Sunday 14th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: FRIDAY, JANUARY 12TH: Morningstar has moved the Morningstar Analyst Rating™ for the Fidelity Global Inflation Linked Bond fund to Neutral. The fund previously held a Bronze rating. Ashis Dash, manager research analyst at Morningstar, says, “The fund’s rating was placed Under Review following the news that co-manager Jeremy Church was leaving Fidelity. Lead manager, Andrew Weir, who has managed the fund since launch in May 2008, remains in charge and is further supported by the new co-manager, Tim Foster. While we acknowledge Weir’s considerable experience in the inflation-linked space, some recent stumbles and below-benchmark returns over time have led us to lower our conviction in the fund. This is currently reflected by our Neutral rating.” - Italian GDP growth looks to have stalled to 0.1pc in the last quarter of 2015, falling below analyst expectations of 0.3% growth. The Italian economy grew by just 0.6% last year having come out of its worst slump since before the pyramids were built. The slowdown will put further pressure on reforming Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, who has been battling to save a banking system lumbering under €201bn (£156bn) of bad debt, equivalent to as much as 12% of GDP. It is a serious situation and one which threatens Italy’s traditionally benign relationship with the European Union. The EU’s bail in rules for bank defaults seeks to force creditors to take the brunt of any banking failures. Italy suffered four bank closures last year, which meant losses of something near €800m on junior bond holders (with much of the exposure held by Italian retail investors). No surprise perhaps, Italian bank stocks have taken a beating this year, Unicredit shares are currently €3.06, compared with a price of €6.41 in April last year. In aggregate Italian banking shares are down by more than 20% over the last twelve months. Italian economy minister Pier Carlo Padoan told Reuters at the beginning of February that there isn’t any connection between the sharp fall in European banking stocks, as he called on Brussels for a gradual introduction of the legislation. He stressed that he did not want legislation changed, just deferred - Is current market volatility encouraging issuers to table deals? Oman Telecommunications Co OTL.OM (Omantel) has reportedly scrapped plans to issue a $130m five-year dual-currency sukuk, reports the Muscat bourse. Last month, the state-run company priced the sukuk at a profit rate of 5.3%, having received commitments worth $82.16m in the dollar tranche and OMR18.4m ($47.86m) in the rial tranche. Meantime, Saudi Arabia's Bank Albilad says it plans to issue SAR1bn-SAR2bn ($267m-$533m) of sukuk by the end of the second quarter of 2016 to finance expansion, chief executive Khaled al-Jasser told CNBC Arabia - The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) announces that the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC) will hold a public meeting at the Commission’s Washington, DC headquarters located at 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20581. The meeting will take place on February 25th from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm – Local press reports say the UAE central bank will roll out new banking regulations covering board and management responsibilities and accountability – Following yesterday’s Eurogroup meeting, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, says that “Overall, the economic recovery in the eurozone continues and is expected to strengthen this year and next. At the same time, there are increasing downside risks and there is volatility in the markets all around the world. The euro area is structurally in a much better position now than some years ago. And this is true also for European banks. With Banking Union, we have developed mechanisms in the euro area to bring stability to the financial sector and to reduce the sovereign-banking nexus. Capital buffers have been raised, supervision has been strengthened, and we have clear and common rules for resolution. So overall, structurally we are now in a better position and we need to continue a gradual recovery”. Speaking at the press conference that followed the conclusion of the February 11th Eurogroup, Dijsselbloem also acknowledged that “good progress” has been made in official discussions between Greece and its officials creditors in the context of the 1st programme review. Yet, he noted that more work is needed for reaching a staff level agreement on the required conditionality, mostly on the social security pension reform, fiscal issues and the operation of the new privatization fund. On the data front, according to national account statistics for the fourth quarter of 2016 (flash estimate), Greece’s real GDP, in seasonally and calendar adjusted terms, decreased by 0.6%QoQ compared to -1.4%QoQ in Q3. The NBS Executive Board decided in its meeting today to cut the key policy rate by 0.25 pp, to 4.25%. - Today’s early European session saw an uptick in energy stocks, banking shares and US futures. Brent and WTI crude oil futures both jumped over 4% to $31.28 a barrel and $27.36 respectively before paring gains slightly; all this came on the back of promised output cuts by OPEC. That improving sentiment did not extend to Asia where the Nikkei fell to a one-year low. Japan's main index fell to its lowest level in more than a year after falling 4.8% in trading today, bringing losses for the week to over 11%. Yet again though the yen strengthened against the US dollar, which was down 0.1% ¥112.17. Swissquote analysts says, “We believe there is still some downside potential for the pair; however traders are still trying to understand what happened yesterday - when USD/JPY spiked two figures in less than 5 minutes - and will likely remain sidelined before the weekend break.” Japanese market turbulence is beginning to shake the government and may spur further easing measures if not this month, then next. Trevor Greetham, head of multi asset at Royal London Asset Management, says “When policy makers start to panic, markets can stop panicking. We are seeing the first signs of policy maker panic in Japan with Prime Minister Abe holding an emergency meeting with Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda. We are going to get a lot of new stimulus over the next few weeks and not just in Japan. I expect negative interest rates to be used more in Japan and in Europe and I expect this policy to increase bank lending and weaken currencies for the countries that pursue it”. Greetham agrees that both the yen and euro have strengthened despite negative rates. “Some of this is due to the pricing out of Fed rate hike expectations; some is temporary and to do with risk aversion. In a market sell off money tends to flow away from high yielding carry currencies to low yielding funding currencies and this effect is dominating in the short term”. Australia's S&P ASX 200 closed down 1.2%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng settled down 1.01. in New Zealand the NZX was down 0.89%, while in South Korea the Kospi slid 1.41%. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 1.25 points or 0.05% higher to 2539.53, taking the year-to-date performance to -11.91%. The top active stocks today were DBS, which declined 0.91%, SingTel, which gained 1.13%, JMH USD, which declined 1.39%, OCBC Bank, which gained 0.13% and UOB, with a0.34% advance. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.50%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined0.31%. Thai equities were down 0.38%, the Indian Sensex slip 0.71%, while Indonesian equities were down another 1.16%. The euro was down 0.3% against the dollar at $1.1285, even after data showed Germany's economy remained on a steady yet modest growth path at the end of last year. Gold fell 0.7% to $1238.80 an ounce, after gold gained 4.5% Thursday to its highest level in a year. Greetham summarises: “Like a lot of people, we went into this year's sell off moderately overweight equities and it has been painful. What we have seen has been a highly technical market with many forced sellers among oil-producing sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions protecting regulatory capital buffers. However, economic fundamentals in the large developed economies remain positive, unemployment rates are falling and consumers will benefit hugely from lower energy prices and loose monetary policy.”

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Prime money market funds credit profiles weaken says Moody's

Thursday, 09 May 2013
Prime money market funds credit profiles weaken says Moody's The credit profiles of euro-denominated, US prime, and sterling prime money market funds (MMFs) worsened slightly in the first quarter of 2013, says Moody's Investors Service in its quarterly MMF reports published today. According to the ratings agency  continued constraints on supply of high-quality short-term assets, and the prolonged period of low interest rates leading MMF portfolios to migrate to lower rated assets are behind the deterioration. Moody's quarterly MMF reports evaluate market trends and the evolution of MMFs' risk factors, including credit, liquidity and market risks, based on the aggregated data of Moody's rated MMFs. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The credit profiles of euro-denominated, US prime, and sterling prime money market funds (MMFs) worsened slightly in the first quarter of 2013, says Moody's Investors Service in its quarterly MMF reports published today. According to the ratings agency  continued constraints on supply of high-quality short-term assets, and the prolonged period of low interest rates leading MMF portfolios to migrate to lower rated assets are behind the deterioration. Moody's quarterly MMF reports evaluate market trends and the evolution of MMFs' risk factors, including credit, liquidity and market risks, based on the aggregated data of Moody's rated MMFs.

Prime euro-denominated MMFs experienced further credit deterioration and maturity extensions in Q1, largely driven by the prolonged low rate environment and constraints on supply of high-quality assets. Their credit profiles saw a modest deterioration in Q1 2013, reflected by the decrease in investments in securities rated Aaa, Aa1 and Aa2, claims Moody's. Overnight liquidity decreased significantly to 30.5% of assets under management (AUM), after it peaked at 37.4% at end-2012, due to the continued pressures on funds' yields, and the resulting need for funds to invest their cash in higher- yielding instruments, it adds.

The low interest-rate environment and low yields across the sector prompted a decrease in euro MMFs AUM to 74.8bn. The increased exposure to relatively long-dated securities—combined with the modest credit profile deterioration—increased funds' sensitivity to market risk. As the credit pressures on European banks continue, funds' aggregate exposure to European financial institutions decreased 20% to €29bn at the end of March from €36bn at the beginning of the quarter. Exposure to UK financial institutions decreased significantly by 51%, followed by German (-27%) and French financial institutions (-10%).



Meanwhile, there has been  a modest credit deterioration, as 2.2% of investments in US domiciled funds and 3.8% in offshore domiciled funds moved from Aaa and Aa-rated securities to A-rated securities. Approximately 23% of investments in all Moody's-rated MMFs were rated Aaa, says Moody's. Overnight liquidity remained high, at around 39% of US domiciled fund assets and 34% in offshore domiciled funds on average.

In addition, the funds' sensitivity to market risk increased modestly in this quarter due to the increased exposure to slightly longer-dated securities combined with the modest deterioration in funds' credit profiles.

Combined AUM of U.S. domiciled funds declined 3.5% to $662bn, while the combined AUM of European and offshore domiciled funds increased 3% to $242bn.

Moody's says that prime sterling-denominated MMFs experienced further credit deterioration and maturity extensions in Q1, largely driven by the prolonged low rate environment. Funds' credit profiles saw a modest decline in credit quality, due to the credit degradation of the UK, as reflected by Moody's downgrade of UK government's bond rating in February by one notch to Aa1. Sterling MMFs' liquidity trend has been negative throughout Q1, due to fund managers' increased investment of cash and cash-like securities in their search for higher yield. This also led to increase the funds' WAM by 3.8 days throughout the quarter. Given the increased exposure to relatively long-dated securities, combined with the modest deterioration in the credit profile, funds' sensitivity to market risk increased.

Combined AUM increased by 2.5% to GBP114.8 billion during the quarter, despite the low interest-rate environment and low yields across the sector. While exposure to European financial institutions remained stable during the quarter at 49% or GBP56 billion, there have been significant country shifts. Exposure to Dutch and French financial institutions decreased by 5% and 4%, respectively, and exposures to UK and Swedish financial institutions increased by 19% and 6%, respectively.


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