Tuesday 25th November 2014
NEWS TICKER: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25TH 2015 - Morningstar has downgraded its Analyst rating for the Fidelity European Opportunities fund to Neutral. Jeremy Beckwith, director of manager research, Morningstar UK comments: “We have assigned the Fidelity European Opportunities fund a Morningstar Analyst Rating™ of Neutral. The fund had previously been placed Under Review following the fund’s management change announced in the summer. It was previously rated Silver. Alberto Chiandetti—who has gained most of his investment experience in the Italian market—took over from former manager Colin Stone on 1 October 2014. He is also responsible for two single-country strategies: Fidelity Italy since 2008, which has a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver, and Fidelity Switzerland since 2011, rated Neutral”. According to Beckwith: “This is Chiandetti’s first time running a European mandate and we expect to see him bring in relevant changes to the strategy. Over a full market cycle, he has proven able to execute his process well at the helm of Fidelity Italy; that said, his past results are not fully relevant for this product, given the differences in the investable universe and the opportunity set compared to the country funds. We have therefore assigned a Neutral rating to reflect the uncertainties surrounding the future of this strategy.” - Among the five China ETFs listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX), the three most active China ETFs in the 2014 year-to-date have been db x-trackers CSI 300 UCITS ETF, db x-trackers MSCI CHINA INDEX UCITS ETF, and United SSE50 China ETF. These first two are traded in US dollars, and the latter in Singapore dollars. These three China ETFs are synthetic ETFs that use derivative instruments such as swaps to track the reference index as compared to physical ETFs that hold the securities or assets of the reference index. These three ETFs generated an average 2014 year-to-date total return of 8.4% - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended +4.46 points higher or +0.13% to 3344.99, taking the year-to-date performance to +5.69%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained +0.21% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.47%. The top active stocks were SingTel (+0.26%), Olam Intl (-2.27%), DBS (+0.20%), ComfortDelGro (-2.71%) and CapitaLand (+0.30%). Outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Technology Index (+1.14%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Technology Index are Silverlake Axis (+2.40%) and STATS ChipPAC (-1.11%). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Basic Materials Index, which declined -0.84% with Midas Holdings’ share price declining -1.70% and Geo Energy Resources’ share price unchanged. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the IS MSCI India (-0.77%), SPDR Gold Shares (+0.43%), STI ETF (unchanged). The three most active Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by value were Suntec REIT (+1.58%), Ascendas REIT (+1.76%), CapitaMall Trust (+0.25%). The most active index warrants by value today were HSI23800MBeCW141230 (unchanged), HSI23600MBePW141230 (-3.23%), HSI24400MBeCW141230 (unchanged). The most active stock warrants by value today were DBS MB eCW150602 (-2.96%), OCBC Bk MBeCW150413 (+1.08%), UOB MB eCW150415 (+6.25%) - Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is providing financing under a Regional Public Goods Programme (RPG) that will be managed by Caribbean Export Development Agency in its capacity as the Secretariat for the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA. The IDB has provided US$900.000 to CAIPA to support several initiatives geared towards increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Caribbean and will be implemented over a two year period - Mexico has posted record FDI of $35.2bn inflow in 2013, nearly double the level seen in 2012, mainly due to Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev's acquisition of Mexican beer giant Grupo Modelo, which brought in over $13bn, according to figures released by the economy ministry - Eight Italian regions have hired banks to manage a round of bond buybacks for them, the treasury said on Tuesday, in a move aimed at giving indebted local administrations more time to repay their loans. Abruzzo, Campania, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Piedmont and Puglia have hired Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank to manage any offers to buy back their bonds.

The adjustment in France has not even begun

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 Written by 
The adjustment in France has not even begun The French have the impression that their economy has worsened significantly and that austerity policies are weakening employment and living standards yet this inevitable adjustment is still to come Indeed, when examining the situation of public finances, competitiveness, foreign trade, the sophistication of products and businesses, it is clear that the process of adjustment and improvement has hardly begun in France, whereas it has progressed a lot on some criteria in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and of course long ago in Germany. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The French have the impression that their economy has worsened significantly and that austerity policies are weakening employment and living standards yet this inevitable adjustment is still to come Indeed, when examining the situation of public finances, competitiveness, foreign trade, the sophistication of products and businesses, it is clear that the process of adjustment and improvement has hardly begun in France, whereas it has progressed a lot on some criteria in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and of course long ago in Germany.

The impression in France of a significant deterioration of the economy and living standards

The French are extremely pessimistic about the economy and living standards, as showed by a recent international optimism poll conducted by BVA – Gallup international. Yet, the French unemployment rate is lower than Spain and Portugal, and households' real income and spending are still increasing while they are falling in Spain, Italy and Portugal. The French fear a reduction in of social welfare, even though the welfare system has actually become more generous at a time when it has declined in Germany.



State of progress in France’s adjustment

In terms of the adjustment process, let us look at French public finances, competitiveness and foreign trade, and the financial position of French businesses and their product sophistication.

1. Public finances

In 2012, only Spain will still have a fiscal deficit higher than that of France. Meanwhile, the debt ratio will continue to increase in France at a time when it is falling in Germany and has stabilised in Italy.

2. Competitiveness, foreign trade

France and Italy have a higher unit wage cost than Germany, which explains the continuing losses of export market shares for these two countries; whereas Spanish and Portuguese exports, where producer costs are low, are now growing rapidly.

Indeed, France has a large trade balance deficit in manufactured goods yet Spain and Portugal now have an even trade balance. Meanwhile, Italy and Germany have trade balance surpluses. As long as international capital mobility remains low in the euro zone, due to the “renationalisation” of investors' portfolios caused by the crisis; countries will be subject to an external balance constraint. Indeed, France is the only country that has not yet reduced its current-account deficit.

An improvement in foreign trade can be achieved either through an improvement in cost-competitiveness, hence a fall in wage costs, or through a contraction of domestic demand, which reduces imports. At present, the unit wage cost is increasing faster in France than in Germany and all the other struggling euro-zone countries causing domestic demand to continue to increase instead of fall as in Spain, Italy and Portugal.

3. Financial position of businesses and product sophistication

In contrast to other euro-zone countries, the financial position of French businesses continues to deteriorate. It is clear that the deterioration of corporate profitability is due to the low level of product sophistication in French industrial output, which means that French businesses find it harder to pass on rises in production costs to consumers, contrary to what can be seen in Germany, Spain and even Portugal. This is extended by France’s slow productivity gains (efficiency in producing products), which are recovering in Spain and Portugal.

All in all, practically everything remains to be done in France:

France still needs to reduce its fiscal deficit, improve competitiveness/ foreign trade, and restore profitability (productivity) and product sophistication.

Meanwhile, these adjustments have been completed in Germany and are progressing well in the other euro-zone countries. Italy and Portugal now have small fiscal deficits; Spain and Portugal have seen improvement in cost-competitiveness; external deficits have been reduced in Italy, Spain and Portugal while both corporate profitability and productivity have also improved; and Spanish and Portuguese products have become more sophisticated as shown from their ability to pass on higher production costs to consumers.

This all points to a risk of more restrictive fiscal policies in France, a fall in wages, and efforts to restore productivity by businesses (as in Spain and Portugal), which will inevitably be costly in terms of employment.

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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