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Friday, 20 July 2018

Upfront

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  • Deal or no deal

    There’s no doubt about it: Europe has too many banks. At the last count, there were more than 3,000 European banking institutions.

  • Xiaomi’s reboot

    What a relief. Xiaomi’s first week as a listed company has drawn a line under the recent run of shaky IPOs from China’s technology sector – but it could have been very different.

  • Running out of money

    Loan bankers love to think that they are made of sterner stuff than the fickle folk of the bond market.

  • Sticking plaster

    The emerging markets are not in crisis and the fundamentals – measured by growth rates or external balances – are in much better shape in many countries than in, say, the US or the UK.

  • Xiaomi the way to go home

    When it comes to Chinese equities, two wrongs sometimes do make a right.

  • Crest of a wave

    AT&T is set to go down in the record books after a court judge finally approved – some 20 months after the deal was first announced – the telecoms giant’s acquisition of Time Warner’s media empire.

  • Syndicate, or cartel?

    “To permit antitrust actions such as this threatens serious securities-related harm … there is a serious risk that antitrust courts, with different nonexpert judges and different nonexpert juries, will produce inconsistent results.”

  • Gloom and doom

    The European sovereign debt crisis, which claimed the scalp of at least one bank and brought countless others close to the edge seven years ago, was supposed to have been a wake-up call. Policymakers, seeing the carnage wrought by the crisis, pledged to make the system safer.

  • Led astray

    At a time when regulators are clamping down on questionable behaviour, it’s amazing what goes on under everyone’s noses in certain markets. And nowhere more so than in the Gulf.

  • High stakes

    Asian high-yield bonds can offer investors some welcome protection from rising US Treasury yields, but buyers will have to be prepared to ride out the storm first.

  • Blast from the past

    There was a distinct retro feel to last week, with apparently looming financial crises in Argentina and Turkey; and the Buenos Aires government calling in the IMF. Even Mahathir Mohamad is back in power in Malaysia.

  • Xiaomi the money

    Xiaomi’s giant IPO is widely seen as a turning point for Hong Kong, and for China’s technology sector. So far, it’s looking more like a leap of faith.

  • Coming apart at the seams

    Christian Sewing has a problem. The chief executive of Deutsche Bank, who took over from the deposed John Cryan earlier this month, came out all guns blazing at his first real public appearance as the new boss at the first-quarter results announcement on Thursday.

  • Mizzed opportunity

    As mishaps go, this was as high-profile as it gets.

  • More joy in heaven…

    Outside observers would be forgiven for wondering how much really changed at Deutsche Bank last week. Yes, the bank fired chief exec John Cryan and replaced him with Christian Sewing.

  • Good in parts

    For Spotify, listing on a stock exchange was useful, but not a burning ambition.

  • Dead man walking?

    It was another terrible week for Deutsche Bank. But this time it wasn’t John Cryan’s fault.

  • Bankerless deal

    Uber last week brought its contemptuous attitude to established norms to the loan market, successfully pricing a US$1.5bn deal with only limited involvement from bank syndication teams.

  • Getting away with it

    The British government’s decision to chuck 23 Russian diplomats out of the UK may have rattled some cages in the Kremlin, but as far as the financial markets are concerned the move barely registered.

  • The right prescription

    Investors are claiming a historic victory in the high-grade corporate bond market after extracting a discount from drugstore chain CVS on some of its M&A bonds.

  • Changing of the seasons

    The QE era is over. The ECB may still be buying €30bn of bonds a month, but the cycle of ever-tighter credit spreads and ultra-low yields is at an end.

  • Hong Kong Stuey

    “All political lives end in failure” is a familiar quote. But what Enoch Powell actually wrote was more nuanced: “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure.”

  • Big, bigger, biggest

    It’s an intimidating number. But the liquid US loan market is more than equal to the task of syndicating the US$100bn of committed debt facilities backing chipmaker Broadcom’s US$121bn bid for Qualcomm.

  • Taxpayers’ delight

    The roller-coaster ride experienced by financial markets last week was matched by the roller-coaster ride in bankers’ emotions.

  • Logo of China Evergrande Group

    Bullying tactics

    Evergrande’s latest capital markets outing is a stark example of the kind of bullying tactics investors often have to put up with in Asia.

  • Compression session

    Remember those convergence trades in anticipation of the euro, when the likes of Italy saw their bond yields rally to levels close to those of Germany?

  • Swap this

    The finance industry has a well-developed ability to punch itself in the face. But no part of the market is better at doing that than the credit default swap market.

  • Don’t look back in anger

    Remember when, 15 years ago, HBOS issued the first UK covered bond? Suddenly, UK high street lenders were able to tap this long-standing sector for wholesale secured funding, in addition to selling billions of dollars of RMBS.

  • On the spot

    ECM bankers are understandably nervous about Spotify’s decision to shun an IPO and list without a placing.

  • Ding dong merrily on high

    Christmas has come early for investment banks this year. Last week, the annual haul of fees that banks earn from underwriting and advisory work crossed the US$100bn threshold for only the second time in the industry’s history – the only other time was 2007.

  • Made to be broken

    Last week the three main US bank regulators, including the Federal Reserve, told Congress they would consider revising the post-crisis guidelines on leveraged lending. It was a victory for Republicans trying to roll back financial regulation – or at least it looked like one.

  • Answers required

    It’s a frightening prospect that, a month before one of the biggest regulatory changes in European financial markets history comes into force, bond bankers are still in the dark about how their businesses will be affected.

  • On yer bike

    “HSBC likes nice people,” said one banker when asked last week why co-head of global banking Matthew Westerman is suddenly leaving the bank.

  • Talking junk

    For all the panicky headlines last week about the end of the world in junk bonds, the sector isn’t really in bad shape at all.

  • Toughing it out

    Is it time to batten down the hatches in EM?

  • Get on with it

    What is Venezuela’s President Maduro up to? On the face of it, his decision to make nearly US$2bn in principal payments on sovereign and state-owned oil company bonds – and then declare that he is looking to restructure the country’s debt – makes no sense.

  • Mind-blowing yoghurt

    Just when you think pricing on bond deals couldn’t get more irrational, along comes a trade that appears to defy all logic.

  • This way to the hen-coop, Mr Fox

    What’s the best way to avoid being accused of cheating? Invent the rules of the game yourself, of course.

  • Gulf of difference

    No Qatari borrowers have accessed the public bond markets since Saudi Arabia and three allies accused the country in June of backing terrorism – a charge Doha denies – and imposed trade restrictions as a result.

  • Not the next big payday

    Regulation brings innovation. And ever since regulators started pushing banks to raise additional capital, we’ve seen all sorts of product innovation in the markets – senior non-preferred debt, callable holdco securities, CoCos and Additional Tier 1 bonds.

  • Papering over the cracks

    For any penitent defaulter looking for redemption in the international bond markets, APP-China has a lesson about the price of forgiveness: it’s 9%.

  • Journey to the West

    In a rational market, increasing the supply of a product tends to lower the price. But for China’s offshore US dollar sovereign bonds, this has somehow had the opposite effect.

  • Suk it up

    Forget Mayweather versus McGregor. This week sees the start of a proper contest: a troubled Middle East corporate up against its bondholders. At stake is the future of the international sukuk market.

  • Decisions, decisions

    Credit default swaps have been through numerous iterations as part of market-wide attempts to restore confidence in an instrument that has a nasty habit of not performing as expected.

  • New connections

    Expanding stock trading links between Hong Kong and China to cover IPOs is an exciting next step for both markets. It’s also likely to disappoint investors on both sides.

  • Getting on the pot

    The transformation of Japan’s capital markets is gathering pace. The latest upheaval comes in the slow-changing world of yen bonds, where desperate investors are embracing global standards in search of higher returns.

  • More by luck...

    The market - and certainly the bankers who weren’t involved - were pretty dismissive of last week’s British American Tobacco dollars, euros and sterling bond deal that raised the equivalent of US$20bn - yes, twenty billion US dollars.

  • Frontier justice

    What a comeback for Iraq. Less than two years after the sovereign failed to print a deal amid rocketing yields, the war-torn country was able to sell a US$1bn deal that came well inside fair value.

  • Greece tightening

    The champagne corks have been popping in Athens after Greece’s apparently triumphant return to the bond markets. A €3bn trade at a five-year maturity and with a yield of 4.625% - that should be cause for celebration.

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