An interesting anomaly is popping up in the world of Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EEMEA) flows, note Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Friday:
Investors are puzzled by the lack of EEMEA FX appreciation in spite of G-10 central bank printing. Waiting for the flow may be like Waiting for Godot: you wait and wait, but he never comes. Global rebalancing, deleveraging and higher US rates are responsible for this, in our view. In sum, the flow trends are consistent with the poor performance of EEMEA FX—and insofar as they are unlikely to change, currencies are likely to remain weak. Read more
Bloomberg states that Turkey’s new Capital Markets Law, enacted at the turn of the year, promises harsh punishment for… Read more
So, Fitch has become the first of the ratings agencies to upgrade Turkey to investment grade, giving it its first such rating since 1994. It’s been a while coming and the Turkish lira jumped at the news — up 0.9 per cent at pixel time against the dollar to a three month high:
So far, so rosy… if unsurprising. But there may be an interesting by-product of this overdue upgrade. Namely, it might force the Turkish central bank into a smidgen of FX fiddling. That is, if the upgrade actually matters and inflows really step up. Read more
Carlyle Group has installed a leadership pairing at its Middle East and north African arm as the private equity group reframes its investment strategy, focusing on the region’s main growth markets in Turkey and the Gulf, reports the FT. Carlyle has promoted Can Deldag and Firas Nasir to co-heads of its regional franchise, in a move that is set to be unveiled on Monday, said people close to the US buy-out house. The leadership change emphasises Carlyle’s focus on Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the two countries where it has struck all its deals since setting up a regional $500m fund in 2009. Turkey in particular is attracting foreign investment capital while many north African economies are being shunned by investors, amid a string of political upheavals in the region. Read more
More than 200 people were confirmed killed and hundreds more feared dead after an earthquake hit parts of southeast Turkey Sunday with rescue teams working through the night to free trapped survivors, Reuters reports. Early Monday, interior minister Idris Naim Sahin said the 7.2 magnitude quake killed 100 in the city of Van and 117 in the badly hit town of Ercis, 100 km (60 miles) further north. The death toll was expected to rise. Overseeing emergency operations in Ercis, Sahin said a total of 1,090 people were known to have been injured. Hundreds remain unaccounted for. Rescue efforts struggled to get into full swing following the quake, with electricity cut off as darkness fell on the towns and villages on the barren Anatolian steppe near the border with Iran. Read more
More on Tony Hayward’s first big oil deal at his new investment vehicle Vallares– the $2.1bn acquisition, via a reverse takeover, of Turkish E&P company Genel Energy.
We have already mused on whether Genel would be allowed to list in London given the share dealing misdemeanour’s of its executive team, which are detailed in this FSA release. Read more
Turkey has outpaced China with first-quarter annualised economic growth of 11 per cent, but its red-hot economy is proving more of a headache for policymakers than a cause of celebration, the FT reports. The data, showing quarter-on-quarter growth of 1.4 per cent driven mainly by consumer spending, will fuel doubts over the central bank’s unorthodox attempts to cool the economy by limiting banks’ lending, rather than raising interest rates. Other data showed Turkey’s trade deficit had reached an all-time high of $10.1bn in May, confirming the scale of the challenge the central bank faces to curb domestic demand and control a swollen current account deficit that threatens financial stability. Attention is now turning to whether politicians – absorbed in a continuing crisis over opposition boycotts of the new parliament – will support the central bank and help curb demand by tightening fiscal policy. Ministers have said little on options they might be considering and the central bank insists there is no evidence that the economy is overheating. Read more
For the commute home, or while marking your over/under on tomorrow’s payrolls number,
- Banks’ litigation losses in tabular form. Read more
US and British moves to consider military action against Muammer Gaddafi in Libya triggered international alarm on Tuesday, with Turkey and Russia opposing the idea and France and Germany expressing deep unease, the FT reports. With a refugee crisis growing on Libya’s western border after Colonel Gaddafi’s attacks on opposition forces, the US and Britain said they were making contingency plans for a possible no-fly zone over the country. Both made clear there had been no final decisions on such a zone to stop Col Gaddafi from deploying jets and helicopter gunships. Robert Gates, US defence secretary, said the US was moving two amphibious warships, with about 2,000 marines aboard, through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, although he highlighted that they would be for emergency evacuation and relief operations. He noted there was no unanimity within Nato on using military force. Read more
Best Buy, the world’s largest electronics retailer by sales, is closing all of its branded stores in China, highlighting the resistance of Chinese shoppers to some western-style store experiences. The retailer, which will continue to run 170 stores in China under the Five Star brand acquired five years ago, is also giving up an attempt to enter Turkey, with the closure of two trial-run stores opened in the past two years. The company said in a statement that it would close all nine China stores that carry the Best Buy brand, one of the best known US retail marques, but one that has failed to catch on in China, reports the FT. Read more
Diageo is close to buying Turkish spirits company Mey Içki Sanayi ve Ticaret for $2bn to $2.5bn, in a deal that would give the UK alcohol giant access to a vast distribution network in the fast-growing nation, reports the WSJ. Barring a last-minute setback, the deal is to be announced on Monday, said people close to the matter. Mey’s owner, US buy-out firm TPG Capital, earlier considered floating the business. UK-based Diageo and other foreign liquor companies have been in a six-year customs dispute in Turkey, which caused Diageo to halt shipments to the country for the past six months. But the row appears to be nearing a resolution, recently approved by the Turkish parliament, which helped convince Diageo to proceed with the deal. Read more
This is ironic, Brazil.
That’s a Nomura chart showing the Brazilian government as the biggest ‘loser’ of the currency war. You know the war we’re talking about: Brazil was the first and loudest to declare it in 2010. Oops. Read more
Same sort of messages from Turkey, Poland and Norway: New orders were up 3.2 and 1.7 points, respectively. Norway was basically flat.
Not going to move the global needle but reassuring consistency. Read more
BBVA, Spain’s second-biggest listed bank, has launched a €5bn ($7bn) rights issue following a deal to buy joint control of Turkey’s Garanti Bank, the FT reports. The rights issue is the third by a big European bank since regulators’ Basel III agreement in September to toughten bank capital requirements. China Construction Bank also on Tuesday announced a $9.2bn rights issue to strengthen its capital ratios. BBVA said that it was buying 24.9% of Garanti for €4.2bn and would jointly manage the bank with Turkey’s Dogus group, a conglomerate. The Source notes that the numbers look good for BBVA, in a deal that ‘kills two birds with one stone’. Read more
On Tuesday evening, October 26, Mark Mobius — the most wanted man in the world — put into effect his dastardly plan to crush the Turkish economy.
Mobius — whose previous schemes included plotting to increase the value of his own gold stocks by detonating a dirty nuclear bond inside the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, and smuggling and selling ancient gold coins in order to finance SMERSH operations – has long had it in for Turkey. Read more
In the fourth in a series of hot money flows to emerging markets, the FT writes about Turkey’s move towards investment grade status. Istanbul’s ISE100 equity index has hit record highs. Yields on sovereign debt are close to historic lows. The currency is more stable than it has ever been – and strong enough to squeeze exporters. All this is the result of a new reputation for stability that Turkey has established in the past two years: its solid banking system, robust public finances and strong growth prospects led David Cameron, UK prime minister, to assert on a recent trip he paid to Ankara that “Turkey is Europe’s Bric”. Read more
At least now, Athens probably won’t quite get to the point of having to fend off rumours that it’s about to go cap in hand to the IMF. Unlike, say, its old enemy in Ankara. As Reuters reported on Wednesday:
Turkey and the IMF are not currently holding talks on a stand-by loan agreement, Turkey’s economy minister said on Wednesday, confirming earlier comments from an IMF spokeswoman that talks were no longer taking place. Read more
The FT reported on Tuesday that Brazil and China have come one step closer towards dropping the dollar in trade transactions in favour of their own currencies. Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is currently visiting Beijing on a state visit.
The news follows a Reuters report on Saturday that Russia and Turkey have also discussed the possibility of switching to national currencies for the purpose of bilateral trade. As Reuters points out, Russia is Turkey’s largest trading partner, while Turkey is the fifth largest trading partner for Russia. Read more
Probability distributions didn’t do a great job predicting financial meltdown, and we’re not sure they’ll be much better at predicting general events. But, since it’s not far-fetched to think that political extremes can follow economic ones, for what it’s worth, here is the political application of fat tail risk.
Risk consultancy Eurasia Group is exploring the “increasing likelihood of radical political disjunctures”, or fat tail events in national-level politics. Read more
It’s still not looking good for Emerging Europe according to the latest report on the region from Fitch:
The central Europeans economies (less so Poland) will be badly affected through the trade channel as they are relatively open and their exports weighted towards cyclical industries such as cars. Commodity producers, mainly in the CIS, will see a sharp drop in income from the fall in their terms of trade. Some poorer countries in the CIS and Balkans are likely to see a drop in workers’ remittances. Read more
After an expected bounce in the market for credit default swaps on the back of rally in equities, sentiment in the debt markets has deteriorated.
European credit derivative indices were trading wide of their closing levels on Tuesday. The Markit iTraxx Crossover index of mostly junk-rated borrowers’ CDS was quoted at 1092bp - at its wides of the day so far – having briefly traded inside the previous session’s closing level of 1072bp.
The iTraxx Europe index of mainly investment-grade borrowers’ CDS was quoted at 184.38bp, having traded as tight as 179.25bp this morning, after a close of 181bp Monday. Read more
With its $2bn rescue loan to Iceland and $16.5bn to Ukraine, the IMF has started to dip into an arsenal that is full to the brim — yet the organisation could soon run short of firepower. It has about $200bn in easily reachable money and another $50bn or so it can access rapidly. The Telegraph says the IMF could print money by issuing Special Drawing Rights, as it did briefly after the fall of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, politicans in Turkey are debating whether the country should turn again to the IMF for help. Read more
Speaking of emerging market economies in the 1990s, we may be having a repeat.
This is from Sean Corrigan, chief investment strategist at Diapason Commodities Management. Read more
Citigroup Venture Capital is in talks to buy stakes in two of Turkey’s leading retail chains in a deal that highlights the growing interest of private equity groups in acquiring Turkish assets. The Boyner family, an Istanbul-based business dynasty, said on Tuesday that its holding companies had entered into exclusive talks on selling stakes in Boyner Department Stores and Beymen, a luxury goods chain, to CVCI in a deal that could value them at $450m. The family had been in talks about a year ago with KKR about selling stakes in the stores. But that deal fell through when Turkey’s financial markets were badly hit in a wave of emerging markets volatility in the spring of 2006 Read more