Monday 2nd 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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New report says Asian OTC derivatives reform continue challenging for the buy side

Wednesday, 07 December 2011
New report says Asian OTC derivatives reform continue challenging for the buy side New Celent report looks at OTC derivatives market conditions in Asia, traded volumes, and structure, and the impact of regulatory changes on the segment. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

New Celent report looks at OTC derivatives market conditions in Asia, traded volumes, and structure, and the impact of regulatory changes on the segment.

The leading Asian economies have been active in their quest for more centralised clearing in the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets. Japan and Singapore have taken the lead in setting up clearinghouses to deal with OTC derivatives such as credit default swaps and interest rate swaps, according to a new report, OTC Derivatives Reforms in Asia: Challenging for the Buy Side, from Celent, a Boston-based financial research and consulting firm.

The Asian central clearing model is slightly different than models in the US and Europe. In those markets, there are norms for the trading of standardised OTC products. There too, it is expected that trading will take place on regulated platforms and that CCPs will undertake the clearing for such trades. In Asia, however, there are no regulations governing the move of trading to regulated platforms, and trading is still expected to happen in a bilateral manner. In that context: “There are doubts over the sustainability and viability of central clearing in Asia, because there is a great deal of fragmentation,” says Anshuman Jaswal, Celent senior analyst and author of the report. “The existence of multiple jurisdictions could lead to regulatory arbitrage.”



The share of the Asian OTC derivatives market in global notional outstanding is around 15% for both OTC equity derivatives and interest rate swaps. It is only 2% for credit default swaps (which are not very popular in Asia) and 26% for OTC FX derivatives, with Japan contributing a majority of this volume.

Among the other findings of the report, it is clear that collateral and margin management will become more complex and expensive. One of the important changes will be the higher cost of collateral management. Right now, bilateral clearing allows the counterparties to decide on the necessary collateral. The mutual understanding and experience of trading with counterparties plays an important part in ensuring that the collateral requirements are not very high. However, it is expected that CCPs would be more conservative in their approach and set higher collateral and margin requirements going forward. Any cross-margining benefits that the larger participants currently derive from trading larger volumes might not carry into the new regime, and CCPs are expected to be more cautious in this regard.

The report also finds that central clearing would lead to significant IT and infrastructure costs. Market participants in leading Asian markets are expected to bear any increase in costs resulting from a move to central clearing. Certainly, connectivity requirements are going to increase and it is going to be difficult for the smaller buy side firms and regional banks to create and maintain the infrastructure required to trade in the OTC markets. “It is expected that the leading sell side firms will try to meet the buy side requirements by providing this infrastructure as an additional service that would resemble the connectivity they provide for exchange-based trading and post-trading services. Besides clearing, in most instances, connectivity would be required to the trade repositories that are expected to improve the post-trade transparency across these markets,” says the report.

Moreover, the report suggests that CCP clearing will invariably become a revenue-generating opportunity for clearinghouses and clearing brokers in the global markets. However, this might not be the case in Asian markets because the volumes in a number of these markets are not significant. There are also some doubts voiced in the report over the sustainability and viability of central clearing in Asia, because there is a great deal of fragmentation. One or two clearinghouses would be ideal for such a scenario, but the existence of different CCPs in each national market means higher costs for firms that are trading in more than one market because they have to create a separate infrastructure in each market.

The report mentions the obvious benefits of the introduction of central clearing, such as improved risk management and efficiency benefits. Once the infrastructure is ready and clearing is taking place on an ongoing basis, risk management and efficiency are going to improve for the OTC derivatives markets. Clearinghouses performed well during the financial crisis, and it is expected that central clearing will perform in a similar fashion. Additionally, Portability will be an important aspect of central clearing. A crucial aspect of the strategy to reduce systemic risk has to be the mechanism to cope with a clearing member's default. This can be done through portability, which allows a market participant to move their trades from a defaulting clearing member to another clearing member, thereby ensuring continuity and reducing systemic risk. While it plays a vital role, portability has complications. In markets where the mechanism has been provided, there would still be the added complication of ensuring it works even under stressful market conditions, such as a broker default.

There is, however, a possibility that regional and global players that operate across a number of markets would choose to move their OTC business to markets with the least regulation and lowest collateral and margin requirement costs. This would be undesirable for both the market that loses the business and the market that gains it. The market that loses business might not be able to sustain its CCP due to low volumes. The market that gains the business might have artificially high volumes and therefore would have more complex issues with regard to systemic risk in case of a default by a clearing member or even a CCP. Multiple markets with CCPs also mean that the jurisdictions will have to address extra-territoriality and interoperability issues that will arise.

It is a sensitive time for the OTC derivatives segment as it undergoes change. While volumes in the global OTC derivatives market have recovered from the lows of 2008, the move to central clearing is expected to lead to a dip in volumes globally for the next couple of years. Volumes are expected to fall in 2012 and 2013, with the recovery beginning in 2014.

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