Capital Markets | Middle East Equity
The Middle East is experiencing a boom in initial public offerings, following years of relative inactivity since the global financial crisis. The area’s IPO markets began to recover in the fourth quarter of last year, and new share issues are now coming at a fever pitch, despite falling oil prices that could threaten regional economies.
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
CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS | FOREIGN EXCHANGE
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 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.