Friday 6th March 2015
NEWS TICKER, FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH 2015: —BNY Mellon has been appointed by Accor, the hotel operator based in France, as depositary bank for its sponsored American depositary receipt (ADR) program. Accor previously traded in the US as an unsponsored DR. Each sponsored ADR represents one-fifth of an ordinary share and trades on the OTC Markets under the symbol ‘ACCYY.’ Accor’s ordinary shares trade on Euronext Paris under the code ‘AC’— The US Inland Revenue Service (IRS) says the FATCA IDES User Guide has been updated for March 2015 and includes user enhancements and additional instructions. Copies can be downloaded from the IRS websiteimage003.pngThe Federal Reserve Bank of New York has reported gross purchases from February 26th through March 4th of $4,737m worth of agency MBS transactionsimage003.png More than 100 members of European Parliament (MEPs) have signed an open letter to the European Union’s Telecoms Council, urging it to adopt a more relaxed stance towards roaming charges. The Council is looking to extend the “phasing out” of charges until mid-2018, more than two and a half years later than initially laid out in the Roaming III regulation established in 2012. Roaming III, one of Neelie Kroes’ flagship motions in the move towards a single digital market, had previously required the abolishment of all roaming fees by the end of this year. “The Council stance sets up a new pricing mechanism, which will make it much cheaper to use your mobile phone when travelling abroad in the EU,” it said. “Within certain limits to be determined, consumers could make and receive calls, send SMSs and use data services without paying anything extra on top of the domestic fee.” It also suggests limitations under which operators will be able to levy charges against roamers. “Without a strong Telecoms Single Market, the much needed Digital Single Market cannot flourish,” they said, in an open letter to the Council of the European Union. “The European Parliament urged an end to roaming charges by the end of this year (2015). We consider proposed delays by three years (2018), or a suggestion to allow for 5MB without charges per day, to lack ambition. Such outcomes will undoubtedly seriously disappoint citizens. The gap between ending roaming charges, and 5MB per day is immeasurably large.” The open letter to the Telecoms Council concluded with a plea to put an end to roaming charges and clearly define net neutrality, stressing its significance for the future of Europe’s digital economies—Danish dedicated wind company Vestas has placed a seven year €500m eurobond with an interest rate of 2.75%, which the firm says will broaden the firm’s funding structure. The bonds, which will be listed in Luxembourg, will be repaid on March 11th 2022. According to Vestas CFO Marika Fredriksson, this is the first time a "green bond" had been issued by a dedicated wind company—An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Clive Bellows, Country Head Ireland at Northern Trust say the bank will expand its operations in Limerick by creating up to 300 new jobs over the next three years. The expansion is supported by the Department of Jobs through IDA Ireland —Despite reduced market volatility in February, total traded volume on the Tradeweb European-listed ETF platform amounted to €7.7bn in the month. This was the platform’s third best performance since launch, only beaten by last October’s €7.9bn and January’s record-breaking €10.7bn volume. According to the firm, there was a clear buying trend across all asset classes on the platform, with “buys” outstripping “sells” by 26 percentage points as a proportion of the overall traded volume. “Buy” requests for equity-based ETFs climbed to 42%, while “sell” requests fell 8 percentage points to 31 per cent compared to the past 12 months. Three of February’s ten most heavily traded ETFs invest in fixed income, offering exposure to government debt and USD-denominated high yield bonds—Global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc says Mark Hunt has joined as senior managing director in the firm’s Forensic & Litigation Consulting practice. Mark will be based in London. As a Senior Forensic Partner with over thirty years’ experience, Mark specialises in financial and regulatory investigations, audit and accounting negligence, expert determinations and accounting disputes. His work has included a number of complex international disputes for both claimants and defendants, as well as acting as an expert on issues relating to complex financial instruments. Mark joins FTI Consulting from BDO, where he led their Financial Services practice, which included conducting FCA/PRA Skilled Persons Reviews. Prior to joining BDO in 2007, Mark was a Partner at KPMG, and he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. In his new role, Mark will join the EMEA Financial Advisory Services leadership group, working with Jeannette Lichner, Stephen Kingsley, Andrew Durant and Nick Hourigan to continue building FTI Consulting’s practice— The Straits Times Index (STI) ended +22.24 points higher or +0.66% to 3417.51, taking the year-to-date performance to +1.56%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained +0.21% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.38%. The top active stocks were SingTel (+1.70%), DBS (+0.98%), Noble (+4.98%), Keppel Land (-0.22%) and Genting Singapore (-2.63). The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index (+1.52%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index are SingTel (+1.70%) and StarHub (unchanged). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Health Care Index, which declined -0.55% with Raffles Medical Group’s share price declining -0.51% and Biosensors International Group’s share price declining -0.77%. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the STI ETF (+0.59%), iShares USD Asia HY Bond ETF (-0.85%), SPDR Gold Shares (-0.42%). The three most active Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by value were CapitaMall Trust (-0.94%), Ascendas REIT (-0.40%), CapitaCom Trust (+0.28%). The most active index warrants by value today were HSI25000MBeCW150429 (-4.12%), HSI24200MBePW150429 (+0.60%), HSI24400MBeCW150429 (-2.99%). The most active stock warrants by value today were DBS MB eCW150420 (+8.65%), OCBC Bk MBeCW150803 (unchanged), UOB MB eCW150701 (+2.10%).

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

France’s industrial crisis: predictable and set to last

Friday, 03 August 2012 Written by 
France’s industrial crisis: predictable and set to last France’s industrial sector is in the midst of a steadily worsening crisis. There has been a decline in production, employment and productive investment, the external deficit remains significant, and export market shares are declining rapidly. We would argue that this situation was foreseeable, particularly if we add up issues with supply, domestic and external demand, and the impact of the eurozone crisis. Unfortunately, not a lot can be done about the weakness of demand, and the remedies to the supply problem are difficult to implement rapidly. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

France’s industrial sector is in the midst of a steadily worsening crisis. There has been a decline in production, employment and productive investment, the external deficit remains significant, and export market shares are declining rapidly.

We would argue that this situation was foreseeable, particularly if we add up issues with supply, domestic and external demand, and the impact of the eurozone crisis. Unfortunately, not a lot can be done about the weakness of demand, and the remedies to the supply problem are difficult to implement rapidly.

Let’s go through these issues, their causes and their implications.

Cause no. 1: The supply problem



Supply conditions for goods and services continue to deteriorate in France. The low profitability of companies discourages investment hence the production capacity of French industry is on the decline.

Since 2001, French industry sales prices have been falling relative to unit wage costs. Such falls reflect the excessive level of unit wage costs compared to the sophistication of industrial production in France. The downmarket nature of French industrial production prevents an increase in its selling prices, because of the high level of the price elasticity of demand for industrial products made in France: 0.9 versus 0.3 in Germany.

However, the rise in the unit wage cost – relative to selling prices – does not come as a result of the trend in productivity, but what has been happening to wages. This is because the level of costs is pushed up by the level of employers’ welfare contributions.

The subsequent fall in French industry’s profitability is substantial, reducing its capacity to invest and create jobs. This leads to the off-shoring of production capacity to countries where industrial profitability is higher, thereby weakening industry financially and threatening it with a serious crisis in the event of a recession and falling demand.

Cause no. 2: The demand problem

Between 2011 and 2012, French industry suffered from the weakness of both domestic and external demand. This resulted in a lower capacity utilisation rate than normal, which makes the problem of low profitability even more detrimental. And the decline in demand may deteriorate further if there is a fall in real wage incomes and government expenditure.

Cause no. 3: The euro-zone crisis

The eurozone crisis has two negative effects on French industry:

  1. it weakens demand and therefore imports in the eurozone countries that usually would have been France’s customers. This is significant because the eurozone accounts for 46% of French exports – the United Kingdom, which is also mired in a recession, accounts for 6%;
  2. it reduces domestic demand and capacity utilisation rates in Spain and Portugal and persuades industrial companies in these countries to turn to exports. As wage costs are lower in these countries, there is an increase in the competition that has a direct impact on French industry. France’s export market share tends to decline, whereas those of PortugalSpain and Ireland have recovered.

Remedies are very difficult to implement

Of the three issues mentioned, weakness of demand and the effects of the eurozone crisis cannot be controlled, particularly in a situation where there is private-sector deleveraging and a reduction in fiscal deficits. The question for French industry is therefore which remedies can be implemented on the supply side? We have put together the following list of possible measures:

 

  • an improvement in the sophistication of industrial production and in the differentiation of products, which will require innovation, investments, and marketing;
  • increased geographical diversification in companies' sales to increase the weight of emerging countries, which is currently quite low in France;
  • a major reform of the financing of social welfare in France to reduce the weight of welfare contributions paid by companies;
  • a fall in the hourly labour cost, either through a fall in the per capita wage, or through an increase in the number of hours worked (which is obviously a source of conflict).

 

However, these measures are all very difficult to implement rapidly.

It is also important to understand the major fragility of companies that are not very profitable (i.e. they have a shortfall in supply) when they are faced with a significant and lasting decline in demand.

Unfortunately, it looks as though this French industry crisis is not going to go away any time soon.

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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