Thursday 24th July 2014
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THURSDAY TICKER: JULY 24th 2014 - New opportunities for European businesses, affordable energy bills for consumers, increased energy security through a significant reduction of natural gas imports and a positive impact on the environment: these are some of the expected benefits of the energy efficiency target for 2030 put forward today by the European Commission in a Communication. The proposed target of 30 % builds on the achievements already reached: new buildings use half the energy they did in the 1980s and industry is about 19% less energy intensive than in 2001. The proposed target goes beyond the 25% energy savings target which would be required to achieve a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030. At the same time the framework on energy efficiency put forward today aims to strike the right balance between benefits and costs - The California Pension Fund (CalPERS) has told the American press that it might cutting back on its investments into the hedge fund arena by as much as 40%. A CalPERS spokesman told papers that the investment staff will make a formal recommendation to the board in the fall. CalPERS reported a preliminary 18.4% return on investments for the 12 months that ended June 30th this year. CalPERS’ assets at the end of the fiscal year stood at more than $300bn - The number of funds notifying the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) of their intention to privately place into Europe under AIFMD rules broke through the 150 mark ahead of the end of the AIFMD transitional phase this week. The JFSC figures show that, as at 22 July, a total of 164 funds had opted to make use of Jersey’s private placement route into Europe, and that the UK was the top intended market for managers, followed by Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands - Vodafone Group’s debt rating was cut one level at Moody’s Investors Service after the carrier made multibillion-dollar acquisitions to expand in Spain and Germany. The second-largest wireless company’s senior unsecured debt was cut to Baa1, the third-lowest investment grade, from A3, says Moody. The outlook is stable. Newbury, England-based Vodafone reported net debt of £13.7bn ($23.3bn) for the quarter ended March 31st. It is the first time Moody’s has given Vodafone a rating lower than A3 since 2007. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings rank Vodafone’s debt at A-, the fourth-lowest investment grade. Vodafone’s acquisition of cable operators in Europe and falling revenue in some of its biggest markets contributed to the cut, Moody’s said - In a separate report issued this week, Moody's says the stable outlook on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Aaa rating reflects the bank's conservative capital and liquidity practices, which should support its solid financial performances despite the challenging operating environment. The rating agency's report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action. Moody's also notes that the bank benefits from very high liquidity, owing to its prudent treasury management policies, favourable debt structure and strong market access.
Europe

The latest data from Now Casting Index suggests that conditions in the euro area economy are deteriorating: The firm's NCI an index that measures the state of the business cycle. It is calculated from a broad set of economic indicators) is at 94.24 for July, compared to 96.37 for June. The index is normalised to have a mean value of 100 and a standard deviation of 25 calculated over the estimation sample. Values above 100 indicate that real activity is growing above the mean. Conditions are expected to continue to worsen, as the August NCI™ is forecast at 92.06. These NCI™ values have all been revised downward in light of data released over the past month.  The NCI™ for July is lower than the 97.39 forecast a month ago.

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Countries on the periphery of the eurozone, specifically Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain, have been thrust deeper into financial crisis since the crash of 2008; the result of a combination of increasing sovereign debt and weak economic growth. Due to the size of external deficits, accumulated before 2008, these countries now face an external balance constraint.

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Russian Law 306-FZ establishes, among other things, that the information required by the tax agent must be presented in all details, in the correct format and on a voluntary basis, before payment date and that, if this requirement is not met, income entitlements under Russian securities will be subject to a tax rate of 30%. In addition, the Russian Tax Authorities are entitled by  law to request, after the payment of income, disclosure of the final beneficial owners and submission of the documents mentioned in "Ad-hoc tax disclosure" below. Where a double taxation treaty (DTT) provides for any limitation of tax privileges, the Russian Tax Authorities may request that the taxpayer provide (at the time of filing documents certifying the taxpayer’s tax residency status) an additional certificate issued (in any form) by a competent authority to certify that the taxpayer claiming tax privileges under the DTT is eligible to make such claim.As a consequence, Russian equities held with Clearstream Banking for which no disclosure has been provided will be subject to the maximum 30% tax rate.

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Association (AIMA), the global hedge fund industry association, has launched OTC derivatives clearing guidelines for asset managers. AIMA’s Guide to Sound Practices for OTC Derivatives Clearing provides guidance on the new regulatory framework in the US and European Union, which affects most OTC derivatives transactions cleared globally. The Guide to Sound Practices is supplemented by a Due Diligence Questionnaire for Clearing Members, which is intended to help asset managers during the process of evaluating different clearing members and clearing houses.

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The European Commission has today adopted two communications – an Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights in the EU and a Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in third countries.The EU Action Plan sets out a number of actions to focus the EU's IPR enforcement policy on commercial scale infringements (the so-called 'follow the money' approach). The Strategy setting out an international approach examines recent changes and presents ways to improve the Commission's  means of action to promote enhanced IPR standards in third countries and to stem the trade in IPR infringing goods.

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The UK DMO has announced the allocations in the auction of the 2019 £4bn 1.75% treasury gilt.

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Without the fanfare of drama that preceded the election of Jean-Claude Juncker to the presidency of Europe, MEPs re-elected Martin Schulz as president of the European Parliament this morning for another two and a half year term. The 58-year old German MEP will lead Parliament until January 2017. He won 409 out of 612 valid votes cast in the first ballot.

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ESMA has published its new short guide for retail investors on the implications of MiFID II and MiFIR. One of the core objectives of MiFID is to ensure a high degree of harmonised protection for investors. Both rules will go hand in hand with improved market safety inherent in new securities law being reviewed by the EC. The guide is now available on ESMA's website.

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