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

Avaloq positioned as a ‘Leader’ in Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking

The Avaloq group, a leader in integrated and comprehensive banking solutions, is proud to announce it has been positioned in the ‘Leaders’ quadrant by Gartner in the recently released ‘Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking (IRCB) 2013’ report. Avaloq sees this as recognition of its strong community work and ability to deliver a full-service BPO option to its customers.

For Avaloq being positioned in the Magic Quadrant is a confirmation of its success in the retail segment and its market vision. “We are convinced that our unique community including client banks, universities, associations and partners gives us that extra edge by gaining important market knowledge. The feedback coupled with our own vision and insights from our BPO centres ensure that we stay ahead of trends and develop product capabilities accordingly”, says Francisco Fernandez, CEO of Avaloq. Pascal Foehn, Head of Marketing and Sales HQ Avaloq, adds: “After having been named ‘best selling private banking solution in the world’ by IBS, we are proud of Gartner’s recognition as a leader that is able to address present and future needs of retail banks.”

In the report, Gartner positioned vendors based on two parameters: ‘completeness of vision’ and ‘ability to execute’. To be included in the IRCB 2013 report vendors had to demonstrate market traction and momentum as well as product capabilities in international retail core banking.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant on international retail core banking (IRCB) software assesses vendors on the multi-currency products they offer in support of the bank’s financial transaction management in the retail banking market. Avaloq provides a fully integrated front to back banking solution and has a worldwide customer base of more than 100 banks, including tier one banks in the most demanding financial centres.

¹Gartner, Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking, Don Free, Ethan Wong, October 8, 2013.

Source: Avaloq, 17.10.2013

Filed under: Banking, News, Wealth Management, , , ,

Private banking in China finally taking hold

Considered one of the best retail banks in China, China Merchant Bank (CMB) has started their private banking business in 2007. At the end of 2012, CMB’s pre-tax profit from their private banking business reached 2.3 billion yuan. Other major banks in China have similarly increased their wealth management profit since 2010, when growth of the market really accelerated.

ICBC and BOC still have the largest private banking AUM among the top 5 while CMB has the most private banking centers to serve its HNWI customers. The high net worth customer segment (over 10M RMB in investable assets) is growing at 18% growth rate and reached to 700,000 by the end of 2012. It seems that banks have finally cracked the code and wealth management is set to grow in China.

Potential of private banking

Up coming Webinar on Banking and Risk Management in China on August 7th, 2013.

Source: KapronAsia, 18.07.2013

Filed under: Banking, China, Wealth Management, , , , , , ,

Avaloq announces going live of Avaloq Banking System at Moroccan investment bank CFG Group

The Avaloq Group, the international reference for integrated and comprehensive banking solutions, together with its partner Orbium, announces the launch of the Avaloq Banking System at CFG Group in Morocco. Twenty months after choosing this innovative solution, the bank draws positive conclusions regarding the implementation.

CFG Group has chosen all modules of Avaloq’s universal front-to-back banking platform, which ensures in particular the seamless integration of the securities modules with the cash modules. “Avaloq’s excellence in private banking as well as numerous references from its community dispelled any doubts we might have had about our choice. Moreover, we had already tried out the solution’s adaptability that enables us to customise and develop new operational business models. This further confirmed that we made the right decision”, says Younès Benjelloun, CEO of the CFG Group.

Based in Casablanca, CFG Group is an independent investment bank providing the full spectrum of investment banking services: corporate financing, capital market transactions, portfolio management, and venture capital. It aims to offer a wide range of value-added services to its private clients.

This demanding project was managed by Avaloq’s Premium Implementation Partner Orbium and brought about a genuine revolution within the bank. CFG Group replaced every IT system across all its business processes with the Avaloq Banking System, from accounting to finance operations, payment transactions, credits and the entire securities value chain, one of Avaloq’s areas of special expertise. All online stock exchange transactions are processed via the e-banking platform “e-services” by Avaloq’s partner Swisscom IT Services.

In addition, the implementation of the multi-entity capable Avaloq platform has enabled reorganisation measures at CFG Group by consolidating banking activities and distribution services for private clients within the CFG Group bank.

Source, Avaloq 10.07.2013

Filed under: Banking, Wealth Management, , , , , ,

Latin America: Investors News Letter 18 April 2013

MEXICO

Mexico Peso Declines as U.S. Earnings Crimp Outlook for Exports

Mexico says Nestle to sell Pfizer baby food business

MEXICO CITY – Swiss food giant Nestle will sell the assets of U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s baby food business in Mexico, a business it acquired globally in an $11.85 billion deal last year, Mexico’s competition watchdog said on Monday.

Analysis: Mexico’s smaller homebuilders set to gain as top three struggle

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s top three homebuilders, facing heavy debt burdens and holding land where Mexicans no longer want to live, will sell fewer homes this year, leaving a market wide open for smaller rivals or even private equity funds to snap up business.

Mexican manufacturing: from sweatshops to high-tech motors

SILAO, Mexico – Made in Mexico is increasingly more likely to mean cars than clothes as the country’s manufacturing sector moves away from the low-skill, high-volume production lines of the past toward more sophisticated products.

VIP Interview: Enrique Peña Nieto, forging the future

Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, on a new spirit of democracy and cooperation, and the economic future of Mexico.

BRAZIL

Itau Bet on Stocks Outside Brazil Leads Latin America Funds

QItau Unibanco Holding SA has found a winning strategy for the Itau Latam Pacific mutual fund: avoiding shares from the bank’s home country, Brazil.

 Brazil’s Votorantim Cimentos files for $5.4 billion IPO

Votorantim Cimentos S.A., Brazil’s biggest cement producer, on Wednesday filed with regulators to raise up to $5.4 billion in an initial public offering of its units.

Brazil clears Pão de Açúcar’s appliance stores deal

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO – Grupo Pão de Açúcar SA , Brazil’s biggest retailer, won regulatory approval on Wednesday for its 2009 purchase of the Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio appliance chains in exchange for selling less than 8 percent of their store fronts.

Brazil Indian-farmer standoff intensifies, tribes storm Congress

BRASILIA – Brazilian Indians are trying to derail a congressional proposal to change the way indigenous lands are recognized, intensifying a standoff between the powerful farm sector and a carefully protected minority by literally storming the floor of Congress.

Special Report: Rough justice as Brazil tries to right past wrongs to Indians

MARAIWATSEDE, Brazil – Damião Paridzané was nine years old in 1966 when the Brazilian Air Force loaded him and hundreds of other Xavante Indians onto a cargo plane. | Video

UK-based TMO Renewables building cellulosic fuel plant in Brazil

SAO PAULO – UK-based TMO Renewables said on Friday it plans to build Brazil’s first commercially viable second-generation ethanol plant, betting on the South American country’s need for non-food-based biofuels.

Brazil’s Embraer looks to shock Lockheed with price of cargo jet

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is looking to shock rivals with the price of its KC-390 military transport plane when it starts booking firm orders within the next 12 months, according to a senior executive.

Higher volumes and more investment for Brazilian railfreight
INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY JOURNAL – Despite a slowdown in economic growth, Brazil’s freight railways invested nearly Reais 4.9bn ($US 2.4bn) in new infrastructure and equipment last year, a 6.6% increase over 2011,

LATIN AMERICA

British Firms Explore Trade Opportunities in Mexico and Colombia

A four-day trade mission to Mexico and Colombia by medium-sized British businesses took place in March, focusing on high value opportunities in key sectors.

Jamaica’s decades of debt are damaging its future

The latest IMF loan does not ‘rescue’ Jamaica, whose debt must be written off if its people are to take control of their economy

 The Logistics Hub Project and Jamaica’s Development
An ideal location midway between North and South America, in close proximity to the Panama Canal contributes to this advantage. The Panama Canal will be widened by 2015 to accommodate wider ships and Jamaica hopes to capitalise on this by expanding its port facility and affiliated infrastructure spread over four south coast parishes: namely Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon and St Thomas. An IDB (2010) study on the productivity of the LAC region concluded that “ports and airports are grossly inefficient.

Latin America’s top port faces logistical woes
Santos’ cargo handling volumes made a strong start to 2013, with the port hitting a record high of 7.9 MM tons, up 27 percent year-on-year, according to Santos’ Port Authority CODESP. If the trend continues, the port is expected to close 2013 with total cargo traffic of 109 MM tons, up from 104 MM last year and 97 MM in 2011. But a record soybean harvest this year has clearly overwhelmed its storage and loading capacity. “It seems that our infrastructure can’t cope with the growth in grain production,” said Sergio Mendes, executive director of the Brazilian Cereal Exporters Association (ANEC). Last month, the logistical nightmare reached epic proportions, with a 64-kilometer traffic jam of trucks waiting to unload their soybean cargo outside Santos port. And the port congestion and resulting shipment delays led Sunrise Group, China’s largest soybean importer, to cancel an order to buy 2 MM metric tons of Brazilian soybean.

Latin America’s Largest PV Projects

As of April 1, 2013, 9.8 gigawatts of large-scale PV projects had been announced in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, the generating capacity of projects in operation is just 114 megawatts. Of the 9.8 gigawatts’ worth of announced projects, 731 megawatts have signed off-take agreements of some sort (power purchase agreements, feed-in tariff contracts, etc.) and a further 168 megawatts are under construction. These large numbers have generated a lot of hype for various Latin American markets, in particular, for Chile, Mexico, and Brazil.

Filed under: Banking, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investors News Letter 31 March 2013

Brazil

Brazil’s Mantiq To Raise Money Abroad For Infrastructure Fund
Mantiq, which was spun off from Banco Santander Brasil SA (BSBR, SANB4.BR) last year, currently manages three private equity funds with total investments of about 2.5 billion Brazilian reais ($1.27 billion). In addition to a fund that invests in the oil and gas industry supply chain, and another that invests in renewable energy and other environmentally sensitive technologies

Brazil to help banks bolster infrastructure financing-official
The Brazilian government is considering measures to help private banks finance the massive infrastructure projects that are key to reviving Latin America’s largest economy.

Strike Shuts Down 36 Brazilian Ports

Central America

Logistics and Transport: A Long Road to Travel in Central America

Why is it more expensive shipping tomatoes from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua in Nicaragua than it is to San Jose, California, which is 10 times the distance? According to Google, the distance between the Costa Rican capital and Managua is 430 kilometers, whereas 5,400 kilometers separate San Jose from the Californian city.

Barletta: 2013 should be a good year for logistics development
Panama is one of the rising stars of Latin America’s economy. The construction of large infrastructure projects, such as the $5.2 billion Panama Canal expansion and a $1.8 billion subway in the capital city, have boosted the country’s economy to 10.5% growth and reduced unemployment to 4.8% in 2012.

Jamaica ahead in race to be logistics hub of the Americas
The race to be the logistics hub of the Americas has already begun with the addition of Jamaica that has revealed its intention to position the island as the rival of Singapore. A similar situation is raking place with the Dominican Republic, while in Panama there is still a debate on the need for a long-term strategy that includes where to locate logistics parks.

Filed under: Banking, Brazil, Central America, Energy & Environment, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investors News Letter 14 March 2013

Top Ranking Banks in Latin America
After a decade of unusual success, the LatAm banking sector has slowed its growth
The year 2011 closed with disturbing news. Banco Santander decided to sell its subsidiary in Colombia, which finally Chile’s Corp Group bought for US$1.225 million. At the time, the chairman of Santander, Emilio Botin, said the measure was taken to “strengthen the balance sheet” of the crestfallen Spanish giants. As he explained, “Our market share in commercial banking in Colombia is far from the 10% which we aspired to get in the markets where we operate.” …

LatAm Hedge Fund Experts Weigh In
On the Current Political and Economic Context
Though 2011 and 2012 have been strong years for LatAm hedge funds, particularly relative to other regions, the political and Workings macroeconomic context in which local managers are investing has been fraught with complicated developments.  For instance, the slowdown in China has affected commodities markets, the lifeblood of many of the region …

Investors Ditch Brazil For Mexico, Colombia

Gramercy Adds to Latin America Private Equity Investment Team

IFC Invests $100M in Energy for Caribbean, Latin America

Brazil

2013 Oil & Gas Industry Perspectives  Brazil
Brazil is heralded as the largest and most significant new oil and gas prospect of the last few decades. However, there is still a long way to go to realize the promise of a new non-OPEC stable source of supply in the top 5 world oil producers by 2020. Progress toward this ambitious target has been slow in the last year, as project development, execution and political risks have taken their toll …

Brazil Real Drops on Speculation Credit Rating May Be Lowered

First meetings on Guyana-Brazil infrastructure project begins

Paraná green lights process to start Paranaguá port infrastructure works in Brazil

ETF investors avoid Brazil

Brazil Seeks Recipe to Attract Investors at Lower Cost

Brazil May Be Next Health-Care Frontier for Global Investors

Troubled Brazil fund Laep to sell 40 mln new shares-filing

BTG Pactual shuts macro hedge fund to new money

Argentina

Argentina Is Replaying Another Inflationary Collapse

Mining investment in Argentina grows 72% despite risky business climate

Fernandez Angers Investors While Ducking Argentine Austerity

Colombia

Foreign direct investment in Colombia seen down in 2013

Chile

Top LatAm selector on working Chile’s red tape

Banchile builds with Fidessa’s sell-side trading platform and connectivity network

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Constructing $96M Oil Terminal

Peru
Peru announces major upgrade to Lima’s water infrastructure

Peru’s Private Pension Funds Want Higher External Investment Limit

Qatar “looks favorably upon” investment-friendly Peru

Peru’s Private Pension Funds Want Higher External Investment Limit

Velarde Says Peru May Allow Pension Funds to Invest More Abroa

Venezuela

Venezuela to Create New Parallel Exchange Rate, Ramirez Says

Venezuela will establish a new parallel exchange rate as it seeks to crack down on a black market in which the dollar is worth about four times more than the official rate, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

Filed under: Argentina, Banking, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – February 2013

After a long Tet holiday, rumors about financial policy changes and further arrests of top bank leaders emerged and eroded all the stock market’s gains from the beginning of February. Consequently,  the VN-Index closed the month with a 0.52% loss, whilst HNX shed 1.05%. With a 3.05% fall, the VN30 seemed to be even more sensitive to the panic.
 
Inflation subdued in the month of Tet
Thanks to the phasing out of pharmaceutical products price increases, inflation slowed somewhat in February as the consumer price index climbed 7.02 percent YoY (versus 7.07 percent YoY in January). The concerns about the “traditional” consumer price hikes during the Tet holiday did not materialize, partly due to weaker festive demand than usual. The government also decided not to raise retail prices of petroleum products including gasoline to ensure economic stability and keep inflation under control. However,  Ministry of Finance did not provide the information on price stabilization fund balance for petroleum products, so it remains unclear on how the gasoline price control will transpire in the coming time.
 
Trade surplus continued, foreign reserves given a boost
According to GSO, the trade balance in February continued to show a surplus, reaching USD900mn, the highest monthly level ever and the ninth month of surplus in a row. With this result, following the USD700mn in Jan, the YTD trade surplus is now around USD1.6bn, a comfortable level which should lend healthy support to the already strong foreign reserve (by Vietnam standard) and consequently the value of the Dong. However, exchange rate showed unexpected volatility in the first two weeks after Tet, possibly due to brisk actions in the gold market and the upsetting rumours. To comfort the market, a Central bank spokesman has stated that no depreciation is being planned for the foreseeable future.
 
Newly released NPLs figure eased concerns on banking system reform.
While the Prime Minister requested to establish the AMC in 1Q 2013, the new NPLs figure released by the Governor was encouraging. Accordingly, bad debt on banking system has come down from 8% in June 2012 to 6% as banks wrote off non-performing loan balance at the end of last year. As the Government set credit growth target of 12% in 2013 to boost economic growth and implement the “dual-targets”, the destination for credit flow is still at stagnation point. Whilst total liquidity (M2) increased 3.31% YTD, the credit growth up to 21 Feb was till in negative territory at – 0.16% YTD.
 
Business environment still appears challenging
In line with stagnation on the supply side, demand remained weak with retail sales increasing only 3.6% in Jan-Feb period, which is not different from Dec 2012′s level. While the inventory level hiked 19.9% Y-o-Y, industrial production showed no improvement. In a related note, the government released that by February, the number of enterprises going out of business was 8,600, which exceeded the figure of 8,000 newly created enterprises, implying the fact that the business environment is still very difficult.
 
A bumpy recovery progress reflected by a drop in the PMI.
After adjusting for seasonal factors, including the Tet holidays, the HSBC Vietnam Manufacturing PMI posted 48.3 in February, down from 50.1 in January. This has been the largest dip since last August. Notably, in February, the survey showed a first drop in four months of manufacturing output; a decline in the level of new order received and a sixth time in seven months increase in average input prices.
 
Our ViewAfter a long Tet holiday, the stock market was hit by negative rumors about possible currency devaluation, financial policy changes and further arrests of banking officials. Although these rumours were addressed and corrected in a timely manner by the relevant authorities, the stock market and economy in general showed its uncertainty and vulnerability. In 2013, the story will be mainly about boosting production and restructuring the economy. Fortunately, Vietnam’s leaders’ determination is supported by a relatively stable currency and a healthy trade balance.
We remain cautious and will carefully watch development in the political space and changes in macro economy as that will definitely affect the stock market. We are generally comfortable with our equity position but may look to selectively acquire more stocks if the macro environment becomes more favourable.

Filed under: Banking, News, Risk Management, Vietnam, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , ,

Avaloq the Swiss Wealth Management Solution provider opens office in Australia

The Avaloq Group, the international reference for integrated and comprehensive banking solutions, is pleased to announce the opening of its first branch office in Australia.

As part of its continuous internationalisation strategy and aim to extend its presence in the most demanding financial markets globally, Avaloq has opened an office in Australia end of last year. The expansion to Australia – a new continent for Avaloq – comes after the company successfully established local offices in various regions in recent years.

Avaloq signed its first customer on the Australian continent – one of the reasons why the company decided to further extend its international presence and open a branch in Sydney. The Australian market bears a great potential for wealth management platforms such as the Avaloq Banking System. The fully integrated solution offers the entire field of investment products and additionally covers local tax and superannuation requirements. Combined with a team of experts, equipped with substantial know-how and experience regarding the Australian financial market, Avaloq significantly improves its local position.

“Opening an office in Australia is yet another important step in our internationalisation strategy and an additional milestone in Avaloq’s remarkable company history. Building up a local presence in the most demanding financial centres worldwide ensures that we are close to the markets and companies we work with. This allows us to cater towards our client’s needs and requirements without having to work around different time zones”, says a delighted Francisco Fernandez, CEO Avaloq. “The Australian market has immense potential, with demand for wealth management platforms increasing. Being present in Australia is the logical move for the company”, Fernandez continues.

The new Avaloq branch in Australia will significantly profit from the vast experience of the regional headquarters in Singapore, which was established in 2007. The Singapore branch has seen strong expansion in recent years under the management of Martin Frick, Managing Director Asia Pacific.

Source: Avaloq, 12.02.2013

Filed under: Australia, Banking, Singapore, Wealth Management, , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – December 2012

Improved economic conditions somewhat buoyed the stock market in the last month of the year as all three indices moved up
The VN-index closed at 413.7, gaining 11.23% while VN30 closed at 485.4, picking up 9.42%. HNX was the best performer of three indices, increasing 11.83% to close the month at 57.09.
 
Macro indicators showed joyful December
Market confidence was regained thanks to better-than-expected CPI, trade balance, interest rates cut and detail implementation of the Government on spurring the economy. For the first time in four months CPI slowed in December, with consumer prices rising 6.81% from a year earlier after climbing 7.08% Y-o-Y in November. Consequently, the State Bank cut benchmark interest rates for a sixth time to help companies cope with difficulties in production and business. The trade balance posted a first year of surplus (of US$284mn) since 1993. Despite a gloomy year, FDI disbursement reached USD10.5bn, dropping a marginal 5% YoY. As a result, foreign reserves are significantly improved, reaching US$24 billion, equivalent to 12 weeks of import. The Dong remains unchanged.
 
However, stability was achieved at the cost of growth
Vietnam’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in 13 years in 2012 as a slump in bank lending dampened domestic demand. GDP grew 5.03%, down from 5.89% in 2011, and the lowest since 1999. Bad debt and the gloomy business environment hampered credit growth, which ended 2012 at 6.45% YoY while total liquidity growth and deposit growth were 19.85% and 20.29% YoY, respectively.As the lenders’ liquidity position becomes comfortable and full-year inflation was a lower-than-expected 6.81%, the central bank decided to cut all policy rates and deposit cap rate by 1%, effective on December 24, in an attempt to make banks lend more. But as the real interest rate is still positive, some are speculating on another rate cut, even as the World Bank warned against easing too soon.
On the other front, the HSBC’s Vietnam PMI index fell back to deterioration in December, down to 49.3 from 50.5 last month, as a result of reduction in order inflows, disinvestment of inventory holdings and stagnating production volumes.
 
Government details its determination to spur the economy
To spur the economy and resolve the financial system, the Government started implementing a detailed action plan. Businesses may enjoy lower corporate income tax rate in 2013, i.e. 23% for large enterprises and 20% for SMEs (down from 25% earlier); real estate will receive more support based on a newly approved proposal by MoF, which includes a 50% VAT reduction, 2-year extension on the deadline of land use fees payment and the establishment of AMC aiming to solve rising NPLs. Moreover, USD300mn from Asian Development Bank in a 25-year loan package will help to restructure SOEs in 2013.
 
Authority changes rules to push the capital market
On the capital market, SSC submitted its proposal in support of the stock market to the Ministry, in which key measures might include tax incentives, allowing to issue stocks below par, increasing margin ratio and trading band and most importantly, increasing foreign ownership limit. Otherwise, SBV governor also announced that they are working on revising the Decree 69/2007, wherein special cases, i.e for restructuring commercial banks, the foreign ownership ratio might be allowed to exceed 30%. Since 10th January, the number of gold bar shops will decline from 8,000 to 2,400 including around 900 in Ho Chi Minh City and 400 in Hanoi, after SBV completes the licensing procedures. 
 
Our ViewOn the background of good macro economic indicators coming out in December and improved investor sentiments after seeing the Government’s determination to spur the economy being detailed into action plans, the stock market had a good run in the last month of 2012. We are cautiously optimistic and have started to mobilize cash into Vietnam Dong to be ready for deployment toward increasing equity level for the Fund. We are keen to buy stocks of strong companies with sound cash flow and healthy balance sheets in fundamental industries such as consumers and materials.

Filed under: Banking, Exchanges, News, Risk Management, Services, Vietnam, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investor News Letter 17 November 2012

Mexico

Slim Acquires Controlling Stake in Real Oviedo, El Pais Reports

Billionaire Carlos Slim agreed to invest 2 million euros ($2.5 million) to acquire a controlling stake in Spain’s soccer team Real Oviedo, newspaper El Pais reported today.

Mexico lawmaker introduces bill to legalize marijuana
Sherwin-Williams to buy Mexico’s Comex for $2.34 billion
Mexico Third-Quarter GDP Rose at Slowest Pace in Over Year
Cemex Latam Falls in Bogota After $1.14 Billion Initial Sale
Mexican banks invest domestically
Mexico: Investors’ New China
TransCanada to build, operate Mexican natural gas pipeline; will invest US$1B

 

Brazil

Top names drop off list of Thyssen Americas bidders

FRANKFURT – Several top steelmakers are sitting out ThyssenKrupp’s auction of its U.S. and Brazilian mills and there appears little interest in the latter, suggesting the German firm may fall well short of its $9 billion asking price.

Eletrobras to take over bankrupt Brazil power utility
Cuba opens sugar sector to foreign management
Microsoft’s investment in Brazil to spur Rio research boom-execs
Telecom Italia looking at GVT, other opportunities
Wuhan Steel shelves plans to build Brazil mill
A new wave of Brazilian infrastructure investment
Brazil’s Itaqui port plans $3.2 billion upgrade
Rio Olympics, World Cup at risk with royalty bill, governor warns

 

Latin America

Paving the Way  High-­Tech Financial Infrastructure Hits LatAm

Foreign market leaders such as Fidessa, Direct Edge and Navatar are challenging local providers in the race to meet the booming region’s needs. The growth in size and sophistication of LatAm capital markets has both fueled and been fueled by the implementation of high-tech financial infrastructure in the region, as the hardware and software that have  been the foundation …

 Latin American yields fall further in a warning to bond investors
Impoverished Iberians, booming Latin America eye new relations
Africa and Latin America Still Fight Vulture Funds
More LatAm ETFs Your Broker Forgot to Mention
UN asks LatAm firms to grow with social responsibility
Private Equity Lures Pensioners as Bond Yields Sink
Argentina’s Debt Restructuring Argument Could Be Very Significant For The Global Economy
Argentina’s YPF 3rd-Quarter Profit Down 51% on Year at $159 Million
Bolivia Returns to the Global Bond Market
Chile pension fund-ordered estimate lowers Endesa Latam asset value
Chilean regulator to put new limits on pension fund investments
Germany’s Solarstrom enters Latin America with 2MW in Chile
Colombia opens criminal probe into Interbolsa collapse
Colombia’s Interbolsa brokerage to be liquidated
Public-Private Partnerships in Colombia: Scaling-up Results
Paraguay, Worst LatAm Economic Result of 2012
Peru May Invest About $5.2 Billion in Water, Wastewater Projects
Aeropuertos del Peru mulling over opportunities in Brazil and Chile
Overseeing Peru’s international appeal at ProInversión

Filed under: Argentina, Banking, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investor News Letter 2 November 2012

MEXICO

Mexico 2013 inflation view steady despite price spike
Credit Suisse Raises $420 Million to Create Mexico Fund
Mexico: Big investment for citrus producers
Indigenous Groups Protest Mexico’s Biggest Wind-Energy Project
FOX BUSINESS – Mexican fishermen and indigenous groups from the southern state of Oaxaca protested Wednesday in front of the Mexico City offices of participants in a wind-energy project that would be one of the largest ever in Latin America, targeting Coca-Cola bottler and convenience-store operator Femsa (FMX), the Inter-American Development Bank and the Danish government, among others.

BRAZIL

The Brazilian Law on Money Laundering
Precautions Investors Must Take when Investing in Brazil. Brazil has recently altered its money laundering law. The new bill has tightened the government’s grip on most of the investment operations and has significantly broadened financial institutions’ and investment brokers’ duties to report suspicious activities …

ThyssenKrupp Brazil mill fined for pollution, could face closure
The long, brutal haul from farm to port in Brazil
Brazil hit by new blackout, infrastructure in spotlight
Brazil Gives Tax Exemption to Foreign Mortgage Investors
Brazil Power Generators Ask to Renew 106 of 123 Concessions

LATIN AMERICA

Private Aviation takes off in Latin America
The growth of private wealth in LatAm has led to a rise in demand for private aircraft and private aviation services. For the region’s mounting numbers of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, a plane can be purely a luxury item, of course; but for increasingly global and mobile professionals and business owners, it meets a demand unsatisfied by local transportation alternatives, as well .

Colombia Regulators Seize Interbolsa Brokerage on Funding

Colombia’s financial regulators seized Interbolsa SA’s brokerage, the country’s largest, after the company said it faces a “temporary” funding shortage.

 Latin America stocks rise on China, U.S. data
20 Latin American in the World’s 200 Richest People
Argentina bonds close lower after S&P downgrade
Argentina Plans Regulatory Overhaul to Spur Investments
Increase in pension fund investments makes for headwinds in Andean market
Colombia Equity Fund targets European countries for distribution
Protests in Peru Scaring Off Mining Investment, Government Responds With Social Programs
Honduran supreme court rejects idea of building independently governed ‘model cities’
CAF and OFIC ink agreement to promote energy efficiency projects in Latin America
Modern airport terminal to be opened in Bogota
IDB approves $200m financing for Latin America hydro plant

Filed under: Argentina, Asia, Banking, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, News, Peru, Risk Management, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alternative Latin Investor: Wealth Management Issue 18

The Alternative Latin Investor Issue #18 is focusing on Wealth Management in Latin America.

Special Issue: Wealth Management

The World’s First Diamond Fund
Lack of Transparency in Colombia: Root Causes
LatAm Wealth Management Overview
Private Aviation Takes Off in Latin America
High-Tech Financial Technology Hits LatAm

…and much more. Regulations,  Tax & Money Laundering, Structured Finance, Political Risks,  Agri Business, Impact Investment, Wine Investment, Infrastructure, Art

Please view and access Issue 18  in the following formats

Virtual Viewer http://www.alternativelatininvestor.com/Issue18-Preview.htm

For more details and information please view http://www.alternativelatininvestor.com

Source: AlternativeLatinInvestor 18.10.2012

Filed under: Argentina, Banking, BM&FBOVESPA, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Islamic Finance, Mexico, News, Services, Trading Technology, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investor News Letter 19.October 2012

Mexico

Elektra to offer No-Fee Banking and Long Term loans to US low income population
Billionaire Ricardo Salinas said he wants to offer no-fee banking deposits and longer-term loans to low-income U.S. consumers, aiming to export his Mexico business model, successful in 8 Latin American countries to the world’s biggest economy.

Mexico’s market shines as reforms, confidence take hold
NYSE Technologies, Bolsa Mexicana and ATG build Mexican trading infrastructure
Slim-backed Mexican firm plans IPO, new cement company
Alsea to invest $110 million in Mexico, Argentina Starbucks cafes
Mexico passes law to combat cartel money laundering

Brazil

Itau Sinks as Rousseff Plan Hurts Bank Profits: Corporate Brazil

Brazil’s push to drive down consumer borrowing costs is eroding the value of its biggest banks.

Brazil wants to restrict strikes in public sector
Monsanto suspends collection of royalties in Brazil following state court ruling
Brazil M&A hits five-year low on turmoil, state intervention
Brazil and South Africa Form Partnership On Future Investment Promotion Initiatives
Brazil’s Water Sector Benefits From Investment Ahead of World Cup, Olympics

Latin America

Cencosud of Chile to Acquire Carrefour Colombia Division

Cencosud SA agreed to buy Carrefour SA’s Colombian unit for 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) as it taps rising consumer spending in Latin America and the world’s second-largest retailer retreats from markets it can’t dominate.

Venezuela/Paraguay rift spoils Brazil’s plans for a ‘normal’ Mercosur summit
Singapore, the fastest growing market for Latin America
CAF Encourages Singapore to Invest in Latin America
Cuba Praises China-Latin America Ties
Latin America can produce double-digit investment returns over next decade
Arab and Latin American leaders agree to investment bank
LatAm’s Largest Solar Power Plant  in Peru receiving 40 MW of Solar PV Modules from China
Arab and LatAm leaders agree to investment bank
Peru central bank could allow more pension funds invested abroad
Latin American Ratings Strong Enough to Weather a Commodity-Cycle Downturn
Latin American gold rush brings riches, conflict
Latin lithium output mired in controversy

Source: Various 19.10.2012

Filed under: Argentina, Banking, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Venezuela, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – September 2012

Markets declined in September
September was characterized by sideways market movements for the VN-Index, with the largest gap between the month’s high and low being approximately only 15 points. Closing the month at 392.57, the index gave up 0.87% for the month. The Hanoi exchange moved quite differently – a near downward trajectory to close the month at 55.47, down 9.7%. The VN30′s performance more closely resembled the VN-Index, with only narrow swings during the month, to close at 456.48, down 1.89% from August.
 
Market reacted to ACB resignations as developments troubled investors
In an unexpected announcement, ACB accepted the resignation of its BOD Chairman and two Vice Chairmen, this month. The resignations were initially claimed to be for personal and health reasons, yet were later announced to be connected to the arrest of ACB’s founder and the former CEO for economic violations (one of which being permission granted for approximately USD 34million to be deposited into competing banks at rates above the stipulated cap). A former BOD member of ACB, now on the Board of Eximbank, also resigned and is also to be prosecuted together with all the resigned ACB executives. Upon the dissemination of this information, the markets dropped, however only temporarily, as the news was widely expected.
 
Credit mobilization vastly exceeds credit growth
Credit growth from January to September 20, of this year, reached only 2.53%, much below the 8-10% target for 2012. While some banks have posted relatively high growth figures, such as BIDV and Military Commercial Jt Stock Bank, whose growth reached 13.5% and 10% respectively in the first 8 months; most of their credit growth however was for commercial bond lending. Removing commercial bond lending, loans outstanding to institutions and individuals decreased. In another example, VCB grew their credit 7.2% in the first 8 months, however savings growth was 13%. In efforts to ensure liquidity and being bound by the 9% deposit rate cap, many banks have begun to offer 13% interest for 13-month deposit terms. With dong lending rates now ranging between 13-15%, profits will come under pressure.
 
Health care and Education lead September’s CPI increase
In August, YoY inflation continued to abate to 5.04%, this month however, inflation rose to 6.48% YoY. September’s CPI rose 2.2% MoM, the highest MoM increase since May 2011. The increase is largely due to Healthcare, pharmaceutical items (17.02% increase), Education items (10.54% increase), and Transport and Telecoms (3.83%) increases. While Education’s increase was mostly due to seasonal factors, a series of rising petroleum prices played a notable role in the increase of one-off items.
 
GDP in first 9 months grew 4.73% over same period 2011
2012′s GDP growth is now expected to be 5.2%, thus requiring Q4 growth rate of 6.6%  fairly optimistic as Q3 growth was 5.35% and Q4, 2011 growth reached only 5.98%. GDP has however, been steadily improving from Q1 and Q2. Low credit growth, declining exports and slow retail sales, combine to make up slow domestic growth. Export value declined an estimated 5.8% in September, according to GSO; however, import value also dropped 4.4%, bringing the Q3 trade balance to a USD 531 million surplus. Retail revenue growth in September increased 1.08% for the month, improved over the 0.7% growth recorded in August.  For the first 9 months of 2012, nominal retail sales growth was 17% however; it reached only 6.4% in real terms. The Index of Industrial production also showed some signs of improvement, increasing 4.5% on month with increases in the manufacturing index being the largest contributor to the improved index.
   
FDI disbursement level paces 2011′s levels
Vietnam attracted approximately 73% of 2011′s January – September FDI, for a total of USD 9.52 billion. While overall attraction had declined, FDI disbursed reached USD8.1 billion, totaling 98.8% of YoY’s disbursed FDI. The Foreign Investment Agency expects disbursed FDI to reach USD 10 billion by year-end. Strong FDI disbursements have bolstered the FX reserves nearly USD 23 billion and contributed to S&P’s upgraded economic outlook and Fitch Rating’s affirmed B+ status of the dong.
 
Moody’s adjust government bond rating on banking sector weakness
At nearly the month’s end, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Vietnam’s credit rating one notch to B2, with a stable outlook. At cause for the downgrade are the country’s banks and the risk that the government will need to partially recapitalize them given the lack of private sector solutions. The rating agency also downgraded all 8 of the Vietnamese banks it assesses due to deteriorating asset quality and profitability pressure.
 
Our ViewWith uncertainty regarding economic and banking reform still lingering around, we prefer to be conservative at this time, holding high cash and only retaining our core equity holdings; companies which we have high conviction in and believe will stand the test of change.
We take this opportunity to do our homework well, combing the market carefully for resilient companies with little or no debt, strong growth potential, good cash flow and earnest management. Although valuations of certain companies and sectors have become quite attractive, we are not rushing in just yet. Too much change is happening or expected to be happening. So we need a little more certainty before getting back into the market.

Source: VAM Vietnam Asset Management, 15.10.2012

Filed under: Asia, Banking, Exchanges, News, Risk Management, Vietnam, , , , , , , ,

What’s Wrong With The Global Banking System

Robert Mazur, the U.S. Customs special agent who led one of the most successful undercover operations in U.S. law enforcement history, gave us some insight into international money laundering and said the Federal Reserve needs to do more to help.

In the 1980s Mazur spent five years infiltrating the highest circles of Colombia’s drug cartels as a money launderer, transforming more than $34 million in cocaine cash into traceable, paper-trailed bank transactions under the pseudonym Bob L. Musella.

His book, The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel, explains how “Operation C-Chase” led to the indictment of 85 individuals – including several officials affiliated with the then-seventh largest privately-held bank in the world, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)—and the conviction of General Manuel Noriega.

Now he is on a mission to “share information with the public about how this money laundering activity has engulfed the will of the financial institutions of the world.”

Mazur says that “the international community is today doing the same thing that BCCI and their officers were doing 20 years ago”—citing the HSBC money-laundering scandal and the tax havens of the super-rich—and told BI that the problem is much larger than the estimated $2.1 trillion that crime generates each year.

“What [the corrupt bankers at BCCI] did was market flight capital, and they identified it as basically money seeking secrecy from governments,” Mazur said. “Yes it does include the items that the $2.1 trillion identifies but it’s bigger than that because there are times that you take legal money and use it for an illegal purpose, and that money is as big if not bigger than the illegal money.”

He calls the practice “a major moneymaker for the banking world” and cites the Standard Chartered scandal, in which bankers “took $250 billion worth of basically legal money and used techniques to hide from governments the fact that the money was being moved in these otherwise-legal transactions on the behalf of sanctioned nations, including Iran.”

He said the HSBC ruling listed six or seven methods “traditionally used by banks in a big way facilitate relationships with people who want to hide money from governments” and explained that bankers provide these services “to entice these people to bank with them” so that the bank is able to increase their deposits.

Mazur said that banking regulators are “not as focused on the issue of criminal conduct as they are on … making sure that the institution itself stays healthy” so investigations take years and result in a lengthy report.

There’s nothing built in the system to engage criminal investigations up front,” Mazur said.” They always come in a very rusty state after they’ve been played with by the regulators. By then everyone’s built in their plausible deniability and it’s a very difficult task to expect the investigators to then come up with the intent evidence,” which is essential for criminal prosecution.

He added that the current regulatory process ignores the fundamental problem, which is that “there are two brains in a bank—there’s this profit brain that’s motivated by earning money … and then we have a compliance department and their whole agenda has nothing to do with profit, it has to do with identifying risk and minimizing it. But when the compliance and the sales brain meet, upper management sides with sales because that’s their gig too—profits. And there has to be a way to try to begin to change that chemistry of the interaction of the two brains.”

One straightforward ways to do that, according to Mazur, would be to crack down on bankers who solicit shady business—like the ones at HSBC—by putting a few “behind bars for a very long period of time” instead of just giving them a fine.

Another simple way is to require the Federal Reserve to share information about member banks who are in the bulk bank note business. If regulators and prosecutors knew which institutions were moving much larger amounts of money through wire transfers (which the Fed tracks), they would know where to focus investigations or covert-type operations.

“You’re honing down all your information to go after, proactively, the institutions most involved in moving this type of money,” Mazur said. “It’s not complicated but the Federal Reserve doesn’t give that information out freely and that’s something that needs to change.”

He noted that concerned individuals in the military, law enforcement and intelligence community have accessed more of that information in the last 2 years than ever before, but emphasized that more has to be done.

“That’s one of the barriers that’s slowly crumbling, and it’s an important barrier to wind up crumbling, but it’s not completely accessed,” Mazur said.

Filed under: Banking, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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