Thursday 28th August 2014
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South Africa’s central bank has disagreed with a ratings decision by Moody’s to downgrade Capitec Bank Limited (Capitec) by two notches, and place it on review for a further downgrade. The central bank says it respects the independent opinion of rating agencies but that it does not “agree with the rationale given in taking this step”. Two reasons are given for the rating action: a lower likelihood of sovereign systemic support based on decisions recently taken in relation to African Bank Limited (African Bank), and heightened concerns regarding the risk inherent in Capitec’s consumer lending focus. “With regard to the first point, it is important to reiterate that the approach taken by the SARB to any resolution to address systemic risk will always be based on the circumstances and merits of the particular prevailing situation. Decisions will also be informed, as was the case with African Bank, by principles contained in the Key Attributes for Effective Resolution Regimes proposed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which have the objective that a bank should be able to fail without affecting the system,” notes the central bank in an official statement. “This is in keeping with evolving international best practice. In the case of African Bank bond holders and wholesale depositors are taking a 10% haircut, which is generally regarded as being very positive given that the trades following the announcement of African Bank's results were taking place at around 40% of par. Therefore in fact substantial support was provided, not reduced. Moreover, all retail depositors were kept whole and are able to access their accounts fully,” it adds - According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) credit card receivables increased by 2.1% in the second quarter to HKD112, after a reduction of 6.7% in the previous quarter. The total number of credit card accounts edged up by 0.7% to around 16.8m.The rollover amount, which reflects the amount of borrowing by customers using their credit cards, increased by 2.9% during the quarter to HKD19.2bn. The rollover ratio also rose marginally from 17.0% to 17.1% in the same period. The charge-off amount increased to HKD569mduring the quarter from HKD528m in the previous quarter. Correspondingly, the quarterly charge-off ratio rose to 0.51% from 0.46% in the previous quarter. The amount of rescheduled receivables transferred outside the surveyed institutions’ credit card portfolios reduced to HKD94m from HK$109m in the previous quarter. The delinquent amount increased to HKD249m at end-June from HKD239m at end-March. However, the delinquency ratio remained the same at 0.22% because of an increase in total card receivables. The combined delinquent and rescheduled ratio (after taking into account the transfer of rescheduled receivables mentioned above) edged up to 0.29% from 0.28% during the same period - Harkand has been awarded a contract to support Apache with inspection, repair and maintenance work (IRM) as well as light construction (LC) across their assets in the North Sea, following completion of a competitive tender exercise. The award includes the provision of vessels, ROV and diving services for a three-year period, plus two one-year options. The firm will also support offshore marine construction contractor EMAS AMC who have been awarded a separate contract for pipe lay and heavy construction as part of the same tender process. Harkand Europe managing director, David Kerr, said: “This contract is an important step in strengthening our close working relationship and growing our North Sea business with Apache.

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

US reindustrialisation poses challenge for eurozone

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 Written by 
US reindustrialisation poses challenge for eurozone A reindustrialisation process has been underway in the U.S. since 2009, linked to the trend in the profitability of industrial companies, wage costs and energy prices. It has already enabled the U.S. to regain market share in global trade, creating an additional problem for the euro zone given it is already faces market share losses to emerging countries and weak domestic demand. The euro-zone economy is therefore likely to be further weakened if it loses more export trade to the U.S. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

A reindustrialisation process has been underway in the U.S. since 2009, linked to the trend in the profitability of industrial companies, wage costs and energy prices. It has already enabled the U.S. to regain market share in global trade, creating an additional problem for the euro zone given it is already faces market share losses to emerging countries and weak domestic demand. The euro-zone economy is therefore likely to be further weakened if it loses more export trade to the U.S.

Reindustrialisation process under way in the U.S.

The reindustrialisation of the U.S. is evident from the upswing in productive investment and manufacturing employment as well as from the upturn in manufacturing output, which has outpaced the euro zone since the crisis. Yet – for the time being – U.S. reindustrialisation has mainly affected the automotive and capital goods sectors.

Growth of U.S. industry can be ascribed to three factors:

-       rapidly increasing profitability of industrial companies in the U.S.;

-       labour costs in industry, which are lower in the U.S. than in Germany or France;

-       and the low cost of energy thanks to the fall in the price of natural gas, due to shale gas production.

The United States is regaining export market share

The U.S. situation in terms of export market share has been improving since the end of 2008. It appears that the U.S. has increased its market share in global exports largely at the expense of the euro zone and Central European countries (CEEC). Since end-2008, the U.S. trade deficit with the euro zone, Asian emerging countries excluding China, other American countries and Japan has been shrinking, though its trade deficit with China has stopped deteriorating. But in terms of export market share, U.S. improvement seems to match the deterioration in Europe.

An additional problem for the euro zone

The euro zone is already faced with a decline in domestic demand as a result of the restrictive fiscal policies, a decline in real wages due to the rise in unemployment and a loss in market share to emerging countries.

So – any further losses in export market share to the U.S. will therefore come on top of these problems. A depreciation of the euro could obviously correct the euro zone’s loss of competitiveness (in terms of wages and the price of energy). However, even during periods when the euro-zone crisis is acute, the euro still remains overvalued against the dollar

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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