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NEWS TICKER: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1st 2015 : The EBRD is considering a credit line of up to €15m to Všeobecná úverová banka a.s. (VUB) in the form of an extension of a €5m existing facility signed in December 2014, bringing the total amount provided to VUB under SlovSEFF III to €20m. This operation will enable VUB to provide sub-loans to companies and residential sector borrowers (housing associations) for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in the Slovak Republic and provide financing for sustainable energy projects with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and assist in mitigating high energy and carbon intensity in the region - CMS says it has advised Orifjan Shadiyev, owner of Capital Bank Kazakhstan, on the acquisition of RBS’s business in Kazakhstan (RBSK). The CMS team was led by Graham Conlon, a partner in the corporate and international private equity team, and supported by senior associate Tetyana Dovgan - CBRE Group Inc says it has agreed to acquire the Global WorkPlace Solutions (GWS) business of Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) for $1.475bn in cash. GWS is a provider of integrated facilities management solutions for occupiers of commercial real estate and has operations around the world – The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) says it has allowed OTC Exchange of India (OTCEI) to exit as a bourse from the nation's securities markets. According to SEBI, OTCEI had complied with the regulator's conditions for exit and is therefore "a fit case to allow exit" from capital markets adding that the bourse had made payment of necessary dues to the regulator, including 10% of the listing fee and the annual regulatory fee. "From the valuation report and undertaking of OTCEI, it is observed that all the known liabilities have been brought out and that there is no other future liability that is known as on date," SEBI said in the order dated March 31. In allowing the exit, SEBI has asked the bourse to change its name and not to use the description ‘Stock Exchange’ or any variant of it and to avoid any representation of present or past affiliation with the stock exchange, in all media. The central government had granted recognition to OTCEI, as a stock exchange on August 23, 1989 initially for a period of 5 years, which was subsequently renewed from time to time. As per SEBI’s rules, a stock exchange, whose annual trading turnover on its platform is less than Rs1,000 crore, can apply for voluntary surrender of recognition and exit, while a bourse which fails to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore, is subject to a compulsory exit process - Independent subsea remotely operated vehicle (ROV) services provider, ROVOP, has established a Western Hemisphere headquarters and support base in Houston and has hired three ROV industry professionals to lead the business. Scott Wagner, Brett “Gonzo” Eychner and Wayne Betts bring a combined total of more than 100 years’ global experience in the ROV services sector to ROVOP. They join an established management team and staff of 130 based in Aberdeen, Scotland, who have developed ROVOP into a leading player in the ROV field. The company’s client portfolio includes oil & gas, offshore wind and telecommunications companies. Mark Vorenkamp, chairman of ROVOP, said: “ROVOP is changing the market for ROV services. Over the last two decades, ROV technology, capability and service has fallen behind the pace of change seen in other industries. ROVOP’s facility is located in North West Houston on a 1.5 acre site which includes a 4,500 ft2 office and 17,300 ft2 workshop where the company will manage their fleet of FMC Schilling Robotics and SAAB Seaeye ROVs. “The recent mobilisation of two Schilling Ultra-Heavy Duty (UHD) Generation III ROVs, capable of closing a blowout preventer (BOP) within 45 seconds to meet American Petroleum Institute (API) requirements, illustrates ROVOP’s commitment to supporting clients with industry leading technology in the Gulf of Mexico,” says Wagner - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended +0.01 points higher or 0.00% to 3447.02, taking the year-to-date performance to +2.43%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained +0.02% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.04%. The top active stocks were CapitaLand (unchanged), SingTel (-0.23%), UOB (+0.22%), DBS (+0.15%) and ST Engineering (unchanged). The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Technology Index (+1.13%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Technology Index are Silverlake Axis (+1.83%) and STATS ChipPAC (unchanged). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Basic Materials Index, which declined -1.24% with Midas Holdings’s share price unchanged and Geo Energy Resources’s share price gaining+0.52%. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the DBXT MSCI Indonesia ETF (+0.14%), LYXOR China H (+0.29%), DBXT FT China 25 ETF (+1.75%).

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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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