Sunday 1st May 2016
NEWS TICKER: Central bank policy is still dominating the trading agenda, even though most analysts believe that the Fed will, if it does move, move only once this year and will raise rates by a quarter of a percent. The statement of the US FOMC was terse and most likely signals extreme caution on its part, though there is a belief that hawkish voices are rising in the committee. The reality is though that the US economic growth story is slowing. Many think the June meeting will spark the uplift. Let’s see. The US dollar is continuing to lose ground across the board after data showed the US economy expanded at its slowest pace since the second quarter of 2009, according to the BEA, which FTSE Global Markets reported on last Friday. GDP increased at a 0.5% annualised rate - versus an expected 0.7% - after rising 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 as personal consumption failed to boost growth in spite of low gasoline prices. Central bank caution makes sense in that context, however timing will be sensitive. If the central bank moves in the autumn it threatens to unbutton the presidential elections; but the reality is that mixed data will emanate from the US over this quarter which will make a June decision difficult. It’s tough being an FOMC member right now. The Bank of Japan meanwhile signalled its intention to stay the course this week with current policy, which discombobulated the markets. The Japanese markets were closed today for a public holiday, so it won’t be entirely clear if the market will suffer for the central bank’s decision. Certainly if fell 3.61% yesterday and is down 5% on the week. so the omens aren’t great. Of course, the pattern that is well established of late is that as the market falls, the yen appreciates. The yen was trading at 107.14 against the dollar last time we looked, compared with 108 earlier in the session, having at times touched 111/$1 yesterday (the lowest point for more than 18 months) The month to date has seen a rise in both the short term and long term volatility gauges. Coinciding with the rise, Nikkei 225 Index Structured Warrant activity has also significantly picked up. Nikkei 225 Structured Warrants showed increased activity with daily averaged traded value up 33% month-on-month. The Nikkei 225 Index Structured Warrants had significant increase in trading activity year-on-year with total turnover up by 6.8 times. – ASIAN TRADING SESSION - Australia's ASX 200 reversed early losses to close up 26.77 points, or 0.51%, at 5,252.20, adding 0.3% for the week. The uptick today was driven by gains in the heavily-weighted financials sub-index, as well as the energy and materials sub-indexes. In South Korea, the Kospi finished down 6.78 points, or 0.34%, at 1,994.15, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 1.37%. Chinese mainland markets were mixed, with the Shanghai composite dropping 7.13 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,938.45, while the Shenzhen composite finished nearly flat. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 12.42 points or 0.43% lower to 2862.3, taking the year-to-date performance to -0.71%. The top active stocks today were SingTel, which gained 0.26%, DBS, which declined 1.03%, NOL, which gained closed unchanged, OCBC Bank, which declined 1.00% and CapitaLand, with a 0.63% fall. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 0.60%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 0.49%. Structured warrants on Asian Indices have continued to be active in April. YTD, the STI has generated a total return of 1.3%. This compares to a decline of 4.9% for the Nikkei 225 Index and a decline of 6.3% of the Hang Seng Index. Of the structured warrants available on Asian Indices, the Hang Seng Index Structured Warrants have remained the most active in the year to date with Structured Warrants on the Nikkei 225 Index and STI Index the next most active – FUND FLOWS – BAML reports that commodity fund flows went back to positive territory after taking a breather last week, supported again by inflows into gold funds. “The asset class is currently the best performer, with year to date % of AUM inflow at 15%, far ahead of all other asset classes. Global EM debt flows reflected the bullish turn of the market on EMs, recording the tenth consecutive week of positive flows. On the duration front, short-term funds recorded a marginal inflow, keeping a positive sign for the last four weeks. The mid-term IG funds continue to record strong inflows for a ninth week. But it looks like investors have started to embrace duration to reach for yield, as inflows into longer-term funds have recorded a cumulative 0.8% inflow in the past two weeks,” says the BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research team – GREEN BONDS - Banco Nacional de Costa Rica is the latest issuer with a $500m bond to finance wind, solar, hydro and wastewater projects. The bond has a coupon of 5.875% and matures on April 25th 2021. Banco Nacional will rely on Costa Rican environmental protection regulations to determine eligible projects. This is the fourth green bond issuance in Latin America, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). Actually, Costa Rica is one of the global leaders in terms of renewable energy use. In the first quarter of 2016 it sourced 97.14% of its power from renewables. Hydro's share alone was 65.62%. – SOVEREIGN DEBT - After coming to market with a 100 year bond last week, the Kingdom of Belgium (rated Aa3/AA/AA) has opened books on a dual tranche bond; the first maturing in seven years; the second in 50 years, in a deal managed by Barclays, Credit Agricole, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Natixis and Société Générale. Managers have marketed the October 22nd 2023 tranche at 11 basis points (bps) through mid-swaps and the June 22nd 2066 tranche in the high teens over the mid of the 1.75% 2066 French OAT – LONGEVITY REINSURANCE - Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company (PRIAC) and U.K. insurer Legal & General say they have just completed their third longevity reinsurance transaction together, further evidence that longevity reinsurance continues to be a vehicle for UK insurers seeking relief from pension liabilities exposed to longevity risk. “This latest transaction builds on our relationship with Legal & General and solidifies the platform from which future business can be written,” explains Bill McCloskey, vice president, Longevity Risk Transfer at Prudential Retirement. “It's also a testament to our experience in the reinsurance space and our capacity to support the growth of the U.K. longevity risk transfer market.” Under the terms of the new agreement, PRIAC will issue reinsurance for a portion of Legal & General's bulk annuity business, providing benefit security for thousands of retirees in the UK. PRIAC has completed three reinsurance transactions with Legal & General since October 2014 – VIETNAM - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has affirmed its 'BB-' long-term and 'B' short-term sovereign credit ratings on Vietnam. The outlook is stable. At the same time, we affirmed our 'axBB+/axB' ASEAN regional scale rating on Vietnam. The ratings, says S&P, reflect the country's lower middle-income, rising debt burden, banking sector weakness, and the country's emerging institutional settings that hamper policy responsiveness. Even so, the ratings agency acknowledges these strengths are offset by Vietnam's sound external settings that feature adequate foreign exchange reserves and a modest external debt burden. The country has a lower middle income but comparatively diversified economy. S&P estimates GDP per capita at about US$2,200 in 2016. “Recent improvements in macroeconomic stability have supported strong performance in the sizable foreign-owned and export-focused manufacturing sector (electronics, telephones, and clothing). This strength will likely be offset by weaker domestic activity as the impetus to growth stemming from low household and company sector leverage is hampered by weak banks and government enterprises, and shortfalls in infrastructure. We expect real GDP per capita growth to rise by 5.3% in 2016 (2015: 5.6%) and average 5.2% over 2016-2019, reflecting modest outlooks for Vietnam's trading partners. Uncertain conditions in export markets and the slow pace in addressing government enterprise reforms, fiscal consolidation, and banking sector resolution add downside risks to this growth outlook – RUSSIA - Russia's central bank held interest rates steady at 11% today, in line with expectations, although it hinted that if inflation kept on falling it would cut soon. Last month, the bank held rates steady, warning that inflation risks remained "high" and that the then oil price rise could be "unsustainable." However, the decision came at a time of renewed hope for Russia's beleaguered economy and the country's oil industry with commodity prices showing tentative signs of recovery. The central bank noted that it "sees the positive processes of inflation slowdown and inflation expectations decline, as well as shifts in the economy which anticipate the beginning of its recovery growth. At the same time, inflation risks remain elevated." Yann Quelenn, market analyst at Swissquote explains: "The ruble has continued to appreciate ever since it reached its all-time low against the dollar in early January. At that time, more than 82 ruble could be exchanged for a single dollar note. Now, the USDRUB has weakened below 65 and even more upside pressures on the currency continue as the rebound in oil prices persists. The outlook for Russian oil revenues is more positive despite the global supply glut. Expectations for increased oil demand over the coming years and the fear of peak oil are driving the black commodity’s prices higher – MARKET DATA RELEASES TODAY - Other data that analysts will be looking out for today include Turkey’s trade balance; GDP from Spain; the unemployment rate from Norway; mortgage approvals from UK; CPI and GDP from the eurozone; CPI from Italy; and South Africa’s trade balance – FTSE GLOBAL MARKETS – Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 2ndt. We wish our readers and clients a happy and restful May bank holiday and we look forward to reconnecting on Tuesday May 3rd. Happy Holidays!

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Russia's new trading infrastructure takes shape

Friday, 03 February 2012
Russia's new trading infrastructure takes shape The Russian trading market is in flux as its key institutions reform and work to improve market efficiencies. In late January MICEX-RTS stock exchange reported that it intends to amend the procedure for delisting of securities, while late last year, President Dmitry Medvedev enacted the Central Securities Depository law, which had been approved by the Duma in mid-November 2011. The signing of the law was a watershed in the evolution of the Russian securities market and helps describe the country’s re-emerging trading infrastructure. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The Russian trading market is in flux as its key institutions reform and work to improve market efficiencies. In late January MICEX-RTS stock exchange reported that it intends to amend the procedure for delisting of securities, while late last year, President Dmitry Medvedev enacted the Central Securities Depository law, which had been approved by the Duma in mid-November 2011. The signing of the law was a watershed in the evolution of the Russian securities market and helps describe the country’s re-emerging trading infrastructure.

Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev signed the country’s so-called CSD law into being in early December last year. The law establishes the particular legal status of the central securities depositary. According to the law the CSD may be any joint stock company which is a non-banking credit organisation appropriately authorised to conduct depositary activities in the securities market and has been acting as a settlement depositary for at least three years. Any entity wishing to become a CSD in the country will have to submit an application to the ministry of finance, a process which is expected to take approximately four months. Interestingly however, it is also prescribed in law that there can only be one CSD in the country. It is expected that there will be at least a full year transition period before the new CSD is fully operational and active.
The next Russian government is expected to adopt a much more proactive strategy to try and attract greater international corporate involvement and more investment in the economy.  As well, it looks likely to continue with internal reforms to encourage the evolution of Moscow as an international financial centre. While reform is high on the government’s agenda right now, anti-Putin demonstrations late last year will ensure that for the first half of 2012 at least, politics and the pace of economic liberalisation will remain at the forefront of assessments of the attractiveness of the Russian equity markets.
Many local brokers view the prospect with optimism. According to a broker the government's response to the recent protests offers encouragement that there will be political reform, while WTO membership at least provides a timeline for companies to become more efficient and competitive”.
Among the plethora of rules in the CSD law, it seems accounts can be opened at the registrars either by the CSD or by beneficial owners. Additionally mandatory reconciliation of the CSD’s records with those of the registrar should be undertaken each time that securities transactions are conducted over the nominee holder account of the CSD; to ensure finality of settlement at the CSD.
The nominee concept for foreign entities is also part of the CSD law and will come into force from the beginning of July this year. ICSDs and foreign CSDs will be able to open accounts directly with the national CSD. Other foreign entities wishing to be nominees will be able to do so via their accounts with local custodians.  
The president also signed another mouthwateringly titled law, Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Connection with the Adoption of the Federal Law on the Central Securities Depository.  In more straightforward parlance, this is now referred to as The Satellite Law. This particular law regulates the activities of the professional securities market and ensures compliance with the CSD Law. It covers the types of accounts that can be opened by local depositaries and registrars as well describing some record-keeping features for the safe-keeping of securities of foreign companies operating on behalf of third parties.
This was followed in late January as the newly-merged MICEX-RTS stock exchange reported that it intends to amend its procedures for the delisting of securities. Currently, the removal of securities from the exchange may be initiated by the issuer. Going forward, it looks like the stock exchange will be able to suspend or even forbid a delisting procedure during meetings of its securities markets committee. If a suspension is recommended, investors will be able to leverage a special trading window, for as much as three months, to sell off their securities.  Up to now investors had no such protection.
Additionally a working group on the establishment of the country’s so-called International Financial Centre (IFC) is reportedly considering a number of draft amendments to local regulations covering the listing of securities and additional requirements for delisting.  According to a release issued by Deutsche Bank.:“  The amendments envisage that the delisting of securities undertaken by a stock exchange due to violations by an issuer or issuer’s agent will result in the introduction of a special six month trading window for these securities and their admission to a ‘non-listed’ securities list.  Significantly for investors, shareholders will be able to claim against the issuer’s management team for losses resulting from the de-listing.

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