Monday 25th July 2016
NEWS TICKER: JULY 25TH 2016: Moody's says that Vedanta Ltd's (unrated) revised merger terms with Cairn India Ltd. (unrated) have no immediate impact on Vedanta Resources plc's B2 corporate family rating (CFR), Caa1 senior unsecured notes rating and negative outlook. While the revised terms entail a rise in debt/cash out flow of an estimated $447m -- compared to $120munder the original terms -- they will give Vedanta Ltd. complete access to Cairn India's large cash holdings, as well as provide the flexibility to reduce debt, thereby lowering leverage and reducing subordination within the group. As such, the successful execution of the merger, to the extent that it leads to de-leveraging, will be credit positive. Positive rating implications could emerge if adjusted leverage improved to less than 4.5x on a sustained basis. Should the merger proceed as announced -- subject to approval, in some cashless, all-stock transaction -- minority shareholders will receive one equity share and four 7.5% preference shares in Vedanta Ltd. for every share held in Cairn India. Shareholders will have the option of redeeming the preference shares within 30 days, or holding until maturity for 18 months. Following completion of the transaction, Vedanta Resources' shareholding in its subsidiary Vedanta Ltd will fall to 50.1% from 62.9%. At the end of June this year, Cairn India had $3.5 billion in cash and no external debt outstanding." Although delayed from the initial announcement in June 2015, the revised terms are a step forward in the merger proceedings -- the merger will provide Vedanta Ltd. better access to Cairn India's large cash balances of $3.5 billion, as previous access was only possible through the up-streaming of dividends," says Kaustubh Chaubal a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst. - The World Bank is beginning work on a new project, aimed at supporting the poorer regions of Poland by better utilising European Union funds made available to the country through the European Union Financial Framework 2014-2020. Representatives from Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie, the two regions selected for this work, will cooperate with experts from the World Bank, the Ministry of Development, and the European Commission during this project. The project - part of a European Commission initiative - will also include two regions in Romania. Poland and Romania are the first to implement this pilot project, whose objective is to increase the absorption of European Union funds and support socioeconomic development at the local level. “We are happy that we will be able to use our global experience, as well as our knowledge of the conditions in Poland, to support the Polish authorities in developing the country’s lagging regions,” says Arup Banerji, World Bank regional director for European Union countries - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 4.87 points or 0.17% higher to 2945.35, taking the year-to-date performance to +2.17%. The top active stocks today were Singtel, which gained 1.66%, DBS, which declined 0.06%, Wilmar Intl, which declined 0.97%, UOB, which gained0.26% and ComfortDelGro, with a1.73% fall. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.84%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined0.24%. Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan stocks retreat from over 1-year high; TSMC down. Taiwan stocks retreated from more-than-one-year highs on Monday as investors took profits on recent winners such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). The main index fell 0.6 percent at 8,954.58 points. It reached as high as 9,085.91 earlier in the session, an intraday level not seen since July 2015. The electronics subindex and the financial sub-index were both down about 0.7%. TSMC, the world's top contract chip maker, was off nearly 1%. The yen traded weaker with trade data showing better than expected figures though exports and imports declined notably ahead of a week that will see the Fed and the Bank of Japan comment on monetary policy. The adjusted trade balance came in at a surplus of ¥33bn while and imports eased 18.8%, less than the 19.7% drop expected and exports fell 7.4%, less than the 11.6% decline anticipated. The overall trade balance came in at a surplus of ¥693bn, better than the ¥495bn expected. USD/JPY changed hands at 106.32, up 0.18%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7478, up 0.17%. GBP/USD traded at 1.3135, up 0.19%. -- Rangold Resources will be announcing its Q2 results at the London Stock Exchange on Thursday, August 4th – Most equity markets kicked off higher today, buoyed by the firm tone of the G-20 Finance Ministers meeting which promised “to use all policy tools –monetary, fiscal and structural- individually and collectively” to achieve the goal of “sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth” in view of lingering concerns over spillover effects from Brexit. Central bank meetings will be the focus of market attention this week. The Fed is widely expected to leave its monetary policy unchanged this week. However, a recent string of better than expected U.S. data reignited speculation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates before the end of the year. Interest rate futures are currently pricing in a 45% chance of a rate hike by December, compared with less than 20% a week ago and up from 9% at the start of this month. The Fed monetary oversight committee starts its two-day meeting tomorrow. However, the story this week will focus on the Bank of Japan: will it, won’t it expand its monetary policy, without ‘helicopter money’? According to Russell Matthews, a portfolio manager at Russell Matthews, “Core government bond markets have largely moved sideways and very short dated US rates have repriced the probability of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in 2016 meaningfully higher. Corporate bonds have continued to perform well as the insatiable demand for yield is unabated, with spreads compressing in all sectors… Rate and sovereign credit have had a good run of late but the question we are asking ourselves is are we at the point where policy makers and investors have become complacent? Our mantra has always been that policy makers are likely to be lazy and under deliver if there is no pressure from markets. We have been through two major risk events in the last six weeks (Brexit, Turkey) and risk assets have continued to perform. We expected and anticipated this outcome, but that does not prevent us from becoming uneasy at the level of calm that we are witnessing, and the growing confidence that the market has with policy makers.” The other trend on investors’ minds will be the EU’s stance on Italy’s growing banking crisis: will the EU stick its ostrich like head in the sand? Elsewhere in Europe, Greek Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos stated in an interview on Saturday that the primary surplus targets until 2018 are attainable and the government will not have to activate the automatic spending cuts mechanism. Beyond 2018 and in the medium term, however, the Greek government will pursue through negotiations primary surplus targets below 3.5% of GDP -

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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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