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

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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