All posts by Ruben Ramirez

Ruben Ramirez is a Reporter and Producer at Reuters Television covering business and financial news. He is based in New York. Ramirez has reported for Reuters around the world. Prior to joining Reuters, Ramirez was a producer at CNN and CNN Financial News. While at CNN, Ramirez was part of the network's Emmy-Award winning coverage of 9/11. Before that, he was a writer and segment producer at CNBC. Ramirez studied Finance and Broadcast Journalism at Boston University.

Cure for lending constipation needed

DUBAI/ Yes, the market for IPOs is opening up, investors are regaining confidence and the worst seems to be over, but challenges are still looming and there's a dire need for a change in regulation. Or so suggested Shuaa Capitals' chief Sameer al-Ansari.

"With the balance sheet of banks, whatever is keeping them constipated, we need to give them something to start. Banks have to be more comfortable and confident that there are no more shocks on the horizon," said Ansari at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Dubai on Tuesday.

The right provisions need to be made -- and that means more acknowledgment of non-performing loans -- in turn bringing adequacy ratios down, so that banks get a boost and start
lending again, Ansari noted.

"We need to open the tap a bit, even if its a drip," the banking exec said, using hand gestures to illustrate his point. "We can't have growth in the economy if its negative."

Ansari, who'd made recommendations - simple to drastic - to decision makers in Dubai, suggesting solutions, cited the Irish example of gathering all bad debts linked to real estate and placing them in a government bank.

"It should be looked at here. If that's what's making the banks constipated, then lets do it!" he says.

Dubai, one of seven emirates that make-up the UAE federation, was hard hit by the global financial downturn and endured billions of dollars in projects cancellations, not to mention the $25 billion debt restructuring of Dubai World.

So is the worst over? Ansari opts for cautious optimism.

"We've seen the worst, been through the bottoming out process. I see growth coming back," he said. "We'll see a slow gradual recovery but the pace will be different in different places of the region."

The region still boasts strong fundamentals, underpinned by strong oil prices which drive government spending, a young growing population, a developing consumer society with regional risk ratings that are far better than any of the other regions by several notches, he said.

All of this makes one wonder why the region is undervalued compared to the rest of the world, he said.

On anti-Dubai comments, Ansari said: "When people go through a Dubai bashing exercise, you have to remember Dubai isn't sitting on the moon by itself."

While Dubai and the UAE have greater challenges than the rest of the region, Dubai's been going through a vicious circle that hit its main three economic pillars.

"If you look at Dubai, we've been through the impact of the global financial crisis, a severe regional real estate crisis and a major stock market crash," he said. "There has been phenomenal wealth erosion."

But the decline has finally been arrested and an upward trend is taking place.

"Recovery can only happen if these pillars bounce back. These three pillars are what will drive growth. I am cautiously optimistic that the vicious circle is beginning to come back up," he said.

(Writing by Tamara Walid in Dubai)

Is investor confidence returning to the Middle East?

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES/A recovery in the Middle East and the prospects for investment are on the agenda at the Reuters Middle East and Investment Summit, taking place in Dubai, Riyadh, Cairo, Kuwait, Beirut, Bagdad, Abu Dhabi and London.

In the wake of Dubai’s debt crisis, which rocked financial markets globally and dented confidence in the region, top executives and officials will discuss whether the investment climate in the region is improving and confidence returning. 2011 will be a year of more restructurings, but the region’s capital needs will lead to a surge in debt issues and even a possible revival of the IPO market.

Reuters Middle East Investment Summit will generate exclusive stories, investable insights, online videos and blog postings. Check back here for more over the course of this week.

Infrastructure still top-of-mind in India

INDIA/
On Monday, we kick-off the 2010 India Investment Summit. We'll have exclusive interviews in Mumbai and Bangalore. In 2006 we held the first Reuters India Investment Summit. It was my first time in India. I've had the privilege to return every year. How time flies. Here we are four years later. Some of the key players may have changed but the big, over-arching theme is still the same: Infrastructure. It's the key to realizing the country's potential but bureaucracy, tough financing and hesitant overseas investment have slowed development in the sector, calling into question the future of India as a powerhouse.

India has had only mixed success in its efforts to accelerate construction of roads, bridges and power plants. The statistics are mind-blowing...the country is growing at 8.5% and has a population of 1.2 billion that is making a mad-dash from the countryside to sprawling cities. Call them growing pains...in India's expanding cities there is an acute need to speed project approvals, implement new financing models and attract overseas investment for much needed infrastructure. But, while the business opportunity is tremendous investors looking to India as a way to play the emerging markets are wary given the history of missed deadlines and red tape that makes getting projects completed a challenge.

Is red tape getting better or worse? Which sectors are attracting most interest? How do returns compare with similar projects globally? How do sector companies attract foreign investment in large projects? Are the challenges forcing investors and developers to look overseas instead?

These topics and more will be the key points of discussion at the Reuters India Investment Summit in Mumbai and Bangalore September 27-29.

To read our exclusive stories and analysis starting September 27 copy and paste the link below to your browser:
www.reuters.com/summit/IndiaInvestment10

Lady Gaga may not be the only one singing a new tune in November

USA/
The 2010 Reuters Washington Summit included 4 days of on-the-record interviews with policymakers, congressmen and Obama Administration officials here in the DC bureau. The interviews covered a wide range of topics…from the impact of the mid-term elections to the importance of the Lady Gaga vote.

With less than six weeks to go before the mid-term elections the focus was on what a potential shift in power to a Republican-controlled Congress could mean for policy priorities in the coming year. We heard from Senators’ McCain, Dodd, Gregg and Bingaman. On the House side we spoke with the man responsible for getting Democrats elected…Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He called this election season a “tough and challenging environment,’ but predicted Democrats would retain control of the House.

From the Obama Administration, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs opened his comments by admitting that early on the administration did not have a “real understanding of the depth of what we were in.” News of Larry Summers’ departure as White House advisor came on the eve of our interview with a man who has worked with Summers, Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Goolsbee said he expected that Mr. Summers’ replacement wouldn’t be part of “a dramatic change in direction.” On the economy, Goolsbee noted that he does not see a double dip on the horizon and that “pulling back on current spending programs could spook the markets.”

On the regulatory front, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair was adamant in her remarks about “ending too big to fail” and said that “the banking system is healing…and there is continuing improvement in low quality loans.” Meanwhile, Treasury’s Special Inspector General for TARP, Neil Barofsky, the man charged with policing the government’s exit from GM and AIG, said his group would begin a probe into the GM IPO after it launches to make sure that it was in the best interest of taxpayers.

On Afghanistan, we heard from Richard Holbrooke, Special Advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan who was measured in his response to the Obama Administration’s planned timetable for withdrawal.

And, what about the Lady Gaga vote? Senator McCain brought up the pop star and her opposition to 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell' which was scheduled for a vote the day after McCain’s visit to our bureau, saying “I didn’t Twitter back. I only twitter with Snooki as you know. I did say, I said, look, I welcome her in the debate, I’ll welcome all of her young fans into the debate. Let’s have everybody in the the debate…it’s good to have lots of people involved.”

The summit upshot: if polls are correct and Republicans win more seats in the Senate and retake the House, all of Washington may be singing a different tune come November 3rd.

To read more stories from the 2010 Reuters Washington Summit copy the link below into your browser:
www.reuters.com/summit/Washington10

Shift in power on the horizon in Washington?

USA/
Republicans stand poised to gain substantial influence in Congress, putting at stake billions of dollars in investment as a shift among power brokers throws legislative initiatives old and new into doubt. Reuters Washington Summit will bring together an influential line-up of insiders just weeks before Americans cast their votes, promising a must-read stream of exclusive news on the outlook for Congress and President Barack Obama's agenda. Editors and correspondents from the Reuters Washington bureau are sitting down with senior lawmakers, including GOP heavyweights in line for leadership, and regulators whose implementation of Wall Street and healthcare reform could be complicated by a change in control on Capitol Hill.

The Summit will generate exclusive stories, investable insights, online videos and blog postings, which will be immediately available only to Thomson Reuters clients during the Summit. Key interviews will air live exclusively on Reuters Insider - a new multimedia platform delivering relevant news, analysis and trade ideas presented through a personalized video experience. Visit http://etv.thomsonreuters.com/

Is Apple in Intel’s future?

Apple developed the processor for it's recently launched iPad tablet PC in-house. Intel was left waiting on the sidelines but change may be in store. Future tablets from other device makers, and maybe even Apple, could prove to be a lucrative for the world's largest chipmaker. And why not, Intel already makes the microprocessors that are used in more than three quarters of the world's PCs. Tom Kilroy, Intel senior vice president and general manager of sales and marketing, says "wait til Computex" for a big announcement. So, what's likely to come out of the industry trade show this June in Taipei? Any thoughts? Click below to hear what Kilroy had to say in San Francisco at the 2010 Reuters Global Technology Summit.

Intel on Tablet Opportunities from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Reuters set to spotlight financial regulation in DC

FINANCIAL-REGULATION/OBAMA
The fight over new rules that will dramatically change Wall Street and financial markets is approaching the finish line in Washington, with both lawmakers and the financial industry making last-ditch efforts to put their stamp on the reform effort. Reuters will be hearing from the key players in the debate on April 26-29 during the 2010 Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit.

Top regulators, watchdogs, lawmakers and stakeholders will provide their perspectives on how this landmark legislation will impact banks, investors, traders and consumers. The talks will focus in on proposals for a strong new consumer agency, strict oversight of derivatives and attempts to end the perception that some financial firms are “too big to fail.”

Reuters set to spotlight financial regulation in DC

FINANCIAL-REGULATION/OBAMA
The fight over new rules that will dramatically change Wall Street and financial markets is approaching the finish line in Washington, with both lawmakers and the financial industry making last-ditch efforts to put their stamp on the reform effort. Reuters will be hearing from the key players in the debate on April 26-29 during the 2010 Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit.

Top regulators, watchdogs, lawmakers and stakeholders will provide their perspectives on how this landmark legislation will impact banks, investors, traders and consumers. The talks will focus in on proposals for a strong new consumer agency, strict oversight of derivatives and attempts to end the perception that some financial firms are “too big to fail.”

Avoiding another financial crisis

The Global Exchanges & Trading Summit takes place as lawmakers and regulators craft new rules to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis. The rising chorus for more transparency in capital markets could drive a host of new derivatives to exchanges and clearinghouses, propelling them out of the recession, but growing calls for a clampdown on speculation and automated trading could hit some of the world's most powerful dealers and investors, undercutting the exchanges that rely on them. High-frequency trading is behind much of the spike in volumes over the last year, but as volatility drops from crisis-era highs, traders of all kinds are forced to reevaluate strategies, and exchanges are maneuvering to attract that business. A couple years after a period of blockbuster mergers, investors wonder whether the heavyweight exchange operators are angling for another round. Join us March 29-31 as we ask some of the biggest players in the industry to share their insights and outlook for the industry at the Reuters Global Exchanges and Trading Summit which will take place in New York, London, Hong Kong.