were to resolve the debt situation in Spain and Italy, the consequential fall in interest rates would need to restore fiscal solvency, restore external solvency and bring back acceptable growth.

Let’s look at these three points now:

1. Fiscal solvency

Fiscal solvency is ensured if the primary budget surplus is greater than the public debt multiplied by the differential between the long-term interest rate and nominal long-run growth.

If long-term interest rates were lowered by ECB interventions to close to the eurozone average, a primary surplus of 4.2 percentage points of GDP would be needed in Italy and 2.8 percentage points of GDP in Spain to ensure fiscal solvency. Italy’s primary surplus is forecast to meet 4% of GDP next year, while Spain’s primary deficit is due to exceed 3%.With lower interest rates Italy would be fiscally solvent in 2013, but by no means would Spain be.

2. External solvency

External solvency is ensured if the primary surplus (excluding interest on external debt) of the current-account balance is greater than the external debt multiplied by the differential between the long-term interest rate and nominal growth.

If the ECB moved long-term interest rates closer to the eurozone average, a primary current-account surplus of 0.8 percentage point of GDP would be needed in Italy, and 3.1 percentage points of GDP in Spain. At present, Italy has a deficit of 1.8 percentage points of GDP, and Spain has a deficit of 2.5 percentage points. As such, with lower interest rates, external solvency would not be guaranteed in Italy, while in Spain, again, the situation is far worse – external solvency would be very far from guaranteed.

3. Growth

The growth prospects are dramatic for Spain and Italy. A fall in long-term interest rates would significantly impact growth in a positive way, but only if the contraction in activity was predominately due to the high level of long-term interest rates. This would be the case if the contraction itself occurred because there was a decline in investment, rather than anything else such as job losses or deleveraging.

While consumption is declining in both countries, the decline in investment is far more dramatic in Spain than in Italy. The sharp decline in investment in Spain can be attributed to the collapse of the construction sector and the need for deleveraging, a problem which is far more acute in Spain than in Italy. As a result, a fall in interest rates would not be sufficient to revive growth in Spain, but would help in Italy.

Conclusion: Would massive purchases of Spanish and Italian government bonds by the ECB stop the eurozone crisis?

In conclusion, if the ECB were to purchase massive amounts of government bonds issued by struggling eurozone countries, a sharp fall in long-term interest rates in Spain and Italy would:

  • restore fiscal solvency in Italy but not in Spain;
  • restore external solvency in neither of the two countries, though the problem is far more serious in Spain than in Italy;
  • revive growth in Italy, but not in Spain where the decline in activity does not stem mostly from high interest rates.

Massive intervention by the ECB in government bond markets would therefore be decisive for Italy, but much less so for Spain.

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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