giovedì 31 gennaio 2013

Bot e Btp non saranno più garantiti dallo Stato?

La notizia risale al dicembre 2012, ma l'attuazione della norma è partita dal 1°gennaio 2013 e riguarda l'introduzione delle clausole collettive (CACs) nei titoli di Stato. 

Il comunicato stampa del Ministero dell'Economia - datato 17 dicembre 2012 - riporta che a partire dal nuovo anno le "le nuove emissioni di titoli di Stato aventi scadenza superiore ad un anno saranno soggette alle clausole di azione collettiva". 

Cosa sono le CACs? Previste nel Trattato sul Meccanismo Europeo di Stabilità (ESM), ratificato anche dall'italia, sono delle clausole vessatorie e regolano la possibilità, per uno Stato che versa in una condizione di crisi del debito sovrano (come ad esempio è avvenuto in Grecia), di ricontrattare interessi, scadenze e di proporre agli investitori lo scambio con obbligazioni di diversa tipologia. Le CACs quindi rendono obbligatorio lo scambio anche dalla contrparte che non ha acconsentito, a condizione che vengano rispettate determinate soglie: gli accordi europei stabiliscono che l'emissione di titoli di debito pubblico con le CAC non superino il 45% emesso in un anno. 
Secondo questo accordo previsto dall'ESM, il mercato dei titoli di Stato dei BOT e BTP non saranno più garantiti dallo Stato stesso, in quanto con le CACs si potranno rinegoziare accordi precedentemente presi e rinegoziare la propria esposizione debitoria con gli investitori. 

Alla notizia, gli esperti del settore lanciano i primi timori. Innanzitutto sulla soglia prestabilita: "il limite di emissione del 45% è sicuramente una tutela affinché la maggior parte dei titoli di debito pubblico di nuova emissione resti garantito così come lo sono sempre stati - scrive Pasquale Marinelli, collaboratore del sito di finanza Wall Street Italia - ma [...] quanto tempo passerà affinché tale limite venga modificato e aumentato, fino ad avvicinarsi al 100%? Che grado di affidabilità avrebbero questi titoli nei confronti degli investitori, di cui lo Stato emittente può cambiare le condizioni iniziali di sottoscrizione, quando più conviene ad esso?".

Una nuova norma che, quindi, starebbe ufficialmente decretando il fallimento dello Stato italiano: sebbene il rendimento di questi nuovi titoli pubblici risulterebbe più alto rispetto ai precedenti, perché è insito in esso il rischio di ricontrattazione in negativo dei titoli da parte dello Stato, in caso di rischio del suo default, con queste clausole verrebbe meno il concetto di sicurezza che da sempre è prerogativa dei titoli di Stato. Clausole che, rispetto all'investitore, pongono il soggetto meno avvantaggiato - in questo caso lo Stato - in una situazione contrattuale privilegiata. Non solo: le CACs garantirebbero per legge la ristrutturazione del debito sovrano, che in Italia ha superato la soglia dei 2 mila miliardi, 100 miliardi solo nel 2012.


mercoledì 30 gennaio 2013

Chrysler's profit up 68% in 4Q; up 20% in 2012

Chrysler Group said Wednesday that it earned $378 million in the fourth quarter on revenue of $17.2 billion.
For the full-year, Chrysler's net income was $1.7 billion on revenue of $65.8 billion, a 20% gain year over year..
With profits that were nine times those of 2011, the results were all the more impressive given that Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy just three years ago.
On Tuesday, rival Ford reported profits for the fourth-quarter and 2012 that beat estimates although Ford's revenue and income are being hurt by losses in Europe.
CEO Sergio Marchionne said that while the company was happy with its strong financial results for 2012, " the enterprise we are crafting is not complete."
Car sales in the U.S. market were up 21%, thanks to hot products like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the all-new Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, which won the North American Truck/Utility of the Year award at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month.
"The goals we've set for the year ahead reflect a common desire by everyone from leadership to the shop floor to succeed and sustain the power of the house we are building," Marchione said. "Our aim is meaningful, but it is not complicated, and only a preoccupation with quality can achieve it."
The company has already made great strides in quality and has been testing vehicles more and longer, says Rebecca Lindland, director of research for IHS Automotive.
"That's really helped their warranty costs and helped quality overall," she says. "They're doing a really good job of making their vehicles comparable from a quality standpoint."
Others agree Chrysler is on a roll.
"The company was the only domestic automaker to gain market share last year," says Jesse Toprak, senior analyst at
And the company was also able to increase its' average transaction price by nearly $1,000 per car compared to 2011 despite "marginal incentives spending" which helped to improve profitability, Toprak says.
Another thing working in Chrysler's favor: It has almost no exposure in the troubled European market. It doesn't build cars there or sell them through its own dealership system. That's a blessing at a time when the European market is a drain on its competitors' bottom lines.
Chrysler "is exceeding everyone's expectations," says Lindland.
The new Dodge Dart, on the other hand, got off to a strong start, but "the engine needed a little bit of work and is going to get that."
Marchione defended the Dart Wednesday, calling it an "incredibly rich vehicle for its class" that has a "non comprehensive powertrain solution" that will be remedied for the 2014 model year.

lunedì 21 gennaio 2013

JPMorgan Embraces Offshore Yuan as Trading Doubles

Standard Chartered Plc estimates offshore trading of yuan has doubled to at least $6 billion a day, giving investors more confidence to invest in the currency using options, forwards and Dim Sum bonds.
Average daily transactions in Hong Kong surged from $3 billion in the past year, said Charles Feng, Standard Chartered’s regional head for fixed-income trading in the city. Trading in offshore options in the currency swelled to between $300 million and $500 million per day, according to J.P. Morgan Private Bank, which is buying the contracts for its clients. HSBC Holdings Plc says combined yuan deposits and certificates of deposits in the city will rise 43 percent this year to 1 trillion yuan ($161 billion).
Dim Sum bonds have been rallying for a record six consecutive weeks as the central bank announced plans to accelerate the opening up of capital markets to foreigners and allow cross-border yuan loans. The average yield on the securities fell five basis points last week to 3.5 percent, the lowest since October 2011, a Deutsche Bank AG index showed. That compares with an average 2.62 percent for global corporate debt, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data.
“Offshore yuan liquidity is unambiguously improving,” said Cliff Tan, East Asian head of global markets research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in Hong Kong. “In particular, there is more official sector activity in the first days of the year. This flow is very promising for central banks to get more involved.”

Offshore Premium

The yuan in Hong Kong climbed 0.5 percent this month and touched 6.1735 per dollar on Jan. 11, the highest since trading started in 2010, Bloomberg data show. The offshore rate was 6.1908 as of 11:24 a.m. local time today, a 0.45 percent premium to the spot rate of 6.2187 inShanghai. Twelve-month non- deliverable forwards gained 0.8 percent in Hong Kong this month.
One-year implied volatility on the offshore yuan, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, was 2.4 percent today, down from 4.4 percent a year ago, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Comparable gauges are 10 percent for the Brazilian real, Russian ruble and India’s rupee.

‘Burgeoning’ Market

The yield on Chinese government Dim Sum bonds due June 2022 was 3.06 percent today, compared with 1.84 percent for 10-year U.S. Treasuries, Bloomberg data show.
“We have been utilizing high carry and low volatility for our clients in the offshore renminbi via its burgeoning options market,” said Erik Wytenus, Hong Kong-based head of foreign exchange and commodities at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Asia. “This allows for a beneficially asymmetric risk profile for these strategic positions.”
Hong Kong’s Dim Sum bond market is increasingly offering attractive yields as long as buyers are selective, said Adam K. Tejpaul, managing director for the investment business of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s private bank unit in Asia. The yield on Caterpillar Inc.’s Dim Sum bonds due 2014 was 2.53 percent at the end of last week, compared with 0.58 percent on its similar- maturity dollar debt. The machinery maker is rated A at Standard & Poor’s.
China backed Hong Kong’s status as the major offshore yuan hub in its latest five-year economic plan and is seeking to curb reliance on the use of dollars in international trade and investment. The city “will consolidate and expand the offshore yuan business,” in particular cross-border trade settlement and sales of yuan-denominated securities, Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong Chief Executive said in a Jan. 16 policy address.

Loan Experiment

Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on Dec. 31 the country will “deepen” financial reform in 2013. The government may soon announce details for a cross-border yuan loan program in Qianhai, a trial zone near Hong Kong, China Securities Journal reported Jan. 9, citing Wang Jinxia, a spokesperson for the Qianhai management bureau. Hang Seng Bank Ltd., a Hong Kong- based subsidiary of HSBC, will arrange the first yuan loan to Qianhai Co., the lender said Dec. 31.
“The Qianhai trial will accelerate the recycling of the yuan and boost the currency’s liquidity,” said Ken Hu, a Hong Kong-based fund manager at BOCHK Asset Management Ltd, who runs the best-performing Dim Sum bond fund that returned 29 percent in 2012.

RQFII Program

China announced the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors, or RQFII, program in December 2011, which allows offshore yuan to be invested in China’s domestic securities. The available quotas were boosted by 200 billion yuan to a level of 270 billion yuan in November and Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said in Hong Kong on Jan. 14 that the ceiling can be increased by 10 times more.
Hong Kong residents are subject to a daily conversion limit of 20,000 yuan at the Shanghai rate, while non-residents can buy unlimited amounts of China’s currency at the offshore rate. DBS Group Holdings Ltd. said the limit for people living in the city could hamper the growth of the yuan pool in Hong Kong as more investors channel funds back to China for investment.
“As more offshore yuan centers emerge, it no longer makes sense for Hong Kong to cap locals’ conversion at such a level,” said Nathan Chow, a Hong Kong-based economist at DBS. “Hong Kong needs to ensure a self-sustainable cycle of yuan with increasing repatriation channels for offshore yuan. We expect more Dim Sum bond issuance in 2013 with better liquidity.”

‘Hedging Demand’

Yuan deposits in the city grew 2.9 percent in November to 571 billion yuan, according to Hong Kong Monetary Authority data. That’s the biggest increase since August 2011. Dim Sum bond issuance climbed 16 percent last year to a record 175.8 billion yuan. There has been 18.2 billion yuan in sales this month.
Offshore yuan trading is “primarily driven by hedging demand” from companies, which have replaced currency speculators as the dominant force in the market, according to Standard Chartered’s Feng. “We see this as a positive sign as it paves the way for a more sustainable offshore yuan trading environment,” he said.
China’s economic growth accelerated for the first time in two years as government efforts to revive demand drove a rebound in industrial output, retail sales and the housing market. Gross domestic product rose 7.9 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, the nation’s statistics bureau said last week. That compared with the 7.8 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey and 7.4 percent in the previous quarter.

Liquidity Operations

The People’s Bank of China said on Jan. 18 it will start short-term liquidity operations as additional tools to manage cash supply, amid efforts by policy makers to liberalize of interest rates. Repurchase agreements and reverse repurchase contracts with a maturity of less than seven days will be the main tools of the so-called SLOs, the central bank said in a statement. It named 12 banks, including Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of China Ltd., as participants in the SLOs, which will supplement regular open-market operations held every Tuesday and Thursday.
The cost of insuring China’s bonds was steady last week. Five-year credit-default swaps protecting the nation’s sovereign notes rose two basis points to 65 in New York, according to data provider CMA, which is owned by McGraw-Hill Cos. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market.
“We welcome the growth and deepening of local markets,” said Jamie Stuttard, the London-based head of international bond-portfolio management at Pyramis Global Advisors, a unit of Fidelity Investments, which oversees $1.7 trillion. “The development of the Dim Sum market is important in building a global bond opportunity set which reflects patterns of global economic growth.”

Oil falls, trading muted on US public holiday

Crude prices fell as energy investors kept to the sidelines Monday ahead of a public holiday in the U.S.
Benchmark oil for February delivery was down 41 cents to $95.08 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 7 cents to finish at $95.56 per barrel on the Nymex on Friday.
Ken Hasegawa, energy analyst at Newedge brokerage in Tokyo, said trading was muted ahead of the U.S. holiday and in the absence of major news that might have the potential to move markets.
Lingering concerns about the U.S. economy also weighed on crude prices, with lawmakers wrangling over spending cuts and the nation's debt ceiling, which limits the amount of debt that U.S. government can take on.
Even if Congress raises the debt ceiling, Republican lawmakers will likely demand deep spending cuts, which in the short term could slow the global economy.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, fell 30 cents to $111.63 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
- Natural gas was up 9 cents to $3.584 per 1,000 cubic feet.
- Wholesale gasoline rose 2.1 cents to $2.803 a gallon.
- Heating oil rose 2 cents to $3.035 a gallon.

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venerdì 4 gennaio 2013

The Swiss bank Wegelin is to close, after admitting that it helped about 100 US clients evade paying taxes

The news that Switzerland's oldest private bank will cease to operate has potentially huge implications for Switzerland's entire banking sector, and for the long tradition of Swiss banking secrecy.
Thirteen other Swiss banks are under investigation by US authorities, among them Credit Suisse, a bank now termed "too big to fail" by the Swiss government.
When Wegelin's managers pleaded guilty in a New York court, the case was watched with mounting horror by the financial communities in Zurich and Geneva.
Many had expected Wegelin to continue to try to fight the case. For months, the bank had failed to turn up in court, saying the summons had not been delivered correctly.
Instead, Wegelin's guilty plea included the admission that it intentionally opened accounts for US citizens to help them avoid tax.
In court, Wegelin's managers said they knew it was wrong, but thought they would not be prosecuted because it was legal in Switzerland and common practice in Swiss banking.
Those last words in particular are causing huge concern. Some Swiss financial analysts are already speculating that Wegelin's $58m fine, which many had expected to be higher, was kept low by the US authorities in return for Wegelin clearly implicating the rest of the Swiss banking community in tax evasion.
Fruitless negotiations
For at least two years, the Swiss government has been actively pursuing a deal with the US, similar to those it has already agreed with the UK and with Germany, in which Swiss banks charge foreign clients a withholding tax.
But so far, negotiations with the US have proved fruitless. Washington clearly prefers the legal route. Meanwhile, the German parliament has also questioned the deal.
Many believe the Swiss government is trying to square an impossible circle: satisfy foreign governments, who are determined to reclaim their tax revenue, and still protect Switzerland's traditional banking secrecy.
In the wake of the Wegelin case, other Swiss banks will have to decide what to do. Some are already avoiding doing business with US clients, so much so that US citizens living in Switzerland find it extremely difficult to open a bank account or get a mortgage.
Others may consider the route taken by banking giant UBS in 2009, in which the bank admitted encouraging tax evasion and gave the details of more than 4,000 US account holders to the US authorities, together with a hefty $780m compensation payment.
There is also a certain amount of resentment among the Swiss banking community, many of whom feel that they are being unfairly targeted for practices which they claim are far more common in the US state of Delaware or in the City of London.
But with 13 other Swiss banks currently being investigated by US lawyers who have no intention of giving up, many in Switzerland also argue that the country's financial sector has more to offer than support for tax evasion. Stability and centuries of banking experience, for example.
The case of Wegelin is a stark one: a bank that first opened its doors in 1741 has had to close because it used the long tradition of Swiss banking secrecy to help clients avoid tax.
The message for other Swiss banks seems pretty clear. Either the secrecy goes, or the bank goes.