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VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis August 2013

Admist concerns on capital outflows due to U.S Fed tapering and fear of Syria war, the market retreated quite badly in August with foreign net selling of USD 41.8mn across the 2 bourses. By the month-end, VN Index lost 3.7% to close at 472.7 whilst VN30 tumbled 1.72%. HNX was the best performer of the 3 indices when it only edged down 0.49%, closing at 61.19.

Read full analysis VAM Monthly Newsletter – August 2013.

Buoyant FDI continues to support recovery

As of 20th August, registered FDI reached USD 12.6bn, soaring 19.5% from a year earlier.Thiswas backed by 768 new projects mostly focusing on the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, the FDI disbursement edged up 3.8% y-o-y to USD 7.6bn and became a key factor contributing to the marked improvements in production activities. Indeed, while the employment index for the manufacturing sector in SOEs and private sector showed a negative growth, that in FDI sector still increased 5.6% y-o-y. Besides, FDI enterprises continued to be the main driving force to push export as they are contributing more than 60% of export and USD 2.7bn of trade surplus. YTD export turnovers advanced 14.7% y-o-y as of end August, however the YTD trade balance still suffers little deficit of USD 577mn due to a higher pace of import growth.

CPI accelerates but is still under control

The August general consumer price index edged up 0.83% m-o-m compared to previous month. Consequently, the year on year headline CPI was lifted up to 7.5% y-o-y, from 7.29% y-o-y in July. While aggregate demand was still weak, cost push effect became the primary reason for the return of inflation, in which electricity and gasoline price was adjusted up 5% and 2%, respectively. The healthcare basket, which was adjusted up remarkably in Hanoi, clearly produced the strongest effect. Fortunately, it only contributed little effect to the month-on-month CPI growth. The government’s inflation target of 7-8% would likely be met provided that there is no significant shock of gasoline price in the rest of this year.

Fast tracking VAMC

Sector-wide NPL figure at the end of 1H2013 was announced at 4.65%. This figure was indeed encouraging as NPL has fallen sharply from 8% by the end of 2012. 30 credit institutions that had NPL higher than 3% will be forced to bring down NPL level to 3% by selling bad debts to VAMC. In a recent interview, VAMC’s CEO said that in the next 2 months VAMC will issue bonds to swap for VND 10 trillion worth of bad debts of 10 banks. Banks with highest NPL will be given priority to sell bad debt to VAMC. The speedy execution of VAMC hopefully would help to clean up sector-wide bad debt more swiftly by year end.

More banking resolution to restructure banking system comprehensively

The PM signed a Resolution that allows SBV to assign financially strong banks or SBV itself, if there is no appropriate bank, to purchase stakes in weak banks which were unable to increase their capital or restructure themselves. Strong banks are requested to assist weak banks in both finance and management until their conditions come back to normal or acquired by other parties. This supportive resolution, together with VAMC formation, has clearly demonstrated the government’s determination to restructurethe banking system and tackle the NPL issue.

 More details on raising foreign ownership limit (FOL) plan available

According to the HOSE, the proposal on issuing Non-Voting Depository Receipts (NVDRs) was submitted to MoF. With the same model as Thailand NVDRs, an SBV subsidiary will buy and hold 10% of total outstanding shares of listed companies and issue equivalent NVDRs to foreign investors. Foreign investors holding NVDRs will be fully entitled to company financial benefit, but not voting rights. NVDRs will be converted to normal shares when foreign room is open. This NVDRs model will be applied to all companies. However, we do not think it will happen soon this year due to the amount of preparation required.

 Our View – 8 months of the year has passed and the economy has started showing some modest improvements. Inflation is under control and the government’s target would be likely to be met.  More affordable borrowing cost is supporting production activities and making business environment more attractive.  In addition, gold market has been gradually stabilized as the gap between domestic and global prices has been falling to half of previous high level. These improvements in economic conditions have prompted us to believe that the economy seems right on track for a gradual recovery.  Furthermore, the government’s serious effort in restructuring the banking sector and the future lifting of foreign ownership limit gave us reasons to be (cautiously) optimistic about the market despite recent pullbacks due to external factors, which actually revealed buying opportunities for some good stocks we have been watching.

Source: VAM, 11.09.2013

 

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Filed under: Services, Vietnam, , , , , , , , ,

VAM:Vietnam Market Analysis June 2013

Vietnamese stocks fell sharply in June on high redemption pressure from foreign investors, currency depreciation and growth concerns. At the end of Jun, VN-index closed at 481.1, slipping 7.19%, in line with the 7.45% decrease of VN30 whilst the HNX index declined 2.87%, closing at 62.76.
 
National Assembly meeting ended with concrete achievements
One month discussion of the National Assembly resulted in many positive achievements to revive the economy. First of all, political environment looked more stable as top leaders successfully completed the first ever confidence voting round with no member needing a second vote. Secondly, the Government has shown their determination to restructure the economy through concrete resolutions. Accordingly, the government announced that from 2H 2013 there might be VND 40 trillion (nearly USD 2bn) to be disbursed each month to maintain credit growth at 12%. Besides, the National Assembly agreed to cut corporate income tax from 25% to 22% in 2014 and further to 20% in 2016 for all firms whilst for SMEs, tax is cut to 20% as soon as 1/7/2013 in an effort to spur growth. 
 
Dong devalued due to many pressures
The SBV devalued the Dong for the first time since 2011 after recent tension in the FX market. Thereference rate was weakened by 1% to 21,036 dong per dollar. Given the current trading band of +/-1%, the ceiling and floor exchange rates are now VND 21,246/USD, and VND 20,826/USD, respectively. The current stress in the FX market should be due to i) high official demand for gold imports from commercial banks to close their short positions by end June as requested by SBV, plus the unofficial import demand due to big gap between local and international prices, ii) narrowing gap between the USD and VND deposit rates after a recent VND deposit rate cut, iii) expansion of trade deficit, and iv) asset unloading of foreign investors in emerging markets as the US Fed has announced to wind down QE recently.
 
Production continues to be sluggish
Low appetite for local consumption and tightening export markets such as China (-1.9% y-o-y) and Japan (-0.9% y-o-y) has led production activities to face a marked downturn in June. Indeed, the HSBC Manufacturing Index tumbled to 46.4, the 11-month low level, in the second consecutive month of contraction. In general, the economy expanded 4.9% y-o-y in the first six months, which is a small improvement compared to that of 4.38% y-o-y a year earlier.
 
Inflation under control and more rate cuts to bolster growth
As inflation in June was merely 6.69% y-o-y, which slightly increased compared to the 6.3% y-o-y recorded in May, another move in monetary adjustment came from rate cuts to help stabilize the foreign-currency market as well as revive production. Accordingly, the ceiling rates for USD deposit will be cut to 0.25% pa (from 0.5%) for institutions, and to 1.25% pa (from 2%) for individuals whilst those with VND deposits with maturity ranging from 1-month to less than 6-month will be curtailed to 7% pa (down from 7.5%). As domestic consumption persists at low levels and companies’ ability to absorb bank loans remain limited, a rate cut is necessary to support growth besides other implementations such as a tax cut program and a loan stimulus package for the real estate market.
 
Our ViewThe first half of 2013 has been focused on curbing inflation to stabilize the macro environment. Fortunately, the situation is not as dire as CPI is positively under control, which leaves room to consider more drastic measures to boost growth. The interest rate is now at its lowest and unlikely to face more cuts while the Dong devaluation is essential in order to reduce tension in the FX market. Although recent currency depreciation is rather worrying, we do not think of it as distressing because pressure on the currency will start easing as the foreign reserve remains healthy. The target of 2-3% currency volatility setting from the beginning of this year by the Governor is likely to be met. Accompanied by recent adjustments in monetary policy, other efforts, namely tax cut and stimulus package are expected to accelerate the economy in the second half of this year. In the meantime, we continue to hold and pick stocks that we have strong conviction in based on the resilient business model, solid balance sheet, sound cash flows, prudent management and attractive valuation. We also maintain careful watch on government policy changes to take action when there are clearer signs of economy turnaround

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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, , , , , , , , , , ,

Finamex: It’s a Fine Time to Cross the Border – Mexico the Emerged Market of Growth

In January of this year the theme of emerging markets became more of a primary investment rather than that of an alternative one. Many people ventured toward countries that have had rocket high growth over the last few years such as the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China which received the preponderance of excitement in the emerging market approach.

Read full article Mexico the Growth Market

Today, the BRIC countries have been challenged to maintain upward momentum. The simmering down of the American market crisis and the expanding concerns for the Eurozone present a dilemma and are showing the effects. The Institute of International Finance (IIF), a global association of financial institutions, says that “net private capital flows to emerging market economies remain quite volatile and subject to disturbance from the euro area”. According to the research, data capital flows fell in 2011 to $1.03 trillion from $1.09 trillion in 2010 and are expected to fall again this year to $912 billion before rising to $994 billion in 2013.

The woes of the Eurozone monetary crisis have influenced investors to move money out of country and to seek safe haven in securities markets elsewhere. Brazil, Indonesia, China as well as others are no longer experiencing upward momentum and are now even in decline or negative.

However year after year, analysts continue to see strong signs of growth and long term prosperity in Mexico as many of the emerging markets troubles are not being seen in Mexico, in fact quite the opposite.

Brazil with its lucrative energy industry capitalized by the largest South American exchange, has attracted many investors to seek opportunities in Latin America. Brazil has enjoyed the influx of foreign investments and has gone further to encourage more interest from the North by recently lowering some of its staggeringly high tax penalties on returns and additionally allowing the shares of foreign instruments to take more of a part in portfolios of its domestic shareholders. “Investors are more cautious with Brazil,” Gustavo Mendonca, an economist with Oren Investimentos in Sao Paulo said this week. “The country has slowed very sharply and the prospects for long-term growth have gone downhill.”

Policy adjustments invite and attract investments, but many of these actions are late and under pressure by issues developing in other countries such as Spain. On the other hand, the opportunities for a rudimental Northern investor looking South of the Border to Mexico remain solid.

A key factor with Mexico is that it has  some of the most definitive metrics that provide the level of transparency needed in a volatile global market.  Unlike Brazil, Russia, India or China, Mexico is directly tied to American monetary policy with a correlation that does not exist in other Emerging Market countries and not surprisingly is also growing alongside the American economy.

Is Mexico beyond ridicule and examination? Of course not, but to begin to understand the benefits of investing in Mexico for the short and the long term we should begin with how Mexico plays a key role as a member of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). The implementation of NAFTA along with close inter-country relationships, ties Mexico’s trade and currency valuation to that of the US and Canada.

 For example, in 2010 many believed the US would remain flat for the next two years, but we now see this was not the case. As a result of American performance, Mexico’s markets have also increased working in parallel a framework portfolio managers find affirmative Mexico has also maintained a weak peso over the last ten years. The Mexican peso has been priced at a competitive advantage with China.

 Currency rates have helped Mexico realize an economic boom that continues to rise since the 90’s. The move to NAFTA in 1994 could be the key contributing factor for Mexico’s 600 percent increase in sales to the US. With inflation no longer under control in countries like China and  Brazil, analysts are discovering that Mexico’s policies have proven successful in weathering many global financial catastrophes.

…..

As opportunities within the developed markets diminish, the Mexican marketplace is standing strong. As a top emerging market for the global investing community, particularly in Latin America, Mexico represents a substantial alternative to Brazil, home of the leading Latin American stock market. Mexico, although not a BRIC country, certainly has more promising economic stability and growth potential than some of the most mature economies. With a clear goal in sight, the local markets in Mexico continue to take measures that enhance liquidity in equities and derivatives trading which provide surety to its financial institutions and reach more investors abroad.

Source: FINAMEX /Dan Watkins, 01.08.2012  dwatkins@cc-speed.com

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every Chinese Province bankrupt like Greece – Host Says Chinese Regime nearly bankrupt

China’s economy has a reputation for being strong and prosperous, but according to a well-known Chinese television personality the country’s Gross Domestic Product is going in reverse.

Larry Lang, chair professor of Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said in a lecture that he didn’t think was being recorded that the Chinese regime is in a serious economic crisis—on the brink of bankruptcy. In his memorable formulation: every province in China is Greece.

Related Article:

Bobsguide – China reduces lenders’ ratio requirements (02.12.2011)
EpochTimes – China’s Economy on the Brink of Collaps (Nov.2011)
The Guardian – IMF sounds warning  on Chinese Banking System (Nov.2011)
 
The restrictions Lang placed on the Oct. 22 speech in Shenyang City, in northern China’s Liaoning Province, included no audio or video recording, and no media. He can be heard saying that people should not post his speech online, or “everyone will look bad,” in the audio that is now on Youtube. 

In the unusual, closed-door lecture, Lang gave a frank analysis of the Chinese economy and the censorship that is placed on intellectuals and public figures. “What I’m about to say is all true. But under this system, we are not allowed to speak the truth,” he said.

Despite Lang’s polished appearance on his high-profile TV shows, he said: “Don’t think that we are living in a peaceful time now. Actually the media cannot report anything at all. Those of us who do TV shows are so miserable and frustrated, because we cannot do any programs. As long as something is related to the government, we cannot report about it.”

He said that the regime doesn’t listen to experts, and that Party officials are insufferably arrogant. “If you don’t agree with him, he thinks you are against him,” he said.

Lang’s assessment that the regime is bankrupt was based on five conjectures.

Firstly, that the regime’s debt sits at about 36 trillion yuan (US$5.68 trillion). This calculation is arrived at by adding up Chinese local government debt (between 16 trillion and 19.5 trillion yuan, or US$2.5 trillion and US$3 trillion), and the debt owed by state-owned enterprises (another 16 trillion, he said). But with interest of two trillion per year, he thinks things will unravel quickly.

Secondly, that the regime’s officially published inflation rate of 6.2 percent is fabricated. The real inflation rate is 16 percent, according to Lang.

Thirdly, that there is serious excess capacity in the economy, and that private consumption is only 30 percent of economic activity. Lang said that beginning this July, the Purchasing Managers Index, a measure of the manufacturing industry, plunged to a new low of 50.7. This is an indication, in his view, that China’s economy is in recession.

Fourthly, that the regime’s officially published GDP of 9 percent is also fabricated. According to Lang’s data, China’s GDP has decreased 10 percent. He said that the bloated figures come from the dramatic increase in infrastructure construction, including real estate development, railways, and highways each year (accounting for up to 70 percent of GDP in 2010).

Fifthly, that taxes are too high. Last year, the taxes on Chinese businesses (including direct and indirect taxes) were at 70 percent of earnings. The individual tax rate sits at 81.6 percent, Lang said.

Once the “economic tsunami” starts, the regime will lose credibility and China will become the poorest country in the world, Lang said.

Several commentators have expressed broad agreement with Lang’s analysis.

Professor Frank Xie at the University of South Carolina, Aiken, said that the idea of China going bankrupt isn’t far fetched. Major construction projects have helped inflate the GDP, he says. “On the surface, it is a big number, but inflation is even higher. So in reality, China’s economy is in recession.”

Further, Xie said that official figures shouldn’t be relied on. The regime’s vice premier, Li Keqiang for example, admitted to a U.S. diplomat that he doesn’t believe the statistics produced by lower-level officials, and when he was the governor of Liaoning Province “had to personally see the hard data.”

Cheng Xiaonong, an economist and former aide to ousted Party leader Zhao Ziyang, said that high praise of the “China model” is often made on the basis of the high-visibility construction projects, a big GDP, and much money in foreign reserves. “They pay little attention to things such as whether people’s basic rights are guaranteed, or their living standard has improved or not,” he said.

Behind the fiat control of the economy, which can have the appearance of being efficient, there is enormous waste and corruption, Cheng said. It means that little spending is done on education, welfare, the health system, etc.

Cheng says that for the last decade the Chinese regime has accumulated its wealth primarily by promoting real estate development, buying urban and suburban residential properties at low prices (or simply taking them), and selling them to developers at high prices.

According to Cheng, the goals of regime officials (to enrich themselves and increase their power) are in direct conflict with those of the people–so social injustice expands, and economic propaganda meant to portray the situation as otherwise prevails.

Few scholars inside the country dare to speak as Lang has, Cheng said. And that’s probably because he has a professorship in Hong Kong.

Source: TheEpochTimes, 15.11.2011

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

Brazil mysterious interest rate cuts & proposed Euro Rescue package… cause to worry?

Who sets interest rates in Brazil: Is it Central Bank President Alexandre Tombini or the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff? That question hung over financial markets after the Central Bank of Brazil cut the benchmark Selic interest rate by half a point, to 12 percent, on Aug. 31. The move was unexpected: The bank’s rate-setting committee had ratcheted up the Selic at its five previous meetings to combat inflation and had not signaled a change in its stance. Yet Rousseff in an Aug. 30 radio broadcast had said rates should begin to fall as the government curbs spending.

(Interestingly a week later Guido Mantega, Brazil’s finance minister, suddenly proposed a “Bric” rescue package for the eurozone this week, he caught not only other world leaders by surprise but also many of his fellow countrymen.

Even as officials from other members of the so-called Bric grouping – Russia, India and China – said it was the first they heard of the idea, many ordinary Brazilians expressed shock at the notion of bailing out the world’s richest trading bloc. FT 16.09.2011)

The abruptness of the shift in monetary policy left money managers such as Guilherme Figueiredo, director of M. Safra, a São Paulo investment firm, with the impression that Tombini had caved in to political pressure. “This is the worst possible decision our central bank could have made at such a moment,” Figueiredo says. “The loss of credibility is going to be large.” Rousseff’s press office declined to comment when asked about the rate decision.

New data indicate that Tombini may have acted prematurely. On Sept. 6, Brazil’s statistics agency said inflation accelerated to an annualized 7.23 percent in August—its fastest pace since 2005 and well above the 6.5 percent upper end of the target range set by monetary authorities for the full year. In an Aug. 31 statement the central bank defended the rate cut, saying it will help shield the economy from the effects of a “substantial deterioration” in the world growth outlook.

It’s true that Brazil shows signs of cooling. The central bank’s economic activity index shrank in June for the first time since 2008, and business confidence in the second quarter slid to its lowest level since 2009. Economists expect growth to slow to 3.7 percent this year, from 7.5 percent in 2010.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega has pledged that the government won’t resort to fiscal stimulus to spur the economy. Whether Rousseff, who took office on Jan. 1, can discipline the spending habits of the multiparty ruling coalition remains an open question, however. Congress rebelled against her first attempts at frugality by proposing bigger salaries for police officers and an increase in health-care spending. Cutting rates in these circumstances “is really risky, with inflation building and wages set to rise,” says Elson Teles, chief economist at Maxima Asset Management in Rio de Janeiro. The central bank is “weighing such subjective things like whether there’s going to be another global recession. What if it doesn’t happen?”

The bottom line: Brazil’s central bank may have bowed to government pressure for a rate cut, endangering its goal of containing inflation.

Source: Bloomberg, 08. 09.2011is a reporter for Bloomberg News.  Ragir   Bristow is a reporter for Bloomberg News.

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

China: BlackRock – Can China´s Saver save the world?

  • China has experienced rapid credit-led growth in recent years. This growth has been an important contributor to global economic recovery.
  •  Many commentators anticipate that the rapid nature of Chinese credit growth, allied to a capital allocation process led by political direction and undertaken at highly subsidized rates of interest, will inevitably end in a credit bust.
  •  Further, these critics point to the opaque nature of China’s banking system, rapidly growing off-balance-sheet exposures and an overblown real estate sector as evidence of a fragile Sino financial system overdue for a crisis that will, in turn, cripple world growth and extended financial systems elsewhere.
  •  While we are sympathetic to much of the logic behind these fears, we believe that these concerns float on some flimsy analysis. As one example, we cite the mismatch between the oft-cited story of 65 million empty apartments nationwide in China and the inconvenient truth that market estimates indicate that only 60 million apartments have been completed in the last decade.
  •  More importantly, we believe that the “panda bears” overlook the fact that much of the expansion in China’s financial balance sheet has been quasi-fiscal lending and that such lending is backed and guaranteed by a system that is experiencing rapid growth in income and starting from a low level of overall debt.
  • Domestic savings rates are high — indeed, excessive at over 50% of GDP. While external capital has funded much of the rise in banking system liabilities over the last 12 months, China also runs a current account surplus, is largely domestically funded and lacks many of the vulnerabilities that undid Western credit systems in 2007–08.
  •  We agree that bad debt levels in China will rise — in fact, in a worst-case scenario, there could be as much as 7 trillion RMB of bad loans in the system at present, according to our estimates. But bank balance sheets are strong, profit growth is subsidized by fixed lending and deposit rates, and economic growth itself should be strong enough to absorb most reasonable estimates of losses without serious challenges to financial system stability.
  •  Bank deposits are the main source of domestic savings. We are confident that Beijing will seek to avoid social discontent arising from any threat to the security of deposits with vigor and resources that would make Western bailouts appear puny by comparison. Our concern is that savings growth rates will slow over the next few years and that deposit growth will be much more pedestrian than over the last decade. The recent consolidation of data on funding growth under the banner of Total Social Financing (TSF) presents a clearer picture of the efficiency of deposit mobilization in funding growth. Even allowing for shortcomings in methodology, the incremental growth per unit of financing — Financial Incremental Capital Output Ratio, or FICOR, as we term it — has deteriorated over the last decade.
  •  As a consequence of slower savings rates and reduced FICOR, we expect a slowdown in trend growth over the next few years to 7-8% rather than the 8-10% level of recent times. State-led capital allocation and rate fixing was a feature of both Korea and Japan in the past. In both cases, financial crisis arising from this policy mix was triggered by financial reform. We believe the same holds for China, but will take a number of years to unfold.

Read full report Can China´s Savers save the world

Source: BlackRock / Carral Sierra, 12.07.2011

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China: BlackRock – Puede el ahorro de China salvar al mundo?

China ha experimentado en años recientes un rápido crecimiento impulsado por el crédito, el cual ha sido un factor importante en la recuperación económica global. Sin embargo:

  • Muchos analistas anticipan que la rápida condición del crecimiento chino gracias al crédito, junto con un proceso de distribución de capital dirigido por sus políticos y emprendido a tasas de interés altamente subsidiadas, inevitablemente derivará en una caída crediticia.
  • Estos comentarios señalan la naturaleza opaca del sistema bancario de China, una rápida exposición de las hojas de balance y un sector inmobiliario inflado, como la evidencia de un sistema financiero frágil susceptible a una crisis que, a su vez, afectará el crecimiento mundial y a otros sistemas financieros.

    Opiniones del BlackRock Investment Institute: ¿Puede el Ahorro de China Salvar al Mundo?

  • En la nueva publicación del BlackRock Investment Institute, “¿Puede el ahorro de China salvar al mundo? (Can China Savers Save the World?)”, los autores analizan las razones que están en la base de estos temores. Al respecto, afirman que esta inquietud podría estar basada en un análisis débil.
  • Asimismo, creen que los llamados “pandas” no consideran el hecho de que gran parte de la expansión de la balanza financiera de China se ha basado en préstamos casi fiscales y que tienen el respaldo y garantía de un sistema que experimenta un rápido crecimiento de su ingreso y cuenta con un nivel bajo de deuda.
  • En consecuencia, los autores sugieren que China no sufrirá un colapso financiero, sino a lo sumo un descenso en su potencial y en su tasa de crecimiento.

Adjunto te hacemos llegar el documento completo en inglés en formato PDF. En caso de cualquier duda adicional, quedamos a tu disposición.

Para leer el reporte completo click aqui.  Can China´s Savers save the world

Source: Black Rock / Carral Sierra, 12.07.2011

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Brazil: Greek accord might buy some peaceful time – Monthly Allocation July 2011 – BANIF

Greek accord might buy some peaceful time

We maintain our negative view on the international market for July. In the US, after a series of weak economic indicators, even worse than initially expected, there is no evidence of a turnaround in the short term, especially while the unemployment rate remains at high levels. The ongoing recovery in Japan, together with a slight reduction in commodity prices and the slight reduction in US interest rates (10-yr bonds) seem to us to be a base for some economic recovery that to date has not yet materialized. We believe that potentially increasing inflation might stress the Chinese market, but this possibility remains uncertain for the moment. In the Euro zone, economic indicators tend to play a secondary role to political tension, as the outcome for the Greek debt remains undefined. The recent measures approved by the parliament enabled only the receipt of a tranche of aid previously negotiated. We expect a temporary ease in this tension, which might pick up shortly as it negotiates a second aid package by September, under uncertain political support from all European countries. The dominant feeling is that Greece has no orthodox solution while it remains under the Euro umbrella and tied to its rules. The biggest fear, however, is not of Greece defaulting, but that it would spread the problem to other countries also on the list of troubled economies.

Despite our negative view for international markets, we believe that July may be less negative than June was, mainly due to the temporary ease that the Greek accord brought. However, tensions should increase with the negotiations for the next agreement, expected by September.

Local inflation likely to continue low

Inflation in July might continue low, although not as low as in June, which confirmed and even surpassed the most optimistic expectations. While in June inflation was slightly negative (according to some of the main indexes), consensus expectations for the IPCA in July are around 0.15-0.20%. This reduction was a result of seasonal factors that might lose effect shortly, with inflation likely to pick up as they do.

Delinquency rates increased slightly in June, but we tend to believe this is not a source of concern because: 1) personal income is likely to show improved figures because of the recently reduced inflation and 2) the amount of late payments, the step before writing off debt, decreased for two months in a row.

We predicted that June’s local positive sentiment based on reduced inflation would overcome a bad international scenario, but this did not materialize. We continue with the same views for July, bad internationally and good locally. This time, however, we believe that the negative mood might continue to prevail.

We changed our portfolio to be more defensive, having in mind our somewhat negative view for the market. We have added Tractebel and Telesp (both with 5% stake), two traditionally defensive names, we reduced weight on Even (from 10% to 5%) and have withdrawn Itaú.

Source: BANIF CVC, 01.07.2011

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Brazil – Low Inflation to Boost Brazilian Stock Market – Monthly Allocation – June 2011 -BANIF

At best, things should be as bad as predicted

For multiple reasons, we have a negative view on the international market for June. 1) There is evidence of a slowdown in the US economy. 2) In the Euro Zone, following the relatively well made financial aid package for Portugal, the Greek debt problem has become more acute, with evidence of fiscal targets not met and a lack of political will to implement further measures. 3) China has displayed signs of an economic slowdown after strong 1Q figures.

Despite this negative view, we believe in a mild negative evolution of the markets, with no large factors to cause major changes. The market has revised estimates for economic activity downwards and now, in a best-case scenario, we believe in a reality as bad as predicted. The most important single issue to monitor is probably the evolution of the Greek problem, which disruption we believe is certain and dependent on a strengthening of the European financial market to absorb its impact; a condition not yet achieved. A meeting with European leaders will take place on June 24, which might be a catalyst if an announcement of any decision to favor the short term solution for the Greek difficulties occurs.

Local inflation estimates approach zero

Most estimates for June’s inflation are nearing zero. The Top Five survey, for instance, now has 0.06% for the IPCA index. Considering that the reduction is sharp, coming from monthly levels from around 0.8% to near zero (May figure is likely to remain above halfway between one end and the other), we believe that there is still some skepticism in the market of this downward course. With the release of hard data confirming the expectation of low inflation, available around the third week of the month in the form of the previous release of indexes for June, we foresee an increased optimism driving the market prices up.

We believe a materialization of the positive local scenario we predict will have greater influence on the local market than the dimmer international scenario, leading to a rebound in local prices. As inflation has been the most important economic factor monitored, an ease in its pace would cause a wave of optimism.

Having this positive view in mind, we left our previous cautious stance and, to benefit from a rebound in the local stock market, changed our suggested portfolio significantly. We added Copasa and Itau (5% weight each) and increased the weights on Even, Eztec, and Lojas Renner (all from 5% to 10%). Additionally, we withdrew Telesp, Tiete and Tractebel.

Source: BANIF CVC, 01.06.2011

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

Brazil – Increasing Risks Might Harm Markets- Monthly Allocation – March 2011

Political tension and increasing international commodity prices

We have seen the rise of commodities prices as a risk of inflation, which ultimately would pose a risk to interest rates. Rising inflation, pushed by costs that would then cause interest rate increases, is unwanted while economic activity does not pick up. Additionally, tensions in North African countries have sent oil prices up as well, which reinforces the scenario of an increase in costs.  Brazil – Monthly Allocation – March 2011

The tension in North African countries is likely to be the dominant international event during March. Following the movement started in Egypt, which led to the fall of a long established dictatorship, other countries, with similar political structures, have started having protests, with unpredictable outcomes.

In China, the celebrations of the local New Year halted release of economic data. However, from the data so far released, we see unchanged risks and believe the country suffers from the increase in commodities prices, as does the rest of the world.

Apart from these political and commodities problems, indicators continue to point to an improving economic activity for the US and Europe, although still at a slow pace.

Local risks still relate to inflation

If the political tension does not deteriorate much further, we believe that local problems in Brazil will dominate the mood of investors. The main local ST risks we see are the still unknown extent of the inflation surge and the efficiency of the measures taken.

After the initial optimism at the beginning of the year, we continue to see a deterioration of expectations, which should continue until the wave of price increases comes under control. Additional to these price increases, the minimum wage, an additional important price, is about to be formally indexed. The approval of this year’s minimum wage comes together with a formula for automatic future adjustments, which formalizes a hitherto informal methodology. With this measure, the government reinforces the need to control other sources of inflation. These include other possible budget costs, the increase in interest rates, credit expansion, etc.

The Government has attempted to control inflation through a reduction of economic activity. The risk here is that the measures may cause an excessive economic slowdown and, for instance, bringing GDP growth below 4% this year (while current expectations are of a GDP around 4.5%).

With this scenario, we have changed our portfolio to make it more defensive, more linked to inflation-adjusted revenue companies and less dependent on companies related to credit and GDP growth. We have included HRT with a weight of 5%, and increased Eletropaulo’s weight (to 10 from 5%). We have also reduced the weight of MRV (to 5% from 10%) and withdrawn Hering.

Source: BANIF, 01.03.2011

 

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VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis December 2010

Market Update – Vietnam ended 2010 with a remarkable GDP growth of 7.34% in the last quarter, bringing the full year growth to 6.78% versus last years number of 5.32%. The resilient economic recovery was driven by domestic factors such as industrial production and retail sales, both significantly up 14% and 24.5% on year, respectively. On the external front, exports had a good year with revenue reaching US$71.6 billion, up 25.5% compared to 2009, whilst import turnover was up 20% in the same period, recorded at US$84 billion. This brought the full year trade deficit to S$12.4 billion, accounting for 17.3% of the total export revenue, well below the government target of 20%. VAM Monthly Newsletter – December 10

The deficit in the current account would be sufficiently financed by stable capital inflows, namely (i) FDI and ODA disbursement of US$11 billion and US$3.5 billion, respectively; (ii) overseas remittances of US$8 billion; and (iii) foreign indirect investments (FII) of US$1 billion. However, macroeconomic instability and the ratings downgrades by Fitch in June and by Moody and Standard & Poor in December cast gloom over the countrys economic achievement. Reasons cited by the rating agencies such as accelerating inflation, worrying balance of payments (BoP), weakening currency,… are also major concerns to market participants as well as policy-makers.

Inflation had been under well control from March to August, then suddenly picked up from September to December, finishing the year up 11.75% compared to end 2009. This number far exceeded the government target of 8% for 2010. The soaring inflation was mainly attributed to the governments loosening monetary policy in the second half of the year to support economic growth and raising global commodity prices. Inflation would likely continue through 1Q2011 due to high festive season consumption, and we would expect it to gradually come down from 2Q2011 if the governments tightening monetary policies are to be effectively applied.

Despite that the trade deficit would be offset by the capital inflows, Vietnams overall balance of payments still had a deficit of US$4 billion in 2010. This was an improvement from the BoP deficit of US$8.8 billion in 2009, but still put pressure on the Vietnam dong. It is noteworthy that the volatility in the FX market in the last months was additionally caused by other factors like strong local gold price hikes, high inflation leading to weakening confidence in the dong, peoples hoarding dollars and gold as a way of storing their assets.

However, the downward pressure on the dong has been considerably taken off thanks to a number of measures implemented by the government in 2H2010 such as raising the interest rates in dong terms, injecting dollars into the market, committing not to devaluate the dong until after Tet – Lunar New Year (February 2011). And the improving overseas remittances towards year end also helped cool down the FX market. Given the demand for dollars should be coming down after Tet, we would expect the FX market to get more stabilized from 2Q2011 as long as there will be no major event in the domestic and global economy.

The government has set major macroeconomic goals for 2011, specifically GDP growth of 7-7.5%; inflation of 7% or less; BoP to have a surplus of US$500 million, credit growth of 23%. It seems that the government puts more emphasis on stability and less on growth in 2011 when slowing down the credit growth to 23% in 2011 from 38% and 28% in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Most observers agree that the immediate priority for Vietnam now is inflation control. But with GDP growth target set at 7-7.5%, we think inflation would unlikely be kept at 7% or less. Some forecasts are pointing to the level of 8.5-9% for Vietnams inflation in 2011.

Vietnam stock markets had a disappointing year with the VN-Index closing the year at 484.66, down 2% on year and the Hanoi bourse even loosing 32% to close the year at 114.24. Average daily trading value combined on both bourses throughout the year was recorded at US$124 million. Foreign investors continued to be net buyers with new inflows into the market being estimated at US$1 billion in 2010, of which about US$700 million going to equity and the remaining going to fixed income.

Our View – 2010 was a disappointing year for Vietnam stock market. It underperformed most of its peer markets in the region. Despite showing a good recovery in GDP growth, the economy has been facing quite a number of challenges including rising inflation, high interest rates, weakening currency and prolonged trade deficit. Corporate with high leverage and high dependence on imported raw materials are facing constant pressure on margin. Consumer sector remains the bright and stable spot given the countrys strong and resilient domestic demand.
Going into 2011, we expect the market will continue to remain volatile until the current challenges in the economy can be skillfully managed. The bright note is that the market valuation has become increasingly attractive, especially when compared with regional peers. We are seeing many solid, well-managed companies trading at attractive valuation levels. We continue to favor the consumer, pharmaceutical, petroleum and natural resource, and IT-Telecommunication sectors. Banking is a very interesting sector to watch for a potential recovery play given its deep discounted valuation. Given the countrys strong GDP growth and favorable demography, property and building material sectors should also do well once interest rates start to come down.
Source:VAM, 11.01.2011

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VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis November 2010

Market Update – November was characterized by mixed news flow. On the one hand, there were a couple of good macroeconomic developments, namely (i) the last quarter GDP growth expected at 7.24%, resulting in a full year growth of 6.7% versus 5.32% last year; (ii) capital inflows from disbursed foreign direct investment and official development assistance keeping improving; (iii) overseas remittances likely to reach US$ 7.2 billion in 2010 compared to US$ 6.6 billion in 2009; (iv) full year export growth expected to reach 23%, nearly quadrupling the governments earlier target of 6%, while imports growth will stay slower at 19% – 20%; (v) overall balance of payments expected to be $2 billion in deficit this year, down from last year’s deficit of $8.8 billion. VAM Monthly Newsletter – November ’10

On the other hand, ongoing accelerating inflation and volatile FX market continued to attract increasing concerns from policy makers as well as market participants. November CPI increased by 1.86% from October, marking the third consecutive MoM increase above 1% after six months being kept under this threshold. November number brought year-to-date figure to 9.58% and full year CPI is being forecasted to stand at 11-12%. The FX market, too, heated up during November, with the greenback being offered at 21,500 dong/dollar in the unofficial market at month end, 10.25% higher than the official ceiling band of 19,500 despite the governments announcement early in the month that it would allow the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to use the foreign reserves to inject dollars into the market and that the SBV had no plan to further depreciate the dong until the Lunar New Year (February 2011).

Strong rally in the local gold price in the past few months has been a major cause for the FX situation and panicky market sentiment. After the SBVs decision to allow gold import in early November, local gold prices started to cool down and got to around VND35.9 million per tael (local unit for gold, equivalent to about 1.2556 troy ounce) at the end of the month compared to its all time record high at VND38.2 million per tael at mid-November.

As GDP growth target for this year has been achieved, the governments focus now moves to curbing inflation and cooling the FX and gold markets to stabilise the macro environment. They implemented successive tightening monetary measures in November, such as (i) raising interest rates by 1% per annum (VND base interest rate to 9% p.a., refinancing interest rate to 9% p.a., discount rate to 7% p.a., and overnight rate to 9%); (ii) removing cap on both deposit and lending rates for banks. Toward month end, many banks increased the deposit rate for VND to 13-14% per year. Some smaller commercial banks even offered borrowing rates of 14.5-15% p.a. in an attempt to retaining their depositors and mobilising more capital for their increasing year-end lending demand. However, the desired effects on inflation of these tightening policies will be likely to be seen only from next year.
The VN-Index ended November at 451.59, down 1.5% on-month. During the month, we saw a divergence in the market trend, hitting the trough at mid month and then significantly picking up during the last week of the month. Additionally, the low average liquidity might indicate that retail investors were still cautious about the recovery of the equity market in the short-term.

Our View – We are not too bullish about the market in the short-term but equities have come down to the very attractive level. The negative macro situation has mostly been priced in so it might be a good time for investors to consider accumulating stocks. Nevertheless, we think the Government should be more transparent and proactive in implementing its monetary policy measures in order to restore investors confidence and to help the equity market sentiment.
We continue to like stocks in consumer staples, oil & gas, and materials. For a longer horizon we prefer materials, real estate and banking sectors. In this time of volatility, we recommend that our investors keep close tabs on macroeconomic developments for signs of recovery and stability before jumping in.
Source: VAM, 08.12.2010

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