Saturday 29th November 2014
NEWS TICKER: FRIDAY NOVEMBER 27TH 2014: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research’s latest report shows that investment flows this week starkly highlight the impact of negative interest rates in Europe. Money is moving up the value chain in search of substitute asset classes with suitable yield. Investment grade credit looks to be the greatest beneficiary of this at present, with inflows reaching $2-$3bn a week over the last month, a historic high. With around €450bn European govies trading at negative yields, investors have started shifting their attention to high-grade bond funds. The bank’s research team expects the recent strong trend of inflows to continue next year, with inflows to increase to $100bn into the asset class. So far this year high-grade credit has seen $63bn of inflows, while government bond funds have seen only $17bn. The low or negative yielding asset classes are all seeing outflows, reports Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the report. Government bond funds saw their fifth week of outflows, while money market funds saw their largest outflow ($19.5bn) since May this year. Flows into equities managed to bounce back to the positive territory, after three weeks of outflows - According to SwissQuote, in Switzerland, traders will be watching Swiss Kof leading indicator, which is expected to rise from 99.8 to 100.0 in November. However, the real focus will be referenda results this Sunday. The outcome should be released around 4pm CET on Sunday. The latest polls suggest that the “no” votes have the majority indicating that spillover into EURCHF and Gold should be limited. Elsewhere, Euro area flash HICP inflation is expected to drop from 0.4% y/y in October to 0.3% y/y in November. Swedish GDP growth is anticipated to weaken from 0.7% q/q in Q2 to 0.2% q/q in Q3. While OPEC decision not to cut will clearly be disappointing to Canadian policy makers, today GDP is expected to ease from 3.6% y/y to 2.1% y/y in Q3 - New research conducted by independent financial researcher Defaqto on behalf of NOW:Pensions reveals that advisers are gearing themselves up for the business opportunity that auto enrolment presents. Nine out of ten (88%) advisers who are currently advising small and medium sized companies on auto enrolment plan to continue doing so in 2015 when micro businesses will begin staging. Over half of the advisers surveyed (51%) think that auto enrolment represents a good opportunity for them to grow their business over the long term, with three quarters (76%) seeing it as a chance to both advise existing clients as well as grow a new client base. Over two in three (68%) advisers expect to be providing employers with advice on selecting a pension provider, while 72% expect to be advising them for the staging date, and 78% expect their services to be required on an ongoing basis after the staging date has passed. Seven out of ten (73%) believe they will need to advise on other corporate issues such as business protection insurance. Neil Liversidge, managing director, West Riding Personal Finance Solutions explains: "The need for help and advice around auto enrolment naturally brings together business owners, their employees, and advisers. As such it probably represents the single greatest opportunity most firms will have to generate new clients this decade." Not all advisers are in agreement, as nearly one in five (17%) of the 244 advisers questioned, do not intend to advise small and micro businesses on auto enrolment next year. Of these advisers, over half (55%) say they don’t think it will offer profitable business, while 28% believe there is too much admin involved, and 25% are deterred by how much time it will take. One in ten (10%) don’t believe they have the right knowledge to advise on it. Additionally, two in three (66%) advisers say that from their experience so far, employers are either not that engaged or not engaged at all with auto enrolment, while the same can be said for 83% of employees - Germany’s KfW IPEX-Bank and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) have signed a Framework Financing Agreement (Basic Agreement) amounting to $300m. The facility will be accessible to infrastructure projects in Africa, developed by AFC, by providing long-term financing of European equipment and services imported for such projects. The basic agreement helps to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs while also supporting German and European exporters. Projects that will be financed under the agreement will be covered by guarantees from European Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) - A new active ETF issued by PIMCO Fixed Income Source ETFS plc has begun trading in the XTF segment on Xetra today. The ETF is the PIMCO Low Duration Euro Corporate Bond Source UCITS ETF Asset class, an active bond index ETF (ISIN: IE00BP9F2J32), with a total expense ratio of 0.3%. According to PIMCO, at least 90% of the investment portfolio underlying the active ETF consists of investment grade corporate bonds issued in euro. Up to 20% of the fund assets can be invested in the emerging markets region. The currency risk may amount to up to 10% due to corporate bonds not denominated in euro. The average duration ranges from zero to four years - Legal & General (L&G) has announced a restructure across its L&G Assurance Society (LGAS) division following the announcement of the impending departure of chief executive John Pollock next year. L&G’s savings business will be split into two businesses; mature and digital. Jackie Noakes, chief operating officer for LGAS and group IT director will become the managing director of the mature savings division (including insured savings and with-profit businesses). Mike Bury, managing director of retail savings at L&G will manage the digital savings arm, Cofunds, IPS, Suffolk Life and L&G’s upcoming direct-to-consumer platform –Orangefield Group has purchased Guernsey-based Legis Fund Services, expanding its fund services division and increasing its total assets under administration to more than $50bn. Legis will change its name to Orangefield Fund Services but will continue to be led by managing director Patricia White. The acquisition is part of a trend in mergers and acquisitions in the offshore fund administration sector, and was advised by Carey Olson. Carey Olson also recently advised Anson Group on the sale of its fund administration business to JTC Group and First Names Group on its acquisition of fund management business Mercator - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended +9.54 points higher or +0.29% to 3350.50, taking the year-to-date performance to +5.86%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained +0.14% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.52%. The top active stocks were Keppel Corp (-2.17%), DBS (+0.66%), OCBC Bank (-0.10%), UOB (+0.71%) and SingTel (unchanged). Outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Technology Index (+1.03%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Technology Index are Silverlake Axis (+1.97%) and STATS ChipPAC (unchanged). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Oil & Gas Index, which declined -2.84% with Keppel Corp’s share price declining -2.17% and Sembcorp Industries’ share price declining-1.08%. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the IS MSCI India (+0.38%), SPDR Gold Shares (-0.70%), STI ETF (unchanged). The three most active Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by value were CapitaCom Trust (+0.30%), Suntec REIT (+1.29%), Ascendas REIT (+1.30%). The most active index warrants by value today were HSI24400MBeCW141230 (-6.67%), HSI23800MBeCW141230 (-5.13%), HSI23600MBePW141230 (+2.50%). The most active stock warrants by value today were DBS MB eCW150602 (+2.42%), KepCorp MBePW150330 (+13.85%), UOB MB eCW150415 (+1.24%).

The likelihood of another global recession

Monday, 20 August 2012 Written by 
The likelihood of another global recession There is real concern over the present state of the global economy, due to a slowdown in global trade and dwindling production prospects. Indeed, it is not out of the question that another global recession is looming. Economic crises can be found in both the eurozone and the United Kingdom, there is also a marked slowdown in the US economy and continuing stagnation in Japan. There is a justified fear that the crises could spread to open economies via global trade. And although emerging countries could implement expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to allay concerns about their growth models, these policies might not benefit the global economy because of the structural nature of the countries’ problems. The question remains, does the world have the economic policy weapons to combat a new global recession? http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

There is real concern over the present state of the global economy, due to a slowdown in global trade and dwindling production prospects. Indeed, it is not out of the question that another global recession is looming. Economic crises can be found in both the eurozone and the United Kingdom, there is also a marked slowdown in the US economy and continuing stagnation in Japan.

There is a justified fear that the crises could spread to open economies via global trade. And although emerging countries could implement expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to allay concerns about their growth models, these policies might not benefit the global economy because of the structural nature of the countries’ problems. The question remains, does the world have the economic policy weapons to combat a new global recession?

The slowdown in emerging countries’ growth

We would argue that another global recession is a possibility, because – as previously mentioned – the global economy is being hit simultaneously by a number of events.



Since early 2010, in particular, there has been a marked slowdown of growth in large emerging countries, mainly due to these countries’ problematic growth models. For instance: 

  • There has been a loss of competitiveness and profitability in China, due to sharp wage increases since 2010;
  • India has seen a stagnation in its industrial production capacity, partly due to hiring difficulties but also issues to do with its education and labour mobility;
  • Brazil’s exchange rate still has a lasting overvaluation despite the recent depreciation, which has not gone far enough;
  • And there is also the dominating concern that any of the crises could spread to open economies (such as Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Sweden and Central European countries) via global trade.

All things considered, the fact that practically all regions are affected means there is a serious threat for global growth.

Fundamentally, we believe the problems are down to:

  • OECD countries continuing to deleverage in public and private sectors;
  • China halting a growth model that was driven by low-end production, exports and migration;
  • the delayed growth in Brazil’s and India’s industry.

Faced with this risk of recession, does the world have the capacity to react with its economic policies?

In OECD countries, there is no longer any room for manoeuvre in monetary policies. This is because interest rates are already very low, and liquidity is already extremely abundant. These countries cannot necessarily implement further fiscal policies because of very high fiscal deficits and public debts. Of course, other options are conceivable, such as quantitative easing in the United States, further VLTROs or asset purchase policies in the eurozone, another extension to the Gilt purchase programme in the United Kingdom, and the creation of liquidity in Japan. But there is a possibility these expansionary monetary policies would have very little effect on the economy.

In emerging countries, interest rates can be lowered. And as the debt ratio is much lower than in OECD countries, in addition to lower fiscal deficits and public debts, monetary policy ought to be more efficient.

The issue is therefore not whether emerging countries are able to conduct more expansionary economic policies, but whether these policies could restore global growth:

(a) If emerging countries have structural economic problems, counter-cyclical policies will not resolve them. Boosting credit and investment in construction by state-owned companies in China would improve neither the sophistication of the product range nor cost-competitiveness. Running fiscal deficits or lowering interest rates in India would not resolve their issues in the education sector. Likewise in Brazil, it would not be able to fix its overvaluation, nor the fall in investment and employment in its industry.

(b) If additional expansionary monetary policies in emerging countries lead to a depreciation of their currencies – which we can see happening now – the situation would improve in emerging countries but deteriorate in OECD countries. Viewed as a whole, there would be no improvement in the situation of the global economy. It is striking to see that even the Chinese RMB has depreciated against the dollar; the Brazilian real and the Indian rupee have depreciated sharply since 2011.

Global growth in 2012-2013 should cause more concern

Current forecasts continue to point to a recovery in global growth between 2012 and 2013 and then in 2014. But we believe there is cause to be more concerned. The reasons for such an outlook lie in the slowdown in growth that affects all regions and has structural causes. Also, OECD countries no longer have the room for manoeuvre to conduct counter-cyclical economic policies. And although emerging countries still have the room to manoeuvre and conduct such policies, the fact remains they could still prove ineffective, regardless.

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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