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Mexico Investment News Letter 07 June 2013

Mexico Is The Next China

“Mexico is the next China,” Ferrari North America CEO Marco Mattiacci said during a panel discussion today about the future of luxury.

Mexico and the cursed Dragon Mart

The closest People’s Republic of China President Xi Yinping came to China’s controversial top project in Mexico was on his Thursday visit to the Chichén Itzá archaeological site with President Enrique Peña Nieto.

China, Mexico vow broad cooperation as Xi visits; no trade pact soon

MEXICO CITY – China and Mexico promised broad cooperation on issues ranging from energy to mining and infrastructure during a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, but any free-trade pact between the emerging market powers is still some way off.

What does Xi see in Mexico?

Analysis: Much of Latin America has for years found in China a voracious trade partner. Mexico has found its fiercest competitor.

Death map’ of deserts aims to save lives of desperate Mexican migrants

Illegal immigration: Humane Borders support group charts bodies found in US-Mexico frontier to try to limit future tragedies

Grupo Gigante buys rest of Office Depot’s Mexican arm

MEXICO CITY – Mexican retailer Grupo Gigante on Tuesday said it purchased the 50 percent stake of the Mexican unit of U.S. office-supply store chain Office Depot Inc it did not already own in a deal worth 8.78 billion pesos ($691 million).

Heineken-Modelo Beer Probe Nears Mexico Agency Decision

Heineken NV (HEIA) and Grupo Modelo SAB, the dominant brewers in Mexico with brands such as Dos Equis and Corona, are nearing the end of an almost three-year-old government…

Pemex Mulls Bolsa Listing of Projects to Lower Funding Costs

Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state- owned oil producer, is considering securitizing some assets in a way tailored to attract national pension funds to unlock money for its equipment needs.

Analysis: Mexico peso poised at precipice, may face much steeper fall

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s peso could slide even further if convictions mount that the massive monthly U.S. monetary stimulus is nearing an end and lead to an exodus of foreign investors who have piled into Mexican markets.

1st Marijuana  “Starbuck” style Chain in the US by ex Microsoft Exec  using drug fighting former Mexican president Vincent Fox as marijuana grower

More projects of passenger trains in Mexico

With the Plan Nacional de Infraestructura 2013-2018 the routes that will be developed during the six year period will be made known, as well as the required investment.

The Mexico Paradox

In spite of the violence, illegal drug and arms trade, trucks continue to line up at the border in Ciudad Juarez Mexico.

Filed under: China, Latin America, Mexico, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico, The Emerging Latin American Powerhouse

TABB Forum:  For the past few years, coverage of Mexico in the U.S. media has largely been dominated by stories of violence stemming from the country’s drug cartels. Lately though, the media have increasingly been turning their attention to the story of Mexico’s booming economy, and new president Enrique Peña Nieto’s bold moves to radically reshape it. This robust growth in Mexico looks set to continue for some time, which has led the Financial Times to label Mexico as the “Aztec Tiger.”1

MexDer, the nation’s only futures exchange, has been taking steps to ensure that it grows apace with the nation’s economy by making substantial upgrades to its matching engine, while continuing to make it easier for foreign investors to access the market. As a result of these changes, as of yesterday, April 14, north-to-south routing to MexDer via CME Group’s Globex® platform is available on Trading Technologies. You can read the details in the news release that we published today and on  TradingTechnology website.

The Aztec Tiger 

A perfect storm of positive influences is coming together to make Mexico one of the world’s emerging economic powerhouses. Mexico has a young and growing population, low levels of government debt and low inflation. The country is developing into a leading exporter due in part to widespread implementation of new manufacturing processes, but also due to the fact that Mexico has free trade pacts with 44 countries—more than any other nation on earth.These forces have combined to make Mexico’s economy one of the few bright spots in a global economy still working off the hangover resulting from the credit bubble. Mexico’s economy grew at around four percent in 2012, quadruple the growth rate of Latin America’s largest economy, Brazil.2 The Mexican peso hit a 19-month high against the U.S. dollar in March, and has outpaced 16 other major world currencies over the last month.3

With its growth track record and favorable conditions for growth to continue, a Nomura Equity Research report in July 2012 predicted that Mexico would overtake Brazil to become the largest Latin American economy within the next decade.4 In addition, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have indicated that in the near future, they are likely to upgrade Mexico’s debt, which is already investment grade.5

A Pact for Mexico, An Open Door for Growth

Much of the optimism for Mexico’s future can be traced back to its new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. He hails from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico uninterrupted for 71 years and was identified with corruption and inefficient bureaucracy. That being said, President Nieto is quickly making himself known as a risk taker, willing to take on fights in which none of his predecessors seemed willing to engage.

Within two days of his swearing-in last December, Nieto’s PRI signed a “Pact for Mexico”6 with the opposition National Action Party (PAN). This pact outlines 95 proposals to modernize and liberalize Mexico’s economy. Nieto began by taking on the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, by announcing plans to foster competition in the telecommunication and television industries, which are currently dominated by monopolies. Later this year, Nieto is expected to propose his most significant change, opening up Mexico’s energy market and allowing the state-run oil concern Pemex to work with the world’s largest oil companies. It’s expected that these reforms, once enacted, will increase Mexico’s GDP growth from four percent to six percent a year.7

Making MoNeT

In parallel, MexDer and the Mexican government have done quite a bit to attract foreign investors, and to make it easy for them to access the market. Perhaps one of the most significant changes has been the development of the MoNeT matching engine, which went live on Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (BMV), the equities segment, last fall.

The MoNeT matching engine was designed to attract high-frequency traders, mainly from the U.S. and Europe. It boasts internal latencies of 90 microseconds, which is faster than the 110 microseconds of NASDAQ or 125 microseconds at the London Stock Exchange.8 BMV volumes have increased 30 percent to 40 percent since the launch of the new matching engine.9For international traders and investors, accessing MexDer is straightforward. The north-to-south routing available via CME Globex allows any TT customer with an existing CME infrastructure to route orders to MexDer’s matching engine. MexDer is also accessible now in TT’s MultiBroker environment, which is currently available in beta. Additional information regarding how CME users can access MexDer is posted on the CME website.There are a number of other reasons why doing business in Mexico is easier than most other Latin American countries. Unlike Brazil, there is no withholding tax of any kind on foreign investment. The Mexican peso is a freely traded and easily convertible currency, and MexDer’s clearing house, Asigna, accepts U.S. dollar-denominated collateral.

La Oportunidad Está En Todas Partes

Owing to the fact that the U.S. does $1.5 billion per day in trade with Mexico,10 the Mexican markets are, predictably, highly correlated with America’s. North-to-south customers trading MexDer via Globex have access to a number of financial futures that allow for arbitrage opportunities against their American counterparts.

MexDer lists the IPC index of the BMV, which in general tracks closely to the S&P 500. The full Mexican yield curve is available on MexDer, from one-month bills to 30-year bonds, and it converges with the U.S. yield curve. Finally, MexDer lists a Mexican peso/U.S. dollar FX future, one of the 20 biggest FX futures contracts in the world by volume, which sets up arbitrage opportunities with the CME’s equally liquid peso/U.S. dollar future. In a recent MarketsWiki interview, MexDer CEO Jorge Alegria indicated that going forward, the exchange would likely look to list commodity futures linked to similar contracts listed on CME Group.

BMV IPC vs. S&P 500
Chart obtained from Yahoo! Finance

The ascent of the Aztec Tiger is no sure thing. There is always the danger of President Nieto’s PRI party losing its appetite for reform and returning to its old ways. There’s the chance that the hiccups in the U.S. economic recovery may impact Mexico, given that 30 percent of the Mexican economy is tied to U.S. exports. There may even be signs that Mexico’s economy is stalling already, which led the central bank to reduce interest rates for the first time since March 2009. Either way, TT users now have the ability to participate in one of today’s most interesting markets.

1 Thomson, Adam. “Mexico: Aztec tiger.” Financial Times. January 30, 2013.
2 Rathbone, John-Paul. “Mexico’s reform plan lifts hopes for greater prosperity.” Financial Times. March 20, 2013
3 Kwan Yuk, Pan. “Mexican peso hits 19 month high”. Financial Times. March 14, 2013.

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, News, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – March 2013

The indices were mixed in the month of March. While the VN-Index gained 3% to close at 491, the HNX declined by the same quantum to 60.25. The VN30 edged up 0.62% to close the month at 552.3. After being net seller in February, foreigners have turned to net buyer with the value of USD55.6mn this month, suggesting that although difficulties still persist, sentiment was slightly improved.
 
Rate cuts to aid growth as inflation eased
A month after Tet, macro data indicated a significant weakness in total demand. Retail sales increased only 11.7% YoY in the first quarter, slowing from a 21.8% YoY pace in the same period last year. Besides, GDP expanded merely 4.89% YoY in 1Q2013, edging up from 4.75% YoY in the same period last year when growth was the slowest since 1999. A weak demand and noticeable deceleration in food and food stuff index caused CPI to decline 0.19% MoM in March, easing inflation to 6.64% YoY from 7.02% YoY in February. As inflation eased, the Central bank cut rates for the seventh time since the start of 2012 to spur growth. The cap on Dong deposit interest rates is reduced to 7.5% from 8% while other implemented rates such as refinancing and discount rates are lowered by 1% as well.
 
AMC plan not yet finalized; credit almost frozen
The establishment of a debt asset management company (AMC) was delayed until at least the end of April as government is skeptical about how much the company can help resolve bad debt between banks and businesses. On the other hand, the bank lending is still very weak as the credit growth only reached 0.1% YTD in the first quarter although the target for this year is 12%. While the economy is struggling with a slowdown of lending, the postponement of AMC might disappoint market further.
 
Dong still firm despite trade figures
According to GSO data, there was a trade deficit of USD300m in March, widening from a revised deficit of USD94mn in February. Nevertheless, the Dong remained stable as the year-to-date trade balance still remains at a surplus of USD481mn. After first three months of 2013, export increased 19.7% YoY while import improved 17% YoY as well. The unexpected improvement in import this month, in which imports of machinery and equipments was up 28.7% YoY should be viewed as the signal to preliminary recovery from manufacturing sector. Indeed, the HSBC PMI index posted in the positive territory at 50.8 in March, reaching the highest level since April 2011.
 
Challenging business environment
The Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the result of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in 2012. The decline in median PCI score in 2012 reflected the slowdown in improvement of business environment across provinces. The most notable finding from the survey was that both foreign and domestic enterprises are more pessimistic about future prospect as optimism of enterprises, measure by the share of firms willing to expand in the next two years, has fallen to the historic low level of 33%. In addition, recent surprising petro price hike by 6.5% would make things more challenging as it would eat into businesses’ profit margin and hurt consumer spending.
 
Government’s effort to unfreeze the real estate market
Following the commitment to help the real estate sector, the SBV has revealed a draft of the social housing program. In which, 3% of the total loan book of 5 state owned banks will be dedicated to the social housing fund.  Buyers and developers of social houses will be provided loans with preferential interest rates in 10 and 5 years, respectively. For the first 3 years, starting from 15th April 2013, the lending rate will be 6%. The program is expected to bring some cheers to real estate developers and home buyers, however as most inventories are in mid and high end segments, the program may not be effective enough to rescue the whole troubled real estate market
 
Our ViewDespite some modest improvements, the first quarter of 2013 still ended with lackluster GDP and credit growth, coupled with a challenging business environment. Indeed, as domestic retail sales still remained weak, much of improvement was from external demand rather than from internal demand. All of these revealed that the economy is still struggling and may not have reached the bottom. Fortunately, recent effort of the government to spur growth has buoyed the stock market somewhat and hopefully it could buoy production and business activities as well.  After a sudden hike in petrol price that brings back the inflation risk, we think the scope for further rate cut is limited. Hence, in the long run, resolving the core problem (bad debt) still plays a critical role in regaining domestic confidence and recovering the stagnated economy.
We keep our cautious view on the economy and the stock market until clearer signs of recovery surface. In the mean time, as the AGM season has started, we will focus on screening for companies that still do well in the difficult time.

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

Mexico: Investment News Letter 14 March 2013

Mexican Peso Gains for Fifth Day on Export Outlook; Bonds Rally

Why you should be excited about Mexico

Group Of Investors Acquires Important Stake In Aeromexico

Mexico eyes telecoms revolution

The Mexican government on Monday announced a sweeping proposal to limit the reach of telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim and broadcasting giant Televisa as part of efforts to boost competition in Latin America’s second-biggest economy. The bill, which forms part of the most ambitious economic reform agenda in a generation, seeks to establish a powerful industry regulator armed with an array of tools to curb companies’ control of markets, while opening up space for new investors.

Bold reforms of president buoy Mexico

If every government has a defining moment, that of Mexico’s new administration may have come this month when authorities arrested the head of the teachers’ union and put her behind bars without bail.

Mexico, among the lagged to do business

The study Doing Business 2012 locates the country in the 53rd place of 183 countries. Among the states with the best regulations are Colima and Aguascalientes.

Beer, tomato and avocado are among the most exported

U.S. is the main destination of the Agrifood exports of Mexico, with 74.2% but they also arrive to new markets, such as the Japanese.

Mexico will remain tied to the U.S.

The country exported almost 80% of their goods and for 2030 is expected that the neighbor to the north will capture 70% of Mexican exports.

For Mexican Insurers, Solvency II Reforms are all about the Details

As the global insurance industry prepares for the implementation in 2014 of the new risk-based capital requirements, known as Solvency II, many discussions about how new regulations will be written have been taking place in both local and international forums. Among the countries preparing for Solvency II is Mexico, where recently its Congress passed a new law that essentially sets the scaffolding for implementing Solvency II and merges current laws for the country’s insurance business. The new law’s primary objective is to strengthen the procedures for reserves calculation and defines levels of capital requirement according to each company’s risk profile. In contrast to what the current law required, the new one allows for a more precise distinction between capital and reserve requirements for different business lines under Pillar I of Solvency II, for strengthening corporate governance under Pillar II, and for adding more transparency under Pillar III.

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

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, , , , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – January 2013

All indices recorded strong gains in January as investors’ sentiment improved
The VN-Index surged 15.5% to close at 479.8 while the HNX jumped 9.7% to 62.62. The VN30, after reaching its all time high at 577, eased back to 564.01 at the end of the month, gaining 16%.
 
Timely measures to give market a boost
With effect from15th January 2013, the trading band on HSX and HNX have been loosened to 7% and 10%, from 5% and 7%, respectively. Besides, SSC also introduced other measures to support the stock market such as tax incentives, allowing to issue stocks below par value, increasing margin ratio and most importantly, increasing foreign ownership limit by non-voting rights in some selective industries (namely at weak banks to over 30%, and at securities companies to 100%).
Furthermore, SBV also intends to participate in domestic gold trading to stabilize domestic gold price, closing the gap with global price, thus discouraging people from holding too much gold. Those measures to boost the stock market, especially the possibility on increasing foreign ownership and the proposal to tighten gold control have somewhat created the wave of optimistic buying in January.
 
A wave of Japanese FDI and record remittances to welcome Tet
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, FDI disbursement in January reached USD420mn in total, up 5% YoY. Total newly registered and top-up capital grew 74% YoY, of which newly approved projects registered USD257mn, a 293% YoY increase, and top-up capital touched USD24.3mn, rising 25.2% YoY. Japanese became the biggest investor making up 57.6% total newly approved projects so far this year.
Thanks to the surge before Tet holiday, total remittances this year are estimated at a record USD10 billion. The total foreign reserve has increased to USD26bn, equivalent to 2.3 months of imports, a historical high and an 8.3% increase from USD24bn as at the end of 2012. The healthier FX reserve helps to safeguard the value of the Dong.
 
Tet, on the other hand, narrows trade surplus
Januaryrecorded a smaller trade surplus as demand for imports increased before Tet holiday. Exports exceeded imports by only USD200 million in January, after a revised trade surplus of USD498 million in December. From the previous month, export value decreased 2.5% while the import value edged up about 0.4%, although both of them showed huge improvement, more than 40%, compared to the same period last year. Foreign invested enterprises continue to be the leading sector with 66% and 55% of total export and import value, respectively. They also outperform domestic sector in terms of more import growth and less export reduction during the first month of 2013.
 
Credit drop and CPI jump surprise market.
The industrial production index (IIP) decreased 3.2% from December amid pessimistic outlook for stagnation on retail sales. Indeed, consumers continued to reduce spending at the prospect of lower income and no year-end bonus. The retail sales edged up just 2.2% MoM in Jan, the month before a long Tet holiday. As a result, credit dropped 1.06% YTD, according to the press release from a government meeting.
In contrast, January’s PMI moved in a different direction with the IIP since it increased to 50.1 from 49.3, thanks to modest improvement in new order volumes from domestic market and marginal job growth. Amidst stagnation of industrial production and credit growth, a solid increase in average input prices, a component of PMI basket, after a marginal reduction in December, suggests that SBV should be more cautious about further easing as inflation risk came back from the beginning of a new year. Jumps in health care (9.5% MoM) and foodstuff (1.96% MoM) items led CPI to soar 1.25% MoM (7.07% YoY) in January, exceeding market expectation. Accordingly, inflation risk puts any rate cut rumors on hold until at least after Tet holiday.
 
Government charts out tasks for banking sector with focuses on inflation control and bad debt resolution
Main objectives of SBV in 2013 continue to be curbing inflation, stabilizing macro economy alongside with restructuring banking sector and tackling NPL issues. For 2013, the SBV targets to keep credit growth at 12%. Importantly, SBV has submitted to government the plan that allows AMC to purchase bad debts based on book value (after provision) and pay by bonds to the bank. Banks could use AMC bonds as collateral to get cheap fund from SBV at a discount rate. Commercial banks with NPLs higher than 3% will be forced to bring down their NPLs to 3%.
On the other hand, as there are many linkages between real estate market and NPL problems in banking system, government also issued the Resolution No.2, which introduces several tax incentives, credit line for low income individuals to purchase social houses and transferring commercial housing projects into social housing. However since social housing only accounts for a small portion of property sector, we think these solutions are not effective enough to rescue the whole troubled real estate market.
 
Our ViewBullish momentum remained in the first month of 2013 thanks to good round of macroeconomic indicators release. While capital inflow continued being positive, actions of authorities looked effective in boosting the market. However, as stocks ran too high and too fast during the last two months, we start to be skeptical about the strength of this momentum. A month before Tet, inflation risk seems to be coming back and industrial stagnation looks a bit tense. We maintain a cautiously optimistic view and relatively high equity holding, particularly stocks with strong fundamentals in consumers, pharmaceuticals and materials sectors. As Government is showing more and more determination to improve the economy and clean up the banking sector, stickers with strong cash flow, low debt and high beta are also in our consideration to pick up to ride the market’s uptrend.

Filed under: Exchanges, News, Vietnam, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investor News Letter 18 January 2013

Mexico
Mexican Peso Slides on Carstens Hint at Interest-Rate ReductionMexico’s peso fell the most in four weeks after central bankers signaled that a further slowdown in inflation could prompt them to lower interest rates.
Nieto seeks to open Mexican energy sector
Los Tres Amigos: Positioning Your Portfolio In Mexican Peso Denominated Deb
Most U.S. funds missed Mexico gains, Brazil drop in 2012
Japanese investments in Mexico steady
Region completes work on international infrastructure project with Mexico

Brazil
Brazil’s Real Declines on Inflow Concern; Swap Rates Climb
Brazil: Daylight piracy
“SQUEEGEE merchants of the seas”: that is the nickname shipping companies have bestowed on the pilots who guide ships into Brazilian ports. Their legal monopoly and unregulated fees place them among the country’s highest earners: 150,000 reais ($73,500) a month, estimates the shipowners’ association. It costs twice the OECD average to import a container to Brazil, says the World Bank—and since that excludes bribes and fees for go-betweens, the true figure is surely greater.
Brazil Seeks Private Partners to Operate Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte Airports
Brazil announces regional airport infrastructure investment plans
Brazil aviation faces turbulence after rapid ascent
Brazil ports starved of investment, buried in red tape-group
Guyana, Brazil sign on to infrastructure plan
Brazilian municipality of São Bernardo do Campo to improve sustainable urban mobility with loan from IDB

Latin America
Argentina: Tax & Estate Planning
Argentina rapidly changing oil/gas industry levies to attract foreign investment
Bolivia takes over Spanish-owned Iberdrola energy suppliers
Colombia: ANI to launch four new public infrastructure concessions valued at US$1.95bn
Colombian Peso Advances on Foreign Investment Outlook
Chile: First Solar Stakes Claim in Latin America
Peru’s investment opportunities attracts Qatar’s firms Peru: Infrastructure gap put at $88bn
Peru-based AFPs invest over US$3.5bln in infrastructure
Cement Industry Figures In Peru: Btg Pactual Begins Coverage Of Cpac With A Buy Recommendation
Peru to invest over US$701mln in access infrastructure projects
Peru: Ezentis shifts focus to Latin America, helped by $64M Telefónica Peru contract
Peruvian entrepreneurs expect investment to continue growing in 2013
Venezuela: What Hugo Chavez’s Illness Means for Venezuelan Mining

Latin America and Caribbean PhotoVoltaic Demand Growing 45% Annually Out To 2017 
Latin American ports record strong performance in 2012
South America: A Powerhouse, Not a Circus
10 Latin American startups to look out for in 2013

Filed under: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, News, Peru, Risk Management, Venezuela, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: Investors Newsletter 13 July 2012

Mexico

One of the most attractive emerging markets in the world 13.07.2012
Behind the gory headlines lies a country with strong economic growth and surprisingly prudent management. Here’s why Mexico could be one of the most attractive emerging markets in the world
Mexico Growth Prospects Remain Positive Despite Weaker Data  12.07. 2012
Mexico economy seen slowing heading into the second half. Blame the U.S. on this one.
Sorry Brazil, Investors Prefer Mexico 10.07.2012
For a growing number of portfolio investors, Brazil has been replaced by Mexico.

 

Brazil

Latin America

See also LIQ Latin America Infrastructure and ALI Alternative Latin Investor  

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

Greater China Exchanges: Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges set up joint venture

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), Shanghai Stock Exchange (SHSE) and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) signed an agreement today (Thursday) to establish a joint venture (JV) in Hong Kong with an aim to develop financial products and related services.  The three exchanges hope this new venture will help promote the development of China’s capital markets, enhance the competitiveness of these markets and promote the internationalisation of the three bourses.

 The principal business of the JV will include, but not be limited to, the development and franchising of index-linked and other equity derivatives products; the compilation of cross-border indices based on products traded on the three markets; and the development of industry classification for listed companies, information standards and information products.  They will also include market promotion, customer services, technical services and infrastructure development.

Initially, the JV will develop a series of cross-border indices on which a family of index products will be introduced.  This series of indices will include a benchmark cross-border index comprising large Mainland enterprises listed on HKEx’s wholly-owned subsidiary.  The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, SHSE and SZSE, and two indices based on this cross-border index – an index comprising A-share constituents and an index comprising Hong Kong market constituents.  The index products will include equity index futures and options based on these indices and they will be traded on HKEx’s derivatives market.

The JV’s nine-member board will be comprised of three directors nominated by each of the exchanges.  SHZE and SZSE will each nominate a Joint Chairman from their representatives on the board.  HKEx will nominate the Chief Executive from its designated directors.

The JV will have an initial paid-up capital of $300 million, with HKEx, SHSE and SZSE each contributing $100 million.  The three exchanges will have equal shareholding interest in the JV.  The exchanges aim to establish the JV within three months from the execution of the agreement.

“Building on the many well-established ties among the three exchanges, the new venture will provide a new platform for our cooperation and we hope that it will contribute to the further development of Hong Kong and the Mainland’s capital markets,” said HKEx Chief Executive Charles Li.

“As China continues to open up and the RMB gradually internationalises, it is inevitable we will have to compete in the international capital market.  Our efforts to further cooperation with HKEx and develop products for the offshore market will bring about a win-win situation for both Hong Kong and the Mainland,” said SHSE President Zhang Yujun.

“The establishment of the JV will help increase foreign investors’ exposure to the Mainland market via Hong Kong.  In addition, the JV can help raise the Mainland capital market’s influence in offshore markets and provide opportunities to explore opening up measures,” said SZSE President and CEO Song Liping.

Source: Mondovisone, 28.06.2012

Filed under: Asia, China, Exchanges, Hong Kong, , , , , , , , , , ,

Emerging Markets: Energy or Enigma? Mexico, Brazil & China – Dan Watkins

Emerging market trading strategies should remain closely aligned with inter-country trade relations, or so one would think.

A professional stock investor’s interest in a company, after all, coincides with that company’s vision and operational policies. Would such a metric be appropriate in trading an entire economy? Interestingly, popular opinion leans toward headlines rather than fundamentals as being the key determining factor.

That raises a question: Can a market investor be expected to trade a country’s equity, commodity or currency without being able to derive its true value on a balance sheet?

One would gather from the latest international finance journals that China and its markets dominate the emerging markets dialogue. Sure, China and the U.S. have strong trade programs in place but there are issues such as currency valuation headaches that must be considered.

The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries all have exponential growth potential both short-term and long-term and can be considered underdeveloped vs. their population participation. Capital market returns usually delineate the leader of the pack so among the “fantastic-four” BRIC countries, Brazil reigns supreme.

Brazil has had unrelenting stamina in moving high-energy, high-value energy companies’ stocks higher over the last half decade. One reason for Brazil’s success is its massive capital markets restructuring in policy, participation and innovation. Of course the first thing Brazil had to do was stabilize its currency from its inflation plague so that the Real could sustain itself against economic and political monetary fatigue.

Brazil is on top of asset manager and retirement account lists in equity, equity options, futures contracts and fixed income because of the basis of its economic stability and strong natural resources. So while Brazil has brought equilibrium to its markets, Russia, India and China deal with inflation. But trading Brazil can also be worrisome due to inter-country trade relations with the U.S. being less-than-favorable.

Those issues raise an interesting question: What market doesn’t make the news but is hot, has been hot and continues to sizzle like fajitas-picante?   MEXICO

News stories on Mexico cover drug war violence, immigration and tourism, but is that the end of the story? Washington – and therefore public discourse – has focused on the $100 billion in trade to China over the last year. What most don’t hear is that the U.S. has exported nearly $400 billion to Mexico during the same time period. Compare all BRIC countries with Mexico and Mexico tops them all collectively.

Mexico reached 4 percent annual GDP growth rate last year, helped by direct investments from the U.S. and China. On the day the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it would maintain its low interest rate policy through 2014, the Mexican peso rose 0.6 percent, marking a 7 percent climb for the month of January. How many other markets can be traded as strongly in response to a U.S. Treasury policy announcement?

If Mexico were to equitize or make public its oil production industry as Brazil has, by publicly trading leading oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, also known as Pemex, for example, a major trade explosion in Mexico’s capital markets would quickly follow. Pemex is a Mexican state-owned company worth over $415 billion – that’s $100 billion in assets more than Brazil’s giant Petrobras.

Mexico worth more than Brazil and China long term? Mexico reaches higher ground four times that in trade over the entire BRIC countries. One of Mexico’s oil companies is four times the size in assets over Brazil’s all-star Petrobras. What’s more, Mexico’s inflation is under 5 percent while Brazil, Russia, India and China all have inflation rates closer to 7 percent.

A reflection of U.S. involvement and stabilizing influence in Mexico can be seen in the Mexican stock market with more than 1,000 symbols, many of which are high value and liquid ADRs from the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq OMX.

Why not follow the money? Taking a look at the presence of Wall Street on La Reforma in Mexico City, where the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (the Mexican Stock Exchange) is, you’ll find BMV members such a Citigroup, JPMC, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, Scotia, ING and UBS. No small potatoes there.

The top players and astute institutional investors are solidly positioned in Mexico. They monitor and believe they can best forecast movement in the market by keeping an eye on U.S. and Chinese import/exports with Mexico. A closer eye is kept on the cash equity ADRs and the Mexican bond markets. Many investors tend to believe that Mexico is just undervalued and other emerging markets are overvalued. But one more thing to remember, the U.S./Mexico trade policy should provide Mexico with lots of energy to outlast the steam of the emerging markets chatter.

Perhaps we should start thinking about MBRICs?

By Dan  Watkins, CC-Speed (dwatkins@cc-speed.com)

Sourc: TABB Forum, 07.03.2012

Filed under: BM&FBOVESPA, BMV - Mexico, Brazil, China, Exchanges, Mexico, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alternative Latin Investor: Latam Fund & Investment Trends- December 2011 Issue Nr 12

Latin America fund assets to exceed $3 trillion by 2020
-Driven by appetite for Asia – U.S. and European asset managers benefit most

While still smaller than other global regions in terms of aggregate assets – around US$1.4 trillion in mutual fund assets and about $710 billion in pension assets – fast growth in Latin America as a region is capturing the imagination of investors, distributors and asset managers alike, with tactical and strategic opportunities prompting resource allocations and investments.

Subscribe to the free issue of  at http://www.alternativelatininvestor.com/index.html.

Source: Alternative Latin Investor, 06.12.2011

Filed under: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, News, Peru, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico´s Exchanges take huge steps to boost High-Speed Trading.

The Mexican Exchange, which is the second largest exchange in Latin America, announced a number of strategic and technology initiatives designed to promote foreign investment in the Mexican financial markets and its position as a Latin American leader in high-frequency trading.

While Brazil continues to be the hottest emerging market in Latin America, the Mexican Exchange (BMV Group), is taking huge steps to boost its growth in the high-speed marketplace.

The Mexican Exchange, which is the second largest exchange in Latin America, announced a number of strategic and technology initiatives designed to promote foreign investment in the Mexican financial markets and its position as a Latin American leader in high-frequency trading.

Mexico now provides worldwide participants with seamless, high-speed and efficient access through low touch direct market access (DMA), high speed co-location services, and FIX standard protocol for order routing and market data Part of Mexico’s success is down to its determination to improve its operative rules to better comply with international market standards, as well as adopting new technology.

In 2012, the Mexican Exchange will announce the launch of a new trading engine, internally developed. This multi-market, multi-asset, flexible and scalable trading engine has throughput of more than 200,000 messages per second. The trading engine will be ultra low latency, executing trades in 100 microseconds roundtrip (improvement over 25 milliseconds on legacy trading system). Full deployment is planned for Q2 2012. Further in 2012, The Mexican Exchange will introduce several new initiatives including midpoint hidden order book trading, aimed at institutional investors looking to trade large blocks anonymously with reduced execution risk. Simpler cross order rules will also be implemented; all stocks, global market equity securities and debt instruments will be crossed within the best bid/ask spread with no intervention. And, VWAP executions for the day will be able to be entered from 8:00 AM CT to 2:40 PM CT.

Recently, the Mexican Exchange has established major alliances broadening investment opportunities in the Mexican market. The Mexican Derivatives Exchange (MexDer) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) established phase one, “south-to-north,” of its strategic order routing agreement, giving Mexican investors access to CME Group’s benchmark derivatives contracts, including interest rates, foreign currencies, equity indexes, energy, metals and agricultural commodities.

Phase two of the partnership, “north-to-south,” now in place provides CME Group customers with access to MexDer benchmark products, including Mexican Stock Exchange Index futures, bond futures and MXN Peso / US dollar futures contracts.

Source: Wallstreet&Technology, Melanie Rodier, 18.11.2011

Filed under: BMV - Mexico, Exchanges, Latin America, Mexico, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brazil to increase primary surplus and make room for interest rates cut – prepares for global slowdown

Brazil plans to further contain government spending this year to prepare the country for a global slowdown and make room for a cut in interest rates, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Monday.

The government raised its target for the 2011 budget surplus before interest payments to 91 billion Real (57 billion dollars) from 81.7 billion Real, Mantega told reporters in Brasilia.

Brazil joins countries from Mexico to Turkey in signalling that rate cuts may be on the horizon as global growth sputters and a debt crisis in Europe worsens.

“It makes it viable in the medium- or long-term to cut interest rates,” Mantega said. “As you reduce or stop increasing public spending, you open space for a reduction in interest rates when the central bank thinks it is possible.”

The central bank’s board of directors, led by President Alexandre Tombini, begins its August policy meeting Tuesday, with inflation above 7% for the first time since 2005. Traders are wagering that policy makers will cut rates a quarter-point this week, and between 0.75 and 1 percentage point by year-end, as the economy shows signs of cooling and the global recovery falters.

Mantega said he sees no immediate need for monetary stimulus and added that inflation is a permanent concern for President Dilma Rousseff’s government.

Mexico policy makers kept the benchmark rate at a record low 4.5% for the 21st consecutive meeting on Aug. 26 and said they would consider adjusting it if the national or global economic outlook worsens. The Turkish central bank also left its benchmark rate unchanged on Aug. 23 and Governor Erdem Basci said the institution may have to loosen monetary policy. Peru and Chile also held rates this month.

Brazil’s budget surplus (before interest payments) widened in July to a record for the month pushing the year-to-date total to almost 80% of the 2011 target.

The so-called primary surplus, which includes federal and local governments as well as state companies, last month rose to 13.8 billion Real from 13.4 billion Real in June. The government earlier this year cut 50.7 billion Real from its 2011 budget.

Brazil’s economic activity shrank in June for the first time since December, 2008. Industrial production fell 1.6% in June the second-biggest drop in output since 2008, and business confidence in the second quarter fell to its lowest level since 2009.

Source: Merco Press-South Atlantic News Agency, 30.08.2011

Filed under: Brazil, Events, Mexico, News, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , ,

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