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

Credit Suisse paper offers qualified bitcoin backing

While it is unlikely to ever truly compete with traditional currencies, bitcoin could, when combined with the traditional finance system, have cost advantages over credit cards and money transfer firms like Western Union, according to a Credit Suisse article.

Bitcoins – Money Without Physical Form 

The article, penned by Jonathan Horlacher, concludes that bitcoin’s biggest advantage – decentralisation – is also its biggest drawback because there is no authority guaranteeing its value, preventing its widespread adoption as a means of payment.

“Nevertheless, bitcoins have a future in certain areas and countries,” says Horlacher, citing its cost advantage over cards and remittance providers as well as an alternative to state-backed currency in countries, such as Argentina and Zimbabwe, where confidence is low.

Ultimately, he asks: “Who do you trust more, your own central bank or an anonymous online network?”

This leaves open the question of central bank-backed virtual currencies; a prospect which has gained traction in recent months. In February, the Bank of England said that the distributed ledger technology that bitcoin relies on “may have considerable promise. This raises the question of whether central banks should themselves make use of such technology to issue digital currencies.”

Last month a senior researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis floated the idea of a government-backed ‘Fedcoin’ that uses a bitcoin-style protocol but the US dollar as the monetary object, combining the best of cryptocurrencies and cash.

And it has since emerged that IBM is taking the issue beyond the hypothetical, holding informal discussions with a number of central banks about the creation of a blockchain-based digital cash and payment system for major currencies.

Source: Finextra, 24.03.2015

Filed under: Banking, Standards, ,

GlobeOne partners InvestaBank and Bankaool to bring M-Banking tech to Mexico

GlobeOne, a new financial technology company, today announced a partnership with InvestaBank and Bankaool that will bring GlobeOne’s mobile banking solution to Mexico later this year.

Through this new partnership, GlobeOne will provide a mobile interface for a suite of financial services offered by InvestaBank and Bankaool in Mexico, bringing bank services to those who are currently underserved by existing financial services.

“Only 45% of the population in Mexico has a bank account, which is why this partnership is an exciting development for Mexican consumers,” said Michael Wolper, GlobeOne member and Chief Marketing Officer. “Through GlobeOne’s growing global network, consumers will have access to the basic financial services necessary to build a strong financial future, and banks will have a new platform to serve the many digitally connected Mexican consumers who do not participate in the traditional, brick-and-mortar banking system.”

GlobeOne leverages mobile technology to provide a digital banking solution that is expected to launch in the United States and Mexico in the fourth quarter of 2015. As new banking partners are secured around the world, additional countries will join GlobeOne’s integrated global network. GlobeOne’s innovative app will offer paperless checking, a security savings account, a line of credit, domestic and international transfers between GlobeOne members, and access to the global income-building SocialBoostTM program, which gives members the opportunity to earn a new income stream while helping those who need it most.

“We are excited to work with GlobeOne and launch a system, an app, which will add to our business model of financial inclusion in the country. Technology is part of every person’s daily life, which is why this is a great opportunity to expand financial services to the unbanked and underserved population in Mexico,” said Francisco Meré Palafox, Chief Executive Officer of Bankaool.

“Our partnership with GlobeOne guarantees our ability to provide state-of-the-art banking and payment technology to the widest Mexican population who will now have mobile phone access to the best in financial services,” added Enrique Vilarte, Chief Executive Officer of InvestaBank.

GlobeOne executives will present the mobile interface and features at the “Mobile Money & Digital Payments Americas” conference in Mexico City on March 24th.

Source: Finextra,19.03.2015

Filed under: Banking, Latin America, Mexico, , ,

Temenos seeds Core Banking Cloud in Mexico

Temenos (SIX: TEMN), the market-leading provider of mission-critical solutions to the financial services industry, today announces the expansion of its cloud-based services in Mexico with the launch of the T24 country Model Bank for Mexico in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Temenos has been working with Microsoft Azure since 2011, when together they were first providers to put core banking in the cloud. There are two early adopters for the service In Mexico, namely Servicios y Financiamiento Agrícola, S.A. de C.V. (SeFia); and Sociedad Financiera Campesina S.A. de C.V. (Soficam).

By offering core banking in the cloud, Temenos is enabling financial organisations to operate with lower costs and more flexibility and, by extension, help them to provide under-served communities with access to financial services.

By deploying a Mexico-specific modern core banking solution as a service on the Microsoft Azure platform, Temenos can offer the functionality to address local service needs, including assistance with regulation and compliance requirements, while removing the high cost, lengthy timeline and inherent risk of building or licensing a fully-functional, compliant technology platform in-house.

SeFia, one of two early adopters, was established in 2005 in Mexico and has a presence in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato and Queretaro. SeFia helps its customers finance the purchase of machinery and equipment in the agricultural sector. Their product portfolio is designed to facilitate farmers, cattle ranchers and builders in obtaining loans that allow them to expand their businesses and generate a positive impact on the local economy.

SeFia COO, Luis Fernando Rosado, said:

“We have in T24 a comprehensive solution for our loan portfolio administration, the software is quick and easy to use and the information it provides is of high quality.”

Soficam, another early adopter, was established in 2008 in Mexico and has a presence in 19 states. Soficam grew out of a strategic alliance between agricultural and banking sectors, offering loans to small producers in the Mexican agricultural and fishing industries. Soficam is related to the Confederacion Nacional Campesina, an organization formed by 2.5 million affiliates classified in 17 agricultural productive branches across Mexico.

Soficam CIO, Alejandro Hatchett Cruz, said:

“Accessing T24 in the cloud allows us to deliver financial services to our clients without the complexity and expense of in-house IT systems.”

Enrique O’Reilly, Regional Director, Temenos Latin America, said:

“We are delighted to kick off 2015 with the launch of our award-winning core banking solution in the cloud for Mexico. Deploying banking technology from a cloud-based platform solves significant issues for our clients by allowing them to launch quickly, to turn fixed into variable costs and to operate profitability at much lower levels of scale. The work we are doing in Mexico with Microsoft builds on our experience in other countries around the world such as Nigeria, Kenya and Myanmar.”

Ernesto Neve, Solutions Director for Financial Services, Microsoft, commented:

“We are very excited to bring Financial Institutions in México the best cloud platform available. Our cloud platform offers the best in IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, as well as compliance with the Mexican banking regulator CNBV’s requirements for institutions working with cloud services. Our security, privacy and integrity model enables Financial Institutions to feel confident when moving to our Azure platform.“

Filed under: Banking, Mexico, , ,

In the future, BBVA will be a software company

Fresh from his forecasts last month that half of the world’s banks would get left behind by the digital revolution in financial services, BBVA chairman Francisco González has mapped out a new future for his organisation, not as a bank, but as a software company.

González pointed out the dramatic impact that technology is having on the transformation of the financial sector during a speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“BBVA will be a software company in the future,” González told the audience, recalling that the bank embarked on its “digital journey” eight years ago.

During this time it has made significant investment to build a new customer-centric technological platform, which operates in real time and is also modular and scalable. This platform allows BBVA to develop a new generation of services to compete with new startups and major digital companies, with the emphasis on mobile says González.

“The mobile has emerged as the driving force for disruptive innovation in banking,” the BBVA chairman said.

The number of BBVA mobile customers has increased 14-fold in three years and totaled 4.3 million at the end of 2014.

González underlined the success of the bank’s mobile payments app BBVA Wallet, which already claims over 450,000 downloads in Spain and is poised to be rolled out in Mexico, the US and Chile. “It’s the world’s most-used cloud-based NFC payment app,” the BBVA chairman boasted.

The bank currently has 450 people working on the wallet, but this is just the beginning. Currently just 3000 of its 110,000 staff work on the digital side but in five years González reckons it will be a majority, as the company re-engineers its workforce to compete on equal terms with the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google and Amazon.

“There is a threat element which I like because banking needs competitors,” said González. “We need to be more efficient but we can also collaborate with them.”

Source: Finextra 05.03.2015

Filed under: Banking, Chile, Latin America, Mexico, Services, , , ,

B-Source migrates Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) core banking platform to Avaloq Banking Suite

The Avaloq group has successfully completed the transformation project to exchange the core banking platform at the Wealth Management Operations Back Office of Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd to the B-Source Master, the Swiss Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) platform based on the Avaloq Banking Suite.

Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd today announced that the migration of its core banking platform to Avaloq’s Swiss BPO platform, the B-Source Master based on the Avaloq Banking Suite, has been completed. The transformation project was carried out within 13 months after the Avaloq group had taken over operational responsibility for the Wealth Management Operations Back Office of Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.

Avaloq is the only independent provider for the financial industry to both develop and operate its own software. Business Process Outsourcing and Operations of the Avaloq Banking Suite for Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd are provided through B-Source, Avaloq’s BPO centre in Switzerland.

Marco Bizzozero, CEO Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd, said: “The migration of the operational platform and the outsourcing of support processes allow us to concentrate on our strengths and to free up resources for our core business: client advisory and investment management. With this Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd is further extending its leading position in international wealth management.”

B-Source CEO Markus Gröninger adds: “In a short period of time we successfully finalised the migration. Our highly industrialised services allow banks to fully concentrate on their core business and focus on generating future growth – I am delighted that Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd now profits from these advantages too.”

Francisco Fernandez, Avaloq group CEO, expressed his satisfaction with the going live: “I am pleased to welcome Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd as an important customer in our growing BPO community and consider this successful migration as a powerful reference for other tier one banks.”

Source: B-Source SA, 17.09.2014

Filed under: Banking, BPO Business Process Outsourcing, Services, , , , , , ,

Avaloq Sourcing Asia Pacific adds CEO in Singapore

The Avaloq group, an international leader in integrated and comprehensive solutions for wealth management, universal and retail banks, announces the recruitment of Anantha Ayer. He will assume the position of CEO of the planned Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre in Singapore.

Anantha Ayer joins Avaloq following more than 20 years in distinguished leadership roles in Technology and Operations within the Asset & Wealth Management industry. He was most recently the interim Head of Wealth Management Operations (Global) at Deutsche Bank AG. Prior to that he has lead teams from Technology, Operations and large change initiatives across various financial centres.

“I am delighted to have Anantha joining Avaloq at this exciting time. Given our ambitious goals for the Asia Pacific market, we want to have the most talented people in senior management roles. Anantha brings a strong leadership in building organisations and his skills and experience in the banking operations and technology area will prove invaluable as Avaloq builds its presence in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre in Singapore for Asia Pacific”, comments Peter Scott, Chairman of the Board, Avaloq Sourcing Asia Pacific (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Commenting on his appointment, Anantha Ayer says: “I am very enthusiastic to be part of this exciting journey with Avaloq. I am convinced that the BPO offering from Avaloq provides benefits, advantages and opportunities to banks and wealth managers – not only a cutting edge technology platform but also an industrialised operational process to support the businesses.”

Source: Bobs Guide, 16.09.2014

Filed under: Asia, Banking, BPO Business Process Outsourcing, Services, Singapore, , , , , ,

Avaloq to supply Wealth Management BPO services to Deutsche Bank in Singapore and Global BPO Expansion

Avaloq Sourcing Asia Pacific (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., the newly founded subsidiary of the Avaloq group, will supply back office services for the Wealth Management business of Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management in Singapore. The new organisation will be part of Avaloq’s global network of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centres.

Avaloq Sourcing Asia Pacific (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. will provide Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management (DeAWM), a division of Deutsche Bank Group, with full BPO services for its Wealth Management back office operations in Singapore. These services include back office administration processes. The BPO provider is the newly founded subsidiary of the Avaloq group, an international leader in integrated and comprehensive banking solutions for wealth management, universal and retail banks. The new organisation will be part of Avaloq’s global network of BPO centres.

The move to Avaloq Sourcing Asia Pacific (Singapore) Pte. Ltd, a subsidiary of the Avaloq group, is planned in two phases: the first in Q3 2014 and the second – the transfer of the core IT platform to Avaloq’s technology platform – is planned to take place in 2015, subject to compliance with local requirements.

“Business process outsourcing is rapidly gaining in importance as financial institutions continue to free themselves of processes and operations that are not regarded as differentiating but are subject to volume efficiencies. Following the successful establishment of BPO centres in Switzerland and Germany, we are now extending this business model to Singapore where we will be announcing the formal launch of a regional BPO centre later this year”, comments Peter Scott, General Manager for Avaloq Asia Pacific and Chairman of the Board for Avaloq Sourcing Asia Pacific (Singapore).

Source: Bobsguide,02.09.2014

Avaloq adds Group Chief Acquisition Officer to expand Global BPO Strategies

The Avaloq group announces the appointment of Dr. Enrico Ardielli as Group Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO). His previous role as Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will be taken over by Markus Bertini.

In line with its market vision and growth plans, Avaloq will continue to execute its BPO strategy by creating a Global Processing Network (GPN). For the realisation of this international BPO centre network of excellence, new business will be added both organically and through acquisitions. Therefore, the Board of Directors of the Avaloq group has decided to create the new position of a Group CAO whose responsibility includes the successful handling of acquisitions at minimum risk. In addition, the Group CAO will be a member of the Board of Directors in the various Avaloq group subsidiaries.

The new position will be taken over by Enrico Ardielli, who has been with Avaloq for more than 12 years as Group CFO. Ardielli holds a Dr. oec. publ. degree as well as a degree in business and economics from the University of Zurich. His successor as Group CFO will be Markus Bertini, who joins the Avaloq Executive Board after having worked for Avaloq since May 2014. Prior to this, he successfully ran his own accountancy and consulting company serving multinational clients and worked as well as a lecturer at Zurich Business School. Enrico Ardielli and Markus Bertini assume their new positions on 1 September 2014.

Francisco Fernandez, Group CEO of Avaloq, comments: “I am glad that we could appoint two outstanding finance professionals for these key positions. Thanks to Enrico Ardielli’s extensive knowledge and his great achievements for the Avaloq group so far, I am convinced that the Group CAO position is perfectly filled and that he will further strengthen our business model and group strategy. At the same time, Markus Bertini’s passion for entrepreneurship and vast financial experience make him the best choice for the Group CFO position.”

Source: Bobsguide, 01.09.2014

Filed under: Banking, Data Management, Services, Singapore, Wealth Management, , , , , , ,

Brazil: BTG Pactual Buys Generali’s BSI (Banca Svizzera Italiana) Swiss private-banking Unit for $1.7 Billion

Grupo BTG Pactual (BBTG11), the only investment bank publicly traded in Brazil, agreed to buy Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G)’s Swiss private-banking unit for 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.7 billion) to help build a global private-banking platform.

BTG will pay for BSI Group with 1.2 billion francs in cash and 300 million francs of shares in units listed in Sao Paulo, Generali said in a stock-exchange statement today. The Trieste, Italy-based company said it will book a loss of about 100 million euros ($136 million) for the transaction, while the deal will add about 9 percentage points to its Solvency 1 ratio.

The Brazilian lender controlled by billionaire Andre Esteves is expanding internationally as the country’s growth slows. It’s added units in Mexico and Colombia, and in January Esteves said he planned to open offices in Geneva, Houston and Singapore as the firm expanded in commodities. Last week, it agreed to acquire Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd.’s reinsurance unit Ariel Re.

“This acquisition reflects our confidence in the tradition and strength in Switzerland as a global financial center,” Esteves, the bank’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “It’s an opportunity to build one of the biggest global private-banking platforms.”

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Assicurazioni Generali SpA Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco is selling BSI as part… Read More

BTG was unchanged at 34.15 reais at 10:31 a.m. in Sao Paulo. Generali reversed earlier gains, falling 0.1 percent to 15.38 euros in Milan, valuing the insurer at 24.1 billion euros.

Global Platform

The acquisition will almost double BTG’s assets under management to create a wealth- and asset-management business with more than $200 billion in assets, BTG said. The bank plans to keep the BSI brand for its global wealth-management platform.

“The acquisition is in line with BTG’s strategy to diversify revenue,” Ricardo Kim, an analyst at brokerage XP Investimentos CCTVM SA in Sao Paulo, said in a report today. He said the transaction was positive for BTG.

Brazil’s rising inflation and slowing growth has led to a drought in the nation’s initial public offerings, reducing investment banking revenue. BTG has been building a global commodities business since last year as part of its strategy to offset declining investment banking fees.

Brazil, which hosted this year’s World Cup, has expanded at an average annual pace of 2 percent since 2011, when President Dilma Rousseff took office, the slowest economic growth for a Brazilian administration in more than two decades. Economists expect the South American nation to expand 1.05 percent this year, according to a weekly survey published by the central bank today.

U.S. Fine

Proceeds from the sale, which is scheduled to be completed by the first half of next year, may be reduced by “any fine established pursuant to the U.S. Department of Justice’s tax amnesty program relating to Swiss financial banking institutions payable by BSI,” Generali said.

BSI is one of at least 36 Category 2 Swiss banks seeking to avoid prosecution for handling undeclared American money by joining the U.S. Justice Department’s voluntary disclosure program. The U.S. is scouring Switzerland for names of tax dodgers who used the world’s largest offshore haven to hide money from the Internal Revenue Service.

Under a program announced in August, about a third of Swiss banks with “reason to believe” they violated tax laws asked the Justice Department to forgo prosecution. In turn, banks must hand over data on undeclared accounts and pay penalties.

Revenue Goal

Generali CEO Mario Greco sold the unit to focus on the company’s main business, strengthen finances and boost profitability. The firm, which set a goal of 4 billion euros of revenue from asset sales by 2015, will have achieved 3.7 billion euros with the sale, Greco said in the statement.

“This sale completes the disposal process aimed at strengthening the capital base of the group, resolving a key issue for us, and allowing Generali to focus on driving forward with its core insurance business,” he said. “This result is a testament to our team’s ability and commitment to execute a complex transaction in a challenging environment.”

BSI Loss

BSI had a net loss of 722 million Swiss francs last year as it took writedowns faster than planned because of new regulations for accounting treatment of goodwill, the bank said in April.

Generali’s net income in the three months to March climbed to 660 million euros from 603 million euros a year earlier, the company said in May. The first-quarter pro-forma Solvency 1 ratio after the BSI sale will exceed the insurer’s 2015 target of 160 percent, it said today.

“Once the announced sale of BSI is concluded, Generali’s period of balance sheet repair will be complete,” Marcus Rivaldi, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a report today. “Focus now turns to how earnings and dividends can be improved.”


Source: 14.07.2014 Bloomberg  by editor Elisa Martinuzzi at

Filed under: Banking, Brazil, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, News, Singapore, , , , , , , , , , ,

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 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.


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,


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’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


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 Is Replaying Another Inflationary Collapse

Mining investment in Argentina grows 72% despite risky business climate

Fernandez Angers Investors While Ducking Argentine Austerity


Foreign direct investment in Colombia seen down in 2013


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 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 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, , , , , , , , , ,


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