Friday 22nd August 2014
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South Africa’s central bank has disagreed with a ratings decision by Moody’s to downgrade Capitec Bank Limited (Capitec) by two notches, and place it on review for a further downgrade. The central bank says it respects the independent opinion of rating agencies but that it does not “agree with the rationale given in taking this step”. Two reasons are given for the rating action: a lower likelihood of sovereign systemic support based on decisions recently taken in relation to African Bank Limited (African Bank), and heightened concerns regarding the risk inherent in Capitec’s consumer lending focus. “With regard to the first point, it is important to reiterate that the approach taken by the SARB to any resolution to address systemic risk will always be based on the circumstances and merits of the particular prevailing situation. Decisions will also be informed, as was the case with African Bank, by principles contained in the Key Attributes for Effective Resolution Regimes proposed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which have the objective that a bank should be able to fail without affecting the system,” notes the central bank in an official statement. “This is in keeping with evolving international best practice. In the case of African Bank bond holders and wholesale depositors are taking a 10% haircut, which is generally regarded as being very positive given that the trades following the announcement of African Bank's results were taking place at around 40% of par. Therefore in fact substantial support was provided, not reduced. Moreover, all retail depositors were kept whole and are able to access their accounts fully,” it adds - According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) credit card receivables increased by 2.1% in the second quarter to HKD112, after a reduction of 6.7% in the previous quarter. The total number of credit card accounts edged up by 0.7% to around 16.8m.The rollover amount, which reflects the amount of borrowing by customers using their credit cards, increased by 2.9% during the quarter to HKD19.2bn. The rollover ratio also rose marginally from 17.0% to 17.1% in the same period. The charge-off amount increased to HKD569mduring the quarter from HKD528m in the previous quarter. Correspondingly, the quarterly charge-off ratio rose to 0.51% from 0.46% in the previous quarter. The amount of rescheduled receivables transferred outside the surveyed institutions’ credit card portfolios reduced to HKD94m from HK$109m in the previous quarter. The delinquent amount increased to HKD249m at end-June from HKD239m at end-March. However, the delinquency ratio remained the same at 0.22% because of an increase in total card receivables. The combined delinquent and rescheduled ratio (after taking into account the transfer of rescheduled receivables mentioned above) edged up to 0.29% from 0.28% during the same period - Harkand has been awarded a contract to support Apache with inspection, repair and maintenance work (IRM) as well as light construction (LC) across their assets in the North Sea, following completion of a competitive tender exercise. The award includes the provision of vessels, ROV and diving services for a three-year period, plus two one-year options. The firm will also support offshore marine construction contractor EMAS AMC who have been awarded a separate contract for pipe lay and heavy construction as part of the same tender process. Harkand Europe managing director, David Kerr, said: “This contract is an important step in strengthening our close working relationship and growing our North Sea business with Apache.

BofA Merrill Lynch says Investor market sentiment slowly improving in Europe

Tuesday, 14 August 2012
BofA Merrill Lynch says Investor market sentiment slowly improving in Europe Bank of America Merrill Lynch today presented the results of their August Fund Manager Survey, reporting a global increase in investor confidence buoyed by expectations of ECB policy initiatives. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Bank of America Merrill Lynch today presented the results of their August Fund Manager Survey, reporting a global increase in investor confidence buoyed by expectations of ECB policy initiatives.

Fully 80% of the 173 fund managers surveyed by BoAML at the start of the month believed that the ECB would engage in additional quantitative easing by the year end (and ~40% within the next month), compared to fewer than 50% who thought the Federal Reserve would take measures in the USA this year.

European equities strategist at the bank, Manish Kabra, said, “Draghi’s statements have been largely successful in removing investor pessimism and have alleviated some pressure on the Eurozone- global asset allocations are still underweight towards Europe, but we have seen the largest uptick in sentiment since early 2009.”

This sentiment has been expressed by increased asset allocation in the Eurozone, whilst fund managers are moving to reduce previously overweight positions in US equities. Kabra states, “Earnings season hasn’t been great in the US- particularly technologies, but we are seeing sentiment to real estate improving on the back of US stabilisation in the sector.”

Less than 10% of managers are now ruling out any form of QE by the ECB due to the promise of policy stimulus, and overall positions are showing small shifts in favour of equities and commodities over bonds. Cash holdings were slightly reduced but remain at historically high levels of 4.7% portfolio value. It is worth noting that despite the improving sentiment, attitudes to Europe are still net 13% negative overall. The ECB’s rhetoric has calmed nerves, but needs to translate into action or the Eurozone equity rally could be short-lived.

Globally, investor outlook has improved in the past month- fears over the Eurozone have diminished (although are still listed as the premier global tail risk) and growth expectation have risen. However, as the January 1st 2013 expiry date for the Bush tax cuts approaches, the fear of the US “fiscal cliff” as number one global risk have increased by 16%.

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