Thursday 11th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: February 11th 2016: The Lyxor Hedge Fund Index was down -0.9% in January. 5 out of 11 Lyxor Indices ended the month in positive territory. The Lyxor CTA Long Term Index (+2.2%), the Lyxor Global Macro Index (+0.7%), and the Lyxor Fixed Income Arbitrage Index (+0.7%) were the best performers, says the ETF major. Hedge Funds displayed esilience in January. Both markets and analysts started the year with reasonable growth expectations. These were aggressively revised down, triggered by the release of the disappointing Chinese PMI and the CNY depreciation. Strikingly, investors started to price in more serious odds for a Chinese hard landing, the growing central banks’ impotence, the risk of a US recession, and the return of global deflation. Lyxor says, in that context, CTAs thrived on their short commodities and long bond exposures. FI Arbitrage and Global Macro funds exploited monetary relative and tactical opportunities. To the exception of the L/S Equity Long Bias and Special Situations funds – hit on their beta - the other strategies managed to deliver flat to modestly negative returns - Why did investors think that the US Fed would raise rates in this jittery global market? Investors shed stocks in Asia today, on the back of what was a reasonable statement to the House of Representatives Finance Committee, that the US central bank would remain cautious on future rate hikes. According to Swissquote analysts, “Recent market turmoil and uncertainties surrounding China’s growth prospect could weigh on US growth if proven persistent. A few days ago, Stanley Fisher, Fed Vice Chairman, also delivered a cautious speech reminding us that Fed policy will remain data dependent and that it was too soon to tell whether the current market conditions will prevent the Fed from moving on with its rate cycle”. The global mood among central banks is towards an accommodative rather than tightening monetary policy: this was a theme that investors applauded last year and only last month as the ECB signalled a continuation of its policy, but it wasn’t what Wall Street wanted to hear and early gains lost out to negative sentiment and the US markets ended lower for four days in a row. The real worry of course is that ultra-loose monetary policy signals the fears of central bankers that the global economy continues to wind downwards and that consideration is fueling investor fears. Asia’s trading story has been writ in stone for the last few weeks with havens such as gold, the yen and government bonds the main beneficiaries of continued investor jitters. In commodities, Brent crude oil was down 1.3% at $30.43, while WTI crude futures fell 2.7% to $26.70, despite a drawdown in US stockpiles. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 3.9%, catching up with the week's selloff as the market reopened from a holiday. South Korea’s Kospi ended the day down 2.93%, while in Singapore the STI fell 0.77%. Japan's market and China's Shanghai Composite Index were both closed. The dollar was down 1.8% against the yen at ¥ 111.28, a sixteen-month low for the dollar against the Japanese currency. In other currencies, the euro was up 0.4% against the dollar at $1.1325, its highest since October. Spot gold in London gained 1.1% to $1218.18 a troy ounce, its highest level since May. In focus today, will likely be the Swedish Riskbank policy decision, with expectations for already negative rates to go even lower. “Markets may like cheap money for longer but they definitely don’t like the idea of a major market turn-down and another recession, hence discussion about need for US negative rates sapping risk appetite overnight. Note Janet Yellen testifying again today, although yesterday likely saw the most important information already discussed,” says Accendo Markets analysts.

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Rules could curb collateral movement, ICMA warns

Thursday, 03 April 2014
Rules could curb collateral movement, ICMA warns Regulators need to consider the impact of financial regulation on the movement of collateral according to a new study by ICMA’s European Repo Council. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Regulators need to consider the impact of financial regulation on the movement of collateral according to a new study by ICMA’s European Repo Council.

The trade body has highlighted potential systemic risks of inhibiting collateral fluidity and the negative impact this could have on the stability and efficiency of capital markets.

A number of regulatory and market driven initiatives are in place to meet the challenges that currently constrain the efficient movement of collateral, including Target2-Securities, EU Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR) and tri-party settlement interoperability between ICSDs/CSDs.



However, according to ICMA’s study entitled 'Collateral is the new cash: the systemic risks of inhibiting collateral fluidity’, regulations such as the Basel III Leverage Ratio and the proposed EU Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) could prohibit the effective functioning of collateral markets.

For the markets, these regulations could mean less liquid secondary markets for securities, greater asset price volatility. Hedging, and the pricing and management of risk, could become more difficult. There may also be greater execution risks for investors.

Meanwhile the economy could suffer from reduced investment in capital and businesses, higher borrowing costs for governments, increased costs for corporate capital raisers and place more onus on central banks to support markets.

“If banks find it economically inefficient, or are restricted by regulation from supporting the critical functions of sourcing, pricing, managing, and mobilising collateral, and the infrastructure is not in place for the efficient mobilisation of collateral, then the basic intermediation roles of banks and financial markets - that of maturity, risk, and credit transformation - would be undermined,” says the study.

The proposed EU 11 Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), were it to be applied to securities finance trades, would severely impair the effective functioning of collateral markets. Another ICMA study suggests that the size of the European repo market could be reduced by as much as 66%, with the market effectively closed for transactions under six months’ maturity.

In addition, new Basel III capital adequacy requirements are making the balance sheets of banks more expensive. As a result, banks are having to rethink their business models and priorities. Low-margin, capital-intensive businesses, such as repo, are becoming less attractive.

“Sound regulation is essential for the efficient and stable functioning of the global funding and capital markets that support our economies,” says the IMCA’s report. “So is collateral. In this respect, regulation should not only avoid inhibiting collateral fluidity, but, where possible, it should aim to enhance it.

Godfried De Vidts, chair of ICMA’s European Repo Council, adds: “As we build the framework of new financial regulation for safer markets we should steer clear of embedding systemic risks which could contribute to future financial crises.”

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