CAPITAL MARKETS | FOREIGN EXCHANGE
As the Federal Reserve winds down its bond-buying program and prepares to raise rates, analysts are debating the likelihood of a repeat of last year’s “taper tantrum”—when the mere hint of a gradual end to quantitative easing in the US caused huge disruptions to emerging markets (EMs).
CAPITAL MARKETS | AFRICAN EQUITY
Initial public offerings on the Nairobi Securities Exchange have been few and far between in recent years.
CAPITAL MARKETS | ISLAMIC FINANCE
To diversify its sources of financing, Goldman Sachs plans to issue a benchmark Islamic bond, at a time when demand for sukuk is outrunning supply. Meanwhile, South Africa is planning its first sovereign sukuk, and the Egyptian government is working on a new sukuk law, following the military’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.
CAPITAL MARKETS | FOREIGN EXCHANGE
It is a changing world for FX traders. Regulatory uncertainty and low volatility are putting a damper on the foreign exchange market, with spreads narrowing by 20% already this year—to record lows.
CAPITAL MARKETS | MIDDLE EAST EQUITY
Riyadh, the Saudi capital, has already built a new financial district, named after King Abdullah, but its 42 new skyscrapers stand largely empty. That could change following the decision by the government in July to allow foreign financial institutions to invest directly in listed shares, starting in the first half of 2015.
CAPITAL MARKETS FOCUS: MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Companies around the world are stepping up their due diligence on mergers and acquisitions involving Chinese counterparties, after several major deals have been called into question as a result of Peking’s widening corruption probe.
MANAGEMENT | PENSIONS
As people live longer, many companies are discovering that they have to pay pension benefits to retirees for longer than they had expected. Insurance companies are stepping in with new products that can help take this “longevity risk” out of corporate defined-benefit pension plans.
Subcustodians are being pressured by declining margins and low interest rates at the same time they are trying to cope with an onslaught of new regulatory requirements. For those with the skill and the wherewithal to meet the challenges, however, the business of protecting and servicing client assets remains profitable. Global investing is expected to continue to increase in the future.
GCC REGIONAL SUPERSECTION 2014 | INTRODUCTION
The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have some of the world’s highest living standards and a combined GDP of more than $1.6 trillion. They play an important role in maintaining global economic stability, and their continuing prosperity depends critically on oil prices and the ability to generate surpluses to pay for infrastructure development and job creation.
FINANCE & CAPITAL | TRENDS: SOVEREIGN DEBT: SNAPSHOT: M&A
FINANCE & CAPITAL | CAPITAL MARKETS: AMERICAN DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS
COUNTRY REPORT: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Despite a fast-growing economy and plans to boost growth via infrastructure investments, debts are mounting again at Dubai’s government-related entities. Is the day when Dubai World almost collapsed coming back to haunt investors?
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS | FOREIGN EXCHANGE
CORPORATE FINANCE FOCUS | CORPORATE DEBT
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS | MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS | GLOBAL EQUITY/DRS
Led by the Asia-Pacific region, global proceeds from initial public offerings totaled more than $34 billion in the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 77% from the same period a year earlier, according to Renaissance Capital
NCB Capital, a major Saudi Arabian investment bank, named Sarah Al-Suhaimi, an accomplished asset manager, as its new CEO. She is the first woman to head an investment bank in the kingdom. The Saudi government owns part of National Commercial Bank, which controls NCB Capital.
Mergers and acquisitions involving Russian companies, including Morgan Stanley’s planned sale of its global oil-trading unit to Rosneft, are threatened by Western sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
Corporate credit-rating upgrades in the first quarter of 2014 outnumbered downgrades in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the first time since 2008, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The rating agency says positive credit trends in the EMEA region are likely to continue through 2014, despite potential negative events in Russia and Ukraine.
Inflation in the eurozone slipped to 0.5% at an annual rate in March, its lowest level since 2009. The persistence of low inflation prompted policymakers to discuss quantitative easing (QE) and a negative deposit rate, putting some downward pressure on the euro.
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS By Gordon Platt Verizon Communications, which sold $49 billion of debt last September in the largest bond sale ever, has returned to the bond market repeatedly this year to take advantage of low interest rates to refinance ...
MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT By Gordon Platt Occurring on the global stage, the World Cup 2022 is helping to highlight labor market reform in Qatar. At least 400 Nepalese construction workers have died in Qatar in the run-up to the ...
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS By Gordon Platt The European Central Bank’s refusal to ease monetary policy in the face of below-target inflation boosted the euro to its highest levels of the year in March, while the British pound rose to a ...
MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT Visitors to the Middle East cannot help but be awed by the majestic skylines of the metropolises that have sprung from the desert sands along the Arabian Gulf. While oil wealth has paid for this development, ...
MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT By Gordon Platt Islamic finance is going mainstream, with Western countries planning to issue their first sovereign sukuk. It still constitutes only a small percentage of total global financial assets, and most activity is concentrated in ...
MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT By Gordon Platt The economies of the Middle East continue to prosper despite ongoing instability. In some cases, that instability is creating the greatest opportunities. However, any prospects for investing do come with a unique set ...
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS By Gordon Platt US companies announced $336 billion of mergers and acquisitions in the first two months of 2014, up 31% from the same period a year earlier, and the strongest January and February combined for any ...
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS By Gordon Platt Healthcare companies accounted for more than half of all initial public offerings filed in the US in the first two months of 2014, in a boom fueled by biotech companies, according to analysts at ...
MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT By Gordon Platt Dubai has rolled over its debt and keeps on spending in preparation for World Expo 2020. And this time, it says, there will be no property bubble. Dubai welcomed the New Year with ...
MARKET FOCUS: MIDDLE EAST INVESTMENT BANKING By Gordon Platt The Middle East may present political challenges, but dealmakers anticipate that 2014 will be the year M&A flourishes in the region, particularly in the GCC countries, as well as Iraq and ...