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Brazil: BM&FBOVESPA – News October 2011 – Nr.21

BRIC exchanges announce alliance

The exchanges of the BRIC emerging markets bloc announced a joint initiative on October 12, during the 51st AGM of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) in Johannesburg, to offer investors access to their dynamic economies. Initially the exchanges – which accounted for over 18% of all exchange-listed derivative contracts traded by volume worldwide as of June this year – will cross-list benchmark equity index derivatives on the boards of other alliance members. Following this, the alliance will develop innovative products to track the BRIC exchanges.

The seven exchanges are:

  • BM&FBOVESPA – Brazil
  • MICEX – Russia
  • RTS – Russia
  • Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) – China
  • Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) – South Africa
  • The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) – India
  • BSE Ltd (formerly known as Bombay Stock Exchange) – India

These seven exchanges represent a combined listed market capitalization of USD9.02 trillion, equitymarket trading value/month of USD422 billion and 9,481 companies listed.

BM&FBOVESPA new trading hours

In view of the start of daylight saving time on October 16, 2011, since October 17, 2011, the new trading hours (Brasília Time) for the BM&FBOVESPA markets – BOVESPA and BM&F segments – will be as follows:

Regular session: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

– After-Market: 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (pre-opening phase to trading phase);

– Blocking / Exercise on the stock options market
Days prior to expiration: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (exercise of holder position).
Expiration date: 11:00a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – trading of the expired series to the offset of the position, that is, the sale for the holder of the position and purchase for blocking for the writer of the position / 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: exercise of the holder position;

– Blocking / Exercise on the Index Options Market:
Days prior to expiration: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (exercise of holder position).
Expiration date: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – trading of the expired series to the offset of the position, that is sale for the holder of the position and purchase for blocking for the writer of the position / After 6:00 p.m. – automatic exercise of the expired series which fit the following situations: call option (settlement index higher than the exercise price; and put option (settlement index lower than the exercise price).

– Over-the-Counter Market: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

> Complete information of the new trading hours (Circular Letters 009-2011-DO-Ofício Circular)

The trading hours for the BOVESPA and BM&F segments are available at this link

Market Makers for Options on the Stock of Banco Bradesco, Gerdau and Banco do Brasil

BM&FBOVESPA announced on August 3rd the start of the bidding process to select up to three market makers for options on stock of Banco Bradesco S.A. (BBDC4), Gerdau S.A. (GGBR4) and Banco do Brasil S.A. (BBAS3). This is the third stage of the Competitive Bidding Process to select market makers in equity options and BOVESPA Index (Ibovespa) options, developed by BM&FBOVESPA. The institutions (including nonresident) that wish to participate have until November 29, 2011 to deliver proposals and the winners will be announced on December 14, 2011.

> More info

Market Makers for Options on Ibovespa and on Stocks of BM&FBOVESPA and Usiminas

BM&FBOVESPA announced on October 11 the winning institutions in the second selection process for market makers for options on stocks and on the BOVESPA Index (Ibovespa). The market maker obligation shall last twelve (12) months as of December 12, 2011. Banco Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Banco Itaú BBA S.A. and Timber Hill LLC shall be market makers for options on the BOVESPA Index (IBOV), complying with a maximum volatility spread of half a percentage point (0.5%). The institutions selected for options on stocks in BM&FBOVESPA S.A. (BVMF3) were Citadel Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Morgan Stanley Uruguay Ltda, which shall be market makers complying with a maximum volatility spread of four percent (4%). Meanwhile, the institutions selected for options on stocks in Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais S.A. (USIM5) were Banco BTG Pactual S.A. and Morgan Stanley Uruguay Ltda, which shall be market makers complying with a maximum volatility spread of twenty percent (20%).

> More info

Options on OGX Petróleo and Itaú Unibanco rise with Market Maker activity

The trading volume for options on the stocks of OGX Petróleo and Itaú Unibanco rose significantly in September, strongly influenced by the fact that they have had Market Makers since September 9. The Exchange launched the Market Maker program for stocks this year in order to encourage trading in options and increase their liquidity, as well as to stimulate longer expiries on these contracts. Options on the stocks of OGX Petróleo and Itaú Unibanco now have three Market Makers.

Comparing the average daily volume in September to that of January to August, there were the following increases: OGX Petróleo ON 51.9% (BRL 13.7 million against BRL 20.8 million) and Itaú Unibanco PN 205.6% (BRL 1.7 million against BRL 5.1 million).

ETF financial volume more than doubles in the past two months

BM&FBOVESPA Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) reached BRL 1.4 billion financial volume in August and September, at 78,809 and 75,740 trades respectively. This is more than double the BRL 668 million financial volume and 31,997 trades in July.

Common Shares in Desenvix Energias Renováveis start trading on BOVESPA MAIS

The shares of electricity company Desenvix Energias Renováveis S.A. begin to be traded on October 3 on the BOVESPA MAIS segment of the BM&FBOVESPA Organized OTC Market, under the DVIX3M ticker symbol.

USD11 billion in public offerings and follow-ons in 2011

In the year to October, 15, BM&FBOVESPA registered USD11 billion in public offerings and follow-ons. There were eleven Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in 2011: AREZZO&CO (ARZZ3), SIERRA BRASIL (SSBR3), AUTOMETAL (AUTM3), QGEP PART (QGEP3), IMC HOLDING (IMCH3), TIME FOR FUN (SHOW3), MAGAZINE LUIZA (MGLU3), BR PHARMA (BPHA3), QUALICORP (QUAL3), TECHNOS (TECN3) and ABRIL EDUCAÇÃO (ABRE11).

BM&FBOVESPA on Twitter

BM&FBOVESPA launched its Twitter account in English last week. Please access this link

2011 EVENTS

 The World Cup of ETFs and Indexing Latin America

BM&FBOVESPA is lending its support to the World Research Group’s “World Cup of ETFs and Indexing Latin America.” The event aims at providing attendees with the best practices for ETF use, as well as a comprehensive analysis of market structure, regulations and current and future opportunities. The expected audience includes pension funds, hedge fund managers and investors, investment advisors, financial consultants, and other market participants. A BM&FBOVESPA representative will talk about the Exchange’s ETF products.

Location: São Paulo (TBC)
Date: October 17-18, 2011.
> Full Agenda and Registration

2nd FX Growth Markets Series: Brazil – Profit & Loss

BM&FBOVESPA will join the Profit & Loss FX Growth Markets conference on October 20, 2011 at the Tivoli Hotel in São Paulo. Profit & Loss has been operating its highly successful series of Forex Network and FX Growth Markets conferences for more than 10 years, with regular annual events held in London, New York, Chicago, Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Shanghai and Toronto, and comes to Brazil for the second time. A BM&FBOVESPA representative will talk at the event.

Location: Tivoli Hotel São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Date: October 20, 2011.
> Full Agenda

2nd Brazil–China Capital Markets Forum

BM&FBOVESPA and the Shanghai Stock Exchange are coordinating the Second Brazil–China Capital Markets Forum. This event follows the First Brazil–China Capital Markets Forum, which occurred in February in São Paulo, Brazil. At the event, the Shanghai Stock Exchange shall bring 300 to 500 Chinese asset and insurance managers and representatives of listed companies.

Location: Xijiao State Guest House Shanghai, China
Date: October 27, 2011.

Volumes and trades by Direct Market Access (DMA)

BM&F Segment
In September, BM&F* market segment transactions carried out through order routing via Direct Market Access (DMA) registered 35,144,357 contracts traded and 4,311,865 trades. In August, the volume reached 41,417,494 contracts traded and 4,431,750 trades.

The volumes registered by each access modality in the BM&F segment were as follows:

  • Traditional DMA – 12,583,334 contracts traded, in 1,366,264 trades, in comparison to 17,540,231 contracts and 1,306,241 trades in August;
  • Via DMA provider (including orders routed via the Globex System) – 13,976,949 contracts traded, in 374,992 trades, compared to 14,088,756 contracts and 435,281 trades in August;
  • DMA via direct connection – 2,636 contracts traded in 447 trades, against 4,210 contracts and 830 trades in August;
  • DMA via co-location – 8,581,438 contracts traded, in 2,570,162 trades, compared to 9,784,297 contracts and 2,689,398 trades in August.

In September, transactions carried out by foreign investors presented by CME to BVMF (who use the Globex-GTS order routing system or access BVMF markets via co-location) totaled 4,685,186 contracts traded, in 1,164,510 trades, compared to 5,308,308 contracts and 1,235,349 trades in August.

BOVESPA Segment
In September, order routing via DMA in the BOVESPA* segment totaled BRL 111.41 billion and 14,298,483 trades, from BRL 138.52 billion and 17,021,408 trades the previous month.

Trading volumes per type of DMA in the BOVESPA segment:

  • Traditional DMA – Volume of BRL 95.77 billion and 11,763,618 trades from BRL 120.45 billion and 14,098,638 in August;
  • DMA via co-location – Volume of BRL 14.29 billion and 2,357,270 trades from BRL 16.69 billion and 2,755,498 in August;
  • DMA via provider – Volume of BRL 1.34 billion and 177,044 trades from BRL 1.37 billion and 167,272 in August.

* Direct access to the BM&FBOVESPA market segments is carried out through DMA models 1, 2, 3 and 4. In model 1 or traditional DMA, the client accesses the GTS or Mega Bolsa through technological intermediation of a brokerage house. In model 2 or via DMA provider, the client does not use the technological intermediation of a brokerage house, but rather connects to the system through an authorized access provider. DMA via order routing with CME Globex is also a form of DMA model 2. In model 3, the client connects to the system through a direct connection. In model 4 or via co-location, the client installs its own computer within the Exchange’s facilities.

Notes:

The volumes registered by access modality include both buy and sell sides of a trade.

The volumes by access modality for both the BM&F and the BOVESPA market segments have been reported in a consolidated manner in the BM&FBOVESPA statements since May 2009.

MARKET RESULTS

BM&F Segment September 2011

Derivatives markets in the BM&F segment (including financial and commodities derivatives) totaled 59,365,524 contracts and BRL 4.35 trillion in volume in September, compared to 78,606,873 contracts and BRL 5.23 trillion in August. The daily average of contracts traded in the derivatives markets in September was 2,826,930, in contrast to 3,417,690 in August. Open interest contracts ended the last trading day of September with 36,620,797 positions, compared to 37,821,302 in August.

BOVESPA Segment September 2011

In September 2011, the equity markets (BOVESPA segment) financial volume totaled BRL 131.437 billion, in 13,551,487 trades, with daily averages of BRL 6.25 billion and 645,309 trades. In August, financial volume totaled BRL 177.906 billion, the total number of trades 16,234,673, and the daily averages BRL 7.73 billion and 705,855 trades respectively.

Source: BM&FBOVESPA, 18.10.2011

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Filed under: BM&FBOVESPA, Brazil, China, Events, Exchanges, Hong Kong, India, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brazil: BRIC exchanges form alliance

The exchanges of the Brics emerging markets bloc have announced plans to form an alliance in cross-listing and to expose foreign investors to their dynamic economies and to increase the liquidity of their trading venues (Brazil, Russia, India, Hong Kong (China), South Africa)

This initiative was announced at the 51st AGM of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) in Johannesburg.

The initiative brings together BM&FBOVESPA from Brazil, MICEX from Russia (currently merging with RTS Stock Exchange), Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx, China) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) from South Africa. The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and the BSE Ltd (India) have signed letters of support and will join the alliance after finalizing outstanding requirements.

At the first stage of this project the exchanges will begin cross-listing of financial derivatives on their benchmark equity indices. It is planned to launch cross-listed products by June 2012.

“Global investors are increasingly seeking exposure to leading developing markets,” says Ronald Arculli, chairman of HKEx and of the WFE. “Thanks to this alliance, investors will gain easier access to major equity index derivatives of the BRICS markets which will now be offered in local currency on the alliance exchanges”.

This is an important milestone in the history of developing countries, continues Mr Arculli. “The alliance enables more investors to gain exposure to the emerging economies of the BRICS group whose economic power is on the rise. From a global perspective this alliance highlights the growing significance of the BRICS economies and financial markets for the coming decade, and further underlines the importance of enhancing cooperation between the BRICS members”.

At the second stage of the project members of the alliance plan to jointly develop new products for cross-listing on their exchanges. “In addition to measuring market performance, equity indices may be used as underlying assets to create new products, which can be the next step in the alliance development”, says Russell Loubser, CEO of the JSE.

“The products designed at the second stage would then be cross listed and traded in local currencies,” says Edemir Pinto, CEO of BM&F BOVESPA. “They will also ensure easy access for investors to other emerging markets through locally listed products.”

The third stage may include further cooperation in joint products design and new services development.

“Apart from cross-listing products, there are other opportunities for growth and development within this alliance. For example, creation of joint products combining various underliers which will facilitate liquidity growth in the BRICS markets and improve the understanding of other developing markets by local investors,” says Ruben Aganbegyan, President of MICEX.

All the partnering exchanges estimate the potential for cooperation created by this alliance very positively.

“The BRICS exchanges alliance has a great potential as it will create avenues for Indian investors to diversify their portfolios and expand into other emerging markets. It will also provide unique opportunities to investors in other BRICS nations to participate and contribute in India’s growth. BSE will actively work towards bringing world-class products to India as well as developing new products for other BRICS markets.” says Madhu Kannan, CEO of BSE Ltd.

Interest towards the BRICS markets is supported by the above-average growth forecast for these regions, as well as the rising consumer power generated by growing middle classes in each of the participating economies” says Ravi Narain, MD of the National Stock Exchange of India.

According to the WFE these six exchanges represent a combined market capitalization of USD 9.02 trillion, the number of their ussuer companies totals 9.5 thousand.

As per the research by the Futures Industry Association these six exchanges accounted for 18% of the global turnover in financial derivatives in H1 of 2011.

Source: BM&FBOVESPA, FinExtra, 12.10.2011

Filed under: BM&FBOVESPA, Brazil, China, Exchanges, Hong Kong, India, News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mexico: safer than Canada ? safer than Brazil!

K, so the headline is a bit of a fib. But a report on Mexico’s security situation has painted a more detailed picture than the one we hear about in the news most of the time. When I told friends I was moving to Mexico City, some asked if I would be provided with a bodyguard (no). Business travellers are thinking twice about coming, according to chambers of commerce here. But a detailed breakdown of violence released this week shows that, if you pick your state, you’re as safe—or safer—than in any other North American country.

Mexico’s overall homicide rate is 14 per 100,000 inhabitants: fearsomely high (and possibly an underestimate, given the drugs cartels’ habit of hiding bodies in old mines), but quite a lot lower than its great Latin rival Brazil, whose rate is more like 25. As the chart below shows, Mexico’s death rate is bumped up by extraordinarily high levels of violence in four states: Chihuahua (home of Ciudad Juárez, widely labelled the world’s most murderous city), Durango, Sinaloa and Guerrero (see p.29 of this document). Of the rest, some are blissfully serene: Yucatán, where tourists flock to swim with whale sharks and clamber over Chichen Itzá, has a murder rate of 1.7—slightly lower than Canada’s average of 2.1.

Read full article in the Economist

Before I am buried an avalanche of polite Canadian emails, I should acknowledge that comparing an entire country with one quiet state is hardly fair: there are no doubt parts of Canada where no-one has been so much as kicked in the shin for decades. But Mexico’s predicament is worth highlighting, because the extreme violence around its border with the United States colours people’s view of the rest of the country, though much of it is pretty quiet. A third of Mexico’s states hover around 5 murders per 100,000, about the same rate as the United States. Another third are around 8 per 100,000, similar to Thailand, for instance. A handful of states have rates in the teens—like Russia, say—and a couple are in the low twenties, a little lower than Brazil’s average. Then you have the chaos of the four very violent states, which sends the average soaring.

The carnage in Mexico’s badlands is not to be underestimated, and nor does it seem to be getting any better. Business travellers should certainly watch out in places such as Juárez and, these days, even in cities such as Monterrey. But people doing business south of the Rio Grande should remember that, even on average, Mexico is a less murderous country than places such as Brazil, and that once you avoid the hotspots, it’s downright safe.

Source: The Economist, 27.08.2010

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

The Demise of the Dollar, Robert Frisk

In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

By Robert Fisk

October 06, 2009 “The Independent” — — In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars. The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place – although they have not discovered the details – are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China’s former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. “Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable,” he told the Asia and Africa Review. “We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security.”

This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region’s conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.

The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. “One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations,” he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China’s extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America’s power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.

Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.

China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq – blocked by the US until this year – and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.

Furthermore, Chinese exports to the region now account for no fewer than 10 per cent of the imports of every country in the Middle East, including a huge range of products from cars to weapon systems, food, clothes, even dolls. In a clear sign of China’s growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China’s reliance on US monetary policy, to help rebalance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.

Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements – the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system – America’s trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington’s control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.

The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. “The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies,” a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. “The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won’t be able to use the US dollar.”

Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years’ time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.

The US discussed the trend briefly at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh; the Chinese Central Bank governor and other officials have been worrying aloud about the dollar for years. Their problem is that much of their national wealth is tied up in dollar assets.

“These plans will change the face of international financial transactions,” one Chinese banker said. “America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate.”

Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.

Source: The Independent, 06.10.2009

Filed under: Asia, Brazil, China, Energy & Environment, India, Japan, Latin America, News, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘Bubble-Mania’ in Shanghai Spreads to Global Markets

The S&P-500 Index, a global bellwether for the world stock markets, extended its best five-month winning streak since 1938, by advancing through the psychological 1,000-level, and is up nearly 50% from its 12-year low set on March 10th. The S&P-500 gained 7.4% in July, its best monthly performance since 1997, even as average earnings per-share tumbled -32% and sales slid -16% from a year ago.

Industrial commodities, often viewed as barometers for global economic trends, have also moved sharply higher. So far this year, copper has soared by +96%, nickel is up 62%, and zinc is +50% higher. China, which buys two-thirds of the world’s seaborne iron ore shipments, boosted imports 30% in the first seven-months of this year to 353-million tons, lifting its spot price to $91 /ton, up from $60 per ton in February. Crude oil rose above $71 /barrel this week, doubling in value since December.

In hindsight, while the “Group of Seven” (G-7) economies in North America, Europe, and Japan, were experiencing the most severe economic contractions since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, coupled with unemployment rates ratcheting upward to multi-decade highs, the emerging economic giant – China – was demonstrating its prowess, with the most ambitious stimulus plan the world has ever seen, to rescue its juggernaut economy from the brink of social disaster and unrest.

In a little more than nine months, the pendulum of investor sentiment in Asia has swung from the extreme of terrifying panic and fear, to the opposite side of the emotional spectrum – hope and unbridled greed. The Shanghai stock market index has surged +90% this year, owing its good fortune to 1.2-trillion of bank loans clandestinely funneled into the stock market by brokerage firms, leaving it awash with yuan and lifting share prices above what economic reality can support.

China’s ruling Politburo is demonstrating to the world its command and control over its stock market and economy. Over the past few years, Beijing has proven its ability to either massively deflate a stock market bubble, as seen in 2008, and the wizardry to re-inflate a stock market bubble this year. Beijing is following the Greenspan – Bernanke blueprints, – turning to massive money printing to re-inflate bubbles in asset markets, in order to jump start an economy from the doldrums, or in this latest case, from the grip of the Great Recession.

A relatively healthy banking system enabled the Chinese central bank to work its magic. China’s M2 money supply is growing at a record +28.5% annualized rate, and the money supply surge is coinciding with big rallies in stocks and property, spilling over into neighboring Hong Kong. State-controlled Chinese banks extended 7.4-trillion yuan ($1.2-trillion) of new loans in the first half of this year, equal to 25% of China’s entire economy – helping to fuel a powerful Shanghai red-chip rally.

One of the beneficiaries of the explosive growth of the Chinese money supply is the Shanghai gold market, which is trading near 6,600-yuan /ounce, and is also tracking powerful rallies in industrial commodities. China is poised to overtake India as the world’s top gold consumer this year, and there is speculation that Beijing will quietly buy the gold which the IMF wants to sell in the years ahead.

China, the world’s biggest gold mining nation, is seeking to boost gold output by 3% to 290-tons this year, far less than the 400-tons it consumed last year. Thus, China could become an even bigger importer of the yellow metal in the months ahead, helping to cushion inevitable corrections in the gold market. Given the trade-off between expanding growth and fighting asset-price inflation, Shanghai traders are betting that Beijing will opt to blow even bigger bubbles in asset markets.

Industrial Commodities Eyeing Shanghai

China’s super-easy monetary policy is designed to offset the damage to its export-dependent regions, which are suffering from the collapse in global trade. Beijing is also spending 4-trillion yuan on infrastructure projects, equal to roughly 15% of its economic output per year, to create jobs and stoke economic growth. So it was of great interest to global traders, when the Shanghai red-chips suddenly plunged -5% on July 29th, the biggest daily loss in eight-months, on rumors that Beijing would curb bank lending in the second half of this year.

The Shanghai index is prone to sudden shake-outs, with the index trading at 35-times earnings, and Shenzhen’s small-cap shares trading at 45-times earnings. The Shanghai red-chip index has evolved into the locomotive for key industrial commodities, such as crude oil, base metals, and rubber. Industrial commodities rebounded from a nasty one-day shake-out on July 29th, after the People’s Bank of China wasted little time in denying rumors swirling in the media that it was considering the idea of enforcing quotas on bank loans.

The prospects for Chinese corporate earnings growth are of critical importance, with the Shanghai stock index flying higher in bubble territory. Large-scale industrial companies in 22 Chinese provinces saw their profits decline -21.2% in the first half to 894.14 billion yuan, but the decline rate was less from the first quarter’s 32% slide, and nowadays, “less bad,” means signs of recovery.

The most optimistic scenario calls for Chinese industrial profits to rebound to an annualized growth rate of +30% in the fourth quarter, due to the government’s massive stimulus. China’s Bank of Communications predicts the economy’s growth rate will accelerate to a pace of +9% in the third-quarter and +9.8% in the fourth-quarter. China’s crude steel output would surely top 500-million tons this year, equaling 40% of the world’s total production.

Korea Joins Alignment of B-R-I-C-K

Upbeat markets in China are helping underpin the BRIC nations, including Brazil, India, and Russia, which have the four best performing stock markets this year. Brazil’s Bovespa Index is up 79%, India’s Sensex Index is up 63%, and Russia’s RTS Index has gained 62-percent. The S&P-500 Index by comparison, is up 9.4% this year, while Japan’s Nikkei-225 index is up 7.5-percent.

One could add Korea to the alignment of B-R-I-C-K stars, since the Kospi Index has rebounded by 72% above its November low, emerging as the most favored market among global investors. With growing appetites for risky assets, global investors have rushed to snatch up Korean Kospi shares, particularly those in the information technology (IT) and the auto sectors. Foreigners were net buyers of $4.7 of Korean stocks in July, much larger than net-purchases of $2.6-billion of stocks in Taiwan, $1.9-billion shares in India, and $1.29 billion shares in South Africa.

“Money has no motherland, financiers are without patriotism and without decency, – their sole object is gain,” observed Napoleon Bonaparte. Highlighting the fickle nature of speculators, – foreigners bought a record $18-billion of Korean securities in the second-quarter of this year, or 24-times more than $750 million the previous quarter. In the third and fourth quarters of 2008, foreigners sold $17.9-billion and $17.4-billion, respectively, at the height of the global financial turmoil.

Foreign buying of Korean equities knocked the US-dollar 28% lower against the Korean-won, and the Japanese yen has tumbled 20% to 12.8-won, since March 10th, when global stock markets bottomed out. “Carry traders” are active in Seoul, and profiting from a stronger won. In a world where G-7 central banks are pegging rates at record low levels, it does not take much imagination to envision the Federal Reserve, the ECB, and the Bank of Japan underwriting rallies in the emerging currencies of Brazil, Russia, India, and Korea, just as Tokyo pumped massive liquidity straight into New Zealand and Australian dollars during its flirtation with the hallucinogenic drug – “Quantitative Easing” (QE) between 2001 and 2006.

Virtuous Cycle Swings in the Kremlin’s Favor

The resilience of China’s economy has rekindled the de-coupling debate, which hinges on the premise that the emerging economies in Brazil, Russia, India, China, (BRIC) can grow in spite of a declining G-7 economies. The so-called BRIC countries accounted for half of global growth in 2008 – China alone accounted for a quarter, and Brazil, India, and Russia combined equaled another quarter. Furthermore, the IMF notes that BRIC “accounted for more than 90% of the rise in consumption of energy products and metals, and 80% of grains since 2002.”

The virtuous cycle of events are now swinging back in the Kremlin’s favor, as global speculators flock back into hard-hit resource shares trading in Moscow. Russia’s central bank cut its main interest rates for the fourth time in less than three-months, after Moscow said the local economy contracted an annual 10.2% in the January-May period. Bank Rossii lowered the refinancing rate a half-point to 11% following on initial reduction on April 24th and two further cuts on May 13th and June 5th.

The Russian rouble has rebounded 16% against the US-dollar, since the first quarter, as Urals blend crude oil rebounded towards $70 a barrel, and base metals surged higher, boosting demand for Russia’s currency, a world leader in commodity exports. Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia, and supplies a quarter of Europe’s natural gas needs. Russia is also the world’s largest nickel and palladium miner, the second largest platinum miner, and the fourth-largest iron ore miner, behind Brazil, Australia, and India.

After reaching a record high of $597-billion last August, Moscow’s foreign currency reserves were dramatically depleted in the second-half of 2008, as the central bank spent more than $200-billion supporting the Russian rouble and bolstering the capital position of domestic banks. This year’s rebound in Urals blend crude oil has improved the Kremlin’s coffers, to the tune of $404-billion today. China, the world’s second-largest oil guzzler, imported 3.83-million barrels per day in July, or 25% more than a year earlier, the fastest pace in nearly two-years.

The BRIC nations are rethinking how their US-dollar currency reserves are managed, underlining a power shift from the United States, which spawned the global financial crisis. Russian chief Dmitry Medvedev has repeatedly questioned the US-dollar’s future as a global reserve currency. China is allowing companies in its southern provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi to use yuan to settle cross-border trade with Hong Kong and Southeast Asia to reduce exposure to the US-dollar.

India Weathers the “Great Recession”

Reserve Bank of India chief Duvvuri Subbarao says India’s modest dependence on exports will help Asia’s third largest economy, to weather the “Great Recession” and even stage a modest recovery later this year. Even during the depths of the October massacre in the Bombay Sensex Index, India managed to maintain a 5.3% growth rate in the fourth quarter, and India’s banking system had virtually no exposure to any kind of toxic asset, manufactured in the United States.

India’s factory output contracted by a slim 0.25% in January, the first decline this decade, and export earnings had fallen for six straight months. In January exports were 16% lower from a year earlier tumbling to $12.3-billion. So the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) scrambled to rescue the Bombay stock market, by slashing its lending rates six times from September thru April, by a total of 425-basis points.

click to enlarge

The Indian Sensex index began to decouple from Wall Street and Tokyo in early May, after it rallied 14% for its biggest weekly gain since 1992, when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh won a second term. Bombay stocks soared with enthusiasm at the prospect that Singh’s new government, shorn of Communists, would privatize up to $20-billion of state-owned assets, increase foreign investment in highly profitable crown jewel companies, begin deregulation of banking and financial services, and gut restrictions on the closing of factories.

India’s factory sector, measured by the Purchasing Mgr’s Index, held strongly at a reading of 55.3 in July, or 2-points higher than China’s, signaling a strong industrial recovery in the second half of this year. If the decoupling of China, India, Russia, and Brazil becomes a reality, it could be good for the developed G-7 nations, as growing wealth in BRIC nations could, in theory, increase demand for goods made in battered nations like Japan, Germany, and the United States.

A decoupling between the emerging BRICK nations and the more developed G-7 economies would mean a huge shift in the global financial markets, away from the traditional pattern of emerging markets dancing to the tune of G-7 economies, which still account for 60% of global GDP. Instead, increasing independence could lead to a greater sphere of influence of the emerging giants, led by Beijing.

In the United States, Fed chief Bernanke is pumping a “bailout bubble” for Wall Street, similar to the policies of his mentor “Easy” Al Greenspan, who inflated the housing bubble, the sub-prime debt bubble, and the high-tech bubble. It’s a never ending cycle of boom-and-busts of bubbles, engineered by central banks. The revival of the “Commodity Super Cycle,” might already be in motion, and if a global economic recovery gains traction, soaring input costs would begin to crimp the profit margins of the giant Asian industrialists.

All the liquidity that’s been unleashed into the global banking system would play havoc with accelerating inflation. History shows that central banks won’t pre-empt inflation by withdrawing liquidity early. Instead, the money printers tend to inflate bubbles to dangerous proportions. Add to the mix, the vast leverage of the US-dollar and Japanese yen carry trades, it’s going to be a wild ride for the US Treasury bond market, which is increasingly dependent upon the whims of BRICK.

Source: SeekingAlpha, 05.08.2009 by Gary Dorsch

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China Takes Aim at Dollar – Update 07.07.2009

Update 07.07.09:   Long live the all mighty US dollar as reserve currency, says China. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei said on Sunday the US dollar would continue to be the world’s leading reserve currency for years to come. The announcement comes before this week’s summit of the Group of Eight in Italy.

Source: MercoPress, 06.07.2009

First published 27.06, 2009: BEIJING — China called for the creation of a new currency to eventually replace the dollar as the world’s standard, proposing a sweeping overhaul of global finance that reflects developing nations’ growing unhappiness with the U.S. role in the world economy.

The unusual proposal, made by central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan in an essay released Monday in Beijing, is part of China’s increasingly assertive approach to shaping the global response to the financial crisis.

Mr. Zhou’s proposal comes amid preparations for a summit of the world’s industrial and developing nations, the Group of 20, in London next week. At past such meetings, developed nations have criticized China’s economic and currency policies.

This time, China is on the offensive, backed by other emerging economies such as Russia in making clear they want a global economic order less dominated by the U.S. and other wealthy nations.

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However, the technical and political hurdles to implementing China’s recommendation are enormous, so even if backed by other nations, the proposal is unlikely to change the dollar’s role in the short term. Central banks around the world hold more U.S. dollars and dollar securities than they do assets denominated in any other individual foreign currency. Such reserves can be used to stabilize the value of the central banks’ domestic currencies.

Monday’s proposal follows a similar one Russia made this month during preparations for the G20 meeting. Like China, Russia recommended that the International Monetary Fund might issue the currency, and emphasized the need to update “the obsolescent unipolar world economic order.”

[Dollar Dominated]

Chinese officials are frustrated at their financial dependence on the U.S., with Premier Wen Jiabao this month publicly expressing “worries” over China’s significant holdings of U.S. government bonds. The size of those holdings means the value of the national rainy-day fund is mainly driven by factors China has little control over, such as fluctuations in the value of the dollar and changes in U.S. economic policies. While Chinese banks have weathered the global downturn and continue to lend, the collapse in demand for the nation’s exports has shuttered factories and left millions jobless.

In his paper, published in Chinese and English on the central bank’s Web site, Mr. Zhou argued for reducing the dominance of a few individual currencies, such as the dollar, euro and yen, in international trade and finance. Most nations concentrate their assets in those reserve currencies, which exaggerates the size of flows and makes financial systems overall more volatile, Mr. Zhou said.

Moving to a reserve currency that belongs to no individual nation would make it easier for all nations to manage their economies better, he argued, because it would give the reserve-currency nations more freedom to shift monetary policy and exchange rates. It could also be the basis for a more equitable way of financing the IMF, Mr. Zhou added. China is among several nations under pressure to pony up extra cash to help the IMF.

John Lipsky, the IMF’s deputy managing director, said the Chinese proposal should be treated seriously. “It reflects officials’ concerns about improving the stability of the financial system,” he said. “It’s interesting because of China’s unique position, and because the governor put it in a measured and considered way.”

China’s proposal is likely to have significant implications, said Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University and former IMF official. “Nobody believes that this is the perfect solution, but by putting this on the table the Chinese have redefined the debate,” he said. “It represents a very strong pushback by China on a number of fronts where they feel themselves being pushed around by the advanced countries,” such as currency policy and funding for the IMF.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury Department declined to comment on Mr. Zhou’s views. In recent weeks, senior Obama administration officials have sought to reassure Beijing that the current U.S. spending spree is a short-term effort to restart the stalled American economy, not evidence of long-term U.S. profligacy.

“The re-establishment of a new and widely accepted reserve currency with a stable valuation benchmark may take a long time,” Mr. Zhou said. In remarks earlier Monday, one of his deputies, Hu Xiaolian, also said the dollar’s dominant position in international trade and investment is unlikely to change soon. Ms. Hu is in charge of reserve management as the head of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

Mr. Zhou’s comments — coming on the heels of Mr. Wen’s musing about the safety of China’s dollar holdings — appear to be a warning to the U.S. that it can’t expect China to finance its spending indefinitely.

[The Haves and Have Mores]

The central banker’s proposal reflects both China’s desire to hold its $1.95 trillion in reserves in something other than U.S. dollars and the fact that Beijing has few alternatives. With more U.S. dollars continuing to pour into China from trade and investment, Beijing has no realistic option other than storing them in U.S. debt.

Mr. Zhou argued, without mentioning the dollar by name, that the loss of the dollar’s de facto reserve status would benefit the U.S. by avoiding future crises. Because other nations continued to park their money in U.S. dollars, the argument goes, the Federal Reserve was able to pursue an irresponsible policy in recent years, keeping interest rates too low for too long and thereby helping to inflate a bubble in the housing market.

“The outbreak of the crisis and its spillover to the entire world reflected the inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system,” Mr. Zhou said. The increasing number and intensity of financial crises suggests “the costs of such a system to the world may have exceeded its benefits.”

Mr. Zhou isn’t the first to make that argument. “The dollar reserve system is part of the problem,” Joseph Stiglitz, the Columbia University economist, said in a speech in Shanghai last week, because it meant so much of the world’s cash was funneled into the U.S. “We need a global reserve system,” he said in the speech.

Mr. Zhou’s idea is to expand the use of “special drawing rights,” or SDRs — a kind of synthetic currency created by the IMF in the 1960s. Its value is determined by a basket of major currencies. Originally, the SDR was intended to serve as a shared currency for international reserves, though that aspect never really got off the ground.

These days, the SDR is mainly used in the IMF’s accounting for its transactions with member nations. Mr. Zhou suggested countries could increase their contributions to the IMF in exchange for greater access to a pool of reserves in SDRs.

Holding more international reserves in SDRs would increase the role and powers of the IMF. That indicates China and other developing nations aren’t hostile to international financial institutions — they just want to have more say in running them. China has resisted the U.S. push to make an immediate loan to the IMF because that wouldn’t give China a bigger vote. Ms. Hu said Monday that China, which encourages the IMF to explore other fund-raising options, would consider buying into a bond issue.

The IMF has been working on a proposal to issue bonds, probably only to central banks. Bond purchases are one way for the organization to raise money and meet its goal of at least doubling its lending war chest to $500 billion from $250 billion. Japan has loaned the IMF $100 billion and the European Union has pledged another $100 billion.

Source: Wall Street Journal, 24.06.2009 Terence Poon in Beijing, James T. Areddy in Shanghai, and Bob Davis and Michael M. Phillips in Washington contributed to this article.

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Emerging Markets in the global crisis and beyond- May 2009- DeutscheBank

download: Emerging Markets in the global crisis and beyond – May 2009-DB

Source: DB 05.05.2009

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Obama rejects China’s call for new global currency

US President Barack Obama has defended the dollar as “extraordinarily strong” and rejected China’s call for a new global currency as an alternative to the dollar.

He said investors considered the United States “the strongest economy in the world with the most stable political system in the world” even as it was reeling from a prolonged recession stemming from financial turmoil.

People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan had called for a replacement of the dollar, installed as the reserve currency after World War II, with a different standard run by the International Monetary Fund.

As far as confidence in the US economy or the dollar, I would just point out that the dollar is extraordinarily strong right now,” Obama told a White House press conference on Tuesday.

He said that although the United States was “going through a rough patch” at present, it enjoyed a “great deal of confidence” from investors.

“So you don’t have to take my word for it,” he said.

“I don’t believe there is a need for a global currency,” Obama said, in what appeared to be a break from tradition among US presidents not to comment directly on the dollar’s value.

Zhou suggested the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights, a currency basket comprising dollars, euros, sterling and yen, could serve as a super-sovereign reserve currency, saying it would not be easily influenced by the policies of individual countries.

China is the largest creditor to the United States, being the top holder of US Treasury bonds worth 739.6 billion dollars as of January, according to US figures. It is also the world’s largest holder of US dollars as a reserve currency, at more than one trillion dollars.

Zhou’s comments came just two weeks after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, in a rare expression of concern, called on US economic planners to safeguard Chinese assets.

“We have lent huge amounts of money to the United States. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets,” Wen said as the United States grappled with the worst financial turmoil since the Great Depression.

The latest Chinese concern came as the dollar took a beating following the Federal Reserve’s decision last week to buy up to 300 billion dollars in long-term US Treasury bonds and boost its purchases of mortgage securities by 750 billion dollars in an effort to revive the ailing economy.

The decision, according to foreign exchange dealers, made US assets less attractive to investors worried that the US Federal Reserve move would end up debasing the world’s reserve currency.

Despite the financial meltdown at home, the dollar has been mostly regarded as “safe haven” by investors averting risks amid a global economic slump.

US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday also defended the dollar at a congressional hearing.

At the hearing, a lawmaker asked the two financial chiefs: “Would you categorically renounce the United States moving away from the dollar and going to a global currency as suggested by China?”

Geithner immediately responded, “I would.”

“And the chair?” the lawmaker asked, turning to US Federal Reserve chair Bernanke.   “I would also,” Bernanke said.

The idea of a global currency determined by multilateral organisations is not new, said John Lipsky, the IMF’s first deputy managing director. “But it’s a serious proposal,” he said in Washington.

And he hastened to add, “I don’t think even the proponents think it as a short-term issue but as a longer-term issue that merits serious study and consideration.”

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the dollar would remain unchallenged as the top reserve currency even as emerging economies such as China play a more critical role in the global economy.

He said, “I don’t expect major structural changes in the role that the dollar plays today as a reserve currency.”

The debate over the dollar’s role came ahead of the G20 summit of developing and industrialised nations on April 2 in London, where world leaders and international organisations, including the IMF, are to discuss reforming the financial system.

Russia has also proposed the summit discuss creating a supranational reserve currency. The IMF created the SDR as an international reserve asset in 1969, but it is only used by governments and international institutions.

Source: AFP, 26.03.2009

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China wants new reserve currency to replace dollar

PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan suggests a super-sovereign reserve currency to help alleviate China’s dependence on the dollar.

Just weeks before the Group of 20 meeting in London, where leaders of industrial and developing nations will meet, China has proposed revolutionising a key part of the global financial system by replacing the dollar as the world’s global reserve currency with a super-sovereign reserve currency. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, published the proposal on the bank’s website in both Chinese and English this week.

Zhou is building on an idea tabled earlier this month by a group of countries including China, India and Russia.

Without explicitly referring to the dollar, he talks about the problems inherent in using a national currency as the global reserve — the main problem being that a country has to balance its domestic monetary policy goals with the international responsibilities of its currency. And when a national currency is used to price commodities and trade, the monetary authority issuing the cash will be unable to resolve economic balances by adjusting its exchange rate.

But the US does benefit in some ways from having the main global reserve currency since it allows for easy borrowing from other countries, keeps interest rates low and stimulates spending. Of course, this has proven to be a double-edged sword for the US, since excessive borrowing contributed to the subprime crisis.

Instead, Zhou suggests a super-sovereign reserve currency, based on special drawing rights (SDR), which in turn would be based on a basket of major currencies used in international trade. The responsibility of looking after the SDRs will fall to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“A super-sovereign reserve currency managed by a global institution could be used to both create and control global liquidity,” says Zhou. “And when a country’s currency is no longer used as the yardstick for global trade and as the benchmark for other currencies, the exchange rate policy of the country would be far more effective in adjusting economic balances,” thereby reducing the probability of further economic crises.

The idea of sidelining the dollar has, as you might expect, not gone down well in the US where President Barrack Obama said that the dollar is “extraordinary strong” and that there is no need for a global currency.

The proposal “has the potential to lead to one of the most profound reforms of the global monetary system in the coming decades,” says Jun Ma, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist for Greater China. He admits, though, that to implement the proposal would be an extremely complicated task.

China is clearly concerned about its $1.5 trillion exposure to the US currency, which is an unavoidable consequence of the current financial system. As China stacks up dollars from its massive trade surplus, it has little alternative but to put them into dollar-based assets – primarily Treasury bills and agency debt.

In recent months, China and the US have engaged in a public spat over currencies: only a few days after Obama assumed the presidency, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner labelled China a currency manipulator. And earlier this month, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said at a press conference that he was worried about China’s Treasury holdings and that he wanted an assurance that China’s investments were safe.

Addressing delegates of the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong this week, economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz said the dollar is no longer a good store of value. And much of his audience seemed to concur. Against this backdrop, the G20 meeting looks set for some heated debate.

Source: FinanceAsia.com, By Daniel Inman , 26.03.2009

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