Friday 27th November 2015
NEWS TICKER, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH: In the last six months River and Mercantile Group (R&M) says has been appointed to design, execute and provide ongoing management of over £1.7bn of structured equity options mandates for pension clients, including the Royal Mail Pension Plan and another FTSE 100 company’s pension scheme. James Barham, global head of Distribution at R&M, says, "With increased volatility in equity markets, we have seen a growing number of clients that are taking advantage of our market leading derivative capabilities to manage the downside exposure in their equity portfolios. The derivatives team at R&M has an exceptional long term track record in designing and managing structured equity solutions for clients over the last ten years. We continue to see significant demand from pensions and institutional clients for structured equity to actively manage the profile of their equity investment returns while maintaining their allocation to equities. The design and execution of these mandate demonstrates R&M’s ability to design innovative, outcome oriented solutions for our clients, which are delivered to meet their governance requirements.” - Demand to borrow Asian stocks surged in the wake of the recent market volatility reports Markit. While short sellers have since pulled back slightly, the current demand to borrow shares across the region is still up by a fifth since the start of the year. Short interest across Asia is up by 18% year to date, reaching 2.7% of free float. However, says Markit, Japanese short selling has been relatively flat since the start of the year. The firm adds that consumer sectors have made Australia the most shorted country in the region - Trayport, a provider of energy trading solutions to traders and exchanges, says Power Solutions Enerji Ticaret ve Danışmanlık Anonim Şirketi has chosen Trayport’s GlobalVision Broker Trading SystemSM (BTS) for trading in the Turkish power market. Power Solutions, founded in Turkey in 2015, provides OTC Brokerage services in the Turkish electricity market.. The Trayport BTS offers brokers access to a growing network of traders using Trayport’s trading technology - The Dutch residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market remained strong during the three-month period ended September 2015, according to the latest indices published by Moody's The 60+ day delinquencies of Dutch RMBS, including Dutch mortgage loans benefitting from a Nationale Hypotheek Garantie, continued to decrease to 0.73% in September 2015 from 0.81% in June 2015. The 90+ day delinquencies also continued to decrease to 0.56% in September 2015 from 0.64% in June 2015. Cumulative defaults increased to 0.78% of the original balance, plus additions (in the case of master issuers) and replenishments, in September 2015 from 0.70% in June 2015. This compares to cumulative defaults of 0.49% in September 2014. Cumulative losses increased to 0.15% in September 2015 from 0.14% in June 2015. Moody's has assigned definitive credit ratings to two new transactions since the last publication of the Index on September 9th, including five classes of notes issued by STORM 2015-II BV. and two classed of notes issued by Hypenn RMBS IV BV. As of the end of September, the 107 Moody's-rated Dutch RMBS transactions had an outstanding pool balance of €217.9bn, representing a year-over-year decrease of 4.8% - Thanksgiving holidays in the US has coloured trading today. In the Asia-Pac, low commodities prices are weighing on the Australian economy. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3% in thin trading volumes across the whole Asia-Pac region. With the exception of the Australian dollar, trading volumes were ridiculously small EUR/USD traded within a 10 pips range between 1.0615 and 1.0625. Similarly, GBP/USD traded sideways between 1.5115 and 1.5131. According to Yann Quelenn, market analyst at Swissquote: “When commodities price lower, there is a transfer of wealth between exporters (producers) and importers of commodities. The decline favours industries that need commodities as primary source for manufacturing products. Australia is on the exporters’ side. Indeed, an important part of the Australian’s revenues accounts for the revenues on the extraction of gold, silver, platinum and other metals. Materials shares fell 1.3%, and are down 4.6% so far this week, with commodities like copper and nickel having tumbled to multiyear lows. In Japan, The Nikkei Stock Average ended the day up 0.5% at 19944.41, while and South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1%. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed flat. Japan shares have posted one of the strongest rebounds in the region since September. The Nikkei is the second-best performing market in Asia year to date with a gain of 14%. China's Shenzhen Composite Index is up 65% year to date. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 6.89 points or 0.24% lower to 2884.69, taking the year-to-date performance to -14.28%. The top active stocks today were OCBC Bank, which declined 0.91%, SingTel, which gained 0.26%, UOB, which declined 1.79%, DBS, which declined 0.36% and Global Logistic, with a 1.91% fall. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.05%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined0.84%.In Brazil, the BCB left rates unchanged at 14.25% yesterday in spite of rampant inflation. The latest economic survey by the central bank showed that inflation expectations are not anchored yet as it is expected to reach 10.33% by year-end and 6.64% by the end of 2016. Broadly, expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December has pushed the yen weaker. The currency has weakened 3.1% against the U.S. dollar in the past three months. Japan shares nevertheless remain vulnerable to global central bank moves and geopolitical tensions - The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed down 1.3% at $4,549 a metric ton on Wednesday. Copper last traded at $4,692.50 a metric ton, up from the opening price of $4,538 a ton on Thursday. Overnight, the latest U.S. report on jobless claims pointed to a strengthening employment picture, pushing the dollar higher. U.S. stocks ended mostly unchanged as consumer discretionary and health-care shares offset losses in other sectors on the last full trading day of the week before the Thanksgiving holiday. Brent oil futures fell 0.2% to $46.06 a barrel. US crude-oil futures rose 0.2% to $43.13 a barrel. Gold prices were up 0.3% at $1,073.50 a troy ounce.

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Investors pile into Islamic bonds

Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Investors pile into Islamic bonds April and May looked to be banner months for sukuk. Two deals, one from the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and the other, from Banque Saudi Fransi, the Saudi lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, marked two rare but popular US dollar denominated issues which were highly prized by investors. The benchmark deals helped underscore growing investor appetite for Islamic bonds.

April and May looked to be banner months for sukuk. Two deals, one from the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and the other, from Banque Saudi Fransi, the Saudi lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, marked two rare but popular US dollar denominated issues which were highly prized by investors. The benchmark deals helped underscore growing investor appetite for Islamic bonds.

Saudi Fransi, Saudi Arabia’s fifth largest bank, launched $750m five-year Islamic bond mid-month at par amid strong investor demand for the issue in mid-May. The issue is the bank’s first sukuk sale under a recently-established $2bn debt programme. The sukuk came in at a spread of 185 basis points (bps) over midswaps, at the lower end of its ­indicated range. Initial price guidance was 200bps over midswaps. The deal was heavily oversubscribed, attracting investor orders worth $4bn, under­scoring growing investor appetite for sukuk issuance. The sukuk carries a profit rate of 2.947%. Citi, Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole were arrangers on the deal.

The deal marks the second dollar denominated sukuk emanating from the Kingdom so far this year. Saudi Electricity’s $1.75bn sukuk, issued three weeks earlier, raised the bar with some $17.5bn in investor orders.  The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), which is rated A1/AA-/AA- all Stable, is the largest utility in the GCC. The issue was made up of a five year $500m tranche and a $1.25bn ten year element. The ­transaction was led by Deutsche Bank and HSBC marked the inaugural ­international sukuk issuance by SEC and the largest international debt capital markets issuance out of Saudi Arabia for some years. The issuer also wanted to achieve a long tenor bond supported by a diversified investor base, which the arrangers helped secure after a comprehensive global road show. The dual-tranche Sukuk transaction was well received globally and generated a large order book with over 440 investors placing orders.

Shortly after the issue the SEC’s chief executive Ali Al Barrak explained, “The sukuk issue is important to us for strengthening our funding mix, accessing longer-tenor financing, broadening our investor base and helping us become more in line with our global peers while supporting SEC’s capital expenditure requirements.”

Saudi Arabian dollar-denominated bonds come to market relatively infrequently, and attract substantial demand when they do; illustrating that Gulf issuers are benefiting from their own economic micro-climate and are providing something of an oasis for investors starved of comprehensive corporate issuance opportunities. 

Investor appetite for the deals was marked and might just be a sign of a growing preference for Islamic instruments. The evidence is still thin: however Banque Saudi Fransi’s existing $650m conventional bond, which carries interest of 4.5% and matures in 2015, was bid at just over 103.97 in the second week of May, to yield about 2.8%, coming under some selling pressure ahead of the new issue.

Also in mid May Islamic Development Bank (IDB) enhanced the size of its medium term notes (NTN) ­programme from $1.5bn to $3.5bn, which will be issued in both London and Kuala Lumpur. The IDB’s forthcoming medium term sukuk (which is expected to range between five and seven years) will be issued under this programme sometime in June and is expected to raise between $750m and $1bn. Funds will be used to provide blended credits in support of capital goods projects in member countries. IDB, which is AAA-rated, priced a $750m five-year sukuk last May at a spread of 35bps over midswaps to yield 2.35%. According to local Saudi press reports, the sukuk will be 144a-compliant and, therefore, open to investors from the United States; though the IDB did not respond to questions about its forthcoming issue. 

Elsewhere, bond traders expect the first restructuring of an Islamic bond.  United Arab Emirates’ Dana Gas, the Sharjah-based energy company, is expected to restructure its $920m sukuk in coming weeks as investor concerns have heightened over the ability of the utility to meet its payment ­commitments. Up to now no Islamic bonds have been renegotiated though there have been examples of outright defaults (in both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait).

Dana has reportedly hired Blackstone, Latham Watkins and Deutsche Bank to advise on the various options for repaying the sukuk. The company is “committed to finding a consensual solution that is equitable to all stakeholders”, it said in a statement to the Dubai stock exchange.

Meantime, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) says its monthly issue of the short-term Islamic leasing bonds, Sukuk Al-Ijaara, has been oversubscribed by 175%. Subscriptions worth BD35mwere received for the BD20m issue, which carries a maturity of 182 days. The expected return on the issue, which matures in mid-November 2012, is 1.34%.

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