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Mexico Credit: Beating Brazil Bonds after 2008 crisis

Mexican government and corporate bonds are outperforming securities sold by their Brazilian counterparts as investors bet Latin America’s second-largest economy is better prepared to weather a global slowdown.

The 27-basis point drop in Mexican government dollar bond yields in the past month compares with a decline of 25 for Brazilian notes, snapping five straight months of underperformance, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The two- basis point increase in Mexican corporate borrowing costs in the past month compares with a jump of six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, for their Brazilian peers. Previously, Brazilian corporate securities had outperformed for two consecutive months.

President Felipe Calderon’s administration has lined up a $72 billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund, extended debt maturities and shunned capital increases embraced by Brazil, the region’s largest economy, to protect against a slowdown in the U.S., which buys 80 percent of the Latin American nation’s exports.

“They are strengthening public finances here in Mexico,” Gabriel Casillas, chief Mexico economist for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Mexico City, said in a telephone interview. “The Mexican market has become much easier and flexible to trade as Brazil boosts capital controls.”

100-Year Bond

Mexican government bonds yield 4.65 percent, or 6 basis points less than Brazilian debt, according to JPMorgan. The gap has swelled from one basis point on July 28. Notes sold by Mexican companies yield 6.31 percent, compared with 5.93 percent for Brazilian corporate securities. The 37-basis point gap is down from 53 on July 28.

Mexico sold $1 billion of 100-year bonds overseas yesterday, taking advantage of a plunge in benchmark U.S. borrowing costs to bring back a record-long maturity it unveiled a year ago. The government issued the notes due in 2110 to yield 5.96 percent, or 242 basis points above 30-year U.S. Treasuries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Mexico financially has never been as well protected and sound as it is today,” said Alejandro Diaz de Leon, head of the finance ministry’s public debt unit in an interview yesterday. “Mexico has been able to take advantage of a privileged position because of the steps it has taken.”

Standard & Poor’s cut Mexico’s rating to BBB, the second- lowest investment grade, from BBB+ in December 2009, citing declining oil output and “diminishing” prospects for widening the tax base to replace oil revenue. Brazil is rated one level lower at BBB- by S&P.

The Brazilian finance ministry declined to comment in an e- mailed statement.

IMF Credit Line

The IMF renewed and boosted the size of Mexico’s credit line in January from $48 billion. The Washington-based fund originally approved the facility in 2009 to boost confidence in the economy. The central bank has been buying as much as $600 million monthly though options since March 2010 to bolster foreign reserves, which surged 84 percent in the past two years to a record $133.9 billion, according to the central bank. Brazil’s reserves rose 65 percent over the same period to $349.6 billion.

“All these contingency plans and credit lines are favorable factors for an investor, who may say that in the case of another crisis Mexico won’t likely be as volatile,” Eduardo Avila, an economist with Monex Casa de Bolsa SA in Mexico City, said in a telephone interview.

Currency Tumble

The peso tumbled 20 percent in 2008 as U.S. demand for the country’s exports slumped. Mexico’s gross domestic product shrank 6.1 percent the following year, the most since 1995 and the second-worst contraction of the economies tracked by Bloomberg after Russia. The U.S. economy contracted 3.5 percent in 2009.

Yields on Mexican government debt in the two months after Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2008 surged 165 basis points, compared with an increase of 142 for Brazilian securities.

“We are a lot better prepared, especially relative to other countries, for a situation that could deteriorate externally,” Deputy Finance Minister Gerardo Rodriguez said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York on June 2. “All this points to a broad framework of creating additional spaces for a potential adverse scenario going forward. That’s what we are here for — to prepare for negative scenarios.”

Mexico’s total net debt is 35 percent of GDP, below the 40 percent for Brazil. The government has been extending local debt maturities to a record 7.3 years in 2011, from 6.4 years in 2009.

Capital Controls

Brazil imposed a 1 percent tax on some currency derivatives on July 27, the latest government measure aimed at stemming the 42 percent appreciation of the real since the end of 2008. Since October, Brazil has also tripled to 6 percent a tax on foreigners’ purchase of bonds, raised the cost of foreign borrowing by local companies and restricted bank bets against the real. The peso has gained 9.1 percent during the same period.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Mexican government dollar bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries narrowed three basis points to 184 at 7:47 a.m. New York time, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The peso weakened 0.3 percent to 12.5958 per U.S. dollar.

The cost to protect Mexican debt against non-payment for five years rose five basis points yesterday to 161, according to data provider CMA, which is owned by CME Group Inc. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market. Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent if a government or company fails to adhere to its debt agreements.

Growth Forecasts

Mexico’s central bank lowered its forecast for economic growth this year and next while keeping its consumer price forecasts unchanged, according to its quarterly inflation report published yesterday. It cut its 2011 growth forecast to a range of 3.8 percent to 4.8 percent and its 2012 forecast to 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent. The bank said in its May report the economy may expand as much as 5 percent this year and up to 4.8 percent in 2012 growth. It kept its 2011 and 2012 consumer price forecasts at 3 percent to 4 percent.

“The balance of risks for growth in the Mexican economy has deteriorated,” the bank said in the report, citing lower global growth prospects.

JPMorgan’s Casillas and Iker Cabiedes reduced their 2011 Mexican growth forecast yesterday to 4.2 percent from 4.5 percent.

‘Aversion to Risk’

Economists in Mexico will likely continue to cut growth forecasts this quarter after the Federal Reserve indicated that it will keep rates low through mid-2013, said Javier Belaunzaran, who helps manage about 40 billion pesos at Interacciones Casa de Bolsa SA in Mexico City.

“If the Fed is saying it’s keeping rates steady through 2013, than things aren’t going well at all,” Belaunzaran said in a telephone interview. “There may be an aversion to risk toward long-term securities if the outlook worsens.”

Mexico will wait until November 2012 to raise the benchmark lending rate from a record low 4.5 percent, according to trading in TIIE futures.

While Mexico’s annual inflation rate slowed to a five-year low in March and is within the central bank’s target range of 3 percent to 4 percent this year, Brazil has struggled to contain price increases. Inflation quickened to 6.75 percent last month, the highest in six years and almost double the 3.55 percent rate in Mexico in July.

“There are a lot of factors that make Mexico stand out from the rest of the emerging markets,” Monex’s Avila said.

Source: Bloomberg, 11.08.2011 by  Andres R. Martinez, David Papadopoulos

Filed under: Brazil, Mexico, News, , , , , , , , ,

Mexico Credit: Banorte beats Brazil´s Itau as acquisition boosts lending

Bonds sold by Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB, Mexico’s fourth-largest bank by outstanding loans, are outperforming debt from financial peers in Latin America after an acquisition helped the company boost lending by 29 percent.

The 6.1 percent rally in Banorte’s dollar bonds due in 2021 this year compares with an advance of 5.7 percent for bank debt in the region, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Credit Suisse Group AG. Similar-maturity bonds sold by Banco Itau Unibanco SA, Latin America’s biggest bank by market value, gained 6 percent during the same period. Debt due in 2020 issued by Bancolombia SA, Colombia’s biggest bank, rose 5.5 percent.

Banorte, based in Monterrey, Mexico, is tapping into a growing demand for credit in Latin America’s second-biggest economy. Total loans for Banorte expanded 18 percent in the past year, the most since 2008, according to Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission. Banorte said on July 25 that its acquisition of Ixe Grupo Financiero SAB helped increase its loan portfolio to 312 billion pesos ($26.4 billion) in the second quarter from 242 billion a year earlier.

“They grew at a healthy pace in the quarter and I’m expecting it to continue,” Natalia Corfield, an ING analyst who recommends investors buy Banorte’s bonds, said in a telephone interview from New York. “The banking sector has a very good growth potential.”

The yield on Banorte’s bonds sank 47 basis points, or 0.47 percentage point, this year to 4.72 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mexican government dollar notes that mature in 2020 yield 3.45 percent.

Credit Expansion

Pedro Rodriguez, a spokesman for Banorte, didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.

Yields on Sao Paulo-based Itau’s bonds due in 2020 fell 41 basis points during the same period to 5.39 percent. Itau declined to comment through an e-mailed statement.

Mexican banks including Banorte are benefiting from the expansion of credit to a larger share of the population, said Alonso Madero, who helps manage about $5.5 billion in debt at Corp. Actinver SAB. The country’s private credit measured as a percentage of the gross domestic product was 21.8 percent in 2009, compared with 45 percent in Brazil, according to ING.

“Banks could lend a lot more,” Madero said in a telephone interview from Mexico City, “It’s very clear that this is how they could grow. There’s a big potential growth to capitalize on because of the low banking penetration.”

Growth Outlook

Banks in Mexico are increasing lending as the economy may grow “a little bit more” than 4.3 percent this year, Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero said in an event in Mexico City yesterday. Gross domestic product expanded 5.4 percent in 2010, the most in a decade.

Slowing growth in the U.S., the destination for 80 percent of Mexico’s exports, may curb demand for credit in the Latin American country, said Araceli Espinosa, debt analyst at Scotia Capital.

A report yesterday showed that service industries in the U.S. expanded in July at the slowest pace in 17 months as orders and employment cooled, indicating the biggest part of the economy had little spark to begin the second half of the year. Economic figures in the U.S. in last two weeks have shown declining home sales, weaker factory orders, waning consumer confidence and the first decrease in household spending in two years.

“If the economy is not growing, the loan portfolio for the banks is not going to grow,” Espinosa said in a telephone interview from Mexico City.

Yield Spread

Yields on futures contracts for the 28-day TIIE interbank rate due in May were unchanged at 4.99 percent, indicating traders expect the central bank will wait until that month to raise benchmark borrowing costs from a record low 4.5 percent.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Mexican government dollar bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries was unchanged at 128, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The cost to protect Mexican debt against non-payment for five years rose 1 basis point to 112, according to CMA. Credit- default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or cash equivalent if the issuer fails to comply with debt agreements.

The peso advanced 0.2 percent to 11.8193 per dollar, extending its advance this year to 4.4 percent.

Banorte is likely to exercise a call option on its bonds in 2016, ING’s Corfield said. The yield to the 2016 call date on the company’s notes may drop 50 basis points from 6 percent yesterday, she said. A call is a contract that gives the holder the right to buy a security at a set price within a set period. The holder of the call is not obligated to buy the security.

‘Well Positioned’

Banorte has used takeovers, including the 2001 acquisition of Bancrecer SA, to grow into a national financial group from a north-Mexican regional lender since the country’s banking industry collapse in 1995.

Banorte reported a 24 percent increase in second-quarter net income to 2.05 billion pesos. Ixe added 119 million pesos to the profit.

“It’s a benign environment for Mexico now and Banorte is well positioned to benefit from it,” Corfield said.

Source: Bloomberg, 04.08.2011 by  Veronica Navarro Espinosa; Andres R. Martinz

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

China to lead Asian distressed debt opportunity in 2010

Domestic bank credit acts in a similarly pro-cyclical way to foreign debt. When growth is booming, credit growth hides bad loans in favorable nonperforming loan ratios because assets are growing so fast – leading to a booming economy.
The problems show up if a macro shock of some sort intervenes. In the case of China, the shock will be a combination of higher inflation and interest rates. As growth slows, NPLs appear, banks pull back on loan expansion, and growth slows even more, creating a new wave of NPLs. Superficially “safe” NPL ratios suddenly reverse dramatically and risk sinking the whole macro ship.
In Shanghai, outstanding loans to the real estate industry accounts for 27 percent of the total outstanding loans, according to Yan Qingmin, head of Shanghai Branch of China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).
“The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio in Shanghai’s commercial housing development loans kept rising in 2009,” Yan warned.

Source: CHINDA, 04.02.2010

Filed under: Asia, Banking, China, Risk Management, Services, , , , , ,

Electronic Debt Trading in India, Celent Report

India’s debt markets have experienced rapid growth and along with that electronic trading also risen sharply, with the market growing at a CAGR over 75% since 2005.

India’s debt markets have experienced rapid growth and along with that electronic trading also risen sharply, with the market growing at a CAGR over 75% since 2005, according to a recent Celent report. In spite of being a late starter, India is expected to have around 80% share of debt transactions being conducted electronically by the end of 2009, making it competitive with the US and Japan, the world’s leading global debt markets. However, the Indian debt markets are small by international standards, constituting just about 1% of the global market, according to the new report, E-Trading in the Indian Debt Markets: Growth in the Downturn. Celent is a Boston-based financial research and consulting firm. Key findings of the report include:

India is one of the world’s leading emerging markets, growing at a rate of 5-6% even through a period of global economic downturn. The introduction of electronic trading has increased transparency and liquidity in the market. The CAGR for the government bond market has been nearly 79% since the introduction of electronic trading.

Electronic trading will continue to become more popular, and the role of voice-broking will decrease further. NDS-OM has already set the trend, and the exchanges and the interdealer brokers (e.g., ICAP) are following it with a greater emphasis on electronic trading.

The corporate bonds market is dwarfed by its government bond counterpart. Currently, the corporate side of the bond market accounts for only 8% of the overall debt market, while government securities account for as much as 92%. The government debt market has greater liquidity and depth, and this is expected to continue even after the success of NDS-OM, the electronic platform.

India’s retail market has failed to meet expectations. There had been high expectations for a rise in retail participation in the markets, especially from the exchanges. This has failed to materialize and both NSE and BSE have seen no trading in the segment. However, retail interest in debt funds is high because they are an attractive means of reducing volatility in the current economic climate. As much as Rs. 1.3 trillion has been mobilized in April-May 2009 by debt mutual funds, as opposed to an outgo of Rs. 285 billion in the previous financial year (i.e., April 2008 to March 2009).

A couple of the leading global IDBs have entered the market. However, the Indian market environment as it stands is not conducive to the entry and growth of IDBs due to the nature of the market and regulatory issues. But it is believed that the IDBs have an important contribution to make if the Indian market is to achieve its true potential by global standards, as they aid price discovery and improve access to large pools of liquidity while maintaining anonymity.

The derivatives market has suffered from regulatory hurdles and a lack of participation. It had seen high volumes for OTC interest rate swaps (IRS) until July 2008, but there has been a decline, and the turnover of IRS is only 30-35% of July 2008 levels. However, Celent believes that fixed income derivative products will increase in number and volume.

The Clearing Corporation of India (CCIL) has had a critical role to play in the growth of the industry. Its contribution has been vital in the success of the NDS-OM platform as well as the money markets for instruments such as collateralized borrowing and lending obligations (CBLOs). More innovative participants such as CCIL are required for the debt markets to succeed in the long run.

India’s retail market has failed to meet expectations. There had been high expectations for a rise in retail participation in the markets, especially from the exchanges. This has failed to materialize and both NSE and BSE have seen no trading in the segment. However, retail interest in debt funds is high because they are an attractive means of reducing volatility in the current economic climate. As much as Rs. 1.3 trillion has been mobilized in April-May 2009 by debt mutual funds, as opposed to an outgo of Rs. 285 billion in the previous financial year (i.e., April 2008 to March 2009).

NSE has created a niche in the debt markets. The wholesale debt market of NSE commands an 8% share of overall government debt trading. Similarly, it has a 46% share in 2009 (until June) in the corporate bond market. However, BSE is struggling in the government bond market and has a 16% share in the corporate bond market.

Source: Celente, Advanced Trading, 18.09.2009

Filed under: Asia, Exchanges, India, News, Trading Technology, , , , , , , ,

Mexico Central Bank prohibit some Lender/Credit/Banking Fees

July 21 (Bloomberg) — Mexico’s central bank said it will prohibit commercial banks from applying some fees in a bid to make charges more transparent and bolster competition.

Starting Aug. 21, banks won’t be able to charge fees for depositing checks that are returned, for exceeding debit card limits or for canceling deposit accounts, credit cards, debit cards or online banking services, the central bank said today in an e-mailed statement.

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The measures may force Mexican banks to issue more loans to compensate for revenue they currently get from fees, which may open up credit channels that seized up amid the global financial crisis, said Gabriel Casillas at UBS AG in Mexico City. Fees and commissions accounted for 20 percent of the Mexican banking industry’s operating revenue in 2008, Standard & Poor’s says.

“This is an important blow to one of the biggest sources of revenue for Mexican banks,” said Casillas, who is chief economist for Mexico and Chile. “This should give them an incentive to increase credit and obtain revenue from there.”

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, which controls Mexico’s largest lender BBVA Bancomer SA, fell 1.4 percent to 9.675 euros at 12:15 p.m. New York time from 9.81 euros at 10 a.m., when the measures were announced.

Banks will also be unable to charge customers for opening or managing accounts that were opened in order to receive a loan, the bank said.

Antitrust Chief

Mexican antitrust chief Eduardo Perez Motta said in a July 17 interview that authorities needed to make it easier for customers to switch banks so they could more easily shop for low-cost services, which would in turn boost competition.

“When you tell your bank you want to leave, they make your life difficult,” Perez Motta said.

Still, Angelica Bala, an S&P credit and banking analyst in Mexico City, said increased regulations won’t improve competition or transparency.

“The central bank is doing this because there has been a big political push against banks charging so much for fees and commissions,” Bala said in a telephone interview. “But putting a cap on fees and commissions is not a good thing. It has to be driven by competition.”

Source: Bloomberg, 21.07.2009 by : Jens Erik Gould in Mexico City at

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

Fitch expresses concern about China’s loan cascade

The ratings agency points to early warning signs that indicate asset quality is deteriorating.

This year, China’s banks have opened the floodgates of credit: between January and the end of April, $757 billion worth of new loans were dished out, equivalent to 17% of the GDP in 2008. As such, China’s banks are enjoying a rate of growth that their Western peers would kill for. The increase in lending is the government’s doing, since it has given banks the task of financing the infrastructure spending that forms a large part of China’s stimulus package. Read original article.

Looking to the medium- to long-term, however, analysts are beginning to air concerns about what effect such a rapid increase in lending could have on the quality of the banks’ loan portfolios.

A report released yesterday by Fitch Ratings highlights issues with the banking sector’s $4.2 trillion corporate loan portfolio. The worry arises from the fact that China’s banks are increasing their corporate exposure at a time when corporate profits are declining.

“Ordinarily, falling corporate earnings are met with tightened lending, but in China precisely the reverse is happening,” said the report. This illustrates that “despite years of reform Chinese banks still retain an important policy function in upholding local enterprises”.

Infrastructure spending is not the only thing underlying the loan growth, according to the report. All the banks set a profit growth target. Since interest rates are down, the only way that banks can possibly meet their targets is by focusing purely on volumes. In the process of increasing the number of loans, it is more likely that money will be lent to commercially unviable projects. However, the banks don’t see this as a problem, since there is an implicit assumption that any coming losses will be paid for by the government.

Although bank earnings have held up well so far, Fitch points to what it calls “early warning signals” that indicate asset quality could be deteriorating.

One sign is that the banks are increasing the assessment rate for how much money should be kept aside for losses against unimpaired loans, which suggests that they expect greater losses to come from the loans that are currently considered performing. The banks are also reclassifying more special mention loans, a category of weak loans just one step from being a non-performing loan (NPL), into NPLs. Finally, the foreign banks, which have better risk management systems than the local banks, saw a rise in their NPLs in the first quarter.

But the full extent of the problem of future credit losses may not come to light for some time, for several reasons, said the report. The structure of corporate debt is such that the inability of the borrower to pay will not become apparent until the principal is due, which will often be years after the loan was made. Furthermore, it is a common practice in China to roll over loans by extending the maturity, which in effect postpones the bad news and allows the loan to remain classified as adequate.

Source:, 23.05.2009 by  Daniel Inman

Filed under: Asia, Banking, China, News, Risk Management, Services, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore Debt compelling says PIMCO

Bonds sold by Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Singapore will beat other emerging markets as they avoid a “domino effect” of defaults, according to Pacific Investment Management Co.

Debt sold by countries with large enough financial reserves to stimulate economic growth and access to support from the Federal Reserve’s $120 billion of currency swap lines will outperform, the world’s largest emerging-market bond investor said in a report.

Investors pulled $18 billion from emerging-market bond funds last year as Ecuador’s default last month accelerated losses, according to data compiled by EPFR Global. Brazil’s bonds due 2040, which fell as much as 25 percent last year, gained 30 percent since mid-October. Brazil, Turkey, Colombia and the Philippines raised $4.5 billion selling dollar- denominated bonds this week alone.

“Default probabilities for countries like Brazil, Korea, Mexico and Singapore remain very low,” Curtis Mewbourne, a managing director and co-head of emerging-market investments, wrote in a note published on Pimco’s Web site. “Current spreads for their debt represent a compelling risk-return opportunity.”

Pimco is most bullish on countries that have the resources or can borrow to stimulate their economies as exports slump, according to Mewbourne. He highlighted China’s $585 billion stimulus package and Russia’s $186 billion program.

Default Risk
Ecuador’s bonds plunged 73 percent in 2008 and Argentina’s lost 58 percent. Emerging-market local-currency debt rallied a record 8.2 percent in December in U.S. dollar terms, according to Merrill Lynch & Co.’s LDM Plus Index of local-currency sovereign notes.

Pimco’s $2.4 billion Emerging Markets Bond Fund lost 14 percent last year, Bloomberg data show.

The Fed announced currency swaps in October of $30 billion each for the central banks of Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore. The arrangements, due to expire in April, reduce the likelihood of capital outflows that marked the Asian financial crises of 1997, Mewbourne wrote.

Pimco, based in Newport Beach, California, said access to finance will be significantly reduced for Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela because of their unconventional policies.

Ecuador reneged on a $30 million coupon payment on Dec. 15, while keeping $5 billion of foreign-exchange reserves. Ecuador’s credit rating was cut to “selective default” by Standard & Poor’s.

Currency Weakness
Argentina in November approved plans to nationalize about $26 billion held by 10 private pensions in a move to shore up government finances.

The cost to hedge against a default by Argentina for five years rose to 3,713 basis points yesterday from 1,800 basis points three months ago, according to CMA Datavision prices in New York. The cost of contracts on Venezuela’s debt jumped to 2,918 from 1,292.

Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities if a borrower fails to adhere to its debt agreements. A basis point is equivalent to a cost of $1,000 a year to protect $10 million of debt.

Investors should expect a “wide range of different outcomes” in emerging markets, Mewbourne wrote. As policy makers in developing countries follow the U.S., Japan and Europe in cutting interest rates to boost their economies, the currencies will face “downward pressure,” Mewbourne said.

Bond Sales
China, South Korea, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Colombia have cut borrowing costs to counter slumping demand, a response previously reserved for the developed world, Mewbourne said. “We see the scope for even lower policy rates.”

Pimco has tempered its “secular enthusiasm for a generalized strengthening of emerging currencies,” Mewbourne wrote. He didn’t provide any specific currency forecasts.

The Philippines sold $1.5 billion of 10-year notes yesterday to yield 8.5 percent, or six percentage points more than Treasuries, while Turkey sold $1 billion of eight-year bonds to yield 5.01 percentage points above Treasuries. Brazil and Colombia each sold $1 billion of debt this week. Mexico sold $2 billion in bonds on Dec. 18.

Chile, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia may also tap the global sovereign debt market later in 2009, according to Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York.

Source: Bloomberg, 08.01.2009  (David Yong in Singapore at

Filed under: Banking, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, News, Singapore, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,