Thursday 24th July 2014
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THURSDAY TICKER: JULY 24th 2014 - New opportunities for European businesses, affordable energy bills for consumers, increased energy security through a significant reduction of natural gas imports and a positive impact on the environment: these are some of the expected benefits of the energy efficiency target for 2030 put forward today by the European Commission in a Communication. The proposed target of 30 % builds on the achievements already reached: new buildings use half the energy they did in the 1980s and industry is about 19% less energy intensive than in 2001. The proposed target goes beyond the 25% energy savings target which would be required to achieve a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030. At the same time the framework on energy efficiency put forward today aims to strike the right balance between benefits and costs - The California Pension Fund (CalPERS) has told the American press that it might cutting back on its investments into the hedge fund arena by as much as 40%. A CalPERS spokesman told papers that the investment staff will make a formal recommendation to the board in the fall. CalPERS reported a preliminary 18.4% return on investments for the 12 months that ended June 30th this year. CalPERS’ assets at the end of the fiscal year stood at more than $300bn - The number of funds notifying the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) of their intention to privately place into Europe under AIFMD rules broke through the 150 mark ahead of the end of the AIFMD transitional phase this week. The JFSC figures show that, as at 22 July, a total of 164 funds had opted to make use of Jersey’s private placement route into Europe, and that the UK was the top intended market for managers, followed by Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands - Vodafone Group’s debt rating was cut one level at Moody’s Investors Service after the carrier made multibillion-dollar acquisitions to expand in Spain and Germany. The second-largest wireless company’s senior unsecured debt was cut to Baa1, the third-lowest investment grade, from A3, says Moody. The outlook is stable. Newbury, England-based Vodafone reported net debt of £13.7bn ($23.3bn) for the quarter ended March 31st. It is the first time Moody’s has given Vodafone a rating lower than A3 since 2007. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings rank Vodafone’s debt at A-, the fourth-lowest investment grade. Vodafone’s acquisition of cable operators in Europe and falling revenue in some of its biggest markets contributed to the cut, Moody’s said - In a separate report issued this week, Moody's says the stable outlook on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Aaa rating reflects the bank's conservative capital and liquidity practices, which should support its solid financial performances despite the challenging operating environment. The rating agency's report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action. Moody's also notes that the bank benefits from very high liquidity, owing to its prudent treasury management policies, favourable debt structure and strong market access.

EU’s threatened financial transaction tax could magnify FX costs

Friday, 03 February 2012
EU’s threatened financial transaction tax could magnify FX costs An EU financial transaction tax (FTT), could increase FX transaction costs, says Oliver Wyman research. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

An EU financial transaction tax (FTT), could increase FX transaction costs, says Oliver Wyman research.

Research by oliver Wyman, commissioned by the Global Financial Markets Association’s (GFMA’s) global FX division, suggests that, given the tight margins that exist in foreign exchange markets, any increase in transaction costs will, in turn, hit the real economy as these costs would largely be passed on to all end users. The report, Proposed EU Commission Financial Transaction Tax; Impact Analysis of Foreign Exchange Markets’, evaluates the impact of the European Union’s proposed financial transaction Tax (FTT) on European FX markets, estimating its impact on FX cash and derivatives users in particular.
The report not only recognises that the primary impact of the tax will be an increase in transaction costs, relocation of trading and reduction in notional turnover, but also it suggests the tax will result in a potential reduction in liquidity leading to a widening of bid/ask spreads.
The research suggests that a proposed FTT could directly increase transaction costs for all transactions by three to seven times and by up to 18 times for the most traded part of the market. It could eventually result in the relocation between 70% and 75% of tax eligible transactions outside of the EU tax jurisdiction. This possible outcome, combined with reduced transaction volumes (of approx 5%), could reduce market liquidity and increase indirect transaction costs by up to a further 110%, the report suggests.
Inevitably however, the tax will predominantly hit the real economy and the institutional market, comprising pension funds, asset managers, insurers and corporations, as both direct and indirect costs are largely passed on to end‐users, which will be least able to move transactions to jurisdictions not subject to the tax.
While the tax is expected to only have a limited impact on speculative trading, as this activity will most likely relocate outside the EU tax jurisdiction, it will result in an inefficient tax on the economy as raising €1 of tax would likely cost the economy more than €1, due to the indirect costs associated with reduced and more fragmented liquidity.
James Kemp, managing director of GFMA’s global FX division, says:  “It is essential to fully understand the impact of the proposed financial transaction tax and the Oliver Wyman study is an important contribution to the debate. “The foreign exchange industry is an essential part of a stable and sustainable economy, underpinning international trade and investing. This study shows that the proposed tax would in effect penalise Europe’s businesses for sensible risk management—by using FX products to manage currency fluctuations—and also threaten to impose further costs on the investment returns of pension funds and asset managers.”
UK premier David Cameron led a charge against the tax at the Davos World Economic Forum in late January, telling Eurozone members that it was no time for tinkering in the financial markets and that the tax was “madness”.

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