Friday 6th May 2016
NEWS TICKER: NEWS TICKER: INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT - Infracapital, the infrastructure investment arm of M&G Investments, has made an agreement to acquire an 80% stake in a Private Public Partnership (PPP) portfolio from Società' Italiana Per Condotte d'Acqua SpA (Condotte), the third largest construction company in Italy. The portfolio comprises both operational and greenfield assets that will provide core public services in the health, transport and security sectors. The portfolio, with a total capital value of over €700m, has an attractive risk-return profile, providing institutional investors with predictable cash flows for over 20 years. Italy is one of the largest PPP markets in Europe and offers numerous opportunities in the social infrastructure space. Andy Matthews, greenfield director, Infracapital, says: “This transaction provides Infracapital with a high-quality platform of PPP projects in Italy, a country which has successfully embraced the PPP model and offers numerous opportunities in the social infrastructure space —TURKEY After a generally benign April, when it looked as if emerging markets had turned a corner May has come in like a lion and once again (in aggregate) the segment has fallen in six straight sessions. Turkey is on the brink of a constitutional battle, which no doubt will be won by President Tayyip Erdogan, who wants to create a lifelong executive presidency. Investors are not crazy about the idea, the upshot being that S&P will likely cut Turkey's rating at least one notch deeper into junk later on Friday. The lira is set to end the week around 4.3% weaker against the dollar. The stock market was down 0.9% today and is on course for the biggest weekly drop since June 2013, with losses of over 8%. Local 10-year bond yields remain at one-month highs while Turkish five-year credit default swaps (CDS) are at 269 basis points (bps), hovering near a two-month high according to Markit. It is also unlikely that Europe will look upon Erdogan’s insistence on dominating all parts of Turkish economic and political decision making. Certainly it has proved too much for Turkey’s moderate prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who says he now wants to stand down at the upcoming AK Party congress later this month; though it is likely he was pushed into the decision as the president stripped the premiership of much of its power and authority. The resignation means Erdogan has tightened his control of Turkey and is likely to install a more obedient prime minister. It will weigh heavily on European legislators who are already ambivalent about bringing the country closer into the European fold. Erdogan has timed his move to dominate Turkish polity well: the country is dealing with a number of rising problems, including a resurgent conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), bombings by extreme Islamic groups and the influx of more than two and half million migrants and refugees. Davutoglu had led talks with Europe to limit the number of refugees flowing across its border in return for accelerated EU accession talks and financial aid. That stance reportedly did not gel with the president who wants a more fluid relationship with Europe; so it will be interesting to see what happens now. —EM TRADING SESSION – Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries was up a marginal 0.26% today, the only index that did not take a hammering today. The Shanghai Composite fell 2.82%, its biggest one-day fall in more than two months as investors began to worry about the country’s growth prospects again. The Hang Seng fell 1.66%, while India’s Sensex was down 0.13%. The Japanese market fell 0.25%, not great, but not the hammering the market has taken in recent days. The Taiwan TSEC50 was also down 0.26%. Russian dollar-denominated stocks slipped 1.3% and South African stocks lost 0.7%. Russian rouble and Kazakh tenge losing 0.5% and the South African rand down 0.3%. Kazakhstan's central bank cut its main policy rate to 15% (FROM 17%) yesterday explaining the move as easing pressure on the tenge and lower inflation risks. Emerging markets FX and index losses are attributed to weak commodity markets, with copper set for its largest weekly loss since early 2015, and a plunge in steel and ore prices. The reality is though that while investors keep pushing for ever looser central bank policy on interest rates it is not actually helping growth anywhere, nor is it encouraging inflation. A change in thinking is needed, but investors haven’t locked on to that yet and it is difficult to see how much further they can reasonably expect central banks to move to accommodate investor preferences, particularly as it is clear that asset allocation strategies are undergoing systemic change, but that argument’s for another day– ENERGY - Oil prices have also lost almost 7% this week, falling 1% today as Brent took its first weekly loss for just over a month. Prices are now back below $45 a barrel as investors reported took profits against the recent rise in prices (up 20% on a month basis). Reuters reports Brent futures LCOc1 were down 24 cents at $44.77 a barrel at 0848 GMT. WTI futures CLc1 traded at $44.07, down 25 cents day on day – USA – Of course everyone is looking towards today’s non-farm payroll data. Based on yesterday’s insurance claim data, there won’t be much change, but investors will be looking for a marginal improvement. However, they might be missing the mainline story which is that 59 US oil and gas companies have now declared bankruptcy this year, the latest candidates to file being Midstates Petroleum and Ultra Petroleum as oil prices have plummeted by over 60% since the summer of 2014. These are big numbers and ratings firms look to expect the overall number to double by year end. To put this in context, 68 firms filed for bankruptcy at the height of the dot.com bust back in 2002/2003. Significantly, the bankruptcies are not set against a backdrop of consolidation in the sector with M&A activity in energy at an all-time low. Moreover, many US energy firms are debt laden, with investors exposed to high yield bonds in the segment facing the risk that they will lose money.

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Responsible investment products set for growth

Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Responsible investment products set for growth Over three quarters of 85 pension fund managers polled by ING Investment Management believe that being environmentally and socially responsible – as well as encouraging good global governance – is important to the future of investment. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Over three quarters of 85 pension fund managers polled by ING Investment Management believe that being environmentally and socially responsible – as well as encouraging good global governance – is important to the future of investment.

Findings from the new survey show that two third of investment professionals responsible for pension funds, already integrate Environmental Social Governance (ESG) factors and/or a Socially Responsible Investment style (SRI) into their investment processes. Nearly half of this (48%) say their appetite for ESG and SRI has increased over the past six months.

Hendrik-Jan Boer, senior portfolio manager for ING IM’s SRI funds: “In recent years there has been a shift within the industry towards more responsible investment products. This research underlines the importance – both professionally and personally – of ESG factors. With three quarters of investors believing that the sector is important for the future of the industry, we expect the demand for socially responsible investments to grow further in the coming years and to become even more commonplace in investors’ portfolios.”



A greater reliance on responsible investment criteria was expected to bear fruit in terms of investment return over the next five years. However, when it came to the reasons for incorporating this in their investment strategy, the majority of respondents (58%) did so due to “a sense of personal responsibility”. In addition, just over half (52%) stated that it was the companies procedure to apply such criteria to investments.

In terms of the most proactive practitioners of these principles, developed economies were perceived to be the most keen with Western Europe (86%) cited by the most respondents, followed by North America (36%) and Australasia (24%). Turning to actual asset owners, pension funds were viewed as the most willing group to incorporate ESG factors within their portfolios – cited by 73% of respondents – while charities (62%) were the second most willing.

“It is certainly positive to see that investors not only believe in the social and intrinsic value of ESG factors, but also believe in the effectiveness of applying such criteria to their investments,” adds Boer. “It is encouraging to note an anticipated shift in attitudes towards ESG from simply being a filter that investors feel they should implement in their portfolios to becoming a genuinely strong investment tool in its own right.”

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