FiNETIK – Asia and Latin America – Market News Network

Asia and Latin America News Network focusing on Financial Markets, Energy, Environment, Commodity and Risk, Trading and Data Management

RTS Connects to Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX)

Singapore/Bangkok March 8, 2012 – RTS Realtime Systems Group, a leading global trading solutions provider, today announced that the firm is now able to offer market access to the Thailand Futures Exchange plc (TFEX), a subsidiary of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Group.

Fueled especially by the interest in gold and the underlying arbitrage opportunities, the new RTS offering provides native connectivity to TFEX, giving RTS customers the ability to participate in one of Asia’s fastest growing exchanges. Volume in the TFEX Gold futures contract grew four-fold in the last two years.

Andy Woodhouse, RTS Managing Director, APAC, said, “Asia’s markets including TFEX are creating real opportunities for investors. New arbitrage opportunities across markets and easier access to the growing economies such as Thailand are all contributing to the rise in volumes in Asia. Our algorithmic trading solutions, including the RTD Tango algorithmic trading engine and the hybrid RTD Tango Trader solution, are ideally suited to detect and capture such opportunities. With customized, ready to deploy state-of-the-art algos, local and international traders can fully automate their strategies.” … read the full press release

Following the liberalization of brokerage licensing by the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission, the Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX) recently started accepting new members and welcoming new market makers.

Source: RTS, 08.03.2012

Filed under: Asia, Thailand, , , , ,

Hong Kong and Singapore as Asia´s Financial Gateways

Celent predicts a paradigm shift around access to Asia. There is likely to be two gateways, providing access to different Asian regions, with Singapore emerging as the preferred gateway to Southeast Asia and Hong Kong becoming the gateway to Mainland China.

In a new report, the third of a series looking at the financial markets in Hong Kong and Singapore, Celent aims to provide a comparative analysis of Asia’s two main financial gateways, focusing particularly on derivatives. Asia’s Tale of Two Cities: Hong Kong and Singapore as Financial Gateways begins by noting that Western governments have emerged from the financial crisis in a weakened state, with economic prosperity blunted by high unemployment and an emerging debt crisis. The question is no longer when or if we need to enter the Asian markets, but how to best think about the issues of accessibility, entering the market, developing products, and forming strategic partnerships. The fundamental question that needs to be asked now is: “Where do we go from here, Hong Kong or Singapore?”

Although the HKEx and SGX may not be the biggest derivatives players in Asia-Pacific, they tend to be the most accessible for segments located outside the region. Taking advantage of their geographic location, political climate, and internal strengths, these city-states are poised to become hubs for trading of Asia’s regional products while also being easily accessed by US traders via retail trading accounts.

There are several factors that are likely to continue to drive growth in the derivatives market. These include:

• A relatively muted response to regulating over-the-counter markets as compared with the US and Europe. The type of products that led to the financial crisis in the West are not widely established throughout Asia, and as a result, the regulatory structure governing OTC markets are unlikely to change significantly.

• Continued desire to manage foreign exchange risk.

• Continued enhancement of processes of structuring derivatives risk management policies.

“We are seeing changes in relation to access to Asia. Hong Kong is no longer destined to become the sole hub to Southeast Asia,” says Alexander Camargo, Analyst and coauthor of the report. “Inherent strengths in Singapore are making it an extremely attractive financial gateway. Both English and Chinese are frequently spoken in Singapore, making it an ideal cross-roads for East and West. Furthermore, Singapore is viewed by most Asian countries as a neutral party and less politically tied to China than Hong Kong. This is likely to entice Indian investors and even Japanese and Korean investors to Singapore’s shores.”

However, this does not mean that Hong Kong will recede as a major financial center in Asia. Hong Kong residents are often fluent in both English and Chinese; contract laws are strong; and there remain strong historical ties to the West. As a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong has stronger political ties to China. Hong Kong has also been busy integrating its financial markets with mainland China. These factors make it likely that Hong Kong will become a key gateway to mainland China.

This report begins with an overview of each country’s financial infrastructure and regulations, providing an introduction to the countries’ various demand market segments, followed by a look at the main exchanges, HKEx and SGX. A summary of HKEx and SGX focuses on derivatives trading, providing a brief description of products offered, market access, alliances, and clearing on the exchanges. The report then looks at each country’s fixed income markets, OTC derivatives, and FX markets. It concludes with a discussion of market supremacy and also the countries’ ongoing efforts to improve market structure and access.

Source: Bobsguide, 10.02.2012

Filed under: Asia, China, Exchanges, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, News, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ASEAN Exchanges plans on track to promote ASEAN as an asset class

Following the November 2011 ASEAN Exchanges CEOs meeting, the ASEAN Exchanges CEOs today announced that the collaboration framework is on track towards meeting its goals of collectively promoting ASEAN as a highly investable asset class.

The Philippine Stock Exchange President and CEO, Hans Sicat said, “the marketing of the ASEAN Stars and the work on an ASEAN index series continues as planned with the ASEAN Exchanges collaboration members. The 2012 marketing activities for ASEAN Exchanges will be finalised at our scheduled CEOs meeting on December 2nd in Hanoi.”

The seven ASEAN Exchanges have a combined market capitalization of approximately USD2.0 trillion and more than 3,600 companies listed on their exchanges. Some of these companies are the largest and most dynamic companies in the world, including leaders in finance and banking, energy, telecommunications, commodities, automotive manufacturing and other industrial sectors.

The CEOs also announced the awaited roll-out plan of the ASEAN Trading Link which will see the participation of member exchanges taking place progressively in stages. The first stage will see the connectivity of Singapore Exchange and Bursa Malaysia in June 2012 and the Stock Exchange of Thailand added in August 2012 after its new trading engine goes live. The participation dates of the other ASEAN Exchanges collaboration members, namely, Hanoi Stock Exchange, HoChiMinh Stock Exchange, Indonesia Stock Exchange and The Philippines Stock Exchange will be announced at a future date.

Tajuddin Atan of Bursa Malaysia Berhad said, “The three bourses that will participate in the first stage of the ASEAN Trading Link represent approximately 70% of the market capitalization of the 7-member collaboration, thus offering substantial investment opportunities for investors.”

Source: MondoVisione, 17.11.2011

Filed under: Exchanges, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Metabit Expands Asian Trade Connectivity

Tokyo/Hong Kong, 29 March 2011: In the past year, Tokyo-based Metabit has concentrated on building its connectivity across Asia.  The company aims to be the local face of execution destinations in Asia and over the past eight months, it has added an extra 13 domestic DMA destinations, expanding domestic and cross-border access to Asian markets.

“Metabit is at the heart of  connectivity in Asia” comments Daniel Burgin, CEO of Metabit, “not just for providing access to Asia for global players, but also in particular for the local and domestic  industry in this region.”

“For example, in India we have 20 execution destinations of which 10 are domestic Indian brokers.  We are similarly successful with increased connectivity in other countries such as Korea and Taiwan.”

Overall, Metabit’s trading access has been extended to many markets ranging from Indonesia to Pakistan and Mainland China to Australia.  The company now has access to over 250 execution destinations, across all active DMA markets in Asia, including Japan.

“We want to maximise connectivity to and within Asia for our client base, who can directly access all execution destinations across the major and emerging markets in Asia either through Metabit’s intuitive XiliX trading platform, or through our MLH via a single FIX connection.”

Burgin adds a final comment, “Situated where we are in Tokyo, with offices in Hong Kong, Dalian and Sydney, we understand the needs of Asia market players, whether they want to trade globally or locally. You could say the mindset of Asia is in our blood – we think Asia, so our clients can trade Asia.”

About Metabit

Uniquely placed in Asia, with global experience and a real knowledge of Asian markets, Metabit provides the technology and support to help clients trade and connect effortlessly and efficiently.  The company delivers an intuitive trading platform that encompasses a well-established trading community and unrivalled exchange connectivity solutions.

Metabit provides ultra low latency DMA trading solutions for Asian markets, serving buy side and sell side clients.  It specialises in comprehensive compliance controls, whilst reducing transaction times and facilitating trading opportunities across all major markets across 14 Asian countries, including Japan.

Metabit’s flagship solutions are XiliX intuitive buy side trading platform and MLH a vendor neutral Market Liquidity Hub.  Alpha provides ultra-low latency exchange connectivity and Exsim simulates Asian and Japanese exchanges.  All Metabit’s products are powered by the CameronFIX engine.

Source: Metabit, 29.03.2011

Filed under: Asia, Australia, China, FIX Connectivity, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, News, Singapore, Thailand, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: safer than Canada ? safer than Brazil!

K, so the headline is a bit of a fib. But a report on Mexico’s security situation has painted a more detailed picture than the one we hear about in the news most of the time. When I told friends I was moving to Mexico City, some asked if I would be provided with a bodyguard (no). Business travellers are thinking twice about coming, according to chambers of commerce here. But a detailed breakdown of violence released this week shows that, if you pick your state, you’re as safe—or safer—than in any other North American country.

Mexico’s overall homicide rate is 14 per 100,000 inhabitants: fearsomely high (and possibly an underestimate, given the drugs cartels’ habit of hiding bodies in old mines), but quite a lot lower than its great Latin rival Brazil, whose rate is more like 25. As the chart below shows, Mexico’s death rate is bumped up by extraordinarily high levels of violence in four states: Chihuahua (home of Ciudad Juárez, widely labelled the world’s most murderous city), Durango, Sinaloa and Guerrero (see p.29 of this document). Of the rest, some are blissfully serene: Yucatán, where tourists flock to swim with whale sharks and clamber over Chichen Itzá, has a murder rate of 1.7—slightly lower than Canada’s average of 2.1.

Read full article in the Economist

Before I am buried an avalanche of polite Canadian emails, I should acknowledge that comparing an entire country with one quiet state is hardly fair: there are no doubt parts of Canada where no-one has been so much as kicked in the shin for decades. But Mexico’s predicament is worth highlighting, because the extreme violence around its border with the United States colours people’s view of the rest of the country, though much of it is pretty quiet. A third of Mexico’s states hover around 5 murders per 100,000, about the same rate as the United States. Another third are around 8 per 100,000, similar to Thailand, for instance. A handful of states have rates in the teens—like Russia, say—and a couple are in the low twenties, a little lower than Brazil’s average. Then you have the chaos of the four very violent states, which sends the average soaring.

The carnage in Mexico’s badlands is not to be underestimated, and nor does it seem to be getting any better. Business travellers should certainly watch out in places such as Juárez and, these days, even in cities such as Monterrey. But people doing business south of the Rio Grande should remember that, even on average, Mexico is a less murderous country than places such as Brazil, and that once you avoid the hotspots, it’s downright safe.

Source: The Economist, 27.08.2010

Filed under: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico, News, Thailand, , , , , , , , ,

ETF: BlackRock ETF Landscape Industry Review November 2009

BlackRock has just published the November 2009 edition of its monthly ETF Landscape Industry Review. This report is a review of the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) industry through the end of October 2009.

At the end of October 2009 the global ETF industry had 1,859 ETFs with 3,327 listings and assets of US$941.85, from 97 providers on 40 exchanges around the world.

Download report hereBlack Rock ETF Lamdscape November 2009

Source: MondoVisione, 11.12.2009

Filed under: Argentina, Asia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Latin America, Library, Malaysia, Mexico, News, Risk Management, Singapore, Thailand, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Asia:NPLs and SMEs to provide distressed opportunities

Distressed specialists define their terminology and give their take on the market at the second AsianInvestor/FinanceAsia Distressed and Troubled Asset Investing Summit, held in Tokyo.

“What exactly is distress?” reflected AsianInvestor editor Jame DiBiasio at a panel he moderated on Monday at the Tokyo Distressed and Troubled Asset Investing Summit. “Is it a good asset from a distressed seller, or an asset itself that is in bad shape?”

The panel of distressed experts plumped for the former — they want good assets that are being flogged off by an imperilled owner.

“We prefer something that requires re-engineering, assuming that there is some enterprise value left,” said Steve Moyer, a portfolio manager at Pimco. “Banks couldn’t afford to take the losses on clearing portfolios of loans until they rebuild capital. That accomplished, they can begin the process.”

Edwin Wong, a former distressed-investing managing director at Lehman Brothers, and regarded by some in those halcyon days as the finest exponent of distressed investing practice in the hemisphere, recently started his own fund management company, SSG Capital Management.

“Unlike the Asian crisis of the late 1990s, in which all sizes of companies went bankrupt, we’re not seeing it this time around so much with the big companies,” he said. “However, private companies and smaller corporates have built up a lot of leverage, and that’s where we see the main opportunity in China, India and Indonesia.”

In answer to the old conundrum ‘what is the most famous thing that Belgium has ever produced?’, perhaps Michel Lowy will be a contender, if his new firm SC Lowy succeeds.

Lowy says distressed investors have been sharpening their pencils for the past 18 months, expecting lots of deals, only to be disappointed by the available opportunities. He hopes that will change as commercial banks finally bite the bullet and sell off non-performing portfolios.

He also perceives differences geographically in the structure of opportunities on offer. “In North Asia and other sophisticated Asian economies, there is a weighting towards public companies,” Lowy says. “Elsewhere in Asia, there are more family-owned companies. The latter are often in places where the creditor has more limited rights. It’s going to be harder to gain control of a company there by converting debt to equity.”

Source: AsianInvestor.net, 18.11.2009

Filed under: Asia, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, News, Risk Management, Services, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, , , , , ,

China and India – Himalayas, Water and growing conflicts

The brewing disputes and growing concerns of the Himalayan Region by worlds two most populus nations, is a further indication of increasing dangers of latent resource wars, particularly on water. The continuing desertification in China and migration to coastal region increase pressure. While planned deviation of water ways to Chinese low lands could severely affect South- and South East Asia, see also

Political Hands across the Himalayas, FT, 15.11.2009

Excerpt: India and China are touted as white knights coming to the rescue of the world economy. Considerable hope rests on these two countries, with fast-paced growth, developing domestic markets and high savings rates, reviving demand and leading other languishing parts of the world out of recession.

The two rising powers, however, may yet be clashing knights. For in New Delhi it is fear of Beijing, rather than partnership, that all too frequently characterises the trans-Himalayan relationship. While some size up trade balances and growth trajectories, others are measuring missile ranges and comparing military parades.

Mr Mishra advised Atul Behari Vajpayee, the former premier. His views, albeit hawkish, are respected by the current Congress party-led government and carry weight with the diplomatic community.

So his recent forecast that India might face a second military front within five years turned heads. The former intelligence chief predicted that India could find itself locked in an armed stand-off simultaneously with Beijing and Pakistan, the traditional rival.

Mr Mishra’s suspicions of China have been newly aroused by Beijing’s warm relationship with Islamabad and its supply of military hardware to Pakistan’s army.

They have also been stoked by territorial claims to Arunachal Pradesh, a north-eastern Indian state, and predictions on Chinese websites that India, a country of huge diversity, is doomed to fall apart.

Mr Mishra says China’s stridency in its territorial ambitions has grown over the past two years to a level not seen since the early 1960s. Moreover, he accuses China of trying to bring into question India’s sovereignty over the state at the international level.

Military strategists interpret China’s policies as a regional power play. They say that tying India up within its own borders prevents it from projecting itself in the region and rivalling China.

In spite of the fighting talk in India, the relationship between India and China holds much more potential than antagonism. China’s impressive record of infrastructure development and lifting people out of poverty holds lessons for India. Likewise, India’s democratic credentials and inclusiveness are instructive to China.

Read full article hear:  15.11. 2009 by James Lamont in New Delhi

The high stakes of melting Himalayan glaciers, CNN 05.10.2009

Execerpt – The glaciers in the Himalayas are receding quicker than those in other parts of the world and could disappear altogether by 2035 according to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The result of this deglaciation could be conflict as Himalayan glacial runoff has an essential role in the economies, agriculture and even religions of the regions countries.

Satellite data from the Indian Space Applications Center, in Ahmedabad, India, indicates that from 1962 to 2004, more than 1,000 Himalayan glaciers have retreated by around 16 percent. According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China’s glaciers have shrunk by 5 percent since 1950s.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist, physicist and leader in the International Forum on Globalization, has just returned from a “Climate Yatra,” a research journey to the Himalayas to study the impact of climate change and the glacial melt upon communities in Asia.

“Himalayan rivers support nearly half of humanity,” Dr. Shiva told CNN. “Everyone who depends on water from the Himalayas will be affected.”

Both India and China are exploring opportunities to harness Himalayan waters for hydroelectric power projects, and while the initial melt promises to provide plenty of water for both sides, the loss of glaciers could lead to water shortages further in the future.

Water-related conflicts have already been witnessed in other parts of the globe such as in the West Bank and in Darfur.

According to Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, almost 70 percent of the non-monsoon flows in almost all the Himalayan rivers come from glacier melt.

International water security issues within Asia could be likely since the waters of the Indus, Ganges and the Brahmaptura basins flow into China in the upstream, and are shared across South Asia in the downstream.

Dr. Shiva believes the situation will render major security issues, between India and China particularly, as flows reduce and demands intensify.

Read full article here: CNN, 05.10.2009


In retreat: the roof of the world is experiencing rapid summer melting.

 

Filed under: Asia, China, India, Malaysia, News, Risk Management, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Global warming threat for Asia financial hubs – Yangtze ‘facing climate threat’

The report, produced by WWF, the environmental pressure group, puts the two financial hubs in the top 10 cities threatened by climate change in Asia, the region widely believed to be most vulnerable to rising global temperatures.

It warns that Hong Kong is in danger from higher sea levels, which are likely to rise 40cm-60cm in China’s Pearl River delta by 2050, increasing the area of coastline that is vulnerable to flooding by up to six times.

Costs imposed by typhoons are also likely to rise dramatically, the report says, noting that 14 of the 21 extreme storm surges between 1950 and 2004 occurred after 1986.

The number of nights when Hong Kong temperatures rise above 28°C has risen almost fourfold since the 1960s, while the number of winter nights when the temperature falls below 12°C is predicted to fall from an average of 21 to zero within 50 years.

For Singapore, the report says, the sea level is forecast to rise by 60cm by the end of the century, eroding coastal protection and decreasing the shoreline of the city state, making it more vulnerable to storm surges and flooding.

The report says climate change could also increase the prevalence of dengue fever. The number of cases has been rising in periodic outbreaks and the last significant peak, in 2007, saw the third highest number of outbreaks ever.

Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, heads the list of the most vulnerable cities, mainly because of its position in a big river delta already subject to periodic flooding, its low average height above sea level and its poverty, which makes protection and adaptation more difficult.

Other cities at risk include Jakarta and Manila, which rank equal second, Calcutta and Phnom Penh, which are equal third, Ho Chi Minh and Shanghai, equal fourth, Bangkok, fifth, and Kuala Lumpur, which ties with Hong Kong and Singapore for sixth place.

The report calls on developed countries to agree to shoulder the bulk of the costs required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to finance an adaptation fund to pay for changes required in developing countries, and to provide recompense for losses and damage caused by climate-related catastrophes.

However, the report also says that vulnerable cities and national governments should take action themselves, including better management of coastal habitats and ecosystems.

The report is timed to influence the 21 heads of government attending this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Singapore, before the global climate change summit in Copenhagen next month.

Source: FT, 11.11 2009 by Kevin Brown in Singapore

The Yangtze river basin is being increasingly affected by extreme weather and its ecosystems are under threat, environmentalists say.

In a new report, WWF-China says the temperature in the basin area of China’s longest river has risen steadily over the past two decades.

This has led to an increase in flooding, heat waves and drought.

Further temperature rises will have a disastrous effect on biodiversity in and along the river, the report says.

The WWF – formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund – predicts that in the next 50 years temperatures will go up by between 1.5C and 2C.

The group’s report is the largest assessment yet of the impact of global warming on the Yangtze River Basin, where about 400 million people live.

Data was collected from 147 monitoring stations. The report’s lead researcher, Xu Ming, said the forthcoming Copenhagen negotiations on climate change would have an obvious and direct influence on the Yangtze.

“Controlling the future emissions of greenhouse gases will benefit the Yangtze river basin, at the very least from the perspective of drought and water resources,” he said.

The report says the predicted weather events and temperature rises will lead to declines in crop production, and rising sea levels will make coastal cities such as Shanghai vulnerable.

Some of the problems could be averted by strengthening river reinforcements, and switching to hardier crops, its authors suggest.

Source: BBC, 10.11.2009

Filed under: Asia, China, Energy & Environment, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, News, Risk Management, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why China and Japan Need an East Asia Bloc

Withering exports and asset bubbles have forced Asians – especially China and Japan — to work harder at free trade pacts.

All kinds of proposals have been floated about creating an Asian bloc a la European Union. Bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTA) have been suggested for various combinations of Asian countries. Lately, there’s been a flurry of new ideas as Japan’s recently installed DPJ government seeks to differentiate from the ousted LDP.

By promoting ideas that lean toward Asia, DPJ’s leadership is signaling that Japan wants less dependence on the United States. This position offers a hope for the future to Japanese people, whose economy has been comatose for two decades. Closer integration with Asian neighbors could restore growth in Japan.

Whenever global trade gets into trouble, Asian countries talk about regional cooperation as an alternative growth driver. But typically these talks die out as soon as global trade recovers. Today’s chatter is following the same old pattern, although this time global trade is not on track to recover to previous levels and sustain East Asia’s export model. Thus, some sort of regional integration is needed to revive regional growth.

Which regional organization is in a position to lead an integration movement? Certainly not ASEAN, which is too small, nor APEC, which is too big. Something more is needed – like a bloc rooted in a trade pact between Japan and China.

ASEAN’s members are 10 countries in Southeast Asia with a population exceeding 600 million and a combined GDP of US$ 1.5 trillion in 2008. The group embraced an FTA process called AFTA in 1992, which accelerated after the 1997-’98 Asian Financial Crisis and competition with China heated up. When AFTA began, few gave it much chance for success, given the region’s huge disparities in per capita income and economic systems. Today AFTA is almost a reality, which is certainly a miracle.

ASEAN has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams. These days China, Japan, and South Korea join annual meetings as dialogue partners, while the European Union and United States participate in regional forums and bilateral discussions.

China and ASEAN completed FTA negotiations last year, demonstrating that they can function as an economic bloc. Now, China is ASEAN’s third largest trading partner. Indeed, there is a great upside for economic cooperation between the two.

Before the Asian Financial Crisis, the ASEAN region was touted as a “miracle” by international financial institutions for maintaining high GDP growth rates for more than two decades. But some of that growth was built on a bubble that diverted business away from production and toward asset speculation. This developed after credit expansion, driven by the pegging of regional currencies to the U.S. dollar, encouraged land speculation. ASEAN’s emerging economies absorbed massive cross-border capital due to a weak dollar, which slumped after the Federal Reserve responded to a U.S. banking crisis in the early 1990s by maintaining low interest rates.

Back then, I visited companies in the region that produced goods for export. I found that, despite all the talk of miracles, many were making money on financial games — not business. At that time, China was building an export sector that had started exerting downward pressure on tradable goods prices. Instead of focusing on competitiveness, the region hid behind a financial bubble and postponed a resolution. Indeed, ASEAN’s GDP was higher than China’s before the Asian financial crunch; now China’s GDP is three times ASEAN’s.

China today faces challenges similar to those confronting ASEAN before the crisis. While visiting manufacturers in China, I’ve often been discovering that their profits come from property development, lending or outright speculation. While asset prices rise, these practices are effectively subsidizing manufacturing operations – an asset game that can work wonderfully in the short term, as the U.S. experience demonstrates. When property and stock markets are worth more than twice GDP, 20 percent appreciation would be equivalent to four years of business profits in a normal economy. You can’t blame businesses for shifting their attention to the asset game in a bubbly environment. Yet as they focus on finance rather than manufacturing, their competitiveness erodes. And you know where that leads.

I digress from the main focus for this article — regional integration, not China’s bubble challenge.

So let’s look again at ASEAN’s success. In part, this reflects its soft image: Other major players do not view ASEAN as a competitive threat. Rather, the FTA with China has put pressure on majors such as India and Japan to pursue their own FTAs with ASEAN. Another dimension is that the region’s annual meetings have become important occasions for representatives from China, Japan and South Korea to sit down together.

In contrast to ASEAN’s success, APEC has been an abject failure.
Today, it’s simply a photo opportunity for leaders of member countries from the Americas, Oceania, Russia and Asia. APEC was set up after the Soviet bloc collapsed, and served a psychological purpose during the post-Cold War transition. It was reassuring for the global community to see leaders of former enemy countries shaking hands.

However, APEC is just too big and diverse to provide a foundation for building a trade structure. So general is the scope that anything APEC members agree upon would probably pass the United Nations. Now, two decades after end of the Cold War, APEC has clearly outlived its usefulness and is withering, although it may never shut down. APEC’s annual summit still offers leaders of member countries a venue for meetings on the sidelines to discuss bilateral issues. Maybe the group is useful in this way, offering an efficient venue for multiple summits concurrently.

Although ASEAN has succeeded with its own agenda, and achieved considerable success in relation to non-member countries, it clearly cannot assume the same role as the European Union. Besides, should Asia have an EU-like organization? Asia, by definition, clearly cannot. It’s a geographic region that includes the sub-continent, Middle East and central Asia. Any organization that encompasses Asia as a whole would be as unwieldy as APEC.

I am always puzzled by the word “Asia,” which the Greeks coined. In his classic work Histories, it seems ancient Greek historian Herodotus primarily referred to Asia Minor — today’s Turkey, and perhaps Syria — as Asia. I haven’t read much Greek, but I don’t recall India being included in ancient Greek references. So as far as I can determine, there is no internal logic to treating Asia as a region. It seems to encompass all places that are neither European nor African. Africa is a coherent continent, and Europe has a shared cultural past. Asia belongs to neither, so it shouldn’t be considered an organic entity.

Malaysia’s former prime minister Tun Mahathir bin Mohamad Mahathir was a strong supporter of an East Asia Economic Caucus (EAEC) which would have been comprised of ASEAN nations plus China, Japan and South Korea. But because Japan refused to participate in an organization that excluded the United States, the idea failed.

Yet there is some logic to Mahathir’s proposal. East Asia has a shared history, and intra-regional trade goes back centuries. Population movements have been significant, and as tourism takes off, regional relations should strengthen. One could envision a future marked by free-flowing capital, goods and labor in the region.

Yet differences among the region’s countries are much greater than in Europe. ASEAN’s overall per capita income is US$ 2,000, while it’s US$ 3,500 in China and US$ 40,000 in Japan. China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam share Confucianism and Mahayana Buddhism, while most Southeast Asian countries embrace Islam or Hinayana Buddhism, and generally are more religious. I think an EU-like organization in East Asia would be very hard to establish, but something less restrictive would be possible.

Because Japan turned down Mahathir’s EAEC idea, there was a lot of interest when recently elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s proposed something similar – an East Asia Community — at a recent ASEAN summit. Hatoyama failed to clarify the role of the United States in any such organization. If the United States is included, it would not fly, as it would be too similar to APEC. Nor could such an organization be like the EU. But if Japan is fully committed, the new group could assume substance over time.

The Japanese probably proposed the community idea for domestic political reasons. Yet the fundamental case for Japan to increase integration with the rest of Asia and away from the United States grows stronger every day. Despite high per capita income, Japan remains an export-oriented economy, having missed an opportunity to develop a consumption-led economy in the 1980s and ’90s. In the foolish belief that rising property prices would spread wealth beyond the industrial heartland in the Tokyo-Osaka corridor, the government of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka pursued a high-price land policy, discouraging the middle class from pursuing a consumer lifestyle as they saved for property purchases.

Even more seriously, high property prices have been a major reason for Japan’s rapidly declining birth rate, as land prices inflated living costs. Now, facing a declining population and public debt twice GDP, Japan has few options for rejuvenating the economy by promoting domestic demand. It needs trade if it hopes to achieve any growth at all. Without growth, Japan will sooner or later suffer a public debt crisis.

Japan’s property experience offers a major lesson for China. Every Chinese city is copying the Hong Kong model — raising money from an increasingly expensive land market to fund urban development, leading to rapid urbanization. But this is borrowing growth from the future. Rising land prices lead to rising costs and, hence, slower growth and the same rapid decline in the birth rate that Japan experienced. Unless China reverses its high-land price policy, the consequences will be even more disastrous than in Japan or Hong Kong, as China shifted to the asset game much earlier in its development.

Yet I digress again. The point is that Japan has a strong and genuine case that favors more integration with East Asia. The United States is unlikely to recover soon and with enough strength to feed Japan’s export machine again. There is no more room for fiscal stimulus. Devaluing the yen to gain market share is not an option as long as Washington pursues a weak dollar policy. Without a new source of trade, Japan’s economy is doomed. Closer integration with East Asia is the only way out.

In addition to Hatoyama’s EAC proposal, a study jointly sponsored by China, Japan and South Korea is considering the possibility of a FTA. Of course, ASEAN could offer a template for any new East Asian bloc. ASEAN has signed an FTA with China and is talking with Japan and South Korea. If they all sign, regional integration would be halfway completed.

Whatever proposals for East Asian integration, the key issue is a possible FTA between China and Japan. Adding other parties avoids this main issue. China and Japan together are six times ASEAN’s size and 10 times South Korea’s. Without a China-Japan FTA, no combination in East Asia would truly support regional integration.

Five years ago, I wrote an op-ed piece for the Financial Times entitled China and Japan: Natural Partners. At the time, a prevailing sentiment was that China and Japan were antithetical: Both were still manufacturing export-led economies and could only gain at the other’s expense. I saw complementary demographics and capital: Japan had a declining labor force and China needed to employ tens of millions of youths migrating to cities from the countryside. China needed capital and Japan had surplus capital. And their trade relations indeed tightened, as Japan had increased the Chinese share of its overall trade to 17.4 percent in 2008 from 10.4 percent in ’04.

Today, the situation has changed. China has a capital surplus rather than a shortage. Demographic complementarity is still good and could last another decade. As China shifts its development model from resource intensive to environmentally friendly, a new complementarity is emerging. Japan has already made the transition, and its technologies that supported the transition need a new market such as China’s. So even without a new trade agreement, bilateral trade will continue growing.

An FTA between China and Japan would significantly accelerate their trade, resulting in an efficiency gain of more than US$ 1 trillion. Japan’s aging population lends urgency to increasing the investment returns. On the other hand, as China prepares to make a numerical commitment to limiting greenhouse gas emissions at the upcoming Copenhagen summit on global warming, heavy investment and rapid restructuring are needed for its economy. Japanese technology could come in quite handy.

More importantly, a China-Japan FTA would lay a foundation for an East Asian free trade bloc. The region has a population of 2.1 billion and a GDP of US$ 13 trillion, rivaling the European Union and United States. Blessed with a low base, plenty of capital, sound technology and a huge market, the region’s GDP could easily double in a decade.

Trade and technology are twin engines of growth and prosperity. No boom is sustained without one or the other. And when they come together, the boom can be massive. Prosperity seen over the past decade, for example, is due to information technology along with the opening up of China and other former planned economies. But these factors have been absorbed, forcing the world to find another engine. An integration of East Asian economies would be significant enough to play this role.

The best approach would be for China and Japan to negotiate a comprehensive FTA that encompasses free-flowing goods, services and capital. This task may appear too difficult, but recent changes have made it possible. The two countries should give it a try.

It would be wrong to begin by working out an FTA that includes China, Japan and South Korea. That would triple the task’s level of difficulty, especially since South Korea doesn’t have a meaningful FTA with any country. To imagine that the Seoul government would cut a deal with China or Japan is naive. China and Japan should negotiate bilaterally.

A key issue is that China and Japan should put economics before politics. If the DPJ government wants to gain popularity by increasing international influence rather than boosting the economy, then all the current speculation and discussion about an East Asia bloc would be for nothing. But if DPJ wants to sustain power by rejuvenating Japan’s moribund economy, chances for a deal are good.

While Japan is talking, China should be doing. China should aggressively initiate the FTA process with Japan. Regardless of China’s current difficulties, its growth potential and vast market are what Japan will never have at home nor anywhere else. Hence, China would be able to compromise from a position of strength.

Some may say a free trade area for East Asia is beyond reach. However, history belongs to the daring. The world has changed enough to make it possible. China and Japan should seize the opportunity.

Source: Caijing, 10.11.2009 by Andy Xie, guest economist to Caijing and a board member of Rosetta Stone Advisors Ltd.

Full article in Chinese

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ASEAN markets cross trading links in demand – TABB Group

In new equity markets research published today, TABB Group says US and European demand for electronic linkage to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) exchanges is strong and primed to expand, as seamless access will attract brokers already trading in other parts of Asia. However, there is a wide range of needs across the different market segment, including direct market access (DMA), low-cost versus real-time market data, advanced order types, and reliable trading platforms.

TABB’s senior analyst Kevin McPartland, who authored the ASEAN Equity Markets Pinpoint report, an industry update on equity trading in the ASEAN region covering the Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore exchanges, says the global financial crisis had little impact on growing buy-side demand for trading in ASEAN markets.

“More seamless access will drive brokers already operating in other parts of Asia to begin trading in the ASEAN markets,” he says, with the sell side set to benefit most from that seamless access. Explaining that the availability of real-time market data is crucial for all trading in the ASEAN markets, and that real time data is a requirement for the sell side even when trade volumes are low or non-existent, he adds, “High costs and time zones do tend to limit buy-side market data usage outside of the region.”

Addressing the relationship between the buy side and sell side, McPartland says that although no single broker currently dominates across all Asian markets, over 90% of buy-side firms are unwilling to give brokers full discretion over their orders. However, while the buy side does look to their brokers for market access, they agree that more seamless access would lower costs for execution and market data. There is also significant support for the idea of central ASEAN execution venue, McPartland adds.

The report’s in-depth coverage includes 24 charts:

  • Support for a central ASEAN venue
  • Improving ASEAN trading
  • Sell-side interest in ASEAN linkage
  • % of bulge-bracket participants trading in each market
  • Impact of the financial crisis on ASEAN interest
  • Roadblocks to sell-side trading in ASEAN markets
  • Buy-side broker usage – all Asia ·
  • Buy-side broker usage – ASEAN markets
  • Top brokers by country (by # of mentions)
  • Bulge-bracket participants trading in each market
  • Mid-tier participants trading in each market
  • Buy-side interest in a seamless ASEAN linkage
  • Roadblocks to buy-side access of ASEAN markets
  • Average number of buy-side orders per week
  • Average blended commission rates (bps)
  • % for which counterparty risk is an issue
  • Importance of each component when trading in ASEAN markets
  • Markets providing real-time market data to sell side
  • Market data sources for sell side
  • Markets providing real-time market data to buy side
  • Reasons for buy side’s lack of market data
  • How the buy side trades ASEAN markets
  • % of buy side using multiple data providers ·
  • Sell-side and buy-side market data providers

TABB Group collected data through interviews with heads of electronic trading from 12 top global broker-dealers, 9 hedge funds and 14 institutional asset managers. On the buy side, participants had combined global assets under management (AuM) of approximately $6 trillion and are currently trading in Asia from slightly under $10 million to over $5 billion monthly.

Source: MondoVisione, 23.10.2009

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Asia’s affluent lose one-fifth of wealth in 2008 – CapGemini-Merryll Lynch Asia Wealth Report 2009

Hong Kong’s high-net-worth crowd were the hardest hit by the financial crisis, according to the annual wealth report from Capgemini and Merrill Lynch.

It was perhaps inevitable that after experiencing such rapid wealth growth in the past few years, Asia’s high-net-worth individuals suffered particularly keenly from the recent crisis. But there is still huge market potential in the region for those wealth advisory firms able to tap it.  Download: Asia-Pacific_Wealth_Report_2009_CapG_ML

The wealth of the region’s high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) — those with $1 million or more in investable assets — fell by 22.3% to $7.4 trillion last year, below the level in 2006. That compares to a fall of 19.5% for global HNWI wealth, according to the 2009 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report, released yesterday by consulting firm Capgemini and Merrill Lynch.

Hong Kong HNWIs saw by far the biggest drop, losing 65.4% of their wealth, followed by those in Australia (29.7%), Singapore (29.4%) and India (29.0%). South Koreans got off lightest with a 13.4% decline in asset value, while Japan saw a fall of 16.7%.

In terms of market capitalisation, the Asia-Pacific region as a whole saw an average fall of 48.6% last year, with China (60.3%) and India (64.1%) suffering the biggest declines of the countries surveyed*.

With regard to asset allocation, the report noted three key trends. First, Asian HNWIs undertook a ‘flight to safety’ to cash-like assets with their allocation to cash-based investments rising to 29% in 2008 from 25% the year before. This reflected an increase in the global allocation to cash in 2008 to 21% from 17% in 2007. Taiwan had the highest allocation to cash/deposits at 41% of its total portfolio, while India had by far the least with 13%.

Another trend was an opportunistic shift back to real estate investment with an allocation of 22% in 2008, up from 20% the year before. Regionally, Australia had the highest allocation to real estate (41%), closely followed by South Korea (38%), while Taiwan had the least (15%).

As for other asset classes, India had the largest allocation to equities (32%), despite the heavy fall in the country’s stock market last year, while South Korea had the smallest (13%). And, perhaps surprisingly, Indonesia had the largest allocation to alternative investments (9%), covering structured products, hedge funds, derivatives, foreign currency, commodities, private equity and venture capital.

The third broad trend noted by the report was a retreat to home-region and domestic investments with HNWIs increasing their domestic investments to 67% in 2008 from 53% the year before. China was the top Asian market for investment by HNWIs in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan, while their peers in Japan preferred to invest domestically.

Allocations to mature markets are likely to increase through 2010 as Asia-Pacific HNWIs seek more stable returns. Allocations to North America, for example, are predicted to rise from 17% last year to 20% in 2010.

In terms of diversity of geographic distribution of investments, Japanese HNWIs were the most diversified beyond Asia in 2008 with 45% of their allocation outside the Asia-Pacific region. The least diversified were the Chinese with a 17% allocation outside Asia-Pacific, and India with a mere 14% invested outside the region.

On a wider level, the crisis resulted in many Asian clients shifting their assets towards regional and local firms, changing the competitive landscape. Such moves exposed “weaknesses in the capabilities of the region’s wealth management firms and especially revealed the disparate strengths and weaknesses of international firms versus regional and local competitors”, says the report.

In terms of the challenges faced by wealth management firms in Asia, they feel maintaining client trust/client retention is by far the biggest concern, according to a Capgemini survey carried out during July and August. Eighty-five percent of wealth management advisers cited this as the biggest challenge they face as a result of the crisis, and 45% cited as the next major issue the need to have the right skill set and talent to cater to HNWI clients.

A closer look at the issue of client attrition shows that 42% of wealth advisers lost clients last year; 63% of those advisers employed an individual-adviser model, while 37% used a team-based model. Meanwhile, younger advisers tended to lose more clients than older ones with 62% of those who lost clients being 40 or under. “Advisers were not mature enough to handle the intense market conditions,” says the report.

Experience is clearly key, and advisers in the Asia-Pacific region were less well able to handle the economic turmoil. The average amount of experience for the region was 9.7 years, versus the global average of 13.3 years. Wealth management firms need to remedy this situation if they are to make the most of the untapped market potential in China, India and elsewhere in the region.

* The report focuses on 11 markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Together, these account for 95.3% of Asia-Pacific gross domestic product.

Source: Asian Investor, 14.10.2009

Asian Investor

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Asia calls for own Rating Agency

Asia needs to establish an Asian-owned and managed rating agency as years of Western domination of finance has created an inherent systemic bias impeding the progress of Asian banks.

CIMB group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said this was necessary, especially since Asia was the main supplier of investment funds.

“It seems that even when Asians look at one another, we tend to use Western spectacles. The clearest evidence is our reliance on global credit rating agencies,” he said in his keynote address at the Third Euromoney Thailand Investment Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday.

Nazir said he could not understand the basis of China, the world’s biggest lender, being accredited “A1″ by Moody’s compared with “AAA” for the UK and “AA2″ for Italy.

“Fitch is no different: China at ‘A+’, UK at ‘AAA’ and Italy ‘AA-‘. The story is not too different for bank ratings: Asia’s lowly leveraged banks versus US and European banks with ‘intoxicated’ balance sheets.”.

Nazir said ratings affected how banks allocated capital and influenced the level of transactions conducted between banks, adding that sovereign ratings also defined the ceiling for national bank and corporate ratings, amplifying ramifications of the problem.

“As if that isn’t enough, the introduction of Basel II would compound the problem as loans would also be subjected to ratings, trapping the entire credit system in this biased web.”

He also said that the current crisis, which started in the US, provided a unique window of opportunity for Asian banks to decisively alter the share of global banking in their favour.

“Once Asians have a greater share of global finance, I think that we will also see a more balanced and equitable world where Western perspectives give way to global perspectives, where a new financial architecture is designed without prejudices and where intra-Asian trade and investment flows grow exponentially.”

Source:  Intellasia.net, Busines Times Malaysia 11.06.2009

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Surprising Green Energy Investment Trends Found Worldwide

Science Daily 07.06.2009 - Some $155 billion was invested in 2008 in clean energy companies and projects worldwide, not including large hydro, a new report says. Of this $13.5 billion of new private investment went into companies developing and scaling-up new technologies alongside $117 billion of investment in renewable energy projects from geothermal and wind to solar and biofuels.

The 2008 investment is more than a four-fold increase since 2004 according to Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009, prepared for the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative by global information provider New Energy Finance.

Extremely difficult financial market conditions prevailed during 2008 as a result of the global economic crisis. Nevertheless investment in clean energy topped 2007’s record investments by 5% in large part as a result of China, Brazil and other emerging economies.

Of the $155 billion, $105 billion was spent directly developing 40 GW of power generating capacity from wind, solar, small-hydro, biomass and geothermal sources. A further $35 billion was spent on developing 25 GW of large hydropower, according to the report.

This $140 billion investment in 65 GW of low carbon electricity generation compares with the estimated $250 billion spent globally in 2008 constructing 157GW of new power generating capacity from all sources. It means that renewables currently account for the majority of investment and over 40% of actual power generation capacity additions last year.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “Without doubt the economic crisis has taken its toll on investments in clean energy when set against the record-breaking growth of recent years. Investment in the United States fell by two per cent and in Europe growth was very much muted. However, there were also some bright points in 2008 especially in developing economies—China became the world’s second largest wind market in terms of new capacity and the world’s biggest photovoltaic manufacturer and a rise in geothermal energy may be getting underway in countries from Australia to Japan and Kenya”.

“Meanwhile other developing economies such as Brazil, Chile, Peru and the Philippines have brought in, or are poised to introduce policies and laws fostering clean energy as part of a Green Economy. Mexico for example, the Global host of World Environment Day on 5 June, is expected to double its target for energy from renewables to 16 per cent as part of a new national energy policy,” he added.

Overall Highlights from the Report

Wind attracted the highest new investment ($51.8 billion, 1% growth on 2007), although solar made the largest gains ($33.5 billion, 49% growth) while biofuels dropped somewhat ($16.9 billion, 9% decrease).

Total transaction value in the sustainable energy sector during 2008 – including corporate acquisitions, asset re-financings and private equity buy-outs – was $223 billion, an increase of 7% over 2007. But capital raised via the public stock markets fell 51% to $11.4 billion as clean energy share prices lost 61% of their value during 2008.

Investment in the second half of 2008 was down 17% on the first half, and down 23% on the final six months of 2007, a trend that has continued into 2009.

One response to the global economic crisis has been announcements of stimulus packages with specific, multi-billion dollar provisions for energy efficiency up to boosts to renewable energies.

“These ‘green new deals’ lined up by some economies, including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, European countries and the United States contain some serious clean energy provisions. These will help support the market,” said Mr. Steiner.

“However, the biggest renewables stimulus package of them all can come at the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in just over 180 days time. This is where governments need to Seal the Deal on a new climate agreement-one that can bring certainty to the carbon markets, one that can unleash transformative investments in lean and clean green tech,” he added.

Green Energy Costs Coming Down — Solar Costs Set to Fall 43%

The investment surge of recent years and softened commodity markets have started to ease supply chain bottlenecks, especially in the wind and solar sectors, which will cause prices to fall towards marginal costs and several players to consolidate. The price of solar PV modules, for example, is predicted to fall by over 43% in 2009.

Carbon Markets Continue Upward

Despite the turmoil in the world’s financial markets, transaction value in the global carbon market grew 87% during 2008, reaching a total of $120 billion. Following the lead of the EU and Kyoto compliance markets, several countries are now putting in place a system of interlinked carbon markets and working towards a global scheme under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Growth Shifts to the Developing World

On a regional basis, investment in Europe in 2008 was $49.7 billion, a rise of 2%, and in North America was $30.1 billion, a fall of 8%.

These regions experienced a slow-down in the financing of new renewable energy projects due to the lack of project finance and the fact that tax credit-driven markets are mostly ineffective in a downturn. With developed country market growth stalled (down 1.7%), developing countries surged forward 27% over 2007 to $36.6 billion, accounting for nearly one third of global investments.

China led new investment in Asia, with an 18% increase over 2007 to $15.6 billion, mostly in new wind projects, and some biomass plants. Investment in India grew 12% to $4.1 billion in 2008. Brazil accounted for almost all renewable energy investment in Latin America in 2008, with ethanol receiving $10.8 billion, up 76% from 2007. Africa achieved a modest increase by comparison, with investments up 10% to approximately $1.1 billion.

The Greening of Economic Stimulus Packages

Not surprisingly given market conditions, private sector investment was stalling in late 2008 but government investment looks ready to take up some of the slack in 2009. Sustainable energy investments are a core part of key government fiscal stimulus packages announced in recent months, accounting for an estimated $183 billion of commitments to date.

Countries vary significantly in terms of investment and the clarity of their measures. The US and China remain the leaders, each devoting roughly $67 billion, but South Korea’s package is the “greenest” with 20% devoted to clean energy. This green stimuli illustrates the political will of an increasing number of governments for securing future growth through greener economic development.

According to Michael Liebreich, Chairman & CEO of New Energy Finance, “There is a strong case for further measures, such as requiring state-supported banks to raise lending to the sector, providing capital gains tax exemptions on investments in clean technology, creating a framework for Green Bonds and so on, all targeted at getting investment flowing”.

“What’s most important is that stimulus funds start flowing immediately, not in a year or so. Many of the policies to achieve growth over the medium term are already in place, including feed-in tariff regimes, mandatory renewable energy targets and tax incentives. There is too much emphasis amongst some policy-makers on support mechanisms, and not enough on the urgent needs of investors right now.”

Between 2009 and 2011 UNEP estimates that a minimum of $750 billion – or 37% of current economic stimulus packages and 1% of global GDP – is needed to finance a sustainable economic recovery by investing in the greening of five key sectors of the global economy: buildings, energy, transport, agriculture and water.

2009 and beyond: Climate change, energy security and green jobs

New investments in the first quarter of 2009 fell by 53% to $13.3 billion compared to the same period in 2008, reflecting the depth of the global financial crisis, according to the report, which notes “‘green-shoots’ of recovery during the second quarter of 2009, but the sector has a long way to go this year to reach the investment levels of late 2007 and early 2008.”

Climate change, economic recovery and energy security will spur far greater investments in coming years.

In particular, the growing understanding that global carbon emissions (CO2) must peakaround 2015 to avoid dangerous climate change (based on the 4th assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change– UNEP/World Meteorological Organisation) will make clean energy investments national priorities.

Annual investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage need to reach half a trillion dollars by 2020, representing an average investment of 0.44% of GDP.

These levels of investment are not impossible to achieve, especially in view of the recent four year growth from $35 billion to $155 billion. However, reaching them will require a further scale-up of societal commitments to a more sustainable, low-carbon energy paradigm.

With the current stimulus packages now in play and a hoped-for Copenhagen climate deal in December, the opportunity to meet this challenge is greater than ever, even seen from the depths of an economic downturn.

Says Michael Ahearn, President of US-based First Solar: “This report highlights the continuing importance of government leadership to ensure that renewable energies, including solar, achieve their potential in weaning us off fossil fuels and addressing climate change.”

See also: Investment in Clean Energy Exceeded Fossil Fuel Investment in 2008

Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009 — Sector Hi-lites

Wind

Wind attracted the highest new investment ($51.8 billion, 1% growth on 2007), confirming its status as the most mature and best-established sustainable generation technology. Wind’s leading position continues to be driven by asset finance, as new generation capacity is added worldwide, particularly in China and the US.

Solar

Solar continues to be the fastest-growing sector for new investment ($33.5 billion, 49% growth on 2007), with compound annual growth of 70% between 2006 and 2008. Solar’s growth reflects the easing of the silicon bottleneck and falling costs, which are expected to decline 43% in 2009. Solar project financing underwent the most dramatic growth in 2008, rising 71% to $22.1 billion.

Biofuels

Investment in biofuels fell 9% in 2008 down to $16.9 billion. Although the technology is well established, particularly in Brazil, it has suffered for the past two years from over-investment in early 2007, followed by a fall from grace caused by a combination of high wheat prices, lower oil prices and an increasingly heated food-versus-fuel controversy. Biofuels technology investment is now focused on finding second-generation / non-food biofuels (such as algae, crop technologies and jatropha): the second half of 2008 saw next-generation technology investment exceed first-generation for the first time.

Geothermal

Geothermal was the highest growth sector for investment in 2008, with investment up 149% and 1.3 GW of new capacity installed. The competitive cost of electricity from geothermal sources and long output lifetimes have made this an attractive investment despite the high initial capital cost.

Energy Efficiency

New private investment in energy efficiency was $1.8 billion – a fall of 33% on 2007 – although this figure doesn’t capture the investments made by corporates, governments and public financing institutions.

The energy efficiency sector recorded the second highest levels of venture capital and private equity investment (after solar), which will help companies develop the next generation of sustainable energy technologies for areas such as the smart grid. Energy efficiency also attracted more than 33% of the estimated $180 billion in green stimulus measures.

Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009 — Regional Hi-lites

Europe

Europe continues to dominate sustainable energy new investment with $49.7 billion in 2008, an increase of 2% on 2007 (37% CAGR from 2006-2008).This investment is underpinned by government policies supporting new sustainable energy projects, particularly in countries such as Spain, which saw $17.4 billion of asset finance investment in 2008.

North America

New investment in sustainable energy in North America was $30.1 billion in 2008, a fall of 8% compared to 2007 (15% CAGR from 2006-2008). The US saw a slow-down in asset financing following the glut of investment in corn based ethanol in 2007. Also, the number of tax equity providers fell for wind and solar projects due to the financial crisis.

Africa

South Africa — Feed-in Tariffs Kick Start Green Investment

On 31 March 2009, South Africa announced ‘feed-in’ tariffs that guarantee a stable rate-of-return for renewable energy projects. South Africa is hoping to spur the sort of investment spurred in Germany and Denmark through feed-in tariff schemes.

Sub-Saharan Africa — Geothermal Kenya & Sweet Sorghum Ethanol

Elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, lack of finance is the principal barrier to sustainable energy roll-out. However, some notable progress was made in 2008.

In Kenya, a number of investments are underway; including the continents first privately financed geothermal plant and a 300MW wind farm planned for construction near Lake Turkana.

In Ethiopia, French wind turbine manufacturer Vergnet signed a EUR 210 million supply contract in October 2008 with the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation for the supply and installation of 120 one MW turbines.

In Angola, Brazilian industrial conglomerate Odebrecht set up an Angolan sugar cane processing plant and plans to steer its production from ethanol to sugar when it comes online late next year. UK-based Cams Group announced plans for a 240 million liter per year sweet sorghum ethanol facility in Tanzania.

North Africa — Sun and Wind

Renewable energy in North Africa remains focused on Morroco, Tunisia and Egypt, particularly in solar and wind. Egypt recently announced its expectation that wind farms in the Saidi area will produce 20% of the country’s energy needs by 2020. Morocco’s government has also outlined plans to meet 10% of its power needs with renewable energy sources.

Asia

China – Asia’s Green Energy Giant

By 2008, China was the world’s second largest wind market by newly installed capacity and the fourth largest by overall installed capacity. Between 5GW and 6.5GW of new capacity was installed and commissioned in 2008, bringing total capacity to 11GW to 12.5GW.

China became the world’s largest PV manufacturer in 2008, with 95% of its production for the export market.

Some 800MW of biomass power was added in 2008, bringing the total installed capacity for agriculture waste-fired power plants up to 2.88GW. Development of biofuels has all but ground to a halt, mostly due to high feedstock costs.

India – Pressing Need for Grid Improvements and Clean Power Generation

In 2008 the largest portion of new investment in India went to the wind sector, growing 17% — from $2.2 billion to $2.6. Thanks to a supportive policy environment, solar investment grew from $18 million in 2007 to $347 million in 2008, most of which went to setting up module and cell manufacturing facilities.

Small hydro investment in India grew nearly fourfold to $543 million in 2008, while biofuels investment stalled and fell from $251 million in 2007 to only $49 million in 2008.

Japan – A New Push for Sustainable Energy

In December 2008, Japan unveiled a new $9 billion subsidy package for solar roofs, granting JPY 70,000 ($785)/kW for rooftop PV installation. For the first time in three years, domestic shipments of solar cells rose between April to September (up 6%), indicating a fundamental change in domestic solar demand.

Geothermal also seems to be reawakening in Japan, after a twenty-year lull. In January 2009, plans for a 60MW geothermal plant were announced.

Australia – Geothermal and Wind Gaining Support

The Australian government has set up a A$500m ($436 million) Renewable Energy Fund to accelerate the roll-out of sustainable energy in the country. A$50 million has already been committed to helping geothermal developers meet the high up-front costs of exploration and drilling.

Geothermal is expected to provide about 7% of the country’s baseload power by 2030.

Wind will also benefit from Australia’s new push for sustainable energy, and is expected to provide most of the 20% renewable energy by 2020 target.

Other Asian Countries — Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia

In late 2008, the Philippine government signed a new Renewable Energy Law, offering specific incentives (mainly tax breaks) for renewable generation — a first for Southeast Asia and perhaps a model for other countries. Thailand and Malaysia have been talking about introducing renewable energy legislation for some time; and other countries are planning biofuel blending mandates, similar to those introduced by the Philippines in 2007 and subsequently by Thailand.

Latin America

Brazil – World’s Largest Renewable Energy Market

About 46% of Brazil’s energy comes from renewable sources, and 85% of its power generation capacity thanks to its enormous hydropower resources and long-established bioethanol industry.

Some 90% of Brazil’s new cars run on both ethanol and petrol (all of which is blended with around 25% ethanol). By the end of 2008, ethanol accounted for more than 52% of fuel consumption by light vehicles.

Brazil is now moving into wind. The government has announced a wind-specific auction to take place in mid-2009, for the sale of approximately 1GW of wind energy per year.

Brazil also has a global leader in renewable energy financing. In 2008 the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) was the largest provider globally of project finance to renewable energy projects.

Chile, Peru, Mexico and the rest of Latin America

Brazil accounted for more than 90% of new investment in Latin American, but several other countries are looking to implement regulatory frameworks supportive of renewable energy.

Chile’s recently approved Renewable Energy Legislation is responsible for regulating the country’s renewable energy sector, where small hydro, wind and geothermal projects have become increasingly attractive for investors. It requires electricity generators of more than 200MW to source 10% of their energy mix from renewables.

In 2008 Peru introduced legislation that requires 5% of electricity produced in the country to be derived from renewable sources over the next five years, including financial incentives such as preferential feed-in-tariffs and 20-year PPAs for project developers.

Mexico has a non-mandatory target to source 8% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2012. However a new national energy plan expected at the end of June 2009 is expected to double that target.

For original article click here.

Source: ScienceDaily 07.06.2009

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Emerging Markets in the global crisis and beyond- May 2009- DeutscheBank

download: Emerging Markets in the global crisis and beyond – May 2009-DB

Source: DB 05.05.2009

Filed under: Argentina, Asia, Banking, Brazil, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Latin America, Library, Malaysia, Mexico, Risk Management, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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