Tuesday 3rd March 2015
NEWS TICKER, MARCH 2ND 2015: Turnover at Deutsche Börse’s cash markets at €125.5bn euros last month. Order book turnover on Xetra, Börse Frankfurt and Tradegate Exchange across all asset classes stood at €125.5bn in February (February 2014: €102.6bn). Of that, €113.4bn was attributable to Xetra (February 2014: €93.4 billion). The average daily turnover on Xetra stood at €5.7bn last month (February 2014: €4.7bn). Meantime, Börse Frankfurt reported turnover of €4.9bn was (February 2014: €4.7bn). Order book turnover on Tradegate Exchange touched approximately €7.2bn in February (February 2014: €4.6bn). Broken down by asset classes, turnover in equities reached about €107.1bn. Turnover in ETFs/ETCs/ETNs amounted to €15.9bn. Turnover in bonds was €0.7bn, and in structured products €1.5bn. Viewed by transactions, a total of 18.0m trades were executed on Xetra in February (February 2014: 16.7m). - Moody's has released a special edition of its compendium of Asian oil and gas research, following the collapse of crude oil prices in recent months. The compendium, covering both corporates and sovereigns in the region. "The steep drop in crude oil prices since mid-2014 will materially reduce the earnings and cash flows of Asian oil & gas companies and weaken their credit metrics in 2015," says Vikas Halan, a Moody's vice president and senior credit officer. "At the same time the low prices will benefit most Asia Pacific sovereigns, given the region's status as a net oil importer," adds Halan. Crude prices more than halved between June 2014 and January 2015, reflecting higher-than-expected oil production in the US and lower demand in emerging markets. At the same time, with the slowing growth in worldwide demand, oil markets will likely remain oversupplied in the next two years. The demand-supply imbalance may be exacerbated if China's economic growth slows sharply or if significant lifting of economic sanctions on Iran further increases oil volumes. Moody's has lowered its price assumptions for Brent crude to $55/barrel through 2015 and $65/barrel in 2016. - Businesses are increasingly collecting and using data from, and about, consumers. This includes the identity of their customers, what they consume, where they live and work and other demographic information. It also includes information on who they connect with, their interests and attitudes. The UK Competition and Markets Authority is calling for information in a fact-finding exercise to help understand fully how businesses collect and use this data for commercial purposes and the implications for firms and consumers. Response forms can be found on the authority’s website - According to local press reports, Malaysia-based healthcare group Qualitas Healthcare Corporation Ltd, will decide this week either to list on Bursa Malaysia or put itself up for sale. The estimated value for the firm is reportedly around MYR1.2bn and press reports say it is in active negotiations with at least three potential buyers – International law firm Ropes & Gray has advised Crescent Capital Partners Management Pty Limited (Crescent) on the successful establishment of the over-subscribed Crescent Capital Partners V (Crescent V). An AUD675m fund, Crescent V will seek to invest in middle market businesses primarily in Australia and New Zealand with a focus on companies worth between AUD50m and AUD300m - MEPs will this week focus on the €315bn investment plan to boost growth in Europe, discussing with experts its three pillars: an investment fund, an advisory hub and a project pipeline. On Monday afternoon the economic affairs and budget committees hold a hearing with experts to discuss the €315bn investment plan for Europe as proposed by the European Commission - permanent tsb (PTSB), the Irish retail bank, will be using SAS solutions to deliver quicker and more efficient credit-decisioning, says the bank. Analysing this data in real-time will enable the bank to make quicker decisions that reflect each customer’s circumstances - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended +1.03 points higher or +0.03% to 3403.89, taking the year-to-date performance to +1.15%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined -0.39% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -1.14%. The top active stocks were SingTel (+0.47%), DBS (-1.48%), OCBC Bank (-0.86%), Noble (-3.08%) and UOB (-0.04%). The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Consumer Goods Index (+0.68%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Consumer Goods Index are Wilmar International (+0.31%) and Thai Beverage (+2.14%). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Basic Materials Index, which declined -3.44% with Midas Holdings’ share price gaining +1.61% and Geo Energy Resources’ share price declining -1.57%. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the STI ETF (-0.29%), IS MSCI India (+0.37%), SPDR Gold Shares (+1.10%).

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

The Calculation for Spain

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 Written by 
The Calculation for Spain To alleviate its debt and escape its state of crisis, we think Spain has two strategies to choose from. The first one, already in place since 2009, involves a reduction in the fiscal and external deficits while accepting aid from other eurozone countries. If Spain were to continue with this strategy, it would need to incorporate regular debt purchases by the ECB and possibly the ESM, and provide assistance to recapitalise its banks. The second strategy would be to leave the euro, which would mean a default on its gross external debt and a sharp devaluation of its currency. Both of these strategies contain negatives that need to be considered: the question is, which one would be the least detrimental to the country’s economic future? http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

To alleviate its debt and escape its state of crisis, we think Spain has two strategies to choose from. The first one, already in place since 2009, involves a reduction in the fiscal and external deficits while accepting aid from other eurozone countries. If Spain were to continue with this strategy, it would need to incorporate regular debt purchases by the ECB and possibly the ESM, and provide assistance to recapitalise its banks.

The second strategy would be to leave the euro, which would mean a default on its gross external debt and a sharp devaluation of its currency.

Both of these strategies contain negatives that need to be considered: the question is, which one would be the least detrimental to the country’s economic future?

Strategy One: Spain's present strategy of adjustment...A Catch-22 situation?

Spain’s high levels of external debt mean it cannot increase its external borrowing (except for emergency borrowing from the EU or the ECB). Therefore, it must balance its current account.



Its present strategy of adjustment is clear: a restrictive fiscal policy; an improvement in cost-competitiveness to rebalance foreign trade; and the acceptance of European aid to recapitalise banks in distress. The last action hinges on purchases of government bonds to push down long-term interest rates. However, this strategy is risky.

A scenario may help us better understand this strategy: a fall in real wages due to price-stickiness discourages household demand, which has a knock-on effect to make business investment decline. Hence, there is a major decline in domestic demand and activity, making it very difficult to reduce fiscal deficit. In early 2012 we saw this in action when Spain’s fiscal deficit widened considerably, due both to tax revenue short-falls and higher-than-expected government spending. A continuation of this strategy therefore may lead to a further increase in unemployment and a decline in activity.

There could also be a reduction in the external deficit due to the decline in purchasing power. That said, imports would have to be reduced by a further 20% for Spain's current account deficit to disappear, which would mean a decline of at least 12% in domestic demand and real income.

The only hope for this strategy is that improvements in cost-competitiveness could increase Spain's exports and market share, and improved profits could eventually increase business investment.

Strategy Two: Exit from the euro, default and devaluation...A possible solution or suicide?

The other strategy would be for Spain to leave the euro, sharply devalue its currency, and inevitably default on its gross external public and private debt. This would obviously be a big problem for Spanish multinational companies, given the size of debt and the impossibility of servicing it following devaluation.

But what would the likely consequences of this strategy be?

For a start, it requires an immediate rebalancing of foreign trade. The country could no longer borrow, which would result in a much weaker economic situation in the short term.

Our econometric estimate shows elasticity to the real exchange rate of 0.73 for Spain's exports and 0 for imports, in volume terms. If we assume 30% devaluation, the foreign trade gain in volume terms would be 7.7 percentage points of GDP, which is very substantial.

Devaluation would increase the price of imports and therefore reduce real income by about 5.9 percentage points, which would leave a net gain of approximately 2 percentage points of GDP.

When the Spanish peseta was devalued in the early 1990s (twice in 1992, once in 1993), the current account deficit disappeared in 18 months, exports accelerated strongly, while domestic inflation reacted only slightly to the rise in import prices. The decline in GDP only lasted one year, and from that point growth was strong because of falling interest rates.

In today’s instance, devaluation would also increase the competitiveness of tourism and increase the surplus for these services in local currency, though perhaps not in foreign currencies such as the euro.

As financing becomes completely domestic, it is not impossible that there could be a reduction in the sovereign risk premium.

Devaluation could subsequently attract direct investment by businesses. With 30% devaluation, for example, labour costs in Spain would fall to EUR 14 per hour, 60% less than in Germany. However, since the size of Spanish industry is relatively small, new activities need to be considered for it to generate a large surplus.

Conclusion: What strategy to choose for Spain?

If the improvement in Spain's cost-competitiveness and profitability does not produce quick results, the present strategy will fail: wages would have to be reduced on a greater scale to eliminate the external deficit, and the fiscal deficit would remain very high.

The other strategy (leaving the euro, devaluation and default) could be successful if the devaluation attracted new activities, but it involves a lot of uncertainties – such as the impacts on Spanish multinationals, interest rates and foreign trade.

As stated earlier, both strategies are rather bleak, but positive aspects are still evident. Considering all of the factors, we believe that the strategy of devaluation and default could be the most efficient, particularly due to the high price elasticity of exports and the fact that Spain's entire current account deficit is accounted for by the interest on its external debt. As in 1992, it could also be effective due to the domestic financing of fiscal deficits, which will prevent a rise in interest rates.

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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