Reuters blog archive
from Global Investing:
The latest data from Ukraine shows its hard currency reserves fell $2 billion over November to $18.9 billion. That's perilously low by any measure. (Check out this graphic showing how poorly Ukraine's reserve adequacy ratios compare with other emerging markets: http://link.reuters.com/quq25v)
Central banks often have tricks to temporarily boost reserves, or at least, to give the impression that they are doing so. Turkey, for instance, allows commercial banks to keep some of their lira reserve requirements in hard currency and gold. Others may get friendly foreign central banks to deposit some cash. Yet another ploy is to issue T-bills in hard currency to mop up banks' cash holdings. But it may be hard for Ukraine to do any of this says Exotix economist Gabriel Sterne, who has compared the Ukraine national bank's plight with that of Egypt.
Ukraine and Egypt have both balked at signing up to IMF loan programmes because these would require them to cut back on subsidies. But latest data shows Egypt's reserves have risen to $17.8 billion from just over $10 billion in July, while Ukraine's have declined from $22.9 billion. Egyptian import cover has also risen to 2.6 months while Ukraine now has enough cash to fund less than 2 months of imports (Back in July it was 3 months)
In Egypt, there is more scope for authorities to issue dollar T-bills to mop up dollars. But Ukrainian commercial banks' net foreign assets are negative, in contrast with Egypt.
from Data Dive:
On Friday, Twitter announced that it was adding Marjorie Scardino to its board of directors. Scardino is the former CEO of Pearson, and The Economist Group, as well as a former Nokia director. She is Twitter's first female board member.
Reuters' Sarah McBride and Poornima Gupta take a broader look at the lack of gender diversity on startups' boards:
from The Great Debate:
When Nelson Mandela and South African President F.W. De Klerk began their historic negotiations to end apartheid, each man professed respect for the other. Indeed their relationship appeared not only professional, but personal.
Yet as the negotiations dragged on through 1992 and 1993, tempers grew short, and South Africans grew increasingly frustrated with the slow progress toward the liberation that had seemed so promising just a few years ago. Most worrisome, violence was growing between the supporters of Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Inkhatha Freedom Party.
The Bond Buyer has awarded its annual top prize for a muniland deal to a public private partnership (P3) that contracted with the Indiana Finance Authority to build the East End span of the Ohio River Bridges Project:
The Indiana Finance Authority won The Bond Buyer's 12th annual Deal of the Year award Thursday night for its Ohio River Bridges East End Crossing Project.
By Swaha Pattanaik
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
Currencies have been especially tough to call in the past year. New analysis suggests that when global interest rates are uniformly low, moves in the mammoth foreign exchange market seem to be a by-product of what is happening in stocks or bonds. That makes predictions almost impossible.
from The Great Debate:
The U.S. Senate should move quickly to confirm Mel Watt as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), but not for any of the political or procedural reasons usually discussed. A quick confirmation is required because we need new leadership on U.S. housing policy -- a policy that on some crucial points is headed in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons.
In the years since the collapse of the housing bubble, major Wall Street firms have prospered while millions of homeowners are still dealing with the wreckage of a damaged housing market. That’s in part because nothing as large as a national housing market turns quickly. But it’s also because persistent myths about the market are obscuring the data and driving policy in the wrong direction.
With hymns and eulogies, South Africans of all colors and creeds remembered Nelson Mandela in a day of prayers on Sunday, holding him up as a symbol of freedom, forgiveness and hope for the nation and the world.
from Unstructured Finance:
Prominent short-seller Jim Chanos is probably one of the last true “bad news bears” you will find on Wall Street these days, save for Jim Grant and Nouriel Roubini. Almost everywhere you turn, money managers still are bullish on U.S. equities going into 2014 even after the Standard & Poor’s 500’s 27 percent returns year-to-date and the Nasdaq is back to levels not seen since the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999.
“We’re back to a glass half-full environment as opposed to a glass half-empty environment,” Chanos told Reuters during a wide ranging hour-long discussion two weeks ago. “If you're the typical investor, it's probably time to be a little bit more cautious.”
from Martyn Herman:
LONDON (Reuters) - Former English Premier League striker DJ Campbell has been arrested as part of a spot-fixing investigation, his club Blackburn Rovers said on Monday.
"Following reports in today's national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested," the Championship (second division) club said in a statement.
from Ian Bremmer:
When China announced its decision to claim a wider air zone that encompassed the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Island territories, the East China Sea erupted into conflict reminiscent of the Cold War era. In response, the United States and Japan declared the zone illegitimate and flew military aircraft through it, while China deployed fighter jets to identify them.
But this was not a simple instance of China overstepping and getting burned -- nor was it as sudden and unexpected as headlines suggest. Rather, it was the manifestation of a longstanding Chinese regional strategy that is only just beginning. And China is likely quite pleased with how it is playing out thus far.