Friday 25th July 2014
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FRIDAY ANALYSTS TICKER: July 25th 2014 - According to Adam Cordery, global head of European fixed income, Santander Asset Management, and fund manager for the Santander Euro Corporate Short Term and Euro Corporate bond funds, “Pricing of risk assets doesn’t offer much of a margin for error at the moment. And now Europe is starting to go on holiday, market liquidity may get poorer than normal, and any buys today may well have to be holds until September. It is always interesting to note what yields are required to attract clients to financial products. Twenty years ago, bond funds offering yields of 10%+ could generally attract lots of client interest very quickly. However as rates have come down over the years, so the yields clients demand have fallen. Now 4% seems to be the new 10%, he say. Cordery thinks that unfortunately, investors often want today the yield/risk mix that was available last year, so the products that get launched, sold and bought in size may be more risky than people think. “Products with 4% yield will sell well today, but to get to a 4% yield in Euro you need to invest in a portfolio with an average rating of single-B, and that is far from being risk-free. I get the impression the conventional wisdom today is to think that interest rates must surely go up soon and the main risk to bond portfolios is an increase in bund yields. Because of this many investors are buying short-duration products and floating rate notes, perhaps viewing them as a safe choice, almost like cash. It is possible however that these products may yet prove to have a considerable sensitivity to changes in credit market spreads and/or bond market liquidity, and may prove to be no protection at all.” - Commenting on the RBS share price jump, Dr Pete Hahn of Cass Business School, says “It's hard to tell whether the RBS share price jump today is more about relief or optimism. The former is about fewer fines, fewer losses on loans, and fewer costs in a shrinking business and possibly dividends for shareholders. And there's the rub, owning shares (as opposed to interest bearing debt) should be about optimism and long-term growth in dividends. But from a shrinking business? Few would argue that RBS' retail and corporate bank had efficiencies to be gained and cash flow that might be converted to dividends; yet like most banks, RBS' cost of equity remains stubbornly and appropriately above its ability to provide a return on that equity. For shareholders, current improvements should mean dividends in the medium term but a recognition that RBS may lack any merit for new investment and delivering any long-term dividend growth - not good. While many large retail banks are getting safer, in some aspects, and we often speak of them in terms of moving toward utility type models, banks take risks, are cyclical, face competition, have new business challengers, and are simply are not utilities. Investors shouldn't get ahead of themselves here.” - According to the monthly survey held by the central bank of Turkey, the country’s capacity utilization (CU) rate declined slightly to 74.9% in July from 75.3% in June. Meanwhile, seasonally adjusted (SA) CU also declined to 74.3% from 74.7% in June, writes Mehmet Besimoglu at Oyak Yatirim Research. As for manufacturing confidence, the index declined to 109 from 110.7 in May. On SA basis, the index also edged down slightly to 106.4 from 107.2. SA capacity utilisation was broadly stable in 1H14, averaging at 74.7%. This is the same level with the 2013 average. Despite the political turmoil and volatility in financial markets, activity has been relatively resilient. Export recovery & government spending supported production in 1H. Following the elections, public spending relatively decelerated. The turmoil in Iraq also decelerated export recovery from June. Nevertheless, we still expect 3.5% GDP growth in 2014, writes Besimoglu.

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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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